Having lunch with some friends.
Friend: Wow, rm2000, it's a good deal.
My friend is looking for a laptop and that is exactly the budget.
Found it on a local "marketplace" website.
Other Friend: What spec?
Friend: MacBook Pro, 13inch, 8GB ram, 200GB memory. i5, you know?
Me: How much is it normally, rm5000?
Other Friend: Yea. Just make sure it's working okay, wifi and everything...
Friend: I'm gonna ask 1800. Hehehe.
Me: So cheap. Why are they selling it?
Friend: They need the money.
Me: Urgh. I'm jealous.
[hello, pretty thing]
Later we went to check it out at KLCC.
It was a crazy-kelam-kabut journey!
Rushing and exciting and calling everyone to re-arrange money.
Until halfway there, the girl selling it called and said she couldn't make it 'til later.
Much later, we set out again.
Bit rushed 'cos the guy is waiting there already.
It's the girl's cousin, who apparently, is a bit sombong.
Me: Why would you send your cousin?
Friend: Maybe she is selling it, but the laptop is with him.
Me: Maybe. Or maybe she doesn't wanna meet strange guys. Cos she's a girl.
Friend: Maybe. Don't know.
Meeting strangers to buy stuff is a bit like going on a blind date:
MSG: "What are you wearing?"
My friend identifies himself as wearing a black t-shirt…
…and with mat salleh girl.
A slightly sombong looking guy and his girlfriend(?) were waiting.
We looked at the laptop.
I couldn't really follow what happened next.
Cos it was fast and in BM.
This is my happily-confused face.
My friend keeps disappearing to make phone calls.
I'm assuming to continue re-arranging money & get advice or whatever.
Cue a lot of waiting - short BM convo - phone call - waiting - etc.
After a while that guy is actually not sombong at all.
Seems quite nice, showing all the features.
Then we're all four just waiting.
Finally, I ask.
Me: So…what's happening?
Friend: I just transfer the money. Waiting for her to confirm.
10 minutes pass.
Trying to call her.
Friend: She's not answering the phone.
Laptop Guy: …?
Laptop guy tries to call her.
Also doesn't pick up.
My friend and laptop guy have a slightly tense conversation which ends like this;
Friend: I've been conned.
Friend: Actually, he's not her cousin.
I don't know what that means.
Friend: This trick is so brilliant…
And this is what had happened:
Girl sees someone selling laptop online.
He was selling for rm2900.
She re-promotes it for rm2000.
Someone wants to buy.
She arranges a meet-up with the original seller and the new buyer.
She tells the seller - I want to buy but my friend is going to check everything is fine. If he says ok, I will transfer you the money then you can give it to him. Tell him you're my cousin because (…I missed this part, not sure how she managed to pull it off, but she did).
She tells the buyer - My cousin has my laptop, tell him you're my friend or he'll put the price up. If the laptop looks ok, transfer the money to me and then I'll confirm with him and tell him to give you the laptop.
Of course, halfway through this transaction - once she has the money - she stops picking up the phone and disappears.
By creating enough subtle miscommunication and misinformation, nobody realises until it's too late.
Off we went to the polis station.
Online Lessons when Buying from Strangers:
1. Cash on delivery. Only!!
2. Always re-confirm the price before doing any transaction.
3. No cousin/brother/friend/bla bla bla!
4. If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
Stay savvy, blog readers!