Trust Your Gut

A couple of weeks ago we got a sectional sofa from Joe's mom. She's moving and has decided to get new furniture for the new place. So ... we listed our old sofa and loveseat on Craigslist. No nibbles.

So, I relisted with a slight drop in price. No nibbles for awhile and then one.

Some guy (in stilted, but intelligible) English wrote that he'd have his secretary send us a certified check as soon as he received our address and that we should remove our listing as he'd be very disappointed to find the furniture sold out from under him.

I replied politely with my contact information and told him I wouldn't be unlisting, but would keep him at the top of the list and not sell anything "out from under him."

No response for a week.

I nudged him the other day, "When should I expect the check?" He said he hadn't received my contact information, which I then resent.

He replied very quickly with thank and said he'd be sending a check for the full amount, plus some extra which we should then wire on to his mover, and that he was adding in another $50 for us for the trouble.

Hmmm... Made me feel weird. But I didn't want to be cross-culturally rude or ignorant, so I replied politely along the lines of, "I'm not comfortable with this. You should send your own money to the mover. This is highly unusual, and I prefer not to work this way."

He responded that he'd already sent the check.

Wha? "How much is this all going to be? What's the real deal?" was the jist of my reply.


Yes, $3,800 for a $450 used sofa and loveseat set.

At this point I ran the whole situation by Joe. As I felt the whole thing was more than somewhat suspicious. I asked him to take it over. That I clearly wasn't being firm enough and that after all these emails back and forth, well, I wanted another voice to be heard. A male one. As this other guy was sort of being odd, and I wanted to remove the possibility of a gender factor.

Joe was immediately concerned. He got the guy to send us the name and address of who we were supposed to wire the additional money to. And a good thing, too.

Seems there's a somewhat uncommon, but not unheard of, Internet scam where just this sort of thing occurs. So, we've now called off the deal, and reported this guy
to various Internet fraud agencies.

I should never have let it go this far. But, maybe by getting a name and address out of him, we can help provide evidence in shutting him down.

Trust your gut. If it seems weird in an uncomfortable way...trust that. In any situation.



Joe said...

Good for you for being cautious - you can never be too careful. Especially when someone is willing to pay too much for something...

Lisa said...

I had that happen when I posted an antique on a local tv channel's website. I must have had three different people who wanted to send me those checks. I was tipped off by the fact that they were asking for information that was already in the ad. Unfortunately, some people must go all the way to taking the check or they'd stop doing it.