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Ebay Scams
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I'm looking for any advice from anybody who is experienced in Ebay selling.

 

My husband and I sell Iphones on Ebay for side income. We sell all of our Iphones brand new still in their original sealed packaging. We specify on our auctions that no returns are allowed.

 

Recently, we sold a phone to a man in California. The phone was shipped and immediately after receiving it, the buyer filed a PayPal dispute and escalated it to a claim in a matter of minutes--all without speaking to us or seeking any resolution. His claim was that the phone was Apple locked and couldn't be activated and therefore he wanted to send it back.

 

Well, first of all, there should be no issue with locks, since there were no prior users. Anybody with a high school education should be able to activate their Iphone with help from Verizon. It's not rocket science. Secondly, if there was some sort of freak incident where the phone got damaged, it should be an insurance claim and insurance should pay the damages. The buyer has also refused to answer any communication from us. He will not answer his emails or return our phone calls.

 

When I looked up the phone number the buyer provided us, it belonged to another person in another city altogether. Also, when I google the buyer's name one result that comes up (right in the same area as the phone was shipped to) is a Doctor--specifically an internal Medicine/Pulmonologist. 

 

With multiple red flags, I'm wondering if a crook purchased the phone under a stolen PayPal account. If the person who was the alleged buyer is actually a victim of financial or identity theft, I want to go to bat for them and protect them.

 

I just found the owner of the phone number that the guy gave us and talked to him--not surprisingly he didn't purchase the item and someone else used his phone number. What should I do from here?

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On Ebay there really is no such thing as 'no returns'. When you put that in your auctions you are inviting just what has happened. Your best course is to allow him to return the phone and as soon as it arrives credit his account. 

You are selling a very high risk sort of item both for the seller and the buyer. You will have PITA customers. No way to avoid it. IMHO the least stressful resolution would be to allow him to return. Go to Paypal and settle the dispute requiring him to return with delivery confirmation and hope he doesn't still leave negative feedback or ding your stars (if they still use those as it has been awhile since I have been on their site)

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IMO, You should give ebay the information you have gathered in the Dispute Communication.  Also put concerns about your reputation.  If this is credit fraud, it should be handled properly to avoid future problems with the "buyer" and the other "buyer".  

 

Colleen

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Yes, I have opened an investigation with PayPal. If I felt that this was a legitimate buyer who was simply being a pain in the neck, I would have more tolerance for processing a refund.

 

But the fact that the "buyer" is using a stolen phone number really speaks volumes to me and red flags me. Something smells fishy. Legitimate buyers don't give out fake phone numbers. I talked with the real owner of the phone number after doing some internet research and he did not know the alleged buyer and had no knowledge of the transaction.

 

PayPal has frozen the account of the "buyer" and is investigating further.

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Since eBay and PayPal aren't the same company (even if one owns the other, they operate independently) you need to report this directly to eBay as well if you want to protect yourself as a seller. They have their own customer service department that handles this sort of thing. Simply reporting it to PayPal won't protect you on eBay.

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Exactly Addy.  

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Great, thank you. I will do that.

 

I've investigated further and the "buyer" used a mail center box as the shipping address. The mail center box was opened only a month ago and the name and phone number on the box do not match the name and (fake) phone number of the buyer. Ugh!

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Great, thank you. I will do that.

 

I've investigated further and the "buyer" used a mail center box as the shipping address. The mail center box was opened only a month ago and the name and phone number on the box do not match the name and (fake) phone number of the buyer. Ugh!

This does sound like more than a PITA buyer. Good that paypal is acting on it and do be sure to let Ebay know what is going on also. Be sure to keep any email communication about the auction especially if the buyer was nasty or threatening. Was this a new to Ebay buyer? Some folks will ask for a buyer to contact them if they have a low feedback number and put in the auction that if the bidder doesn't their bid will be canceled. 

I hope this gets resolved for you quickly. 

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The buyer just joined Ebay on July 10th. I think that in the future we will mention in our auctions that we can cancel bids if new users don't contact us. 

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I just spoke with Ebay customer service. I provided them with detailed information documenting the false information and discrepancies that I found during my own search. They are now opening an investigation and starting a process to permanently ban this person from Ebay.

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Good Job.  One more idiot goin down....

 

Colleen

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Yep, we don't want anybody else to go through this with the same person, that's for sure. It's probably taken us between 8-10 hours of hard labor to document this person's scamming. In the end, Paypal will most likely cover our loss through their seller protection program and the scammer will most likely keep the phone and run. I would be very, very surprised if it got sent back in the same condition.

 

Does anybody know if you can get local law enforcement involved in fraud like this or do they consider it petty theft and don't really bother with it?

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So, anyhow, Ebay ruled that the buyer had until the 30th of July to provide us with tracking information documenting the return of the Iphone. Well, long story short, he provided us with tracking information alright and the item that we received from him was a #10 envelope with less than 4 lines of typed text, definitely no Iphone enclosed!

 

So we sent photos of the letter that he sent us and got a signed statement from the postal employee documenting what he sent us and the weight. (0.4 ounces and an Iphone by itself with no charger or packaging weighs a minimum of 4 oz!)

 

Paypal looked over the information that was sent them and closed the case in our favor, returning our money and cancelling our refund to the buyer. 

 

WHEW! (and lesson learned, no more selling to newbies or low feedback people on Ebay unless they contact us prior to bidding)

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Glad it went in your favor.   :)

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Great news. Glad to hear everything worked out. I hope he gets charged with postal fraud.

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Just got contacted by Ebay--this buyer's account has been suspended. Yay! Now not only can he NOT leave us negative feedback, he can't make any other sellers miserable.  :)

 

Time to look at reporting him to the Internet Crime Complaint center and maybe other avenues. The more thieves get away with their crimes, the more they will do them.

 

Down with scammers!

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Feeling wonderful right now! :)

 

Since our first horrible experience with a scammer, we now implement strict screening measures on any buyers, including confirming their address and investigating basic facts. We also require a valid phone number.

 

If they don't have one listed, they are required to call us and talk to us on the phone. If their address seems at all strange or unconfirmed, we find out why and determine if it's a real person or not. (i.e. one customer had item shipped to University of Wisconsin because he was a professor there and we verified that by looking at the university website)

 

If we don't feel comfortable, the Iphone doesn't leave our house until we do. 99 times out of 100, scammers won't want to talk to you on the phone. 99 times out of 100, good people won't be offended that you are trying to protect others against identity theft and protect yourself from losing money.

 

Today, due to implementing these screening measures we successfully stopped a criminal! Someone purchased an Iphone with a stolen PP account and by catching the inconsistencies quickly, we were able to pick up very fast that it was a scammer and immediately cancelled the transaction and issued the "buyer" a full refund. Looks like we probably saved 2 other innocent victims by being more observant. And not surprisingly, the criminal never called us on the phone. After refunding the money, we relisted the Iphone and we were able to sell it to a real verified buyer.

 

Iphones are a high risk item and for here on out, using a little precaution could save bucketloads of grief.

 

We did win the fight with that last scammer, but he fought to the very end, even going so far as to file a chargeback to his credit card after we won the prior case. We called Paypal and they returned our money and banned him from the site.

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Unfortunately what Paypal gave us was essentially a temporary "courtesy credit." The chargeback continued and the credit card company ruled in the buyer's favor, even though he never returned the phone. So he kept our brand new phone AND all of his refunded money.

 

We're now pursuing reporting him to law enforcement and reporting the phone as stolen to Apple.

 

We've implemented even tighter security on our Ebay sales, such as blocking foreign payments through our Paypal account, etc.

 

If those white collar criminals would put all that energy towards an honest living, they would be just fine.

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Just reported the phone as stolen to Apple. If a user attempts to activate it, they will get that message and we will be contacted. Then hopefully with the help of the current owner, we can track the bad guy down eventually. 

 

I'm going to file a police report this morning too.

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