A nurse who faked his own death after being caught out selling non-existent computer games on eBay wept as he was sent to prison for six months. Martin Dunn from Kirk Sandall listed computer games for sale months in advance of their release date. Buyers were expecting to have to wait up to three months for delivery, so by the time they realised they had been scammed, Paypal’s thirty day complaint period had elapsed.
Upon complaining by email about non-receipt of their goods, several buyers received an email purporting to be from Dunn’s wife, saying that he had passed away and she was winding up his affairs. When Dunn was arrested, police found a document entitled “Is eBay Safe?”; the fraudster claimed that he had been running an experiment to expose flaws in the eBay system.
Of course, the old “sorry, I’m dead” line will be familiar to anyone who’s sold very much on eBay. With a sad tear, I remember the grieving widow who told me that her husband had purchased a tie from me on the very day of his death, and that once she had paid off the cost of his funeral, she would pay me. Being the nice seller I am, I *did* send her a With Sympathy card ]:)
Any potential scammers should note that eBay and Paypal have now closed this loophole: sellers are not allowed to list pre-release items longer than thirty days before the release date, and Paypal’s complaint period has been extended to forty-five days.