Local ticket buyers on eBay left empty-handedWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly 80 people and their guests sat out the annual Michigan-Ohio State showdown after purchasing tickets through eBay from Mark West, a Fostoria resident who is currently missing and facing fraud charges.
The ticket prices amount to more than $50,000, according to Michelle Tenebria, a Cleveland resident and fraud victim working with the Ohio Attorney General’s office to provide victims’ information. She and her boyfriend made their purchase May 5 through PayPal, an Internet money transfer company owned by eBay. Tenebria said the tickets were to arrive by Nov. 5. The date passed, and she repeatedly attempted to contact West, finally speaking with him by phone on November 14.
West disappeared Nov. 15. His wife filed a missing persons report.
”He said, ‘I’m sending tracking numbers to everyone on Tuesday. You’ll have your tracking number by noon,’ ” Tenebria said. ”Nobody had their tracking number by noon.”
Tenebria compiled a list of seven steps for victims to take in pursuing the matter, directing them to file complaints with eBay; PayPal; Fostoria Police; the FBI; Ohio Attorney General; and their credit card companies. She said 80 people have come forward with similar stories of being scammed, and she expects the list to grow.
Scott Calhoun, a Toledo Free Press staff writer in Waterville, also purchased tickets from West’s eBay auction in early summer. He received a refund, but contends West hoped to silence him and discourage him from pursuing further action. Buyers on eBay may provide positive or negative feedback for 45 days after a purchase.
Calhoun complained to eBay through e-mails, but in its response, the company claimed lack of evidence to act against West. Calhoun also called Fostoria Police on the day he received his refund, but said the officer on the phone refused to file his complaint. He was told there was no fraud committed, and he should contact somebody on the Internet.
”I was worried this guy was committing fraud against people. I called them once. They acted like I was a jerk for calling them,” Calhoun said.
Fostoria Police declined to comment on Calhoun’s complaint and directed all questions to Michelle Gatchell, a spokeswoman under Attorney General Jim Petro. She said her office has received 47 complaints regarding game tickets sold by West since requested to assist by Fostoria Police.
”Now that we are involved in it, they would like us to handle the questions as far as the investigation goes,” Gatchell said. ”Through our consumer protection section under consumer laws, we are taking complaints from people who have not received their tickets and not received a refund. We are looking into all of those complaints.”
Gatchell requests potential victims to contact the Attorney General at (800) 282-0515.