Friday, July 15, 2011

Renovation disasters and internet scams

Okay, so disasters is probably overstating it, but they did all feel like disasters at the time, like when I realised that the bath and the vanity unit we had bought would only allow a 35cm gap to walk through to get to the toilet! (yes, I checked the sizes of the bath and vanity with the renovators before getting them, but apparently they didn't check the plans before confirming the size was okay. And I didn't check the plan either - I'll know better next time).

And then there was the call telling me that the door into the bathroom is not where it is marked on the plan. Not surprising really, plan of what is meant to be there, not what is there now. Surely they could tell that by looking at the plan and seeing one door marked, then looking at the wall and seeing two doors... Apparently they hadn't, and didn't think that moving the door was part of what they had agreed to do, despite agreeing to the plan with the door marked in a different spot. But they did eventually move the door.

And there was the wrong, (very, very blue) feature tiles turning up. At least we caught them before they stuck them on the walls.

Oh, and when we asked when they would need to replacement vanity by, they told us 2 days after they'd previously agreed they'd be finished.

But given all that, we amazingly look set for our planned 27 July move in date! I can't wait to use my new 5 burner gas cook top, extra wide oven, lovely deep bath, and new king size bed.

So, as we had to get a second vanity, I've been trying to sell the first one. I listed it on a couple of classifieds sites. A couple of days went by and I heard nothing. Then some guy emails me asking if it is still for sale. I say yes, and for him to let me know when he wants to come and look at it.

He tells me he is an oceanographer and is at sea at the moment and is buying it for his dad. Could I just send him some photos? So I took some photos, and he replied saying he'd transferred me $700 on paypal. I was asking $450, and the extra $200 was to pay someone to pick it up and $50 for the western union money transfer. Now, this is a vanity with an RRP of $799, and he's paying $750 for a second hand one, that he hasn't even seen. And apparently, I was meant to transfer $200 to someone (in Italy?!) before the paypal payment would be released. And his English is pretty bad... And then there was two fake, but fairly convincing emails, purporting to be from paypal, telling me they were holding money in escrow for me, pending me sending them the western union money transfer receipt number.

At this point, I decided to just ignore it, but he emailed be again tonight, asking why he hadn't heard anything from me. I considered just ignoring it, but then decided to respond that I wouldn't be transferring any money until I had received payment. Very promptly after that, I received another fake paypal email with the subject

***Money Guaranteed**Transfer Funds Immediately***

telling me:

Be aware that you are 100% safe with PayPal and you do not need to worry about anything concerning this transaction as we are currently holding the money and it's pending and ready to be credited into your account therefore you should make proper arrangements with the buyer on how to get the $200.00AUD sent to the address given to you so that we could be able to credit your account after you have sent us a copy of the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER details given to you at the western union store where you sent the money.

And this was almost immediately followed by another email from the guy, saying he hoped I'd got the email from paypal confirming payment had been made. I'm kind of curious how long they'll persist. I can see that they might have a fairly decent hit rate on the original attempt, but I would have thought that, once they'd been called, they'd give up pretty quickly. Will have to wait and see...

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