Mar 132012
 

Maybe you can’t call it an outright fraud but if you search Google for the terms “fraud” and “policeauctions.com”, you’ll find that a lot of people do. (See below.)

The “offer” uses a picture of the late Steve Jobs, which implies some relationship with Apple

The domain name “policeauctions.com” suggests that this company is working with one or more police departments.

They offer “iPad’s” (possessive) instead of “iPads” (plural) for “up to” 90% off. The term “up to” is one of the best known weasel terms in advertising. If something sells for $1000, I can offer you a discount of “up to 90%” but when it comes time to check out, I could give you a discount of $1. “Up to” means “less than” so all discounts will be less than 90%.

Some sites such as this require up-front payments to bid on items. Somebody “wins” and everybody else loses but the company keeps the money

Can any consumer be dumb enough to believe that Ipads are in a “overstock” condition? Or that you’ll really get a 90% discount?

Apparently so.

You might be wondering what Facebook does to prevent these kinds of ads and the answer appears to be “very little”. Ads clearly are not checked before they are posted but Facebook’s Brandon McCormick tells me “These kinds of ads are against our policies. When we find or are made aware of them we remove them. This ad has been removed from the system.”

I understand that the economics of Facebook make it impossible to check the validity of every ad before it’s placed so nothing happens until someone complains and thd ad is taken down. That’s good, but what about the people who clicked the ad while it was live? And what happens to the person who or company that violated Facebook’s terms of service?

Is the domain banned? (The fraudster could just sign up for another domain.) Does Facebook ever take legal action against fraudulent advertisers or pursue remedies that might be mentioned in the terms of service? In other words, you might wonder (as I did) what, if anything, is done to create a certain amount of pain for those who break the rules,

Brandon McCormick: “We have a combination of automated and manual review for ads but as you point out given the volume, we occasionally miss one. Follow-up action depends, but if a business is fraudulent or continues to try to run ads that violate our policies we will remove the company from the system entirely.”

Note that dates on the following posts clearly indicate that policeauctions.com has been in business since at least 2007:

  • DC1 on Scam.com: I bought a 14K white gold ring with 16 diamonds that was supposedly worth an estimated $2000. I won the bid for it at $400. I later went to sell it after a few months, and the most that I could get for it was $25. [Posted in 2007]
  • NESTA2814 on Scam.com: Police auctions.com is a complete joke. Check out my blog. I am on a quest to make sure as many people as possible find out about this unscrupulous “company.” They need to be shut down. [Posted in 2009]
  • No Moron Here on Scam.com: “PoliceAuctions.com is not affiliated with Local, State or Federal Government.” [Posted in 2009]
  • Brinkley511 on ComplaintsBoard.com: “I have placed at least 20 or more bids on items that were supposedly seized from police/government raids and siezures. On every item, I was not the high bidder, but was sent an email with a second chance offer to buy this item at a higher price. Every email says that another one of the itmes had been located and was for sale to me at this higher price. Since when do police/government seizures include multiple jewelry items exactly alike? This is a scam website that peddles items in an auction setting when really they are expecting a certain price for an item, when they don’t get it, they offer you a “second chance” buy. SCAM!” [Posted in 2009]
  • Tami W. on Sitejabber.com: “I bid and won 2 rings from them. One an amethyst, received it with one stone missing. I wore for 3 days to show people and 2 more stones fell out. They said value was over $700, I don’t believe it. I also ordered a Tanzanite ring valued over $800, I wore for a week and lost a stone. Can’t get ahold of them!!! Very dissappointed with this site. My other question is how does this “police” auction site get so many new items to sell????” [Posted in 2011]

Other comments worth reading:

http://reviewnscams.org/Policeauctions.com-Review.php

http://www.legitauctions.com/Policeauctions.com-Review.html
“Basically this is a membership site and you get information for your membership fee each month. The site states that membership is free but once you start peeling back the layers of information you do come to the information that states the free membership is restricted and only offered so that you can get an idea of what is going on at policeauctions.com.”

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