Consumer Alert: Online Watch Buyers Beware

August 31, 2009 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 


San Diego watch buyers looking for deals on used watches, such as second-hand Rolexes and Patek Philippe timepieces, should proceed with caution. The North County Gazette reports that a watch enthusiast has been charged with defrauding a California man out of $100,000 by offering a nonexistent Patek Philippe watch for sale on an internet website that targets watch collectors. The man in question was charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and first-degree scheme to defraud and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The local District Attorney gave the following warning to online watch buyers: “While online shopping offers a certain ease and convenience over traditional store shopping, consumers should always be cautious and remember the old adage, ‘buyer beware,’ because shopping online, sight unseen, can potentially pose a big risk.”

Prosecutors say the charged man used a wireless connection to gain the Internet Protocol (IP) address of a neighbor and set up an account under the name Jonathan Miller. Thereafter the defendant is alleged to have made contact with an Oscar Ho of California, regarding the sale by “Miller” and the purchase by Ho of a Patek Philippe Model 5970G watch for $100,000. After a series of negotiations, Ho allegedly sent $100,000 by wire transfer to a Bank of America account belonging to the defendant. Despite repeated requests, Ho allegedly never received the watch.