Article Originally Written on November 13, 2004
This guest article was written by Jonathan “Elude” Gilbert of Team TEC.
Sponsorship Scams? They Exist?
The views in this article are opinionated, and are being published not to support nor attack any party involved in the issue, but rather to shed light on a growing problem in our community. This piece does not represent the opinions of Gotfrag in any way. We encourage anyone who does not agree with the claims made herein to write in with their side of the story.
My team TEC has long been a team that has gone with out sponsorship, although we have had some help along the way from small organizations or generous people we’ve never had anything real. Throughout this article, I will talk about happenings with TEC as well as to what to look out for in phony sponsorship deals; so your team or your self doesn’t fall victim to a scammer.
Quite a few times we have been on the receiving end of a poor “sponsorship” deal from IRC, the only reason we would ever waste our time with some of these people is because of the fact that we are poor as a team, and often do not have the funds to get to LANs and major tournaments. I will only explain the most recent happenings of what happened to one of TEC’s sponsorship deals. It could affect any level team, and this has happened on more then one occasion.
Before this past Summer CPL, our team was very low on funds like usual, and we couldn’t even scrap together enough money to pay for our hotel room. We decided to do what a lot of teams have done before, ask for donations on IRC. We ended up getting a portion of the money from our loyal fans but during the process a kid named “Tcomps|Thompson” messaged my brother and told him he had a “sponsorship” deal for our team which would include $400 for every CPL. We were excited that we could now stay at the hotel where CPL was being held (The Gaylord), except we didn’t know if they were for real or not, until he sent us $400 via Paypal. So the sponsorship was set, we would give them a banner on our site and we would tag them at CPL, which we did, but then after the event things turned sour.
Two weeks after the event there was an altercation between Thompson and a friend of our clan who had ops in our channel, according to what I saw that night Thompson was banning people from our channel, and our clan friend kicked him to make him stop. A few minutes after the ordeal I receive a message from Thompson demanding I remove our friend from TEC, and I laughed at him at first because I didn’t know if he was serious or not, but after a few minutes of me explaining to him that he was not affiliated with TEC so I could not “remove him” Thompson said that he would be dropping the sponsorship with TEC. I said ok and we went on our merry ways. At the time both parties decided since he dropped the sponsorship that we would keep the money. It was him that backed out of the sponsorship, after all.
A few days or so after the altercation I received another message from Thompson; this time he was apologizing;
TComps|Thompson: i just wanted to say iam sorry
TComps|Thompson: for what i said and sis
TComps|Thompson: just want to fix whatever problems we have
TEC|ELUDE: im sure we can work things out
TEC|ELUDE: i think people just got a little angry before ;o
TComps|Thompson: i kno
TComps|Thompson: i kno
TComps|Thompson: i am not disputing that charge by the way
TEC|ELUDE: the charge?
What’s this charge he’s talking about? Read on…
A Negative Balance
At the time I had no clue what he was talking about, until I logged into my Paypal the next day and saw my balance at $-377, and I was furious. After I contacted him this time he said that both parties dropped out of the sponsorship and that he was disputing through Paypal that we did not send him the “Item”, which in fact there was no item in the first place and there was nothing I could do about this. So he went on with the dispute through Paypal, which you have 30 days to do so, so in a rage I threatened him and talked to the people around him and they pressured him into canceling the dispute trough Paypal which he did, and I was relieved, but only for a few days.
One week after the dispute through Paypal was canceled by him I saw my Paypal balance back at $-377 and to my knowledge you cannot re-dispute a dispute through Paypal, so I was confused. I emailed Paypal again and they told me that any user has 120 days to dispute through their credit card company to get their money back and there’s a 99% chance that they will get it back every time no matter what. We are now three months after the incident and my Paypal account is still at $-377. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have been scammed; back in 2003 a kid named “zeek”donated $200 to our clan which we used two weeks later to travel to a WCG Qualifier in St Louis. After the event we found out the money was fraudulent and Paypal took it back, after we spent it so now subsequently my brother’s old Paypal account is still negative.
What to look out for
This is a classic example of a IRC scammer, some 17 year old kid with a lot of money claiming he is going to ”sponsor” your team for a certain amount of time. Here are some warning signs to look for and precautions you can take.
If this person contacts you via IRC there is a 90% chance he is a scammer, given that he might be affiliated with a server company or some other type of organization that would be on IRC so talk to him to try to get to the bottom of things. If they do claim to work an organization that you might consider legit, contact the people around him to see if he or they are for real. The majority of these people are under the age of 20, most of them around the age of 16, so question them if they admit to being 16/17 ignore them immediately as they will claim they are “dealing” with large company or have a lot of money to spend on a team, which will really be using their moms credit card or the money they saved up from mowing lawns the past summer; if they send any money at all, that is. Most of these people do this out of spite of wanting to be on your team, this is mainly towards upper level teams but I am sure it could and has happened else where, but others might have cruel intentions that are unknown.
This is my story hopefully you can take some of my experiences expressed in this article and learn from them and not the same mistake that myself and my team has made during the years! Good luck.
A Rebuttal from Tcomps
UPDATE: By request, we have removed Mr Thompsons quote. We have sent an e-mail message to Mr Thompson with request for an official quote, it has not yet been returned. We will post an update should we receive one.
Jon “Elude” Gilbert from TEC contests that he has still not seen the funds deposited in his PayPal account and he has been unable to contact Mr. Thompson between the last event logged and tonight. The screenshots from PayPal were taken on November 13th, two days after Mr. Thompson says the chargeback was reversed. There may be a lag between when the charge reversal takes effect and the reoccurance of funds in the PayPal account.