Before you buy, shop around. Not just for the best deal, but for the honest deal. And if you find dishonest deals, by dishonest dealers, then make sure you warn people about it.
I’ve been ‘had’ twice recently.
Cheapbatteryshop.co.uk sold me a dud battery (you don’t have to click that link, in fact I don’t recommend it, I’m just doing it to throw bad SEO in their direction).
They make all the right noises: they’re a .co.uk domain; they say they have quality control; they have a UK address. So I was surprised and delighted to find that I could save a few bob if I bought my Dell 1545 laptop battery from them.
It arrived – eventually, late, from Hong Kong – and at first I have to confess my own stupidity: I didn’t think it would fit because it said it was for a Dell 1525 and, being a huge 9-cell battery, it just seemed too large for the battery bay. So I emailed them asking about this. What do you know? No response. Twice. This slightly concerned me.
Eventually I figured it out, and thought “Oh well, doesn’t really matter if they didn’t respond, it’s all ok now.” Except it wasn’t. The battery would fully charge, then work for an hour, then suddenly the charge would plummet. The machine would switch off. No slow release or warning from the battery indicator.
So I emailed them again, and again, and again. No response.
I’ve since found this: “Cheapbatteryshop.co.uk is a fake site,they are identity thieves.They do not answer e mails and paypal is recognized this site as a fake web site.never confirmed order,and I as a fool give credit card number trough fake paypal site.” Illiterate, but informative.
And this page tells a sad story of people either not receiving the goods from cheapbatteryshop.co.uk or, like me, receiving shoddy goods.
I’m prepared to accept that I should have known better, but when someone says “We do cherish every customer and have been trying hard to provide the best service for all our customers.You may contact us at any time if you have any enquiries or complaints” you believe them. Right up to the point you realise it was a lie.
I gave up on cheapbatteryshop.co.uk and put it down to experience.
I obviously didn’t let that experience count. I’ve just had the displeasure of dealing with someone through eBay selling fake USB sticks, who goes by the name of emerald48s, or Daniel Sesay, in Kent (again, don’t bother clicking the link, I’m just hoping that if someone searches against these details, they’ll see this post).
Again, all the right noises. He says: “The item has been used and tested and is no longer in packaging. It is however pretty new with no signs of damage. It has been tested and works perfectly.”
When it arrived – again, late – it looked fine, albeit a bit weird being just in an envelope with no invoice or documents of any kind. It wouldn’t format in NTFS which was strange. It apparently formatted in exFAT, so again I just shrugged and got on with it. I started trying to copy to it, but it kept stopping.
So I looked around and found a utility called H2Testw which fills a USB stick with files and checks them for integrity. The result? 59GB corrupted, of a supposed 64GB stick.
How does that square with “it has been tested and works perfectly”?
And then I found a page showing how to check for counterfeit goods. Yep, mine checked out, even as far as the paint coming off on my fingers.
So I got in touch with emerald48s. He suggested I return it. I asked for a return address. He said I should just file a Paypal claim, which I did. And he has at least honoured that, so at least, unlike with cheapbatteryshop.co.uk, I got my money back.
So I now feel much more comfortable about warning people about him. It seems emerald48s has form. Fightflashfraud warns us: “You can bet your bottom dollar that any flash drive sold on ebay by emerald48s will be a fake capacity counterfeit.”
And, best of all, emerald48s has popped up on Fake Memory.com. In fact, right now, there’s an active thread all about emerald48s with choice phrases such as “What a load of BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and “Scammer!” Unfortunately emerald48s isn’t doing himself any favours by calling people “… Stupid. I never said I won’t refund if they did not work, secondly how could you say it is fake if you have not seen it, thirdly you post me on a forum to fight fakes with a false allegation, so I will register and respond, you are an idiot. I sent you that email to say I got from a friend and no very little about Kingston do I look like an expert in USB’s? Get a life.”
How does this square with “If you are unsure or have any questions, please ask. No question is silly. It is better than assuming. I will always answer to the best of my abilities.”
Daniel is also not really helping his cause in his communications with me either. When he said he was busy, I suggested it would make life easier for him not to sell fake USB sticks. His response: “my product description is clear”. Hmmm. All apart from the bit about it being fake, that is.
Then I found the web pages I mentioned above, and forwarded them to him suggesting he was famous. And this time: “I love being famous. Stop harassing me. Get a job. You will doing this for a long time. I don’t do USB’s anymore so your blog will out date. Thanks.”
Was I hassling him? Or was I just pointing out to him that other sites were saying negative things about him? Am I hassling him now? I do hope so. He did, after all, say he loved being famous.
I’d love to think Daniel Sesay, emerald48s won’t be selling any more fake USB sticks any more, but somehow I doubt it. He sold at least 60 of the units he sold me.
And unfortunately it seems cheapbatteryshop.co.uk is still in business, scamming people.
So what does this tell us? Well, for me, I’ve learned something I probably should have known beforehand: if it seems too good to be true, it
often always is.
But I’ve also learned that these people can present themselves very credibly which is, I guess, the whole point of a con trick. And I think I’ve also learned that you need to do your research first. Just type the vendor’s name into Google and see what comes out (go ahead, click that link, the results are interesting). You’ll find things out that eBay can’t tell you. Emerald48s has a pretty good eBay record, for example. I do not know how.
Basically, at the end of the day, it’s caveat emptor – because the scammers are out there, and it’s up to you to stop yourself being scammed.