Posts By Taaliah

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land, folks stayed in their house – rule breakers threatened with months on remand.

The ever changing rules had driven granny up the wall, no visit from her family now they’re all in tier four. All she wanted was to pull a cracker, eat a turkey butty – “I’ve lived though a bloody war, these Covid laws are nutty”.

“Boris didn’t ask me if I wanted ‘protection’ via isolation, he simply took it on himself to inflict it on the nation.”

“I may be old but I’m not daft, I can make these decisions for myself – he’s taking the piss thinking I’m not missed n leaving me to rot like a furloughed elf on a shelf”.

So with a huff and a puff, granny declared “that’s enough” and called all the family around. “If we don’t make a sound, and the kids aren’t too loud I’m sure we can gather for lunch”.

“Unless the neighbours tell tales, the popo won’t know and Boris – he’s in his own bullshit bubble. Be here for lunch at 2 and we’ll party til late – just remember on the way out to not slam the gate.”

“What’s the point of being ‘protected’ when I’m sat here all alone? I need to see my family in the flesh, not 5 minutes on the phone.”

“None of us know how much time we’ve got and every day is a brand new blessing. This Covid malarkey has taken so much and from it we need to learn lessons.”

“Give is the facts, drop all the ‘fluff’ and let us make our own decisions – those that desire can stay home by the fire while the rest of us crack on getting provisions”.

The family agreed and with renewed festive cheer they began gathering ingredients for dinner. Some sprouts for aunt Mary, Yorkshire puds for uncle Stan – a party pack of Imodium for those that get stuck on the shitter.

So if you see your neighbours having family round for lunch n maybe staying for tea – just smile and wave or look away, that’s all there is to say.

This years been tough enough as it is, they’ve divided us enough already – so go visit your family, enjoy your day, just go easy on the sherry.

BREAKING: DANGEROUS NEW STRAIN OF VIRUS SWEEPS UK

Thousands of Brits are thought to be infected with a new form of fast spreading virus that scientists are calling ‘BojoBullshiticus’.

Leading virologist, Dr Knowfuckall said: “We are more than alarmed at the rate the BojoBullshiticus is travelling across the nation.

“At this moment in time it appears that the vast majority of people are indeed infected with BojoBullshiticus, however we’re hopeful numbers will fall in coming weeks as it becomes more apparent that they’ve been blagged by a braggart.”

Symptoms vary wildly and there’s reports of widespread mass hysteria with some even contemplating leaving elderly relatives in prolonged isolation over what has now become known as the festered period.

Karen from London said: “We didn’t give a rats ass when the BojoBullshiticus meant them up north had to face more misery in tier 3 – we were too busy getting pissed in the pub and welcoming the thousands of foreigners we have arriving every week.

“But now it’s here, in the capitol and that was not supposed to happen – fair enough the uncouth northerners need locking up/down but we’re better than that. How am I supposed to take Tabitha to school or get my daily crappachino now everywhere is closed. It’s totes ridiculous”.

Prime Minister Johno the KnobJockey refused to answer our request for an interview, simply stating: “Put your hands over your face and hop in one place until we decide on a better course of action. Obviously these rules don’t apply to Westminster but if any of the other districts break them we’ll simply up the tiers and starve them out”.

“The human vaccine trials are well underway but this won’t make an iota of difference anyway and we’ll expect you all to continue with the masks and lack of social interaction for as long as we can possibly get away with it.

“Have yourself a Merry little Festermas and by that I mean by yourself, with the windows open and intense hand washing every hour on the hour. You can go out, but not out out and don’t pull a cracker with your nan if you’d like her to live long enough to qualify for a vaccine we have absolutely no idea about in regards to long term effects.

“Fuck you very much, over n out”.

Merry Covidmas One n All…

December is here and Christmas is in sight,
Up goes the tinsel, baubles n some twinkly lights.
But wait, all was not quite as it seems – the economy is broken, the nation on its knees.

No hearth to hang a stocking on now they’ve been evicted, this isn’t what the tories promised – this isn’t what they depicted.

From lockdown one into lockdown two then straight to tyrannical tier three, no hugs permitted no gathering of groups, just pure misery as far as the eye can see.

They’ve stolen our fun, our kids hopes and dreams have all gone and there’s no end even in sight.

All for a virus with less death than survivors, and despite our lad Burnham putting up a good fight – Boris couldn’t care less about us pesky northerners deciding to ‘top tier’ us in spite.

This year it’s all about the ‘R figures’ n charts for ‘viral load’ – no board games allowed and even the turkey has been furloughed.

And if we dare to feel a bit festive now December has arrived you can be sure that up will pop BoJo, reminding us we’re just lucky to be alive.

“They’ll be no fun for anyone, I can’t make it any clearer – don’t you know our invisible enemy is close and only getting nearer

This doesn’t apply to yours truly, Carrie or my crew – we don’t follow our own legislation, we just tell you lot what to do.

We’re quite in shock at just how much you’re happy to obey and that is why, to make it fun, we change the rules every day”

So as you gather your tree, cards n gifts (once the shops can reopen) be sure to remember whose fault it is that our Christmas traditions are broken.

No visits with nan, stay 6 foot away if you can and forget hugging your mate ‘cos it’s banned – but school is okay you can send your kids every day and work is pretty safe to carry on with too.

If this makes no sense and you’re starting to think that perhaps you should decide what to do for yourself, step away from the shelf n put down that elf, perhaps pour a big festive drink.

Let’s say a cheers to the shittiest of years as it slowly draws to an end, look out for each other, smile at strangers, go hug your mother because on family n friends you can depend.

Happy f#%^g Christmas One n All

Dear Youth of Today

First of all, I’d like to apologise.

It appears we have fucked up on a massive scale and it’s down to you to deal with the aftermath.

Visual Representation of 2020

As it stands today, our feckless government has spent £284bn – or £283,915,000,000 to be exact on ‘the war against Covid19’ and the bill is set to rise even further with at least £55bn more for public services alone earmarked for 2021-22.

All for a virus with a 0.6% fatality rate and an average age at death of 82.

To pay for this, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated that borrowing will rise to £394bn this year, the highest level since the Second World War and it is you and your cohort that will be paying it off for the rest of your lives.

It will then become the responsibility of your children, should you decide to bring any into this shitstorm of a world – economic reasoning and past evidence suggest that the whole ‘Rona crisis will lead people to have fewer children.

The decline in births could be on the order of 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births next year.

A decent amount of the spending went on scaring the public enough for them to be complicit – pumping out fear inducing figures and daily death tolls whilst quietly taking away our freedom, all under the guise of keeping us safe.

We were told that, in order to keep our elderly safe from the virus, we could no longer visit them – the sweeping decline in their mental wellbeing was almost as swift as the devastating infection rate that followed.

It wasn’t us that were to blame for this catastrophe – while the government ensured that relatives couldn’t visit their loved ones by enshrining it in dodgy covid legislation, they did fuck all about the agency workers moving between care homes without sufficient PPE and therefore spreading any possible virus far and wide as well as the dozens of elderly residents sent back to full care homes regardless of testing positive.

While we were distracted with the endless ‘Rona rhetoric and mandatory clapping the economy collapsed around us.

Unemployment, poverty, homelessness and suicide rates went up as human interaction decreased. We were thrust into a lockdown straight from the pages of a dystopian novel and once there we struggled to get out.

A three-week lockdown to ‘flatten the curve’ became a three-and-a-half month purgatory that served only to flatten the economy, our mental wellbeing and our freedom.

We have just come out of another 27 days of ‘additional lockdown’ – straight into some ‘Tier 3’ bullshit that affords us no more freedom than we had in lockdown except being allowed to spend money in ‘non-essential’ shops on presents we may or may not be allowed to visit at Christmas.

Boris told us that if we are very, very good and follow all the rules of his ‘pre-Christmas circuit breaker’ (that will no doubt last until Easter) then we may be allowed to see a few relatives – as long as we don’t hug or play board games, do leave windows open or eat in the garden and don’t even think about sharing a cracker with nan.

And here we are today, November 29th 2020, the whole year has been one political car crash after another and I have no idea where we are heading, only that it is going to be a bumpy ride.

I do know that, as a society, we are more divided than ever and if I had just one wish for the future it would be that your generation unites. You need to pull together in order to make a difference – together you are so much stronger and it’s the only way change can happen.

All of you will have been impacted in some way by the Covid19 but few of you will have been ill.

It doesn’t matter if you have never had it, or if you don’t know a single person that has – the knock on effect and the way the government have (mis)handled the situation means that you are likely to face some very difficult years ahead and I really am truly sorry that there wasn’t enough of my generation to take a stand before it was too late.

But, there is hope…

You and your peers have the necessary skills that will guide you through the tough times and hopefully out the other side to a better, fairer and all together brighter future.

You’re the critical thinkers, questioners and inquisitive souls – the ones who can reimagine society and, if you pull together, create a place where everyone is respected, treated fairly and equality is a given.

When you’re old enough to have a vote remember what this government have done and cast it accordingly.

Seek knowledge and not just from the ‘news’. Challenge your own views and share what you learn with others.

Be sensible but don’t be a pushover – this includes nonsensical rules that feel wrong in your soul.

Dance. Laugh. Socialise. Live. Love. Touch. Feel. Kiss. Smile.

Stay Human.

Be Kind.

Take care of yourselves and others

Yours Sincerely,

A Concerned Mum

XXX

Black Lives Do Matter But Is Your Donation Really Helping?

If you have donated to the Black Lives Matter cause in the past few weeks, chances are that you did so believing it would help end the racist, oppressive rhetoric that has been peddled for far too long, or perhaps go towards bailing someone out following an unfair arrest, but do you know where you your money is really going?

According to Wikipedia, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an international human rights movement, originating from within the African-American community, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests speaking out against police brutality and police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.

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In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The movement became nationally recognized for street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown—resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, a city near St. Louis—and Eric Garner in New York City.

Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions and/or while in police custody.

In March 2016, Black Lives Matter helped organize the 2016 Donald Trump Chicago rally protest that forced Trump to cancel the event. Four individuals were arrested and charged in the incident. Two were “charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest”, one was “charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing a peace officer”, and the fourth “was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing a peace officer.”

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Last time BLM hit the headlines was right before the 2016 US Election

As you’ll be aware, the movement has returned to national headlines (it is a US election year after all) and gained further international attention during the recent, global George Floyd protests following Floyd’s death by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

So, back to the funding….

Before we look at where your donation may have gone, it’s a good time to point out that Black Lives Matter have received over $100 million in funding from the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy among others.

If you visit the Black Lives Matter website and click on ‘Donate’ you are taken to an ‘ActBlue‘ Donation page.

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See Contribution Rules – Actblue Charities

ActBlue is a nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables Democrats, progressive groups, and nonprofits to raise money on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software. Its stated mission is to “empower small-dollar donors”.

In fact ActBlue are behind countless BLM fundraisers (more on that in a minute) and, if you look into their expenditures (thanks to Opensecrets.org), you’ll see that some of their biggest expenses are huge contributions to the Democratic Party.

Another notable fact is that ActBlue has several disclaimers that allow them to keep funds for their own purposes if the recipient does not cash or otherwise rejects the donation.

In other words, if BLM don’t claim all of their donations they could inadvertently go to ActBlue.

Question then is where would these funds be distributed and could they be used as ActBlue campaign contributions?

ActBlue say “In the event that a campaign or committee (a) fails for 60 days to cash a check from ActBlue which includes your contribution (after ActBlue makes repeated attempts to work with the campaign to ensure all checks are cashed), or (b) affirmatively refuses a contribution earmarked through ActBlue, your contribution will be re-designated as a contribution to ActBlue. Contributions to social welfare organizations which are similarly not cashed or are affirmatively refused will be kept by ActBlue and used generally to support its social welfare activities.”

So they are claiming that they’ll use their unclaimed donations for’ social welfare organizations to support social welfare activities’ but knowing that the current 2020 cycle has seen over $1 billion in contributions from ActBlue to federal candidates alone I’m kind of sceptical that this is strictly true.

Here’s a breakdown of ActBlue expenditure for 2020:

Administrative Rent, utilities & office expenses $2,315,932
Administrative travel & lodging $740,063
Administrative consulting $495,589
Administrative data & technology $364,777
Miscellaneous administrative $158,856
Administrative event expenses & food $111,586
Accountants, compliance & legal services $74,166
Campaign Expenses Campaign events & activities $87,604
Campaign mailings & materials $1,181
Contributions Contributions to federal candidates $1,057,598,402
Contributions to committees $173,518,241
Contributions to national parties $118,292,171
Contributions to joint fundraising committees $30,054,811
Contributions to state & local parties $21,077,128
Miscellaneous contributions $365,971
Contributions to state & local candidates $83,239
Fundraising Fundraising fees $1,351,269
Miscellaneous fundraising $13,123
Fundraising consulting $9,875
Fundraising data & technology $-53
Media Miscellaneous media $11,775
Broadcast ads $8,447
Web ads $3,380
Unspecified media buys $1,830
Salaries Salaries, wages & benefits $15,849,366
Strategy & Research Campaign strategy & communications consulting $355,863
Campaign data & technology $23,500
Unclassifiable Unclassifiable $1,003,419
Unclassifiable event expenses $756,979
Unclassifiable data & technology $547,507
Unclassifiable printing & shipping $91,885
Unclassifiable consulting $82,984
Unclassifiable supplies & equipment $657

And this: Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 00.07.47

Yes, that’s right – if you’ve donated via any of the pages using Actblue the chances are you’ve chipped in towards to Biden campaign, or perhaps Bernie 2020  – whatever the case I doubt this is what you had in mind when handing over your cash.

This article, from July 2019 with the headline “Democrats’ Favorite Fundraising Tool Hauls in Record Donations“, reports that ActBlue, the “online fundraising platform for Democrats”, had recorded its highest number of donations as contributors poured $12 million into campaigns and progressive organizations on the last day of the second quarter.

The 390,000 donations topped the platform’s previous one-day record of 306,000, while the $12 million contributed on June 30 was the second-highest dollar total since ActBlue’s founding in 2004, the group said.

The surge of donations came as the party’s 24 presidential candidates hustled for funds ahead of the second-quarter deadline, emailing last-minute appeals to supporters – however, ActBlue didn’t say how much of the last-minute donations went to presidential candidates.

On June 1st 2020, following the mass BLM protests, the New York Times reported that they had ‘spurred a surge in donations’, Giving ActBlue its ‘Biggest Day of the Year’ and that with money flowing to candidates, bail funds and charities, the “Democrats’ online donor platform” processed over $60 million between Friday and Monday, a sign of strength for the party.

The mass protests that have swept the nation in recent days to express outrage at the death of George Floyd have been paired with a flood of financial donations, as hundreds of thousands of Americans have opened their wallets to give to charitable groups, community bail funds and Democratic candidates.

And on ActBlue, the central online hub that processes money for Democratic candidates and causes, Sunday was the single largest day of giving in all of 2020, with donations of $19 million, according to a New York Times analysis of the site’s donation tracker.

Then donors set another record for the year on Monday, topping $20 million shortly after 9 p.m.

The sums given on ActBlue on both Sunday and Monday topped all the presidential primary debate nights and election nights in 2020, and were more than double the amount given on the final day of April (monthly deadlines tend to drive online political giving). The previous high for the year was the day in late February when former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the South Carolina Democratic primary and revived his campaign for president; donors contributed $18.3 million that day.

In all, ActBlue processed more than $60 million between Friday and Monday, a sign that the energy spilling into the streets nationwide might also be matched by a wave of money for Democratic causes.

ActBlue does not disclose in real time how donations to the platform are divided between candidates and causes, but a spokesperson for the site said half of the donations on Sunday went to charitable causes.

ActBlue charge 4 percent on every transaction – soon adds up when you’re talking millions.

One ActBlue page where supporters could split a donation across 37 different bail funds reported more than 20,000 donations worth about $1.5 million as of late Monday morning. Such funds help cover the costs of posting cash bail for those jailed before trials, and are seen as a way to support protesters who have been arrested.

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We’ve all seen the devastation caused by ‘professional protesters’ with their own agenda, and the way it has impacted on so many. It’s obvious that civil unrest comes with a high human cost, from destroyed neighbourhoods and livelihoods to life changing injuries or even death.

What isn’t quite as obvious is the fact that civil unrest mixed in with a media backed movement is also a very quick way to generate very big funds for others – namely the Democrats.

Drake donated to the cause – chucking $100,000 to to ActBlue under the ‘National Bail Out for protestors’ umbrella, proudly displaying the receipt on Instagram as did ‘K-pop superstars’ BTS who donated $1m to BLM – an amount that was then matched by their fans using a ‘BTS Army’ donation page hosted by – ActBlue. Could not make this up…Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 23.43.08

In a nutshell, people who are donating money to BLM, in the hopes of achieving racial justice, are possibly having their money rerouted to Democratic politicians, through ActBlue, for purposes of financing re-election campaigns – something I doubt many are aware of or would be happy about.

Here’s just a few of the fundraising pages backed by ActBlue – I’m sure there are more but I’ll list a few to get the ball rolling and please feel free to add your own in the comments.

Justice for George Floyd

Black Lives Matter

The Movement For Black Lives

Move Black Lives Forward 

Donate to Bail Funds for Protestors

Our Black Church

The more people that are aware of what they are funding the better – if they still want to hit that donate button then it’s all good, just check where your money will be going before parting with your card details, you might just change your mind.

I’ll end with a link to this Medium article that I came across as I was researching this post, asking the million dollar question “Is the Black Lives Matter Organization a Money Laundering Scheme?”

Journalist Diego Marquez reports that the Managing director for the Black Lives Matter organisation – Kailee Scales – had conducted a disastrous Reddit AMA, during which she was hard pressed to disclose where and how exactly the money received from donations to BLM was being used.

Interestingly, she refused to answer said questions, and the ensuing controversy was enough for moderators to lock the thread.

The suspicions didn’t die there, however. And the internet got to work to find out what exactly was going on behind the scenes at BLM.

It didn’t take long to figure it out.

ActBlue_logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Back Home

The man you told to go back home

Has been here longer than me

He came here in the seventies

From his own war-torn country

 

The fact you can’t see your own doctor

Or get on the housing list

Has nothing to do with immigration

And everything to do with a government that take the piss

 

From Cameron to Bojo, with a dancing queen in-between

None of them give a shit, it’s very clear to see

 

Our young are sad, feeling lost

Mental health services cut due to cost

National Health is on its knees

They’re selling it off, Boris and his cronies

 

Working long hours with nothing to show

Families on Tax Credits, wages so low

Regular folk are struggling to survive

Yet the 1% continue to thrive

 

So don’t tell me that Boris is the man for the job

We can all see, he is clearly a knob

Take a minute and think about what you see

They’re not out to steal your job or your TV

 

The truth won’t be found in the paper or news

Fact is that as a country we have so much to lose

The diversity that makes the UK what it is today

Is the very reason I voted to stay

Brexit text with United Kingdom and European Union flags

 

 

 

 

eBay scam update #3 – The ‘One Mile Rule’

I ended my last post about to write to Luxembourg but, after taking a deep breath (and receiving an email from eBay requesting my outstanding £8.18 of fees despite them owing me nearly £300), I decided to have one last try at calling them – the case is very straight forward and I’ve submitted so much evidence that surely someone could just see what has gone on and reverse the decision to refund the scammer, couldn’t they?

At 8am I spoke to a bloke called Anthony who told me he was in the ‘Final Resolution Centre’ and he would look into the case for me.

After being on hold for a minute or so he said that, according to the system, the case had been closed on 20th September and asked me to confirm I had received an empty package (by now hubby is also communicating with eBay about his phone that was also stolen). I explained that the package had been delivered to my neighbour as the buyer had edited the eBay postage label and that it was indeed empty. He then went on to say that he could see the notes both Niamh and the previous customer service guy had put on the system and he couldn’t understand what was going on and why this wasn’t dealt with already.

Anthony promised me that he would speak with the advisors involved and get back to me within 24 hours, going on to say that he was in work all week, my case hadn’t been on his desk before and he would take ownership of the problem until it was resolved. I explained that I had heard this before and he told me to relax for the next 24 hours, put it out of my mind and he would call me back – even if it meant calling a dozen times.

Wednesday – 10am: No call from eBay. Not sure why but I really did feel that we were going to get a resolution and I can not believe Anthony has ‘done a Niamh’ on me. Feeling exasperated I call eBay yet again.

Spoke to someone in the Philippines who can’t see all the notes but does tell me the case is closed and the reason is the item was scanned as delivered.

I started to explain the situation but the language barrier makes it impossible and I’m left with no option but to request a call back from Anthony. I’m told he will call me within 24 hours. Frustrated doesn’t even cover it…

Thursday morning – Guess what, no call for anyone in eBay at all. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I call them and have one of the most ridiculous conversations I’ve ever had in my life with an advisor who found it appropriate to keep talking over me and telling me “you don’t understand, Miss Talulah”.

I tried to explain but she repeatedly cut me off to explain that the item had been delivered and the case was closed. I told her to look at the faked labels that are uploaded on my account and she said, and I quote “If the labels had been edited Royal Mail would not have accepted them.” – I asked her to clarify and she again said that they couldn’t have been posted as they would not have been accepted. Say what?!

I (angrily) asked her if she was seriously inferring that I had made the whole thing up, including editing the label and despite me having an email from Royal Mail confirming that item was delivered to number 1 as that is where it was addressed to, and she couldn’t really give me an answer.

However, what she said next left me so gobsmacked that I asked her to repeat it so I could write it down – I strongly feel that this is something ALL eBay users should be aware of and would put money on it that they don’t….

The eBay advisor said: “eBay policy states that, as long as any returns are delivered within a mile of the address they are meant to be, eBay will deem it delivered and will find in favour of the buyer. Our records show your item was delivered within that radius so your case is closed.”

To clarify, I asked her if I was right in thinking she was saying that as long as a buyer sends a return to any street at all within a mile radius of the true address it would be seen as correctly delivered and she replied with: “Yes Mam.”

At this point I was losing the will to live and asked if she could please get a supervisor or someone, anyone to call me back and she said that she could see a refund request had been raised on my case and that she would look into why it hadn’t been actioned and a supervisor would call me back within 48 hours.

Now I really am at my wits end but am refusing to let this go – in the meanwhile my hubby has had a message from another eBay seller saying he has just been scammed in the same manner by the same buyer – despite them being aware of whats going on for almost 3 weeks, eBay are still allowing him to trade.

As they won’t tell you who he is – I will…

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The name they are using is Louie Lawson and their paypal address is lawson1543@tutanota.com

The other account which scammed hubby and we now know its the same person is Freddie Barker – known on eBay as crazy9867how and using paypal address barker.freddie@yahoo.com

I’m off to finally send that letter to Luxembourg but first I’m going to send a copy of all 3 posts to each of this lovely lot over on Linkedin.

I’ll keep you posted…

 

**UPDATE** – Friday Evening: Still no call from anyone at Ebay but I did receive an email at around 17:15 from a ‘supervisor’ saying they had tried to call me and if I still needed assistance to give them a call back. They did not call me. I have no missed calls whatsoever on either my mobile or landline.

Off to call them again…

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eBay – Protecting Scammers, Screwing Sellers

UPDATE TO MY PREVIOUS POST, ‘eBay finds in scammers favour despite overwhelming evidence’

After writing up the chain of events that have led to us being out of pocket and feeling totally disregarded by eBay, I decided the next course of action would be to get on the phone and start making noise while gathering advice.

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I would like to say that the problem has been resolved – that eBay have reimbursed our losses and taken the situation seriously, after all goodness knows how many other sellers have been ripped off by scammers that are enabled/protected on the platform, but that would be untrue.

This is what has happened so far:

Spoke to Citizens Advice – Advised that the usual procedure would be to send a breach of contract letter to the buyer demanding payment/return of the phone and giving a deadline in which to respond before escalating to civil court. However, as the only name and address we have are fake there would be no point in doing this as the summons would never arrive. They also explained that they couldn’t really advise me as regards to eBay as it is not a UK based company – I needed to speak to the European Consumer Centre.

Spoke to European Consumer Centre – Spoke to a lovely lady called Lorna who advised me to report the scam to Action Fraud, ask eBay to reconsider their decision to issue the refund and also inform Paypal. Apparently Paypal are covered by the financial ombudsman while eBay isn’t so she said they may be able to help me. Lorna also explained that it would be worth looking through the terms and conditions for eBay to check for any points to raise with them – when you make an account the small print apparently states that the contract is between the seller and the buyer, meaning that eBay don’t actually have to pay anything in this situation. It would appear that while eBay are more than happy to make a shed load of money from their ‘marketplace’, they are less enthusiastic when it comes to solving disputes fairly or dipping in the kitty when they’re clearly at fault…. Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 15.41.07.png

Spoke to Action Fraud – Reported the whole chain of events, recording the two stolen phones as separate cases. The gent I spoke to gave me a reference number and explained that the information will be collated at a national level and we should get an update in about three months time, too late to help us but hopefully in time to help prevent the scammers from ripping off some other poor sod. Also advised to speak to Paypal as they might be able to help me if they can see the transaction has been carried out by a fraudulent account.

Spoke to Paypal – Once I had explained the whole (lengthy) story to the adviser who took my call her response was a resounding: “Wow”.

Once she’d commiserated with me, the advisor said that she would have to speak to a manager as she didn’t know where to start, popping me on hold while they looked into it. I knew it wasn’t going to be good news by the tone of her voice when she came back on the line – she apologised before explaining that her manager was looking at the account as we spoke and could see what had happened, and that they could also see a name and address for said scammer. Obviously (data protection) she couldn’t give me any information – however she was able to take from me the other Paypal account details involved in the scam.

Basically, Paypal are saying that when you sign up to eBay you are giving them permission to both put in and take out cash from your Paypal account and apparently Paypal have to honour eBay’s decision regardless. The only way for us to get our money back would be if eBay reversed the decision to find in the scammers favour and issue a refund – instead if they had found in our favour (as they clearly should have) we wouldn’t have this problem.

eBay have caused the problem and they are the only ones with the capacity to fix it but they are refusing to do so.

The next course of action for me is to write it all up in a formal letter of complaint to eBay HQ in Luxembourg – recorded delivery of course, explaining exactly what has gone on and requesting that they step in to reverse the decision, refund my money and do more to stop this happening again…..

 

 

eBay finds in scammers favour despite overwhelming evidence

I’ve written this in a bid to warn other eBay sellers of a scam that’s left us out of pocket to the tune of almost £1200 and totally frustrated at the lack of care or fairness shown by eBay – not to mention the fact that they’re enabling a scammer to carry on, despite knowing exactly what they’re up to and having evidence to support it.

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I’ll start at the beginning and try to keep it succinct however there is a fair bit to explain so please bear with me and as always, please feel free to share, comment or offer any pearls of wisdom…

 

My husband and I both have eBay accounts which we use to buy and sell – I mostly sell kids clothes and the like while he sticks to electronics – recently we decided to sell our mobile phones (iPhone 7’s) and each listed them on our respective accounts. They were both fully working, in excellent condition and scuff/mark free, having been kept in cases with screen protectors.

A couple of days later they sold and whilst we were packing them we noticed they had both been purchased using the ‘click and collect’ option eBay now offer, allowing them to be collected from a branch of Argos. *Mine was sent to Argos in South Ruislip by special delivery at a cost of £7.30 and hubby’s went using same delivery method to an Argos in London.

UnknownAbout a week after they had been delivered we both got an email from eBay saying that our customers wanted a refund as the phones were faulty – mine claimed the camera no longer worked whilst hubby was told the light on his didn’t work. As soon as the buyers started the return process Paypal stepped in and held the funds for both – £289 + pp from mine and £295 + pp from hubby’s.

We both chose the option for eBay to issue return postage labels and sat back to await the returns arrival.

Some time passed until, last Monday (17th September) at 10.33am when hubby and I both received eBay emails stating that the returns had been delivered and we had 48hrs in which to refund the buyers.

I checked the porch and hall (lived at same address with same postie for years – no issues before) but could find no sign of any packages at all so I rang the sorting office. The lad who answered explained that the system was down and I would be better calling in the morning to speak to the supervisor.

Tuesday 18th Sept: Called the sorting office at 8am to be told that the postie had scanned our items outside number 5 (we live at 9) and he thought he’d delivered them to number 3 or 5. Customer service guy said he’d asked the postie to try and remember where he had put them so they could be retrieved and I assumed it was a (stupid) mistake.

I called back for an update to be told that the postie was now saying he definitely didn’t have any post for us at all on Monday. Bearing in mind I had been told earlier that they’d been scanned nearby and about the possible mix up, I now began to suspect the worst – that our parcels had been stolen. At this point I decided to call Royal Mail Customer Service.images

After a lengthy discussion with them I was given a reference number and told to call back on Friday after 9.30am for an update. Following this I called eBay to make them aware of the situation and to ask for an extension on the time to issue a refund so that I could get to the bottom of it, explaining that we did not have the phones and offering the Royal Mail reference number. The person I spoke to didn’t want the number and told me to do nothing but wait until the refund date had passed, at which point eBay would contact me to ask why and I could then state my case, including any reference numbers etc.

Thursday 19th Sept a.m: Postman knocks on the door with another parcel for us and goes on to say that he had given that day a lot of thought. He said that he was 100 percent sure that, whilst we had no post at all that day, number 1 did receive 2 padded envelopes that were from eBay and that was what he scanned outside number 5. He went on to say that he was positive they weren’t our phones because they were both flat and very light – he suggested they could have had papers or a sim card in them at most.

Thinking that there had been some strange mix up with tracking numbers, I put together a note including my number for my neighbour and posted it through her door, explaining what I thought had happened.

I then nipped out for half an hour – upon arriving home I saw that I’d had 2 emails from eBay, 20 minutes apart, the first saying the buyer had opened a case demanding a refund and the second saying they had found in his favour and shut the case. With no time to even respond I decided it was best to wait to hear from my neighbour before contacting eBay again – by then I was feeling totally confused by the whole situation and had nothing new to tell them.

Thursday p.m: My neighbour sends me a message to say that she had received 2 empty envelopes on Monday, they had no name on and she didn’t know what to make of it so she had put them in the blue bin the night before. After a couple of messages back n forth she offers to retrieve them and post them through my door.

Now, if you’re still reading this I would like to say thanks and your patience will be rewarded -this is where it gets interesting.

The envelopes are from eBay and are identical,  the way the labels are attached is the same and, interestingly the senders name and address are also the same (different customers, remember?).

Each envelope has an eBay issued label but neither has a name and the address has been edited from number 9 to 1. Suddenly things started to make sense – whoever had done this obviously has some knowledge of eBay and how the loopholes work.

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Edited label #1 on empty envelope: eBay scammer circa 2018

By changing the details on the official labels, the buyer had ensured that the packages was still scanned near to our house and, by omitting our names, had almost guaranteed that they would never find their way to us – leaving us unable to prove what had happened. It is only because of our postie taking the time to speak to us and my neighbour still having the packaging that we are now able to fill in the blanks and realise that we have indeed been scammed.

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Edited label #2 on empty envelope: eBay scammer circa 2018

I requested a callback from eBay straight away and ended up being put through to an Irish lady called Niamh in the UK centre. After explaining that I now had the packaging and that it was delivered empty to the wrong address she asked me to go into detail about what exactly was on the label.

Niamh was clearly shocked as what I was describing was different to what had been issued by eBay and explained to me that it must have been edited – none of the customer details were correct, the senders name didn’t match the eBay accounts and the only thing that was correct were the tracking numbers.

She asked me to upload photographs of the packaging attached to an email she was sending and said that as it was clearly “a large scale operation” and “involved multiple accounts” she would pass it to the risk management team, getting back to me with an update on Saturday morning at 11am.

Saturday 21st Sept a.m: Niamh called as promised and said she “nearly choked” when she saw the photos – they were so edited it was ludicrous. We discussed the fact that the senders address is actually a freight company and that both had been collected via Argos – pretty much making the whole thing anonymous. Niamh again intimated that we had been caught up in what was clearly an organised scam and assured me it was being escalated to all the relevant teams, as well as the authorities. I asked when we could expect a reversal on the refund decision – after all there has to be some seller protection and it was clear what had happened. I also pointed out that this person now had both our phones and almost £600 in cash – a kick in the stomach with a slap in the face for good measure. She explained it would take time but not to worry, it would be sorted and decisions can always be reversed.

She ended the call by promising to call on Monday with a further update and hopefully some information about a refund.

Saturday 21st 11.30pm: I get an email from eBay thanking me for contacting customer service regarding the iPhone and telling me that they “understand how frustrating it is when a buyer doesn’t return an item in the exact condition it was sent out” and that they “appreciate the screenshots of the labels” I sent.

They then go on to say that because they “did not see the condition of the item when it was receive day the buyer vs how it was returned” they must “remain impartial and having the buyer return the item in exchange for a full refund was the best resolution” so they had decided to uphold the decision to find in the buyers favour.

No mention of the fraudulent label, the empty envelopes or any of the other highly relevant points.

I went to bed fuming and resolved to call first thing in the morning.

Sunday 22nd Sept 9a.m: Spoke to eBay, again. The advisor said that the email had been automatically generated and once a barcode had been scanned as delivered the system acted as such – apparently humans cannot override the algorithm they created but, not to worry – she could see there was an appeal going on and that Niamh would be calling me on Monday with more information.

Monday 23rd Sept 5.30p.m: After waiting all day and not receiving a call from eBay I decide to call them. I’m told that Niamh will be emailed with a request to call me and it will be sometime in the next 24 hours.

Tuesday 24th Sept 9.30a.m: Received the following email from Niamh – perhaps she couldn’t say it to me over the phone….

“Apologies for the delay in getting back to you yesterday and appreciate you working with me to provide any relevant information needed about the returns on your and your husbands account.

I sent the details off to our Risk Management Team and they are doing an internal investigation on the buyer/buyers.

Unfortunately, After reviewing our original decision on this case, we’ve decided to deny your appeal. This case exceeds the 200GBP coverage threshold for a fraudulent return. We also do not have the item in our possession at any stage and cannot verify the condition of the item to deny someone’s statutory right.

As a company eBay cannot cover these costs for a business seller, I’m sure you appreciate it from a business perspective it wouldn’t be financially possible for us to cover every single situation like this. We will internally investigate them for this behaviour and the relevant action will be taken. Last year alone we removed 3 million buyers from site for breaching our returns policy. eBay work very hard at making the site a safe community.

I recommend that you report this to Action Fraud and proceed with the case through Small Claims Court.

I appreciate this isn’t the resolution you were hoping for but hope that you understand the process that has occurred..”

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That’s it, no refund, no comeback and no way of warning others, thanks to eBay making it nigh on impossible to leave negative feedback on a closed case.

I’m unsure of what the best course of action is but know that this has to stopped – eBay must be held to account for scamming that they acknowledge themselves is so rife that “from a business perspective it wouldn’t be financially possible for us to cover every single situation like this” – writing the whole sorry state of affairs seems to be a good place to start.

Have you faced a similar situation whilst selling on eBay? Interested in hearing from you as I’m planning to keep making noise until someone listens….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is JoJo ban justified?

Latest tween fashion statement divides opinion in the playground. 

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Following faddy trends and sporting the latest fashion have become part of every day life for many school age children both here and in America.

Gone are the days of swapping marbles or trading conkers, today’s children are far more interested in gadgets or discussing the latest YouTube stars.

One popular YouTube star is JoJo Siwa, a 13-year-old girl famous for starring in US reality show Dance Mom and creating the now infamous JoJo Bow.

Large, brightly coloured hair clips with an oversized bow attached, JoJo Bows are used by girls to decorate a ponytail and, although something similar but slightly smaller was popular in the 1980s, they are taking the country by storm.

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JoJo Bow of the 80’s – aka The Fergie Bow

This may have something to do with the fact that JoJo, who also sings, has her own YouTube channel and a huge online presence – her videos have had over 2 million views and she has 4.5 million followers on Instagram so, even if you’ve never heard of her, chances are your child has.

Recently releasing a video explaining why she likes to wear giant bows, JoJo has inspired thousands of young girls to follow in her footsteps, even releasing her own range available for them to choose from at a high street retailer.

So, why is this news? Apparently the giant hair accessory is giving teachers a huge headache and some schools have made the decision to ban them completely, leading to one angry parent accusing teachers of treating the bows “like guns.”

The headteacher of one of the schools to ban the bow has justified the decision, saying that they don’t fit in with the school uniform ethos which is enforced to signal to the children that they are part of the school family and there to work, not be distracted by huge accessories worn by their classmates.

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JoJo Siwa

School uniform has been subject to debate several times over the years – Michael Gove has previously urged all schools to introduce not just a standard uniform, but blazers and ties too. Then there was the time Ed Balls suggested that local authorities encourage schools to adopt ‘smart’ uniforms and strengthen ties with ‘uniformed’ organisations such as scouts and guides.

Not everyone agrees and one man who has spent eight years studying school related statistics is American academic, David Brunsma, a sociology professor at Missouri-Colombia University. After embarking on the lengthy research he concluded that uniforms do not make schools better and the enforced wearing of one is actually an issue of children’s rights, social control and one related to increasing racial, class and gender inequalities in schools.

See this article about a school in Derbyshire that produces fantastic results, is deemed good by OFSTED and doesn’t enforce a uniform at all.

What do you think – are schools right to ban the accessory or are they making a mountain out of a hair bow?

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