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Author Topic: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.  (Read 16939 times)

Will23

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'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:49:39 PM »
Hi everyone, this is my first post.  I've been reading numerous posts on here for a couple of months now and have found it excellent and extremely informative, so thank you very much  :)

I am posting to make as many people in the snowdrop community aware of a seller on eBay who is selling numerous rare snowdrop bulbs in volume and then sending young nivalis (or similar) bulbs.  Most people leave feedback within a week or two; 'fast delivery, well packaged' etc., removing the chance of comeback on him when they realise months/years later that they have been conned. 

The username is galanthophilesgreen.  I have been informed that he has previously used similar names which have subsequently been blocked from eBay.  It seems he just opens a new account when this happens and starts again.  It is actually quite a good con model - if you are a fraudster!  Most people will probably cut their losses or give up when eBay say it is too late.  In volume, however, he is making a very good living from it.  He has sold around £4,000 worth of (what I strongly believe are) 'fake' bulbs since November 2017 alone.

I am also looking to contact other people who have been conned by this user who would be willing to make a report to Action Fraud.  I have already made a report detailing my experiences. I spent over £200 on four varieties, all of which were incorrect.  I have been advised that if anyone else makes a report and provides my Crime Reference Number, it would assist in building a case against him.

I don't believe that receiving a refund from him or eBay is enough, as he will continue under a different name.  I will be making a claim in the small claims court if my complaint to eBay doesn't work and am happy to provide details of the outcome and procedure to anyone who would like them, in order to assist them in a similar claim.

I have been in touch with 9 people so far from eBay, most of them have confirmed that they have been duped, the others are waiting for them to flower.  I am sure they will be disappointed.

Please feel free to contact me if you have experienced the same and I will provide you with the information you will need to take it further.

I have attached some photos of the 'Rosemary Burnham' and 'Greenfinch' bulbs I bought, I'm pretty sure they're all nivalis! 

On a more positive note, I have attached some photos I took of some of the flowers of bulbs I have recently bought from some of the more reputable snowdrop nurseries in the UK!

Cheers

Will
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 08:27:33 PM by Will23 »

johnralphcarpenter

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 02:15:38 PM »
He lists his location as "Crook, United Kingdom".
Ralph Carpenter near Ashford, Kent, UK. USDA Zone 8 (9 in a good year)

David Lowndes

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2018, 04:09:57 PM »
Will23 - I have Sent you a PM.

Blonde Ingrid

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2018, 04:45:20 PM »
Update, there may be some progress as his items are now marked as 'ended by the seller because there was an error in the listing' which may mean he has decided to cut and run!

Further, all the items in his listing have just vanished.

Will23

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2018, 05:00:09 PM »
That's very good news, at least nobody else will be conned.  I think PayPal and/or eBay have shut him down.  I've spoken to both of them this afternoon and I know at least one other person has too.

I have just received this message from him:

".....am away to my new home in the sun soon enjoy your pretty snowdrops"  -  Hopefully the Police catch up with him before his departure!

Some more info for anyone affected - A couple of people have informed me that PayPal offer a money back guarantee on items received which do not match the description.  This obviously falls into that category so, as long as it was within the last 180 days, contact them and they should look after you!  :)

Alan_b

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2018, 05:02:18 PM »
.... It is actually quite a good con model - if you are a fraudster!  Most people will probably cut their losses or give up when eBay say it is too late. 

My sympathies, Will.  We have been reporting instances of this con model for years now on this forum - with quite a good rate of success in getting fake auctions stopped when we spot one.  Unfortunately, many former contributors here now only comment on a members-only Facebook forum so we're not as good as we used to be in alerting everyone to these frauds (although Blonde Ingrid remains very pro-active).  The con also works for other expensive plants, so long as the fraudster sells them out of flower when they cannot be positively identified.

Best of luck with your Action Fraud case.

 
Almost in Scotland.

Maggi Young

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2018, 05:42:48 PM »
New readers may be interested in this old thread- which contains a lot of good advice......
http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=8303.0

Buyer beware is the first and most important lesson to learn - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
There  ARE perfectly respectable Ebay sellers  - just do your research to find out who they are. 

Alan is correct- Blonde Ingrid has done a large amount of useful  research on these matters - as have I in the past.

It would be good to think people were learning their lesson and being helped by that effort - happily that is often the case.  People do get  het up when their  wallets are threatened.
Sadly, there is not the same  enthusiasm for  pursuing other miscreants in the likes of snowdrop thefts from gardens and this has jaundiced my view rather thoroughly.
 I wish you  success in your  fraud  action against this ebay  cheat - and beware who you  trust.
 
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Maggi Young

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2018, 05:47:01 PM »
I spotted a seller  going by the name of   'petertopping24' the other day who raised my suspicions.  Image searches  by Ingrid  showed that the images this person is using to sell on Ebay are stolen from various other growers- some of them members here - people showing  bulbs or plants with other peoples' photos (  with the rare occasional exception when the permission of the  photographer is  given and stated) are to  be regarded with the utmost suspicion.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Maggi Young

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2018, 05:53:14 PM »
This thread is another which may be of help : http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=13911.0

 Here is a brief list of those we know to be  honest ....

North Green aka erifis88
Andy Byfield aka bitarla
Blacksmiths Cottage Nursery
Cornovium
Engelsdropje  is  Loes de Groot
Ian Christie is  sgtmajor47
wheelieneily
wirralwave
ombersleyplants
Beth Chatto
farmhouse5000
Anne Wright is   DRYADZNY
groman4444 is Melvyn Jope
mdmcollectables  Michael Myers
Matt Bishop
bruckhills Helen Rushton
Monksilver
exposure8
francis54-2008
0115springer
cpeet31   Carys Thorp 
planthill54 is Hagen Engelmann
Mollythewitch42  is Gail Harland

 - not an exhaustive list of good guys, of course, but a great start!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 05:40:59 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Hagen Engelmann

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 06:25:06 PM »
for your list: planthill54 is Hagen Engelmann
Hagen Engelmann Brandenburg/Germany (80m) http://www.engelmannii.de]

Alan_b

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2018, 07:34:50 PM »
Sadly, there is not the same  enthusiasm for  pursuing other miscreants in the likes of snowdrop thefts from gardens and this has jaundiced my view rather thoroughly.

I don't think that's true, Maggie.  There was (and is) plenty of enthusiasm but not a lot of strategy.  I understand that somebody was caught red-handed in the act of stealing snowdrops recently, escorted from the premises but not, AFAIK, identified.  Perhaps in the cool light of day that was not the best outcome but it's easy to be wise with the benefit of hindsight and it's up to the victim of the attempted theft if he/she wants to take the matter further.  I do think a strategic approach is needed if this is not to happen again in future but what do you suggest?  One has to stay the right side of the law, even in the case of someone caught in the act.  With those eBay sellers we have suspected of fraud we have always stated why we feel there are grounds to be suspicious and so, I believe, not been guilty of libel - but one has to tread carefully.       
Almost in Scotland.

Alan_b

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2018, 08:01:55 PM »
I think you are referring to recent  matters  mentioned on Facebook, Alan, but there is much more to all this than I think you are aware of, over a long period. As stated,  I do not intend to discuss  matters further.

All I know, Maggi, is that an alarming number of people I know, people who have spoken to me directly, have reported the disappearance of snowdrops or other rare plants from their gardens in the last year or two.  This they either know or believe to be as the result of theft.  I don't really know what we, the gardening community, can do to combat this and I would welcome someone taking the lead with some proposals for action.  I'm sorry that that's not going to be you.       
Almost in Scotland.

David Nicholson

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2018, 08:34:34 PM »
.............This they either know or believe to be as the result of theft.  I don't really know what we, the gardening community, can do to combat this and I would welcome someone taking the lead with some proposals for action.  I'm sorry that that's not going to be you.       

It's not a job or role for the 'gardening community' other than perhaps setting up some kind of surveillance arrangement (that would be near impossible). If someone has evidence of theft, or indeed suspicion of theft, the Police need to be involved.......... if they can find a Policeman these days!
David Nicholson
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Alan_b

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2018, 08:56:40 PM »
Of course the police should be involved in the event of an actual theft, David.  With plants like bulbs that are dormant for some of the year a suspected theft may be more problematic.  But I was really wondering if there are things we can do to discourage the thieves from attempting theft in the first place. I don't know; if I had any good ideas I would suggest them. 
Almost in Scotland.

Gail

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Re: 'Fake' snowdrop bulbs on eBay.
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 09:59:20 PM »
- not an exhaustive list of good guys, of course, but a great start!
I couldn't claim to be a good guy obviously, but in the interest of full disclosure, I am Mollythewitch42 (with a fondness for peonies obviously!).
Gail Harland
Norfolk, England

 

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