Vendor review: [FRAUD]

Our first vendor review for the year sets our scope on It seems the industry has gone full circle, and we now have new sellers popping up using the legendary Vini technique.

To set up a dodgy operation and attempt to legitimise it by writing ‘reviews’ about yourself from ‘happy customers’.

Since this type of industry (security tag removal equipment) continues to lack vendor reviews due to the nature of the items being sold (and the fact that eBay and Amazon continue to remove these types of listings), we’ll do some of the dirty work.

The only way to review a site fairly is to become one of their customers, so we went incognito and placed an order with a US shipping address. We did this because their terms and conditions page implies, without clarifying, that items ship from the United States. However, much to our disappointment, we later discovered the seller is yet another Chinese drop shipper. is owned and operated by Shenzhen Tong’an Electronic Co., Ltd.

This is the system generated email we received after we placed a purchase on December 15, 2015:

We waited a few days for the tracking information but, somewhat as expected, it never came. This is where the alarm bells started ringing. Naturally, we wanted to get in touch with the seller for an update, so we went looking for their contact information:

  1. Phone number; none
  2. Address; none
  3. Contact page; generic, without any actual contact details, except for a ‘world map’ with an unaddressed pin dropped on Manhattan

But we did find an email address,, and sent a message to it offering them an opportunity to respond. But after not receiving a reply from them in three days, we started a PayPal dispute. Then suddenly, as if by some sort of scam magic, we got a response form them instantaneously.

Hello dear,

why you dispute? pls give me convince and this kind of item is very typical. we can provide you very high grade sevice. You do no know how deep I want your business hot, bucause, only if that you can give me a big order.

We sincerely want to support your business ,pls do not dispute. I not send item to you until you take dispute.

Thanks and best regards.


Okay. I think what Google Translate is trying to say is that we won’t get our item unless we cancel the dispute. But we’re not cancelling the dispute because that’s our only form of insurance. We told the seller in no uncertain terms that their only option was to ship our item, as promised, and provide a tracking number, as promised.

  • One day later we got a China Post reference number.
  • Four days later we were able to track the item as it left Shenzhen, China.

This looks like a seller taking orders on their own website and then placing those orders on Aliexpress or Taobao. That is, they’re a middle man posing as a supplier. But that didn’t prepare us for the hideous surprise we got in the post about a month later – the Clothes Security Tag Remover Detacher EAS Hook Key, or simply, a detacher hook. But we ordered the 15,000GS magnet.

The dispute with PayPal was immediately escalated to a claim, but we knew this was going to cause problems because the seller was going to use the tracking information against us. Indeed, the item was marked as received by USPS on January 20, 2016, but there is no clue as towards its contents.

The seller has denied any wrongdoing, but the case now rests with PayPal. We’ll update this post once they have a final decision. Until then, we’ll refer to as fraudsters for intentionally sending an item ‘significantly not as described’.

Still looking for Bad Ideas?

After Zoklet (a post TOTSE bulletin board) closed in the latter half of 2014, many of the Internet’s unwanted were left without a home, and we’ve since noticed a fair few posts around the web asking for forums similar to Bad Ideas. So, rather than updating the Zoklet has gone offline post, we thought users might want a regularly updated list of similar forums as they come and go.

Visit these sites at your own peril:


The following re-spawns have gone offline:

  • [offline after owner got doxed]
  • [seized by, or was possibly linked to, the FBI]

List last edited January 11, 2016.