How I got scammed by chargeback, won the dispute, and actually made unexpected profit!

Early July this year, a lady from United States by the name Kimberly Adams contacted me via email, asking for quotation for creating a new website. Part of the job scopes required me to purchase a software for the website, from a developer who would only accept bitcoin as form of payment.

She admitted that she didn’t know a thing about bitcoin, so she’d rather leave it to someone who does. Me, at the time, had never used bitcoin either. But in all learning spirit, I decided to help and took up the job.

So I sent her the invoice for full cost of the software plus 50% of the fee for putting together the website, totalling at $2,035, which included credit card processing fee. I was that diligent.

She made the payment in the same evening, I waited for 3 days for the transaction to be completed and the funds were sitting in my account. Then I proceeded to acquire the bitcoins needed for the purchase of the software.

To which, I had an unlucky start with bitcoin. The website I was trying to purchase bitcoin from, had some technical issue. The money was sent through, but not registered in the system, so I didn’t receive any bitcoin in return. I spent next 3 weeks, sending email after email to the bitcoin vendor to follow through the mishap (they don’t have phone number). In the mean time, I made it a point to send daily updates to Kimberly to assure her that I was still trying to get hold of the bitcoin and I wasn’t giving up.

Eventually, I decided to spent another $1,000 to purchase bitcoin from another vendor and used it to place the order for the software.

The real nightmare began.

After paying $1,000 worth of bitcoins to the software developer, I didn’t receive any license code nor login info. I started another email chase with the software developer (once again, no phone number!) Though the developer did reply to “assure” me that they will send me the license code soon.

Until several weeks later, I received an email from my credit card processing company (Stripe), that someone had filed a dispute against the charge of $2,035 — the payment that “Kimberly” has made. And of course, I still haven’t receive any license code.

I immediately hit the software developer’s website, as I had expected, the website was gone. Needless to say, my next email to “Kimberly” was bounced back.

I got scammed for the first time, after being in the internet business for 16 years.

Even though $2,035 wasn’t a huge sum of money, the fighting spirit in me wasn’t willing to let this rest. I immediately compiled all my email conversations with “Kimberly” into PDF, together with copy of my invoice, sent to Stripe to contest against the dispute. The date was 18 August 2016.

Day after day, week after week, I logged in to Stripe to check on the dispute status, which showed no progress.

Until 20 minutes ago, an email arrived in my inbox, with the subject line that says “A dispute on charge xxx has been resolved in your favor”!

In case you are already lost, let me sum this up for you: Not only I won the dispute, I got back my money, I had actually profited about $1,000 from it. Remember the 50% I have collected, which I was supposed to build a website for “Kimberly”? Well I hadn’t started any work on it at all, since I was so caught up with bitcoin and the software developer who never delivered.

And, one more thing: The first bitcoin I tried to purchase? I had eventually received 100% of it. So there was no loss in bitcoin department.

I guess this is when people would say: All’s well that ends well, eh?

Footnotes:

  1. The website Kimberly wanted me to build, was meant to be hosted at www.humancapitalventure.com (which is obviously defunct now)
  2. The software I was asked to purchase was from hubstack.io (which apparently, is also defunct now)

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