eBay and TiVo auction fraud

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by NothingButTeeVoh, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Sep 3, 2007 #1 of 18

    NothingButTeeVoh New Member

    Jul 14, 2007


    Anyone had experience with buying stolen or fraudulently obtained TiVos on eBay or other aucition sites?
    A bunch of us eBay-ers got burned by a guy in Florida selling S3s with 3 year service and warranty. The units arrived fine, TiVo transferred the accounts just fine.
    Then, a month or so later, TiVo came back and said the units had been obtained fraudulently, and shut off the service. So, even if TiVo doesnt' try to repossess my unit (they might, they haven't decided yet), I'm out the $300 that the 3 year's service is worth.
    I partly blame TiVo for taking over a month to let me know the unit was "hot." Of course, the seller has vanished, and the dozen or so of us taken in are out $300 each to reinstate service.
    How eBay stays in business I don't know, since you can't trust anything that goes down on their site anymore. Anyway, word or warning to anyone thinking about buying a unit on eBay.
  2. Sep 3, 2007 #2 of 18

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.
    And how long was this seller known to eBay?

    I find it hard to believe he/she had a long record with good feedback.

    I also find it hard to believe you'd buy from someone without a good rep there, especially an item that expensive.
  3. Sep 3, 2007 #3 of 18

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    What was the eBay seller id ?

    So the boxes themselves AND the service were stolen/fraudulently obtained? I can understand Tivo's position if the original seller somehow got service attached to the box without paying for either the service or the box, but it would be nice to have a little more detail here ...

    (Sorry to hear of your misfortune)
  4. Sep 3, 2007 #4 of 18

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I do not undarstand how 3 year contracts can be transfered to another party, if they can I am surprised.

    From TiVo T&C

    12. Using the TiVo Service. You may access and use the TiVo service only with a TiVo DVR that is authorized to receive the TiVo service and you agree not to tamper with or otherwise modify your TiVo DVR. Among other things, this means that you may access and use the program guide information only on a TiVo DVR that is authorized to receive it. The TiVo service is provided for your personal, non- commercial use, and may not be resold, in whole or in part. Except as expressly provided in this Agreement, you may not transfer the TiVo service. By using the TiVo service, you agree to receive all software updates and upgrades that TiVo sends to your TiVo DVR. If your TiVo DVR accesses the TiVo service (regardless of your payment or subscription status), you acknowledge and agree that you are a user of the TiVo service and are bound by the terms of this Agreement.
  5. Sep 3, 2007 #5 of 18

    restart88 New Member

    Mar 9, 2002


    This reminds of of some small print I read somewhere, I think it was for Verizon DSL on their 2 year contracts, that even if the company terminated your service you could be held liable for early termination fees. :eek:

    Now I'm not suggesting Tivo is inclined to do that, or even if they could. Only that it is truly a buyer beware market these days even when dealing with generally reputable companies.
  6. Sep 3, 2007 #6 of 18

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    Sorry to hear about the transaction that has gone bad. I have been an Ebay user since 1999 and one thing I always keep in mind when purchasing through them is that Ebay is short for "buyer be aware". If the item's price or features appears to be to good to be true, then there is a high likelihood that you will experience some sort of problem. As Gastrof stated what was the sellers feedback experience. Never purchase from someone with little or poor feedback.

    The OP has some recourse. Was the TiVo paid via PayPal? Has he notified Ebay of the bad transaction? Did he pay via credit card? Has he notified the Florida Attorney General? After one month you still can file complaints with them.
  7. Sep 3, 2007 #7 of 18

    pkscout Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Honolulu, HI

    Any TiVo (Well, unless it has lifetime service) on eBay offering to transfer the service to you is a fraud. They can't do that, and you may very well find yourself out of luck. As noted above, TiVo is very clear that you can't transfer monthly service to another party.
  8. Sep 3, 2007 #8 of 18

    NothingButTeeVoh New Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    Fair questions all. Let me address each one:
    1. The seller, (dachevyfamily) was a long-time eBay seller.
    2. Seller had 30+ positive feedback, no negative feedback
    3. At least ten other TiVo buyers had left positive feedback
    4. TiVo has offered bundled service/DVR options in the past, and these HAVE been transferable, all of which I confirmed with TiVo before I purchased
    5. After I received the DVR, I contacted TiVo to transfer service. They said no problem.
    6. TiVo waited over a month to check the provenance of the box, found it was fraudulent, and cancelled my service.
    7. All the other buyers had the same experience. Since TiVo initially activated the DVRs, but didn't get around to checking on the source, everyone thought things were fine, and sent positive feedback. The seller counted on TiVo taking its sweet time to check out their own devices, and was able to get dozens of hot units unloaded before the buyers knew the scam was going on.
    8. The price was good, but not ridiculously low. It was consistent with specials TiVo had been offering, but that I hadn't seen myself.
    9. We're evaluating our next steps, including legal action. But since TiVo waited so long to act, we've possibly missed some legal deadlines.
  9. Sep 3, 2007 #9 of 18

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I think that the above statement is the total problem, only Lifetime Service can be Xfer, but I do see many TiVos on E-Bay that come with Prepaid service, I guess you can use them on the sellers account but if the Prepaid was purchased from TiVo within 30 days than the seller ship you the TiVo and cancels the prepaid within 30 days you would be SOL.

    Can you give us the E-Bay ID of this seller ?
  10. Rawson819

    Rawson819 Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Algonquin, IL

  11. JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    The alarm bells should have been ringing very loudly. I checked the seller's feeback page. I believe the seller's ID may have been hijacked from another member. Looking at "dachevyfamily" feedback, they were buyers on all transactions through May 18, 2006. Then no activity until July 18, 2007 when they make a $6.99 purchase in what appears to be a transaction to check if that the account is still active.

    Then that same day they became sellers for the first time and listed the Series 3 TiVo's for $650 with three years service. (By-the-way, three years prepaid service is $299, so the cost of the Series 3 would have been $351. It has never been advertised at that low price and that also should have been a warning sign of a possible scam.)

    Unfortunately, the OP missed that this seller of very expensive electronic equipment had absolutely no feedback as a seller until the seller started listing the Series 3 units.

    I strongly suggest that the OP contact Ebay. If fraudulent activity occurred via a possible account hijacking the buyers may be protected.
  12. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Other than lifetime, I have never heard of any transferrable TiVo service. Perhaps this would work within the 30-day trial period?

    How would TiVo know until the rightful owner reported it to TiVo?
  13. wolflord11

    wolflord11 Lord of Darkness

    Jan 16, 2007
    An unfortunate case.

    Ebay has become worse and worse, especially when it comes to Name Brand, Expensive Electronic equipment.

    So what do you do?

    1. Depends on how you paid:

    By CC: Contact the issuer and make a reverse charge.

    By PP: Contact Paypal and do a Reversal that way. Paypal gives you 90 Days I beleive, so even after this time, you can use your CC Reversal as above.

    So: Contact EBay, Paypal, your CC Company, Tivo, get the word out there.

    Maybe the Buyers and Tivo could work something out to? These buyers have paid for what they beleived was a good deal and get shafted by a low life out there. Its not there fault, its not Tivos, but come on guys..... lets turn a bad experience into something positive.

    Perhaps TivoPony or someone from tivo could help out some :D
  14. NothingButTeeVoh

    NothingButTeeVoh New Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    Who or what is Tivopony?
  15. magnus

    magnus Tivo User

    Nov 12, 2004
    If they paid through paypal they have 45 days to file a complaint.

    And I believe that the 45 days has already elapsed. Also, they would only be eligible for $200 worth of protection but that's better than nothing.

    I'm very surprised that the OP actually got anything at all. Usually when an account gets highjacked they get the money and never send a product.

    Anyway, if the account really did get highjacked maybe ebay or paypal will do something. But the buyer is only protected to $200 and they will be lucky if they see any money back.

  16. JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    Magnus may be correct in that Ebay account hijackers most likely will not send the merchandise for which you paid. Are the Ebay scam artists getting so sophisticated that they open accounts, buy merchandise to establish good feedback and then wait over a year to perpetrate a scam?

    Just out of curiosity and I am not sure the OP knows the answers: What was the issue that triggered TiVo to declare the accounts fraudulent. How did the seller obtain the S3 TiVo's, subscribe for three years and still profit on the $650 selling price. Were they S3's stolen? Was the credit card number(s) used to open the accounts stolen?

    As you can tell I like to read mystery books.
  17. funtoupgrade

    funtoupgrade New Member

    Mar 15, 2005
    As others have stated, never buy a used TiVo with any kind of monthly/yearly subscription attached; also always pay by credit card. If it has been 60 days or less since the auction call the credit card company and file a complaint.
  18. matt314159

    matt314159 Member

    Jan 14, 2007
    I've been an ebayer since August of 2000, and one generic piece of advice I'd give is to consider the longevity of the account from which you are buying. And as others have said, also check their activity, it can give you a real feel for their reputation and how much you feel you can trust them.

    I think a lot of ebayers are simply misinformed when they state that a prepaid service can be transferred, I don't think most of them are scammers. I'm planning to buy a lifetime box soon when I get the right amount of money and the right deal comes along, as my last transaction fell through (which was probably a good thing), so this hits close to home.

    As the saying goes, Caveat Emptor!

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