Nasty rip-off on Ebay classifieds with bogus sales contracts

Unfortunately, the great popularity of classifieds portals also attracts black sheep. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON spoke to a lawyer about a new rip-off on Ebay classifieds with bogus sales contracts through down payments.

When private individuals conclude sales contracts with one another, caution is required. In a particularly nasty rip-off on Ebay classifieds, sellers take advantage of the ignorance of unsuspecting users in legal matters. Lawyer Claudia Ostarek from Bad Vilbel has made the procedure public. She tells TECHNOLOGY BUTTON how the case happened and what those affected can do.

Expensive goods as bait for the rip off

The private seller advertised a high-priced, used luxury watch on the classifieds portal. Expensive watches are currently very popular, so this offer quickly found interested parties. The watch should cost several thousand euros. Accordingly, of course, the buyer wanted to see the item.

The seller said he lived too far from the potential buyer but could send the watch to his brother-in-law nearby. As the lawyer Ostarek TECHNOLOGY BUTTON reports, the first abnormality was evident here:

However, since he had to pay the cost of transporting valuables and did not know whether the interested party would actually buy the watch, he asked for a ‘deposit’ of 50 euros by telephone. This deposit can also be offset against the purchase price when the watch is accepted.

Attorney Ostarek

The interested party agreed to this agreement. Shortly thereafter, however, he made a mistake.

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Confirmation email with other details

The seller immediately sent further photos of the watch by email and wrote that “a purchase price had been agreed and the interested party should make the agreed deposit”. Attorney Ostarek points out that “there was no longer any question of transport costs and a mere inspection of the watch”.

The trap snaps shut

This is exactly where a prospect has the last chance to get out of the negotiation without damage. In the present case, however, the potential buyer transferred the 50 euros with the note “deposit” and was then given the address of the alleged brother-in-law.

When the prospect looked at the watch, it turned out to be in poor condition. Accordingly, he decided not to buy. After informing the alleged brother-in-law personally and the seller over the phone, the latter played his trump card, which lawyer Ostarek describes as follows:

The seller nevertheless demanded payment of the purchase price and acceptance of the watch under immediate threat of legal action. He pointed out that a sales contract had long since come about, which is proven in particular by the “down payment”. The interested party would therefore no longer get rid of a purchase price payment. Otherwise he would get mail from a lawyer.

Attorney Ostarek

In the end, the interested party paid the required purchase price and sought legal help against the rip-off on Ebay classifieds from lawyer Ostarek. Incidentally, even if the buyer had not appeared, the seller could have invoked the purchase contract.

Also interesting: Even one wrong sentence on Ebay classified ads will make you liable

What should users consider on Ebay classifieds?

Attorney Ostarek gives TECHNOLOGY BUTTON some helpful tips to protect itself from being ripped off on portals such as Ebay classifieds. These cannot only be used in cases like the one described.


  1. Let a witness overhear or make a recording . However, this must be communicated to the interlocutor beforehand!
  2. Do not fall for clever formulations about the condition of objects (“the offered watch is still worn from time to time” etc.).
  3. Pay attention to the indication of the intended use when making transfers
  4. If possible, do not view objects of purchase alone or with third parties , as these could later appear as witnesses for the other party.
  5. Document the complete transaction process with emails, screenshots and photos

 

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