Buying a Website with Faked Sales History on Flippa

Placing the Winning Bid on Drop Servicing Site

I won the auction for WebSEOmaster.xyz, a drop servicing website:

Suspicious Transactions

Here’s what I saw when I got access to the wordpress admin and checked the Woocommerce sales page:

Notice anything suspicious? (1) all of the email addresses are either yahoo or gmail (2) all of the customers registered on the same day.

Looking at the details further, I found this order:

Googling the phone number, I found that it does not belong to Abigail Park but rather to a real estate agent with a different name.

P&L Doesn’t Match Woocommerce Report

Also, the Flippa P&L shows revenue from January 2022 to December 2022 while the site shows revenue just for September to December:

Flippa
Woocommerce

Trying to Get a Refund

I confronted the seller about these issues:

I asked the seller to forward me some email exchanges with past customers, but did not receive any, another clear indication that the sales data was faked.

Will I get a refund? The listing for the business stated, “The payment Option is Only PayPal” so I’d already sent payment via paypal. I opened a dispute in paypal, and I’m still waiting to hear back. The Flippa agent explained, “The reason why we have PayPal on our platform is that as mentioned earlier, PayPal does offer buyer protection for the purchase of digital assets, so you can start a dispute there and try to get a refund. ” Note the word “try” though!

I also opened a dispute in Flippa, though Flippa says the dispute option should only be used for escrow transactions.

Avoiding Faked Listings

In retrospect, I should have restricted myself to sellers that had either (1) verified their revenue or (2) performed more transactions and had a high customer satisfaction rating as reported by Flippa or (3) asked the seller to do a screenshare of the WooCommerce transactions. The seller had screenshots of the sales in the listing, but there wasn’t enough detail for me to verify the validity of the transactions.

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