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[EXTREMELY OFF-TOPIC] The sad state of cgf's exciting new laptop

[WARNING long cathartic ramblings follow]
Well, I just got the news.  PayPal has closed the investigation.  I'm out
lots of money in an eBay transaction gone sour.

Some may remember that I mentioned that I was buying a laptop a few
weeks ago (it was going to be a birthday gift to myself).  I did quite a
bit of research and did a lot of wavering on whether I wanted something
as a complete desktop replacement or something which I could carry
around easily.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I just wanted something I
could lug from my home office to my "real" office so I went with
something both ridiculously heavy and ridiculously powerful.  I saw some
guy on eBay selling a few "Vision P4" laptops, which I'd read favorable
things about.  So I bid on one of them and won it! It was my first time
in active, down to the wire bidding on PayPal.  I was proud of my fast
reflexes as I typed in numbers in the last twenty seconds.  When I had
won the bid, I ran into the other room to tell my son about it to tell
him what a good deal I'd gotten.

Can you see me setting myself up for a fall?  Sure you can.

I paid for the computer a day after the auction closed without even
communicating with the seller.  I was quite excited.  I went out of my
way to pay for the thing using a PayPal account backed only by a credit
card because I stupidly thought that would give me some protection.  It
didn't.  I just thought it would be a cut and dry transaction.  It was.
I paid.  He took my money.  That was it.

While I was stupidly waiting for the computer to be shipped (walking around with
a big grin on my face, excited about getting such a great computer for such a
reasonable price) he was buying an Anime CD and a PokeMon cartridge for some
game system or other.  He was also ignoring email from me and (I learned later)
other people who were attempting to purchase their computers.  As it turns out,
I was the only person to actually pay for the thing.  Have I mentione yet how
stupid I was?

Eventually, I called the weasel to see what was going on and found that
his phone was disconnected (was it ever actually connected?  Who knows?
I was too stupid to check ahead of time), so I reported the guy to both
PayPal and eBay.  Then I called my credit card company to "stop payment"
and got the bad news.  It doesn't work that way with PayPal.  If I had
actually decided to fire a few more neurons in this process I probably
would have figured that out myself.  Sigh.  The credit card company said
that I had to go through PayPal if I wanted my money back.

PayPal started the clock running on getting my money back but, if it
wasn't too late by that time, it was when the clock finally ran out on
the investigation.  In fact, as far as I can tell, their system almost
guarantees that slimeballs can make off with their cash with a minimal
amount of effort when something like this happens.  They start an
investigation and then give the crook ten days to slowly gather his
belongings and get away.  Pfaugh.

So, I'm now out so much money that I'm almost physically ill.  It was money
that I'd been saving for a special birthday and now its gone.  And, I
have nobody to blame but myself.  I have been trying to explain to my
wife just how incredibly stupid I've been for a week and today I think
she finally got it.  She asked me "Why *were* you so stupid?" and I
didn't have an answer.  I guess I let my excitement get away with me.
That's rare for me.

So, why am I sending this email?  For three reasons:

1) In the open source like hopes that someone will benefit from my incredibly
   stupid actions and not do what I did.
   (Maybe if you're the kind of person who gets a real kick out of seeing
    somebody like me behaving really idiotically, you'll even get a smile
    from this message.)

2) To see if there was anyone here in or near Sayreville, NJ who might want
   to engage in a little personal email to see if I could track this person
   down (in the vague hope that the mailing address he gave was actually real).

3) Just as a catharsis.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this person had no prior history on eBay so I
couldn't check his rating.  Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.

Anyway, apologies for the off-topic post.  If anyone has any ideas on how
to nail this S.O.B. please contact me in private email.  Also, if anyone has
any good leads for a really powerful laptop computer for about $50, I'm

I'm off now to put in a bid for the Golden Gate bridge.  The seller is
named "notascammer" and he's got a 25% positive rating on eBay.  Sounds like
a sure thing...


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