ALLEN PARK, Mich. (FOX 2) - A mom and dad eager to get their daughter her phone quickly learned they were scrubbed by a scammer.
"When I first saw it, it was shiny, wrapped in plastic like they had taken their time. As soon as I went to open it they took off," Thomas Greenarch tells us. It was that quick: no phone, two bars of soap and $450 gone. "I was more angry with myself that I let it happen."
He and his wife saved for six months to get their 14-year-old daughter a phone. They found a good deal - too good - on the app Let Go. They messaged with the 18-year-old seller from Allen Park.
"I guess in retrospect you can see things, but at the time it seemed legitimate," Greenarch says.
They picked a time to meet her at the Allen Point Apartments. Greenarch says as soon as he opened the wrapping, the seller took off. He didn't even have a chance to see the soap by the time she was gone, back into the apartment building's locked door.
For this family, it's insult to injury, literally. Thomas has serious brain damage from a car crash.
"Things are finally getting better," he says. His wife works, but money is tight. They lost their house, and this phone was a splurge buy as a gift.
"I try not to look at it that way, but yeah, financially it's a set back."
Allen Park Police tracked down seller by her phone number, and she was ticketed. It's a misdemeanor because it was under $500.
"You don't think it's going to happen to you, but it did," says Allen Park Police Det. Jim Thorburn.
He told us a few things to remember if you're using these buy/sell sites: meet up at a police station for extra security; check the item before you hand over the money - don't just assume; and remember the old adage if it's too good to be true, it probably is.
Unfortunately for this couple, they'll probably never see the money again. They did find another phone for their daughter though, on Craigslist.