The dark side of eBay suspensions - would you buy from Lobbay?
Since its birth many moons ago, eBay has had thousands of detractors screaming into their email, because their accounts have been suspended for seemingly no good reason. Policies, algorithms and moderation designed to keep trading legal and honest occasionally snares innocent individuals and retailers. So what to make of Lobbay.com, a website that will sell anyone an established account to get around such suspensions?
The accounts are anonymous, verified, include 100% positive feedback (regardless of the buyer's previous history with eBay), and can be up to one year old. And in case you need it, Lobbay will also flog you a US bank account without needing to supply any identification:
Oddly, their FAQ doesn't answer the one question we wanted to ask - isn't this a very easy way for scammers to set up shop? Instead, they answer questions that nobody except perhaps such customers would be keen to ask:
Do you keep any of my personal information in your records?
Absolutely not. We do not keep any of your information in our records. We do consacrate a lot of importance to privacy, and nothing of your personal information will be kept or shared.
So Lobbay keep no personal information about customers whatsoever? That'll make for an interesting tax audit. Like the argument put forward by Playables and Wai Dat Chan - manufacturers of the R4 cards that could be used for pirating Nintendo games - just because Lobbay's services can be used for the innocent purpose of continuing to trade after an unjust suspension, it doesn't preclude the possibility that scammers can buy a new account and continue to rip users off. Lobbay claims to be "110% legal and legitimate" despite violating eBay's terms of service and admitting in interviews to deliberately working around eBay's security measures - the point that saw the R4 argument become unstuck in the High Court.
This service hasn't just appeared overnight - Lobbay and similar sites have been operating for years. A Google for "Lobbay scam" reveals plenty of choice comments about the site; regardless, perhaps the real question is one for eBay themselves - why doesn't a company with so much muscle actively pursue businesses like Lobbay.com that admit to screwing over their site security to provide safe haven for suspended users? Even if Lobbay.com are themselves duping customers out of money, it's eBay that are creating the demand, albeit inadvertently.