QXL has taken steps to shut down a scam operated by one of its members that included the sale of a 100-year-old deep sea diving suit on its UK site.
Silicon.com was alerted to the fishy sale by sharp-eyed reader Ross McPhee, who noticed the auction was identical to one being sold by a completely different US-based seller on eBay. The exact same photo and text had been used.
"The bare-faced cheek of the man. He's simply cut and pasted the auction from one site to the other," he told us.
The eBay seller was contacted and he confirmed the QXL sale was nothing to do with him and that his ex-US Navy father gave him the suit years ago.
The QXL seller, who goes under the member name "home_comforts_uk", accused people on the site who queried why it was identical to the eBay sale of "trying to ruin my auction".
Further investigation of "home comforts" and his other auctions totalling over £5,000 threw up further alarming discrepancies.
He would not allow buyers to view or pick any of the goods in person; the name and address he gave on the site did not match up to anyone in BT's directory enquiries -- though he could be ex-directory; he answered questions incorrectly about the digital cameras he was selling; and in one auction said he did not accept payment by the usual secure electronic method of using Paypal.
QXL responded quickly once it was notified of the scam, and while the genuine eBay diving suit sale went ahead for $6,999, the account and auctions of 'home comforts' have been deleted and the winning £520 QXL bidder has been notified.
Andrea Eniks, community relations manager at QXL, said the company could not go into specific details because of the Data Protection Act.
"We have procedures, we did an investigation and we took the account down," she told silicon.com.