Check before you buy and only then you shall be rewarded

I have just been watching BBC News and one of their features was ‘Why shopping online could reward’.

The feature really focused on the fact that shoppers who like to spend their money online could also be earning at the same time and used an example from a woman who would only purchase items once she had sold a few on eBay and made a small profit.  Great example of how online shopping can really work well with the current credit crunch. However, I do wish the BBC had highlighted some of the risks involved in online shopping, like CNBC have done.

Yesterday we launched in the US and have already seen some coverage including from the Denver Post and it states we aim to curb the cybercrime of selling suspect second-hand goods. Hopefully there will be more to follow.

Anyway, hopefully the USA launch will be just as successful as the UK. According to the US Census Bureau the population of USA currently stands at 304,381,960 with:
• One birth every  7 seconds
• One death every 13 seconds
• One international migrant (net) every 29 seconds
• Net gain of one person every… 10 seconds

From the global population of internet users 27% are in the US and having read a lot of online articles and blogs e-fencing is proving to be a problem which the US are struggling to control. E-fencing laws have been discussed as being essential to combat organised retail crime. However, CheckMEND should now be an answer to their prayers, so let’s see how it goes.

This is what we do best and we have had plenty of stories from people who didn’t discover CheckMEND in time…

For example; Andrew Gudelajtis, from Mansfield, bought a Vodafone Nokia mobile phone from eBay for his wife. The phone arrived in a sealed box and was sold as being brand new, but after using it for six weeks the mobile phone stopped working.

He decided that he should use CheckMEND to check the IMEI number on its database. The search came back and identified the phone as being stolen or blocked. Unfortunately Andrew was then unable to re-trace the eBay seller and is left with a phone that doesn’t work and at the moment he is pursuing Vodafone to see if they can help – either by unblocking the phone or chasing the seller.

Hopefully he will have some luck at some point, but it is a great example of why you should use ‘CheckMEND before you buy’ or insist on sellers having a CheckMEND report. Or as I mentioned within my last post we should push for eBay to insist all sellers conduct a CheckMEND report!

Any questions – please fire them this way!

Welcome to CheckMEND US

Thanks for checking out CheckMEND as we open for business here in the US.  We’ve done a lot of work – and have had great success – in the UK helping buyers and sellers combat the problems associated with cybercrime relating to second hand goods.

This even shocked us: US citizens lost $239 million in various Internet-based fraud schemes.  Not surprising, cellular phones are one of the top items sold on online auctions sites with eBay recently confirming that the residents of Los Angeles last year sold 24 million items for nearly $1.4 billion and cellular phones were the best selling category.

A little bit about CheckMEND

Check out our product demo to see how we work located at:

www.checkmend.com/us/checkmend_demo

It is a really easy-to-use service for identifying serial numbered stolen and counterfeit goods offered on the Internet. CheckMEND offers consumers and businesses nationwide safe, fast, easy and very affordable checks against the world’s largest publicly available database of more than 100 million records of information that may be relevant to any prospective purchaser.  Bottom line: we’re trying to prevent you from getting burned.

A search on www.checkmend.com costs just $2.99 with even better pricing when multiple checks are made. Every check includes a printable comprehensive history report showing all the information available on the system.

This includes whether it is registered as stolen, had its identity changed, or has been subject to an insurance claim for damage or loss. Anyone checking a cellular phone also can verify whether the phone has been disabled by network carriers worldwide.   This is all really important so you actually get what you think you’re paying for.

We look forward to providing regular updates from the CheckMEND team, state of the industry and ongoing perspectives about protecting your personal items.

 

E-fencing on eBay – let’s enforce the check before you buy!

E-fencing – it’s an easy way to make fast cash and there are no regulations to stop you. BUT we can change this.

E-fencing is increasing everyday, according to CNBC , with the help of faceless online auction sites such as eBay and we need to really start looking into ways to overcome these issues. Well CheckMEND already have.

CNBC news in the USA have been really pushing the dangers consumers are facing in order to make e-fencing a more recognized problem.

The US-based National Retail Federation even went as far as to predict health problems caused by e-fencers re-selling stolen beauty products online, listing Cover Girl, Olay and RoC as the most common targets of e-fencing.
New York based Tiffany & Co has previously filed a lawsuit against eBay, and a host of other major retailers have all tried to persuade eBay and other online auction companies to combat e-fencing, but little has moved forward.

I have noticed a few online discussions by a number of cyber-crime bloggers  about who is to blame and who’s responsibility it is. One I would like to highlight is, Investor Trip’s They point out the fact that eBay seem to be passing the buck. Quoting eBay’s Vice President of Trust & Safety Rob Chesnut: ‘increase theft protection at the retail level. It’s the job of these major retailers to prevent criminals from lifting their products.’

Although eBay is right, I still believe it is also the responsibility of eBay, and other online action sites, to protect their users. One simple way of doing this is to CHECKMEND IT. From our perspectives, asking all sellers to carry out a compulsory CheckMEND check would solve a lot of e-fencing problems.
Currently, there is an option to carry out a checkMEND report on eBay but it’s not compulsory. If we can persuade eBay to enforce then at least consumers will know they are shopping safely with eBay! Reassurance is all they need.

Anyway, here are some interesting snapshots of the top 10 eBay selling markets last year by rank, published on 14.05.2008 by Harris Interactive:
- Los Angeles-Long Beach, California
- 196,089 Los Angeles residents sold 24,051,645 items for a total of $1,396,037,518.
- Best-selling categories for Los Angeles sellers were cell phones and their accessories as well as clothing and accessories.
- Los Angeles sellers were also the most charitable eBay sellers last year, donating the most of any city via eBay Giving Works, eBay’s program that helps people buy and sell for a cause, turning e-commerce into a force for good.
New York

- 158,859 New York City residents sold 12,621,651 items for a total of $1,045,503,913.
- Best-selling categories for New York sellers were jewelry, gems, watches and clothing and accessories.

Chicago
172,972 Chicago residents sold 10,229,844 items for a total of $908,708,440.
Best-selling categories for Chicago sellers included toys and sports memorabilia.

Philadelphia
120,900 Philadelphia residents sold 7,069,212 items for a total of $584,383,915. Best-selling categories for Philadelphia sellers included collectibles and toys.

Dallas
85,484 Dallas residents sold 5,003,292 items for a total of $754,493,210. Best-selling categories for Dallas sellers included jewelry, gems and watches, and clothing and accessories. Dallas sellers also made more money on sales of cars and trucks than did sellers in any other top-10 U.S. seller market.
Orange County, California
75,486 Orange County residents sold 6,945,490 items for a total of $636,654,084.
Best-selling categories for Orange County sellers were auto parts and cell phones and accessories.
Washington, D.C.
112,462 D.C. residents sold 5,024,888 items for a total of $393,720,726. Best-selling categories for D.C. sellers included books and toys.
Houston
76,450 Houston residents sold 4,297,389 items for a total of $528,872,858. Best-selling categories for Houston sellers included health and beauty and collectibles.

Nassau-Suffolk, New York -
70,714 Nassau-Suffolk residents sold 5,396,880 for a total of $400,253,200. Sports memorabilia and health and beauty were best-selling categories here.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida -
39,623 Fort Lauderdale residents sold 2,838,954 items for a total of $631,845,063.
Best-selling categories for Fort Lauderdale sellers included home furnishings and auto parts.

The survey

was carried out by Harris Interactive. They also revealed that one in 10 US adults (that’s 11percent) is currently selling personal household items to generate extra cash, with the majority (59 percent) doing so via online sales

or auction sites like eBay. Additionally, 30 percent of all adults say they are likely to sell their personal or household items over the next three months to earn extra cash. Great, but are you sure they are not stolen!!!

So, lets all jump o

n the band wagon and make sure a CheckMEND check is enforced with all sales on eBay.

The Serial Entrepreneur

For those of you who have heard about it, but wondered what CheckMEND is and how it came about I thought I would give you the low down on why and how it all began.

Me, founder of CheckMEND.com

Lost my phone!

In 2000 I lost my phone on the London Underground and went to the lost property office to try to find it. However, I was then faced with the task of providing a serial number or what we also know as the IMEI number. But in 2000  no one had really heard of what an IMEI number was let alone know their own!

Anyway after eventually finding my IMEI number and recovering my phone, I realised that all modern consumer electronic products have a unique serial number and that without them there was little way of distinguishing one item from another. Thus, I formed the idea that there was a need in the market for a pre-loss or theft registration service containing these serial numbers.

Previous career path

My career has always involved providing services to the consumer, back in 2000, at the age of 40; I sold my chain of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities, with the aim of taking early retirement and relaxing after a very full working life… until the idea for CheckMEND hit me.

I decided to start up a company called Recipero (latin meaning to retain or recover), with a view to building a company that provided a range of products and services based on the accumulation, organisation and analysis of information relating to personal property ownership, associated criminality, fraud and illegal trading.

The simple pre-loss registration database:

The starting point was with a simple pre-loss registration database, but it quickly became apparent that there was value in the analysis of the data and potential to provide HPI-type data for consumer electronics.  This was reinforced at the time with the explosion of online auction sites and the willingness of people to buy and sell second-hand goods online. All at the same time as the huge increase in the theft of mobile phones and other mobile devices such as laptops, ipods and the like.
The next three years was spent populating the MEND data warehouse and building partnerships across the mobile industry, with the likes of Carphone Warehouse and mobile phone networks. The police forces were also a vital partner for me.
Eventually, the system grew and now contains billions of pieces of discrete information and is accessed over a million times a month by the mobile phone industry, all UK Police forces, major insurers, the second hand trade, recyclers and the public.
CheckMEND.com was launched in 2006 and the CheckMEND database is now used extensively by second hand trade and the public the most common use of CheckMEND by the general public is for when they are buying or selling items from online auction sites like ebay.

Taking it international:

I can now safely say the company is well established and we are starting to focus on business outside the UK. 2008 will see two new launches for CheckMEND.com. One in the US, which the Recipero and CheckMEND teams are extremely excited about, with the U.S. being the largest market for consumer electronics. Not only that, we have already begun the process of launching in Asia too.

Obviously the road to where we are today didn’t all run as smoothly as suggested above, many a challenge was faced and problem overcome, but this is the CheckMEND story… so far…

Have a look at the youtube video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zcm9VFNvuQ