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Is this another too-good-to-be-true ad?

Started by nebulachadnezzer, 04/12/2021 11:04PM
Posted 04/12/2021 11:04PM Opening Post
It appears posts like this are permitted (I read the ToS again and looked for more info) but please delete this if inappropriate.

An ad (#506683) was posted here over the weekend (4/10/2021) by a new user (joined 3/23/20201) selling a 2015 Tak Mewlon 210 for $1200. I was the second viewer and immediately responded expressing my interest and providing my location for a shipping quote. That's a below-market price for a good-condition Mewlon.

I know... new seller... high-end scope... to-good-to-be-true price... all red flags...

The seller responded hours later via direct email rather than Astromart messaging with a quote for shipping and said I'd pay the PayPal fees (fine with me -- I usually assume this is the case unless the seller says they're covering). I responded asking for them to confirm my math on the PayPal fees (since they didn't provide a quote) and the sum total of the deal, as well as to confirm whether the email address they wrote from is the correct one for PayPal. Had they written back quickly I'd have sent the money.

Unfortunately there's been no further response in over 30 hours and the ad remains up with no indication of a pending sale.

As I review the photos from the ad, the serial number plate is coincidentally blurred or blank. I did a reverse image search to see if they were lifted from somewhere else, and the result was at least "nowhere that allows Google indexing."

Has anyone else tried to buy this same scope?
Posted 04/13/2021 12:12AM #1
I sent a reply the day after the ad posted (ha ha, like that was ever going to happen), didn’t get a reply for about 24 hours (until a few hours ago) saying “yes it’s still available”, direct reply to email, not through astromart messaging. Email address is gmail and 4 letters and 4 numbers, nothing related to name of person, or vaguely identifiable.

I mentioned lack of feedback being possibly problematic, asked for contact details, and a closeup picture of the plate from the back of the scope. Nothing back yet.

Probably too good to be true, too cheap, but looks like you have first shot at it anyway!!

Posted 04/13/2021 12:32AM #2
Thanks for your response. Re: the seller's email address, for me it was 4 letters, 5 numbers. First letter was b. Last number was 1. I agree it has no apparent relationship to the seller's name.

You've heard from them more than 24 hours since the last time I did. I wonder if this person is just hoping I'll send the money via PP in my excitement to get cheap Mewlon.

I was just wondering why a scammer would demand PayPal fees, but I realized that makes people potentially more inclined to send the money as "friends & family" in which case they're screwed. I wouldn't even do that with certain friends & family. grin

I think at this point I'm not willing to send money without a close-up of the serial number plate next to today's newspaper or something along those lines. Not gonna happen... 
Posted 04/13/2021 01:45PM #3
Sorry, yes, 4 letters *5* numbers, ending in a 1.

No reply to my second email yet either.

Not worth the risk!
Posted 04/13/2021 02:33PM #4
Both the ad and the user disappeared from Astromart entirely last night. Someone in charge noticed these issues as well. smile
Posted 04/14/2021 01:24PM #5
General Question, would asking for ID be out of line for someone selling something with a low or no rating? There was a filter I was interested in but the seller only had a 1 rating from a purchase not a sale. They had sold about 7 items so far so I was wondering why they only had a 1 rating with about 7 sales. I sent a message asking for a photo showing the item for sale and a drivers license. I told the seller they could block out their birthdate. I never heard anything back and the filter was then sold a few days later. Am I being too careful?
Posted 04/14/2021 02:02PM | Edited 04/14/2021 02:10PM #6
I would balk at sending someone an image of my driver's license or any personal document, even if parts of it were obscured. That seems like a bit much.

If this person with the Mewlon had resurfaced I'd have asked for more photos, possibly specifying particular areas I'd like to see (so I could feel somewhat confident they were newly-taken vs found photos). I joked about seeing them next to today's newspaper because that's the (pre-Photoshop era) gag about confirming a photo is authentic.

History is hard. I am pretty new at Astromart myself. I've sold two things and bought several. I've given nine ratings and received four, only one as a seller. I always try to give feedback whether I'm the buyer or the seller.

I would, and do, insist upon protected payment methods like PayPal. Even when I have met the person to exchange the gear I've used PayPal. I'm not a cash or cash-app buyer/seller because I don't believe that's secure. PayPal isn't perfect but it offers at least some protection.
Posted 04/14/2021 02:07PM #7
I had the same experience.
I didn’t bother to respond to his personal email though.