By Darth Pepsi
Guest Contributor, YouTube Creator
There is a psychology to collecting, a catharsis to spending money, and an extraordinary feeling of excitement after a long period of anticipation when your lightsaber finally arrives.
In this digitally powered age of consumerism, powerful search engines, social media and word of mouth are powerful allies to ensuring you that your investment of time and money is not wasted. Unfortunately for these devices to work for you, there has to be an outcry. This outcry has to make its rounds through the same social media, alternative outlets and word of mouth spoken of earlier.
This outcry is often delayed by many factors.
– fake positive reviews and purchases
– a victim’s inability to voice concerns in the right forums
– a buyer’s lack of awareness or naivety
– a strong urge to gamble
Let’s be clear, this proactive procedure is not 100% fail-safe. Even many so-called “reputable” companies fall victim to bad logistics, poor quality control, and inept customer service. Sometime shipping problems outside of their control can occur as well. “Reputable” is this author’s blanket term for “marginally acceptable” as there are well known companies with very low ratings that do business “well enough”.
Let’s examine 10 scam warning signs for lightsaber buyer.
1. How long has this vendor been in business?
Find out how long the vendor has been in business by performing a WHOIS search. A vendor that is new with numerous bad reviews is a poor start.
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2. What do lightsaber forums have to say when asked about said vendor?
Use your higher judgement as many companies have negative reviews. Hearing the word “scam” over and over is a bad sign. A few good lightsaber forums and groups can be found in Reddit, Facebook and online by searching and joining.
3. Does their website or Facebook page appear poorly managed?
Low quality imagery, incorrect grammar, dead links and haphazard design doesn’t mean the vendor is a scam on it’s own, but is more or less indicative of poorly thought out logistics, which can lead to headaches and miscommunications farther down the line.
4. Does the vendor lack specific information about product dimensions, shipping, lead times and stock?
This can be purposeful as miscommunication will allow a bad vendor to avoid culpability in the event you report their service to authorities.
5. Does this vendor use imagery that feels familiar or appears disparate?
Use Google to “Reverse Image Search” the product you are most interested in. If any images come back as belonging to another vendor, this is a form of theft in itself and should be reported directly to the original posters of the image.
6. Does this vendor respond to direct inquiries on Facebook?
Quiz your vendor. Scam artists will simply tell you whatever you want to hear to sell you. If it is too good to be true, it most likely is.
7. Is this vendor an individual?
Avoid this at all costs. Many “individuals” are just latent scammers with multiple accounts whom utilize the “long-con” by making friends and building reputations in forums. You can complain, but they will just block you, deny everything, and then when fully ousted will delete said account and carry on with alternative personas whom may be other entities you communicate with. (scary)
8. Does the vendor provide reliable contact information?
Email, call and DM the information attached to the company. It is cause of concern if what is provided is a personal email address, personal phone number or a personal Facebook account. Someone sounding “nice” or being “understanding” is often the easiest way of getting you to lower your guard.
9. Does this vendor provide secure payment options?
Avoid using Paypal Friends and Family, wire transfer, check, cash apps, BitCoin or Venmo, unless all previous procedural points have been covered with satisfactory answers. These methods can result in you losing your money forever as these ‘cash’ methods are not insured by your bank.
10. Does the website have SSL protection?
If the website you are buying from doesn’t have a lock next to their name, or have a prefix of “HTTPS” they do not have have SSL protection. This means that the site is not PCI compliant and is held to no standard by their local government or authoritative online institutions that protect consumers.
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My name is Darth Pepsi, at the time of this article I have very close to 20 years developing PCI, HIPPA & DEA compliant websites/applications/software for individuals, large institutions and compounding pharmacies.
Sabersourcing.com is one of the most comprehensive resources for data about lightsabers, where to find them and what may be going behind the scenes. I was well aware of this website before I got into lightsaber collecting as it is to the point and well presented.
I hope this message finds you all well. Happy hunting!
Darth Pepsi YouTube Channel