So I bid on a pre-owned Montblanc 100th Anniversary fountain pen from a seller whose location was listed as the US and with the shipping location being Boardman, Oregon. Nothing looked funny about the listing for the pen I bid on or any of the seller's other items. It just looked like a new member selling a few used items (only the one pen). The only red flag was the seller was new and had no feedback.
I ended up winning the auction and the seller sent me a DHL tracking number the next day. I thought this was strange but I have received domestic packages from DHL before. The fact that the number ended with DE concerned me a bit because that would indicate an origin in Germany. I checked the tracking history in Ebay when it became available and it showed USPS expecting a package from Germany. The USPS website gave the same information. Not good but not horrible.
I used to live in Germany and wanted to know where it was coming from so I dug a little deeper. What I found was that the package did not originate in Germany, it was shipped via Deutsche Post from China (DHL Ecommerce) and was being routed to USPS via Germany. This almost completely masks the fact that the pen was shipped from China. It's almost like Deutsche Post and USPS are helping conceal the origin of Chinese shipments.
I called Ebay and reported the seller and they said they will investigate the location fraud and assured me that, if I receive a counterfeit, I will receive a full refund and possibly be reimbursed for any import duties accrued. While that might give me a "warm fuzzy feeling" about this transaction, it has certainly undermined my confidence in buying or bidding on items in the future.
The disturbing thing is that if the seller had listed their location as Germany, I would have been none the wiser.