The_Ralph - 9:13 pm on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
It turned out to be a scam! Can you believe it?
The first domain they contacted us about I could not sell for six weeks because I had just changed the registrant info and was unable to move the domain off GoDaddy (and I wanted to use Moniker's escrow).
But the same people (different individual, similar email address and approach) contacted me a few days later about another domain I had listed at Sedo. I quoted him a price more than 6 times what I had it listed at Sedo. He counter-offered about 10% below my offer, and I said "sure, let's do it". I was still trying to figure out what his angle was. I said we had to use Moniker's escrow because that reduced my risk. He said his buyer (another rich person in Dubai) needed a written appraisal before we went ahead and he pointed me to an appraisal service in Europe (Germany, I think. I am in the US.)
I thought: is this is the scam, just making people pay for appraisals? The appraisal cost was only 49 Euros, which was trivial compared to the domain sales price. I figured this guy wouldn't be doing all this work just to get me to use an appraisal service. So I took a chance and paid for the appraisal. A couple days later I had the appraisal in hand, more than our agreed-to price, more than 7 times what I had listed the domain for at sedo.com, and many times what I thought the domain was really worth.
I sent it to him and he said great! One hiccup, he said. His buyer needed to wait 30 to 40 days. He might be able to get the buyer to put up a deposit immediately. I didn't ask for more details and I said I would not transfer the domain until the entire sum was in escrow. He was polite and said fine and recommended I use his German appraisal service for domain listing and escrow, rather than Sedo and Escrow.com, as they would be cheaper.
So I got mad and figured it had all been a scam just to get me to buy the appraisal. An internet search found others complaining about the appraisal company being part of a scam service. I contacted my credit card company (it was only a couple days since I paid) and said I wanted to disallow the transaction. The credit card company said the charge had not yet been posted. I then contacted the German company that handled the transaction (similar to Paypal), and filed a complaint. I said I was a victim and sent them URLs of places where people complained about this appraisal company. A few days later they sent me an email saying the transaction had been canceled.
So I lost no money, just some time. I am surprised the bad guys put in so much work for not much money.