Friday, March 30, 2012

Record hustlers!

In the record collecting world I think most people are honest and nice but sadly there's also some people that are unserious or just out to make a quick buck and disappear. Today's selling possibillities are endless thanks to the internet, but one of the downsides is that it's much easier if you want to fool someone. Via Ebay, Discogs or forums it's now so easy to say that you have a record and get paid for it and then disappear or claim that record was "sent".

Lately I've had big problems with a seller called Paul Miller that sells on Discogs via the seller id "soulfunkjazz2". I ordered an expensive record at 180 gbp, seller charged 15 gbp in postage and wanted 195 gbp. Seller didn't accept Paypal so I had to do a bank transfer, by mistake I transfered 195 euros instead. He then mailed that he wanted the additional money. I said fine, I'll check out what's wrong and send you the rest. Next day when I came to work to see what the mistake was about, he had cancelled my order and given me negative feedback. He also kept the money that I had paid. By cancelling the order it was not possible for me to leave him a negative feedback. Also when you do bank transfer you have no chance to claim the money back as you can if you pay with Paypal.

I contacted Discogs support for help and they of course took away my negative and gave him a strong warning not to do that again and that they will close down his account if he continues to cancel orders. I looked more closely at his feedback and also googled him and saw that he had done that repeatedly. After pressure from Discogs he said that he would refund me my money. He then sent an e-check that takes 7 days to clear, that then bounced. He then claimed that he had sent the LP but after 6 weeks there's no trace of the album. I asked for tracking number or any proof the shipping (remember he charged 15 gbp for postage that will cover insured, traceable postage). It's also standard among record dealers to ship rare and expensive LP's traceable. He never came up with any proof of shipping.

I started a facebook thread about this seller at the Hassle Free Record Selling Group to ask if anyone else had similar problems. I immediately had many people who were frustrated or simply furious about this seller and his tricks.

Now he doesn't answer my emails and it's hard for me to track him down as he uses two other names at the Discogs account so his address can't be tracked down.

I want to warn not to deal with this seller as he kept my money and said LP was sent but without any proof. This has happened way too many times from this seller, people haven't recieved what they ordered and in many cases not received any refunds.

Also, do not make the same mistake and pay to a seller that will only accept bank transfer. It's not unusual for unserious sellers to change their name when their feedback is getting too bad so don't be surprised if there's soon a new seller with same records as original Alice Clarke, Mulatu Astatke on Worthy, Frank Derrick "You betcha" and many other fine records.

The bad thing as I see it is, of course, that my money is gone but more important is that unserious sellers like this damage the trust between buyers and sellers. Without that trust it's impossible to do business. I will of course not stop buying records online but if you meet a seller like this the first time you order online then you're very likely to think that it's dangerous to buy online and stop.

I remember in the mid 90's when legendary English record dealer Tim Roberts did a big scam. He never dealt with a big amount of customers but he dealt with many of the top collectors/dj's and dealers in Japan, Germany, Sweden, USA and of course England. Tim Roberts sent out a fake sales list via fax (before internet) with killer titles and at very good prices. I remember Latin Jazz Quintet on Prestige, one of the really big albums at that time. Also both Newban albums that were new discoveries back then were included. A Tim Roberts discovery I think.

He had orders from some Japanese sellers for over 3000 GBP and many others bought one or two big pieces. As he didn't have the records he could sell them several times over. He then disappeared from the record world when the word was out that Tim had gone bad. I remember sending out my paper list shortly after that scam was done and the response was for the first time not great. He had hustled so many of the same guys as I dealt with, that those people either were short of money or felt uncertain to deal via mail order. That changed of course after a while but the thing is that hustlers like this damage the scene badly. Be it a Paypal claim that's untrue, to overgrade records heavily or plain thieves like Tim Roberts and Paul Miller - they all damage the record community. It's great however that it's easier to warn people about them these days!


  1. That's a shame, funnily enough I've also bought a few records from the aforementioned Discogs seller recently but I haven't had any problems so far.

    However after reading your post and some of his comments to buyers feedback it does seem like he's not particularly friendly chap. I think I'll probably skip buying from him again.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I've never had any problems with Discogs sellers, but thanks for the heads up about the seller "soulfunkjazz". I can see he's got a lot of records that are on my wantlist..

    Strange though, that his feedback percentage is so high..

  4. Thanks Jonathan and Lapsklaus for your comments and I'm happy to hear that you have had better experiences. I think this seller ships some of the records but keep some one's once in a while, not to big enough amount to get blocked. However his feedback isn't good, from the last 12 individual buyers he has 3 negatives. It's the most I have seen ever from a discogs sellers. I think everyone should be aware that you buy with no change of getting their money back unless "LP is lost" like many of the feedback are about (even some positive one's). Lars

  5. Unfortunately I think I may have also just been done by this scoundrel. Broke my own golden rule and didn't follow his feedback. Not much money but I've never had any problems before after many years of buying records on the internet. Hope to get the negative feedback removed as I think that's the best I can probably hope for.

  6. I had the same problem with this seller back in 2011 - the only problem I have ever had on Discogs. I ordered a single, 50 GBP on a Friday and he said he would only accept a bank transfer. He sent a bank No. which, when I went to my bank to complete the transfer, didn't work as a digit was missing. He cancelled the order AND left me negative feedback stating I hadn't paid in five days - when two of them were the weekend! (Sat. and Sun). Avoid this seller like the plague - a nasty piece of work. Fortunately, Discogs reversed that negative feedback he gave me - it obviously wasn't the first time...