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Brad H

Dominant Strings on Ebay....Too Good to be True?

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I normally buy strings from large wholesalers.    Recently, my will weakened and I bought a couple sets of Dominants on Ebay for $34/set.    I was surprised to see that the strings arrived from Shar Products.    Upon my inquiry, the Ebay seller said he works for Shar.    I called up Shar and spoke with an agent who said that the seller does NOT work for Shar, but he saw that someone had placed the order in my name and paid full price for the strings ($65/set).   The agent thinks the seller must be using a stolen credit card.

I contacted Ebay but their agent said there was little they could do.    So, yes, more fraud through Ebay, and, yes, too good to be true.   And, yes, I should know better.

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2 hours ago, Brad H said:

I normally buy strings from large wholesalers.    Recently, my will weakened and I bought a couple sets of Dominants on Ebay for $34/set.    I was surprised to see that the strings arrived from Shar Products.    Upon my inquiry, the Ebay seller said he works for Shar.    I called up Shar and spoke with an agent who said that the seller does NOT work for Shar, but he saw that someone had placed the order in my name and paid full price for the strings ($65/set).   The agent thinks the seller must be using a stolen credit card.

I contacted Ebay but their agent said there was little they could do.    So, yes, more fraud through Ebay, and, yes, too good to be true.   And, yes, I should know better.

Highly unlikely it is a credit card fraud. Fraudsters using stolen cards have very little time-frame before the card is reported and use the time to charge high value goods. What is essentially happening is that Shar music is receiving products at a wholesale rate from Dominant for resale to either dealers or end shop customers. They are essentially discounting it and selling it online for a quicker buck.Its happening in every industry. The seller was telling the truth. He obviously is a Shar employee in the underground internet sales department !

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The seller was telling the truth. He obviously is a Shar employee in the underground internet sales department !

Thanks for your opinion.   I think you're wrong.

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I have been buying DOMINANT strings on ebay for more than a year now. It has come in SHar music envelopes many time. Plus the seller continues to have excellent reviews on his ebay account. 

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I tried one out just for the fun of it a few months ago, and I'm pretty convinced that they are fakes. They sound pretty good but the colours do not match the classic Dominant set (slightly different tint and thread material). Also, for some reason, the thread part of the string is way too long and goes over the nut (tried it on multiple violins). I would stay away from them. 

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Or maybe...That's the employee discount price, and s/he is selling them on the side? It makes no sense that Shar would funnel sales - at a discount - through eBay. There is something not right going on, but it may not be credit card fraud, per se. I doubt it is officially sanctioned Shar business.

True story: years and years ago, I bought some bows on eBay.  They still had the stock numbers on them, and a quick search turned up that those items were (also) sold on the Shar site.  I called Shar up, and described the bows, and Shar affirmed that were likely from Shar.  That's because of the way they were packed in the bow case, and the Shar numbers on the slide sticker.  The person I spoke with at Shar opined that someone had requested a trial and not returned them.  Unfortunately, the eBay sender contact information was a dead end.  The Shar rep told me to keep the bows, unless I wanted to send them in gratis. Apparently, Shar records only went back a few years. 

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On 6/17/2020 at 5:08 PM, Yogic said:

Highly unlikely it is a credit card fraud. Fraudsters using stolen cards have very little time-frame before the card is reported and use the time to charge high value goods. What is essentially happening is that Shar music is receiving products at a wholesale rate from Dominant for resale to either dealers or end shop customers. They are essentially discounting it and selling it online for a quicker buck.Its happening in every industry. The seller was telling the truth. He obviously is a Shar employee in the underground internet sales department !

.

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2 minutes ago, LSF said:

Same thing happened to me and I called Shar about it.  In my case they read back the last 5 numbers on the credit card to see if they matched mine (I do have an account with their wholesale arm),  and they didn't match so I was off the hook, but Shar was taken.  What you are saying might be possible, but with Shar I don't think its too likely.  Sure, though, it can happen.  Many scenarios.  Shop going out of business, or being sold by one of those people that buys up merchandise from shops that have closed.  Old stock that needs to be moved at a discount.   Distressed merchandise or returned merchandise that needs to be moved. Dishonest employees that are selling out the back door or from their home.  I've seen it all.    Many moons ago I worked in a gas station that sold oil by the can at full price and a whole case at a discount.  One of the weekend guys there would start his shift on Saturday, break out a full case, sell the individual cans at full retail, then at the end of his shift on Sunday, mark that he'd sold so many cases at a discount to cover the inventory, pocket the difference between retail, and put that amount into the till.  Sneaky!

There are multiple sellers selling a Dominant set for $34 for ebay and I buy regularly from them. They have all been business for more than a year with many reviews.You will not get a Dominant set for $34 from a retail store.The product is genuine but they do not come in retail pouches which makes me strongly suspect that the item is finding a way to them through other means. I have worked in a similar industry before and stock diversion at reduced prices was always a pain to manage.For example, the Italian firm Bogaro and Clemente sells to dealers but forbids anyone from selling on ebay 

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I'm getting the impression that there's a "Perfect Storm" of scams occurring on eBay right now.  The Amazon reselling scam I was aware of.  Besides some lower retail prices on Amazon, reselling is also facilitated by Amazon's allowing wholesale accounts that buy at a discount, and while annoying, isn't technically illegal.  The various scams coming from China are also well known.  Most either center on drop-ship catalog resellers who never actually have contact with the products they sell, misrepresenting themselves as manufacturers/wholesalers, or on counterfeit goods.  There's also always the background noise of sellers who promise more than they deliver, sell stolen goods, or are just bozos to deal with.

The credit-card scamming described by the OP is new to me.  It frankly worries me a lot, because I also use eBay for Just In Time supply grabbing, and this seems too stealthy to reliably catch in advance of ordering.  @Brad H, thanks for posting this. :)

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Middle-people buying from Amazon and selling for a higher price on eBay is perfectly legitimate and not scammy or even close to illegal. Neither is selling on eBay and using Amazon to drop-ship to the seller's eBay customers.

I am not sure why anybody has the slightest problem with this. 

 

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On 6/19/2020 at 11:06 AM, GeorgeH said:

Middle-people buying from Amazon and selling for a higher price on eBay is perfectly legitimate and not scammy or even close to illegal. Neither is selling on eBay and using Amazon to drop-ship to the seller's eBay customers.

I am not sure why anybody has the slightest problem with this. 

 

 .

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8 hours ago, Yogic said:

There are multiple sellers selling a Dominant set for $34 for ebay and I buy regularly from them. They have all been business for more than a year with many reviews.

The fact that they have positive reviews means nothing.   The buyer got their strings so they are oblivious to the probable credit card fraud perpetrated by the "seller".    Please explain how an Ebay seller can buy strings from Shar for $65/set, sell them on Ebay for $34/set and make a profit....unless there is some type of fraud going on.   Again, the SHAR rep I spoke with thought the sellers were using stolen credit cards.

 

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7 hours ago, Violadamore said:

It frankly worries me a lot, because I also use eBay for Just In Time supply grabbing, and this seems too stealthy to reliably catch in advance of ordering.

If it seems too good to be true....it is.

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26 minutes ago, Brad H said:

The fact that they have positive reviews means nothing.   The buyer got their strings so they are oblivious to the probable credit card fraud perpetrated by the "seller".    Please explain how an Ebay seller can buy strings from Shar for $65/set, sell them on Ebay for $34/set and make a profit....unless there is some type of fraud going on.   Again, the SHAR rep I spoke with thought the sellers were using stolen credit cards.

 

Your assumption is that the seller buys from Shar and resells it.My submission is that the seller is actually Shar masquerading as somebody else.I have worked in the wholesale industry and know how it works. The company representative along with the senior management in order to achieve their annual targets will ask a chosen large reseller ( In this case Shar) to buy in very large quantities and give them a substantial discount.So the company meets their annual targets and Shar is sitting on a huge inventory but bought at a very low rate almost factory price.Remember accessories unlike instruments are a volume business and not margin driven. Shar obviously needs to dispose this inventory and will discount it substantially and sell through third party commerce sites like ebay direct to end users when by agreement with the company they are not allowed to do so.This is the reason the product does not come in retail pouches as they are supplied to Shar in a wholesale packaging. They are only authorized to sell to the dealer channel but in this case Dominant will turn the other way as they are part of the game.Now this is my point of view and I may be totally wrong and it could very well be a credit card scam. But my experience makes me believe this is just a distributor company nexus at play.

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^if Shar had this mass inventory to get rid of, they would not be doing it using two or three sellers on ebay whose other items are typical flea market mall items, and only them.   they're using stolen credit card info, or less likely stolen identities as the linked article said

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An odd, possibly related, thing happened to me recently:  I received a set of Dominants in the mail from Shar which I did not order.  The accompanying paperwork said that the $69.95 price had been charged to a credit card, but the card number was not given.  As far as I can tell from my card statement, my card was not charged.   I have not contacted Shar or my card company to investigate the matter.  I don't think I have ever bought anything from Shar or given them my card number  --  certainly not in the last 15 years -- so I don't know how they would have my name and address.  I sometimes buy Dominants on Ebay, but I don't think that's where this set came from.  So why did I get these strings?

Unfortunately, the strings are 1/8 size, which I have no use for.

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An odd, possibly related, thing happened to me recently:  I received a set of Dominants in the mail from Shar which I did not order.

I will wager that the string order originated from one of the Ebay sellers, and that they mistakenly placed the order for you instead of the actual  Ebay buyer.   Since the Ebay seller presumably paid through some type of fraud, they didn't bother to contact you about the error.   You might call up Shar and have them investigate....the more info they have, the better able to tackle the problem.

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Money laundering is also another possibility. There is significant amounts of it on ebay, but I would also suspect stolen credit card. Stolen credit card information has never been as available as it is now, and I have been hearing from friends that they were victims recently. 

Stolen credit cards are virtually unlimited. People will sell you an almost unlimited supply of them. The only challenge is not getting caught, and in this case, the seller is rather protected. Neither eBay nor Shar ends up with information that can be used to find this person, so managing the internet identity is the only challenge. If you're small potatoes, ebay/Shar won't be looking that hard at you. 

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11 hours ago, fragslap said:

Wouldn't Shar complain to ebay to have the seller shut down if it was illegitimate or fraudulent in any fashion?

 

I think the Ebay seller just placed the order in my name, using whoever's credit card....but am not sure.

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Just to add a bit more support to the gray market theory....  I bought some Vision Titanium Solos on ebay from a "small-time" seller (7 feedbacks) at less than half the normal retail price.  The strings arrived quickly, in original packing, and look ok from the string color charts.  Ebay indicated the seller was in the LA region, but the invoice and USPS return address were for Shar Music in Ann Arbor. 

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