Adriano Penna, Napoli, is a thieving drongo

June 1st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, onanism | 36 Comments »

From the two steps forward one step back department, this is an exercise in public humiliation.

I tried to buy a posh light laptop off Ebay (Panasonic CF-W2 since you ask), because as you can imagine I run around a lot, and my laptop, frankly, is dying. One hinge is broken, the screen is half dead, and the CD thing doesn’t work. I do not – incidentally – recommend Toshiba for the more rugged lifestyle.

The seller had lots of positive feedback from selling laptops. I did that much right. I won the bidding. I paid with Paypal. The money has left my account. The laptop has not arrived. Ebay and Paypal are rubbish – be warned – and have refunded only part of the money. Adriano Penna you are an arse.

Adriano Penna

If you know anything about this man I would be very grateful if you could post it here. Adriano Penna owes me money I don’t have. And I only need money to get more done. And I would rather spend my money paying someone to fix the manky website which still doesn’t work on IE 6.0…

…than fill the pockets of Adriano Penna. Find this man for me and encourage him to return my pathetic dosh, or make him give me a computer to work on, and I promise, I will make you an internet superstar. Arse.


thanks for aidan for this:

Got two numbers for him now

+39 081 7808477


+ 39 39 2919 3063

No answer. Arse.

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

36 Responses

  1. Matt J said,

    June 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Why not just change the WP theme? I am not particularly fond of this one. Cutline is a nice one, and easily customisable.

  2. Kate Bolin said,

    June 1, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Are you sure about the IE6 thing?
    Screencap on my IE6

  3. davweb said,

    June 1, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    As you said “The money has left my account” I assume you have a direct debit set up to pay via PayPal.

    If not, and you used your credit card, you can claim the money back from your credit card company if PayPal don’t give it to you.

  4. Gimpy said,

    June 1, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    a guy i was at school with said his family were part of the napoli mafia. i could have a quiet word if you like.

  5. bad chemist said,

    June 1, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    From this appallingly google translated page no ebay here appears to be a bit of a twunt. I may have got the wrong end of the stick though.

    Good luck trying to get your money, been burned a couple of times myself on ebay, luckily only on low cost items.

  6. Tim Worstall said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Err, sorry about this, but you trusted an internet seller in Naples? Naples??

  7. Gimpy said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    actually my mafia post has some relevance having thought about it. As you should be aware the mafia are pretty big there and one of the ways they can make (and launder) money is through online auction fraud.

    Anyway if you don’t mind the weight I recommend Dell laptops. Robust and their customer service is exceptional. Ive had mine for years, its had coffee, EDTA, and e. coli broth (followed by ethanol) spilled on it and it still works. Even though Dell have had to replace the innards a few times, they did it for free.

  8. Dr* T said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    My wife managed to ‘spill’ a full cup of tea into the cooling thingy on the side of my Dell and it didn’t even flinch. Amazing machines – agreed.

  9. briantist said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Ben… your site does not validate….

    Most of the problems are quite basic and easy to solve.

  10. colmcq said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    yeah. most of these errors are trivial.

    You could just send me the css file and i could have a hack at it. Fixed width layouts are not that hard to fix.

    I’m not promising for sure I *can* fix it….ie + css = what used to happen with html + ns 4.64

  11. colmcq said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    oh yeah:

  12. Jut said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Hey Ben,
    Have you eliminated the possibility that it’s been seized by customs and they have not contacted you yet? tis possible since VAT would not have been paid.

  13. pseudomonas said,

    June 1, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Jut: it’s coming from within the EU. VAT & import duty shouldn’t apply.

  14. profnick said,

    June 1, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    “Ebay and Paypal are rubbish – be warned”
    From the heart I’m sure but not very objective. Equally as subjective, I have almost 100 transactions on Ebay, almost all with Paypal, and no problems so far. If you take the time to read the guidance and bid wisely then you should be OK….Post No 6 says it all; “caveat emptor”.

  15. roymondo said,

    June 1, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Wise man say, ‘Never stiff a chap with a widely read popular science website.’

  16. JohnD said,

    June 1, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Why buy from some eBay bucket shpp with no reputation, no address and no service – even if they aren’t scammers?
    Just buy one from Dell!
    You’ll have to put up with half an hour of hard sell to upgrade what you want to what you don’t want, but at least their delivery service is good and their aftersales problem desk is superb. Based in India, staffed by charming and knowledgable people.


  17. pv said,

    June 1, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Ben, you could report him to the Guardia di Finanza:


    80133 NAPOLI (NA)

    Telefono: 0039 0817902111

    Unless of course Adriano Penna is a member of the Guardia di Finanza!

  18. Toby Hopkins said,

    June 2, 2007 at 12:55 am

    As far as the website fixing is concerned – ask your regular member – considering the veritable boffins that enjoy work of such high scientific calibre, one of them is bound to understand computers in some form or another. User generated content is all the rage, dont you know… (I didn’t – a friend told me).

    Oh – and – I tried to sell and old mobile phone on e-bay a while ago…the number of Nigerians that bought it (and then tried to fob me off with a fake email pretending to be from paypal) was staggering before I worked my way down to a genuine bidder, and as far as I can tell e-bay dont really care about you reporting people trying to scam their members.

  19. Nellie Dean said,

    June 2, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Cerdit card comcanies promise to refund your money but don’t. They say you have to exhaust every other avenue first, but their idea of exhaustion isn’t mine or yours.

  20. h2g2bob said,

    June 2, 2007 at 7:07 am

    I have a plan:
    1. Hype up all this electric smog stuff
    2. Parents revolt and demand schools ditch laptops
    3. Lots of cheap laptops for you to buy!
    4. ????
    5. Profit!

  21. ianh said,

    June 2, 2007 at 8:55 am

    You won’t go back.

  22. Matt J said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:48 am

    I love Macs as much as the next Mac user, but that suggestion isn’t really going to help the unenlightened still using IE6 to view this website. IE6 users make up ~50% of web users, with another ~40% being IE7 users. It’s not a market to ignore.

  23. Bean said,

    June 2, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I don’t understand the whole mac thing. I used them for five years (Graphic Design in college, followed by working for arty types). I’m not very technically-minded, all I know is that now I use a pc and it does what I tell it to do, and when I had a mac I wanted it to be sentient so I could strangle it.

  24. supee said,

    June 2, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    You need to change your text, claiming your Italian (person) is naughty, to this

    Anch’io. Mi dispiace, il mio italiano e’ male; ho tratto di Adriano Penna sul mio blog. Ecco il link.

  25. ACH said,

    June 2, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    As I suspect there are a lot of Dell salespeople here saying how great Dell laptops are – mine was total rubbish, their call centre staff are morons who seemed to be incapable of even UNDERSTANDING the problem, let alone fixing it. After having every component replaced several times, after 10 months of this uselss piece of junk I finally got a full refund and bought a Thinkpad, which is a joy – and on the 1 occasion I have had to call IBM’s support, they have been charming, couteous, funny and fixed the (very minor) problem without telling me to uninstall and reinstall every piece of software (which didn’t work with Dell the first time, so why I should do it 20-odd times, I never did understand)

    [/end anti-Dell rant] Back to your regular programming….

  26. Ken Zetie said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    OOh is is bash Dell time? Can I have a go? Had a desktop from them with a hard drive which kept giving boot problems and reporting thatit was near death. They wouldn’t do anything until it actually died and then sent a repair guy on the wrong day. On his way out, the repair guy (“engineer” in Dell speak though I’d like t see what happens if he applies to any of the Institutes for chartered status) smashed into our gate, knocked it off its hinges and drove off.

    It took months to get the company to agree to fix the gate – 90% of which was getting Dell to reply to our calls and emails and to let us know which local cowboys they’d used to do the job.

    Customer service? Customer disservice more like.


  27. projektleiterin said,

    June 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I paid $26 for an old knitting magazine on eBay that has ripped out pages and I did not get my money back from Paypal. I thought I was on the safe side with buying knitting stuff… Buying bigger electronic item on eBay seems like a really really bad idea though (not something I would have expected from a science geek?).

  28. richard_p_auckland said,

    June 4, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Funny, the only Dells I’ve used didn’t work well despite my not spilling ethanol or E. Coli on it (or even McDonalds detritus, which may be similar).

    Do you think they actively feed on such things? It’s a more reasonable hypothesis than homeopathy.

    Apparently, the Naples Mafia is the Camorra – according to Wikipedia they offer “money laundering, extortion, alien smuggling, robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, political corruption, and counterfeiting.” No mention of ebay fraud there!

  29. randomas said,

    June 4, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Buying on ebay from a Neapolitan? You’re looking for trouble!

    No, seriously it’s safer to buy stuff from people in your own country, at least your subject to the same set of laws and you can go to the police.

    It seems like quite a few people have already reported this person to the authorities, if enough people complain they may do something about it.

    If you do want to try and use the authorities route the more appropriate place to do so is here:

    This is the on-line page for internet frauds and so on. Good luck!

    p.s. if you need help with Italian give us a shout!

    P.p.s. no harm meant towards Neapolitans but the cliché is good for humoristic purposes.

  30. luksy said,

    June 4, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Oh dear…
    Last time I saw a second hand laptop from Naples it had Windows Vistaâ„¢ NEâ„¢ (That’s Napoli Editon for the uninitiated), essentially a skinned XP (which was admittedly very well done) preloaded with all your favourite keyloggers and dialers.
    Good luck with this, gimme a buzz if you need any help with Italian law (others have already posted various links), although I can’t say the outlook is very promising…

    Here’s a generic denuncia letter, you can start by sending it to the GdF in Naples.

  31. sinewave said,

    June 4, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Not the first time public humiliation has been used as punishment in a bad eBay/laptop situation. Remember this guy?

    BTW: had two Dell laptops in the past five years. Same model each time. One never worked properly despite intervention by Dell technical support. The other accompanied me on my travels for a couple of years and withstood all kinds of mistreatment before finally giving up the ghost after I had to check it in as hold baggage on a long-haul flight when they unexpectedly changed the restrictions last year.

  32. projektleiterin said,

    June 4, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    “ot the first time public humiliation has been used as punishment in a bad eBay/laptop situation. Remember this guy?”
    Do professional scammers really care?

  33. TimW said,

    June 4, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    FWIW, a Google search for Adriano Penna now brings you straight here. That might count for something.

  34. oneiros said,

    June 6, 2007 at 7:59 am

    IE6 users make up ~50% of web users, with another ~40% being IE7 users.

    Not according to the W3C

  35. tjb said,

    June 6, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    “Not according to the W3C…”

    Visitors to a site for web developers (it’s W3CSchools you’ve linked to rather than W3C btw, a completely separate outfit) are hardly likely to be representative of general users.

    has some more realistic figures.

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