I've decided to keep track of some of the best (or worst) eBay interactions I have. The following is the story of the "Dead Guy Bidder".
I am currently listing an Atari Lynx II Game System on eBay. It's an old PSP-type game system that plays extremely pixelated games. It's an interesting item and garnered the attention of eBay bidder shorty32920. Shortly after listing the item, I received my first email from this user. Our conversation follows:
shorty32920 [Jul-31-11 04:16 PM]: Hi, I see you have a Atari Lynx listed on ebay and I have been looking for a Atari Lynx complete with the original box and manual and I was just wondering If I bid and win this system if you would be able to wait until September 1st to receive payment by paypal because I am going back to college and they are going to be sending me a check for expenses which they said I will receive the check on September 1st and as you can see by my feedback that I always pay for what I win on ebay so you dont have to worry about Not getting payment and you wont regret it plus I come on ebay all the time to check my messages and other items and I can send you messages once a week until I receive the check to let you know I didnt forget about sending payment to you, Please let me know if we can work something out because I have been looking all over for a Atari Lynx complete with box and manual and hope I can buy this one from you I would appreciate it THanks
mystorageshed (me) [Aug-01-11 06:47 AM]: It's fine if you bid. You can pay later if you need to. Just keep me up-to-date once September 1st comes.
shorty32920 [Aug-01-11 07:03 PM]: Thanks for waiting until September 1st for me to send payment to you by paypal I appreciate it, but I have a few other questions about this Atari Lynx...1) Is there any rips, tears, marks, etc anywhere on the box from what I can see in the picture the box looks in good condition...2) Is the long white sticker still on the back of the system that has the serial number on it...3) Is the packaging still inside the box like either cardboard or stirofoam to hold the system in the box...4) Also you said the system works and powers on but I just want to know have you put a game in the system and can you see the game come on the screen and play it and are there any dead pixels on the screen when you play the game...Sorry for all the questions I just want to make sure before I bid and win the system which I hope you understand, Please let me know all these things and more if you can Thanks I would appreciate itmystorageshed [Aug-01-11 07:38 PM]: The box does have some tears in it where it closes. It is in used condition. I did put a game in the system and it powered up just fine. It may have dead pixels, I'm not sure. It looked ok to me. The packaging appears to be intact inside. It is a piece of cardboard that holds the system in place with a piece of cardboard on top. There isn't a white sticker on the back with the serial number.
At this point, I'm kind of hoping this bidder doesn't want the item. She sounds extremely picky and she wants to wait a long time to pay. Plus the money she is using is supposed to be for college. What if she needs it and can't pay? Anyway, it sounded risky for my seller rating. It got even less appealing in the next email:
shorty32920 [Aug-01-11 08:57 PM]: OK I got your message and it sounds good to me and I understand that its a older system and the long thin white sticker on the back of the system probably came off in time, I just wanted to make sure thats all and if you want you can look to double check to make sure and put in a game and look real close at the screen to see if you can see any dead pixels in the game, Whenever you have free time to do so for me...because I know things start to go out with age, But I just have one last question to ask you before I bid...I was just wondering if you get more bids and the amount goes higher on the Atari Lynx and if I bid and win the system if there is a way I could get Free Shipping because I asked some sellers on ebay on other items I won if they could offer me Free Shipping and some did and some didnt and if Not thats OK too I just wanted to ask you to make sure before I bid
Ok. This email was the last straw: 1) Long waiting time for payment, 2) Risky payment source - college expense check, 3) Picky nature, and 4) Doesn't want to pay for shipping. I was done with this person and sent this email back.
mystorageshed [Aug-01-11 09:37 PM]: No offense but asking to wait to pay until September 1st is where the favors should have ended. I am not offering free shipping and am blocking you from bidding.
Then things got a little weird. After blocking her, I got an email from her friend's eBay user id bigmacdaddy10 asking me to unblock shorty32920. I blocked the friend's user id too. Then I got this message from a new user:
old_hotdog [Aug-01-11 10:48 PM]: I am fairly new to ebay and have not bought much on here and want to see that its ok for me to bid becacuse my feedback is 0 and I know some sellers on here want the buyer to send them a message if they have a feedback under 10
Before giving me the option of deciding whether or not to allow this new bidder to participate in my auctions, I get a bid on the Atari Lynx II Game System. I also get an email with this person's eBay user information. The name associated with this new account is Duane Niemuth from New London, Wisconsin. Coincidentally, both user ids previously used to communicate with me were also from Wisconsin. I responded to old_hotdog with the following email:
mystorageshed [Aug-01-11 11:07 PM]: You know I'm not stupid. I can tell you are the same person who is wanting to pay on September 1st. I am canceling your bid. Do not bid on my auctions under any id. They will all be cancelled.
After this exchange I get numerous emails from the original user with impassioned pleas to bid in the auction and to be unblocked, etc. Finally, after reaching the breaking point, I sent this email to the original user:
mystorageshed [Aug-01-11 11:35 PM]: Let me break this down for you: I will not sell this to you. Period. Nothing to work out. We are done here. Do not email me again on this subject or I will report you to eBay for harassment. I looked up the name for the old_hotdog account you apparently opened to circumvent my block and it appears you are the same Duane Niemuth that was charged with animal hoarding in New London, WI in 2005. http://www.pet-abuse.com/profiles/6447
Believe it or not, I don't want to do business with you at this point.
Take a look at the charges against this person. Pretty sad. He and his family were charged with animal hoarding and abuse and several of them were convicted. At this point I am not only annoyed with this person, but sickened by them as well. It likely isn't the original bidder but someone acting on their behalf. I get this final email from shorty32920:
shorty32920 [Aug-02-11 00:30 AM]: OK, I understand and am deeply sorry for any inconveniences I caused you I wont bother you anymore and hope you get the amount your looking for and just so you know thats not me Duane was my uncle and he passed away last year and again I dont want any troubles or problems from you so I will just leave you alone and thanks, I will just keep looking for a Atari Lynx somewhere else
Despite saying she wouldn't contact me again, I received yet another email from this person stating she had referred my auction to her friends. No doubt this is yet another attempt to circumvent my block by getting her friends to bid. Sure enough, since this morning, the number of people watching my Atari Lynx II has gone from 13 to 17 18. She is willing to go to any lengths to get this stupid thing. Bidding with a dead guy's name, using friends, etc.
Final verdict: eBay Dumba$$ and Pain in the A$$