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A Complete Guide to Buyers-Scammers on eBay!

April 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 206 Comments
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scamIf you go by all the posts and comments online, it’s nearly impossible to sell on eBay without being scammed, by the buyer! Pretty much every online forum or eBay related blog you visit will be FULL of such stories and from the emails I get, it’s clear that this is one of the main things that holds new sellers back from getting started on eBay.

But I’m happy to say that these buyer scams really aren’t as prevalent as is made out, and are much more common in certain niches, particularly more popular/everyday items.

And that’s actually one of the reasons you hear so much about this, because a lot of new, private sellers who list their own items (things like mobile phones, tablets, game consoles etc.) aren’t aware of the best practices they should follow, and end up getting scammed.

And that’s what today’s article is all about! I’ll be covering some of the more common scams on eBay and telling you exactly how to deal with them so that you’re never a victim to fraudulent eBay buyers.

To start off, I want to cover some of the selling rules and best practices that you should be following with all your eBay sales.

Create Buyer Requirements

This is probably the simplest and easiest way to reduce your exposure to buyers who are more likely to cause difficulties in a transaction.

Of course there is no universal list that tells you the user ID of all scammers but by applying some common sense filters, you can significantly reduce the chances of you being scammed.

You can block bids/purchases from buyers who:
  • Have unpaid items recorded on their account.
  • Have a feedback score lower than the number you specify (it goes without saying that not all new buyers are scammers, but a high proportion of scams come from new accounts with little feedback, so this is a great way to protect yourself).
  • Don’t have a PayPal account

Here’s an example of set of rules you can set in Buyer Requirements:

buyer-requirementsAnd you can also add difficult and problematic buyers to your “blocked list” via their user ID which will prevent them from buying anything from you in the future.

NEVER Deal Outside of eBay!

I cannot stress how important this rule is! Please, under no circumstances, agree to finalise a transaction outside of eBay.

I’ve heard from some people who actually think this is better for them because they don’t pay the final value fees plus buyers don’t get the full eBay Buyer Protection… but when you deal outside of eBay, you really do open yourself up to a whole new level of potential scams and fraud.

Never mind the fact that if the buyer reports this to eBay, you will most likely be instantly (and permanently) banned.

Basically, to keep everything very simple, just NEVER deal with a buyer or sell something outside of eBay.

Only Ship To The Confirmed PayPal Address

This is another one that fools many new sellers and it’s unfortunate really, because there are many genuine reasons a buyer might want you to ship to an alternate address; they might have recently moved and not updated their PayPal account, they might be sending a gift directly to the recipient to save on shipping costs etc.

But if the address you post to doesn’t match the confirmed address on the PayPal payment, then you aren’t covered in any way under PayPal’s Seller Protection Policy and if a claim is made for non-delivery, you will lose out.

Even if you have a message from the buyer requesting delivery to a different address, eBay/PayPal will still side with them. Ridiculous I know, but that’s just how it is – and the only thing we can do as sellers is ensure you ONLY post to the registered PayPal address.

So if you do make a sale but the buyer subsequently asks you to post to a different address, you should politely decline.

Please note that I said politely, as of course this doesn’t necessarily mean they are trying to scam you!

So if this does happen, just reply back and explain that due to PayPal’s Shipping Policy, you are only able to post to the address shown on the invoice. Ask them if they would like a refund or if they are happy for the item to be posted to their correct address and then go from there.

One thing to note is that it’s not possible for them to add the address after payment has been made and they’ll have to re-buy the item (after you’ve refunded them and cancelled the transaction via eBay).

These are 3 incredibly simple, but also extremely effective rules for selling on eBay that you should be following for all your listings.

Simply by setting some common sense buyer requirements you’ll be able to guard yourself from a large amount of scammers and then ensuring you deal on eBay and only post to the invoiced address will also protect you from the most common eBay scams.

However, that’s not all!

Nowadays buyer fraud on eBay is becoming more and more sophisticated and advanced and while these general rules will help you, you still need to be aware of some of the more in-depth scams that buyers try.

eBay Buyer Scams and How To Deal With Them!
Empty box1. Item Not Received

This is by far the most common scam on eBay and it’s a very simple one. A buyer will order an item and then a little while after it arrives they’ll contact the seller or create a claim saying they haven’t received the item.

If you posted it via a tracked method, then you should of course check the delivery details online and see if the buyer is telling the truth.

If you posted it without tracking, then you have very little to stand on. It doesn’t matter that you have proof of postage, you need proof of delivery or eBay will side with the buyer.

So in cases like these, you simply respond apologising that their order hasn’t arrived yet and then ask if they’d like a replacement sent or a full refund issued.

Most of the time with fraudulent buyers, they’ll just ask for their money back which means they got the item for free. If they request that a replacement is sent instead, then always ensure you send that fully tracked and recorded!

I’ve received many emails from sellers who have posted out replacements in the same way as the original and then had another item not received claim! That way the buyer ends up with 2 or 3 of their item and their money back so please – always send replacements via recorded delivery.

Now I know what you may be thinking at this point: why don’t I just send all items recorded in the first place!? That way, buyers can’t make any false item not received claims as you have evidence of delivery.

Well though I do see a lot of people suggesting this, it’s not something I agree with at all. You have to look at this from a business perspective and only consider the numbers.

For example, let’s say you sell Blu-rays at an average price of £6 + delivery. Regular 1st Class postage costs £1.24 and Signed For 1st Class costs £2.34 and you sell 200 a month.

Let’s take a look at how the figures compare:

1st Class Postage:

Cost of Shipping = £1.24 x 200 = £248
Cost of Refunds = £6 x 10 (200 x 5%) = £60

1st Class Signed For Postage:

Cost of Shipping = £2.34 x 200 = £468
Cost of Refunds = NIL

So as you can see, despite you having to refund 10 orders in full due to item not received claims, sending everything tracked would add £160 (52%!) to your total cost every month (and that’s not even considering any compensation you get from Royal Mail for lost postage with the non-tracked option).

I hope you get my point here! Of course the results might be different for you as it depends completely on the cost of shipping and the rate of item not received claims, however it isn’t correct to simply say “post everything recorded so you can’t get scammed”…

Yes it’s frustrating to have to refund suspected fraudulent buyers but sometimes it makes more business sense to absorb the occasional hit.

Plus I have two little ‘tricks’ that you can use if you do get a message from a buyer claiming their order hasn’t been received.

These aren’t strictly above the line, so it’s up to you if you want to use them in your business, but they are things I’ve come across in my many years experience that I want to share with you:

  • Investigating It Further

One method is to reply to INR messages apologising and then saying you will be investigating it further in case it was lost/taken at their local delivery office. Some sellers even enclose a declaration and ask the buyer to fill in their name and sign saying they didn’t receive the item so that you can send it on to Royal Mail for their investigation.

Obviously these are nothing more than scare tactics, which I wouldn’t really recommend myself as if it is a genuine buyer they’ll be further put out, but I have heard a very high level of success reported with this tactic – so you’ll have to decide for yourself if you want to use it.

After all, if you’re a scammer simply trying to get an item for free, you’ll probably be scared off by such a message and won’t take it any further.

  • “Tracked Mail – Scanned on Delivery” Sticker

This is another deceptive but highly effective method for stopping INR claims. Basically you attach a label to the package that displays a barcode and a serial number.

Most fraudulent buyers who receive their order with such a label attached will be scared off from claiming their item hasn’t arrived.
Once again, this is a deceptive method though so I can’t recommend using it myself – however, I still wanted to make you aware of it. If you go this route, don’t make that label too similar to Royal Mail labels as then post office may refuse to accept your parcel.

And now, on to the next most common eBay buyer scam:

2. Faulty/Damaged Item

Again, this is a very simple scam. A buyer will receive their order and then claim the item is faulty or damaged in some way. Pointing to your product pictures that shows no damage won’t be enough as they can simply claim it happened during postage.

Really your only option in this instance is to request that the item is sent back so you can inspect it and then either issue a refund or send a replacement.

If the item is low value and it’s not worth an additional two sets of postage cost, then you can always ask for a picture detailing the damage or simply refund them and move on.

There is really very little you need to do here, other than request the item is returned back to you. After all, with last year’s updated Consumer Contracts Regulations, you are within your right as a seller to request a return before issuing a refund and thankfully that has made this type of scam much more uncommon as there’s very little gain for the scammer when they have to return the item to you. Previously when the distance selling laws dictated that you give a refund BEFORE the item was returned, this scam was much harder to deal with.

But, this does bring us on to another similar, but much more advanced scam, that is significantly harder to deal with.

3. Returning Another Product

This is basically a follow-on from the faulty item scam, but in this case when you request a return the buyer agrees and sends back their item. However when you receive it, it is immediately clear that it isn’t in fact the item you sent out but is instead a used or faulty replacement.

This scam is most common with electronics, such as smartphones, DSLRs etc. The buyer either has a broken version of this item you’re selling or in some cases they specifically go and buy a faulty copy and then return it in place of the new/working one they bought from you.

There is really only one effective method for dealing with this, and that is to record and keep evidence of the barcode/serial number of the items you sell. Otherwise it’s their word against yours and that’s only going to end one way!

So if you’re selling a smartphone, make sure you take a picture of and note down the EMEI number; if you’re selling a Canon camera, make sure you have evidence of the serial number etc.

I recommend that you do this for all high value items and particularly electronics, as that’s where the majority of these cases seem to be based.

But here comes the bad part – once a buyer returns the item to you in an item not as described case, eBay will then usually refund them instantly. Again, I know this sounds incredibly unfair but that’s how it works; as soon as eBay see that something has been returned via a tracking number, they refund the buyer. I’ve even come across many cases where an empty box is returned or better yet, a box containing a brick or some rocks (so that the weights match up)!

PLUS you get a DEFECT for that transaction!

But all is not lost, as you can still appeal the case. Here is what eBay themselves suggest:

You can appeal an eBay Buyer Protection case if your item comes back in a different condition than the way the buyer received it, or the package is empty or contains a different item. You should not appeal a case if a buyer received a damaged item and sent it back to you with the same damage. We recommend you purchase shipping insurance to provide coverage for items lost or damaged in transit to the buyer.

To appeal your case:

  • Go to the Resolution Center or click the button below.
  • Click the Sign in link below the Your cases section.
  • Find the case and click Appeal.

If you document everything and provide all the evidence to eBay in your appeal, then you will usually get your money back. Of course they also note the incident in the buyer’s record and may ban them if it’s happened multiple times.

However, as these instances usually involve higher value items and can’t be misconstrued as an error or genuine mistake, I would also suggest reporting this as a crime as it is a clear case of fraud.

These cases are usually reported to Action Fraud, which can be done online, and they’ll issue you with a crime reference number.

Although very little can be done, reporting the crime nearly guarantees that eBay will find the appeal in your favour and refund you, so that’s why I always suggest taking this extra step.

So please always remember, picture and note down any barcodes, serial numbers, IMEI numbers etc. so that you have some evidence if you’re scammed in this way.

That way you at least get your money back in the end, and with how eBay & PayPal’s refund system is set up, that’s pretty much the best you can expect.

Now this last scam is probably the most advanced trick used by fraudulent buyers on eBay and it is very hard to deal with, but don’t feel put off! As I mentioned earlier, these scams really are a lot less common than is portrayed and if you follow the general guidelines listed at the beginning of this article, you’ll already be protected from the majority of scammers on eBay.

If you do get unlucky and come across a fraudulent buyer, simply follow my advice on how to deal with them and you should come out of it okay!

However, if you are being blackmailed and a buyer is threatening you with negative feedback or low DSRs, then you should report them to eBay. This is known as feedback extortion and it isn’t allowed so if you report it and they follow through with their threat, you’ll be able to get it removed as eBay are usually quick to act in this regard.

Remember, the goal here is to proceed with as little damage to your business as possible and that’s what all my advice is geared towards – settling the problem as quickly and easily as possible, even if that means the scammer “wins”.

Don’t take things personally; simply block the bad buyer and move forward with your business.

It’s an unfortunate truth of selling on eBay as everyone knows they side with buyers and that attracts these scammers.

That’s one of the things that my Ecommerce Magnates customers always email me about after a few months of selling on their own store – how nice and reasonable the customers are! It’s like a whole new world compared to eBay.

If you’re interested in learning how to create, build and manage your own ecommerce store, then take a look at Ecommerce Magnates. At the special price of £67, which includes life-time access and free updates, you’d be hard pressed to find a better value course anywhere online!

Until next time!

All the best,

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  1. Still a very good article. Yes a bit outdated but very useful still. I have been recently selling refurbished PCs and components online since January 2019 and I have found some buyers are a bit shady. The bidder/buyer requirements block option is a good tip, the Action Fraud link was good as well to backup your case when you appeal on eBay.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good to hear that Manny! 🙂

  2. I’ve recently sold an item on eBay, and had nothing but hassle from the person buying it via auction bid. First they claimed they were unable to pay as they were off on holiday. 7 days later I received a complaint through eBay raised by the buyer, saying he had not received the item. I provided evidence to show I had received no payment. Finally the person paid through PayPal. I suspected perhaps this was a fraud purchase. I have now received a further complaint from the buyer that the item was not as described. Wanting a full refund even though I’d stated no returns were accepted. I now suspect that when I do end up receiving “the box” that there may either be nothing inside or a completely different item to the one I sold.

  3. eBay just change the seller protection policy, return wrong/different condition etc. item are no longer under seller protection. if you check the latest seller protection policy you will find. eBay sucks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t sell on eBay anymore, this article is quite old…

  4. I recently sold an item on ebay that the buyer paid for via PayPal. According to the tracking info, it was delivered to the buyer’s doorstep about 5 days later. Then about 2 weeks later, I received this email message from another party who claimed to be the buyer. Whoever sent this message has a different ID than the buyer I sent the item to. This is the email message: (hi i purchased this banjo and i was wondering if you sent it out already, if not i was wondering of i could cancel the order. i made the purchase in a hurry not realizing it was the wrong scale length that i was looking for.
    sorry for the inconvenience)

    Does this sound like a scam? I received this message 10 days ago. I didn’t reply and have not received any more messages.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Al,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It could be that the other person simply sent you a message by mistake? They actually bought the item from someone else.

      At least that’s how it sounds and if they haven’t contacted you in 10 days now, I guess it’s all good.


  5. scammed_seller

    When you request to return the item back to you, it is you who will have to pay the buyer to get the item back. You lose twice, by shipping it and refunding shipping money and then paying again, basically to buy it back from the scammer who does buy and try.
    Old electronics is a very popular scam and very costly, because items are very heavy, vintage items are way past their warranty period, yeah, like 40 – 50 years, yet sellers are hit by returns due minor issues. Buyers think they are buying from walmart, wait, eBay is way better than WalMart. You can buy a 50 year old item and return it 30 days after by scamming the seller with just a minor issue and just by clicking ‘Return’ button on eBay page. Ebay does not own and does not manufacture these items, yet they behave like they do.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      1) Don’t sell high-risk items.
      2) Don’t sell anything at all if you’re not willing to play the game.
      3) No one said that business was easy.

      I’m sorry, but that’s how it goes… for some reason though everyone nowadays thinks that selling online is super easy way to make money. It simply is not the case.


  6. Excellent advice thanks! One extra thing I’ve taken to doing for valuable items in addition to photos and keeping numbers etc is actually filming / photographing it being placed into its box and then packed. Ridiculous but just gives me extra peace of mind!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, anything extra you can do to protect you, especially if you sell highly valuable items.

  7. Hi, my friend has sold a camera and a bunch of accessories on eBay, he advertised it for £550 but the buyer said he’ll pay £630 for next day delivery. My friend sent him the package and had believed he was played for it. However when the parcel was delivered the transaction hadn’t gone through. He doesn’t know what to do as there is no email address linked to the account and the phone number given doesn’t exist, the house it was delivered to was also one of the buyers neighbours. It’s clear he has been scammed but how would he go about getting the money or the camera back? Thanks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Daisy,

      He needs to go to the Police if he has been scammed.


  8. Another tick I have just fallen foul of is where a buyer makes a purchase as normal, I ship the item to them using Royal Mail 1st Class Tracked and do this from a post office! The items are then shipped and delivered where signature is also acquired completing the transaction and sale contract with both parties, however the buyer then says that the package was empty! and raises a claim for items not received!
    This is then likely to go in the buyers favor as far as an Ebay dispute is concerned.
    I then have to rely on Royal mail to hopefully refund me for the loss, The buyer makes the assumption that the packaging was poor or that the item was never shipped however they have signed for the parcel and there is no guarantee it has gone missing only the buyer say so, leaving the seller out of pocket!

    This does swing both ways where by the seller could choose not to ship the product and only send an empty box or envelope I suppose so there is always and element of trust both ways however it is more often than the buyer who always wins in these cases so its one to watch out for I guess, I guess the only way to mitigate this is photograph the item on the scales prior to shipping and only ship with insurance for items over £10.00 (for a business its not as bad as you have the numbers to make up the losses) so from what ive learnt is that I cant trust Royal Mail or buyers!

    Still not sure why you would sign for an envelope that look as if it has been opened, it is your responsibility to inspect a parcel prior to signing for it, now if it had been rejected then I would still have to make a claim but at least I could rule out being scammed!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Paul, it’s a classic scheme scammers use.

  9. Hi,

    I sold a designer bracelet for £150. Buyer paid via PayPal and item received. After 2 weeks they have now sent a return request stating it “doesn’t seem authentic”. The item was described as being in the original box with makers leaflet but no receipt however with very detailed photos. HOWEVER, they now have the exact item for sale on their own page at more than £100 what they paid me! I have reported them to eBay and disputed their claim but surely it is deemed accepted if they are selling it themselves? I am wary of eBay though as someone bought a very cheap item off me, said they were damaged, I asked for photos which they never sent and eBay just issued them a refund. Will probably stop selling on eBay after this last issue.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m sorry Jane, but I can’t help you with this – I don’t sell on eBay anymore and for situations/reasons like this, I feel like I have made the right choice by moving onto Amazon.

  10. Whilst you may “save” on the additional postage of sending initially not tracked, you have not taken into account the insurance provided by sending the item tracked, nor have you considered the cost of the replacement and missing items. The cost is diminished completely when sending tracked because you have cover that you can claim back if it does go “missing”, which means you do not loose out on the product costs. It depends on the cost of the item vs the profit margin and I believe these figures will add up to a lot. Say for example ; Cost of REPLACEMENT Products £6 x 10 = £60 – Once this has worked with a fraudulent claim, it will be attempted again because that is how fraud escalates, when people think they can get away with it. So you might as well times that by 3. The best way to prevent it is to have evidence that supports and protects you as a seller.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Best way to avoid all of this is to not sell on eBay! 🙂

      I quit eBay and now sell only on Amazon FBA and my own websites.

      Best days ever.


  11. Some of your suggestions simply doesn’t work. For example, item not received is even filed for items that have been delivered for signed tracked delivery. But many delivery companies now ignore to take the signature as they are under pressure to have the item delivered on time. Although the item shows delivered, it misses the signature and eBay still grants a refund.

    You just cannot win as a seller on eBay. I strongly discourage people from selling on eBay. The entire platform is made for online abuse and scams. A seller will have considerable problems selling on eBay mainly because the platform itself is programmed to be exploited by scammers. It’s also very expensive. In the US sellers pay around 10%. But in the UK sellers easily pay 15-25% plus you lose another 20% on fake returns, or false “not received” claims. Nowadays even retail stores have a massive 35% returns.

    As a seller even with evidence, listings with exact product photos and exact descriptions, not even once have I been protected by eBay in a single claim. You may say that the overall sale will cover for refunds, but the issue is that people really abuse the system a lot and items are used and cannot be resold. In addition eBay encourage Chinese sellers so it’s not that simple to compete in prices to cover for these losses.

    eBay should be sued, in my opinion. They go far beyond providing a platform. They basically lock you in for fraud and theft by not allowing you to have more control of your own terms and conditions.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Tim,

      I completely agree with you. I don’t sell on eBay anymore, mostly because of the pricing situation there but scams is obviously a huge part of it too.

      For me personally, it has never been a massive problem though as I have always sold my own brand, cheap/low-value everyday items and scam rates are very low for items like these. But I totally understand people who sell higher value items – the system is totally flawed! I can’t even imagine how you can run a mobile phone business on eBay for example as IF someone wants to get an item for free from you, they can easily do it.


  12. Sarah Conner

    Thank you for this terrific post on ebay scams!
    Sme years ago now I lost over £1,000 after being scammed out of my Troika pottery, with both buyers saying I sent them a fake broken vase, when they were in genuine mint condition. One woman had the gall to say “I wont return the vase because fake Torika like this must be removed from the market” (it was a VERY genuine Celtic cross vase signed by artist Simone Kilburn) (SK) looking back now I wished I had filed a crime report, becuase this is STEALING! Other Troika sellers had had the same problems with these scam buyers, too. So these days I am very nervous of selling high end items, although I still sell on ebay. However I am nervous at the moment because I have just sold some Christmas party clothes & I am all too aware of the “wear once & return scams” so I have started security tagging (tyvac tag) on all expensive clothes & I state this fact vividly in my description. The problem is buyers who are buying on phones & tablets tend not to read the description as I discoved in a recent unpleasentness from ebayer bezarooski19 who clicked a “buy it now” without reading that the items were “collection only” I refunded him & I got messages of abuse, & unbelievabley when I relisted the items he bought them AGAIN! Messaging me with more about & saying I offerd “free postage” ?? So I funded him again & blocked him thinking that was the end of the matter. Several days later I get two negatives from him calling me a “stupid b*tch” I got straight on the phone to ebay UK & the CS rep was wonderfully helpfull, removed the unwarranted negs & promising me they will investigate the buyer for malpractice.
    I just wish there was a place we could name & shame these idiots! Not just the thieving scammers but the idiots who don’t read the item description! But for other sellers I would highly advise setting “buyer requirements” & make good use of the Blocked Bidder List. & even more importantly if you smell a rat with a buyer it is far better to cancel bids of sales, refund & block. It may hurt your selling abillity but it helps weed out the scammers, & saves money in the long run. Another important tool is reading the buyers “feedback left for others” & anyone who has feedback set to private, ask them to allow you to look. A lovely gentleman just bought from me with private feedback & he allowed me to check & the sale went through well! Add to the description that you always check feedback too, if anyone ever looks at descriptions anymore!
    Good luck fellow sellers! x

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Sarah!

  13. Great read, thanks! I am in the middle of a return request at the moment and I believe I am being scammed.

    Sold an iphone 8. Arrived at the buyer. 3 days later I receive a return request which automatically accepted by ebay. Apparentely the phone’s screen is defective. It was not when I sent it. Fair enough.

    I sent the buyer a polite message to ask what exactly is wrong. Obviously no reply. He posts the item. Tracking states delivered but item nowhere to be seen.

    I call Royal Mail and although they can’t give me the exact address of course, my parcel has been delivered in a completely different town! And tracking proves this.

    Spoken to ebay and they told me not to refund yet. They will call me back today. Not heard anything yet so will call myself in a bit.

    Any suggestion as what else I could do? Thanks 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t know what to suggest you…. most likely it is a scam, yes.

      But what to do? I don’t know… I don’t sell on eBay anymore.


  14. Amazing page and thanks a lot for everything you’ve posted Andrew!

    I recently sold an iPhone 7 256GB (in pristine cosmetic and working condition) for £360 to a local buyer here in UK. The buyer receives it and immediately goes on to make petty excuses like phone doesn’t charge (which is not even remotely possible given I never had a problem and was using it literally the day before I sold it – so knew it was a lie) and wants his money back.

    Reached out to him to explain this is not possible and that send me a video evidence – which he doesn’t ofcourse, but instead uses abusive language and throws a hissy fit. Me being a mature adult, and knowing nothing was wrong with the product, offer to give him refund (despite selling it on a no returns basis) IF I my phone is safely returned to me. Naively bought a postage label off Ebay (you can only buy tracked but no signed for or insured delivery is offered) and issued to buyer.

    Buyer then claims to have dispatched the phone and the courier company (Royal Mail here in UK) show the package as delivered. Now I have had absolutely NOTHING delivered to my address despite the tracking number showing it did deliver. I’ve been to the neighbours to check, called the courier company and did anything and everything I could but have not found any package or phone. Reached out to buyer but he won’t say anything and neither would courier company as they just went by the tracking status (which said delivered). I reached out to Ebay to complain and provided them with all evidence (i.e. courier dispute case, police report for possible theft, correspondence with buyer and even my carriers note to say they have blocked the phone for use locally). Ebay, in all it’s wisdom, had already decided the case in favour of the buyer and issued them a full refund without even checking with me at all.

    Now I don’t know what to do. I trusted Ebay’s platform to be able to conduct a transaction in a safe environment and did everything by the book. But now I am left with no money and no phone. I find this absolutely disgusting and upsetting and not sure who is it to be blamed or held responsible. I don’t even personally think the buyer ever dispatched anything in the first place given how erratic and rude their behaviour was the whole time. And Ebay’s customer service / resolution centre is the most robotic and pathetic place I have ever dealt with – no one listens or cares about you there!

    Now I am not sure what my legal position is here. Would you think I could sue Ebay for neglect especially since I bought the postage through them and they should have ensured I was protected somehow i.e. through insurance atleast?

    1. Jacqueline

      This exact scenario has happened to me too and ebay were aware yet still recommended that I buy their returns label. This is how the scammer completes the fraud.. the ebay label is not as stringent as Royal Mail.. I was even going to arrange courier collection but ebay discouraged that and to comply with their seller protection procedure. I have been invited to appear on Rip Off Britain next week but the chargeback has made the cost for me to travel there unaffordable. Just hopeless isn’t it? And to think another seller had alerted ebay to this same scumbag yet they did nothing!

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Larry,

      Unfortunately this happens very often on eBay – scammers know the system inside out and they take advantage of un-experienced sellers.

      As for suing eBay – I don’t know you will get anywhere with it as everything you describe is covered in eBay’s terms & conditions – and you agreed to them.

      I recommend you bring the buyer to Small Claims Court and deal with it directly! Who knows, maybe it scares them off and they return your phone even before the court hearing.


  15. ann bowman

    i have a seller claiming he did not get the item i returned even though i have taken screen shots of the post office receipt and singed for signature on the post office web site and sent them to him ,he keeps demanding the item which he got a week ago ..ebay have opened and closed this case 3 times and it is now with paypal ,ebay customer service can see the screen shots and read the messages … my messages are polite his are bordering on threatening if i dont send the item …. which i dont understand since he has the money
    we now have a post office investigation in place as of today ….

    i keep getting from ebay (3 times iv had to phone )ahh you will get your money ..yes i want my money but they are just not listing to me and dont seem to be investigating it properly and the phone calls are a waste of time
    this guy is getting away with it …..

    his last message said..you have till the 26th october to return the item !!!!!
    so what then im thinking ! he is only 35 miles away and has my address .should i be worried
    no point telling ebay

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Not much I can help you with this Ann – you just have to wait until they finish investigation and sort it out for you.

  16. This is a great find and I am very pleased to have been pointed in the direction of reporting fraud online. I am a private seller, who recently sold an item for £150 posted. The seller after a few days messaged me saying he wanted to return it, as he had taken the item to a third party who had attempted to make adjustments but were unable to, without providing any further info or evidence of this. I said he could return it, he waited a few more days before opening an INAD then a few more days before actually taking it to the post office. Upon receipt of my item – the fault he describes is non-existent and a piece that retails alone for around £40 new is missing. I messaged the buyer who admitted he was in possession of said part and would send it back to me. I have reported this to ebay who said they would delay the refund until I received the missing part but two days later refunded the buyer anyway. I have since appealed my case with ebay stating that I still have not received the missing part as promised, that I would like all outbound and return postage credited to me as this is a fraudulent case and that I will be seeking legal advice as I believe this was all just a scam to obtain a single part for free (which the buyer admits to having, in Ebay messages but they don’t care). Any idea what chance I have of succeeding here?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Only way to handle this is via Small Claims Court:



  17. Hi Andrew. Can a buyer scam you by returning an item to different address at your zip code? And how can you fight that? I was travelling and had a buyer request to return item. I approved but asked them to return it last day on period eBay allow them to. Buyer doesn’t use eBay label but instead go to post office and buy a label. I did not give him my address. I had hold mail. Tracking shows delivered. I have no package.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      I don’t know, sorry…

      I don’t sell on eBay anymore and don’t know what’s going on there, what are the latest rules etc.


  18. Jo Woodcock

    Hi Andrew

    I sold a bottle of Estée Lauder night repair serum on Ebay and the buyer claimed it was fake and said she was going to leave a bad review. After a couple of messages back and forth me trying to convince her it was not a fake and if she wanted a refund that was ok I looked on her selling site and saw she was trying to sell it. I’ve messaged her saying I’ve taken photos and if she leaves me a bad review I will show the photos to Ebay. Not sure if it will help my case if she leaves a bad review or not. I’ve had 100% positive feedback since I started selling.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jo,

      It probably won’t help you get the negative feedback removed but hopefully it will make the buyer think twice before leaving that negative feedback to you.

      It’s obvious that she is running a scam here – buying items from others, claiming refunds and then selling item off to make profit.


  19. scam baiter

    I think i need to do some scam baiting, still down £80 with PayPal, own fault, didn’t check they were verified. well PayPal doesn’t say they are in the PayPal app. but in email they do. I also don’t get how I got payment from someone, for craigslist item, then PayPal saying they verified in email, but check app, and not even an address, i have later sold something else, got email saying the address verified, but it doesn’t show verified in PayPal app.

  20. Hi Andrew , I have a scammer at the moment . I sell leather belts and had scammers where I knew they had scammed me but I still refunded to keep 100 percent score .
    But this buyer takes the biscuit, he bought 3 different colours. I was a little cautious, and thought if I sent separately I would more than likely have a scam saying one had not arrived , I Double bagged the 3 belts in one large bag and sent via the royal mail signed for service , cost me more but i thought better safe than sorry .. The buyer then sends me a refund case ” belt missing” , saying the blue one hasn’t arrived. I know three were sent and I also have the weight on the package as one weighs 129 g and the total weight recorded by royal mail is 455 g ,with packaging etc, I have sent evidence of this and photos of tracking number , photo of his signature on delivery etc to the case on eBay .
    I know the buyer is scamming me , its impossible to have received only 2 as the weight would of been around 290 g. To make things worse they left glowing positive feedback for the two they did get ( im sorry ,,, is it me ? who is going to do that when one is missing?). Basically its ” look at me im so honest I could not possibly be a cheat ”
    I know its easier to just refund but it really annoys me so much .
    I had a look at their history on feedback 100 percent , but every month or so they buy 3 of a certain product separately from the same seller .
    Is it that i am the first one to say No , and this scammer has got away with the perfect eBay scam like this for a while ???
    Basically do you think i should refund ? and Will eBay take my evidence of the weight signature and tracking number into consideration ? ( i feel sick even thinking of refunding this scum to be honest)
    Thanks Al (also thanks for amazing advice I have got from your posts over the years)

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience with us.

      I don’t sell on eBay anymore so don’t know the latest rules BUT it has always been that eBay only looks at tracking numbers – they don’t care about photos, videos, signatures etc. If tracking shows delivered, it’s delivered.

      Don’t know what to suggest – scammers like these was one of the reason why I moved from eBay to Amazon and use of FBA.


      1. Cheers Andrew , do you have a guide for dummies like me, on FBA at all ?

      2. Andrew Minalto

        What kind of guide?

        I have a course for selling on Amazon FBA:



  21. Hello, I am currently dealing with a buyer whom purchased a vintage brooch from my late grandmothers estate. Seventeen day’s after receiving the item she opens a case and states she was going to list it for sale and noticed that it isn’t what she received and wants to return, I don’t accept returns. She posted photo’s of what she wants to return and it isn’t my late grandmothers brooch, but a knock off, the photo’s clearly show it isn’t what she received, it is $150.00. I spoke with ebay and they do see the photo’s she posted isn’t the original brooch. I’m waiting there decision. I told her if she takes new photo’s of the front and back of the original brooch I shipped her I would accept the return because clearly the photo’s she posted in the case she opened isn’t my grandmothers that I sent. Please advise.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do to help you with this…

      It’s between you, the buyer and eBay.

      The buyer can scam you any way they want – they can send you back empty box and eBay will still count that as a return and will give the buyer refund.


  22. Hi,
    My boyfriend put his Apple Watch on eBay and someone from America had bought it and he said he wanted it posting to Nigeria. My boyfriend had an email from PayPal saying money has been paid but it’s still not in his PayPal. Then he got another email saying there is a £150 custom charge and the “buyer has sent that and £50 for inconvenience” but still no money in the PayPal account. Unfortunately my boyfriend had already sent the watch recorded and signed for, even though there is no money in his PayPal. To me this seems very dodgy. What do you think? Any can he get the watch back?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nicolle,

      It was a scam – pure and simple.

      You will never see that watch again nor you will get your Apple Watch back.

      You always need to check what happens directly inside the eBay & PayPal account – anyone can send you FAKE emails making you believe that you have received the money.


  23. My wife bought some torrie Burch earrings last year from their website. Wore them a couple times and decided to put them up for sale this week. Lady buys them, then claims they are fake and sends a picture of “our earrings” with green discoloration. My wife listed them as no refunds to avoid someone trying to send back fake ones. What should we do in this case? All the buyer’s feedback has the same punctuation and looks like it was generated someway bc when u click on the users who left the feedback they are non existent. Anyways thanks for your time.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jason,

      As a private seller, you don’t have to accept returns on used items.

      And if you have sent the item via registered post, buyer can’t really do anything about this apart from doing a charge-back case with the credit card company, if they paid using a card via PayPal.

      They can of course leave you negative feedback no matter what you do.


      1. I am a private seller, and this is just not true. I sell used items all the time and anytime a buyer wants to send it back they just request a return on the grounds of not as described or something wrong!!!!!

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Hazel,

        Yes, they can still open a “Not as Described” case and return the item to you.

        But that’s not the same as classical – return for no reason for 30 days – returns policy.


  24. Hi Andrew,

    I put an add for iPhone on eBay and received a lot of offer messages from abroad and did not took it.
    But there was an offer from a UK member and sold it as buy it now.
    I sold an iPhone two months ago sent it recorded with insurance.
    The buyer received them the. Told me it’s faulty. I did say check packaging if it’s broken from delivery he said it’s ok.
    I know when I send the phone is fully working and good condition so I said please return and I will refund the money.
    But he said it’s ok he will keep it.

    Now after 2 months of use he’s saying it’s not working again and it’s not what I describe.

    Ebay won’t help me and said it’s between me and the seller to sort it.

    Please can you Help me
    What is my rights as a seller I’ve been a buyer on eBay and this my second time to sell and this what happened.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Pong,

      I’m sorry but I can’t help you with this – you just need to ask customer to send back the item (IF your listing stated such long returns window).

      If not, you’re not obligated to take the phone back now, after 2 months of sale.

      It doesn’t change the fact of course that they could do a charge-back against the payment of course…


  25. How can anyone open an undelivered item case on ebay for something that they won in a bid but never paid for? A month later the item was relisted and won by another buyer but the original person that won the bids and didn’t pay is asking for a refund for something that they never brought. Isn’t this a criminal matter on ebay’s part?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Martyn,

      That couldn’t be possible, no,

      You need to contact eBay to sort this out but in general, if they didn’t pay, the transaction was not completed.


  26. Thanks for the guidance Andrew,
    Just had what I’m sure is a scam attempt. Posted an Iphone, got an offer of twice the starting price and more than it’s really worth from a buyer that was just created today.
    Morning Seller,
    I’m interested in purchasing your listed item on eBay, i will be offering you £250 for the item and £15 for postage via Royal Mail Nextday special Delivery to CV1 5HU,Coventry, if accepted by you,and get back to me with PayPal request on my account donna26()inbox.LV and I will make payment immediately,replace the () sign on my mail with @ please

    I’ve responded and suggested I add a buy it now price and they can buy it that way.
    I suspect I’ll hear no more.
    If I do, and in the very unlikely event that I actually receive payment I’ll make very sure the phone ie easily identifiable and take down the imei before I send it – then send it recorded delivery. But I don’t think it will come to that.

    1. Had exactly the same message today on ipad!!

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Julian,

      Yes, this sounds like a typical scam of trying to make a deal outside eBay’s system.

      NEVER agree on anything like this!!!


  27. Hi there Andrew,

    I have been a regular buyer on ebay and an occasional seller for years now and have 100% positive feedback…(at the moment).

    I know listing collection only items and pay on collection is a very unreliable way to sell (and I won’t be doing it again) but I have just sold an item under this listing and the buyer who won the item payed through PayPal!
    I sent him a refund with a message saying:
    “I have sent you a refund as this item is for collection only and pay on collection as clearly stated in the listing details and description. If you are still interested in this item we are free on the ………, ……… or ……… for you to collect. Please pay on collection.”

    Can you tell me if I have done the right thing or have I just caused an issue with regards to the buyer possibly opening a case? Because after reading numerous forums about problems with selling on ebay I am getting a little put off by not having any real hard protection from ebay. It all seems too difficult now when trying to be a honest ebayer.

    Any advise will be appreciated.

    Many thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Libby,

      You have done the right thing, yes.

      They can’t open a case against you as yo have already refunded the money.


  28. Hi Andrew,

    I stumbled across this article after listing my second hand MacBook Pro 2012 on eBay. Within 12 hours I’d had an over-offer and someone who purchased it at the Buy it now price of £500. Since they bought the item, I received this message from the buyer
    ‘Hello seller, thanks for accepting my offer. Kindly send me PayPal money request into my PayPal
    account… (usarmy.andrew_williams@yahoo.com)…I will proceed and transfer funds immediately including the
    extra shipping fee..’

    They are located in Canada and I’m in the Uk, they’ve only been an eBay member for a few days and have 0 reviews or purchase history. I’m assuming this is a scam and wondered what the best course of action would be from here?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jasmine,

      It does sound like a scam indeed….

      You should probably cancel the sale, even though that is a defect against your account but at least you won’t lose money on this scammer.


  29. Thanks for this article. I’m very new to selling on eBay. I have two expensive pieces of jewelry I’m trying to sell. I get full price or over offers right away from new to eBay buyers who have no records for buying and selling. I accepted the offer from the first buyer and nothing happened. No response from buyer and no payment. Why do they do this? I have my settings set properly according to your reccomendations. Your article makes me nervous of using eBay because I can’t chance losing my items. I’m in the US and tried eBay because I heard horror stories on Craigslist. Is there any other safer ways to sell high end jewelry that im listing over $3,000?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Terri,

      I don’t know where else you can sell those items but I definitely wouldn’t sell them on eBay. You can get easily scammed if someone wants to scam you! They will just buy, then rise a case of item not as described and send you back and empty box for example. And eBay will refund them the purchase.

      As I said, I don’t know where you can sell these items but eBay is not the right place, that’s for sure.


  30. Understand where you’re going with this article, if you use eBay for a business purpose then you need to be willing to take the hit. However i’m more of an occasional seller, find something i dont want, upgrade to a newer model etc, then sell on eBay, after all thats what its supposed to be for.

    recently sold 2 iphones on there, me and my wife had got new phones so the old ones seemed perfect ebay fodder.

    first sold to a woman in the UK, she logged a case stating item not as described. saying the phone is not unlocked, i know it was unlocked as i used it on many different sims, tried messaging her and she never replied. so offered 15 quid part refund, as eBay doesnt seem to accept messages to the buyer as a “response” to the case, only accept return the seller to pay return postage, full refund or part refund. she hasnt replied yet but i know full well she will reject, request ebay intervention then get her refund and my phone.

    other buyer from Ukraine bought it. I sent it but don’t expect to get my item back or the money if im honest as because of the first complaint paypal have held the funds from the second phone as well stating it is likely to cause a buyer complaint. essentially paypal are holding the money so they can refund it to the buyer if he is a scammer.

    so basically i see ebay and paypal as being scam companies in themselves, no wonder scammers love it when ebay and paypal basically encourage it with their policies.

    needless to say i wont be selling on ebay anymore. might as well just throw the stuff away its less hastle.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nate,

      Thanks for your comment Nate.

      And I totally agree with you – PayPal & eBay makes it so easy for anyone to basically scam sellers by returning back and empty box or a different item, as all they care about are tracking numbers.

      The problem is that there’s no fix to this – as they would never have human resources available to manually investigate (like a court) each and every problem situation – it would simply not be possible. The seller would say everything was ok with the item and the buyer says that it’s not ok. So who’s lying? eBay would have to have local drop-off points where people would go to return an item and even then – they could simply damage it on purpose and you would never be able to prove that it was in mint condition when you sent it out.


  31. I am sorry to say but eBay is a total sh*t company. I have about 10% of buyers claiming they don’t receive their orders which I find to be exceptional. All orders are processed on the same day and I ship by Shutl, eBay’s integrated shipping company. Shutl is supposed to be my seller protection. eBay never honors the tracking numbers from Shutl and credits buyers anyways. Shutl finds a hundred excuses not to reimburse the “lost” shipments – which I think most are buyer frauds.

  32. hi andrew
    am a ebay seller and ive just sold a car describe it as what i knew and could see and even offered 14 day money back the buyer came out looked at it checked engine water oil etc took it for a test drive and was happy with the car we exchanged money and car declared it with dvla and off he went happy customer , 5 hours later he texts saying he got the car looked at and the transmission is not going to last quote “lucky to get 100 miles out of it ” i rang him and said we was happy to take car back and refund him his money back as we had 14 days money back on advert and to give us for peace of mind and so we can state when we relist it and for ebay could he prove what the problem was he then said he was driving around init and didnt really want to give car back as he loves the car and its taxed and insured and log book on his way then said about the ebay fees about him canceling the sale as a buyer and then us as the seller give him 100 pounds back as a bank transfer and save all the hassle and he could get it fixed for 150,00 i said i would have to have a word with my partner then he sent me his bank details i had a word with my partner he said no and rang the buyer saying what was the problem he said what is was and my partner said he would give him the money back and to bring car back within the hour or two the buyer then said he was happy with just doing the bank transfer my partner then asked how many miles has he done in the 7 hours he has had the car and he then said 50miles my partner said its only 14 miles between us and again to bring car back asap for refund and not to put any more miles on than he should he then said he was keeping the car for the 14 days and then bringing it back for the refund could you please advise us what we can do and where do we stand

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Denise,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story with us.

      Unfortunately I have never sold cars on eBay so don’t know what rules there are but as I understand, you got paid by cash, right? So at least buyer can’t technically reverse the transaction.

      To me, it looks like he just wanted to try out of he can get some money back, that’s it. Clearly the car is all good and I highly doubt he will bring it back it after 14 days (can’t promise that of course). You have done everything right and I guess you just have to decide whatever you take the risk and wait out 14 days (that’s what I would do) or give him £100 back (which does not make any sense to me if everything is ok with the car).


  33. Alex Barclay

    Andrew! I love this page, thank you for your guidance. I am looking to sell something valuable on eBay. Although I have never been scammed (been on eBay since 2001), it’s something that worries me more and more.

    I’ve followed your above guide. But the thing that worries me the most is being sent back an item that’s different than what I sent the buyer, or receiving a brick as a return.

    Since eBay only care about tracking numbers, what could someone do beforehand to maximize the chance of a successful small claims action in such a situation?

    Would filming the item working, packing it, and sending it all in one video be enough evidence that the item was sent in good condition? Would videoing the receipt of the return package, and opening it to discover a turnip inside, be sufficient evidence that the buyer is committing fraud?

    If these options are extreme and ineffective, would you be able to suggest anything else that might work for taking personal action?

    Thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for your comment.

      None of that will help you with eBay if person sends back different item. eBay cares only about tracking numbers.

      BUT you should film the process, write down any serial numbers if product has it as then, if something goes wrong, you can use this as evidence against the person in Small Claims court.

      Probably, if you present them with this evidence, it will scare them off and they will try to make a deal with you without involving Small Claims Court altogether.


  34. Daniel Hough

    I sold a classic guitar to someone, and had it insured for the full value. A full week after receipt, the buyer says there is a gap between the body and the neck. Says they still want the guitar so if I pay half the cost of repair, they won’t ask for a full refund. He said he’ll send pictures. But he could have loosened the connection to create the gap and now wants to get money back. He also should have notified me immediately and filed a claim. Something doesnt sound right….

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Daniel,

      probably they want to scam you, yes….

      And there’s nothing you can really do about it – you can ask them to send it back to you but they could send back empty box to you and PayPal would refund them money.

      Then, all you can do is take them to Small Claims court, if you have enough evidence that item arrived in pristine condition to them.


  35. Mark Casey

    Hi Andrew.

    thgis is a good thread and i agree with most of what you are saying but i feel you have only touched on the very basic scams, of course going in to more detail could take forever and probably not enough space on the internet to list everything people try.
    I have been trading for about 12 months now and was suffering some big losses on expensive items sent out after auctions, collectable games consoles and games mostly, sometimes £150 -£200 at a time and you are exactly right, there is very little that can be done, i always sent tracked and signed for royal mail but if they cant pull the INR scam then they do a INAD scam, usually sending back half of what was sent to them.
    I have now changed the way i operate and the scams have become less and less, i now sell single games at good prices and offer free shipping, obviously the cost of postage is built into the item but im still in the bottom 10% on price, i have found that because 99% of people are happy they have got what they wanted at a great price they dont bother trying it on, ive had a few dont get me wrong, you can never stop it completely, but now because i sell lower cost items if i do give a refund it doesnt hurt and most of the time that £1.50 or so ive lost earns me positive feedback, silver linings and all that!
    My advice to anyone here would be try and sell expensive items locally and deal face to face, lower value items that you can afford to lose then Ebay is the place to be, be fair on price and accurate with your listings and you will all minimise the chances of being scammed.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Mark!

  36. Hello, I sold a phone on ebay and the buyer returned a fake, you say if I follow the steps I will get my money back. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BUYER WHO HAS ALREADY GOT A REFUND!! Does he/she have to pay eBay back or do they just get away with the money and lroduct

    1. Mark Casey

      Hi Anthony.

      I saw your post and thought id chuck my opinion in there from past experience.
      When you refund a buyer regardless of what ebay decide at a later date the buyer will keep their money and the money refunded back to you will be from Ebays very deep pockets, unfortunately it does give scammers free reign but as long as you get your money back then all is good.
      I do believe Ebay do what they can to help but when you have a very flawed system and employ morons it can be a very stressful time getting anything done.

  37. Hmmm
    Most of these writings are true, but not always…
    My case…I sent the item with signed for label….Royal Mail delayed the parcel almost 2 weeks. Ebay refund the buyer, but after that i check the tracking and the item was delivered……..i just pick up the phone and call the eBay and told them that they must give my money back….of course they said that the item wasn’t delivered in estimated delivery date and they refund the buyer because he opened not received case.
    You can read that all buyer says that seller are responsible for the delivery of the item….Wrooooong , seller is responsible to send the item on time and in working condition and the buyer can claim i didn’t receive…..in the eBay terms and condition seller is not responsible for any late or lost…..
    So i give the eBay ultimatum (i was very angry) refund my money or i file a small court claim against you…and voila i get my money back……so always fight back….
    Block buyers, report them to eBay by calling the customer support and etc. etc.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us!

  38. Hi, a buyer bought a £300 item from me. I posted it and sent a receipt to his email address. He replied saying he hadn’t bought the item and that the address was also wrong. I checked the PayPal transaction and the name and address was the same as I’d used. I’ve contacted the courier to ask for the item to be returned to sender.
    What are my rights here? I’m hoping the item will be returned to me then I can issue refund but what if it goes to the “false” address? Is this a paypal scam?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      If courier returns goods to you, then you’re safe.

      If not, you have proof of postage so the buyer will have to send package back to you. But yes, they could scam you by sending back an empty box for example.


  39. Great article! thank you! I sell popular retail clothings brands (Zara, j crew,etc) on ebay. I buy them directly from their manufacturers or suppliers overseas. Of cause, they are 1000% authentic because I used to work for the brands in retail industry and know the sources very well. however, since I can not provide source data of my products to my customers as most of the private sellers. I’ve had a few scammers who used “ not authentic” to either return a worn dress that was purchased months ago, or asking for a refund without returning the item, to simply just ask a huge discount but not returning the item. one even said, she loved the dress, but she asked a retail store rep, was told the dress is not real. It is totally false claims. She wants to keep it at 50% discount. 100% of the time, to avoid a nagative feedback, or dispute, I just refund the customers and block them afterwards. do you have better suggestions to deal with these type of scammers? I understand in the old ebay days, you can’t sell under a partular retail brand name. however, it seems like lots of sellers are selling these brands on ebay now, what’s your take in that? Is there any longevity to this type of business? Thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      From what I understand, you’re selling copies of well known brand clothing lines which actually makes you a scammer.

      Please don’t say that you get exact same stock as Zara gets as you don’t – the fact that factories tell you that OR even if they do make stuff for Zara, doesn’t change the fact that you’re trading with un-official, illegal products. You’re lucky that you haven’t got caught by Customs or Police yet.

      If you get this branded clothing from official channels, then it’s a different story of course.

      Merry Christmas! 🙂


      1. All of Zara’s clothes are made in their own factories in Spain so it would be impossible for anyone to purchase authentic Zara clothes “wholesale” as they don’t sell to anyone else, nor do they manufacture outside their own facilities.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Yes, correct! 🙂

  40. My recent experience:
    Ordered 3 motors on Ebay from China (about $100 total value). About 3 weeks later I got a package with paper toy (no value) and a note basically saying “Merry Christmas, thank you for your order, here is a small gift from us. Your order is coming in a separate parcel – here is the tracking.” I felt suspicious and checked my Ebay orders. Tracking from this paper toy “gift” was used to show that motors delivered. Contacted Ebay right away. Provided tracking was bogus – showed goods are just shipped (bear in mind this “tracking” was created 3 weeks ago and used some strange “tracking website”).

    1. Andrew Minalto

      That’s a very interesting story Sergey!

  41. Hello, I’ve just sold a ww1 medal set and queen Mary Christmas tin along with the soldiers id bracelet and St.Christopher. I posted it royal mail special delivery tracked and signed for. The buyer says he received the package but it only had the queen Mary Christmas tin inside with some paperwork but nothing else, no medals/id bracelet or St.Christopher. he says the package had not been tampered with so I asked him to weigh it as I had the original postage weight. He refused and said it’s in the hands of eBay. Help.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mark,

      If he is a scammer, I’m afraid you can’t do anything if buyer rises item not as described dispute.

      They can even send you back empty envelope and you will have to refund anyways.


  42. Hi, i sold a jacket on ebay, the person asked if it would fit a size 14, so i said no, its a 10-12. I sent them measurements and said that i don’t refund and that i really don’t think the jacket will fit you if you are a size 14. Anyway they went ahead and bought the jacket. I had a gut feeling about this buyer and so posted the item tracked post, i usually just send normal post and don’t have any issues. They have claimed that they haven’t received it, when i go onto the tracking on Royal Mail, it says delivered and signed for by someone of the same surname of the buyer. I knew i should have blocked the buyer before they had a change to buy the item, sometimes you just know as a seller on ebay that the buyer will be fraudulent. They have raised a claim, hopefully eBay will see that they are trying it on and not give them their money back. It makes me not want to sell on eBay as it’s awful with this kind of things happen, sometimes its not worth the hassle if you’re just a private seller like myself.

  43. Viv Maxwell


    I have over 1250 (100%) positive feedback.

    I sold a Belstaff leather jacket for £189. The buyer said it was not as described. I contacted Ebay customer service who advised me not to accept the return. I pointed out that the buyer was claiming damage and asked customer services to look at the photographs I had on the listing and the photographs sent by the buyer, to see the discrepancies. I do not know whether ‘customer service’ telling me not to accept the return was incompetence, or purposefully. I did so and Ebay made a ‘final decision’ and refunded the buyer. I received the jacket and it had been damaged.

    I am unable to appeal this, as the decision is deemed final and despite checking all over Ebay, there is no dispute ‘link’ available to me when I click on the item and select ‘details’ (as Ebay advises to do to find the ‘dispute’ link).

    Please advise on what action I can take?



    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Viv,

      There’s nothing you can do about this on eBay, sorry.

      If you have solid proof that item was in perfect condition when you sent it out, you can try and get your money back directly from the customer via Small Claims Court.


  44. Hello. I am a buyer and a seller on eBay for years and I learned a lot. I experienced both of the side of the story, and I am siding with the sellers. Buyers, exploit eBay’s policy, most of the time. Majority of people I dealt with are very honest however I mainly sell clothes on eBay. Even then, I hit scammers every noun again which I get very upset about it. The ones I send with recorded delivery can’t claim INR case, so if they want to play ebay’s system, they then file a IND case which I know there’s nothing wrong with my item. I feel that some people come to eBay to get things for nothing. I sold once a retro shoes 7.99 including Postage, barely used, once max. The lady open a IND case, claiming they were unusable condition.. Then send me the shoes on her expense, ( she didn’t have a printer to use prepared Postage label I am adomant ). Which shocked me was that, she sent it with recorded delivery..! The value of item is 7.99, which means 7.99-3.90, she will be barely left with £4.09 after packing and taking to the post office. She did this all to gain £4. Why not ask the seller to give a partial refund instead of all these mess. Which I would have been better of so would she. In the end, after all this paying recorded delivery, she never put the tracking number ( I believe she lost her receipt, called karma, as I kept having messages from customer service representatives on several occasions saying that she called them to indicate that she returned the item, but eBay works with tracking number ) and the case closed on my favour. It served her well, since I didn’t approve the return at the first place. Had she asked a partial refund even though I knew there is nothing wrong, I would have honoured that. I read a message someone bought a musical instrument through Paypal, costted £300 from India, then sending that all that way to India by paying a currier from his pocket £163, only to get his £137 back. Why not advise the seller instead to give you a discount of that amount, as you would have then gain what you were going to get by sending, plus kept the item, which you would have been better off and garatied the refund, so would the seller have lost £137 instead of 300.. You are making the currier rich.

  45. This list could go on endlessly. The buyers know the deck is stacked in their favor. My latest problem is the buyers buying items using Buy it Now then proceeding to ask 20 zillion questions asking stuff clearly on the listing. I don’t waste time with these clowns I cancel the sale asap. Warnings abound on eBay review sites saying beware negative feedback my answer I’d rather have negative feedback then a empty wallet. Usually when I pay them back their money which I don’t accept I never hear from them again. I sell no big items on eBay they go on Craigslist

  46. Hello,
    I hope you can help me out here,

    1st one is I had a case opened on me on 15 March saying item not received its was an EVOD E-Shisha Pen 1100mAh Starter kit USB Charger, so i thought ok i accepted it, but then noticed in the comment box it states and i quote
    “It leaked in my pocket and damaged my phone and after a few days of use it start giving a burnt taste”,

    so i thought i’ll ask them to return the item as i had it setup as 14 days refund buyer pays return postage, which i would have been happy about, but the message i had back was again i quote

    “The shisha Pens destroyed so I got rid of it as the doctor said it can cause head radiation as the battery was penetrated by the liquid, so as you want a return I don’t know what to say”

    What should i do next ?

    2nd one is for the same sort of item case opened on 21 feb, but the case opened was it Doesn’t work or is defective, and the comment was about it leaking, which i no sometime it can happen due to the seals, so i replied and gaven them my address to return it and i had a reply from ebay stating i had accepted the return and We’ve asked the buyer to post the item back by 13 Mar. Wait until you get the item back before issuing a refund. nothing has come back, i have sent them a message on the 16 March the message was

    “You went through Ebay saying you Evod was leaking and asked if it could be returned and have a refund, i accepted the return on 21 Feb and Ebay asked you to return the Evod by 13 March, at your cost as stated on the listing, it has now gone over that date,
    If the items is faulty could you please return it and i will give you a refund,
    Thank you”
    I have had no reply
    What happens now over this ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi David,

      Nothing will really happen.

      If buyers don’t send you items back, cases will be closed and they won’t be able to do much about it.

      So just wait out on it.


      1. update and i am not bloody happy, i lost the case about item not received due to not having proof of delivery, the only thing i had was proof of postage, but i have message sent from the buyer telling me the item was received and told me it leaked in there pocket, now that to me and any person with common sense is telling you they have the evod shisha pen starter kit in there possession,if they don’t have the item how can they tell me the item came, and the shisha pen does not perform properly and also started to leak, is it just me or am i not seeing something here,

        OK i don’t have proof the item was delivered but feedback say’s “Product was lovely and great also seller had great communication” and clearly telling me they have the item, does that not count.

        I am going to appeal this I am going to ring eBay again when they are open

      2. Andrew Minalto

        you can try to appeal David of course but eBay is only interested in hard facts – in your case – tracking number.

        No tracking number, no proof of delivery – as simple as that.

        They do not usually evaluate each case individually, they don’t take any additional proof apart from tracking numbers.


      3. Hi Andrew, yes i understand that they need proof item was received, so whats the point when you buy the postage from eBay then take it the post office they ask you to get a proof of postage, in my case i thought that i was doing everything correct, its a lesson learned for me,

        I have just rang eBay and spoken to a guy called Mike, and he’s gone through all the messages sent from the buyer, and say i don’t understand why they went into the buyers favour, because it clearly states in 2 of the messages the buyer has the item, before they opened the case saying the hadn’t received it, and he said they should have picked up on this earlier because when they started the case it said item started to leak in my pocket and after a few days gave of a burning taste.
        Just had a Message from eBay:-

        We’ve reviewed your concerns and have reversed the outcome of the case. Within 48 hours, we’ll credit the PayPal account used to provide reimbursement for this case.

        Because we decided in your favour, this case, any feedback left, and all detailed seller ratings left, will not affect your seller performance. In addition, any feedback left for this transaction will be removed.

        If you have other questions, please contact us. You can reach us by going to the eBay website and clicking “Help & Contact” in the upper right corner and then selecting “Contact eBay.”
        I think i am really lucky though as the buyer made the mistake of sending me messages stating he had the item.This was not about the money it was only £6.72 but it was the fact the buyer had lied, and I hope eBay give them a warning or even stop them from using eBay.

      4. Andrew Minalto

        Good to hear that they reversed decision – doesn’t happen that often! 🙂

    2. Just looking through ebay messages over the first problem about not receiving the Evod and i quote
      “Sorry about the late reply I only came back home to see this, the shisha pen does not perform properly and also started to leak? disappointed”

      I dont know what they are on about sorry about the late reply, So this proves the item was received, and i my eyes they are trying to con me out of money, i know its not much money but thats not the point, they have clearly told me they have the item, but like i asked earlier, whats the next thing i should do. thank you

      1. A quick update on my first problem item not received’
        I have rang Ebay and explained the situation to them, and i have proof in their messages that they received the item, i was told to send the buyer back all the information they left me stating item WAS received. And was told to NOT refund them but wait until the 23 March so that i can then dispute the case.

        As for the second case I was told not to worry about it, send them another message asking them to return the item and wait, but DON’T refund them until you get your item back.
        I hope nobody else has this problem, but also i hope this might help other people in some way.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        As I said – you don’t have to refund if they don’t send back the item.

  47. Hi,
    I bought something with paypal invoice a month ago, and I specifically asked the shipper to provide tracking+delivery confirmation because of USPS’s infamy. However he decided to just go with the cheapest method which was USPS first class INTL. It’s been over a month and I have not gotten said pacakage. When I approached the seller with this problem he accused me of trying to scam him.
    From here on, what sort of action should I take?
    I still trust that the seller did ship it out, but there is no way to find out where the pacakage is right now.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Don,

      You just need to open Item not received case with eBay and take it from there.


  48. Allison Dutton


    I’m having issues with a seller. They sold me an item as new, I even asked them was it brand new and unopened before I bought it. They said it was new and unopened. When it arrived it has clearly been opened and the box is ripped. They’re claiming very aggressively that I did the damage deliberately because I don’t want the item so I can return for full refund. They’re refusing the return on those grounds. Have to wait now for eBay to look at the case now. Where do I stand?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Just wait on what eBay says.

      Most likely they will allow the return so you can get your money back.


  49. Another idea for Buyers and Sellers, connect directly to a credit or debit card for Sales and Returns. Then if you are a Buyer, can always do a chargeback. If you are a Seller, you can also do a chargeback.

    Maybe not in the UK? I am not sure how it works all over the world. But I used to do chargebacks/fraud prevention for MC, Discover and Visa.

    If you do not tie your account directly to Paypal, which goes thru to your bank account (not a credit card), you are not able to do this. That is the easier way and admittedly, this is how my account is set up. I do not really sell very expensive items. But for others, especially phones and electronics, try to us your credit card, which can also be your bank debit card that has the Master Card or Visa logo. It is not even your bank who decides chargebacks, it is these credit card companies. You have a lot more leverage using your credit card vs. using your Paypal balance.

  50. Hi I hope you can help. I sold a £2 coin and sent it well packaged as I have done many times. The buyer has only received the envelope ripped up in a plastic sleeve from royal mail with an apology from them and steps to make a claim. Am I responsible for refunding the buyer or claiming compensation?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Joy,

      Yes, you’re responsible for that, not the buyer.


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