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Is eBay doing a massive cover up (part 1)?

I am a regular eBayer. Recently I have noted that fraudsters have resorted to account theft and more sordid schemes in order to defraud people on eBay and to me, it seems that eBay is not doing enough to prevent this.

Because eBay relies on goodwill and trust for most, if not all of its transaction, then loss of trust in the whole process can be deadly for eBay's business worldwide.

To illustrate this case, here are two cases that show how far fraud can go and just how serial fraudsters are now operating.

The first fraudster had hijacked the account of Jennynstan, which at some point had a positive feedback score of 257. Jennynstan was selling relatively cheap laptops and I was looking at purchasing one of them for around £210 or so.

However, things went awfully wrong. I first found out that all of the products' description were ripped off from one American website, in this case Tigerdirect. Basically, the description was copied verbatim. You can find out an example here (opens in new tab)and here.

Then, I then used eBay to contact a few of the "lucky" customers who left positive feedback about their transactions with Jennynstan but none replied.

Using a little-known feature of eBay, I found out that Jennynstan sold nearly £10,000 worth of laptops and accessories on eBay to 27 customers. A few hours later, negative feedback came pouring in as buyers found out that they were conned out of their money.

Unfortunately for them, they paid by bank transfer, without going through Paypal and have therefore almost no chance of recovering their monies.

You can read more about the whole drama on eBay's community board (opens in new tab) here and find out more about Jennynstan member's profile here (opens in new tab).

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.