Advice needed - eBay scam?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by riverrat, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    I recently sold a Toyota truck factory service manual on eBay, a large 800-page paperback.

    After he received it, the buyer sent me photos of the box and shipping label, and also a pic of a large cookbook I've never seen nor heard of, which he says was packed inside the box. He's demanding a full refund.

    There's no possible way I sent the cookbook and not the Toyota manual. This is the only book of any kind I've sold in months and I'm always very careful about such matters. Plus I've never seen nor heard of the book he says he received. But it seems like its just his word against mine.

    Does anyone have any good advice? I plan to call eBay to discuss tomorrow.
     
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Unfortunately, there are scam artists who will pull this kind of stunt. PayPal will unfortunately side with the buyer in this case regardless of what you do and you'll end up without the book, money, or ability to leave negative feedback.

    That is why lots of individuals are fleeing eBay as there's literally no protection whatsoever for sellers. I've heard of cases where pics or video documented how the right item got sent without PayPal giving a rat's behind about it. Utterly ridiculous!

    Hopefully, the book wasn't too expensive so the lesson doesn't hit as hard as it would otherwise but it sure sucks all around that some people are so completely devoid of any integrity.
     
    bru87tr likes this.
  3. bru87tr

    bru87tr Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA
    I dont sell nearly as much in ebay as I use to.

    Recently I had to cancel a transaction as a Japan buyer claimed to have a US address. Problem was the address and apt# he had was actually a warehouse and a google search showed many ebay scams through this warehouse.
     
  4. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I use a warehouse as well which is a PayPal confirmed address and as you can see from my feedback, there have been no issues.

    Of course it doesn't nullify the possibility this Japanese buyer had nefarious motives in mind.
     
  5. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Strat-Mangler is likely correct in that Paypal will likely side with the buyer.

    However, you don't have to give in that easily. Call eBay to discuss this for sure and you may need to eventually call Paypal as well. When you do, stick to your story, stay calm and try and get them to sympathise with your predicament. There's not much they can do until a claim is actually filed (both for eBay and Paypal) but you can get some advice.

    Once a claim is processed then that's when you'll really need to call them and up the sympathetic anti. State your case, keep to the facts, keep calm and with some luck and perseverance they may give you your money back.

    Also, if it were me and it was looking like I'd have no choice but to refund, I'd make the buyer return the cook book just to annoy him. Also, and this is a long shot, if the book he returns is lighter than the manual you send and your postage receipt shows the original weight of the package, the difference might be enough for you to appeal any Paypal decision against you and have them return your money. Like I said, long shot but you can appeal decisions so it's worth trying if you have some evidence.
     
  6. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I like your style. :D

    The only problem is the possibility a return will be initiated by the buyer and he will insist on the seller paying for the return shipping charges.

    I doubt PayPal has the ability to recognize subtle signs like these but it's worth a try, depending on the original price of the item.
     
  7. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    To your first point, yes, definitely if the claim is made via eBay so there is that risk. I'd run down the clock until the eBay guarantee runs out then you only have to deal with Paypal which won't ask you to pay for return postage :)

    Second point, yeah not really sure what sort of stats they have. But the general song people sing about Paypal is that they always side with the buyer but I've had a few cases where it was not that simple and only calling them helped resolve the issue and one was very similar to this case.

    I ordered a promo copy, ***** seller (not you OP the guy I bought from!) claimed he sent exactly what was in the photos (discogs purchase, clearly photos were not of his lp) and that I was trying to scam him. Paypal did give me a refund but they said it was done at no cost to the seller due to the unique nature of the case. So I think if the OP makes enough of a fuss (in a polite but firm way) they might still take care of the buyer but not at his expense. In my case we were talking about a $25 USD claim and I'm not sure it would've gone the way it did if it was a $250 claim. :)
     
    tmtomh, chazz101s and Strat-Mangler like this.
  8. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    Thank you for the detailed advice folks. Much appreciated.
     
    tmtomh and Strat-Mangler like this.
  9. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    At first I tried to imagine a postal worker opening the box and switching the books, wanting to trust the buyer. But a more parsimonious, believable explanation is that the buyer is scamming me.

    A couple of red flags are the fact that even with 240 positive feedbacks, he's only left 3 for others and that looks like it was years ago.
    And also the language he used:
    "in the buyer/seller transaction process, I paid for something and didn’t get what I paid for"
    Almost as if he cut and pasted the exact language that e Bay and paypal use.

    Another one is that he is just about always a buyer, just about never a seller.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  10. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    I am definitely going to call both ebay and paypal. I might end up paying but not gonna take this lying down.
     
    tmtomh, Strat-Mangler and eddiel like this.
  11. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    Following up to report that I seem to have prevailed on this matter, although it isn't clear exactly why.

    I called both eBay and Paypal and carefully explained the situation, i.e. that all signs pointed to fraudulent behavior on the part of the buyer. No other explanation seemed to make sense. I also tried to invoke my history and track record with both eBay and PP.

    I also sent Paypal the set of pictures that the buyer sent, showing a book that the buyer purported was in the box.

    eBay referred the matter to their "Trust & Safety Department". Paypal indicated that the buyer had not opened a claim, but if and when they did, they would consider all the evidence that I had submitted.

    I have not heard from the buyer, since the initial effort to get a refund. I'm guessing that he may have contacted eBay and/or paypal and perhaps learned that I had provided my side of the story and was planning to fight any effort to provide a refund. For whatever reason, it seems he decided not to pursue the matter.
     
  12. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Glad to hear that the current indications are positive in this case. I wonder if the buyer hasn't filed a claim because they know there's a chance they might lose. In other words, maybe they thought they'd take a shot at seeing if you'd just refund them based on their initial email and the possibility of the hassle of defending against a claim, and when you didn't give in, they dropped the matter?
     
    Dave and Strat-Mangler like this.
  13. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    This is what I think is most likely.
     
  14. sjsanford

    sjsanford Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It won't necessarily fix the kind of problem outlined, but a good practice for ebay sellers is to set up "Buyer Requirements" preferences. After I did this, I saw my problematic buyers drop to zero.

    From eBay: Setting buyer requirements
     
  15. QuestionMark?

    QuestionMark? 4th&Goal

    Location:
    The End Zone
    Thanks for the link! :righton:
     
  16. Rocky's Owner

    Rocky's Owner I Don't Rent Air

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Maybe the buyer has pulled this kind of thing before, and knows that if ebay or paypal investigates, they'll find multiple instances of the buyer doing this.
     
    12" 45rpm likes this.
  17. Some sellers have resorted to videotaping their packaging of the item when shipping out. I'd probably do it for any significant sell over a couple hundred bucks. Scam buyers and sellers both exist on eBay in some small fraction.
     
  18. Raynie

    Raynie Hyperactive!

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Setting buyer requirements does virtually nothing. Hopefully you have a good track record established. If you contest and win, they can't leave feedback. Usually buyers like that have long rap sheets. Call a lot until you catch the right person's ear. Always keep calm and don't ever lose temper if asked 3x to provide user info. They put notes on your profile if you act badly, and they are much more willing to help a nice person. In discussing with rep, highlight your success on the site and make claim the buyer is trying to get free item. Keep a simple story and be consistent, don't spout conspiracy theories or motives. They get tired of hearing it and might start to argue with your ideas, then you are in trouble.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
    Dave and eddiel like this.
  19. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    I missed this thread the first time around, but things like this are why I try to avoid eBay unless it's something I can't find elsewhere. And after seeing the grief that sellers go through, I waded through their user-unfriendly menu vortex to find a recent order I never left feedback on and then did so.
     
    QuestionMark? likes this.
  20. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I thought of doing that long before I read it online but from what I've read from others who attempted to show PayPal this evidence, they didn't care one lick about viewing it.

    The main issue, IMHO, is sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers. Unfortunately, that does any seller a disservice as no one can be warned about those bad apples who try to con sellers with partial refunds or by sending back different items, etc.

    Personally, I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror after robbing someone that way but I guess it's easy for some to live with stealing money and/or merchandise from others.
     
    QuestionMark? and Dave like this.
  21. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    Thought I'd take a minute to follow up on this, with yet another chapter..

    About three weeks after my post of April 27th above (in which I cautiously opined that I may have prevailed, since I hadn't heard otherwise) the buyer contacted me asking where his refund was.

    I took time to politely explain that I did not plan to provide a refund, as the package was either tampered with during transit (opened and contents swapped) or, he (the buyer) was trying to scam me. In neither case was this my fault or obligation to correct. Assuming he was honest and innocent, the package must have been tampered with during transit, in which case he was free to file a claim with USPS. I explained that I'd contacted both eBay and Paypal and had extensive conversations in which they had indicated they would support me.

    The buyer then filed a claim with Paypal, and left negative feedback for me on eBay. Despite all their assurances to me, Paypal paid the claim and charged me, as they just about always do in such cases. I immediately contacted Paypal, and explained the situation. I basically asked them to look at my extensive history with both them and eBay. I asked them to explain why, if I had mailed the wrong book by accident, I didn't have the correct book in hand still. I asked them to explain how the buyer got the wrong book if I had sent the right one. The obvious answer is he was scamming me, in which case I was not going to sit still for being charged for it. I told them that if they did not refund my money I would never do business with them again.

    They decided pretty much on the spot to refund me as well, but also let the buyer keep his refund. I told them I thought they were just enabling the scammer by doing this. They sounded as if they tacitly agreed, but obviously trying to investigate and prove fraud would cost way more than the cost of the item, if that were even possible to prove. It is a business decision, clear and simple.

    I also contacted eBay and was able to get the negative feedback removed within a few hours of it being put up. I told them the same thing- that this was an obvious scam, nothing else made sense, and allowing buyers to get away with this kind of behavior is just enabling more fraud, and a huge disincentive to sellers. Pretty much the same response as Paypal- as long as there are still enough sellers, they don't seem to really care enough about this kind of fraud to take more concrete action.

    Kind of sad, and maddening the the buyer got away with this. But I've moved on; at least I'm not out any cash myself. I do think that buyers who try to pull this kind of thing more than once or twice are going to raise some red flags with eBay. But who knows..
     
    rnranimal, Dave, Raunchnroll and 4 others like this.
  22. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon
    THIS!
     
    Strat-Mangler and tmtomh like this.
  23. Someone needs to create an app completely external to eBay's control for the benefit of sellers, allowing feedback on buyers. That would solve almost all of these problems immediately.
     
    Dave, riverrat and chazz101s like this.
  24. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Nice idea but that won't be possible unless eBay allows the app developer access to it's data and that isn't going to happen. I remember when eBay changed their policy on buyer feedback. I can't really remember their reasoning behind it, but even as a buyer it sounded a bit nuts and really it made my buyer feedback almost worthless. Despite the faults of the Discogs system, I'm glad they do allow negative and neutral feedback for buyers.
     
  25. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I have heard of them doing that and once it happened to me as a buyer. I bought a record on Discogs that was meant to be the promo pressing, idiot sent me the stock copy. I messaged the seller, he denied having sent the wrong one so I went straight to paypal. His reply to paypal was the same; he sent the right one, I was lying, Im a thief trying to get a record for free (even though I told him I didn't want it and would return it).

    Paypal gave me a refund, attached to it was a message saying that they have given me a refund but due to the extraordinary circumstances of the case (ie the idiot saying he sent me the correct one) they would not refund me at the expense of the idiot (aka seller). I did get to keep the record though.
     

Share This Page