I had my "old" HTC Touch HD out for sale at a Finnish auction site called huuto.net recently. It's now sold and shipped to the new owner, but I did receive a couple of interesting offers on it. These guys have apparently been roaming around on other online auction sites as well, so this is by no means a unique story, but I thought I'd share it publicly anyway.
The story begins on July 26th when I put the phone on aution. I was first contacted by someone using the nickname "apuranta" just a couple of hours after starting the auction, but I'll come back to that later as is it the more interesting case. The second contact came a bit later from "larrykennels13". Both of these accounts were disabled by huuto.net administrators a couple of days after the initial contacts.
So, larrykennels13 approached me using the "ask seller"-function:
God day,i will like to know if this item is still for sale,get back to me with a mail,also you can add me to email@example.com through your MSN chat.
I find it a bit odd that someone asks "if this item is still for sale" on an auction site just 4 hours after an item has been added, and the aution is still clearly open. I replied briefly "Please place a bid. I will not sell directly." and sent an email as well, as the huuto.net messaging system only allows 255 characters for replies. I wanted to make sure larrykennels13 understood the nature of huuto.net, as it's in Finnish only, and wrote:
Huuto.net is an auction site, so please make a bid on the site if you are interested. I will sell only through the auction system as two people have already placed their bids.
Soon I received an email from a "Larry Steffen":
thanks for the mail,i can understand what you mean,i want you to know that i can not bid on the item because of the urgently needed,so i want you to understand that i will like a fast transaction between both of us so i will offer you the sum of 350.00 GBP for the item plus the shipping cost to my Shipping address,and i will want you to get back to me with your PayPal information as written below:
Kindly get back to me me if you are still interested in selling your item for me,i will be expecting your soonest mail.
PayPal information? Yeah, right. The only piece of information you need for sending money with PayPal is an email address. Also the offer was a bit suspicious as it was about 100 euros more than the best bid at the time. But still, money is money, so I decided to play along.
The sum itself seems OK, as it is around 420 euros. I believe you can perform a SEPA-transfer directly from your bank, so there’s no need to get PayPal involved. Probably cheaper that way too... However, the shipping is apparently quite expensive. Priority parcel to the UK seems to cost 40,30 euros and it still takes a week to arrive. I can check these tomorrow at the post office as I have my doubts over the online calculator...
(Calculating the postage fees for small boxes seems to require some kind of higher math, especially when determining if it can be sent as a maxi-letter or a parcel...) "Larry" soon replied:
thanks for the mail,i want you to send me your bank information then for the payment to be made,also i want to purchase for my Nephew who is having a missionary project in west Africa,and i want you to understand that i will like a fast transaction between us,so that i can complete the payment as soon as i can,more so i will like you to get back to me with the cost of the item plus the shipment charges through post office to my Nephew address below:
47 oluwatuyi Quarters,
So provide me your Bank information for the payment to be made:
So make sure you get back to me as soon as possible with the information i have asked for the payment to be made,i will be expecting your soonest response.
The subject of the email even included "REPLY NEEDED!!!". Getting a bit pushy, eh? But a nephew as a missionary in Nigeria? Well, lets just say I've heard better stories than that... At this point I was pretty convinced this would lead nowhere, but sent a reply nontheless:
The postage fee would be 25,70 euros and delivery time 6-8 working days. For some reason the postal service can't deliver it any faster. Don't know about couriers, though.
I shall be requiring the funds in beforehand, and will make the shipment once they have been received. If this is ok with you, please place a bid of 420 euros on the auction site so that all goes by the book. I will then end the auction once the bid is in and send you my account details.
(The delivery time really is 6-8 working days no matter how much money you throw at the postal service. Even the EMS courier can't get it in any faster.)
I haven't heard from "Larry" since then. It should come as no surprice that Google produces some interesting results with the address and phone number of "Samson Olu". "Larry" is a busy boy I see.
See the next page for the more interesting case of "apuranta".
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