Ebay Transaction: Honest or not?

A week ago, I purchased a phone on ebay. My office phone decided that line one would only work when it felt like it — and I realized if I left it be — likely I would loose business. So after I researched which phone I wanted, I went out to see if ebay had a better buy and I found one.

On ebay I found substantial savings. The lister of the product said in the listing it was new, in perfect shape and had a full warranty. He even said he would “repack the phone” for better shipping (hello, in hindsight that was a BIG CLUE something was fishy!!).

Everything sounded good. The only concern I had was he had hidden his feedback — a feature I didn’t know that ebay allowed. All you could see what that he had positive feedback and how many people gave feedback but you couldn’t read the comments by people. It was a little odd, but I thought what the heck, the feedback is positive so who cares… (Mistake!)

Low and behold after I paid for the item with Buy It Now, I realized that without a valid receipt for this product, how could I get my warranty honored with this phone? So I e-mailed the guy. I just got a little concerned.

The lister wrote me back and told me that he bought this phone wholesale so he wasn’t able to give me the receipt, but in the event the phone didn’t operate right, he would exchange it out for another. He had 20 of these phone on hand.

I still didn’t feel better but I decided to wait until the phone came to see it. It came this weekend. When I opened up the box, there was no product-box. Each piece was separately wrapped in bubble wrap and loosely placed in the brown shipping box. There were instructions and everything appeared to be there but there was NO WARRANTY CARD.

I was annoyed. I wondered if the product was hot.

I e-mail the guy and tell him that he isn’t advertising honestly — and if he doesn’t rectify my situation, I am going to leave negative feedback. I question if the product is hot. Then I tell him that he doesn’t tell the consumer that the phone will not come with the original box as shown in the picture. I made the mistake of thinking he’d include it – even if it was folded up! I tell him that while he says there is a warranty, he doesn’t give you proper documentation to get that warranty honored.

Strangely, the ebay lister e-mails me back stating that he told me I could refuse the phone and he would give me $10 for my hassles — which he clearly didn’t — but since I accepted the phone, that option was gone. Then I get an e-mail from ebay that he inquired to get my contact information. In the process, I got his. I see his name, phone number and a PO box. That hit me a little odd — a PO Box? I had not seen that before.

Finally, with all the talk back and forth, he picked up the phone and called me.

By his voice, I would guess his age to be around 35-40. He was polished, and professional — like a true businessman. He was very well-mannered. He sounded Asian-American.

First he told me that ebay was only a hobby for him and that so far he has sold over 190 items with 100% positive feedback. Then he told me that he bought 20 of these phone for $79.99 because the packaging was damaged. He went on to say that when the plastic wrap around the crate was removed, some tape stuck to the boxes and removed the printed information on each telephone package — rending that package unfit for retail sale. That is how he could buy them for less.

He continued in a very calm manner: He told me that he is sorry he got me confused with someone else as he had gotten several details of our transaction wrong. He said that someone else bought the same phone when I did, but his shipment was late — and so for that person, he actually ran out and bought the product at full retail price which for him was around $100 more just to honor his agreement before his new shipment came.

He finally concludes and tells me he will send me a copy of that receipt so I can get a proper warranty. He says he understands what I want because, he too, is a consumer.

After I hang-up the phone, I thought through the conversation. The pieces didn’t add up…do you know why?

Well, if his story is true that he got 20 phones because the packages were damaged, then why was he waiting for ANOTHER SHIPMENT? Do they continually damage the same model phone?

Also, why does he have a PO Box? Most people on ebay give their real address — unless he has something to hide?

Furthermore, why doesn’t he give me the damaged retail box? Or, is it not damaged but perhaps will reveal some retail specific information — which could lead back to him?

Why not include the warranty card?

These behaviors all indicate he is hiding something.

Also, why did he give me such a long-winded story that touts his supposed honesty in which he boasts he is even willing to pay full-retail price for a phone just to honor his sales agreement with another e-bayer? And oh-by-the-way, I can give you a legitimate receipt… This is a classic sign and story of a liar.

And last, why does he hide his comments? I can only speculate his comments look something like this: “Great phone, but why not retail packaging and/or warranty card?” It would look suspicious to people buying the product if they read this — wouldn’t it? But since people all got new phones for a fraction of the price they all leave positive feedback and he can continue to operate without question.

This guy is a liar — a classic smooth operator.

Baby 81

Have you heard about Baby 81? He was the 81st patient received at a hospital after the Tsunami hit back in December. Apparently, nine women have said this boy is their baby.

It’s actually a gut-wrenching story.

I don’t believe all of these women are maliciously lying — perhaps some but not all. If each women is truly a mother who has lost a child in this incredible disaster, the trauma and the pain may very well lead them to truly believe in the delusion that this is there child, when it fact it isn’t. It has to be a coping mechanism. Who could fault them?

Apparently, a court has ordered that anyone claiming to be the boy’s mother must now submit to a DNA test. I don’t think there is any other solution, sadly. How painful for the real birth mother who knows in her heart this is her son.

How do I spot a liar?

Do I look for typical characteristics such as changes in voice pitch or wandering eyes?

Actually, no—I don’t. From all the analyzing of people I’ve done, I’ve learned one thing: Those clues are not foolproof. While one person may shift his eyes when he lies, another person may shift his eyes when he is telling the truth.

Individuals do have specific traits when they lie, but you can’t identify those until you know someone well. When reading strangers, wandering eyes or a change in voice pitch may be a clue—but they are by no means conclusive proof of anything, so I disregard them. For me, these traits are afterthoughts once I’ve determined the truth.

While I started to read a little bit about detecting liars, I quit after a few short hours of research, for fear that reading what the experts say may actually cloud my abilities. Instead, I mostly rely on my intuition and my gut instincts.

When someone talks, I intently watch the person tell the story. I watch what they say and how they say it. I start to look for inconsistencies.

Does the person’s action match with what he is saying? Most of the time, a liar’s actions will not be consistent—whether it is a fraction-of-a-second smile when they are supposed to be sad or mad—to an instantaneous, fraction-of-a-second nod of the head yes—when they verbally say no. These clues are so quick that most people miss them, but they are so telling.

Be cautious: I’ve seen people misread a deep sigh as the shrugging of shoulders, a polite smile as a smirk, an innocent twitch of the head as a shake no when someone actually said yes! Reading body language is not as simplistic as it appears…

Other times, people do and say things that no one would do in those circumstances. Their behavior is very abnormal, and while that isn’t enough to call a liar, added up with other clues, it paints a broader picture.

To be a good lie detector, however, there is more involved. You need to have a deep understanding of human nature. You must be able to identify the multiple human personalities and be able to hone in on them in seconds. We all fall into one categorization or another. Can you categorize people quickly? That’s what it takes. I know people really well, and that is how I often scare people into assuming that I am psychic, because I can categorize personalities in seconds.

I should really try to identify all the categories of human personalities I have in my head. I think it would take me a few years, as I have an enormous pool identified in my head. I have no idea how many there are, but I do rely heavily on them in my mind’s eye when trying to determine if someone is lying. What I do is take the traits they give off by what they wear, how they look, how they respond, and then I combine that with their actions. Then I take the picture painted in my head, and I match the person I am analyzing (I think it is mostly subconscious) to real people I have known well in the past. By doing this, I have a good sounding board for what actions are normal for this personality type, and I can immediately make some pretty accurate assumptions. (No, I don’t rely on personality profiles done by psychologists).

I have to take whatever a person tells me, but usually they tell me enough. While I am listening to what the person says, I am also analyzing their exterior. Much of this happens subconsciously for me these days. I determine a multitude of things such as: Is the person well-dressed or sloppy? Are they fast-paced? Or, is he a sloth? What is he wearing? Is this person a neat freak? Do they have on expensive clothes? What does their speech tell me? Is it consistent with their appearance? Do they value money? Are they bragging? Are they laid-back, perhaps lazy?

I take whatever they give me, and start calculating. I crunch the data for more inconsistencies—pretty much deep within my brain, because I don’t do it consciously.

And I calculate as they speak, and I revise the equation as needed until I have a concrete answer. It comes quickly, innately, pretty much without thought, although at times, I do some thinking here and there. I think that is my magic dispelled.

Did you find this helpful, or did I make your skin crawl?

P.S. I have an odd brain, I know. Did I ever mention that I have a photographic memory for numbers only? One day, I wrote down over 100 phone numbers in my head that I couldn’t purge. Twenty years later, I still know all my grade school friends’ phone numbers by heart. When I dial a phone number, it takes me weeks to months to forget it, and sometimes I never forget it! I know my social security number, my husband’s social security number and a credit card I use frequently, too. I even know old credit card numbers that are no longer active. Go figure.

Natural Law

I believe nature naturally rewards us for telling the truth. The more we tell it, and live by it, the more confident we become, and the more self-assured we are. When we are honest, we have nothing to hide which frees the mind and body. We can look in the mirror and be proud.

However, when we lie — we doubt ourselves because we distort the facts. We question our sanity, we distrust our own being as well as everyone around us. Lying errodes our confidence and puts us on a path of insecurity, doubt, fear and uncertainty.

It’s the law of nature.

Is there one truth or many perceptions?

One of my readers asked me this question: Is there one truth or many perceptions?

I believe there is only ONE TRUTH. However, there are many perceptions which people create when they hang on to little or no truth. You can perceive some pretty strange things when you count half the facts and/or reply on your emotions.