The Internet is a wonderful place and I can still remember a couple of decades ago when I went online on my mates work laptop with a 28.8 baud modem and found Yahoo! It’s changed considerably since then and the one thing that has become increasingly obvious over the years is that if you’re going to be a criminal the Internet in general and eBay in particular is a really bad place to do it.
Sure you may get away with it for a while, but once you get caught there’s no running away as the records are there for all to see and that’s just been highlighted by several stories in the press over the last week.
A Welsh lady has just been given an eight month suspended prison sentence, ordered to do 160 hours community service and pay costs of £2,000 by Cardiff Crown Court for selling fake makeup on eBay. Running four eBay IDs it looked like a fairly profitable endeavour, but one that was potentially lethal for customers. Some of the tested mascara had 68 mg/kg of lead which is over three times the legal limit of 20 mg/kg.
Apparently eBay’s feedback is still not working that well as she had enough negative feedback and comments pointing out that the makeup was fake that buyers should have been warned off. That’s a bit sad to be honest, the whole point of feedback is to enable buyers to make informed buying decisions.
Pierre, eBay’s founder, created the feedback system said ““. eBay have tinkered with feedback many times over the years but 98% Positive sounds good but in reality is really awful and other tweaks over the years such as Detailed Seller Ratings still don’t appear to be enough to drive the bad guys away.
Move a bit south from Wales to Plymouth and we find a couple have been flogging fake designer clothing and Premiership Football shirts on eBay. Fake Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste and Adidas garments neatly laid on on metal shelving in their home along with packaging supplies and a neat trail of sales through eBay again made this one easy for the courts to wrap up once the spotlight was turned on them.
10 months suspended sentence and 100 hours community service hardly seems a great deterrent for others, especially for someone who’s apparently unemployed anyway, but that’s apparently the punishment that fits the crime according to the courts.
eBay solves 42 year old car theft
You really can’t hide on eBay, way back in 1968 a sales manager paid $3,000 for a 1967 Austin Healey. Two years later in 1970 the morning after he took his wife to be out in it on their second date it was stolen. Somehow the original key and log book were never lost in the intervening years and a few weeks back he was browsing eBay and found his car for sale.
The dealer (as you can imagine) was a little reluctant to hand the car over and offered to sell it back for $24,000, but once the official stolen car report was located the car was impounded and returned to it’s rightful owner.
It’s amazing that a car has survived 42 years without being written off or rusting to death, apart from dodgy brakes it’s still a runner and the rightful owner plans to restore it to it’s former glory.
I can’t help feeling more than a little sorry for the dealer, there were no HPI checks 40 years ago and they had no way to tell they were handling stolen property. Hopefully they can get recompense from the man he bought it from who claimed it had been in the family since 1970, coincidentally the year that it was stolen.
Once again it’s hard to hide on the Internet – even after 42 years if you’re selling something counterfeit, fake or dodgy our best advice is just don’t. Our second best advice is if you absolutely insist on being a criminal it’s probably best not to leave an Internet trail and restrict your activities to the local car boot sale.