A lot of folks are getting interested in the Segway HT human transporter. They are fun, useful, well-made, and, frankly, simply magic. And, as with many items on eBay, you can get some real deals. However, there is a very dark side to the Segway listings on eBay.
At the current time (February, 2006) a very high number of Segway HT's listed on eBay are totally fraudulent. The ads say things like: "Segway HT i180 new In Box Commuter PKG NO Reserve NIB." $1,000." Then it goes on to say: "eMail me now if you want to buy it right now."
They will usually tell you that they don't check eMail sent through eBay (with some bogus reason why they don't: "I'm in Europe, and eBay email doesn't reach me." etc.)
Then, they tell you that if you are "ready to buy right now" they can ship in 24 hours. The ad will have photos (stolen from other sites) of the Segway you are "buying."
There are some pretty obvious tip-offs to these scams: Usually, the English used in the ad is very flawed. They also emphasize how "safe" these transactions are. They also want payment through Western Union, or some other payment system that is impossible to recover your money from. Quite often, they originate from countries outside the U.S. Their promises of an absolute secure transaction are equally bogus. And, the prices are fantastic. Also, they rarely list an ad for 7 or 10 days; eBay will usually pull the ads within a couple of days, so they have to get their hooks into people fast. These ads ususally stress payment within a few hours.
Well, they say fools and their money are soon parted. People actually bid on these auctions. I shouldn't complain, if folks throw their money away on non-existant machines, I can buy a real one cheaper.
However, there are so many bogus ads on eBay that it is annoying. They get in the way of the legitimate ads and cluttter the listings.
eBay pulls these ads as fast as their infrastructure allows, but that usually means at least two days, and by then they've got your money.
By-the-way, feedback is meaningless. Somehow, these scam artists hijack legitimate eBay accounts. It actually happened to me; my eBay privileges were suspended for a couple of weeks before it was straigntened out.
So, as-they-say, if it appears too good to be true it most likely is. If the seller won't agree to let you pick up the machine, and only pay for it at that time, they are probably crooks. When you see an ad that says "Pickup Only" it is probably legit.
In the meantime, if you think an ad is fraudulent, go to the bottom of the eBay page and report it to the eBay Security Center.
The Segway is pure magic, a miracle, and the scum who are taking advantage of good folks must be stopped.