A Bad Flippa Purchase - Advice Required Please

by TDeck
16 replies
Afternoon folks,

I'm just looking for a little advice on behalf of a family friend who recently purchased a website from Flippa for $X,XXX that turned out to be anything but it's original description.

The website itself looked great and claimed a regular income with little effort, etc etc (the usual sales patter). The seller promised to provide the "marketing plan" and stated the website would continue generating sales. To cut a long story short, the website was a dud and I'm fairly certain from simple background checks it didn't generate anything. The promises of a regular income, little experience required and an automated system are very enticing for new buyers.

The transaction itself was carried out via Escrow.com, and the seller has since vanished. From my perspective I've told the victim to chalk it up as an expensive learning experience and ensure extensive due diligence is carried out should any future sales occur.

My question is could anything else be done legally? As far as I can gather the seller is located in the U.S, whilst we are located in the UK. I think it's safe to assume the money is gone, but without the sellers address (also possibly using an alias) could we reach out the authorities or is this a pointless task?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
#advice #bad #flippa #purchase #required
  • Profile picture of the author ekup
    So many buyers get cheated on flippa, I don't think any legal action is possible. Do you have the sellers physical address in the US?
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    • Profile picture of the author TDeck
      Hi ekup, there was some basic seller information provided during the Escrow transaction (Name, email) but no visible address. I'm not even sure if the seller was using his real name.

      It's looking to be a lost cause but was worth a try!
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard King
    Maybe get in touch with escrow and try and get the persons details from escrow. As they would have to sign up with details, obviously these could be fake too, but it's worth a shot.

    Just explain to escrow you or your friend was duped, they might give it or they might not. Don't know the exact procedures.

    Shame there are people out there like that... all for a quick penny.
    Richard
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas Smale
    For <$10k cross jurisdiction it's highly unlikely to be worth the effort.

    Does he have a signed purchase agreement? Was everything outlined in the agreement delivered?
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    He's most likely going to have to consider this a learning experience. This is why due diligence is important and not believing what is claimed in the sales letter without proof. I doubt that your friend would want to attempt a lawsuit for this amount of money across countries.

    The thing with escrow is that they do provide or allow you to set a period of time for evaluating the site before you hit the release payment button, so obviously, he must have released the payment. That means that he was satisfied enough to go ahead with the transaction, although it doesn't sound like he evaluated it for any period of time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Content Commando
    That really sucks. I've heard so many horror stories about Flippa that I'm honestly cynical about every site I see on there. It's horrible that people could look themselves in the mirror after knowingly scamming someone.
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  • Profile picture of the author kre8ivecanada
    I doubt any serious legal action on your friend's part would be worth it over a junk site he bought for $X,XXX. Since he used Escrow and I'm assuming the payments have been signed off on, there probably isn't much he can do.

    Once a buyer acknowledges through Escrow that they received the item/service/whatever, I'm pretty sure it can't be reversed. Someone correct me if I'm wrong though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mackyman
    I feel your pain. I purchased a website on Flippa a couple of months ago and although the url transfer went through. I never received all the promised deliverables and now the seller has been suspended and stopped communicating with me. Now I have a website that I don't have the access control for the google app that goes with it and to make matters worse all the contacts he gave me for who where doing the site admin like Affiliates management have stopped communication with me. Not a penny of the site revenue has showed up in my paypal account and I know the site is receiving hundreds of visitors a day. In other words somebody is still collecting the add revenue from the Affiliates two months after the sale of the site. Contacted the affiliates listed on the site put they are not talking either maybe because they are not sure they are talking to the real owner. I will probably end up removing all the affiliate codes from the site and hiring a new Affiliates manager as well as having a new app made from scratch.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mu
      Originally Posted by Mackyman View Post

      as well as having a new app made from scratch.
      I can help with that if you are inrested of course.
      Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author CellGuru
    Exactly... i'm sorry but this has to go down the drain and call it a "learning experience".

    Escrow do offer a evaluation period.. since he used escrow he should have checked all the revenue claims and if it is indeed getting traffic or revenue in that window. So when he explicitly instructed escrow to release the funds to the seller - escrows job is done. They cannot help now..

    As for taking legal course of action - that cannot help at all. I've once had a similar experience with escrow and they did not offer any help. The part of sale was Business plan and critical business know-how, once he got that - he refused to accept the domain name and claimed that the name was not transferred and got his money back from escrow.
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  • Profile picture of the author DomainMagnate
    Not worth the effort to pursue legally for under $10k website. Learn a lesson and move on. Do better due diligence and research on the next purchase.
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  • It's like people say I have crap but you need to pay a millions times what the crap is worth, I say it's crap, shut up dummy they say, comply and pay a millions times slave, and don't tell others it's crap, they say that to a millions people till one slave pays! They the people who said to shut up laugh at the slave and tell the slave how stupid the slave was for believing them! That is why you are a slave you read my lies, but if you lie then you go to jail but I can lie and laugh at you for being stupid for believing me. Get it?
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    soon people... Relax...
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveFinch
    I have to say that I'd be 100% totally gutted if I was in the site buyers shoes, and certainly wouldn't want to let it go to easily. Get in touch with the citizens advice and see if they can offer any help. They'll probably have some idea of what the police can or cannot do. Online fraud is taken very, very seriously in the UK these days no matter what country the thief lives in, and they can be like a dog with a bone.
    I wish you and your friend all the best and let us know if anything could be done?.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Flippa is awash with slick operators who throw in bonuses like marketing plans and give you fake income and traffic stats for sites that are worthless. The time to do due diligence is before buying, not after. Since you used Escrow and he/she has accepted the transaction, there is nothing that can be done. A lawsuit internationally would most likely cost more than the site did. You also need to get a site contract signed that details exactly what will be delivered, but he probably didn't do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Regardless of the escrow company, was the sale paid through a credit card account? If so, it would be worth a call to the credit card company. They have insurance against fraud and you might be surprised that they would help you if you can show you didn't receive what you paid for.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author stevenjacobs
    Banned
    mostly likley you just have to accept it and take it as a loss
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