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Old Mar 19, 2012, 08:44 AM
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John Kim - Committing fraud on this forum

Can you guys please put a stop to this. This person is continually misrepresenting the items he has for sale as "new" when they are not new. On top of that, he is using photos that are not his as a representation of the actual item he has for sale.

Here's the thread from Hemikiller who bought one of his so-called "new" engines:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1608189

And here's a thread from John Kim where he tries to warn other sellers from selling to Hemikiller, because he's a "finical buyer" who should have been happy to get an engine at such a bargain.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1614982

What I find absolutely ASTONISHING about the above thread, was that "the pope" got an infraction for calling John Kim a liar. He lied about the product for sale, and used a photo from another website that was not his when he sold it...is that not lying? How is it considered a personal attack when the statement is true?

Then, after Paypal ruled in favor of Hemikiller and her shipped the item back to John, John posted the item back up for sale again as "Unused" and said "Pictures available upon request" in this thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1616358

I posted a link to the pictures Hemikiller took of the engine and John deleted my post. It is my opinion that John is purposely misleading and is committing fraud against the members of this forum.

I find it disheartening that the moderators here seem to go balls to the wall when it comes to handing out infractions for some of the silliest of issues, but someone like John Kim can rip other members off, attack them for calling him out, and go unnoticed for some time.
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Old Mar 19, 2012, 09:25 AM
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Jim T. Graham's Avatar
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We are looking into this.
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Old Mar 19, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Thank you.
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 11:11 AM
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Any update on this?
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 11:21 AM
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It looks as though he was moderated in this thread.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1614982
Issues like this are what the trader feedback system is for.
If you have issues with a seller be sure to utilize that tool to let other potential buyers know of your problem.
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim T. Graham View Post
It looks as though he was moderated in this thread.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1614982
Issues like this are what the trader feedback system is for.
If you have issues with a seller be sure to utilize that tool to let other potential buyers know of your problem.
So, just so I understand this correctly, are you saying that you will continue to allow a person to commit illegal activities while using your site as a tool to conduct said illegal activities? I have to say that the decisions made by the people that run this site seem to lack logical thinking, and it's incredibly disappointing. I'm curious about what a lawyer would say about your decision if one of John Kim's victims were to let them know that they were ripped off by him, on your forum, that he was known to do this on numerous occasions, and the people running this site let it keep going on. And no, that is not a threat...It is something you you should think very hard about, though, because I don't know of any lawyers that would care about a little disclaimer in a sticky that says that RCG takes no responsibility to what happens in the classifieds.
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 11:37 AM
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Here are the guidelines set forth by the site owner:

Guidelines for selling items in the RCGroups forums
RCGroups is happy to provide a place where sellers and buyers can meet.

The service is provided free of charge. Consequently, RCGroups cannot assume any responsibility for the transactions that occur here.

Some general guidelines to help you:

1. Know who you are dealing with. RCGroups provides "trader ratings" that allow sellers and buyers to leave feedback about each other. Make use of these. It is also helpful to examine the post history of a user to see if they have contributed in a meaningful way to the other forums.

2. Communicate clearly. If you are the buyer, make sure that you know exactly what you are buying. If you are the seller, make sure you communicate exactly what you are selling. Most problems come up when users misunderstand something about the transaction.

3. Use some common sense. People who feel comfortable sending money to someone they've never met for something they've never seen are bound to eventually receive a nasty surprise. That doesn't meant that you can't trade online. Just use some common sense precautions, like contacting the other party by phone and exchanging all the relevant contact information before proceeding with a transaction.

4. Be patient. There are few cons out there but the ones that exist online survive by moving the transaction along quickly. It is way better to miss out on a hot item at a good price than it is to lose money on a product that never arrives.

5. If something goes wrong, don't panic. Don't go public with a bunch of wild assertions. Use the contact information you got before the sale took place and put it to good use. Be friendly as you negotiate a resolution to the problem. If you put the other person on the defensive, your chance of working with that person drops to nearly zero.

Be suspicious of anyone who is vague, uses delay tactics, seems inconsistent, or who is trying to motivate you to close on a deal faster than a reasonable person would expect.

How a transaction proceeds is really up to the seller. Keep that in mind. Lots of times people get upset because a seller makes a deal with someone who doesn't appear to have provided the first response to the listing. That's silly. The seller can sell to whoever he wants. He has to protect himself just like the buyer does, so it behooves him to sell the item to the person he trusts the most.

Likewise, some sellers get upset when a buyer backs out. That's silly too. The buyer might get cold feet because he decides the seller isn't trustworthy. Or it may be because he realizes that he can't spare the cash after all. It isn't unethical for the buyer to change his mind, even though it can be frustrating at times.

Keeping the above in mind, here are some guidelines on how a transaction can logically take place:

1. The seller lists the item, providing a price or asking for "best offer".

2. Several buyers respond.

3. The seller communicates to each of them exactly what they are buying and answers any questions they may have.

4. One or several buyers commits to the purchase.

5. The seller chooses a buyer and posts in the thread to say "I am selling the item to ...". Since the buyer will be sending money during the next step, he should insist that the seller mention him by name in the post. That way the seller can't make arrangements to multiple buyers. The seller also uses the "sold" button to mark the thread as "sold" instead of "for sale".

6. The buyer sends payment by the seller's chosen means. This usually means paypal.

7. The seller waits paitently for the payment. If the seller said he would accept a check (probably not a very good idea) then he should expect to wait at least a week.

8. The seller receives payment and waits for it to fully clear. No seller should ship an item unless the payment has been made in full.

9. The seller ships the item. He then posts to the thread to say "item shipped". He PMs the tracking information to the buyer.

10. The buyer gets the product.

It would be nice if every transaction went smoothly, but in real life people make mistakes. Sometimes people are even out to cheat other people. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. So you need to be on your guard.

Unfortunately there isn't much you can do when a transaction goes bad. So that means you need to be really careful about who you are dealing with. Never be afraid to back out of a deal if you start to feel like it isn't going to work out.

When something does go horribly wrong and you seem to be getting the short end of the stick, think constructively about what can be done to solve the problem. Focus on what you can do. Too many people get frustrated and angry way too quickly, destroying the possibility of reaching common ground.

Always be true to your word and do the right thing for other people. If you are the seller and the buyer was expecting something that you didn't provide, make it right by shipping what was missing or by refunding a fair portion of the buyer's money. If you are the buyer and the seller didn't give you what you were expecting, then see if the seller will provide a refund.

Sellers should realize that the buyer won't consider the transaction over until he has fully inspected the item. That means that the seller shouldn't spend the money he received from the sale until the buyer has had the product in his hand for a few days. Most sellers, in actual practice, don't consider this beforehand, so if you are the buyer make sure you clarify that you want the seller to hold onto the funds until you receive the product. Let the seller know that you will ask for a refund if you do not get what you are expecting. Take care of these concerns up front so the seller is ready for them. If that means that he wants to choose a different buyer, then just be glad that you didn't get involved with the seller.

Remember that the clearer you are in your communication with the other party the less likely it is that you will have a problem. And if you do have a problem, all that clear communication will come in handy. You will be able to say "But I told you that this was the Super Doohicky 2000, not the Super Doohicky 2000 PLUS!".

If you feel that you are a victim of actual fraud and not a simple mistake then please let all the other users know about it via the Trader Talk forum.

Good luck to all of you!

Jim
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 11:46 AM
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I will go over this case with Jim Bourke and get his take on what action should be taken.
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 11:48 AM
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I know what the guidelines are, Jim... Regardless of the guidelines, you are choosing to permit a person that has committed fraud (on more than one occasion) to continue to do so on your forum.

John Kim has been called out for committing fraud on this forum. He is still continuing to do so by posting an Enya engine for sale as "Unused" after it was sold and returned for not being "unused" and he's deleting posts from people trying to warn others about his actions. Also, many people have posted, in the thread I linked to above, and explained that they too have been victims of John Kim.

So, without pasting any guidelines or rules, I'd like a simple "Yes" or "No" answer out of you, or the site owner Jim Bourke to the following question:

Is RCGroups.com's official response to this problem that you will do nothing about this? Are you saying that the only way to handle this is for us to try to warn people of his actions in the "Trader talk" forum?
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 11:21 AM
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Any word on this, Jim? Members of this forum have been actively trying to stop him from selling the Enya engine as "unused" by posting pictures of the actual engine he has for sale in his thread. He is now deleting those pictures, and locking his threads, with a final post saying "Contact via PM". http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1616358 This just goes to show you the length this guy will go to mislead and rip-off the members of this forum. Enough is enough.
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Old Mar 22, 2012, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Is RCGroups.com's official response to this problem that you will do nothing about this?
Transactions that take place between two individuals are up to the individuals. RCGroups is not responsible for them. We aren't in a position where we can know who to side with.

One of the reasons we do not take action is because it could imply that the people we have not acted against are trustworthy.

While it might seem obvious to you who the bad guy is, that is not enough for us to act on. We don't know what condition the product was in before it was sent. Perhaps the person who received the product is misrepresenting what he received. While that may not seem believable to you, in the time I've spent running this site I've seen many crazy scenarios play out. I've learned that it doesn't help anyone when we get involved without knowing all the facts. Our moderation policies are designed to prevent us from reaching beyond our area of expertise.

Also, consider that the criminals and cheats are very good at manipulating the system. They use multiple identities to establish themselves as trustworthy. A scammer, for example, might pretend that he participated in a transaction by posing as two separate users, one selling to the other. After identity number one is "scammed" by identity number two, other users pitch in to ride identity number one out of town, and now identity number two has built up esteem. That identity can then be used to abuse the trust of well meaning users.

Even if we ban a bad user there is nothing to say they can't rejoin under an alias. There is literally no end to the sort of machinations people will go to to scam others.

In short, I haven't come up with a better solution than just telling everyone they are on their own. We do have some ideas about offering an escrow service, but I doubt anyone would be willing to pay the costs.

Jim
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Old Mar 23, 2012, 07:01 AM
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Jim, I understand what you are saying, but I just don't agree with you fully. Think about what you just said and replace "Scammers" with "People that violate RCGs rules". RCG seems to have a system in place that helps prevent people from personally attacking others here, correct? People report offending posts, moderators review, and can ban members based on those reports. What is the difference? I'm not sure if you looked at the links above, but I would think that if you did, you'd agree that John Kim has become a problem and should not be permitted to continue to do what he has been doing here. I also think you give a lot of these scammers a little too much credit for their abilities and tactics. While people like you describe do exist, they just aren't as common as dumb criminals just trying to scam innocent people. I hope you rethink your position in this. One step in the right direction would be to stop letting sellers delete other people's posts in their for sale threads. New purchasers should not have to search through trader talk to see if a seller is a scammer when people who have been scammed can just post a warning with a link in the thread. The bottom line is that something needs to change. IMO, people breaking the law through this site should be a higher priority than people hurting other peoples feelings with a poorly worded post. I feel that RCG has tried so hard to make this a family friendly site that it has turned into a school classroom filled with kids that are just waiting to tattle on the next kid that breaks one of the many rules. You can't, and shouldn't have to, protect everyone from getting their feelings hurt. If someone says something that I think is stupid, I should be able to say "that it the dumbest thing I've ever heard you say" and not have to worry about getting one point closer to being banned. But, if somebody knowingly scams someone else out of their hard earned money, and there's proof, then that person should be booted. Who cares if they try to come back? They come back and get caught again...boot them. The only other way I can think of to really protect people would be to only permit PayPal transactions, and require all sellers to link their PayPal account to their RCG profile. That way they couldn't just sign in under another name. And, setting up new PayPal accounts isn't easy, so it would make things much more difficult for these guys.
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Old Mar 23, 2012, 05:31 PM
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It's possible we can get him on "obnoxious behavior" or something like that, but we really aren't in a position to start policing transactions.

I'll ask the moderator to review the situation.

Jim
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