Lauren Crook is at it again! And by that, I mean she is trying to turn a profit by selling items online. Only this time, rather than selling supposed custom designs in an online storefront, she has turned to eBay in an effort to sell her used clothing and shoes.
She posted a link to an eBay auction on her Tumblr yesterday. The post has since been deleted. Fortunately, Google Reader nevar 4gets.
Here is the actual eBay listing. As you can see, the auction has already ended with the boots being purchased, most likely using the Buy It Now option, as the listing ended within hours after Lauren advertised it on her Tumblr.
You'll notice that the listing states the boots as "used" and Lauren specifies in the item description that the boots show "very light signs of wear". However, despite possessing the clear ability to take photos whenever she likes, she opted not to take a picture of her actual boots for sale and used a stock photo instead. Ordinarily, using a stock photo in the item description for eBay items is fine--if the item is brand new and free of flaws, that is. But that isn't the case here.
She did take photos of the boots when she first got them in November of 2011, as evidenced by her Flickr:
And yet, she still couldn't be bothered to take any photos of the boots in their current state. (But she can somehow find the time to post something like this within the past few days, apparently.) I came across these older pictures of Lauren actually wearing the boots, and as you can see, they look pretty scuffed up:
click to view full size
Does that look like "very light signs of wear" to you?
Let's now take a look at Lauren's eBay history. We'll start by clicking the little number next to her eBay username and see where that takes us.
At first glance, her feedback profile looks all well and good, right? 100% positive feedback rating. So, does she have any feedback as a seller?
Nope, nothing yet.
But... waaait a minute...
Lauren created this eBay account less than two months ago. That's weird...
... Didn't she have an eBay username that had a lot more feedback? And wouldn't it make more sense to sell using the account with lots of feedback already built up? Whatever happened to that one, anyway?
In the address bar of the feedback page, I removed the "lilith" from her username, as I felt pretty sure her previous eBay username was "felicefawn". That brought me to THIS:
Oops, looks like Lauren got her previous account suspended!
Clicking on the "Not a registered member" link after her eBay name brings you to this page. On this page, eBay states "Feedback can be left only for registered members. A member might not be registered because the member's account was suspended or the member decided to close their account." I did entertain the possibility that Lauren could have just closed her eBay account. However, thinking about it logically, it really wouldn't make much sense for her to do so, especially since she had a 100% positive feedback rating with 96 individual ratings--definitely more impressive than her currently modest number of ratings. Unless there's something a person is trying to avoid, it doesn't really make much sense for one to just up and close their eBay account, if it is in good standing.
This is what eBay has to say about suspended accounts.
Looking for a possible cause of her old eBay account being suspended, I checked out her feedback. Like before, I clicked on the "Feedback as a Seller" tab. She actually did have feedback as a seller on that account. Let's take a look at how she did.
Now this is getting interesting.
You may remember alzeepark as Case #8 from the Deumos victim list entry. This was the UK fellow who purchased Lauren's camera body from her via eBay shortly after the Deumos drama. She collected his payment and sat on it for two weeks, not sending out his package... that is, until he tweeted her:
Luckily, he did end up receiving the item. But I have to wonder if it was only because he made it public and was possibly ready to open a Paypal dispute if Lauren didn't mail the item out soon--something most of her Deumos clients unfortunately did not do (to Lauren's direct benefit).
You will also notice that in February, neutral feedback was left for her by user dragonscode2008 when the purchased item was not received. The buyer opened a Paypal dispute and then was refunded. A bit surprising--until I noticed the amount of the transaction itself. £5.50. I wonder if Lauren intended to send the item at all, or just figured it was a small enough amount of money to refund the buyer so that her Paypal account would no longer be restricted (when one has open Paypal disputes against their account, the ability to make online purchases is blocked until the case is resolved: item is received/a refund is awarded to the buyer).
I was curious to see what kind of feedback Lauren had left for others before her account was suspended. This is what I found immediately upon clicking the "Feedback left for others" tab.
I nearly spit out my tea. You would know about absolute scams, wouldn't you, Lauren?
The seller's reply to her negative feedback is what's really intriguing, though. Lauren was refunded in full for this transaction, but appears to have received the item and did not return it to the seller after being refunded. She also left this feedback on April 12th of 2011. The item purchased was a package of 500 metal studs. Hmmm, wasn't this RIGHT around the time that Lauren was advertising her custom studded Deumos apparel?
Check the date on that tweet. April 25th, 2011. Nearly two weeks after she left negative feedback for the seller, who refunded her and tracked the item's delivery to find that she received the studs and did not send them back after getting her refund. So essentially, if what we can assume from her old eBay feedback is true, Lauren started the whole Deumos project by stealing from someone... so that she could further steal from others.
After making this discovery, I went outside for a cigarette, somewhat stunned by what I had found and wondering to myself: "How can someone be so morally bankrupt? To lie, cheat and steal nearly every step of the way, right from the beginning... Is it really that hard for Ms. Fawn to do an honest day's work?!"
Considering Lauren hasn't had a paid modeling or retouching job in quite some time, apparently, it is.
Lauren is also notorious for her online shopping sprees, often publicly documenting them on her Tumblr. You may remember this string of purchases she posted about after she had made several sales with her Deumos store. This behavior hasn't changed. In fact, just yesterday, the same day she sold her boots on eBay using her new account, she posted this on her Tumblr with the caption "Just ordered this. Nya."
Via Google Reader:
Via her Tumblr:
As you can see, the caption has since been removed. But the link betrays her. Nya.
Making purchases very soon after collecting funds from a sale is not necessarily what the issue is here, although it is generally smarter to wait until the buyer has received the purchased item to spend their money. But the issue is that she has done this same exact thing in the past, got called out for it, and never acknowledged OR resolved it with the 7+ people she scammed. It's been established that Lauren has a compulsive shopping pattern that, when she has money, she tends to spend right away on clothes. And the last time she did this, 7+ people got screwed out of their money while she openly boasted about her purchases online.
How to protect yourself from fraud on eBay:
- Check all feedback. Do not buy from anyone with 0 or poorly-rated feedback. If the seller is just starting out with less than 10 feedback ratings, be sure to check if they have any feedback as a seller. If they do not, use caution. Everyone does have to start somewhere, but be mindful if the seller has no feedback as a seller and/or has left negatives for others in the past. Read all neutral and negative feedback comments thoroughly to get an idea of what you may be in for should the transaction go sour.
- Ask questions, especially if the seller states in the item description they do not accept returns (as in Lauren's case with this most recent eBay listing). If an item being sold is advertised as "used" and the seller only has a stock photo of the item, ask the seller to see pictures of the items being sold. If the seller does not/will not produce a photo of the actual item being sold, don't purchase from them.
- Do research! Search Google for any information available on the seller. It took me very little time to actually look through Lauren's eBay histories and learn what I have. The internet makes it very easy to protect oneself from fraud nowadays. Use that to your advantage and do not buy from anyone with a dodgy history or who has been proven to be a scammer.
- Remember, Paypal only gives buyers 45 days from the date of sale to open a Paypal dispute. Do not wait around wondering where your package is. Maintain contact with the seller, and if the seller pulls a Houdini act, OPEN A PAYPAL DISPUTE. Even an international transaction should take less than 45 days total. Don't wait until it's too late!
It bears repeating: Lauren still has not resolved her outstanding issues with her Deumos clients. To date, there are at least 7 confirmed people (with potentially more) who purchased items from Lauren and never received their items OR a refund. Lauren may deal with problems in her life by pretending they don't exist, drinking and/or changing her name in an attempt to "start over" (and in this case, with a new eBay username to match her recent Tumblr "comeback"), but that doesn't mean the rest of us will forget what she did. When faced with undeniable evidence, not acknowledging that one has done something wrong indicates a serious lack of moral compass. Despite creating a new eBay account to sell clothes and shoes, Lauren cannot ignore the skeletons in her closet: the defrauded Deumos clients whom she tries so hard to silence.
UPDATE 4-21-12: Lauren received her very first seller feedback rating on her new eBay account and--guess what!--it's negative. It seems the Irregular Choice boots were badly scuffed after all, which would explain (as earlier speculated) why she chose to use a stock photo for a used item.
At least she actually sent them out this time. I mean, it's a start. But that still doesn't excuse grossly misrepresenting the item for sale. You read it here first. Spread the word!