Got scammed on Swappa

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Looking for advice as well as warning others about Swappa/PayPal policies. Think twice before your next online purchase... So I can't go into great detail because this is all still fluid, but basically I ordered three identical phones through Swappa. All were Galaxy S7s, unlocked, new and sealed (with individual photos to prove). When they finally arrived, 2/3 were unwrapped, and all three phones were clearly counterfeit/fake. How do I know? Literally dozens of reasons which I will not list here for the sake of not allowing the wrong eyes to see and correct the problems. But I will post a picture that speaks for itself, which the fraud party already had access to. Look at the images at the bottom of this post for yourself very closely. AT&T and Sprint are labeled on the same box with countless typos (I will be taking the phones to an independent professional for official confirmation that they're fake). Parts are missing, logos mismatched, discrepancies everywhere. Not consistent with flagship Samsung products. So I reach out to Swappa. After several days of nonsense going back and forth and finally several emails with Swappa's Director of Support, the final verdict was that I am required to send the fake phones back to the seller, and only after he receives them will I get a refund. At that point Swappa will "review" the seller's account, but he has a great track record, so they must establish a trend before taking any harsh action. Absolutely unacceptable. If my research is correct and accurate, the seller has committed a federal crime (mail fraud). Even if I give the benefit of the doubt and pretend the seller isn't the person manufacturing the fake phones, he still violated Swappa's and PayPal's policies by advertising "new" "factory sealed" devices and delivering open boxes. That should still be immediately punishable on their end. But I refuse to allow the chance for him to screw someone else over by reselling them again. So I turn to PayPal. After two days of jumping over unnecessary hurdles and a few misunderstandings by PayPal reps, I finally made it clear how I am the victim of fraud. On the third day, I receive emails stating my claims have been denied and I must return the devices to the seller for a refund. This is after the two previous reps specifically stated to NOT return the devices due to the circumstances. So I call again. The rep just repeated the same nonsense. So I was transferred to a supervisor. I made it extremely clear it is fraud and it is illegal. She repeated the same thing. So she transferred me to her supervisor. After two hours on the phone, the end result was the same. I was told to give the counterfeiter his products back before I was eligible for a refund. To clarify, I specified to every person that I have no interest in keeping the devices, and will happily forfeit/destroy/send the devices to any party that requested them except the seller. This is not a case where I keep the money and the product. If the packaging was that shoddy, I don't even want to know what's inside the phones. I'm actually nervous keeping them in my house (think Note 7)... My last option was to turn to AT&T. I called their fraud department and simply asked for an IMEI check. They refused. When I explained the situation, and offered that blacklisting the phones would be a viable solution, again they refused. They rather agressively told me to kick rocks. I even resorted to calling my local PD for advice. They understood, but couldn't help. No jurisdiction (the seller is in another state). Unfreakinbelievable. All I am after is a refund and the inability for these phones to fool someone else. I refuse to enable/aid a criminal. What else can I possibly do? Turn to the BBB? The seller's local PD? Contact a lawyer? The media?!? What would you do? shrug Edit: sorry if the images aren't clear. I tried two different ways hoping at least one would be high-res. mad

Five.jpg


Fake.jpg
 
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"What would you do?" Send the phones back with tracking and signature delivery. You're not going to protect the world from this guy. Just do what Paypal says and get your money back.
 

tony1679

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That's what I was thinking as well. To me it's no different than counterfeit money. If someone finds/receives it, they are supposed to turn it into the Secret Service and report the individual that passed it to them. The Feds find the counterfeiter. The difference is, in this case, I should be protected by both companies' buyer protections. They are failing. However, I'm not failing, I have no hesitations smearing their names. gladiator
 

tony1679

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Originally Posted by Greggy_D
"What would you do?" Send the phones back with tracking and signature delivery. You're not going to protect the world from this guy. Just do what Paypal says and get your money back.
I respect that answer, and I've pondered it countless times. But by doing that, it's not only telling the seller that I (the buyer), Swappa, and PayPal are going to allow him to get away with it, but it's also almost guaranteeing more people are placed in my shoes, until one leaves a 5-star rating and loves their [fake]new phone. I would have a hard time sleeping at night. Since when are reported federal law violations blatantly ignored? shrug
 
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Returning the phones is the only option unfortunately. Nobody will authorise a return if the funds without the merchandise being returned on such expensive items. Remember, your moral high ground may look like an attempt to scam the seller. Lots of scammers are on both sides, so it's hard for the middle companies like PayPal to pick a side.
 
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Returning it first regardless. Take photo, delivery confirmation, get a refund. People don't do squat about single incident fake items. To be honest it is your word (one purchase) against his (lots of good reputation), in the land of big number Swappa will likely just send you the money out of their pocket for the difference and call it a day, if they don't paypal will likely do that (paypal's biggest problem and cost is fraud as well), or the bank, or credit card. Police won't do anything, nor will any law enforcement unless they can find a guy who does 50000 items a year or more.
 

dishdude

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Just focus on getting a refund. Pointing out deficiencies will help others identify fraudulent products, they aren't going to correct them.
 
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You aren't going to stop things like this from happening. Dad bought 3 turn signal switches for a 240z.. The photos in the listing clearly showed what they were. When they came in, 2 were for a 280zx. He emailed the seller about the issue and they told him that's not what they sent out. How does one even fix this issue? I can't remember how many parties were involved and what all went down, but he finally got his money back when the credit card company got involved. I think he ended up keeping the 1 of the 3 because he was desperate for the part.
 
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Do as PayPal said, and follow the advise of the other posters in this thread. Make sure you get the Feds involved too.
 
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I'm surprised people still use paypal with all their known incompetence. I would call American Express and would get my money back in about 15 minutes.
 

tony1679

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Wow, definitely a mixed bag of responses. All of them with a good point. I didn't think of trying to go through VISA, or my credit union the VISA is issued through. I'll try going those routes and report back. Thanks for the input.
 
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Have bought several phones and several tablets using Swappa. All have been used and rated as Mint (one step below New). All have been from either 1st time seller with account on Swappa over 2 years or someone who has at least 3 rated sales but not a commercial volume seller or over 10 sales which would tend to indicate inspiring to becoming a pro. Each purchase was preceded by friendly online (on Swappa and in public view) question and answer to leave a track record of what was expected from the seller. When I evaluate a seller, I always read the reviews and it is easy to spot a seller with a self-built reputation (posted under various names) similar to how people post suspicious reviews on Amazon. Each device has been flawless.
 
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Originally Posted by Greggy_D
"What would you do?" Send the phones back with tracking and signature delivery. You're not going to protect the world from this guy. Just do what Paypal says and get your money back.
This. I had counterfeit E-bay items I purchased and both E-bay and Paypal told me to return it registered parcel with a signature and then Paypal would issue me a refund once I sent them the tracking information that I sent it back and it was signed for. Took me hours on the phone with both of them to get it resolved but I wasn't going to let go of the $300 I spent on the items from this seller. The seller was then banned.
 
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JHZR2

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Originally Posted by Gasbuggy
I'm surprised people still use paypal with all their known incompetence. I would call American Express and would get my money back in about 15 minutes.
+1. PayPal and such are convenient, but if a buy as substantial as three phones (I don't recall seeing a dollar value, but I'm guessing well over $1000) is at risk, I'd be ready to get my money back any which way. I'd assume there is the requirement for a send back in order to prevent other fraud. The conundrum is when that return shipment turns into a word against another persons word. What if OP shipped a box back with a brick? PayPal or whomever would still need to verify that something happened. Very tough situation. This is why legit sellers cost a bit more I guess. If a deal is too good to be true, it may not be. Caveat Emptor.
 
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What if UPS/Fedex/USPS ignores the signature requirement and just leaves them on the guy's porch, unsigned, like they do with everything we get ? Nowadays it's too easy to claim "porch pirates" stole the package(s).
 
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Doesn't matter. If it gets back, it's done. If you take pictures of the item as you package it and send them to PayPal and the seller, I bet the "he sent a brick" bull never happens. If nothing else, just call your credit card company. They don't care what PayPal has to say. Your card company will put the burden on PayPal to prove the transaction was legit, and that never happens. Card companies know PayPal represents a huge amount of scammers. On the other side of things, I have dealt with people before who fabricated complaints in order to try to keep their money and the goods, so PayPal and Swappa are being very reasonable in ensuring that there is a fair reversal of this transaction. This happens most frequently when I've sold a classic car part. That's when I tend to get the "I think it's Chinese" bull, and I end up dealing with someone trying to point out all sort of "errors" in the part. Just document, report, and send them back.
 
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