Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Fraudulent Ebay Scam

As some of you do, I sell occasionally on Ebay. I recently ran across what I believe to be a scam, and I thought I'd share it with you.

I sold a pair of brand-new, high dollar Maui Jim sunglasses in perfect condition. They were shipped off to the buyer in another state. A couple days later, I received an email from him. It was a very nasty one, obviously designed to put me "off kilter", probably with the hope that I would want to give in to his demands in order to pacify him.

In the email, the buyer claimed that I had send the glasses scratched, and he demanded to return them immediately and get full payment.

I knew that they'd been in perfect condition! So, what was going on here?!

I suddenly realized that the guy very likely already owned the same pair of Maui Jims, but that they were in poor condition. This was his way of exchanging them AND getting his money back, leaving me high and dry - without glasses OR money.

I escalated the claim immediately with PayPal, asking them to rule. It's been a couple of weeks, and PayPal continues to drag their feet. In the meantime, as is their custom, they've frozen my funds while the dispute continues.

This is an example of why it is impossible to have Ebay or PayPal get involved in seller-buyer disputes. If it can be proven that an item has actually arrived, it can not be up to Ebay or PayPal to rule if it is in acceptable condition. All they can do is insist that a transaction takes place.

I don't know how other auction sites handle such problems, but surely there are better solutions? What have YOUR experiences been?


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I've been doing a lot of ebaying of late and I'm going off it as too many people take the piss when you're selling stuff in good faith.

The Lazy Iguana said...

The guy probably is trying to pull a fast one. Or maybe a slow one.

You should tell E-Bay that you will not sell crap with them anymore. Ebay makes its money on people listing stuff.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Someone who forgot to take their medication left you a comment manifesto for your Thursday post.

I am impressed. Normally crazy manifestos are not posted as comments.

Notsocranky Yankee said...

There are all kinds of ebay scams. I always look at the feedback of a buyer or seller. It says a lot.

I also protect myself by purchasing everything, especially high dollar items, with my credit card, via PayPal. Paypal tries to get you to withdraw funds directly from your bank account, but there is no additional protection that way. (PayPal is avoiding fees)
I had a dispute and only got my money back through the efforts of my credit card company. It's not in PayPal or eBay's interest to help you get your money back.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Notsocrankyyankee, thanks for the input. I'm wondering if the solution is to start with another online auction service instead.

Lazy, thanks for the warning. I deleted the comment. It was too boring to wade through, and my time is valuable, but it looked weird (to say the least). Words that jumped out at me caused me to recommend mental health counseling to Ms. or Mr. Anon.

As for Ebay, I doubt my threat will mean anything. They have tons of dissatisfied users and never really do anything about it. Still, I AM thinking of alternative internet auction houses. Their rating system also is increasingly weighted AGAINST the seller (you can rate them on 5 areas) but you don't rate the buyer the same way.

Daniel, where are you going or are you quitting altogether?

green said...

I've generally had no problems buying or selling on ebay. Sure there are a few crocks out there trying to rip people off but for the most part I've had no serious issues. The buyer/seller feedback is an excellent guidepost to go by though.

Whenever I sell anything, I always put a disclaimer in my listings stating that the item leaves my hands in as mint a condition as possible and that I'm not responsible for what happens in transit. Depending on the item, I may have a return policy but most of the items I sell are second hand and sold as is.

Ed Abbey said...

Thanks for the warning Saur. Sorry it had to come at your expense in the figurative sense.

Cranky Yankee said...

Have him send you pictures of the glasses he claims are scratched and if they are obviously not the ones you sent submit both pix to paypal. Also, never leave funds in your paypal account. As soons as money is deposited into your account maove it to your bank. They can't "claw back" from your bank account.

Anonymous said...

you might just have to take a hit on your feedback, dont' let him get the better of you. I haven't had any trouble yet, but that doesn't mean I won't. I just hope for the best.