What options do I have after being scammed on Flippa?

by ChadOath 18 replies
I bought a site in the low 5-figure range about a month ago. The auction description included traffic stats via Google Analytics (via pdf) and Paypal income stats (via screenshots and video). The seller even gave me access to the Google Analytics account. I won the auction and everything went smooth from the transfer of the site, to the escrow transaction, to the sales contract singing.

Well, after the transfer, all the traffic has all but died. I went back and looked at the Google Analytics stats, and I can't believe I forgot to check each and every URL for myself. One of the URLs driving the most traffic was one of them "guaranteed traffic" drivers. So they were probably sending automated traffic. That also means that the proof of income was most likely doctored too. Of course, I can't prove any of this without a shadow of a doubt at the moment.

Are there any legal steps that I can take to recoup my money?

I blame myself for not being alert and vigilant enough, so you guys can save that lecture. LOL. But what should be my next move? Just take it on the chin and move on?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #flippa #options #scammed
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    Geeesh ... that's awful. You already know that at least in the traffic part, you screwed up but what about the income part? If you have a contract and you want to take this to court, that might be an option. Since you can now prove worthless paid traffic, you can challenge them on income and make them prove it in court.

    I'm not a lawyer so don't really know, but if you have a lawyer, it might be worth your while discussing it. It's possible that you might not need to actually go to court ... that a letter from the lawyer might be scary enough that they provide a refund.

    Sorry this happened to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      Geeesh ... that's awful. You already know that at least in the traffic part, you screwed up but what about the income part? If you have a contract and you want to take this to court, that might be an option. Since you can now prove worthless paid traffic, you can challenge them on income and make them prove it in court.

      I'm not a lawyer so don't really know, but if you have a lawyer, it might be worth your while discussing it. It's possible that you might not need to actually go to court ... that a letter from the lawyer might be scary enough that they provide a refund.

      Sorry this happened to you.
      Thanks for the kind words. You never think this stuff can happen to you, until it happens to you. And I never considered myself a sucker!

      I will send this past a lawyer, and see what they say. But as much as lawyers cost nowadays, actually going to court may cost a lot more money than what I lost on the site. And there's no guarantee that you can get that back, even if you win.
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  • I would suggest contacting them directly, alerting other flippa members to it (review the legal contract see if you do have any recourse through them), and then if things still aren't resolved, escalate the issue if indeed the traffic and/or income statements were doctored.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
      Originally Posted by InternetSuccess001 View Post

      I would suggest contacting them directly, alerting other flippa members to it (review the legal contract see if you do have any recourse through them), and then if things still aren't resolved, escalate the issue if indeed the traffic and/or income statements were doctored.
      Oh, believe me. I have contacted them. I get sent straight to voicemail now.
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  • Profile picture of the author 85vicwagonguy
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
      Originally Posted by 85vicwagonguy View Post

      Get an attorney. Put your story/evidence together to help them figure this out as quickly as possible.

      Hopefully the prospect of the seller's state AG coming down on them would be enough for them to return the payment, take back the site, and get lost.

      What niches do you pursue?
      Well, that's the thing. I don't want to sully someone's name and reputation if I can't ABSOLUTELY prove everything. Then that could possibly open me up for a slander or libel suit.

      As for niches, I don't target any in particular. I'm not a site flipper. I just saw something that looked like I could make some good money running it, and it had a great design.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    I would contact Flippa and at least let them know. Of course, leave negative feedback with details if you have not already. Lastly, try to make lemonade out of it and get the traffic and money that you were hoping for - you can do it.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
      Originally Posted by Marhelper View Post

      I would contact Flippa and at least let them know. Of course, leave negative feedback with details if you have not already. Lastly, try to make lemonade out of it and get the traffic and money that you were hoping for - you can do it.
      Ahhhhhh...the glass half full approach! I haven't completely given up on the site. Like I said before, the design is great, as is the actual product. So I will see what I can do.
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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        Originally Posted by ChadOath View Post

        Ahhhhhh...the glass half full approach! I haven't completely given up on the site. Like I said before, the design is great, as is the actual product. So I will see what I can do.
        Definitely. I turned a site around that I bought, like you, without really examining the referrer urls closely and yep ... it was worthless paid traffic. I demanded that they cease the paid traffic and I got real traffic and flipped the site for a profit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarah Russell
    I agree with sbucciarel - it's frustrating to get ripped off on Flippa (believe me, I've been there too...), but if the site and the product are solid, you should be able to regroup and turn it around. But I'd still notify Flippa and leave negative feedback (assuming you're able to conclusively prove it's paid traffic) so that other buyers aren't taken advantage of in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author anwar001
    Its alarming that such things can happen on reputed sites like Flippa. Does flippa take in the contact details of people who are putting up sites for sale on it? If they don't do it currently, I think it would be a wise thing to do it. At least fraudsters can get tracked down this way.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
      Originally Posted by anwar001 View Post

      Its alarming that such things can happen on reputed sites like Flippa. Does flippa take in the contact details of people who are putting up sites for sale on it? If they don't do it currently, I think it would be a wise thing to do it. At least fraudsters can get tracked down this way.
      Well, I think legally, Flippa is very limited in the action they can take. It's not like Ebay where most of the financial transactions are also taking place on a site that the company owns. Plus, it's not like COMPLETE fraud in a sense. People are still handing over the sites, files, and domains. They're just inflating the value. I'm not sure how punishable that is.

      In addition, Flippa can't really release any information that the seller or buyer didn't already want released, such as their phone number, address, etc. I'm sure they're covering their tails, and that's understandable. Any release like that would have to come from a higher authority. And honestly, even what they can do is pretty limited unless a federal crime takes place.
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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        Originally Posted by ChadOath View Post

        Well, I think legally, Flippa is very limited in the action they can take. I
        Flippa won't get involved in the dispute ... there is a new dispute resolution area ... use that to document this.

        Flippa will ban the person if you can prove you were ripped off.
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        • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

          Flippa won't get involved in the dispute ... there is a new dispute resolution area ... use that to document this.

          Flippa will ban the person if you can prove you were ripped off.
          Oh, OK. Thanks for that info. I will contact Flippa and see what comes of it. I will also keep you guys updated. Wish me luck...
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  • Profile picture of the author Thinker1
    Sorry, to hear about your experience and thanks for sharing this with us here. I hope someone with more experience will step in and help. It's shocking is it?
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Yeah ... let us know. I'm interested in how this comes out.
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  • Profile picture of the author DesktopDayjobs
    Please do keep us updated.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    How much did you spend on buying the site?
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  • Profile picture of the author DuncanMae
    Not cool!
    But you have shared a fantastic lesson for all of us.

    Due diligence!

    As buyers, we musts, always, always, always check every claim being made by a seller.

    Wit the free tools available today, it's easy to find out where traffic is coming from.
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