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Sold a Stolen Mobile - Appropriate for Small Claims Court

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I was sold a stolen Samsung Note 4 mobile phone. I got it off Ebay last August and I've only found it in the this June that it was reported stolen in London in Jan 2015. While you may think I'm stup… Read More
eliza2811 Avatar
11m, 11h agoPosted 11 months, 11 hours ago
I was sold a stolen Samsung Note 4 mobile phone. I got it off Ebay last August and I've only found it in the this June that it was reported stolen in London in Jan 2015. While you may think I'm stupid and should have done a Checkmend report 1) I wouldn't expect a person to have the b*lls to think they could get away with selling a stolen mobile 2) I would expect a stolen mobile to be blocked when I got it or shortly afterwards. Infact to this day, it isn't blocked according to EE and yet still after doing a Checkmend report last month and getting a call from the Met Police, I've handed it in to the police station. The search for it caused it to be flagged up to the Met Police on their system.

I'm too late to claim money back via Ebay or Paypal. I paid on a Visa debit card and Nationwide refused a Chargeback claim as it's a stolen item. The CAB have mentioned small claims court. Would this be appropriate ? I have been in contact with the guy I got it off who said he got it off PC World Currys Ebay outlet store. He's known for 2 months that it was a stolen mobile (not stolen by him I assume) as he claims he bought it June 2015. It's supposed to be contract free and yet EE say an account is linked to it. I have not directly asked for money back from the seller but have asked him to chase it up with PC World Currys Ebay outlet and it seems he isn't making any effort.

Would be grateful for any advice ? I'm not confident that Checkmend reports are accurate anyway.

Thanks very much
eliza2811 Avatar
11m, 11h agoPosted 11 months, 11 hours ago
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eliza2811
Hi,
Thank you for all of your comments. I have a receipt sent by the seller showing purchase of a Samsung Note 4 from PC Worlds Currys Ebay outlet last June. It doesn't have a IMEI number on it so could be any Note 4 so I've definitely considered it possibly that 'my' Note 4 didn't come from that place. I have spoken to the main cust service people at Currys but they said get the seller to ring up. A week and a half later, he still hasn't rung up and got any answers. The police have sent a request to Currys PC World by letter for info. also. I do believe that I can do the Small Claims and use his work address but I have to prove to the courts why I have to use the work address first before doing the paperwork.
I don't know the insurance company involved unfortunately. Indeed if roles were reversed and he bought a stolen mobile from me, I would be doing all I can to get to the bottom of it and taking it seriously. Maybe us females are naturally curious though :-)

that was something i hadn't thought of. buying another one, getting some legit-appearing documentation to cover the phone. did the listing originally state it was sourced from PC world and did you see the receipt at time of purchase? if it was bought to cover the tracks of the stolen one, the seller would've been very upfront about where it (supposedly) came from.

How has the seller been to you? do they seem helpful? have they been responding to messages?
playing the devil's advocate, it is the middle of summer, this has come out of nowhere (a year after they sold it), some people are forgetful/lazy/slow to complete tasks.
i would say until there's definitive proof, keep him onside and don't directly accuse him, lose your temper, or indicate you're after him/implicating him at all. I've seen a number of transactions where the seller has cut all ties after attempting to help but having the buyer go behind their back with chargebacks/paypal etc when they weren't actually at fault.


one potential next step would be along the lines of 'hey. the police have been speaking to the original owner and insurance company and are slowly continuing their investigations. in the meantime they're pushing me to begin civil proceedings to recover my money. obviously you are caught in the middle of this and I don't want to cause you any grief when it's clear you've been messed around too, but if you could please speak to PCW/CPW about x/y/z or authorise me to talk to them, that would really help.'
basically the most diplomatic way of saying 'you have the opportunity to pass the buck. pass the buck or i'm coming for you!!!!!!'

the police have written to them and that may eventually get them some answers, so it could potentially sort itself out in time. i'm surprised they have to be honest, because i was under the impression crimes like this are too fiddly and minor to devote such resources to. I think the police also need to speak to EE! why would EE have registered a CPW phone which has been returned? the registration would switch to the replacement.

i'm still not convinced the small claims court would rule in your favour. I would like to hear from someone with real-world knowledge of the legal system. failing that, MSE has some more specific forums frequented by people from different industries, i think there are lawyers who may give you some informal guidance.
I'm sure you've read this or had the gist from CAB https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/somethings-gone-wrong-with-a-purchase/if-you-think-youve-bought-stolen-goods but it doesn't specify what happens when goods were resold in good faith
why did nationwide deny a chargeback? is it because paypal are involved and they're an intermediary? CAB seems to think chargebacks are the way to resolve it. and have you actually spoken to paypal or just expecting them to say it's out of date? (although http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=362123 seems to say there's a limit on paypal - the old 60 days at time of thread, 180 days now)

All Responses

(21) Jump to unreadPost an answer
Responses/page:
#1
You gave the sellers details to the police, right?
#2
I gave his name and a copy of the invoice for his purchase of a Note 4 from Currys PC World. That's his work address and the billing and shipping address. He stills works there. I have his work and his mobile number. I don't have his home address. I wouldn't be able to get it from Ebay after a year either.
#3
I should say that his work address WAS down as the billing and shipping address.
#4
I guess you know about this web page from Citizens Advice.
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/somethings-gone-wrong-with-a-purchase/if-you-think-youve-bought-stolen-goods/

Your case is complex because the person you bought it from is not taking similar action that you took i.e trying to get his money back via Currys. Of course, at this distance I have no idea whether he his telling the truth. Documentary evidence would be really good.
The linked page does talk about going to court but I would not do that without legal advice first. If you follow the various CAB pages it will link you to the law society web site where you can find a local solicitor who specialises in consumer law. You should be able to get a half-hour interview for free. Also, have a look at any insurances you may have - some of them include legal advice cover. You may even have some legal cover on your debit card (doubtful though). I would also contact e-bay especially if you have documentary evidence.
#5
Where about in the country does he work? What does he do? A nice message saying your on your way might help things along. Did you get a crime number? Email him that too so he knows plod are aware and its not any empty threat.
#6
Thank you both for your suggestions. There is a crime ref number but it relates to the original theft. Now closed down (with my help) by the Met Police. The phone has gone back to the original London victim's insurance company. Beginning to wonder if that person was doing a scam somewhere. Another suggestion made by a Carphone Warehouse employee is that the 'stolen' mobile parts may have been used to refurbish another Note 4. Also learnt that IMEI numbers or phones can be flashed ?? Who knows ?

The police have sent some sort of data request to the main Currys PC World cust service team last week. It wouldn't look good for them to be seen to be selling stolen mobiles. Yes I have seen that CAB page and while I do believe I've done the correct thing handing in the phone to the copper's, they haven't done anything to help me as yet. It would have made life easier if I'd purchased from a business seller off Ebay. I'd feel less sh*tty about demanding money back. All the laws surrounding getting refunds for dodgy goods read as if you've bought from a business trader rather than a private individual who could be an innocent party, but I can't claim money from Currys as I didn't purchase from them nor can I demand information from them due to Data Protection.
banned#7
is it possible the seller was the claimer , to report his lost / stolen phone just to get a hand out and sell the original one on eBay?
#8
How precisely have you come to learn that the seller knew it was stolen. Did he admit such upon making your recent enquiries or did he only find out from you?
#9
Lesson learnt that if you are buying second hand phones, only buy them from reputable companies/places.
Though, if you can afford to pay the extra buy new.
#10
The seller is not the claimer/the account holder. EE confirmed that the account holder was not the seller. No names given out by them but I repeated the seller's name to them and they said No, not the same person.

I let the seller know that it was a stolen phone in June this year. I let him know that I had to provide all his details to the Met police as I had to tell them how I acquired a stolen phone. I had to email details of the Ebay and Paypal transactions.

As for buying from reputable companies, it seems he purchased from Currys PC World although via Ebay, it's still linked to the high street stores, Carphone Warehouse sell out of Currys PC World stores. The outlet store sells the phones that folks send back, ex demo, end of stock, damaged stock, possibly refurbed phones. Is that reputable enough ? Thanks for the words
#11
Sorry to hear about the sh***y situation you are in. This is why I always stick to buying stuff from networks or a manufacturer when it comes to phones.

I would feel bad too claiming from the private seller but I can't understand why your bank would refuse a chargeback under section 75. It's not like you knowingly purchased the phone knowing it was stolen. What was their exact reasoning?

Edited By: thenormalone on Aug 25, 2016 21:25
#12
Sell the phone on ebay. Say that the phone will not work in the UK. Regroup as much money as you can and then move on.
#13
ChubbySocks
Sell the phone on ebay. Say that the phone will not work in the UK. Regroup as much money as you can and then move on.

Which part of "The search for it caused it to be flagged up to the Met Police on their system" and "I've handed it in to the police station (sic)" do you not understand?


Edited By: DaveTaylor on Aug 26, 2016 03:07: .
#14
I would contact the bank again to state that you didn't know it was stolen at the time of purchase and contact the seller demanding a refund. Don't get wrapped up in the he's an individual as the demand may well spur him into action if the phone has indeed come from Currys.
#15
I think you've done well so far by not blaming him or burning your bridges.
You've also done the honourable thing by giving it up etc

As was mentioned earlier, it is quite a complex issue with many parties involved and as a complete non-legal (but not necessary illegal :p) person, it still seems to me that it would be difficult to pin the issue on him. you *may* have more of a case against PC world, but as your contract wasn't with them, how would the court see it?

so now you've got to hope there's another way round it. The obvious avenues (eBay, paypal, chargeback etc) have all been exhausted.

*hopefully* the seller will see that you've lost out and it would cost him nothing to take up the issue with PC world, and he would put in a little bit of effort to sort you out.
how you play it with him will determine how willing he will be to help. he's not under any obligation, but it would be a really low move for him to not assist

Now let's assume he's telling the truth about buying it from PC World (have you any proof of this? seen his receipt/proof of postage; were there any stickers etc on the box when you bought it e.g. PC World refurb or CPW Void if removed).

The phone was reported stolen in Jan 2015.
Seller bought the phone from PC world on eBay in June 2015.
You bought the phone in Aug 2015.
Phone flagged up by met, handed in June 2016.


I can't get my head around this timeline.
There are several ways we could've got here.

1) Everyone's telling the truth.
I find this unlikely because PC World are NOT (as far as I'm aware, unless anyone knows any better) in the business of selling used stolen phones on eBay 6 months down the line.
They DO sell used phones (see http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Mobile-Smart-Phones/9355/m.html?_ssn=currys_pcworld) but see their definition of used
May have minor wear or damage to the box, such as small tears, minor edge depressions or appear a little aged. The product itself may be pristine or have very minor signs of handling or use, which do not affect the functionality of the product.
"Used" items may be aged stock, ex-display from a Currys PC World retail store, or an unwanted, opened product returned by a retail customer. All unsealed, "Used" products are visually inspected and will be deemed saleable.
If the product has heavy box damage or missing parts, this will be stated in the product listing. If a product listing states "Heavy box damage", this means the product box will have more significant damage, such as crushing, holes, tears, rips or more prominent label damage. The product within the box will have been deemed undamaged and saleable.
Items listed as "Used" come with 12 months Currys/PC World Outlet warranty.

The only way this could possibly have occurred is someone bought the phone, scammed insurance/reported stolen and then returned the phone!!! The audacity of this.....!! I don't know how the database/checkmend works, but can you see someone buying a phone from PC World, running this scam and them not realising?

2) The phone didn't come from PC World and this is a cover.
In which case it could be
- knowingly selling on a stolen phone, stolen from stranger
- being part of a scam where someone else seemingly unconnected (e.g. a mate, different surname, different address, no obvious links at first glance) reports it stolen and palms it off to him to sell for cash
- selling the phone on in good faith, being caught up in the middle of an unfortunate series of events. but then why lie about PC World/ebay?

3) Someone from the inside is running a scam. I'm sure some inventive guy in a poorly controlled environment at the CPW/PC World warehouse may garnish a little over the top. Used to know a guy who would laugh and brag about his thievy antics 10-15 years ago at a local phone shop (before they were so strict about IMEIs etc).
Some numbers and details can be flashed but on my purchases from CPW, I've had the IMEI on the receipt, and S/N & IMEI on the box. I associate flashed IMEIs with gumtree and high street mobile repair shops (sorry to taint the ones who follow the rules, but not everyone is above board) and not the biggest electronics/mobile retailer in the country where the must be an obvious audit trail all the way from the supplier to the person who lobbed it out of the depot towards the delivery man.

I know most people aren't likely to do this, but if I was the person in the middle who sold the phone on in good faith, I wouldn't feel obliged to refund the money, but I'd bend over backwards to give all info to the police, out-of-pocket buyer, and do all I can to recover the money on their behalf (because as you weren't in a contract with the original vendor, you would have limited joy in pushing for a refund etc).
I would assume the police have zero interest in digging into this, but if EE were to release the name to them, that could help.

And this is a bit of a longshot - but if you know what insurance company it is, maybe you could contact them with your tale of woe and if they've basically just got this used, worthless phone lying around with no intention of selling it on, they *may* take pity and give it out, but the likelihood is probably very low.

Maybe put in a call to PC World and ask them for more info. I know they won't speak to you but imagine the PR if you tweeted/FB'd them 'Hey PC World, why won't you answer my email, I need to know why the police repossessed a stolen phone that was bought from your outlet. I always thought you didn't trade in dodgy and stolen merchandise.' You can maybe prod them to pick up the phone to the police.
#16
Hi,

Thank you for all of your comments. I have a receipt sent by the seller showing purchase of a Samsung Note 4 from PC Worlds Currys Ebay outlet last June. It doesn't have a IMEI number on it so could be any Note 4 so I've definitely considered it possibly that 'my' Note 4 didn't come from that place. I have spoken to the main cust service people at Currys but they said get the seller to ring up. A week and a half later, he still hasn't rung up and got any answers. The police have sent a request to Currys PC World by letter for info. also. I do believe that I can do the Small Claims and use his work address but I have to prove to the courts why I have to use the work address first before doing the paperwork.

I don't know the insurance company involved unfortunately. Indeed if roles were reversed and he bought a stolen mobile from me, I would be doing all I can to get to the bottom of it and taking it seriously. Maybe us females are naturally curious though :-)

Edited By: eliza2811 on Aug 26, 2016 19:30
#17
Is the seller from these shores?
#18
eliza2811
Hi,
Thank you for all of your comments. I have a receipt sent by the seller showing purchase of a Samsung Note 4 from PC Worlds Currys Ebay outlet last June. It doesn't have a IMEI number on it so could be any Note 4 so I've definitely considered it possibly that 'my' Note 4 didn't come from that place. I have spoken to the main cust service people at Currys but they said get the seller to ring up. A week and a half later, he still hasn't rung up and got any answers. The police have sent a request to Currys PC World by letter for info. also. I do believe that I can do the Small Claims and use his work address but I have to prove to the courts why I have to use the work address first before doing the paperwork.
I don't know the insurance company involved unfortunately. Indeed if roles were reversed and he bought a stolen mobile from me, I would be doing all I can to get to the bottom of it and taking it seriously. Maybe us females are naturally curious though :-)

If it were me I'd be attempting to claim a refund for the seller, who you bought the phone from. They should then be claiming from PC World ect..

Perhaps before making the request for funds find out as much info as possible on the seller in case they just ignore you after you ask for the funds. See if you can get their home info ect..
#19
eliza2811
Hi,
Thank you for all of your comments. I have a receipt sent by the seller showing purchase of a Samsung Note 4 from PC Worlds Currys Ebay outlet last June. It doesn't have a IMEI number on it so could be any Note 4 so I've definitely considered it possibly that 'my' Note 4 didn't come from that place. I have spoken to the main cust service people at Currys but they said get the seller to ring up. A week and a half later, he still hasn't rung up and got any answers. The police have sent a request to Currys PC World by letter for info. also. I do believe that I can do the Small Claims and use his work address but I have to prove to the courts why I have to use the work address first before doing the paperwork.
I don't know the insurance company involved unfortunately. Indeed if roles were reversed and he bought a stolen mobile from me, I would be doing all I can to get to the bottom of it and taking it seriously. Maybe us females are naturally curious though :-)

that was something i hadn't thought of. buying another one, getting some legit-appearing documentation to cover the phone. did the listing originally state it was sourced from PC world and did you see the receipt at time of purchase? if it was bought to cover the tracks of the stolen one, the seller would've been very upfront about where it (supposedly) came from.

How has the seller been to you? do they seem helpful? have they been responding to messages?
playing the devil's advocate, it is the middle of summer, this has come out of nowhere (a year after they sold it), some people are forgetful/lazy/slow to complete tasks.
i would say until there's definitive proof, keep him onside and don't directly accuse him, lose your temper, or indicate you're after him/implicating him at all. I've seen a number of transactions where the seller has cut all ties after attempting to help but having the buyer go behind their back with chargebacks/paypal etc when they weren't actually at fault.


one potential next step would be along the lines of 'hey. the police have been speaking to the original owner and insurance company and are slowly continuing their investigations. in the meantime they're pushing me to begin civil proceedings to recover my money. obviously you are caught in the middle of this and I don't want to cause you any grief when it's clear you've been messed around too, but if you could please speak to PCW/CPW about x/y/z or authorise me to talk to them, that would really help.'
basically the most diplomatic way of saying 'you have the opportunity to pass the buck. pass the buck or i'm coming for you!!!!!!'

the police have written to them and that may eventually get them some answers, so it could potentially sort itself out in time. i'm surprised they have to be honest, because i was under the impression crimes like this are too fiddly and minor to devote such resources to. I think the police also need to speak to EE! why would EE have registered a CPW phone which has been returned? the registration would switch to the replacement.

i'm still not convinced the small claims court would rule in your favour. I would like to hear from someone with real-world knowledge of the legal system. failing that, MSE has some more specific forums frequented by people from different industries, i think there are lawyers who may give you some informal guidance.
I'm sure you've read this or had the gist from CAB https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/somethings-gone-wrong-with-a-purchase/if-you-think-youve-bought-stolen-goods but it doesn't specify what happens when goods were resold in good faith
why did nationwide deny a chargeback? is it because paypal are involved and they're an intermediary? CAB seems to think chargebacks are the way to resolve it. and have you actually spoken to paypal or just expecting them to say it's out of date? (although http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=362123 seems to say there's a limit on paypal - the old 60 days at time of thread, 180 days now)
#20
Hi,

Sorry for no contact. I've been away for bank holiday. Hope you all had a good one !

Thanks again. There's lots of consumer advice on CAB, Which sites but they all refer to faulty goods not stolen goods. Nationwide have denied the Chargeback because it's a stolen item. It doesn't matter that I didn't know it was stolen at time of purchase to them. I have decided to be more assertive this week with the guy who sold it.
I am going to write a letter asking for the money back and send it recorded delivery to his workplace. I will state that I'm more than happy to wait for the refund, more than happy for him to try to get a refund from Currys PC World and then pay me back, but I do want the full money back by the end of September 2016. I think that's fair (_;) I will state that I'm not accusing of him knowingly selling me a stolen phone but it is a stolen phone according to the London Met Police.

I presume I have to be seen to be working things out with the seller before considering MCOL. I've kept all my emails to him, to Currys PC World outlet even.

I don't know if Small Claims would rule in my favour but it's written in black and white that it's a stolen phone. I'm certain if the seller hadn't sold the phone to me, if he'd kept it and all this had happened, he'd want his money back.




Edited By: eliza2811 on Aug 29, 2016 17:59
#21
hope it works out! hopefully this will prod him into getting a result out of CPW/PCW, or, if he is a scammer, to dig into his pocket now the ruse is up!!

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