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Bought a stolen phone off Ebay!
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Old 07/02/2005, 02:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Yes, bought a Sprint Treo 600 off Ebay that I just found out it was stolen. Paypal won't refund me back my money. Can I take this guy to small claims court in my state if he's from another state? Need some options here.
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Old 07/02/2005, 03:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, contact the seller and demand your money back.

If that doesn't work, call the police where the seller lives. They'll surely be interested in someone selling stolen property.

Next, try PayPal again, this time with a police report. If they're of no help, contact the Attorney General (state or federal, either will work) and inform them that PayPal is facilitating the sale of stolen property.

You should be able to get your money back without the hassle and expense of small claims, where receiving money from the judgement is never an easy task.
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Old 07/02/2005, 03:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IceMike
Yes, bought a Sprint Treo 600 off Ebay that I just found out it was stolen. Paypal won't refund me back my money. Can I take this guy to small claims court in my state if he's from another state? Need some options here.
Curious - how did you find out it was stolen.

Pamela-->still checking serial numbers online for her stoken Coolpix 990.
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Old 07/02/2005, 04:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I believe you may be able to sue him, but you need to do it in his locality. I'm a bit surprised that paypal won't do anything. What did they say?

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Old 07/02/2005, 04:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would think eBay also would get involved (same company even). Seeing that they assisted in facilitating the sale - which is clearly against their TOS.

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Old 07/02/2005, 04:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Is it a sprint treo? If it was, did you check to make sure the ESN was clear (and it wasnt stolen)?

I am not sure how you could verify this with a GSM phone (cing, att, etc.)
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Old 07/02/2005, 06:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can usually sue him in your own state. Most states have "long arm" jurisdiction statutes which allow you to obtain subject matter jurisdiction. However, to obtain personal jurisdiction (both personal and subject matter jurisdiction are necessary), you will have to serve him in your state. Federal court is out since you do not have over $75,000 in damages (min. for diversity jurisdiction).

Suing him in his home state will cost too much (plus, even if you have a judgment, actually getting the money from an individual is very costly unless he owns real property).
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Old 07/02/2005, 09:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd be surprised if eBay wouldn't help you out in some way, and PayPal should be able to impound funds in his account.

EBay is now the place of choice for disposing of stolen property...
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Old 07/02/2005, 09:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd be surprised if eBay wouldn't help you out in some way, and PayPal should be able to impound funds in his account.

EBay is now the place of choice for disposing of stolen property...
This is quite true...people do seem to have a certain level of anonymity (even if its just perceived).

Going through paypal will only help if the money is still in the other guys account. Typically these thieves will move the money as soon as its transferred.
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Old 07/02/2005, 09:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I purchased the Treo off Ebay after noticing that the advertisement said GSM phone. Once the phone arrived in the mail, I noticed it was a Sprint model. So, I tried to contact the seller for a full refund but was unsuccessful. So I contacted Paypal and Ebay and they did their usual BS investigation. They came to the conclusion that the guy was in the wrong and tried to issued me a refund. Paypal sent me an email saying they were unsuccessful in collecting funds from the guy. So I tried to cut my losses by selling the phone. After selling the phone, the person who bought it called me and told me that sprint say the phone was stolen. So now I need to take the easiest route to get my money back. I can care less if the guy get in trouble... I just want my money back!
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Old 07/02/2005, 10:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IceMike
After selling the phone, the person who bought it called me and told me that sprint say the phone was stolen. So now I need to take the easiest route to get my money back. I can care less if the guy get in trouble... I just want my money back!
Have you called Sprint (or gone into a local store) and told them what has happened? I had this happen to a friend...bought a phone on ebay, it had a lien on it because the guy didnt pay the bill, they let him pay a portion of that to bring the account current and then allowed him to reassign the ESN to his account.

Good Luck
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Old 07/02/2005, 10:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I never checked out the ESN before purchasing because I thought I was buying a GSM model. Why can't there be capital punishment for thieves? I want to take my freshly oiled kabar and slide it across this guys neck!
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Old 07/03/2005, 10:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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IceMike, you're not going to like hearing this but it sounds to me like you would be in as much trouble as the guy who sold it to you. Selling stolen propery is selling stolen property. He might not have known it was stolen either (at least that would be his story).

Did you refund the guy who purchased it from you, and hopefully get the phone back? If you got it back, make a police report that you bought it and turn it in. Take your losses, as it's better than being caught with a hot phone that you've sold once.
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Old 07/03/2005, 11:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, the only way you can tell if the phone is stolen is by going to a Sprint store. My intentions were not to buy a CDMA phone, but a GSM Treo since my account is with TMobile. If I knew the phone was a CDMA model, I wouldn't have bought it. And I wouldn't have sold it if I knew it was stolen. I already issued the guy that bought the phone a refund. And he contacted his credit card company for extra measures. Paypal should be held liable since they promise refunds for situations like this. I can't wait til Google get their merchant system up and running and put Paypal out of business.
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Originally Posted by RickMG
IceMike, you're not going to like hearing this but it sounds to me like you would be in as much trouble as the guy who sold it to you. Selling stolen propery is selling stolen property. He might not have known it was stolen either (at least that would be his story).

Did you refund the guy who purchased it from you, and hopefully get the phone back? If you got it back, make a police report that you bought it and turn it in. Take your losses, as it's better than being caught with a hot phone that you've sold once.
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Old 07/03/2005, 12:07 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IceMike
Paypal should be held liable since they promise refunds for situations like this.
That goes without saying. You should've been able to get your money back, as I always believed that they guaranteed that anything purchased using ebay was, in fact, the item that was advertised. " PayPal Buyer Protection
Free Coverage now up to $1,000"

http://pages.ebay.com/paypal/buyer/protection.html

The problem becomes this, as soon as you found out it was stolen, it's your responsibilty to turn it in. Then you should go after PayPal. Those are your only legal options. I'm only trying to advise you as to the correct action to take now. I can't imagine how PayPal could turn down your claim with a police report in hand or a statement from Sprint verifying that the object sold to you on ebay was stolen. I'd be taking PayPal and ebay to small claims court if they turned it down. You won't have to worry about collecting from them.
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Old 07/03/2005, 08:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Anybody that has got taken on Ebay or/and Paypal, knows that their business operations are all smoke and mirrors. Paypal offer refunds up to 1000 but don't deliver when someone gets scammed or defrauded. Their acts of discipline consist of suspending the user and freezing funds in an empty account. So, I am going to take Paypal to court for not living up to their refund promise. Somebody has to be held accountable for their actions.
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Old 07/04/2005, 01:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Hmm.. I've never had a bad experience buying on Ebay but I've only may be bought 10 things there, and never sold anything. I can't imagine how you would deal with buying something and having what's shipped totally different (like CDMA instead of GSM), I'd be pissed!! Did the seller have a lot of + feedback or had they done something like that before? Did you at least warn others?

I've never bought anything expensive unless they have at least 100 or so positive seller feedback and negligible negatives.
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Old 07/04/2005, 10:09 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IceMike
So, I am going to take Paypal to court for not living up to their refund promise. Somebody has to be held accountable for their actions.

The other good thing about taking them to court. If a previous poster is correct and you can go to your local small claims court, PayPal will have to have a representative there or else you will get a default judgement. You have got to figure that it wouldn't be worth their while to pay someone to be there for the amount of a Treo. And I'm sure that if they get a judgement against them, that they pay it. If they show, you have to think that they're going to lose. In fact, it might be ebay I'd take to court for selling stolen items on their site. Who knows?
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Old 07/04/2005, 11:30 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Good luck, paypal and ebay should absolutely be held liable
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Old 07/04/2005, 12:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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IceMike, sorry to hear of your troubles. Sounds like you've got a mess and a complicated one. Find out when the phone was reported stolen. Was it before you bought it or after you sold it (or in between)?

A while ago, I sold a brand new never activated 650 on ebay that I have receipts for. The mistake I made was making the ESN number available to bidders who asked for it. After I sent the phone to the buyer after auction close, the buyer said the phone is a stolen phone. Talking to Sprint revealed the phone was activated and reported stolen on the same day while in transit to the buyer. Sprint would not tell me who activated and reported the phone stolen and didn't care that I had the original receipts and would not release the phone from stolen status. Meanwhile the buyer wanted a refund. I wasn't about to issue a refund without getting the phone back first. Ultimately, Sprint wanted the person with the phone to go into a Sprint store before they would change the stolen status after I showed them proof of original purchase and Ebay sale. The buyer did finally go to the Sprint store and got the phone activated. To this day I do not know who pulled this prank or scam. The moral of the story is do not give out the ESN number when you sell your phone, especially if it is worth a substantial amount.

Good luck taking Ebay or paypal to court. And let us know how you make out. It is too bad but there are so many scammers out there on Ebay and with the high fees makes it a real turn off to buy and sell there.
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