The DomainSecondHand.com Scam

So, for those of you who ready my blog
regularly you know that I was tricked into getting a domain appraised through a
company called DomainSecondHand.com. A reader, "Ann" was the first person
to make me aware of the fact that this could be a scam. Unfortunately this was
not until I already spent money with the site.

It all started a few weeks ago when I
was contacted by a person who went by the name of Shawn McElligot. He contacted
me with the following email:

Hello,

We are interested in thinkoutsideofbox.com

Your name was listed in online auction. What is your price for the name?

Our company is involved in software development/support business.

Now domain invetsing/reselling is just an additional direction of our
investment strategy.

Look forward to do business with you.

Regards,
Shawn McElligot
President
GBW Software

After emailing back they indicated they wanted to buy the domain name for
$36,000. I was excited, but obviously a bit cautious. I should have known from
the spelling errors and grammar mistakes in the first email that this was a
scam.  They said  that in order to buy my domain they would not
accept my Sedo or Afternic appraisals because these were not done by hand –
instead they suggested DomainSecondHand.com.

The DomainSecondHand.com website looked a big scrappy and was very thin with
contact information or any real details about the company behind the site. Even
still, I wanted to believe, and couldn’t imagine this would be a scam. Well I
spent a good amount of money on the site using their services and even listing
one of my domains for sale through their service.

When I contacted the interested buyer who contact me, his story suddenly
changed. He told me he wanted to help me sell the domain and would help promote
it through sites like eBay. This is where I knew something was wrong, I emailed
him back and asked if we could have a short phone call. He responded saying he
was in Europe and the time schedule would make it too difficult.

Then I challenged his credibility and inquired into why he had me have the
domain appraised through a different service than I had already. (And a service
more expensive than either of the other two I had used!) He had no answers and
instead kept insisting that I should give him commission on the sale of my
domain!

I broke-off communications but hadn’t quite put the pieces together. After
seeing the post on my blog I searched Google and found the stories of others
who had befallen the same fate as me.

I decided I was going to get my money back. I contacted Plimus and let them
know the order numbers I wanted refunded. My domain listing was refunded almost
immediately. The appraisals were another story.

In the section of the refund form I wrote:

Comments: CUSTOMER :
Product not delivered – This is the second refund I need issued due to
DomainSecondHand. This is an illegitimate company that is running out of Russia
and is NOT supplying what they are promising. I would like a full refund as the
domain appraisal is most likely fake and is not accepted by anyone online. Can
you please ensure my credit card is NOT charged again by this company?


To which DomainSecondHand responded and attempted to refuse my return!

Dear
Morgan,

We are
a legitimate company and we never make unauthorized charges. You can check it
yourself by checking your credit card account.

We
already provided you with refund for listing. Our appraisal service is
reasonable and we are always doing what we promise. We have thousands of happy
customers. Please show us appraisals of the same domains from at least two
major sources. If there is a big diference in results we will provide you with
refund. You should prove first that our appraisal is not reasonable. Otherwise
you are trying to use our services for free.

Your
appraisal was not accepted by anyone online. Please email us full contact
information of people who did not accept our appraisal. I think you must be
responsible for your statements. So email us their contact information or don’t
make false statements.

We have your order on file. You have agreed with our user agreement in which we
stated that we did not provide refunds for this service. We have already paid
independent experts for appraisal of your name and we cannot cancel this
transaction. Our company does not earn money on appraisals. We pay all the
money to experts and provide this service to satisfy demands of our domain
sellers.

Well I was not going to let someone
take advantage of me and then have the company try to bully me out of my money,
so I responded:

I found-out about your service through
an individual that said they wanted to buy my name. They required that I get
the domain appraised by you and only you in order to sell the domain to them.
After getting the appraisal they disappeared.

I have
been reading a lot online about this being a scam. See links below:

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/index.php/t-243529.html

Here’s
a post on NamePro’s all about this:

http://www.namepros.com/warnings-and-alerts/368466-scam-me-allen_asch-toughguy-net.html

I was
tricked into using your appraisal service and within the domain community your
site is known for being a scam. If you are a legitimate company please provide
me a telephone number so I can talk with someone at your company. The only
number on your website says Phone/Fax but is only a Fax number.

I would
like to know where your company is operating from and a telephone number I can
use to reach you. I hope you understand that your website is listed all over
every popular domain forum as being a scam site…seems odd this hasn’t shown-up
on your radar yet.

The
appraisal you provided me is not accepted by anyone since you have such a bad
reputation online. I am prepared to take this to the next-level to get my money
back. Please respond with a telephone number and the state that you conduct
business in. Please provide me with the person who performed my appraisal and
their accreditations. I will be contacting the BBB should I not hear back from
you immediately.

Please
understand that when your website is listed on a scam on every major website
and your telephone number just rings to a fax machine it’s a little suspicious.
Why would you not provide a company phone number and address like any other
company on the Internet? Notice I give the address and phone number for my company
below – this is what all businesses do…

Looking
forward to receiving your answers to my questions.

And, for those of you still following
the saga…I got my refund! See final email below:

Dear
Morgan,

We will
investigate this. If you think you were scammed by our affiliate please email
us his name and contact information.


We will also provide you with refund for the service. Our reputation is
important for us.


Sincerely,


Shirley M. Leurquin
Customer Support

Now, the only remaining question in my
mind is, "is this really a legitimate company." They still have not
confirmed that they did a real appraisal. They did not respond to my questions
as to who did my appraisal and why they are someone with an expertise in domain names. I also asked why they had no contact phone number or address on
their site. I received no response to this so will continue to dig deeper.

Shawn McElligot would not scam me with
a website that he is not somehow making money off of. He would not just send me
to a legitimate site demanding I get a appraisal from them, if there isn’t some
money in it for him too. So there’s something fishy with DomainSecondHand.com.

I will continue to find-out more about
this and get to the bottom of this scam. Hopefully this will prevent others
from being taken-advantage of by this company. The good news is I have all my
money back…now to solve the mystery!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Mathieu December 13, 2009, 12:47 pm

    Greetings!

    Actually I’ve received the same email from this scammer and I found it fishy so I’ve decided to do a research so I’ve found this thread and I’ve read it …and after doing more reserch in my own I’ve finally found the complete details of this stupid scambag , I’m giving you this info so for any who got scammed he can use this info to sue him or even to scare the hell out of him lol

    Full name : Iqbal Ranil

    ranyliq@gmail.com

    Address: prada utama I lr.mutiara 11
    banda aceh, NAD 23115
    Indonesia

    Phone Number :+628126951911

    Reply
    • Morgan December 14, 2009, 10:05 am

      Thanks for sharing this information @Mathieu

      Reply
  • Ranyliq January 22, 2010, 10:10 am

    hallo mr. morgan,
    May i ask you 1 question?
    How if suddenly some one accuse for something you not do? calling you scammer, post your information ID everywhere?..

    Thats what Mathieu do to me.
    Here it what happen:
    The scammer domain(DomainSecondHand.com) Iframe my Domain: dndboard.com, then mathieu “the genius” do a whois lookup. than blame me.

    Whole story in my blog, i also posted it at namepros, i am asking him for the clarification. No response from untill now, this girl want to destroy my reputation.

    For Mathiue,
    My phone cell still active, you want to call me,sue,or scare me you are welcome. B’coz of you, my email now full with spam offering vi@gr@,c1@lis and insurance offer .

    Thank you for your time morgan,
    Ran

    Reply

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