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Interesting situation with a deceptive auction on Ebay

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  • Sep 15th, 2018 9:45 pm
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Interesting situation with a deceptive auction on Ebay

I recently purchased a MacBook Air that was advertised as a certain model/year on EBay with the condition noted as “parts only”. In the description of the auction the seller claimed to have no knowledge of the history regarding the state or problems inherent with the laptop other than him testing it and finding that it wouldn’t power on. I won the auction, promptly paid, and then shortly after I received the package in the mail. Upon receiving the order I noticed that the laptop was comprised of several components from differing years. The display assembly was 2 years older than the model year listed in the auction. The top case also had a serial number differing from the logic board dating it as belonging to a MacBook Air that was approximately 2 years older than the model advertised in the auction.

I’ve purchased more than a fair share of laptops for parts/repair online and offline and it’s pretty well expected that you’ll find at least some working components in a sold-for-parts deal. I got down to inspecting/testing the various parts of this machine and I found that pretty much anything that would’ve had any value was dead beyond repair. The logic board was very badly liquid damaged with most components either corroded or caked in a sugary substance. The display was broken, and although it was not visibly cracked, it was obviously not repairable or salvageable in the least. The ssd was completely void of life and the top case, both keyboard and trackpad were non functional. The cause of death for each part appeared vastly different from one another. The board was liquid damaged, the top case was also liquid damaged but the substance was not consistent with the logic board, the display appeared to have died of either natural causes, or accidental damage that did not leave any impressions behind, and the ssd was also suspiciously clean and void of any liquid contact, which led me to believe it died of natural causes and had been transplanted into the machine after whatever liquids had corroded the other components.

The seller claims to have no history of the condition but after looking through his feedback I can see that he primarily sells Apple Logic boards and displays, and all of his listings describe them as fully tested, working, etc, so it’s hard to give the seller the benefit of the doubt regarding not knowing the condition of this machine when he appears to know how to disassemble and test displays and logic boards.

The whole laptop appears to be comprised of scrap parts that he couldn’t fix/wrote off so he assembled a full parts machine and then feigned ignorance when it came to properly describing the condition of the machine. I’m well aware that when purchasing a parts machine you accept a certain amount of risk, but when I add all of this information up i find it impossible to believe that this was just one big unlucky coincidence.

I’m fairly confident that I will win this case solely based on the fact that the majority of the parts I received were from various years. I’ve requested a return but the seller responded by reiterating the details of the auction “I don’t know anything about this laptop, it’s for parts, no return”. I started the claim within an hour of opening the package as I was almost instantly aware of what was going on.

I suppose the seller was hoping that this auction would sell to someone who wanted something to tinker with or someone who might have chalked it up to “oh well, I guess it’s just really unfortunate that the whole thing died all at once”.

Also, the battery is well beyond it’s expected life cycle at over 1k cycle count. The whole machine is a complete write off aside from some portions of the aluminum housing. The components on the board itself are so badly corroded that they shouldn’t be considered as viable donors for board that is in repair.

I suppose the main question I have regarding this well crafted ploy is, if it’s advertised as parts only, is it fair game to sell something to be used as parts when it can be reasonably assumed that the seller likely knew that none of the parts could possibly be used in their current condition?

Any thoughts on the situation? I’m mostly interested in hearing anyone’s point of view regarding this situation.

At this point there’s really nothing the seller can do to avoid receiving a negative feedback, although I’m a bit surprised that he’s taking the “I don’t take returns” stance, as I feel it somewhat validates my claim that he was just hoping to pawn it off on someone else since he found no other use for it, and hey, it’s a MacBook! Who could throw a MacBook in the garbage?
Last edited by ElHoardo on Sep 15th, 2018 6:28 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Thread Summary
Scammer gets scammed.
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Return it 100%. When you buy something Parts Only you expect to get all of the parts in the laptop from that model- year specifically. If the laptop had different parts from different years then that's not what you paid for. If the buyer doesn't accept returns then just file an item not as described
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You’re a buyer here. File a claim with eBay/PayPal. You can’t lose
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
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Has the seller gotten negs in the past, and were reasons listed?
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i don't know about this one.... he's going to use the "for parts" stance. if he posted that it had a faulty screen, keyboard or what have you then you would have a better chance. but he's claiming to not know the history which would cover the parts from different units and years. you did bid on it with the "parts" aspect in the listing so maybe you can say none of the parts are salvageable upon further inspection ? or the part numbers aren't consistent. you should always check the feedback on auctions like this as you can see sellers like to play stupid and hope the buyer is as well.
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peytonpeanut2017 wrote:
Sep 15th, 2018 1:36 pm
i don't know about this one.... he's going to use the "for parts" stance. if he posted that it had a faulty screen, keyboard or what have you then you would have a better chance. but he's claiming to not know the history which would cover the parts from different units and years. you did bid on it with the "parts" aspect in the listing so maybe you can say none of the parts are salvageable upon further inspection ? or the part numbers aren't consistent. you should always check the feedback on auctions like this as you can see sellers like to play stupid and hope the buyer is as well.
PayPal/ebays dispute system is a joke. As a buyer you have 99.9% chance of them issuing a refund no matter what you say

If op wants they can threaten the seller with a negative feedback if it isn’t revivified by him. Most sellers will do anything not to receive a negative feedback.
Otherwise file a claim, PayPal will side with you, and get your money back. Leave negative feedback
Last edited by Red_Army on Sep 15th, 2018 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
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Ottomaddox wrote:
Sep 15th, 2018 11:01 am
Has the seller gotten negs in the past, and were reasons listed?
30 positive transactions as a seller and 1 negative.

Unrelated but has anyone else noticed sellers with 404 links when you click on the links for items they purchased from other members? I’ve noticed this happening quite a bit, especially with sellers who typically buy items that they resell after sprucing up the ad or upgrading some of the components. Ebay has some very successful sellers who consistently receive praise and positive feedback from users who will spend up to 2k for 2011/2012 MacBook Pros that have been wrapped in a carbon fibre skin. These are the incredibly old/fatter versions of MacBook Pro’s with optical drives. These sellers install a 1TB fusion drive, upgrade the ram to 16Gb, slap a ‘carbon’ sticker on it, and then sell it for 2k. The auctions resemble the multi coloured text based auctions that were popular 10-15 years ago and use all kinds of buzz words and exclamation marks. The feedback that they receive from the buyers of these old machines would make you think they got the deal of the century.
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ElHoardo wrote:
Sep 15th, 2018 1:39 pm
30 positive transactions as a seller and 1 negative.

Unrelated but has anyone else noticed sellers with 404 links when you click on the links for items they purchased from other members? I’ve noticed this happening quite a bit, especially with sellers who typically buy items that they resell after sprucing up the ad or upgrading some of the components. Ebay has some very successful sellers who consistently receive praise and positive feedback from users who will spend up to 2k for 2011/2012 MacBook Pros that have been wrapped in a carbon fibre skin. These are the incredibly old/fatter versions of MacBook Pro’s with optical drives. These sellers install a 1TB fusion drive, upgrade the ram to 16Gb, slap a ‘carbon’ sticker on it, and then sell it for 2k. The auctions resemble the multi coloured text based auctions that were popular 10-15 years ago and use all kinds of buzz words and exclamation marks. The feedback that they receive from the buyers of these old machines would make you think they got the deal of the century.
I think you can turn off purchase history details, and it automatically doesent show details after a few months, in regards to the 404
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
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I would say that you should contact/file a claim with ebay. I never had to file a claim with ebay as a buyer but as a seller I've been burned twice and that showed me that ebay seem to take the buyer side more than the seller side. I'm just saying this because of a weird selling issue I had with ebay a few years ago.

And if anyone wants to know, my experience as a seller (I stopped selling after that). I had sold legit brand new items (hard to find toys) with tracking number that even showed delivered to the same address on the invoice. 2 buyer filed a claim about never receiving the products (and I had to pay all of it back + lose my ebay fees etc..) . Even after proof of delivery (even contacted Canada Post) they took the buyer side and suspended my account. It took like 2 months to get things resolved in this ridiculous ebay adventure.... I was able to recover some money directly from CanadaPost. They had made an investigation that took like 6 months and couldn't understand why the item was reported as lost even if it showed delivered. And yes I have over 700 feedback, all positive as a buyer/seller and this was the first time in years that this happend to be.

In your case you have a legit reason to file a claim so you shouldn't have problem. The seller scammed you where in my case I got scammed by the buyers lol.
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ebay sellers have to accept return no matter what the reason is, they can not decline the request. I thought ebay implemented some kind of system to automatically accept return request.

Seller might be able to argue that he listed as he doesn't know the details of the his product and ask you to pay for shipping, but paypal should cover return shipping for up to certain amount.
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jjesskaka wrote:
Sep 15th, 2018 2:30 pm
ebay sellers have to accept return no matter what the reason is, they can not decline the request. I thought ebay implemented some kind of system to automatically accept return request.

Seller might be able to argue that he listed as he doesn't know the details of the his product and ask you to pay for shipping, but paypal should cover return shipping for up to certain amount.
It is not mandatory for a seller to accept returns
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Different parts from different years should be all the proof you need. Even if its parts only, you expect parts to be from that year. If there are any changes (say change in SSD), it should be in the description. Any changes not in description basically means you did not get what you ordered because parts don't match. Pretty simple argument and pretty simple logic.
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nounou23 wrote:
Sep 15th, 2018 2:06 pm
I would say that you should contact/file a claim with ebay. I never had to file a claim with ebay as a buyer but as a seller I've been burned twice and that showed me that ebay seem to take the buyer side more than the seller side. I'm just saying this because of a weird selling issue I had with ebay a few years ago.

And if anyone wants to know, my experience as a seller (I stopped selling after that). I had sold legit brand new items (hard to find toys) with tracking number that even showed delivered to the same address on the invoice. 2 buyer filed a claim about never receiving the products (and I had to pay all of it back + lose my ebay fees etc..) . Even after proof of delivery (even contacted Canada Post) they took the buyer side and suspended my account. It took like 2 months to get things resolved in this ridiculous ebay adventure.... I was able to recover some money directly from CanadaPost. They had made an investigation that took like 6 months and couldn't understand why the item was reported as lost even if it showed delivered. And yes I have over 700 feedback, all positive as a buyer/seller and this was the first time in years that this happend to be.

In your case you have a legit reason to file a claim so you shouldn't have problem. The seller scammed you where in my case I got scammed by the buyers lol.
I’ve had to deal with scamming buyers more than a few times myself. I can’t tell you how many times someone would play the not as described card to get a partial refund and in many cases a full refund just by waving the threat of negative feedback in my face. A lot of these people make a habit out of it and you can even see it when you start digging through their feedback. I’ve seen some buyers who would leave negative feedback for more than 50% of the things they purchase. I would provide a boat load of supporting evidence, a lot of it would be circumstantial, and in many cases I’m sure that they were aware that a certain buyer was scamming sellers and requesting refunds way more than the average user, but they would still side with the buyer.

I stopped selling long ago on EBay. It’s too risky. I only purchase things from time to time now, never sell.
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if you do a lot of buying on ebay and have little to no claims they will most likely side with you and give you a refund. i do about 3-5 buys a month on ebay so i've logged a huge purchase history and only had about 5 real serious claims i've opened and won refunds for. if the item is under $10 i don't bother claiming and just leave negative feedback or will send the seller a message letting him know i'm not happy and will reflect that in my feedback and that usually ends with them refunding or sending another of the same item.
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I would dispute the transaction, even though it was a parts-only auction.

When you buy something and it is marked as doesn't work / is for scrap parts, you at least expect the parts to match the item described. That's like buying a scrap car and finding a stereo inside where the engine should be...

The only accurate part of this item (from what you described) is that the outter shell matches the item listing.

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