Ask LH: Who Can I Complain To About This eBay Pokemon Scam?

I recently purchased a copy of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire off eBay so I would have a spare copy of each to play. When the games arrived, I was disappointed to find they were fake. I tried to negotiate a refund but became disgusted with the seller's attitude. I told the seller they could keep my money and that I would much rather be out $25 and destroy the games myself than let them be onsold to someone else. I just want to try and stop them scamming people. Is there any service or body that I can report them to? Yours, Pickachued Off!

Dear PO,

Did the fake games still work? Were they promotional copies intended for the media? It's difficult to offer advice without knowing what made the items 'fake' or the scale of the seller's operation.

Naturally, your first move should be to contact eBay and explain the situation. The website has clear guidelines in place on what to do if an item does not match the seller's description. Pay a visit to the eBay Resolution Center and follow the prompts from there.

If you want to take matters further, there are various consumer protection organisations that you can write to. These include the Australian School of Security and Investigation (ASSI), Crimestoppers (Ph: 1800 333 000) and the Counterfeit Alert Network (although that last one seems to be primarily concerned with sporting goods).

You can also contact the brand owner (in this instance, Nintendo) and report the discovery of a fake product. It will be in the company's financial interest to take the seller down.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    I suggest complaining to your mum, she'll care. Paypal always refund in my experience. Or you could take the complete refund that the guy offered you and stop worrying about copy-protection on behalf of everyone else.
    $25 sounds cheap for two games, what did you expect?

      Paypal do have policies in place with regards to counterfeit goods.

      The guy offering a refund doesn't change the fact that he is selling counterfeit goods, which is pretty illegal in my experience.

      And if $25 for 2 second hand Gameboy advance games from 2003 seems cheap to you, maybe you should stop shopping at EB Games

      Last edited 07/02/13 2:40 pm

    this happened to me when i bought a "legit" copy of microsoft office 2010 on ebay, it was a really good copy. the seller offered a refund, but i went to microsoft instead and told them about it. in return, they were gonna go kick some ass and they gave me a legit copy of office for my troubles.

      I bought a "legit" 2nd hand unused Windows 7 Ultimate from a seller in "Darwin" Australia.
      What arrived was a good counterfeit "new" DVD direct from China. I reported it to eBay, PayPal, and Microsoft. None of them did a thing.
      However I did rate the seller as a fraudster on the eBay seller feedback, and when I last looked they had not succeeded in selling any more copies.

        That's weird. My housemate bought Win 7 Ultimate off eBay, it was counterfeit, so Microsoft replaced it with a legit copy.

          So today we all learnt that the cheapest way to get a legit copy of Microsoft software is to buy a dodgy copy and then report them to MS. So long as you can wait a few weeks :)

            Yeah pretty much. I was tempted, but didn't want to wait, having built a new computer at the time.
            Same goes for XP, a year or 2 after Vista came out, you could just get a free activation code by calling them up and saying you re-installed too many times and the activation code didn't work anymore.

            Last edited 10/02/13 12:24 pm

    As has already been said, call mummy.

    Well blow me down, commenters on lifehacker running the RIAA/SOPA line. I hope Si hasn't ever made a mix-tape or downloaded a tv show or movie because that's like totally illegal, yessir it is.
    I guess my original points are - $25 is not a lot of money, Piracy is everywhere and being selectively outraged or outraged on behalf of the next possible buyer is disingenuous.

      I agree with you I'm amazed no-one has tried to split hairs with the "It's more illegal if you sell what you pirate than just having it for personal use" argument yet.

    When this happened to me i just asked for a refund, they refused so I reported them to ebay for selling counterfeit goods.
    Paypal refunded the full purchase price and ebay closed the account.

    In fact when i complained that they didn't work in my DSi the seller said "you didnt' read the description properly that it will not work in a DSi"
    In the end I got to keep the games and just played them on my old DSLite.

      I agree with rbev, should get paypal to work it out, then they most likely would of been able to get the account removed. Then you could also get an oganisation like life-hacker said and do a double strike :P.

      So you complain about buying pirated products, get your money back, but still use the illegal copies rather than go and buying legit copies?

    I unknowingly bought a fake SoulSilver off eBay. I could tell it was fake because the manual was a copy/pasted preview from IGN ("click here to watch video" really?).
    I decided to live with it but then the game stopped loading about 10 hours in. Thankfully they gave me a refund, but only after I gave them a positive review.

    The other problem with the Gameboy Advanced fakes is that they use batteries for saves, pretty sure firered/leafgreen use flash storage. Not to mention they are worthless to onsell.

    So many Pokemon fakes on eBay its not funny.

    Do a google search for "ebay pokemon fake" and you'll find loads of links and guides about known fakes, how to spot a fake, etc etc.

    You are obviously too old to be playing Pokemon games. Get a job.

    I bought a fake Nokia from an eBay seller in Hong Kong.
    I sent them an email stating that I would make a complaint to
    HK customs (with address supplied), eBay, Paypal
    and contact people who had previously purchased the same phone from their eBay store, (you can identify previous customers through the stores feedback system)
    Anyhow within 2 hours they had refunded my money and requested that I give them positive feedback!!!!!

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