Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting Ripped Off on Yahoo Japan Auctions: Buyer Beware



OK, got me some complaining to do and since I have a blog, I`m going to do it here.  

I finally got ripped off in an online transaction!  It happened on Yahoo Auctions.  It was kind of a big purchase so I`m going to whine a bit about it in a transparent bid for sympathy.


I also thought this would be a useful excuse to do a post about something that has sort of been in the back of my mind for a while – the complete lack of buyer protection on Yahoo Auctions.  So fear not, this post will not be an entirely narcissistic exercise in complaining about first world problems.

Now, getting ripped off in any deal always sucks, but I`m going to do something I don`t normally do here and actually heap some praise on Ebay and Paypal for a change.  I`ve been an active Ebay user for a few years now (as a buyer) and in the few instances where I`ve had a complaint about a transaction I have always been able to get it resolved to my satisfaction.  A couple of times I have received an item that was either damaged or not as described and both times the seller gave me a refund almost within minutes of me contacting them with my complaint.

I think the main reason Ebay sellers are so accommodating is that both Ebay and Paypal have pretty effective dispute resolution mechanisms that provide them with an incentive to act that way.  If they ignore a complaint not only will they get negative feedback, but they also run the risk of Paypal forcing them to refund the buyer`s money.  Those are some pretty powerful tools and, while not perfect, I think they do heighten the overall trustworthiness of Ebay as a marketplace.  The downside of course is the fees they charge, but that is another story.

On Yahoo Auctions it is a completely different story, which I can illustrate by doing a little complaining here.  Basically what happened was this.  A few days ago I was looking for an AV Famicom console only (ie no controllers, cables, etc).  I found one with a BIN price that, with shipping, would set me back about $60.  This was a pretty high price for just a loose console without anything else, but I needed one on short notice so I decided to go for it. It was from a seller I had done business with in the past without problems so I let my guard down and just hit the BIN button, paid for it and waited. And it came.

When I opened it I noticed right away something was wrong.  It was dirty, which was OK since I had been able to see that in the photo.  What wasn`t visible in the photo was the fact that on the back of the console there was a big chunk of the plastic that had broken off and was nowhere to be found.  Furthermore when I plugged it in I found that it was dead to the world.  No amount of fiddling around would bring it to life: the Famicom was a paperweight.

I immediately got out my laptop and double checked the listing, which had been put up by bazubazu1023 (AKA douchebag, his store is here: http://openuser.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/show/auctions?userID=bazubazu1023 ).  It did not say anything about it being broken or mention the damage on the back and the price it was being sold at certainly suggested it was a working one.  On the other hand it did not say that it had been tested and the dealer`s boilerplate language said `I sell old stuff, I do not guarantee their condition – judge for yourself by what is in the photo.`  Oh, what a fool I had been....

No kidding Mr. T, no kidding.  I kind of realized that I was screwed right there but I thought I would send him a message just to see what, if anything, he would do.  As a seller myself I have had a couple of games that I sold get broken in transit and both times I either gave a full refund or sent a replacement at my expense, so I thought at the very least he might apologize or offer at least a partial refund.  All I said in the message was that the Famicom was not working and that there was a broken part on the back that had not been visible in the photo.

Shortly thereafter I got what I sort of expected to receive – a tersely worded reply saying that I should have read the fine print more carefully.  About the broken part he said it was my fault for not having asked him before making the purchase if there was anything broken which was not visible in the photo.  About the Famicom not working he simply said tough luck, it wasn`t his problem.

Even though I had kind of expected it, the message was a bit like waving a red flag in front of a bull to me.  I went from calm to this in about 0.00001 seconds:



I immediately started to familiarize myself with Yahoo Auctions` dispute resolution process in order to determine how I could make some sort of complaint.  This was an extremely easy and quick task for me to accomplish since it turns out none exists.  Basically the guidelines simply says something to the effect of  “Yahoo Auctions does not get involved in disputes between buyers and sellers.  Please just work it out for yourselves…”  (the “…” at the end is actually in the guidelines!)

So in other words if you get ripped off on Yahoo Auctions by an unscrupulous buyer you have no recourse unless the unscrupulous buyer suddenly becomes a nice guy and gives you your money back. 

The only thing you can do is leave negative feedback, and you better believe I left some negative feedback.  I have been very reluctant in the past to give anything less than great feedback to sellers on Yahoo Auctions because in another example of them screwing over buyers, retaliatory negative feedback against buyers is not only the norm, but in fact a much stronger weapon than it is on Ebay (where it is not allowed to begin with).

So I left the guy a negative feedback.  It says

“This guy is selling broken Famicoms.  I feel like I have been scammed, it is really awful.  Everyone please be careful with this guy.”

(ファミコンが動かないものを売っている。 非常に、詐欺に会ったような感じで 最悪である。皆さまお気をつけ下さい。)

Then the retaliation started. First, sellers on Yahoo Auctions have a curious power to “cancel” transactions even on things which have already been sold.  And bazubazu1023 did exactly that.  I would love it if cancelling a transaction meant that the buyer got his money back, but it doesn’t.  All it does is shield the seller from any further communication from you while allowing him to keep your money.   

Then I got the negative feedback, which pissed me off because I had a perfect record up until then.  It says:

“This guy isn’t Japanese, he doesn’t understand anything.  I cannot believe you would ignore what is written and leave such a feedback.  Don’t harass me just because you cannot accept things.  You have been blacklisted, I will not deal with this person anymore.”

(日本の方ではなく文章を理解する事が出来ない方です。記載してある事を理解せずこの様な評価は有り得ません。納得が行かない事を理由に嫌がらせはしないで下さい。ブックリスト入れました。今後一切お取引はありません。)


“Blacklisting” is an option for sellers on Yahoo Auctions, which basically prevents you from bidding on their stuff in the future (which is fine with me).  The unvarnished racism in the feedback was a nice parting touch from a guy who took $60 from and left me with a piece of garbage.

And just to piss me off more, Yahoo Auctions actually allows sellers to not only leave negative feedback on a current transaction but also to retroactively recall positive feedback they had left for transactions in the past which have nothing to do with the current one, so my overall score actually went down by two instead of one (I had bought some games from him about a month ago).  It doesn`t work both ways though - he gets to keep the positive feedback I had left him on that transaction. 

Anyway, the moral to the story is of course buyer beware, especially on Yahoo Auctions.  The system really is out of whack there, to the point that a buyer who has been ripped off not only has no way of making any sort of claim, but can`t even leave negative feedback without suffering reputational consequences of their own. 


Fortunately I do have a bit of a bully pulpit here, so I am going to dedicate this post to Yahoo Auction seller bazubazu1023.I do so in the sincere hope that this image of Jesus licking his bowling ball, which I have named bazubazu1023, will become the main image one gets when Googling the name bazubazu1023.  Oh and did I mention bazubazu1023, bazubazu1023 and bazubazu1023?  If not I will mention it one more time after this photo just in the off chance that might help with Google`s algorythms or whatever it uses to determine search results.





bazubazu1023

41 comments:

  1. It worked. Your post is at the top of the list for bazubazu1023. That should teach him a lesson.

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  2. I am personally fed up of ebay and amazon, as a seller and a buyer , i feel neglected .

    I personally have started using http://www.bivver.com , Bivver online auctions .
    Prices are cheaper , and i have sold a few things as well .

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  3. I hope bazubazu1023 (or as i call him cumguzzlingslut6666) burns in hell.

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  4. Oh, man, that sucks, Sean :( I had no idea Yahoo Japan Auctions left buyers so unprotected. Of course, I've only used Yahoo Japan Auctions once, and it was through a third party, so why would I have an idea. Anyway, here's hoping your post serves to "blacklist" this seller just as he blacklisted you.

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  5. Chris - cool, it is always nice to see alternatives popping up!

    Anonymous - good name for him!

    Bryan - Yeah, you are more or less completely at the seller`s mercy. Actually I`m surprised I have been able to make about 150 or so transactions so far without this happening (though I have had a couple of minor problems in the past, but they were for 2-3$ deals so I just let them slide)!

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  6. I think that is why Japanese people prefer YAJ rather than eBay. I think the Japanese prefer that they themselves have more power rather than having Big Business eBay + Paypal decide how to do business and resolve disputes.

    In a culture such as the Japanese in general they don't need the buyer protection that the US has. In Japan the service mindedness is so important. You have blogged about such an occasion before, I think, or maybe it was someone else. Every now and then a bad seller takes advantage of it, but I think it really doesn't happen often.

    That the console might not work was however mentioned in the auction. It was sold without warranty. Usually AV famicoms work so one could assume it to work, but still, there are other sellers who test their products and you could have bought such an item. If someone on eBay sold something as "not tested might not work" I'm not sure you could demand a refund from him either.

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    1. This is correct... there are many ways to indicate "junk" in a Yahoo Auction listing, one of them simply being "not tested". The auction guy was right to say that you don't understand Japanese...

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    2. Oh, I saw your reply below. Actually your expectations seem reasonable.

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    3. I have lived in Japan for 12 years, 4 of which spent as a student at a Japanese university (not to mention having conducted hundreds of transactions in Japanese on YA every one of which, except this one, has gone smoothly). My understanding of Japanese is not the issue, native Japanese speakers seem to have a lot of problems with this guy too.

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  7. Hah! I love your method of retaliation. I feel bad about what happened but I have to admit I got a bit of a laugh XD;;

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  8. Japanspel - those are good points, but I don`t quite agree.

    The service mindedness is really apparent with some sellers on Yahoo (and especially apparent in most stores in Japan),but there are definitely a fair number of unscrupulous sellers out there who take advantage and scams are rampant - I would say much more so than on Ebay thanks to the lack of buyer protection. This is really obvious when you look at some of the listings and read the fine print.

    You are right about the listing in my case saying it wasn`t tested, though it did not mention the external damage which would have been obvious to the seller when he listed it. Also I suspect that the seller knew it was not working when he listed it, he specializes in Famicom stuff and an AV Famicom is easy to test (and given what they are worth pretty much everyone does).

    I wasn`t necessarily looking for a refund, I agree that I should have read the fine print more carefuly. Still though, I had paid this guy a lot of money for what turned out to be a piece of garbage so I think I`m perfectly in my rights to complain and leave negative feedback.

    Ebay might not have given me a refund, but I definitely would have been able to leave feedback on the guy freely without retaliation, which is more what I am complaining about.

    Anne Lee - thanks!!

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  9. Wow. Racism, ripping off, and rudeness? What a tossed. This Bazu guy is a blight on the Famicom fandom and deserves familial shame for this dissapointment. Here's hoping he steps on a Lego.

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  10. Yup, everything you don`t want in a seller mixed into one!

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  11. Oh man, that's the worst ripoff ever! And a whole $60 too... I would go mad losing that much at once. Closest I ever got to a ripoff (and it wasn't even on purpose) was when a guy was selling a copy of A2600 Dig Dug with manual for $7 and it turned out to be the A5200 version. I got a full refund. And what did you want another AV Famicom for?

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  12. Yup, it totally sucks. Cool that you got a rfund on Dig Dug, that at least sounds like it was just an honest mistake!

    Somebody on Famicom World wanted to buy an AV Famicom off of me and since I had some spare controllers/ cables lying around I thought I would buy a console-only one to complete it!

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  13. I don't know how true this is, but I use a buyer service to buy off yahoo japan (rinkya) and once a seller cancelled a transaction for a very expensive item for me - one I wanted very badly and had been looking for a long while. When I complained to Rinkya about it, they told me, "just be happy you got your money back from him. Sometimes they cancel and don't refund and there is nothing you can do." I asked for more details about that, for future reference, and the rinkya agent told me that sometimes they send nothing and don't refund and when that happens, there is no buyer recourse at all. It does give one pause.

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  14. Fortunately, though, I have completed many transactions off yahoo jp and have not yet been screwed. The one disappointing item I received was my error in not understanding the description. It was a poor google translation.

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  15. That experience unfortunately can happen sometimes. There is simply no way of forcing a seller who basically steals your money like that to refund you.

    I carefully read all the negative feedback that sellers receive and sometimes you do see those left by people who have been ripped off like that, they usually say something like `You cancelled the transaction after I had already paid, give me my money back!`

    Definitely it pays to be careful about who you buy from. The experience I talked about in this post is the only time I`ve been ripped off on Yahoo Auctions, so I`ve been pretty lucky (and also careful).

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  16. I hope this a-hole burns in the fiery depths of hell

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  17. You could always do a chargeback on the card you used to pay! Though by now you probably don't care so much about a stray $60.

    Sad thing is, that if you have even a single negative feedback, then a lot of people will refuse to even do business with you, and will cancel your bids.

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  18. I used a postal transfer, I`m not even sure its possible to get things back with that (an apparent loophole scammers use a lot to their advantage).

    Fortunately that is still my only negative feedback and I have several hundred positives, so I stilll look trustworthy enough to not have had any bids cancelled. With a lot of sellers though if you have just one or two and not a lot of positives you will find it very difficult to bid on anything. I have to be much more careful as a result.

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  19. it happened to me with a french guy in ebay in 2005. i bought one diaclone transformer for 90 euro and the guy did exactly the same, i sent a negative feedback because i didnt receive the item, not only i didnt received it and lost my money, he also blacklisted me and ebay banned me, so i couldnt complain and fight legally with that "jesus quintana". i just lost the 90 euro, the diaclone and my ebay account back then. i suppose that was the begining of that ebay / paypal collaboration that just works fine now for customers for not being scammed by a bunch of motherf***rs.
    japanese people i have dealt with are the extremest fine people in terms of describing what they are selling, and selling it at THE worth price, not more not less. maybe you got deal with the wrong guy. i hope yahoo japan changes their ways the same way ebay did. (in fact the early ebay was based on yahoo sales....) the good thing about is to learn from this kind of things for the next times man...

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  20. Wow that sucks. I have a couple of those Diaclone transformers, they are really cool.


    You are correct, generally people in Japan who sell on Yahoo Auction are honest, I haven`t had any problems since my deal with this guy. There is always the one bad guy out there though....

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  21. Update: the picture is still number one :)

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  22. One more complain from me !!!

    Just won some auctions on that guy list. I was bidding on multiple cheap objects.....
    After winning the auctions, the guy charged me insane prices for the shipping ( even though I live in Japan) and refuse to bundle the CDs together.

    Result :
    30* 100 = 3000yens for the goods.
    30* 500 = 15000yens fot the shipping.
    WHAT THE !!!!

    The guy has been quite rude saying that if I do not understand japanese properly it is not its responsability so he won't cancel the bids !!!

    Indeed, I have to admit, in the middle of 2 pages ( no kidding ) of useless informations about bazu's shop politics and how cheap the prices are, there is : no bundle. which does not make any sense since it is not even in the shipping information section.
    I just thought it was to precise he sold only individual objects and no bundles !!

    Now I do not know what to do.... To PAY or not to PAY.
    I guess I won't pay and hope I won't be kicked out from YA because of this.

    Anyway, NEVER BUY from this guy, if he is not a complete scammer, he really knows and uses the tricks to steal money from your pocket !
    There are dozens of great sellers on YA..... and so far only ONE Mr DOUCHE !

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  23. Oh man, the same guy? That totally sucks! That is also a totally unreasonable shipping charge, its standard among reputable (ie 99.9%) of sellers to combine on shipping.

    Yahoo Auctions really needs to improve its buyer protection policies, while most of the sellers are great there are some scammers out there who prey on people's trust like that.

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    1. Exactly.!!
      I was so used to people grouping shipping cost that I was not careful enough. at least I would expect 1 package per item at that rate. But NO !! It will be packed by 10 still charging full price per item... The reason is: preparation cost !! Can you believe it. 5 bucks to place a cd in a package !!

      Again... Avoid this shop !!

      Delete
    2. Actually I was reading his negative feedback and someone else complained about the exact same thing - buying 2000 yen worth of games and then getting hit with a 35000 yen bill for shipping, which is outrageous (the actual cost of shipping a few games is less than 1000 yen no matter where you are and no matter what shipping method you use in Japan). The guy is definitely to be avoided.

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  24. augh, i hope i never have this issue, granted i am having extreme issues with yahoo japan but not this bad, my stuff hasnt arrived so fingers crossed. however, I find it absolutely adorable how Y!Japan lets people cancel auctions minutes before an auction is about to close, even if theres a bid on it, just because the seller is upset with the price it is going to sell for.

    anyone ever heard of a reserve??? hellooooo lol. if you dont like stuff selling cheap put a reserve on it. either that or the seller could tell I wasnt from Japan, which if so jfc talk about prejudice. pissed me off so bad cause its been something i have been trying to find for almost a decade now. frustrationnnnn

    anyway, nice blog entry, sorry you were scammed :(

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  25. Here we go again - I recently bid on a collector watch on Yahoo Japan and won the auction.

    Next day on ebay I discover the same watch has just been listed by the same vendor - I know because not only are the photos the same but the watch serial number is plainly visible in one of the shots.

    I contacted ebay to have the listing pulled off their site and they said they'd look into it. Nothing happened and when the ebay auction ended three days later I lost the watch to an ebay bidder who bid higher than my yahoo winning bid in Japan.

    When I complained the watch was stolen (I'd already paid for it) my purchase was cancelled.

    I think there are many other stories out there like ours.
    All the best....

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  26. Hi. I'm sorry for getting scammed, im facing a similar incident. I sold my old macbook pro and someone bought it. I stated that the top bit has a dent and some keyboards are not working so i provided a apple keyboard.
    He complained that its not working when i can swear to god i tested every bit of it and everything was fine. He called me a scam and wants a refund or he will report me to the police.
    I agreed to giving back his refund but he has to send back my macbook pro first before i transfer him the money. He has not replied for days and im freaking out cause i dont want no police record.

    Can I get arrested for such thing that he has no proof for?
    Thanks.

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  27. Na, don`t worry about it. From what you have described you didn`t commit any crime so the police won`t do anything. Sounds like the person is just upset.

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  28. It seems I also got ripped off on Yahoo! Japan Auctions by a seller with the username ruki_0424_yui. Upon bidding, the seller had only 1 negative reference, whereas the rest were all positive, but weeks after I had won the item, the seller got more negative references. Apparently the guy's a crook. The worst part is I was using a middle-man service, and this service not only didn't provide specific information on Yahoo! Japan Auction's terms of service, but doesn't seem to be doing anything about the matter either. Had I known sellers on Yahoo! Japan Auctions have so much power, whereas buyers have absolutely none, I never would've bothered. I would've just stuck with eBay and Amazon. Hence, I would recommend not dealing with Yahoo! Japan Auctions unless the seller has TONS of references, all 100%. Only then might it be safe and worth it. Don't believe middle-man services, saying that it's okay for a seller to have a few negative references, as long as the percentage is low. That's bull. From what I've read these past few days, it seems even one negative reference is one too many on that site.

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  29. I had a bad encounter a few days ago too. It changed my view that Japanese is a customer oriented society. NO, they are NOT! I bidded for an item through Buyee.jp. without realizing that there is a hidden cost 150% time more than the bidding price.

    Very obvious the seller is out to trap careless buyer like me.
    I explained to Buyee.jp; but the support just insisted that I had to pay the additional cost since it is (hidden) stated in the sale terms n conditions.

    Since the transaction is via paypal; I sincerely hope Paypal can help in justice.

    No more Buyee.jp!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carlson, was PayPal able to assist you? I used a Japanese proxy, j-subculture, to assist with my Yahoo Japan Auction and had to deposit the amount through PayPal with J-Subculture.

      The item was not as described by the seller, and I am going to be out a lot of money because the item was very expensive.

      I just started a dispute claim with PayPal and just wonder if it got your money back. Mine's several thousand dollars, so I hope PayPal can do something.

      Thank you so much for any assistance/insight.

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  30. Buyee.jp are complete crooks who will unscrupulously lie and cheat every yen they can out of you. In all my years of using freight forwarders and purchase consolidators both in Japan and elsewhere they are by far the lowest pond scum there is.

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  31. Hi Sean, Or anyone else who can help me,
    I just for the first time bid and won an item on Japan Yahoo Auctions. It was a surprise for my boyfriend, so, I actually had no idea whether the item was genuine. It was really, really, really expensive - several thousand dollars. The only reason I bid on it was because I thought it was genuine, and my boyfriend has been desperate to find this item, which supposedly is super rare. Anyway, after I won the bid, I did some research and found out that the item isn't what it was listed as.

    My boyfriend also said that it isn't what was described. Well, I had to ruin the surprise, because I saw that it wasn't what I thought it was.

    I don't read Japanese and went through J-subculture. All of the communications and bidding was through J-subculture.

    I asked it to relay messages to the seller that he is selling something that wasn't what was described and that it is maybe at best worth 1/4 of what I paid. The seller won't cancel the sale or reduce the price. My money, of course, already went out. It had to go to J-subculture before I could even bid.

    I don't know if there is anything I can do. But the amount is nearly the price of my car, and I would not have bid on such a large item had I know it wasn't genuine and had my boyfriend not been desperate to get this item.

    I guess the lesson is I'm not buying my boyfriend any more gifts for the next 100 years.

    Thanks if anyone can help me.

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    1. I say your other post about starting a dispute on paypal, did that work out at all? I've never had an issue on YAJ as of yet so I have no way of helping especially since the service is very adamant in its pro-seller/not our problem stance.

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  32. Is there noting one can do about a misleading advertiment? I bid on a proof Y100,000 enthronment gold coin and won the bid based on his having it in a proof box and saying it was a proof coin. Turns out it was a bullion coin and he had placed it ina proof box and misrepreented it as a proof coin. When i complained and asked for some resolution, he sent a bad complaint (my first one) saying he mentioned no clain and no return, which is fine if the product was as advertised. Since it clearly was not a proof coin and i paid over the odds thinking it was a proof coin, I feel he cheated me. He has now blocked me and a Yahoo representative said to me if I go to police they wil suspend my account? Strange way of operating if you ask me.

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