Teen pays £450 for photo of an XBox One on eBay

XBox One

Peter Clatworthy, a 19-year-old student from Billborough, thought he had managed to get his hands on a coveted Day One special-edition Xbox One, for £450 on eBay.

So he was somewhat surprised when his purchase arrived, and he realised he'd spent £450 on a photograph.

The scam

The Nottingham Post reported that Clatworthy had saved up to buy the console as a surprise Christmas present for his four-year-old son McKenzie.

The consoles themselves sell for around £430. However, there are none in stock at the vast majority of shops, and retailers won't be getting any in until the New Year. The Day One special editions sold out in moments, and are fetching enormous premiums - well over £7,000.

Clatworthy told the newspaper he thought he'd found a real bargain. He said that he saw the word 'photo' in the listing, but since it was listed under video games and consoles he thought it must be a mistake.

The Daily Mail revealed that the listing had read: "XBox One Fifa Day One Edition, Photo Brand New UK 2012".

A few days later the photo came through the post, with a note on the back thanking him for his purchase, and he realised he had made a terrible mistake.

He complained to eBay, which has rules against misleading sales. They arranged a refund and banned the seller from the site.

Protect yourself

Sadly, as with any marketplace, there are some scammers operating on eBay. In terms of sellers, you need to watch for items which are not what they seem - including fakes as well as things like this photo. Then there are the sellers who will just take your money and run.

To protect against those who cut and run, the first step is to check for feedback on the seller, and have a look at how many items they have sold. You want to see someone who has sold a lot and has close to 100% positive feedback. This will provide some protection against those who set up accounts for a single scam.

If you are the victim of scam, and the seller has disappeared, you should have some of your money refunded by eBay - after filling out an eBay fraud report. If you pay through PayPal you will have the added security that if you are unhappy with your purchase they will arrange a refund. So check that the seller accepts PayPal.

eBay also warns against paying via wire transfer (sometimes they will say they need the cash immediately because they have lost their job), which will make it exceptionally easy for them to take your money and disappear.

To protect against fakes, you should also read the description very closely. Don't accept a generic photo of the item, you want a photo of this specific item - and you'll need to compare it with the real thing. It's also important to consider whether the price is sensible for the product in question. If it seems too good to be true, then it may be.

eBay has rules which mean that if the item is incorrectly described (including fakes) you should get your money back from the retailer. The website will deal with any sellers who they deem to have broken the rules, and will arrange for you to receive a refund.

If the seller of your fakes cuts and runs, you will need to fill out a fraud report and you'll get a partial refund from eBay.

Buyer scams

There are other scams carried out by buyers. These include the buyers who arrange to finish the transaction elsewhere, then when they have your goods they claim it's defective and insist on having their money back. If you refuse, they threaten to report you to eBay and have you banned from the site. The only way to avoid this is to complete the whole transaction through eBay.

There are other buyers who will receive your product, and then return a broken version of the same product for a refund. This is harder to avoid. You can state you won't offer refunds, or you can insist the buyer pays for postage with insurance, so they take up any claim for damage with the post office.

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