Saturday, March 31, 2007

Old-fashioned land scams going high-tech in Canada? (NS Today: March 28, 2007

Complaints & Reporting

This info is from THE BOG, visit the site for information regarding Nova Scotia eBay land sales. (Other complaint and reporting information is requested for ALL jurisdictions. You leave it, I'll post it.)

Fraud Alerts: If you think you might have been the victim of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, coercion or undue influence in a eBay land purchase in Nova Scotia (or anywhere else in Canada), you should immediately file a complaint, spelling out the details of the (alleged) fraud (see a sample here), and send it to the authorities and agencies below.
This serves several purposes:
=it puts your complaint on record with authorities and, if there are several complaintants, the agencies will see a definite pattern
=if the alleged fraudsters are aware of your complaints to authorities, you may get some relief from them
=it shows due diligence if and when you may be forced to take legal action
=it could give other victims the support needed for them to take action
=once you have reported the issue to authorities, news reporters are able to report on the fact that you have made a complaint and can report on the substance of the complaint.


eBay fraud complaint form: Probably a good idea, but action by them less likely than being hit buy a comet. Also, time limit is 90 days from close. Many property buyers do not find out about problems until they visit the property.

PhoneBusters National Call Centre (PNCC): It collects consumer complaint information through its 1-888-495-8501 toll-free number. Fax number: 1 (888) 654-9426 e-mail

Though designed to prosecute key individuals in Canada involved in telemarketing fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada (including) facilitating prosecution by United States agencies through extradition, and by Industry Canada under the Competition Act.) you should be on record with them. Reporting Economic Crime On-Line.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has developed a central web-based crime reporting center entitled RECOL. The objective is to offer citizens a single point of entry, via the phone, fax or Internet, to lodge a complaint concerning any frauds, traditional or Internet based, and have it directed quickly and efficiently to the respective law enforcement or investigative agency for action.
RCMP's Security Fraud Information Centre - e-mail Scam Contact
RCMP (the Mounties are our local police). The RCMP should know if you feel that any type of fraud may have occurred in any land sale in Shelburne County. Sgt Barry McLellan 902-875-2490
Competition Bureau of Industry Canada: e-mail 1-800-348-5358
Strike back against fraud news release

Friday, March 30, 2007

Nova Scotia Land Fiasco

The Nova Scotia Business Journal site published an article recently regarding eBay land sales. Interesting stuff. What do you think?

Link to article at left.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

eBay Feedback System

It appears the eBay Feedback System has major flaws when it comes to buyers/sellers (in particular buyers) wanting to change the feedback score they have left. As I understand it, once feedback is left for a completed transaction the +, 0, - score is permanent and only an additional comment can be recorded.

This system "might" work for small items one receives in the mail and can inspect in hand but for many items, and especially land, the system is virtually useless. Issues arise past 90 days that could have a major impact on the original feedback. If land is described, pictured, and advertised in a certain condition, location and with certain amenities, including being buildable and in a "subdivision with services and roads", and the declarations are not found to exist upon inspection of property the eBay feedback needs to be changed to reflect these facts. Even smaller items could be found to be not as promised months after receipt. Let me not forget about honest sellers who experience all kinds of bs from moronic buyers long after the original sale for no sane reason. They can't change their feedback either.

The eBay feedback system prides itself on being able to discern good eBayers from bad eBayers. This is not true. The system is extremely limited and even misleading.

Example: A buyer responds to a eBay listing for property for sale and the listing describes in detail where the land is located and it's proximity to other attractions, the view it provides, services to the property, how the land elevates to provide panoramic views, attractiveness in being located in desirable and sought after area, and easy to build on. The buyer purchases the property and visits a few months later to find nothing in the sales literature is accurate, and most is outright incorrect.
The seller has a 99% feedback score with 100 feebacks. (Seems like a good eBayer with that score.) Meanwhile, countless dissatisfied and outraged buyers cannot change the feedback they left other than to add a new comment. Although innocent until proven guilty, eBay continues to provide a venue for the seller to list additional properties after eBay fraud was notified of problems with the seller and, criminal lawsuits in public courts are filed with the same list of deceptions. Could eBay put a "hold" on the seller until an investigation is completed so their members are protected somewhat from a scam? What does eBay fraud do anyway? The stamp guys have been operating for a long time selling duplicate and copied stamps.

From my point of view, although eBay "just " provides a medium for buyers/sellers they charge a fee for this. They created a rating system to highlight good members and expose bad ones. They call their participants "members " and have a fraud department. Why have all of this??

eBay seems to perpetuate fraud by creating half measures to ensure their members transactions are consistent with the high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

But that's just how I see it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

eBay land sellers to prove themselves

WOW, Finally an accused eBay land seller will have to explain them self and answer to a lawsuit filed in Nova Scotia regarding questionable land claims, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and negligence . I can't wait to hear this.

A story can be found on ShelburneCountyToday web site or by clicking the link included on this blog. The land sales company is known as Nova Scotia Land Sales and operates through the eBay auction market and eBay store of the same name.

Everyone with iffy land in Texas, Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma etc. should tune in.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wild West

We've been hearing that there's a new day dawning on the interent because of the success of eBay and other auction sites, but it's not such a pretty sight, when it comes to the lawless practices by some on the internet.

Just a cursory review this morning showed no fewer than 13 "Guides" on the eBay site alone describing various scams and ripoffs, from Florida to Texas to Oaklahoma. (see

In researching a story to be published next week about eBay online land sales, I spoke to disgruntled buyers of land in Nova Scotia, Canada, who live in New York, Virginia, Florida, Georgia and elsewhere. Some are are trying to get their money back after having found the true meaning of caveat emptor and some have even hired big-city lawyers and have filed suit in superior court.

From a selfish point of view, I'd be very interested in what other stories people in the USA and Canada have to offer and what they think can be done to stem the growing tide of real estate nightmares.

Nova News

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Broken Dreams and Lost Money

Boy, oh boy, can some folks paint a picture of paradise. And describe it too!. Sometimes they even have nice photos of the place. Places like Texas, Arizona, Florida and Nova Scotia have been victimized. I'm sure other locations as well.

Wet lands described as good building lots with ocean views - except in reality it might be protected from development and the only water close by is under your feet and in your shoes.

Desert lands described as lush, and safe and crime free, and ready to be lived on- except there is no access and no chance for utilities. And no one around for miles to commit a crime.

How about being sold on the idea of the properties being part of a development with services and roads. Well, not a road in sight on the property and services have not arrived and the development plan may not even have been registered or approved or legal.

Even the local populations, when asked, find the land unattractive for ownership. These nice folks call many of these properties "garbage land", or say things like: "I want to meet the person who looks at this (land) and thinks it's beautiful".

Well by grossly misrepresenting many of these lands, sellers (many of whom just bought, and have never been to the properties they describe) are able to play on the sentiments of honest buyers with dreams and plans for the future.

There are countless people with broken dreams, damaged self-esteem and lighter wallets. All the while the misrepresentation of property goes on and on. Properties sell to unsuspecting buyers and dreams are shattered.

The world is more connected today than ever before and buyers are able to purchase property half a continent away with the click of a mouse button. Honest sellers can "show" their properties to an audience inaccessible to them a few years ago. If all works well the buyers get what they expected and agreed to and the land broker or real estate agent has made a sale to persons they may have never come in contact with.

Having said that, there are those who hide behind the distance between buyers and properties, hide behind inaccurate descriptions of the condition, location, and specifications of the properties they offer for sale. The same issue of connectivity that allows honest property sellers to make honest property sales, allows questionable sellers the ability to make misrepresented property sales, and to this point in time, seemingly outside the reach of the law, the interest of elected officials, or the policies of large electronic marketplaces.

What a damn shame.