Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 235 15/12/12


Flashy Fakes

I recently purchased two SanDisk 2Gb SD memory cards on ebay believing the items were located in Jersey. When the cards arrived the sender turned out to be another ebay seller, and posted from Hong Kong. The cards also appear to be counterfeit. When I mentioned this to the seller they at first insisted the cards were genuine until I said I was going to send them to SanDisk when a full refund was suddenly offered, providing I send them back immediately. What does one do to help put a stop to this sort of thing?

Joseph G Dawson, by email


The sale of counterfeit goods on ebay has become a huge problem and as you have discovered, not just confined to high-value brand name items. In fact SanDisk memory cards have become a popular target for the scammers and there is a helpful article on the ebay site ( showing how to identify fakes, and what you can do, to get your money back. There is also a link to SanDisk’s Support Hotline, where you can make a report and hopefully help them to close down the counterfeiter’s operations. 


If your cards turn out to be fake report the seller to ebay (and PayPal) via the Support > Resolution Centre links and you should get your money back within 45 days. In practice getting redress is not always that simple, sometimes it is impossible but at least in your case, if the worst happens, your losses will be relatively small; others have not been so lucky.


In an ideal world you get your refund, the scammer is kicked off ebay and that’s the end of it but unfortunately the seller will probably just re-register under another name and resume selling fake goods. To avoid getting caught in future you should thoroughly check the listing. Your only guide to a seller’s honesty is their feedback. Treat newly registered sellers with low or oddly worded feedback, offering goods at well below market prices with caution; similarly, sellers with a lot of negative feedback should be given a very wide berth. If you want to be ultra cautious only buy from well-established sellers with hundreds, and preferably thousands of satisfied customers, who clearly value and work hard to protect their good name. As you have discovered a seller’s claimed location isn’t necessarily a reliable guide to where the goods are actually coming from, but you can sometimes detect an overseas seller from the postage information. If an alleged UK seller is quoting a delivery time of longer than a week for a small item, like an SD card, your alarm bells should start ringing. Finally, the most obvious warning sign is the price, if it looks too cheap to be true, it often is.



Irritating Insert

My Windows PC has an Insert facility enabled by a key on the top line of the keyboard. This is simply a nuisance; I cannot touch-type, and always have to look at the screen after typing in a sentence. I frequently find that I have accidentally pressed the Insert key and when I next look up I find that I have partially deleted the existing text. There is no way of knowing whether Insert is on or off. I do not want Insert, and will never need it. How can I permanently disable it, apart from hammering a nail into the key?

David Rush, by email


Glue an upturned drawing pin to the key and you will quickly learn to avoid pressing it… But seriously, all you need is a simple little freeware program called CapsUnlock (, which works in all versions of Windows. Its main function is to disable the CapsLock key, another major irritant for many PC users, but as an added bonus it can also switch off Insert/Overtype mode. The program can be set to launch automatically with Windows and the various options are selected by right clicking the icon that appears in the System Tray (next to the clock). By the way, you can also disable Insert mode in Microsoft Word. In older versions go to Tools > Options > Edit tab and deselect Overtype Mode. On Word 2007 onwards go to Office button > Word Options > Advanced and make sure that ‘Use the Insert Key to control overtype mode’ is deselected.



Distant Possibilities

Recently, I had reason to seek the assistance of a computer services company to resolve some problems on my Windows 7 PC. During this process they accessed my computer remotely, with my permission. Now that the problems have been resolved, I wish to disable the remote maintenance capability: please advise how I achieve this.

J Everett, by email


If the company used the built-in Windows Remote Assistance utility you would have granted them access using a one-time password. This only works for a single session, so they cannot log on to your computer again using the same password. However, what this doesn’t protect you against is the company installing malicious software, whilst they had control of your PC. This could include spyware that allows them to view personal or private data, PINs and passwords, or even Ransomware, that causes problems and won’t be removed unless you pay up. For this reason I generally advise against using this facility unless you have complete trust in the company or individual at the other end.    



Pointless Port?

Although my LG 26LH2000 HD Ready TV has a USB Port, it is marked ‘For in service’ and I cannot find any way of playing a Flash Drive. As my DVD Player does not have this facility is there a way round this?

Mike Ward, by email


As the socket’s label clumsily implies, this USB port is used for servicing and its only function is for uploading system firmware upgrades. In any event your TV has no multimedia capabilities, so if you want to play back media stored on a flash drive you will have to hook it up to a PC or laptop, using a VGA (plus audio) or HDMI connection.




© R. Maybury 2012 2611


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