eBay Fraud

Cactusflower

Pied Piper of Ponies
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Hi Ponies,
As many of you buy and sell on Ebay, I thought I would share this story from my recent eBay experience.

I sold a pair of wall sconces recently. The sconces had a brass base and a glass shade. I shipped the insured items to the buyer and when they arrived, she claimed they had been broken in transit. The glass had apparently arrived ok, but she claimed the brass bases had both snapped off during transit. The items were shipped in their original shipping boxes, which were very secure. There was nothing loose where the items could rattle around. I was immediately suspicious, because I couldn't understand how the package would have been handled roughly enough to break metal, but not damage glass. She sent me a photo of the "damage" and when I zoomed in on the photo, it looked like she had unscrewed the base. It looked like you could see the threading where it had been unscrewed. She claimed they both broke in the same place, but only showed one in the photo. She sent me three messages within 24 hours and didn't even wait for me to return her initial message. I should also note that this is a zero feedback bidder, which further raised red flags.

I initiated an insurance claim and asked her if the box had been opened by customs or if she took a photo of the damaged box. She said no. While I was working with her, she decided to open a return claim with Ebay. Ebay then took my money away from the sale and told me I would have to pay for return shipping ($50 CAN) or she will get to keep the item AND would be refunded the money and I would have nothing. I've read all eBay's policies and I thought if you didn't offer returns, you didn't have to accept them. Apparently, this is not the case. I was very angry. I told eBay that I suspected this was a fraudulent claim. Initially, it seemed that eBay was out to protect this potentially fraudulent buyer, but after spending several hours talking with at least four eBay customer service people, I was told to accept the return (or lose everything) and then inspect it when it arrived back. When I thought about it, I realized if she was trying to commit fraud, she probably wouldn't send the item back.

I told her I would offer her a full refund, but that she must return the item and I provided her with options to ship it back to me. As suspected, she refused on three separate occasions to return the item. During each exchange with the buyer, I called eBay asking for guidance. They advised me that once the return claim is opened, the buyer has to return the item within five days.

After the buyer's third refusal to return the item, I stopped communicating with her and waited it out. Today was the end of the waiting period and I contacted eBay and asked that they find in my favour, as they had promised and return my money to me. Initially, the customer service agent refused to do it, because he stated I was supposed to send the buyer a shipping label. I had been previously instructed not to do this, if the buyer was refusing to return it. The prior agent who told not to send the label had made an error. I asked to speak with a supervisor, because I had followed all the instructions I received from Ebay. Anyway, the agent couldn't find a supervisor, but he read all the file and confirmed the conversations I had with other agents. He decided to find in my favour and my money will be returned in a few days. I also decided to file a report against this buyer to have eBay investigate her. If she is trying to commit fraud, as I suspect, they need to terminate her account. This whole ordeal took at least 6 hours of my time and it was quite stressful. Here's what I learned:

1. Ebay has some polices that can inadvertently protect scammers. While most of the agents I spoke to were pretty good and polite, I still received incorrect information and I was hassled quite a bit, when it was clear I was doing what I was supposed to do. While I'm satisfied that this will be resolved in my favour, as it should be, I don't think such a heavy onus should be placed on the seller in a situation such as this one. Several of the agents did apologize to me for having to go through the situation and that it got as far as it did, when it did appear as something was up with the buyer and not me. Either way, given my recent eBay selling experiences, I'm thinking of just not selling on there anyway. I only made about $70CAN from this transaction and I can say it wasn't worth the time, energy and frustration it took from me.

2. Paypal is just as bad as eBay. I believe eBay owns Paypal. They took my money from my account and "held" it while this was going on. I think there are better systems for ensuring everyone is protected, not just buyers.

3. Even if an item is insured, you may not get the money back. This is a big one. I thought I could submit the claim and they would pay the insurance. There are many exclusions for items that won't be covered and they have a catch all in their policy that states they can basically refuse any claim. The insurance has not provided me with the money for this item yet. They only agreed to even investigate the claim when I pushed for it. The truth of the matter is that without actually seeing the item myself, I have no way of knowing if it actually was damaged in transit. Also, if and when I'm certain that this buyer, Ebay and Paypal have dropped this issue and returned my money, I will close the insurance claim. I have no desire to get the insurance money if the item wasn't really damaged. I will not be a party to insurance fraud.

4. I also learned that you can set certain perimeters with selling on eBay. One of the agents I spoke with set my account so that no bidders under 5 feedback can bid on any of my items. This buyer is now restricted from bidding on my auctions as well.

I hope that by sharing this story, other sellers can avoid the same grief I went through.
 

Sunkissed

Evil Bunny Foo Foo 487 Winner Guessing Game Genius
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Aww, sorry to hear that! Your situation sounds very tough. You did all you could and did everything correctly. Ebay is aware of the situation. At this point there isn't anything more that you can do.
 

Cactusflower

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Well, the good news is that is should be working out, but the hassle and stress of these companies is a bit much.
 
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Gingerbread

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I was burned by ebay years ago too. Tried to fight it but ultimately ended out my money and item. I've still sold things periodically over the years through them but I'm always cautious.
 
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evilbunnyfoofoo

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I had a bad experience selling a high dollar Dragon Ball animation cel. The buyer first claimed she didn't receive it. She was in Italy and apparently didn't realize I had tracking. The cell sold at over 900 bucks, of course I had tracking. Thus thwarted she waited a few days and claimed the cel itself was stuck to the douga (the sketch the cel is based off). That wasn't possible, as I sandwiched wax paper between the two as I do with all my cels. She kept insisting they'd stuck and she'd pulled them apart and ruined the cel (which would have bee her fault, not mine). I asked for photos, she refused. Finally I gave up and told her I'd only refund it if she returned it, with insurance and tracking as I'd sent it. She refused, claiming I should just 'make it right'. So next thing I know I see a pic of the cel on a DBZ forum I was on. She didn't know I was a member. She was showing off the cel and joking about how she was going to get it free, once she'd convinced the seller it was damaged and acknowledged it was pristine. I screen capped the page, sent it to eBay and they closed the case. Then I posted on the forum that I was the seller and she was a scammer. I made sure every cel trader I knew was warned of her. Pretty much never heard of her again. Until...

Zip forward about 6 years. Different forum there's a gal trying to sell of her DBZ cel collection. Her feedback is good so I buy the lot for about $200 bucks. I get the lot of about 20 cels. There were only photos of a few, but there was a Raditz cel there I'd pay $500 for if necessary, so it was a huge bargain. Everything was extra after the one coveted cel (which I wanted for my Poopsie). I get the lot, they're fantastic. And among them... the cel that caused so much trouble years ago. I looked at the seller's name and realized it was the same gal, she'd just had a new last name. Guess she got married. So long story short, she sold thousands of cels at a complete loss and I won big time. That's what happens to crooks. Eventually they get what's coming to them.
 

Cactusflower

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I had a bad experience selling a high dollar Dragon Ball animation cel. The buyer first claimed she didn't receive it. She was in Italy and apparently didn't realize I had tracking. The cell sold at over 900 bucks, of course I had tracking. Thus thwarted she waited a few days and claimed the cel itself was stuck to the douga (the sketch the cel is based off). That wasn't possible, as I sandwiched wax paper between the two as I do with all my cels. She kept insisting they'd stuck and she'd pulled them apart and ruined the cel (which would have bee her fault, not mine). I asked for photos, she refused. Finally I gave up and told her I'd only refund it if she returned it, with insurance and tracking as I'd sent it. She refused, claiming I should just 'make it right'. So next thing I know I see a pic of the cel on a DBZ forum I was on. She didn't know I was a member. She was showing off the cel and joking about how she was going to get it free, once she'd convinced the seller it was damaged and acknowledged it was pristine. I screen capped the page, sent it to eBay and they closed the case. Then I posted on the forum that I was the seller and she was a scammer. I made sure every cel trader I knew was warned of her. Pretty much never heard of her again. Until...

Zip forward about 6 years. Different forum there's a gal trying to sell of her DBZ cel collection. Her feedback is good so I buy the lot for about $200 bucks. I get the lot of about 20 cels. There were only photos of a few, but there was a Raditz cel there I'd pay $500 for if necessary, so it was a huge bargain. Everything was extra after the one coveted cel (which I wanted for my Poopsie). I get the lot, they're fantastic. And among them... the cel that caused so much trouble years ago. I looked at the seller's name and realized it was the same gal, she'd just had a new last name. Guess she got married. So long story short, she sold thousands of cels at a complete loss and I won big time. That's what happens to crooks. Eventually they get what's coming to them.
I'm happy it turned out alright for you, but I'm still having issues.

So, check this out. Ebay found in my favour and yet still decided they would pay her out. They were going to pay her out and I was supposed to get my money back from Paypal. Low and behold, I didn't. As it turns out, she also opened a dispute with Paypal, so the Ebay finding is irrelevant and now I have to go through the whole thing again with Paypal. I can't reach them at all. They are supposed to be open, but the the automated message says they are closed. I'm so done with this bs. AND, I'm still out like $140.
 

Tak

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I'm happy it turned out alright for you, but I'm still having issues.

So, check this out. Ebay found in my favour and yet still decided they would pay her out. They were going to pay her out and I was supposed to get my money back from Paypal. Low and behold, I didn't. As it turns out, she also opened a dispute with Paypal, so the Ebay finding is irrelevant and now I have to go through the whole thing again with Paypal. I can't reach them at all. They are supposed to be open, but the the automated message says they are closed. I'm so done with this bs. AND, I'm still out like $140.
I'm so sorry. I have nothing nice to say about PayPal.
 

evilbunnyfoofoo

My shoes are laced with irony
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I'm happy it turned out alright for you, but I'm still having issues.

So, check this out. Ebay found in my favour and yet still decided they would pay her out. They were going to pay her out and I was supposed to get my money back from Paypal. Low and behold, I didn't. As it turns out, she also opened a dispute with Paypal, so the Ebay finding is irrelevant and now I have to go through the whole thing again with Paypal. I can't reach them at all. They are supposed to be open, but the the automated message says they are closed. I'm so done with this bs. AND, I'm still out like $140.
That's complete horse hockey. But I admit, this is why I quit selling on eBay. They typically side with the bidder no matter how obvious it is they're lying. It's just too easy to scam people. They should be ashamed. I couldn't enjoy something I stole, which is what these liars are doing.
 
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Gingerbread

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Ugh! What a pain. I had to do the run around dance with Paypal a couple weeks ago for a shutterfly order but that's a whole other story. You use them cause you feel like it's "safer" than your credit card but sometimes I wonder if it really is and if it's worth the trouble.
 
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Cactusflower

Pied Piper of Ponies
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The conclusion.

After three months of this stressful, painful and time consuming transaction and having to deal with EBay, PayPal, Canada Post and USPS numerous times, my money has been refunded by PayPal. Although both eBay and PayPal ultimately found in my favour, what they put me through was ridiculous. In the end, the scammer still got away with it because she had no consequences after trying to scam me. Her accounts should have been deleted, but they did nothing. Now she’s free to try to scam other sellers.

The good news is that I really need the money and I’m happy to finally receive it.
 

dreamerinivy

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I had to do this many years ago as the buyer with a fraudulent seller. I actually stayed off eBay for awhile, but when I lost all my local shops, I didn’t have a choice anymore if I wanted to sell anything (Or buy anything! lol)

so sorry for your troubles - glad it worked out for you :)
 
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quartz_

Spike the Dragon
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What an infuriating experience :mad: hopefully this at least counts against that seller in an official capacity in some way. Maybe that information is viewable to eBay staff?
One of the reasons I'm hesitant to start selling on eBay tbh. Excellent example of the dangers that sellers can encounter, & how to handle it effectively. It's ridiculously easy to return orders on most marketplaces, which would be excellent if it was utilized correctly.
Thank you for sharing, @Cactusflower . I hope my comment doesn't brings back bad memories :( Hope that things are going a little smoother now, with your business and in general:tongue:<3
 
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