A crime never punished – selling fake butea superba and tongkat ali on eBay
I am often amazed how easily people can be fooled on trade platforms like eBay. One of the latest scams I have seen is that petty criminals sell alleged butea superba or tongkat ali extract.
Of all herbals, I believe that butea superba and tongkat ali are best suited for this scam because they are comparatively expensive. You usually also cannot find it in Western health food stores.
I am certain, butea superba and tongkat ali are also best suited for scammers in poor Third World countries because they are tropical herbals. I assume that Third World eBay scammer who can sell just 200 dollar worth of fake butea superba extract to a buyer in the US has already generated more than a monthly income in his country.
With that kind of earning prospects, you should not be surprised that youngsters in poor Third World countries flock to computer and Internet schools at a much higher rate than their peers in industrialized nations.
I have heard that among Internet-savvy youth in Third World countries, eBay has the reputation of being a cash cow. Or, depending on your political orientations, a means to justly correct the wealth imbalances between poor and rich countries.
Yeah, you buy fake butea superba on eBay. It is a 99.9 percent safe crime. You can assume that the danger of a scam victim in California initiating prosecution against a scammer in Calcutta is already almost nil.
And mind you, that is just for the initiation of prosecution, such as filing a police report.
You can assume that the chance that such prosecution would actually result in a conviction, is infinitesimally small. Any conviction (probably anyway just six months on probation) would cost you as a victim tens of thousands of dollars through private investigation. Why? Because you don't have a hard copy of the dealings, it’s all just in cyberspace. The police in countries like India are not equipped and not trained to deal with eBay scammers.
So, what do people sell on eBay as butea superba powder or extract, loose or in capsules?
What you can buy on eBay is sometimes just saw dust mixed with ash.
So how do you determine whether a product you bought, or intend to buy, is genuine or fake?
Use your common sense (and don’t be blinded by lower prices).
If you see a company that exist for a few months only, but brags as if they are a century old, that is much more likely to be fake than companies that have been around for many years. And retail outlets on eBay that do not even run a proper company website are almost certainly fake… unless they sell a product of a large manufacturer at a reduced profit margin.
Indeed, many eBay retailers do claim to sell products of large manufacturers, but even these claims are most of the time fake (you should write to the manufacturer; they are usually more than willing to confirm whether a retailer is authentic or not).