A color photo of an Xbox One controller.

A color photo of an Xbox One controller.


eBay Christmas Scam: Man Pays $750 for Photo of Xbox One

Do you want a new Xbox One for Christmas? Thinking about buying this hot video game console on eBay? You might want to think again. A recent holiday scam has a lot of consumers re-thinking their buying strategy when it comes to the new Microsoft Xbox One.

An unsuspecting eBay buyer was recently scammed into paying the equivalent of $750 US dollars for what turned out to be a photograph of an Xbox One. eBay is requiring that the seller refund the purchase… but this still serves as a warning for anyone hoping to score a sweet console deal on a third-party marketplace. Buyer Beware!


The “Photo-Only” Limited Edition Xbox One

To be fair, the seller who listed the photo of the Xbox One did mention in the listing that the item for sale was a photo only, and not the actual console. But the buyer found item because it was explicitly listed under the “Games and Console” sections, so he assumed his purchase was a safe one.

He was very wrong.

What he wound up receiving in the mail, instead of a brand new (and pretty awesome) Microsoft Xbox One, was a photograph of an Xbox One. And a photograph of very poor quality, at that!

Luckily, the buyer has maintained a pretty cheerful disposition throughout the entire ordeal.

As The Consumerist reports, he’s handling everything with some serious grace:

“‘I’ve had to make a joke out of it because I was that angry,’ says that 19-year-old from Nottingham, UK, who paid £450 ($749) to a seller on eBay. ‘At least we’ve got something to laugh about in the years to come.'”

Must be all that holiday spirit.


Always Shop with Caution Because Anyone Can Be Scammed

A color photo of the eBay sign in a building somewhere.

eBay gave the fraudster a week to make sure that the buyer received a full refund.

In this situation, the scam victim wasn’t a novice. He was an experienced eBay user who actually did his due diligence and noted that the seller of the Xbox One photo had a lot of positive feedback from other buyers.

This suggests that it might have been this particular seller’s first time running a scam, and it proves that even positive feedback and customer reviews aren’t a guarantee that you’re dealing with a safe source.

It also appears that the scam victim simply thought the “photo only” description was some kind of joke. The lesson is this: if a listing for something expensive on eBay says “box only” or “photo only,” take it at face value. Click that buy button and you’ll be paying hundreds of dollars for a fancy box or a sheet of 8.5 by 11 with a printed picture of that Xbox One or PS4.


Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

If you’re looking to score the newest and coolest console for one of your loved ones this holiday season, remember that it’s always better to wait until after Xmas than risk being scammed. Systems like the Xbox One or PS4 may sell out around the holidays, but when they do it’s only a matter of time before they’re on store shelves again.

What are your holiday shopping tips? Share them in the comments below.


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Sean Boulger is a freelance writer and storytelling enthusiast living in LA. He loves television, pop culture, minimalism, and two cats.

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