Interesting video about eBay scams - for buyers and sellers

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I use ebay a lot still. I had one guy in Australia claim the cd I send was cracked, I noticed in his feedback several other sellers apologizing for cracked cds, hmmmm. . . .

I told him to send me a photo and he sent a scan of a cracked cd that looked like he found it on the internet, and he didn’t realize I could see the part number on the inside ring.

“I’m sorry, you must have mixed me up with another seller, this does not appear to be the cd I sent you, the part number is clearly visible and it’s a different cd.”

He backed off, took the bait offered, “oh yeah, sorry, I must have mixed you up with another seller.


COVID certainly has made ebay a different experience. On the one hand, previously inflated markets should be coming down (not always). A lot of hobby sellers may be either taking an extended break (or ramping up to make up for lost income).

I’m just trying to pick small lettermail items to sell, and I’m pricing things lower than previously. But I don’t have that much time or energy to keep selling, in spite of having so much stuff. First world problems, really.


Just had a weird experience with an eBay purchase. It had a very long delivery time, but I ordered it.

First thing I noticed was it took like 5 days before it shipped and i was notified. I figure pandemic, etc.

But I notice that it shipped from CA when the listing said the item was in OR.

It was shipped FedEx so there was good tracking. It came all the way across the country, 4 days or so - delivery would be next day, when tracking said “Shipper requested return of package”. Sure enough it turned around and started heading back.

I immediately filed a “not delivered claim” - it was too early but ebay allowed it because the tracking. A couple of days later I got my money back.

But as far as the normal notifications from ebay - it did not notice the package turned around and went back to sender - everything was hunky-dory with them - it was delivered.

No reply to any message to the seller. I’m not sure of the scam here - send it slow, hope the buyer is not tracking, and run out the clock on filing a claim?


I’m surprised he didn’t mention the fascinating money mule ebay scam detailed in this, now famous, DefCon presentation by Nina Kollars about Nespresso machines and pods.


Some sellers are taking advantage of this serial number wariness to prevent the return of scam-sold items.

Last month, I bought an OEM Samsung fast-charge kit, cable and adapter. When it arrived and I plugged it in, it hissed noisily, indicating cheap make. That’s when I looked closely and saw the adapter had cheap print compared to my original, “US LISTED” was misspelled as “US LISYED,” and the cable plugged in upside down. As well, the box had not been sealed and the photo on the back was of a UK adapter instead of the US one inside.

I immediately took photos comparing it to my own and contacted the seller, identifying the product as counterfeit and requesting a return. The seller accused me of replacing his legit adapter with a fraudulent one of my own and warned me he had serial numbers to back up his sales - of course, he couldn’t have taken the serial off the adapter without opening the box, which was advertised as sealed.

Long story short, he angrily accepted the return, but made EBay intervene to resolve the dispute, which they did in my favor mere minutes after the dispute was invoked. He’s still selling his fraudulent adapters on EBay today, just with an additional line added to the description warning buyers that he has serial numbers, so don’t try replacing his merchandise with your own!


Ebay and other sites really favor the buyer, so it’s not uncommon for someone to buy something, claim damage or defect or ripoff, and get their money back. On ebay you can’t even leave bad feedback for buyers who rip you off, you can only reply to feedback left, or leave a positive but with negative comments (so the buyer gets that +1 to their rating, but if anyone reads his/her feedback they see “buyer is dishonest” etc.)


I’ve had a couple eBay transactions go sideways. One was a pricey piece of photo gear I was selling. The buyer paid, but then sent me a message with the address they wanted it shipped to. So I shipped it there. Sometime later I get notified that the seller had used an unauthorized credit card (I think it was a relative’s card). So that looked bad: I could have been out the money. But eBay covered it. The lesson here is: if you’re selling something pricey, state that you’ll only ship to the buyer’s verified address, the one tied to their payment method (Paypal). That’s not 100% protection against the payment being rejected, and there could be legit reasons to ship to another address, but in general it’s a good practice to insist on this.


I’ve learned I can only sell simple things on eBay - anything programmable (a thermostat, for example) is invariably referred to as broken. And eBay does not permit me say to the buyer “just toss it and I’ll issue a refund”. eBay insists the item be return shipped, at my expense. So the item returns, and works fine, and now I have that thing, and just paid to have it shipped. :-/


Here’s another “scam” of sorts that can get you:

If you’re selling anything large that requires local pickup, the buyer can show up and simply refuse to take the item. Then it was never “shipped” so they are never charged.

This happened to me in the early 2000s when, in my naïve youth, I tried to sell a car on eBay. The guy bid and won, showed up, decided he didn’t like it, and left. This royally screwed me because I was moving across the state the next day, had no time to relist it, no time to sell it any other way, nowhere to store it (landlord was kicking me out) and no way to take it with me. A few panicked phone calls later and I ended up giving it away to a friend of a friend who promised to sell it for me and I never heard from them again. A $6000 life lesson for young Ms. Connor.

eBay says a winning bid is a “contractual agreement to buy” but it’s all nonsense. I filed every complaint everywhere I could and never even heard back from eBay about it. I couldn’t even leave a bad review for the buyer because the transaction was incomplete.


We do a lot of business on both Ebay and Amazon. Ebay is the better platform for buyers and sellers. Amazon is like a flea market in hell.


One more thought-- I’ve noticed the idea of “scams” on ebay is almost as powerful as actual scams. Since COVID started the USPS has been moving very slowly, and I see buyers getting paranoid. “Where’s my package? Are you a scammer?” (How do you even answer that?)

In one case I finally just gave the guy a refund because he was sending messages over and over, thought he had discovered evidence on the USPS website that the tracking number I gave him was fake. Months later I track the package and see it was finally delivered, sent him a message, he promised to pay for the item, but never did.


I once bought a guitar through ebay. The seller gave an tracking number but the guitar was never delivered. According to DHL the guitar never left the country the guitar came from and was returned to the seller.
Both ebay and paypal didn’t help me at all and said I had to contact the seller, which never replied to anything. Paypal won’t return my money because the item is marked as delivered…


I had done only minimal business through eBay/PayPal before PayPal decided to lock my account with no recourse for the best I can tell was using the card I use for the account to buy gas near work instead of home. (it was the only transaction on the day they stated for ‘suspicous activity’)

I still get emails about policy updates even though I can’t use the service.So fuck them and eBay.


Certain countries for some reason are particularly known for fraud as well. Must be something about enforcement or international treaties or something.

Belgium is one. I sold a guy some electronics there once, and he claimed he didn’t receive, demanded a refund. Package tracking said they didn’t cover Belgium.

I’ve had issues with buying Skype credit as well, because originally it was a Belgian company and my credit union refused to process any transactions from there.

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Phfft. EBay was a huge scam risk from Day One. I haven’t bought anything via that stoopid site since 2004, when I (and a bunch of others) got involved in some dumb ass scheme. The apparent risk is so blatant I’m not sure why people even use it.

Online marketplaces continue to be a cesspool. Amazon, mentioned here, Newegg, who keeps wanting to turning into an amazon of Southern California, I’m sure there are plenty others.

I have been using ebay for 20 years, almost since day one, and the number of times I have been ripped off either as a seller or a buyer is minuscule, maybe only twice out of hundreds of transactions.

I’m not a huge fan of some aspects of ebay, but overall it’s not really a ‘cesspool.’ You’re just as likely to get ripped off at an actual physical flea market or thrift store.

I have been buying a lot of the stuff I buy online via eBay in the last 20 years, and I also sold about 200-300 items on ebay, and I was scammed 2-3 times, for a total of less $50.

The risk appears negligible.

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