Pounded Like A Dawg: The Conclusion... or is it?

So, I got my money back.

I filed my claim with Amazon.com regarding my ill-advised purchase of a large ticket item for a Christmas present from one of the sellers that lurks in a vampiric manner within the bowels of their website. I have stated before that, up to this point, I have been completely satisfied with such purchases, and figured if a problem arose, that Amazon had a decent system for refunding one's money in that event. Turns out Amazon responded to my claim within a couple of days, researched the problem, and refunded my money. Amazon is going to get the money back from me anyway; as soon as the refund hits my statement, I am just going to reorder the item through Amazon itself, only for about $40 more than I paid from the idiots at Movie/Music/Book Dogpound. After all, it was Jen's major present.

But still, I thought, end of story...

...Or is it? Judging from the negative reactions on Amazon towards this seller, I was not the only one who lost out, at least temporarily, in trying to negotiate with the Dogpound. And then, the other day, I received an email from someone who at first thought that I was the Dogpound, because I had written a piece about them and they found it through Google, and then emailed me again to apologize. Then they supplied me with the following summation of their frustration with purchasing in such a fashion, via the Dogpound and the places, like Amazon and eBay, where these fiends thrive unchecked. I obtained their permission to reprint their missive, and I will refrain from comment, nor will I amend what they state very clearly below, apart from agreeing perhaps something should be done, as they suggest. To wit:

Looks like you got burnt as I and probably about 1000 others have.

I would not be opposed to enjoining with others to register a complaint with the FTC and state attorney general offices in states where Dogpound operated from. Before they were taken down from eBay as a registered user they stated in their eBay store that items would ship from Arizona and Florida. I live in CA, as you do, so the CA atty general's office may also be able to do something. The state or feds need a mailing address and a name before they can do something, usually. I did find a phone number on PayPal when I registered my complaint there: (480) 248-8967. Every time I've called I've gotten either a busy signal or an answering machine, but even the answering machine leaves no name or business name in their message. I googled the phone number and was led to a website where the Movie Dogpound was listed, and it gave the address as:
8776 East Shea Blvd Suite B3A-190
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260 - US

I doubt much will happen out of this, except that PayPal does guarantee refunds if paid through them and not a credit card account. Thank goodness I didn't use a credit card. I'll probably get my $14.95 refunded, but these types of jerks just cause PayPal to recoup their losses through raising their service fees. That's why more needs to be done than just getting our money back.

There were two other sellers I got burnt by on eBay in the past 7 years. One was an operation very similar to Dogpound - sold cds, dvds and books - mostly comic books. He was a power seller with hundreds of auctions going on at a time, and an eBay store. I won an auction and paid promptly but got nothing and no communication. He was out of a small town in West Virginia. At least I did have a phone number from eBay, and a mailing address. First time I called him, a child answered the phone and said his dad was sleeping (mid-day) and could not be bothered. All other times, I got an answering machine or busy signal. No responses via email. eBay, at that time, could not help because my claim was under $25. By the time I had found this out from eBay, I had lost my window of opportunity to file with PayPal. But, I went through the WV Atty General's office. They pursued it for over a year but then responded that due to the small amount involved they could not continue to pursue and the seller was not responding to them. Later, I found that his internet store went down suddenly, as did his eBay store. But I was out my $$.

The other time I got burnt on eBay, it was a bid on supposedly certified original artifacts. When I received the items, with the certificates of authenticity, I found the certificates to be faked, as were the items purchased. That time it was for over $250, but that was 7 years ago, and I found eBay and PayPal to be less than cooperative. However, I found later that the guy was even using a fake name. In the artifact hobby community, it was reported that someone had filed suit with their Atty Gen office, and the guy did get convicted in Missouri and went to prison for mail fraud. Sure wish I had been able to enjoin with them.

While both eBay and PayPal have improved services for victims of such rip-offs over the years, I haven't seen them really pushing for prosecution. That needs to not only happen, but to be publicized to the eBay community as well as to the general public when it does happen - as much information as can be told without violating privacy laws needs to be told to be a deterrent to others.

I would LOVE to get a bunch of people together who have been ripped off by Dogpound and see if we could all, together, put them where they belong - prison - if it can be proved that they indeed have broken the law. You see, for those who are willing to take the risk, they can go on Amazon, eBay and similar sites, set up shop, and every 5 or 10 purchases, they simply rip off. They can put up thousands of sales at a time, use other names, email addresses and mailing addresses to bid on their own items, win and post for themselves fake positive feedback. They could also let some real customers win auctions and receive their items to assure there are some legitimate positive feedbacks. As long as they keep the positive feedback relatively high and pay their bills with eBay, Amazon, etc, they will be left alone by the host site. But for those sales where they don't deliver, it is pure profit for them, less the minimal listing costs. These costs are outrageously small for power sellers who list hundreds or thousands at a time. There is really little to deter the crooks from doing such scams.

I would love to do something to get this practice stopped! If interested, let me know and we can get more people involved and hopefully come up with some solutions. Petition eBay and Pay Pal to become more proactive would be a first step. Seeking prosecution would be a second step. Getting eBay, Amazon, etc to publicize prosecutions, thus scaring the crooks off, would be the ultimate goal.

Terry Provance
Spring Valley, CA

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