Saturday, 23 March 2013

Trying to see if an ebay auction is fake

I was watching an auction for a Canon 500mm lens, which ends today. The seller was from Romania, only had 3 feedback, and the auction ended in the afternoon, rather than in the evening. (Generally auctions ending in the evening will attract more bids and so a higher price). They had titled the auction as 'Canon EF 500mm f/4.0 Lens', which misses out some of the lens specifications. 'Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS Lens' would be a better title. The sellers description for the lens was quite minimal.

So, all these things combined, meant the lens had not been bid up very high. They didn't say they wanted payment by wire transfer or anything, so it looked to be a legit deal that many people would probably overlook, and so someone could get for a bargain price.

The seller's 3 feedback appeared to be genuine (they were sales transactions of jackets, and the people who bought them appeared to be genuine as well.

But I did have a slight issue with the images that the seller had used. Often when someone adds multiple photographs to a listing, it will be different angles of the item, all shot in the same place. But this seller's photos appeared to all be shot in different locations. I google image searched for the three images that they'd used, to see if they were just re-using images they'd found on the web (which would indicate they didn't actually have a copy of the lens that they could take photos of themselves).

The first two photos I couldn't find any matches for, but the third photo did turn up a match. This is the auction: and here you can find pictures of a 500mm f/4.5 lens that someone sold: Look at the lens trunk photo in both the auction and that web page, and you'll notice the auction just has a slightly cropped version of the trunk photo from the forum message.

It couldn't be the same person tried to sell the lens via the forum and is now selling via ebay as the forum thread clearly states that the lens has now been sold. (Plus the seller in the forum thread is from USA, not Romania). In the auction, the ebay seller states Please look good at the pictures because what you see it`s what you will get. Well, since they are using a photo they did not take, then it's quite obvious that you will not get what you see in the photos.

There is a slim chance that this could be a real deal, and the seller just used photos pulled from the web rather than taking photos of the actual item they're selling. But on a purchase that will likely end up around £2000 or more, you'd have to be quite brave (maybe foolish) to take that chance.

For reference, here are screenshots of the ebay auction and the forum thread showing the same photo of the lens trunk:

Well, the auction has now ended, and it sold for £3,000.00, which isn't even that great a deal. People on ebay are just silly.

The rest of the day I went out on a walk, did some baking, some website work, went on Wii Music, and watched 24.

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