WYLIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The convenience of buying and selling online can also put you at risk.
A North Texas man discovered the item he bought from a mobile marketplace had actually been stolen.
The app known as letgo connects people looking to buy and sell used products.
But in some cases, there’s no way to tell who or what is on the other end of the sale.
Using letgo, Eddie Robles found a used Mac desktop.
“I figured, why spend the money on a brand new machine for $2,000 to test it out? Buy a used one,” said Robles.
Robles met the seller at his home in Wylie. After negotiating a price, he eventually paid $550 for the machine. But instead of a deal, Robles said the only thing he got was a headache.
“I had no idea there was anything illegal going on,” Robles said.
It was only when Robles started using the computer did he notice something strange.
Robles saw a message that identified the computer as the property of the company, Conduent. He said he then called the company to learn more.
“That’s when they informed me it was a stolen, non-returned machine,” Robles said.
He said Conduent claimed the seller was a former employee. Robles recently returned the stolen computer to Conduent.
But his money may be gone.
A spokeswoman for letgo says while they banned the seller from the platform, the company is not in the position to issue refunds.
“Basically they told me they just facilitate the environment for the buyer and seller to meet and anything past that is between them two,” Robles recalled.
Letgo’s policy states it is the users’ responsibility to make sure the sale is legal.
But Robles said on his end, that’s hard to do.
“You can’t do research on stolen stuff, there’s no database out there,” Robles said.
Robles filed a report with Wylie Police, who indicated the seller is someone who’s known to the department, Robles said.
If you’re meeting up with an online seller, be sure to read their customer reviews first.
It is always safer to meet in public places, such as malls, bank lobbies or grocery stores.
Better yet, police department offer up their parking lots as safe spaces to conduct such transactions.
If someone is refusing to meet in public to exchange the items, that may be a red flag.
A spokeswoman for letgo released the following statement:
“letgo’s highest priority will always be our users’ trust and safety. That’s why we’ve included in-app chat; user profiles, ratings and reviews; account verification and other security features that make it easy to see who you’re chatting with and what other users have said about them. We use human and artificial intelligence to moderate our marketplace and we ask our user community to flag anything or anyone that raises concerns in extremely rare cases where that’s necessary. When they do, we quickly take appropriate action, like permanently blocking a user. We also share safety tips proactively, encouraging users to meet in a public place like a coffee shop, grocery store, bank lobby or shopping mall. If anything raises a red flag – like a user making unusual requests or refusing to meet in public – we tell users to trust their instincts and find another buyer or seller. Our Customer Care team can answer any questions users have and our Trust & Safety team works closely and proactively with law enforcement.”