The target of an attempt to make a dispute go viral

Our LG TV had a panel malfunction recently and it wasn’t cost-effective to repair. While I got rid of the faulty TV, I decided to sell the LG Magic Remote, which is a pretty cool remote control.

As Carousell has been my go to place to sell my used items for over 8 years, I listed it there as usual, not expecting any trouble. I was wrong.

Table of Contents

The enquiry

One of the enquiries that came in was from a user called limitedcollectionitems. The first thing I noticed was that Carousell had a banner at the top of the chat, warning me that the user’s account is under review due to a dispute, which was concerning for me. After all, I was selling the remote control for RM35 (about USD7.50), and if there was any dispute over the transaction, the effort to deal with it would be more than the selling price I was asking for.

However I don’t like functional items to go to waste, so I took the next step and checked out the user’s reviews, which were pretty good at 4.95/5.0. I did notice that there was a follow-up review by a purchaser that the user insisted that he change his review. That didn’t sound good.

After an initial question on the model number, he suggested that I send him a Whatsapp message (which is outside Carousell’s platform), and even asked me to bring the item to Klang for him to test. When I informed him that I was only keen to do a Cash on Delivery (COD) deal in Subang where I live, he claimed to not have transportation to come to Subang. He also initially ignored my follow up question on how he planned to come to collect the item if he didn’t have the transportation to come to Subang Jaya. He eventually said that his mom will contact me for the COD transaction, and continued to request for my phone number.

I was very clear that I wanted the conversation kept in Carousell only. Not only is it a good reference for Carousell in the event there is a dispute, it’s also against Carousell’s guidelines. After he kept insisting on me giving him my phone and I declined, he got pretty unhappy and belligerent After consideration, I decided that I did not want to transact with him and then he started to get really angry.

The red flags and Carousell’s review

There are 2 main red flags that I used to decide not to proceed with this:

  1. His account was flagged by Carousell itself.
  2. His insistence to take the conversation off Carousell’s platform, which would create a situation where Carousell is unable to investigate any disputes. It’s also against Carousell’s guidelines.

When I made a decision not to transact with him, I reserved the item for someone else (and the item will be listed as reserved on Carousell) and he got even angrier and much more abrasive. Eventually I decide to share with him my reason for not doing a deal with him, which was that his account was flagged. He kept demanding that I show him proof. While I have no obligation to share the warning message that Carousell gave me, I decided to do so to close the topic and move on.

Account under review

However he kept harassing me on Carousell’s chat that I eventually decided to block him and submit a report to Carousell, which they took action against him after reviewing and confirming that it is in violation of Carousell’s Community Guidelines, vindicating my position and decision to not transact with this person.

Waking up to a target painted on me

I woke up the next morning to a message request from a stranger on Facebook, telling me that someone was posting pictures of my profile and spreading some of my personal information and his frustrations with me, which included photos from my Facebook account that included my wife and son. I’m not a fan of doxxing, and if it only targeted me, I wouldn’t be overly concerned, but it crossed a line when the person involved my wife and young son. The screenshot below is censored by myself.

A quick check showed that he had initially posted his complaint on his Facebook page, and shared the post to multiple Facebook groups. At last check, the page and groups included:

Throughout the day, I was getting messages from kind strangers on Facebook and Carousell tipping me off to this activity.

Amusingly enough, he also posted it into a rather large Facebook group which I administer.

A carefully twisted narrative

At a glance, I saw that his post seemed to include our whole conversation, which I wasn’t worried about as that would vindicate my position to not deal with him. Unfortunately as I read it, I realised that he had removed the key part of the conversation, where I had informed him that his account was flagged by Carousell itself.

Fortunately, even without that key part of the conversation in his post, as I glanced through the comments of his post, and am grateful that most of the readers who took the time to read the post realised that it was just a deal that didn’t happen, that there was no sale or money involved, and urged him to move on, but he persisted.

Unfortunately I didn’t realise that after filing a report to Carousell, the chat thread disappeared on my end, and I still have no idea why. Fortunately I did have a screenshot of me informing him that his account was flagged, along with the warning statement from Carousell, so I had proof of my position and that he he deliberately omitted a key part of the conversation, which allowed me to create this post.

Note: You’ll notice that most of the perspective of the chats are from the prospective purchaser. As the chat thread has disappeared from my end, I had to use the screenshots that the disgruntled prospective purchaser posted online. With his screenshots and the screenshots I did capture, I believe I’ve pieced together about 90% of the conversation. If I am able to eventually retrieve the conversation from Carousell, I’ll update this post with the full conversation for clarity. For now, the almost-complete conversation is below.

A pattern of abrasive behaviour

By checking through the trail of his Facebook posts that he was leaving, it was immediately obvious that this a common pattern for him. While I have no idea of the nature of the previous disputes he has had, but the modus operandi has always been the same, to play the victim and doxx the person.

Examples of it can be found for these users:

Making a police report

Considering that this involved the privacy of my family, I didn’t have much choice but to spend the afternoon sitting in the police station and make a police report on this matter. I do hope that this will put an end to the matter, but if needed, I know what are the next steps to take, and have already lined those up.

Trying to befriend my friend(s)

Aside from the loss of productive time, the day continued to get more frustrating as a friend texted me that this person was trying to add him as a friend on Facebook. Which makes me wonder if he’s trying to befriend other people in my Facebook contacts list.

Gratitude to those who tipped me off

I’m extremely grateful to those strangers who reached out to warn of what was happening. I’m not revealing names to preserve the privacy of the strangers, but this is a personal thanks to each one of them.

Carousell is still a great place to sell your used items

Despite this unpleasant experience, I’m still of the view that Carousell is a great place to sell used items, and will continue to use it. I just hope that they continue to be vigilant against bad actors and continue to facilitate safe transactions.

Depending on how this goes, I’m not sure if his posts and links will stay online, as sometimes group administrators remove controversial posts. There could be some broken links eventually, but I hope the screenshots will allow this post to age well.

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