‘Galanthus ‘Cinderella’ after two months since purchase on eBay.
“here we have a cute collection of the stunning small snowdrop ‘Cinderella,with x6 young,3 south hayes lastt but not least the charming greenfinch all are a very good quality bulb, these all are a very nice galanthus to have in your collection,these bulbs shall be kept healthy and placed in the right environment and stored  at the correct temperature,thank you for looking and i wish you all a merry Christmas and a wonderful snowdrop new year.” (19.12.17)

1. To defraud buyers of snowdrops on eBay is easy. First obtain an account with both – they are supposed to be separate but really aren’t.

2. Steal some images from Google of the valuable snowdrops you are selling. They have a legal owner but, hey, you’re going to do something far worse.

”Cinderella taken from eBay auction

‘Cinderella’ taken from Scottish Rock Garden Club

3. Obtain some common snowdrop bulbs in a juvenile state (this is important.) If you have them in your garden great, but you can always dig them up from the wild. (Illegal but ….)

4. For the eBay auction say the bulbs are ‘fresh’ or ‘detached offsets’ (a good one this). Use one of the stolen Google images in your description. Why not say recent heavy rain has washed out your raised bed giving you sixty or so ‘Rosemary Burnham’, for example.

5. Wait for the bids to flood in.

6. Obtain the money from the ‘winner’ in your PayPal account.

7. Send off some of the small bulbs of your probably wild snowdrops in a margarine tub or some such other cheap packaging. And don’t forget to charge a lot for the privilege.

8. Wait for the Feedback to come in. The buyer has received bulbs he or she believes are correct. You’ll get the good feedback you need from the polite people who normally buy such things.

9. Tidy up the extensive nursery for your bulb making enterprise generating hundreds of sales of rare named snowdrops. A single wet wipe may be required for the kitchen table.

10. If there is a delay in obtaining feedback make a promise of the odd three or four ‘Cowhouse Green’ that you have somewhere when you do some ‘uplifting’.

 ‘i shall send you a replacement and the cowhouse when i uplift them friday ready for my local sales,i should of kept you updated but ive been ever so busy thank you’ (20.02.18)

All you need is that feedback so a promise of riches may help to persuade your buyer.

  (‘hi ian if you pay post i have a gift for you’) 
(I didn’t send the postal charges, by the way! And he never sent the ‘gift’ despite other promises.)

11. Complain of overwork in getting ready for the market if there is a further complaint.

12. Ignore further requests. Get abusive if challenged. Threaten legal action. Remember you’ve already got the feedback from those nice buyers of your fake snowdrop cultivars.

Please feel free and where an when have I been picking wild snowdrops you have got your information wrong now go and get a life picking snowdrops what rubbish’

13. When there’s a lot of complaints and it’s getting a little hot, hide your History on eBay. You can. Your previous good record will minimise the impact for some time. The percentage may go down a point or two but the details are not available.

14. Change your name. Always a good ploy. Instead of galanthophilesgreen try ‘1bestof1’. (Give it a try, readers.)

15. All this is unnecessary for the majority of your buyers who are waiting for the tiny bulbs to mature. Trouble is in most cases this will be outside the 180 days PayPal money back guarantee. This matters not one jot to you. And you won’t have many claims.

16. And if the worst comes to the worst, in the interests of fairness and minimising the money back guarantee, PayPal will find in your favour in a matter of days because the buyer hasn’t got proof the tiny shoots are not the snowdrops in the auction. This scam is foolproof.

17. And if there is any further complaint, PayPal will not change their decision despite the nice lady on the phone being sweet because it has been decided. The resolution will not work against you because you have rights as a seller.

18. And should everything fall apart there’s a good chance the police will be so busy they won’t deal with the complaint.

The seller purports to be James Arthur Bulmer from Crook in the North East of England. His email is scarnan111@outlook.com but it can change.

Others have been tricked. Read this. The link provides various members’ accounts of their dealings with Richard. They include images like mine and a very interesting photograph of just what will emerge from the bulbs when and, in my case, if they flower. You may be surprised to learn that they are ….. the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis.

Paypal and eBay are still letting James Arthur Bulmer trade although, despite his change of identity, he has not placed any more small snowdrop bulbs on sale. He’s told one of his buyers he’s off to somewhere warm. He’s made thousands of pounds from the scam.

I shall now leave PayPal and only buy snowdrops on eBay from buyers I know. There’s a list on the above link although there are others I have used and I intend to publish a list of these shortly.

And if James should like to challenge me in court I’d welcome the opportunity. I have also traced the original images used on James’ eBay auctions for most of his sales to other buyers. As examples, ‘Dragonfly’ the image stolen from our own Avon Bulbs, and James went international with a German site for South Hayes.

That’s what am saying there not mine look at my listing photos’ (20.02.18)
I have forwarded a more detailed copy of this to the Police ‘Action Fraud’.

Just  time to add the following:

‘We’ve completed our review and unfortunately are not able to decide this case in your favor.
During our review, we found that the seller had sufficiently described the merchandise.
Transaction Details 
Case number: PP-006-658-413-722
Seller’s name: James arthur Bulmer
Seller’s email: scarnan111@outlook.com
Seller’s transaction ID: 5JP88058B04793300′ (20.02.18)

Ebay and PayPal have been contacted by an expanding number of angry customers. Yet they have upheld a fraudster’s case. The criminal wins. I have earned my money in the past from writing for a variety of outlets. I have plenty of material to do so again, don’t you think.

26 thoughts on “How to make money from fraud using eBay (and the money back guarantee from PayPal that isn’t)

  1. Scam isn't foolproof – once buyers are made aware of species' leaf-types with which to identify common or garden 'drops they can see immediately the leaves emerge whether they've been scammed. Unless the species they were after was a nivalis-type.


  2. I have to say I would not put it past him though I have no proof. He certainly does not seem the type to have galanthus nivalis in his garden in the quantities he has passed off as rare cultivars. I wonder where he obtained them! Your final sentence says it all.


  3. When I read the standard of his English, lack of spelling and grammar I wonder how so many of us were taken in. It's not the loss of money, just anger that he may well get away with it, although I have protested formally to eBay/PayPal.


  4. I've never bought plants through eBay and, after reading this, I suspect I never will unless I have personal knowledge of the seller. I'm appalled that you were taken advantage of, not only by the con-artist seller, but by eBay and PayPal.


  5. It is often impossible to obtain some of the more rare snowdrop varieties other than from eBay sellers, most of whom are very honest enthusiasts themselves. I have literally just received a standard reply from a Henry Lin representing PayPal who says the items were 'not significantly different' to those described. Anyway, in the great scheme of things this is of minor significance, just infuriating.


  6. I'm not alone. And today PayPal contacted me asking for new information. So maybe .. And there are some star sellers on eBay. As for prices, it's all about timing and checking out the prices and cultivars before you commence. Then setting an absolute limit. All this from a man who has never bet on a horse in his life.


  7. Roughly 50% of the snowdrops on eBay aren't for auction and sell for 'reasonable' if not 'excellent' prices (given their collectible nature). The great Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery, Cambridge sells on eBay http://www.monksilvernursery.co.uk/snowdrops.html; also Roger Harvey of Thurston, Suffolk. They don't use their names for their 'stores' – may be an eBay clause, I don't know. Harvey's was selling a beautiful cultivar for 1/5 of the price of another's nursery website.


  8. I have purchased snowdrops from both recently and thoroughly recommend them. For this reason I have written a blog for tomorrow in which I list the sellers I have had dealings with. It's a wholly positive blog, Aggie.


  9. I've just come across this article from the search engine and thank you for letting me (and us) know about it. I've bought two snowdrop bulbs from eBay before (one was Walrus and the other was Polar Bear). Luckily they both were OK, but I should have been more careful – I was so naive. Cheers!


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