Yet Another Example of How eBay Sellers Can Be Easily Scammed

Posted on December 4, 2012 10:20 AM by Rob Williams

Who’s up for another “eBay screwed me over and favored the scam artist” story? Well, you’re in luck, because we have an absolute doozy¬†here. Vlad Gurovich sold the iPhone 5 his father didn’t need on eBay, at which point a buyer with a decent positive feedback history snatched it up. The process went smoothly as one would expect, but was side-swiped a month or so afterwards. Yup – we’re talking a chargeback.

A chargeback happens when a buyer isn’t happy with the product they purchased, or when it wasn’t received as described. The buyer then immediately gets their money back, while the seller loses theirs just as quick. Unfortunately, PayPal doesn’t enforce the buyer to send back the product in this event, opening the doors to one of the easiest scams ever.

Not long after Vlad was scammed, he discovered that the same buyer bought iPhone 5s from other sellers as well – and lo and behold, each one of them also received a chargeback. If you think this undeniable evidence should be enough to convince eBay and PayPal of seller innocence – think again. In the end, the buyer’s credit card company sided with their customer in the dispute, leaving Vlad out $1,000 after fees and penalties – not to mention the brand-new iPhone 5. Talk about a double-whammy.

eBay is a great place, but it’s been proven time and time again that there’s very little protection put in place for sellers. Your best bet, if you choose to still sell through eBay, is to be strict with who you sell to. Demand buyers with solid legitimate feedback – it helps when someone’s account is in such good standing, that you wouldn’t dream they’d ruin it all just for a free gadget.

Even then, what confidence do sellers have when incidents like these are fairly common? eBay must simply chalk it up to being a minor issue – after all, these incidents probably account for much less than 1% of total transactions. I suppose it’s easy to allow a few customers to be screwed over as long as the other 99% are content with things.

  • The Focus Elf

    I have so much sympathy for these people in this type of situation. DS, I found myself in a similar situation selling a Gibson SG Guitar to a Canadian back when I was at school at Syracuse. He broke it, and then did a chargeback, I lost $800 and a guitar. “Legitimate” feedback is hard to prove as well — auctions expire. If you’re a scammer starting your account, it is just as easy to have a friend “buy” some items off you and not actually exchange any funds, pay the paltry ebay fees, and let the account simmer until the auctions expire. Boom 100+ positive feedback and ready to scam… it is terrible implementation :(

    • Rob Williams

      Wow, that’s insane about the guitar. It’s a good thing alternatives like Craigslist exists, and Ijjiji or whatever the heck it’s called in Canada. Much safer way to sell things.

  • madmatTG

    This is a shining example of why I only sell stuff on Craigslist any more. I’ve seen this chargeback scam run by buyers in forums too. Over on the site that shall remain nameless there was a guy that sold a phone and about a month later the scumbag that bought it executed the same move. It was at that point that I pretty much decided to stop selling anything I had to use PayPal for.

    • Rob Williams

      PayPal is a necessary evil for me, but I do really wish I could get away from it.

      • madmatTG

        I closed my PayPal account about a year ago. I was attempting to buy something on fleabay and they (PayPal) jacked me around when I was trying to get my bank set up on my account (the seller only accepted verified buyers) so I ended up losing the item I needed. At that point I told them eff you very much and closed my account. Haven’t looked back since.

  • xOptix78

    I steer clear of eBay because of stories like this. All of my gear is sold on a different forum and it’s EMT -ONLY-. I know what I sell is in pristine condition and working at the time it leaves my possession. Using an EMT means that I get my money before I ship the gear and there’s no chance of them pulling a 180 and screwing me over.

    • Rob Williams

      I don’t blame you. It’s easier in Canada because you can use Interac to send cash to someone’s bank account for $1. I don’t know of such a solution in the US.

      • xOptix78

        That’s the other thing – I only ship to Canada. No silly currency conversions, EMT is possible and the shipping on a case to the US will just about kill you!

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