At MorphMarket , we take fraud very seriously. We have gone to great lengths to help buyers avoid getting scammed, and yet it never fails that on the occasion that a scammer pops up, a few unexperienced buyers are quickly drawn in.
The point of this post is to outline what MorphMarket does and does not do to protect against fraudulent sellers.
UPDATE: Please also read our new article on how we moderate our marketplace, which explains how we handle disputes and other complaints and more.
First and foremost, we are not involved in any transaction between the buyer and seller. As explained in our How to Buy tutorial linked from the front page:
MorphMarket is not involved in the transaction and so you are sending money at your own risk. See the earlier step about researching the seller.
As such, we carry no payment protection and recommend using a provider who does. There is no way we can get you your money back.
We recommend using a form of payment like PayPal, Square, or a credit card which provides some form of buyer protection. Other payment options like money orders and PayPal’s “Friends and Family” carry no protection in the event of a dispute, so use with caution.
As explained in our Terms of Service, which all new users agree to, we are not liable for any losses.
We provide education. In the How to Buy guide, we make the above points about the need to research your seller and use a payment method with protection.
We provide an in-depth checklist on How to Research Online Sellers. The central idea is to buy from those with established reputation to be safe. We describe all the factors to consider in forming this opinion.
We flag NEW SELLERS to alert buyers on their store and ad pages. To buy from a new, unestablished seller is typically fine, but it carries a risk that new buyers should not entertain just to save a few dollars. Almost always, the scammers are still in the “new seller” phase, because we catch them in that initial period.
Because of this significance, when sending an inquiry to a new seller, we post a large red warning, reiterating the risks. Also, as seen at the bottom of this photo, we even require users to check a box indicating that they’ve done the research and understand the risks. Sadly, the people getting ripped off check this box, without having actually done what they are indicating.
We provide a Ratings System on our site as one of the ways to assess the reputability of a seller. Each seller’s ratings can be seen on their store page along with other useful information. We also point users to review forums like the FBI Group on Facebook.
We require that sellers sell under their own legal name. Our strict approval process usually requires them to provide a photo of them holding their own government ID, so that we can verify their legal name. This alone keeps most scammers at bay.
We investigate complaints immediately. Usually scammers ads are noticed by our large group of savvy users and reported to us.
Once detected, we ban scammers from selling on our site. This includes not only their initial account, but their subsequent attempts to create new accounts.
When we ban a scammer, we send an alert via email to anyone who has sent them an inquiry through our site. Note that this doesn’t include users who may have contacted them via other means, like text or social media since we have no record of this.
We will enthusiastically support authorities by providing relevant information; however, the buyer has to be the one to initiate the claim or dispute.
We are very sympathetic to those who are taken advantage of, but we are not able to get your money back. Additionally, the authorities are not usually willing or able to act on this kind of fraud. So it’s up to you, the buyer, to do your research and use your common sense. Don’t send money to anyone you don’t have confidence about. Prevention is the name of the game.
The few users who disregard our warnings and fall into the trap want us to do more. We could in fact become very strict about who is allowed to sell on our site; however, this would create significant barriers to those who are trying to get started. This hobby is built upon the newer enthusiasts who begin to breed and sell. We believe our current approach provides a good balance of freedom and security.
What do you think about our policy on this? How can we do better?