Thanks to comments posted by Paul and Megan I have learned that Justin Perez, the guy behind the counterfeit software operation, The Violent Squirrel, was arrested in October. 29 year old Perez was operating his scam out of parents basement in Islip, Long Island, NY. This is the same address he was listing for The Violent Squirrel and also the location where I tracked down this comment he submitted on this blog under a fake name.
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For the story about the arrest see:
Got another email from PayPal – they’ve decided in my favour. Brilliant, now I get my money back, right? Well, no actually, I don’t get a penny back. How’s that? Here’s the email from PayPal:
After careful review, we have concluded our investigation of the Buyer Complaint described below.
We have decided in your favor, however, we were unable to recover any funds from the seller’s account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement, recovery of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.
Please know that we will make our best effort to recover the funds in question if they become available in the seller’s account in the future and will take appropriate action against the seller. Such action may include issuing a warning, a temporary restriction, or terminating the account. Keep in mind that PayPal uses a number of factors to determine when to take action, including member complaints. Due to privacy laws, we cannot discuss the details of any action taken. We hope you understand our policy and that it assures you that you are safe using PayPal.
That last line takes the biscuit – “We hope you understand our policy and that it assures you that you are safe using PayPal“. Safe??? What a joke! The only thing safe is that my money is safely in the hands of the scammer!
In an unexpected development PayPal have re-opened my complaint case that I submitted many months ago. I’ve got no idea if anything further will develop but it’s interesting that after all this time they’ve decided to re-open the case.
Here is what their email had to say:
When you filed the complaint described below, we deferred investigation of the complaint because some of PayPal’s complaint guidelines were not met. At this time, we have decided to open an investigation into this deferred complaint. We are in the process of contacting the seller to inform them of our investigation.
Which doesn’t gel with the conclusion of their investigation back in September last year:
Our investigation into your claim is complete. As stated in our User Agreement, the claims process only applies to the shipment of goods. It does not apply to complaints about the attributes or quality of goods received. Therefore, we are unable to reverse this transaction or issue a refund.
Who knows what prompted them to re-open the case or if anything will come of it. But if you have been scammed and you paid by PayPal it is worth lodging a complaint because if they receive a large number of complaints about a particular vendor it may encourage them to take action.
In a previous post I asked the question ‘Is NexTag rigged?‘. I posed that question after I had been ripped off by buying counterfeit software from a seller that had a good rating and positive comments on NexTag. Following this bad experience I attempted to post a negative review for that seller on NexTag but my review never got published. I repeated my attempt multiple times making sure my review did not violate any of NexTag’s rules but all to no avail. I contacted NexTag and complained – that was 6 weeks ago. I explained the story of how I was ripped off by someone listed on their site conducting illegal activities and using their website to make themselves look legitimate. They strung me along saying they were looking into the matter but despite multiple emails back and forth nothing ever happened. A NexTag representative even commented on my previous post on this blog but it was the same old story, ‘We’re looking into this matter’, and at the end of the day they did not remove the trader from their site, they did not publish my negative review, they did absolutely nothing!
So the only conclusion I can draw is that yes NexTag is rigged. They are an organisation with no moral or ethical standards that favour illegal con-artists over the consumer. An illegal merchant can easily build up a profile on NexTag that makes them look like an above board legitimate trader. The reviews are controlled so that many of the negative reviews will not get published. Bottom line – NexTag is not the consumers friend – never trust a purchase decision based on anything you read on NexTag!
I’ve tried multiple times to write a review of The Violent Squirrel on NexTag. The Violent Squirrel is the illegal seller who ripped me off with a counterfeit version of Adobe Photoshop CS3 and he has a 5 star positive rating on NexTag which obviously is very misleading for potential buyers and one of the reasons why I was suckered into thinking he was legit. I have tried on numerous occasions to post a negative review in order to alert people to the scam but my review never gets posted on NexTag.
After submitting the review I see the message:
‘Thank you for submitting your review of The Violent Squirrel. Your review will not be displayed on NexTag until we confirm it meets our review guidelines.’
I have written it in multiple ways to in case it was a problem with guidelines, making sure to keep it brief and factual but all to no avail – my review is never published. So I’m wondering if NexTag is rigged in favour of the sellers and negative reviews deliberately blocked. If anyone has any insight on this please comment here.
MerchantCircle.com is shopping review site that focuses on connecting people with local businesses in their own neighbourhood. But I’ve seen how it can be used by an illicit internet based business to present an image of a legitimate buisness with satisfied customers. I discovered the problem after writing a negative review for The Violent Squirrel on the site. The review appeared right away but within a short time it had dissappeared. So I tried writing another review and same thing happened – it showed up and stayed for awhile and then was gone. After a few more attempts I had a look at their policies and discovered why pirates love MerchantCircle.com – The merchants on MerchantCircle can delete any reviews they want!! What a sham! Consumers beware – all positive reviews on MerchantCircle means absolutely nothing!
I see that The Violent Squirrel has been removed from PriceGrabber.com. Shocking! I wonder why?
Also note the one 5 star review he had on Price Grabber – I wonder who wrote that? Someone with only one review to their name. It’s too easy to fake these reviews and mislead people. I hadn’t really given it much thought before but now my eyes are wide open!