Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

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flyingcows
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Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by flyingcows »

Hi Bogleheads,

I sold some old items last months, some of the items were fairly valuable. One item sold for $600, around fair market value based on prior listings which sold.

The Situation:

The buyer for this item paid for the item in early December, about 1 week later requested a return through Ebay stating the item was defective, I accepted the return the same day and used the Ebay provided shipping label which was to be billed to my account. After 10 days, the buyer did not ship the item back nor provide any status updates, I contacted Ebay for an update and they closed the case due to the length of time lapsed. Fast-forward to today and my PayPal account was debited for $600 (a charge to my linked Credit Card) and I receive an email that states Ebay reopened the case due to an appeal from the buyer and that they have re-opened the case in the buyers favor and it is now closed. I contacted ebay for more information, they sent me an email with a December 27th USPS tracking number to my city, dated but not my address (USPS tracking numbers only list the city delivered to, and shipped from). The tracking number contained no information linking either the buyer or the seller. Regardless, I am now without the item or the money. The buyer account is new, had only a few feedback and recently hid the feedback. I want to think the best of people, but it all just seems a bit fishy.

I am fortunate in that I will be fine simply moving on and eating the loss of the item. $600 is not going to create any problems for me, but I am curious to know what options exist for my situation.

Options that came to mind:

1.) Do a charge back to Ebay as they pulled the refund as a charge to my credit card. I have never done a charge back before, I am not sure I have the grounds here to request one given the situation?

2.) Can theft like this be claimed on my taxes as a capital loss? I would eat the loss of the item in this case, but at least I get a partial "refund" through some tax savings.

Any other thoughts?
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Kenkat
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Kenkat »

I would try a call to eBay and see if you can get anywhere. I had a situation go bad on eBay where a case was closed against me and I didn’t understand why. The call agent bumped me up to a supervisor who was great and after I explained my reasoning said, no, you are right and covered me. So I would explain that you never received the returned item and see if you can get more details on what the tracking actually says happened.
Maverick3320
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Maverick3320 »

Ebay is a complete dumpster fire. I'm surprised people still use it.
Jags4186
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Jags4186 »

If you don’t get satisfactory resolution with eBay, file a police report then file a chargeback on your credit card. Delink all your accounts from PayPal. You’ll never be able to use PayPal again.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Sandtrap »

I, two, have gotten scammed by Ebay buyer scammers.
I've noticed that over the long years since Ebay started, there's been so much focus on buyer protections that sellers suffer from dishonest buyers. However, I noticed that there can be some recourse if all avenues are pursued; emails, customer service, phone calls, consumer affairs department, hard copy letters. . . whatever it takes (until the squeaky wheel gets the oil).
Also, negative buyer reviews, etc.

Suggest exhaust all options and then find new ones to follow until you get. . . "justice".
At the least, you will have tried your best.
j :D
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Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

Jags4186 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:26 am If you don’t get satisfactory resolution with eBay, file a police report then file a chargeback on your credit card. Delink all your accounts from PayPal. You’ll never be able to use PayPal again.
I’m not positive about this, but I think eBay is in the process of completely separating from PayPal and may be handling payments internally. Regardless, getting scammed on eBay is extremely rare if you are careful with your expensive items, since professional thieves aren’t stupid. They look for big hits. I always explicitly state in my item description that anyone with a negative feedback, less than 25, or who’s account is less new within 6 months must message me before buying.

Also..

One big thing people do not know and often learn the hard way is this: $750 is the threshold where PayPal insists that an item be shipped with signature upon delivery. If you send an item out over that amount and you do not pay extra to have the item signed for you are leaving yourself open to a very large headache. It doesn’t matter if you use eBay or any other service. Audiogon for stereo equipment, Bikeexchange for bikes, etc. PayPal will not stand behind you.
Millennial
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Millennial »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:07 am
Jags4186 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:26 am If you don’t get satisfactory resolution with eBay, file a police report then file a chargeback on your credit card. Delink all your accounts from PayPal. You’ll never be able to use PayPal again.
I’m not positive about this, but I think eBay is in the process of completely separating from PayPal and may be handling payments internally. Regardless, getting scammed on eBay is extremely rare if you are careful with your expensive items, since professional thieves aren’t stupid. They look for big hits. I always explicitly state in my item description that anyone with a negative feedback, less than 25, or who’s account is less new within 6 months must message me before buying.

Also..

One big thing people do not know and often learn the hard way is this: $750 is the threshold where PayPal insists that an item be shipped with signature upon delivery. If you send an item out over that amount and you do not pay extra to have the item signed for you are leaving yourself open to a very large headache. It doesn’t matter if you use eBay or any other service. Audiogon for stereo equipment, Bikeexchange for bikes, etc. PayPal will not stand behind you.
This doesn't match my experience with eBay, where I have found buyer scams to be somewhat common. I have stopped selling on ebay as a result.

Can you describe what you mean by being careful? And how do you enforce the buyer requirements you state in your listing?
go140point6
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by go140point6 »

Millennial wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 am And how do you enforce the buyer requirements you state in your listing?
You simply cancel any bid that doesn't meet your requirements. At least you used to, I haven't used ebay to sell a significant amount of stuff in a long time, so don't know how it works today. I've been lucky I guess, I sold my 4000+ comic book collection there in small lots (1 - 15 issues at a time) and only had a few problems with non-paying buyers.

But everything I read recently suggests sellers get shafted by ebay. I would never use them for anything significant today (although some of those single issue comic books were pretty high priced items at the time).

To the OP, be happy you didn't have your bank account connected or set as the primary. They might have taken it out of your bank account, causing overdrafts depending on how you use your account. I recently pulled my bank account completely off paypal leaving only my credit card there after reading some really sketchy things paypal seems to be doing to people. I use paypal very infrequently these days, but still do find times i need to rely on it, so I haven't cancelled outright.
jrbdmb
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by jrbdmb »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:36 am I, two, have gotten scammed by Ebay buyer scammers.
I've noticed that over the long years since Ebay started, there's been so much focus on buyer protections that sellers suffer from dishonest buyers. However, I noticed that there can be some recourse if all avenues are pursued; emails, customer service, phone calls, consumer affairs department, hard copy letters. . . whatever it takes (until the squeaky wheel gets the oil).
Also, negative buyer reviews, etc.

Suggest exhaust all options and then find new ones to follow until you get. . . "justice".
At the least, you will have tried your best.
j :D
Unfortunately sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers. The eBay seller forums are full of scams where the buyer never returns item / returns a different item / returns a brick / etc. And at least the last time I sold PayPal could claw back funds from a sale for up to six months. The only recourse is to not sell anything that you can't afford to lose - and to accept occasional losses as a price of doing business on eBay.
Last edited by jrbdmb on Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Sandtrap »

jrbdmb wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:57 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:36 am I, two, have gotten scammed by Ebay buyer scammers.
I've noticed that over the long years since Ebay started, there's been so much focus on buyer protections that sellers suffer from dishonest buyers. However, I noticed that there can be some recourse if all avenues are pursued; emails, customer service, phone calls, consumer affairs department, hard copy letters. . . whatever it takes (until the squeaky wheel gets the oil).
Also, negative buyer reviews, etc.

Suggest exhaust all options and then find new ones to follow until you get. . . "justice".
At the least, you will have tried your best.
j :D
Unfortunately sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers. The eBay seller forums are full of scams where the buyer never returns item / returns a different item / returns a brick / etc. The only recourse is to not sell anything that you can't afford to lose.
+1
Very true. In the early days of Ebay, DW and I sold used items that we no longer needed or used on Ebay. Now, very rarely.

j :D
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galawdawg
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by galawdawg »

Your best option is to stop using eBay for selling and close your PayPal account.

There are essentially no more seller protections.
rich126
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by rich126 »

go140point6 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:47 pm
Millennial wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 am And how do you enforce the buyer requirements you state in your listing?
You simply cancel any bid that doesn't meet your requirements. At least you used to, I haven't used ebay to sell a significant amount of stuff in a long time, so don't know how it works today. I've been lucky I guess, I sold my 4000+ comic book collection there in small lots (1 - 15 issues at a time) and only had a few problems with non-paying buyers.

But everything I read recently suggests sellers get shafted by ebay. I would never use them for anything significant today (although some of those single issue comic books were pretty high priced items at the time).

To the OP, be happy you didn't have your bank account connected or set as the primary. They might have taken it out of your bank account, causing overdrafts depending on how you use your account. I recently pulled my bank account completely off paypal leaving only my credit card there after reading some really sketchy things paypal seems to be doing to people. I use paypal very infrequently these days, but still do find times i need to rely on it, so I haven't cancelled outright.
I don't know how this other stuff works but I'd recommend using a separate bank account anytime you have to link it to some company. Once it is linked you are leaving yourself open to mistakes by that company. At least if it is a separate account and they try to withdraw money from it, it is limited to what is in that account.

Years ago I did some part time work and that person wanted to deposit directly into my account but I was a bit worried (probably overly cautious) and checked with my bank on what can/cannot occur. Pretty quickly I decided it was safest to open a new account so if they claimed a mistake was made and with drew any money it would be limited to assets in that account.

While rare, those things, usually just mistakes, can occur. A couple years ago Wells Fargo messed up and with bill payments ran customer accounts down to zero due to withdrawing payments for those bills multiple times. Fortunately by the time I woke up the next morning it had been resolved.
fyre4ce
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by fyre4ce »

You could consider small claims court. If you have the person's name and address you should be able to serve them if they're within the US. You'd have to check whether you can use your local court or whether you'd be required to try the case in their local jurisdiction. I filed in small claims court once, when I obviously got screwed over a small amount of money (~$100), and was very happy with the process. The money was insignificant but I learned a ton about the law process, and feel better prepared to deal with any similar future situations. I asked for extra pay for time lost from work and got it, too.

I'd also file a police report in the scammer's local jurisdiction, but I wouldn't expect them to do anything with it.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Lee_WSP »

Letting the local police know the address is a good start.

Calling eBay and escalating the dispute is another.

Disputing the charge probably isn't going to get you in good standing with PayPal.

Don't sell valuable liquid items to people with less than stellar feedback ratings. Cancel the purchase and take the hit.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

Millennial wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:07 am
Jags4186 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:26 am If you don’t get satisfactory resolution with eBay, file a police report then file a chargeback on your credit card. Delink all your accounts from PayPal. You’ll never be able to use PayPal again.
I’m not positive about this, but I think eBay is in the process of completely separating from PayPal and may be handling payments internally. Regardless, getting scammed on eBay is extremely rare if you are careful with your expensive items, since professional thieves aren’t stupid. They look for big hits. I always explicitly state in my item description that anyone with a negative feedback, less than 25, or who’s account is less new within 6 months must message me before buying.

Also..

One big thing people do not know and often learn the hard way is this: $750 is the threshold where PayPal insists that an item be shipped with signature upon delivery. If you send an item out over that amount and you do not pay extra to have the item signed for you are leaving yourself open to a very large headache. It doesn’t matter if you use eBay or any other service. Audiogon for stereo equipment, Bikeexchange for bikes, etc. PayPal will not stand behind you.
This doesn't match my experience with eBay, where I have found buyer scams to be somewhat common. I have stopped selling on ebay as a result.

Can you describe what you mean by being careful? And how do you enforce the buyer requirements you state in your listing?
I’ve sold thousands of items on eBay over the last 20+ years and I can only recall one instance where I was scammed. It was a very long time ago, and the buyer claimed they received an empty box.

I’m not an eBay professional, but my 90 day selling total is just a bit over $5,000 so I make use of it where it makes sense. By being careful I mean make sure each of your sales passed the “smell test”. I’ve avoided scams many times because something just didn’t make sense. One good example recently was a pair of Salomon shoes I flipped and the buyers user ID was something like jrsmith but I saw the PayPal payment was made by someone named something like Igor Narameshenko. Plus, he overpaid for the shoes, which is another HUGE red flag. Also, the account had no recent feedback, which is another thing to look for when something feels off. Fbe lknger you’ve been doing anything the better you get at it. If I was selling cheap items for a $10 profit there’s no way I’d do what I do, since it’s a bit of a hassle, but I only put something on eBay when I’m sure I can clear at least $50 after fees and shipping.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Lee_WSP »

The only time I've been scammed out of something is possible lost mail. Which happens with infuriating regularity. However I chalk those up to the cost of doing business and such losses are not eBay exclusive.

Well there was one time someone said the PlayStation didn't work, and I just ended up refunding the forty bucks as a nuisance return

If I'm shipping stuff I can't afford to replace it's sent signature required.
jeam3131
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by jeam3131 »

I'm assuming a chargeback against paypal will lead to a lifetime ban
burbank
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by burbank »

OP, I'm sorry that happened. How frustrating!

One form of seller protection I haven't seen in this thread is declining to accept returns when creating a listing. I realize that wouldn't have helped it this situation, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning.
Maverick3320 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:21 am Ebay is a complete dumpster fire. I'm surprised people still use it.
I'm surprised eBay isn't better after all their years in business, but I imagine part of their remaining appeal is their uncommonly wide reach. Is there a strong alternative for selling items that only have a tiny group of potential buyers in the entire US? For example, a 50-year old collectible toy or a part for a rare motorcycle might languish on Craigslist for months, even in a huge city, and then sell on eBay in a week. I'm not saying this to champion eBay but out of genuine curiosity what you see as the best alternatives.
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flyingcows
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by flyingcows »

Hey all, thank you for all of the advice and kind thoughts on this.

Wanted to share a few updates:

- Reached out to Ebay and opened a sellers appeal. Unfortunately, Ebay stands by their initial decision to rule in the buyers favor, their reasoning was that the buyer provided a tracking number to my address. However, this was not true, the tracking number was a USPS tracking number which only displays the city, state, zip, no street address.

- I contacted USPS and they were helpful, they were able to confirm the tracking number provided was delivered to a different address, not my address. The person I talked to even offered to provide a letter confirming that this tracking number was delivered to a different address, he mentioned that he has seen this scam before.

- When I shared what I learned from USPS with Ebay, they said there was still nothing they could do and they recommend I law enforcement.

tl;dr version: Ebay issued a refund to the buyer from my credit card without confirming the returned item was delivered to me, and the buyer presumably kept the item as they provided an unrelated tracking number. This appears to be common scam these days, with the buyer returning an empty box or not even bothering to return the item, unfortunately I was not aware of it when I listed the item for sale or I would have been more careful. I suppose they could have just used the ebay return label and sent me an empty box, at-least I avoided having to pay for return shipping of an empty box. The buyers account is now also deleted as of today. For what it's worth, My Ebay account is 21 years old and has over 1,000 feedback

So my options at this point seem to be: let it go and move on, or file a dispute against Ebay with my credit card (they pulled the refund from my CC). The grounds for my chargeback being that Ebay forcefully issuing a refund without me having my returned item and them stating that they confirmed the buyer returned the item to my address, when infact the tracking number was not for my address and confirmed by USPS.I have never done a credit card chargeback before, I did some reading on the internet and it looks like companies can still simply send whatever the outstanding balance owed to collections even if they lose arbitration with the credit card company (not clear what consumer protection the CC is actually providing if this is true). Unsure what risks I would be exposed to if I went down this path, any recommended reading?

All this aside, not sure If I will ever want to sell on a platform like this again. Not due to the loss, I realize that can be a cost of doing business, but I don't like having our home address/contact information exposed and shared with people who would commit scams like this
Last edited by flyingcows on Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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galawdawg
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by galawdawg »

burbank wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:18 pm OP, I'm sorry that happened. How frustrating!

One form of seller protection I haven't seen in this thread is declining to accept returns when creating a listing. I realize that wouldn't have helped it this situation, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning...
That option no longer protects sellers. Even if the listing states no refunds, if a buyer requests the return of an item, eBay will freeze the funds in your PayPal account, provide a shipping label (charged to the seller) and as soon as the tracking number shows the return is on the way back, they refund the buyer in full.

eBay doesn't care if what the buyer sent back is a brick. You can appeal, cajole, report it to the authorities all you want...eBay won't reverse the refund and the seller suffers the loss. Frankly, what eBay does in those situations borders on criminal.
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Watty
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Watty »

Maverick3320 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:21 am Ebay is a complete dumpster fire. I'm surprised people still use it.
+1

Short version of a long story. My wife sold some higher end shoes on eBay. The buyer waited until just about the time limit to get a refund to claim there was a probably bogus problem, but we were suspicious about that. They said that they noticed the issue as soon as they received them but then waited about 30(?) days to contact us for a refund. I think they were hoping that we would miss seeing the claim and they would get a default judgement.

We told them to return it and if the there was a valid problem we would give them a refund and pay shipping both ways.

They responded that they could not return the shoes because they were now out of the country! This was all through eBay so all the messages were logged.

They then asked eBay to close the dispute in their favor. There was a timestamp on their request and about 5 seconds later eBay issued the refund and sent us an email saying something like, "After careful review we have issued a refund, there is no way to appeal our decision." (That "no appeal" may have changed by now) If anyone had even briefly looked at it they would see that they did not return the shoes

They of course charged us a PayPal fee to send the refund so we were out the shoes, shipping costs, eBay fees, and two sets of PayPal fees. The shoes were only about $50 so it was not worth pursuing.

Anyway we still occasionally sell things on eBay but only if they are not too expensive and if we don't have any other way to sell it. There is no way that I would sell something for $600 there.
Woodshark
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Woodshark »

I was scammed from a company in China in the Fall. I had ordered three expensive pool floats for a total or around $75. Each one normally retails for around $50 each so I thought it was a good deal. I got order confirmation and the whole thing looked OK. Three weeks later, two blow up tubes arrive that I could have bought at the dollar store for .99 cents each. Not even close to what was ordered. Of course I flagged the order and disputed it with Paypal. They put the exchange in dispute. On the very final day of appeal, the company in China said they would issue a refund if I returned the items back to them. BUT, the return address was an address in China! Due to China's tariffs on imported or returned goods, the cost of returning the bogus items would have exceeded the the total purchase price. A little research on Paypals site and I found the they had been running this scam on others too. I tried to appeal to Paypal, even showed them documentation from their own website but it went nowhere. It was a bitter pill to swallow.
jjface
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by jjface »

Ebay will take a buyer's side over anything they claim.

Buyer sent an item back to me but had kept parts. Buyer wins case. Apparently ebay can't say for sure the buyer kept them.

Buyer says defective and returns but when I test it nothing is wrong with it. Ebay doesn't care buyer wins.

At least in your case it was a big mistake by ebay and you have evidence to back that up.

I'd try calling ebay as someone else suggested and if you get no where do a charge back if the sum matters to you. You tell your CC company that a buyer bought goods, wanted a refund but never sent the goods back.
Iporante
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Iporante »

Although the loss wasn't huge, I would take USPS up on their offer to document that the package was delivered to another address and put a little more heat on Ebay, just on principle. This really confirms my aversion to Ebay.
softwaregeek
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by softwaregeek »

eBay is the Wild West. Craigslist is too, but Craigslist is free and you expect that.
anders37
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by anders37 »

It's absolutely true that eBay is extremely (to a fault) buyer-centric, but there is one tiny protection afforded to some sellers in this situation: If the seller is what is called a "Top Rated Seller" (with a little badge saying same) and that seller provides Free 30day (or longer) returns, then the seller is allowed to deduct up to 50% of the value of an item when they get it back if it is used, opened, missing parts, switched out with a brick, empty parcel, etc. You have to select what % you are holding back from the return and type in your reason, but it does offer a little satisfaction sometimes. (Of course, if the buyer disputes the holdback in their return, eBay caves immediately and reverses things in their favor...)
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StevieG72
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by StevieG72 »

I was scammed 7ish years ago on EBay, deleted my account have not done business with them since. It was a small amount but it irritated me enough to take my business elsewhere.
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RJ5
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by RJ5 »

This same scam was used on me. The buyer's account wasn't new, it was an established dormant account that was hacked. Buyer claimed the power tool was defective, requested return. I had to approve. Buyer shipped item back. Item was delivered, yet nothing was delivered to my PO box. This is where being friendly with your local Post Master comes into play

He received at the post office a padded envelope with a priority mail label that appeared to be from ebay. It was addressed to a different PO Box to a random business name, but the barcode was correct and when scanned it said it was addressed to me. He called me that he received something strange. So we opened it together and it was a bottle of water. He filled out a bunch of official USPS paperwork while I took pictures of everything for my records including the barcode itself, the contents in the envelope, the padded envelope, etc. He said he would like to hold onto this in case Postal Investigators need it for evidence, I said that's fine b/c I have everything I need. He said when I get home to fill out a USPS fraud submission.

I got home and I filled out the USPS fraud submission and included all the photos, printouts from ebay, the return request, my original photos of the item I took before I shipped the order, serial # of my item, etc. I wrote a 2 page narrative. Then I submitted the same info to the FBI IC3, which is their internet crime division. I saved both the USPS fraud submission and the FBI IC3 submission as (2) separate PDFs.

I then went into the eBay case and uploaded both PDFs (had to convert to JPEGs to be uploaded), them uploaded pictures of the water bottle, modified priority mail label, and packaging. After uploading, I called eBay Customer Support and explained the situation. While on the phone they closed the case and decided in my favor. Before I hung up, the representative said this is a new scam they are encountering (this was 3 yrs ago). He recommended that on future buyer requested returns, that I not allow eBay to provide a label because the eBay provided label never includes extra insurance or certified confirmation/return receipt. He said whenever you have a buyer requested return, provide your own label and regardless of value make sure you certify it with signature receipt so a signature is required and when a signature is obtained, the recipient must provide the address as well. That address included with the signature would be proof that the package was not delivered to the correct address per the return. It will require some leg work but you will be able to get covered by eBay in this type of situation. The other option which requires 0 extra leg work but extra money (but peanuts really if dealing with a high value item) is restricted delivery. This requires that the package be received by the recipient, ID verified, and documented. If the scam buyer was to look up a random address in your town to exploit the USPS tracking not providing the address and use public records to use that person's name, even if the restricted delivery was successful b/c the ID matched the fake label, the documentation would not match your info on eBay and eBay would side with you b/c of the recognized fraud. The other option the rep said, is to just use UPS or FedEx which does provide actual address in delivery confirmation, and you can provide extra signature/confirmation services on top of that. For some items, this could be very costly especially if this was a very very heavy item that fit in a flat rate USPS box, but it is an option.

I suggest filing USPS fraud and FBI IC3 reports and uploading them to the case. If the case is closed, ask eBay to re-open it because you have a postal fraud report and FBI IC3 crime report and you need eBay to re-examine the case.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (eBay).
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ClevrChico
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by ClevrChico »

Worst case scenario, consider it the cost of selling online. This happens with all platforms, not just Ebay.

Did you sell electronics by chance? I have a rule to never sell electronics online after being scammed on selling a phone on Swappa. Electronics are high risk for getting scammed.
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windaar
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by windaar »

It seems that such fraud happens more often with high-demand mainstream consumer goods (like electronics) but not with collectibles, where you have a smaller and more interested, perhaps more genuine bidders. As was mentioned above, you can cancel any bid that you want to. I have cancelled bids from low or zero feedback bidders. If it is a last-minute winning bid, then you're more stuck, Ebay might put a strike against you and you might get a neg feedback. This doesn't help you now. eBay always sides with the buyer so it sounds to me like you're out of luck.
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mall0c
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by mall0c »

Welcome to ScamBay. Seems like the user base is 80% scammers at this point. It's really sad.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Godot »

mall0c wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:22 am Welcome to ScamBay. Seems like the user base is 80% scammers at this point. It's really sad.
This is a publicly traded company with a market cap of 40 billion dollars. If it is 80 percent scammers, how are they still in business and making money?
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by mall0c »

Godot wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:17 am
mall0c wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:22 am Welcome to ScamBay. Seems like the user base is 80% scammers at this point. It's really sad.
This is a publicly traded company with a market cap of 40 billion dollars. If it is 80 percent scammers, how are they still in business and making money?
No clue. Sounds like a business opportunity to me.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by sk.dolcevita »

I have been banned from selling on eBay for lifetime. This because I canceled too many orders from accounts that were recently opened and had zero ratings. My listings clearly said in all capitals that I would do so. I took this an action after getting scammed by a buyer with similar attributes. Somewhere there and unknowingly I crossed eBay's Rubicon.

I had 1000+ positive ratings at that point.

This was about 10 years ago and the ban is truly lifetime. I had bunch of used stuff to get rid of last year and called them to see if they would reconsider. Nope. Oh well. My wife never gets tired of teasing me of being an eBay felon.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by RJ5 »

sk.dolcevita wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:07 am I have been banned from selling on eBay for lifetime. This because I canceled too many orders from accounts that were recently opened and had zero ratings. My listings clearly said in all capitals that I would do so. I took this an action after getting scammed by a buyer with similar attributes. Somewhere there and unknowingly I crossed eBay's Rubicon.

I had 1000+ positive ratings at that point.

This was about 10 years ago and the ban is truly lifetime. I had bunch of used stuff to get rid of last year and called them to see if they would reconsider. Nope. Oh well. My wife never gets tired of teasing me of being an eBay felon.
ebay used to have an option to block users with feedback below your criteria. once they ended that feature, fraud became rampant
illumination
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by illumination »

The "buyer is always right" is a big reason I rarely use Ebay anymore. Got burned by too many of these types that were being ridiculous. Mainly used it for automotive, I would buy and sell parts as needed for projects. I'm really cautious now about what I sell on Ebay, I basically only list things I can't get a reasonable price anywhere else and/or are pretty bulletproof on any claims against it like "not as described" or expecting some sort of warranty.

If you sell something on Ebay and the buyer has an issue, I'll just save you the trouble, take it back and give them an immediate refund. 99% of the time Ebay/Paypal will just take the money back anyway.


I now use platforms like Craigslist and OfferUp to get rid of things more often. Even if I don't get top dollar, to get paid in cash with no fees and the buyer to sign off and move on is worth it to me. I'm not running a business, just getting rid of clutter usually. I also just end up throwing more stuff away, not worth getting into a back and forth over a trivial amount of money.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Pandemic Bangs »

RJ5 wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:45 am
I suggest filing USPS fraud and FBI IC3 reports and uploading them to the case. If the case is closed, ask eBay to re-open it because you have a postal fraud report and FBI IC3 crime report and you need eBay to re-examine the case.
This was very helpful -- thank you!

I used to sell on eBay a lot but not for the past year or so. Mostly niche, non-commoditized things (e.g., old camera lenses) that would be hard to re-sell so not a natural magnet for fraud.

Every transaction had a problem. No-feedback bidders and new-account bidders and international bidders despite my ad text to the contrary. I had to reject the bids in real time. I guess it's truly off limits for me now after this thread.

We do some face-to-face via NextDoor and that has been painless. No way to sell a vintage camera lens, though. :D
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FishTaco
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by FishTaco »

RJ5 wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:45 am This same scam was used on me. The buyer's account wasn't new, it was an established dormant account that was hacked. Buyer claimed the power tool was defective, requested return. I had to approve. Buyer shipped item back. Item was delivered, yet nothing was delivered to my PO box. This is where being friendly with your local Post Master comes into play
Thank you for this good writeup!
nguy44
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by nguy44 »

Before reading this thread, we had done some cleanup and were thinking about selling some electronics that work but we are no longing using on eBay. Now... we think we will just donate them to local charities that accept electronics and take the tax deduction instead.

Probably 8-9 years ago my wife sold some collectibles she decided she no longer wanted and had no issues. Through her account I also sold a few "as-is, may work, for parts" computer and electronics items without issue. But it looks like a lot has changed. Sad.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by unclescrooge »

fyre4ce wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:14 pm You could consider small claims court. If you have the person's name and address you should be able to serve them if they're within the US. You'd have to check whether you can use your local court or whether you'd be required to try the case in their local jurisdiction. I filed in small claims court once, when I obviously got screwed over a small amount of money (~$100), and was very happy with the process. The money was insignificant but I learned a ton about the law process, and feel better prepared to deal with any similar future situations. I asked for extra pay for time lost from work and got it, too.

I'd also file a police report in the scammer's local jurisdiction, but I wouldn't expect them to do anything with it.
Do you have to file in the buyer's city?
What is the doesn't show up at court? Do you get a default judgment? Then what happens?
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by fyre4ce »

unclescrooge wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:25 pm
fyre4ce wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:14 pm You could consider small claims court. If you have the person's name and address you should be able to serve them if they're within the US. You'd have to check whether you can use your local court or whether you'd be required to try the case in their local jurisdiction. I filed in small claims court once, when I obviously got screwed over a small amount of money (~$100), and was very happy with the process. The money was insignificant but I learned a ton about the law process, and feel better prepared to deal with any similar future situations. I asked for extra pay for time lost from work and got it, too.

I'd also file a police report in the scammer's local jurisdiction, but I wouldn't expect them to do anything with it.
Do you have to file in the buyer's city?
What is the doesn't show up at court? Do you get a default judgment? Then what happens?
I can't say whether you have to file in the buyer's jurisdiction or whether you can file locally; you'll need higher caliber help than I can give.

From my experience: you do have to follow the correct process to file the complaint and serve the defendant. I sued a business, and businesses operating in CA are required to register a location for process service with the CA Secretary of State's office. This address can be looked up online, and it was something like $40 to pay a local process server in Sacramento to go serve the papers. If you have proof of service, and the defendant doesn't show up, you can get a default judgment (there may be unusual cases when this doesn't happen though - that'd be a question for a lawyer).

Once you get a judgment, default or otherwise, collecting can be a whole separate problem. I was fortunate that the company mailed me a check. If you have a judgment against a business, you can get the local sheriff to go in and take money out of the cash register. This is somewhat obsolete now, with most transactions being electronic. There are ways to get financial institutions that hold the person's or business's assets to hand them over to you, but I don't know much about it because I never had to go through it. For complex collection issues, you probably need a lawyer who specializes in that sort of thing. Here on BH we usually talk about the opposite end, asset protection.

Before I filed, there was a free seminar arranged through the court where I got to consult 1:1 with a local attorney about the case. He didn't read my entire case file but was still helpful. I'd suggest looking for something like this if you ever end up filing a small claims case.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by htdrag11 »

I had two problems with eBay in the last 20 years, one with a seller (North of the border and would sue me for putting negative feedback on part of an item not working; sellers were kings then) and one with a buyer (falsely claimed item not working which I donated upon returning).

After reading this thread, I'll definitely try not to sell anything valuable anymore. It's not worth the hassle or the fees. Last item was $950 which I barely breakeven with the shipping, selling and PayPal fees.

This year, I did find several bargained price vintage electronics from different charity organizations and reputable sellers.

Thank you for sharing. I understand your pain.
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Callisto
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Callisto »

Similar things happened to me, and I was able to successfully get my money back.

As a precursor, you need to go to your local police department, talk to someone who will note down the situation. A few days later, after they have submitted their report, you can go back to the police station and get a copy of the police report. You absolutely need a police report, but don't bother with the police past this point, despite how much Ebay will tell you to pursue this.

Call Ebay during the morning PST hours. It seems some Ebay call reps are "outsourced", while others are "in-house". Outsourced reps will follow a script and just tell you to file some FBI complaint or whatever. This is entirely pointless. The outsourced reps cannot help you, don't waste your time. Hang up and call again.

Once you get someone who actually seems to know what they are doing, explain the situation. They will open a new case for you. This type of scam happens frequently on Ebay, and they will specifically send you a form to fill out, which specifically references the fact that the buyer did not return your item. This is the critical step. The form says its from the "Ebay Money Back Guarantee Department", but as far as I can tell, this is not a real department and if you ask to speak to someone in this "department", the phone rep won't know what to do as it doesn't exist. In reality, any phone rep can send you this form, but they must be aware of this process. If they are not, hang up and call again.

On the new case they've opened, you must attach the form and police report. Add any other evidence you have. You can also write a paragraph explaining the situation. You must go through this convoluted process to get that form. Ebay loves protocols, and I believe the presence of this form is what allows the rep who reviews your case to actually side in your favor.

I don't recommend you charge back from Paypal, if they have your social security number (which they've started requiring the last few years). I've also heard people say that they've actually been sent to collections specifically for doing this. As such, any strategy that revolves around not letting Paypal take your money is, unfortunately, probably just going to cause you even bigger problems.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by flyingcows »

Callisto wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:34 am Similar things happened to me, and I was able to successfully get my money back.

As a precursor, you need to go to your local police department, talk to someone who will note down the situation. A few days later, after they have submitted their report, you can go back to the police station and get a copy of the police report. You absolutely need a police report, but don't bother with the police past this point, despite how much Ebay will tell you to pursue this.

Call Ebay during the morning PST hours. It seems some Ebay call reps are "outsourced", while others are "in-house". Outsourced reps will follow a script and just tell you to file some FBI complaint or whatever. This is entirely pointless. The outsourced reps cannot help you, don't waste your time. Hang up and call again.

Once you get someone who actually seems to know what they are doing, explain the situation. They will open a new case for you. This type of scam happens frequently on Ebay, and they will specifically send you a form to fill out, which specifically references the fact that the buyer did not return your item. This is the critical step. The form says its from the "Ebay Money Back Guarantee Department", but as far as I can tell, this is not a real department and if you ask to speak to someone in this "department", the phone rep won't know what to do as it doesn't exist. In reality, any phone rep can send you this form, but they must be aware of this process. If they are not, hang up and call again.

On the new case they've opened, you must attach the form and police report. Add any other evidence you have. You can also write a paragraph explaining the situation. You must go through this convoluted process to get that form. Ebay loves protocols, and I believe the presence of this form is what allows the rep who reviews your case to actually side in your favor.

I don't recommend you charge back from Paypal, if they have your social security number (which they've started requiring the last few years). I've also heard people say that they've actually been sent to collections specifically for doing this. As such, any strategy that revolves around not letting Paypal take your money is, unfortunately, probably just going to cause you even bigger problems.
Great information, thank you for sharing. I wasn't comfortable doing a chargeback for fear of this happening, we will pursue the police report and "Ebay Money Back Guarantee Department" form submission mentioned here and I'll update with the eventual outcome
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by Caduceus »

Sorry you are going through this. Ebay almost always completely sides with the buyer, in my experience, and that's why when I have a choice, I will buy on Ebay vs. other auction marketplaces. I'll share two stories.

The first is from the buyer's side (i.e. I was the buyer). I requested a return, shipped back the item, and then two weeks later the Ebay seller, who had already given me a refund, sent me a very upset message saying that I scammed him because I didn't return him the item even though he had already processed the refund. Turns out it took nearly a month for the item to get sent to him (not sure why!) and he eventually received it. In this case, it was the fault of USPS, but quite unpleasant for both him and me.

The second is from the seller's side. I sold something on Ebay saying "No Returns Allowed" Well, guess what ... buyers just decide if they don't want it to say that Item "does not match description" and Ebay forces you to eat the round-trip shipping fee. So not only did I not make any money off that sale, I lost quite a bit of money on a heavy item.

What you can do is ask for a partial credit, which they will give you. I complained to Ebay about the unfairness and they said while they could not refund my shipping fees, they would give me an Ebay courtesy credit to be used on Ebay, which partially covered the amount.

These days, I do not sell any expensive or heavy items on Ebay. With these two rules, I've had a pretty good experience.
makingmistakes
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by makingmistakes »

mall0c wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:22 am Welcome to ScamBay. Seems like the user base is 80% scammers at this point. It's really sad.
I buy a few things here and there on eBay, but was recently surprised to see how much counterfeit stuff they allow on their site when I looked at the Bayer 8 month flea collars.

When I realized that they obviously do nothing to keep that off their site, I decided to stay away from them completely.
lukestuckenhymer
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by lukestuckenhymer »

Before you file a police report or do a chargeback, open a case with Paypal! I recently opened a case (albeit as a buyer) with Paypal and got a satisfactory result. If eBay is a dead end, Paypal sometimes will help. https://www.paypal.com/disputes

The issue with the return label sounds fishy. Is there no way to obtain the shipping label to see what return address it was sent to? Do you have multiple addresses on file with eBay? I think the return label could be visible in the eBay resolution center. https://resolutioncenter.ebay.com/
Send eBay a message asking if you can confirm where the package was sent or get a copy of the label.

I often suspect fraud out of hand, but sometimes it is just a misunderstanding. The package had to have gone somewhere if the tracking that eBay issued says "Delivered." Double check everything in the eBay resolution center, then open a case with Paypal.

In the future, if the item is over $100, I would always insure it and get signature confirmation. Unfortunately, eBay doesn't offer insurance on return labels, so you'd have to purchase your own postage with insurance outside of eBay.

I've sold hundreds items on eBay. I've only had two instances where the buyer claimed something was wrong with the item. One was cheap and it would be cost prohibitive to ship back, so I just told them to keep it and gave them a refund. The other I got back and issued a refund with no issues. I found that buyers were mostly courteous, and I thankfully haven't experienced any issues with fraud even for my more expensive items. eBay gets a bad rap, but if you know how to protect yourself as both a buyer and seller, you'll do fine.
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by lthenderson »

Woodshark wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:38 pm On the very final day of appeal, the company in China said they would issue a refund if I returned the items back to them. BUT, the return address was an address in China! Due to China's tariffs on imported or returned goods, the cost of returning the bogus items would have exceeded the the total purchase price.

I tried to appeal to Paypal, even showed them documentation from their own website but it went nowhere.

It was a bitter pill to swallow.
+1 Exact same thing happened to me last fall. That was the last straw for Ebay and Paypal and I have deleted my accounts on both. I will only do Facebook Marketplace and only accept cash in hand. Let the buyer try to claw that back. None have even tried yet.
JeffAL
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Re: Options after being scammed on Ebay from buyer return scam

Post by JeffAL »

I would never use eBay to sell anything of value.
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