April 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 206 Comments

A Complete Guide to Buyers-Scammers on eBay!

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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. 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.


    2. 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!

  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 ?

        1. 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!!!!!

        1. 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. 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!!!


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

  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.

        1. 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. 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.

        1. Andrew Minalto

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

    2. 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

        1. 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.


          1. 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.

          2. Andrew Minalto

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

  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.


  51. I always ship via USPS, with tracking given to the Buyer via the purchase on ebay.

    Once had a lady who bought 2 somewhat pricey blazers from me say only 1 arrived, box not opened or damaged supposedly. Well of course this was not possible, why try to scam for a $40 item? But they do. Ebay forced her to return the one blazer, she did, so I would have been out the money plus a blazer. But actually the USPS claim I filed for the package covered me. Not ebay! Always remember if you sell, try a claim with the co. used for shipping.

    I have run into many scams on ebay, both as a Buyer and as a Seller. Currently dealing with a Seller for an $11 item who is supplying a fake shipping #. Once had a lady want a refund for 12 boxes of incense that suddenly wouldn’t stay lit, said mail me back unopened boxes. Wouldn’t you know, she had opened every box so nothing to mail back, but she did not get a refund from me.

    Have had Buyers scam and say item not as described, but they are still gonna keep item AND want a full refund. The cell phone one, and expensive electronics, have been going on for years.

    My best recourse has been to ship insured, if they say not working or some other BS, file a claim with who it was sent thru. Many times the shipping co.’s are far more helpful than ebay or Paypal, with their completely useless Seller Protection Policies. I ship via USPS, I never use UPS. They literally stole my $2,000 engagement ring from off their truck. Luckily that Seller had used a 2nd insurance to cover it. Do not recommend UPS for Sellers, for sure. For Buyers, don’t use a new zero feedback Seller for mass produced items, even if cheaper. That is where I now have a scam for fake shipping #. Use shipping claims to help you.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Jen!

      I understand you’e based in the US as we usually don’t have such insurance/protection with the shipping company in the UK. We only get covered for damage in transit or lost packages.


      1. Hey, for the “damage” to the package with the blazers in the US, they wouldn’t normally cover it either. But I supplied USPS with her emails in the claim. She basically alluded to that USPS did steal them. They just didn’t want to fight it so got a refund from them.

        The shippers in the US can certainly be difficult to deal with. For example, we have “Media Mail” for printed materials, like books. Well that ends up in like St. Louis, not insured, and they always lose textbooks that way. So I stopped using Media Mail after losing my fair of money of books that the USPS lost.

        Strangely, I just got incense from the UK. I sold my Star Wars collection to Germany. Order from China all the time. Rarely have an issue with other countries. But the US? It can be a real crap shoot! Good luck all! I hate scammers!

  52. I have bought 3 pack of cheap perfumes from ebay seller. Both me and him live in UK.
    I saw a lot of bad comments on sellers account but I have ignored the as this seller was the only one who had exactly what I wanted.

    WHat surprised me that the delivery window was 14 days?…I only live around the corner so why would it take 2 weeks to deliver my item. Even items sent 2nd class take only 5 days.
    I have waited and waited but nothing has arrived, I have contacted the seller and asked him what’s going on. HE apologised and said that the tracking doesn’t show anything and that the item is now out of stock and he can offer me either refund or I can pick different perfumes. I said that I have just checked the listing and it states there that you still have got more than 10 available. As soon as I have said it the listing was removed.
    I have asked for a refund and said I will go elsewhere to buy them.
    I kindly asked him to not let me wait long for it as I have already been waiting 2 weeks.
    Seller was delaying and avoiding refunding me my money back. I was forced to go to ebay for help. From the very start the communication with the seller was very poor… the 1st response I received was after I have left negative feedback.
    I believe that items were never sent to me….because he realised that they are from the start out of stock and he just forgotten to update his listings.
    Waste of time….I have opened resolution …and yet have not received any response from the seller.
    I this in this case not all Buyers are fraudsters…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Anna for sharing this with us.

      Just shows that there are bad sellers just like there are bad buyers.


    2. Hi Anna. Seller with no stock and a two week delivery window? Seems to me he was buying to order. He’d source these items from another supplier if and when he received an order, and his supplier is located abroad, hence to the two week wait while he receives it and then sends it on to you. No actual stock of his own, he’s just found a cheap supply and then tries to fulfill any orders he receives. Sounds like he didn’t realise his supplier had no stock and update his listings accordingly.

  53. I’m currently in the midst of ‘negotiating’ with an ebay seller.

    I ordered an Xbox Elite Controller after watching a short video that he had added on the page, but after finalising payment through Paypal, I had a niggling feeling that something wasn’t right. On googling Xbox Elite it was evident that what this seller was selling was just an ordinary 360 controller. So, I sent him an email to confirm and after a couple of days he responded saying he’ll look into it but instead of doing that, he sent out the item saying I could return it if I didn’t want it and referring me to his website. There was no mention of paying for return postage, and even on his own website he has worded the Returns Policy very cleverly making it very non-committal.

    Anyway, I received said ‘Elite’ which was just an ordinary 360 controller and immediately sent a message via ebay saying “‘not as described’ I want to return it but please confirm you will pay return postage either by sending a paid label or by simply confirming you will pay on receipt.”

    Today I have received a reply with agreement to accept the return but absolutely no confirmation of paying return postage. He has also stated that the controller is indeed an Elite.
    I have had to take a photo of what he sent, along with an image of what a REAL Xbox Elite controller looks like, and in addition asking for confirmation that he will pay return postage.

    What surprises me is that this guy has sold 1000s of these. The buyers must either be stupid because the controllers he’s selling are nothing like the Elite ones, or none of them complained as he has a rating of 99.5%. Maybe I was just unlucky but I think not!!

    So yes, buyers can be underhand but so can sellers.

  54. Jack Bourne

    I recently sold an iPhone 6S on Ebay. When I checked to see if the buyer had received the iPhone a couple of days later, he had claimed it was broken and asked for a return and refund. I accepted this, still not seeing any scam. When I received the return, inside was an old, smashed up iPhone 4. He had also got his refund. I had not noted down any serial number or other documentation, is there anything I can do to get my iPhone, or money back?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jack,

      Unfortunately no, as you don’t have any proof on the phone you sent out.


  55. I sold an expensive cashmere sweater, brand new, in the original package with the size label clearly printed on it. The buyer requested a refund, saying that the sweater doesn’t match the size which is untrue because I’ve sold several other sweaters and received positive feedbacks from other buyers who were satisfied and happy with the quality, size, etc. This buyer provided a false tracking number which doesn’t exist in the courier’s tracking system. Ebay closed the case. HOWEVER, the buyer immediately opened a claim with PAYPAL and despite the fact that I’ve sent the Paypal customer service the screenshots of the Ebay decision, they blocked the amount of the payment and authorized the buyer another return. My Paypal account has been blocked for over a month now from January 13th till at least February 7th the buyer has until that date to provide another tracking number. I’m working on opening my own e-commerce website and I know one thing – I will never use Paypal again as a payment method.

  56. hi, a family member posted an item and a buyer responded with a personal phone text, subsequently sent a company check to us. He asked to have movers pick up the item. Not only that but the amount in the check is much larger than agreed. It feels odd. I am feeling like a scam but wanted to check. What should I do? I have not done anything with the check and i have not shipped the item.
    This is the first time a family member has tried to sell anything on ebay.
    thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Monica,

      Sounds like a scam to me.

      Check will probably bounce…


  57. Hi! So I sell a handbag to a lady who jumped at the buy it now price I offered. She then claims she is ‘disappointed’ with the bag as it smells musty inside. I was polite to her, it was a good quality and fairly expensive bag new. Hardly used. She was very rude to me, I told her that I was very careful about what I sold on there. I pack and present very carefully to retain my 100% feedback. She said she did not think I was. She said she had sprayed it with fabreeze, so she’d already soiled the goods. She asked for a £10 refund to get it cleaned,? It’s impossible to clean as it’s attached?!! And I know it did not smell. I offer her a full refund and to return the goods in the original box I sent it in. She replies that she would be happy with the £10 refund and she will leave me positive feedback. I feel I’m being blackmailed. She has good feedback but I’m thinking if she does this to everyone she scamming everyone and playing eBay to her own advantage?!!! Should I report it to eBay or just get on with it? I smell a rat?!!!….. many thanks. Great site btw!!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Emma,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, def. report it to eBay as it does sound like blackmailing to me.

      There’s of course small chance that it’s a genuine request but from the sound of it, she probably does this with every seller to get some money back on purchases.


  58. Anita Burksfield

    My smartphone was perfect when sent &I the buyer didn’t look at it until three days after! He asked for his money back as defective & not as described said battery didn’t last over 4 hours LG G 4, screen sticking.. I had been using the phone right up until I sent it & it was perfect. Went under the defective for eBay ,I was not happy & the more we messaged the more he kept comparing to his lg G3. I looked battery life up & it does not last long but he knew it. I get the feeling he just didn’t like it & wanted his money back. In the end I have agreed to refund but not until I check over the phone.
    I found eBay just don’t want to be bothered, & had already ticked return refund box. This has put me off selling anything else as he was so flippant about it & mentioned several things like” given me a good rating” it was £153.00 I am feeling this isn’t right.

  59. Hi, can I ask about the following situation? If I send out a parcel tracked, and when it gets to the location the buyer opens the package (due to packaging problems) so that he can check it has not been damaged in transit, and afterwards says it has been damaged, and refused to take possession or sign for the item. Where does that leave me? Will I get my item back? (if in a different country), and will the buyer get his money back by me being forcing to refund (or send another item which the same thing could happen)? Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Chris,

      Yes, usually if customer refuses to accept parcel, courier company will send it back to you.

      And you have to deal with the buyer directly to arrange a refund or replacement to be sent out.


  60. This is the update to my bizarre eBay situation. The buyer closed the return, & said he wants to keep his shirt. This is what the buyer wrote ” I’m going to keep the item. It has been washed(on accident) by me so i cant justify my original conplaint. Regadless shirt still dtinks like chems… maybe the seller smokes dryer sheets.” Wow! Chems? That was never mentioned before. I don’t even smoke cigarettes or drink coffee. What a pathetic attempt to insult me? Lol, I knew I’d win ;). Strange & unusual buyer. User ID – devilsrot. I think the buyer is the one smoking chems lol. A $1.40 refund request. Just wow. I’m certain the shirt was not for the buyer by the looks of the buyers profile picture, & probably a gift.

    1. User ID – devilsriot* Darn auto correct.

      1. This is the last update lol. The buyer left me neutral feedback. Yet I still have 5 stars for everything. This is what the buyer wrote “Shirt seems used.Smells strong of being washed.seller is a C at best, attitude!!”. After the buyer said he accidentally washed the shirt. Wow wow wow!!!! As funny as this is, my fingers & toes are crossed I never deal with a person like this again! So very unusual!

  61. Hi, I have a really bizarre situation currently happening on eBay. I sold a brand new band shirt to someone. And the same day the buyers package was delivered, I later recieved a message asking for a 10% discount because the item smells like sunlight detergent? I said no, & that I don’t use sunlight. I wasn’t even aware sunlight makes a detergent. The buyer proceeded to start making a false claim that shirt is not new, & demands a 10% discount, & that the shirt reeks. I stood by my word of not giving a discount, & that the shirt IS brand new. The buyer threatened me by giving me negative feedback. I told him to go ahead! He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give him the discount. And I told him to return the shirt at his expense. Then I was baragged with multiple harassful/threatening messages of him attempting to bully me in a span of about 5-10 minutes. I didn’t respond at all. Buyer decided to give me an ultimatum & the time I had to respond by. The buyer opened a refund request, & stated reason for refund, making a false claim the shirt is used & doesn’t have any tags attached or any packaging. Anyone that’s bought a band shirt online, or even at a show, knows there’s never any tags attached & doesn’t come in pre-packaging. I made my case with every important point included. The shirt was infact brand new, & did not have any tags attached or come in pre-packaging. My listing did contain the error “new with tags” instead of “new without tags”. I admitted that yes, I made a mistake in the listing. I also pointed out that the exact same shirt in the pictures is the one he recieved. The shirt has no tags attached or is in any sort of packing in the listing pictures. I promise this gets really funny!!!! I’ve made a report about the buyer to ebay for threatening me & being harassful. The buyer paid $14CND for the item. 10% of $14 is a $1.40. That’s the kicker right there, a whole $1.40! The buyer paid a total of $29 with shipping. Is it just me, or is it not outrageously hilarious & peculiar that a person would make a stink about being refunded a $1.40 for a shirt he falsely claims is not new? Would you not automatically want a refund, or ask for a larger discount? I certainly would for false advertising! After this knee slapping experience I’ve created a very clear policy for my listings. Today is the day that eBay decides on what happens because I have not issued the refund. I’m sure I’ll have to refund $29, but oh well, it’s all very pathetic, & it’s only $29. I hope this makes someone laugh :). Also, he’s the only buyer to ever have an issue with an item I’ve sold. ALL of my seller & buyer feedback is positive! I strongly implore that sellers create a very specific policy for buyers! Reading all these seller horror stories really is sickening. eBay really should have a policy that truly protects sellers, & I’ve been tempted to write them a letter into persuading them to do. It’s pretty sad that in this life a person has to lawyer everything. Just keep a positive mental attitude, & keep moving forward! 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us!

      It really is hilarious, lol, to ask for a $1.40 refund on a $29 item when buyer is so un-satisfied with the purchase!

      Let us know the outcome of eBay case.


  62. I have just had a scammer claiming they recieved a game that wasnt as described. It was a relatively cheap factory sealed game with official brand strip on. First they claimed the wrapping looked dodgy but opened it anyway. Then they claim a completely different game was inside not even for the same console. I dont know what proof i can provide as paypal dont accept pictures in case ive doctored them, so even paypal is accusing me of being dodgy! Its absurd if i was a scammer that could seal games with official branded seals i wouldnt be targeting the average customer who buy games to play i would be targeting collectors and charging £100s knowing they wouldnt be opening the game. The game was brought in a bundle off of ebay and not had a problem with any other games that i have sold. No idea how to proceed with this, dont like the idea that paypal, takes money from the hardworking honest people and sides with scammers.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Unfortunately that’s part of doing business online nowadays…

      I completely agree with you that it’s not fair, but if you sell on eBay/Amazon, you have to allocate some % of your sales as a loss, to cover such scammers.

  63. Great article, great to see someone on the side of the sellers, thank you.

    Do you know of a scam where a buyer reports an item as not being inside the parcel on arrival?

    We recently sent a small parcel with a £120 item inside sent using RM Special delivery. On arrival the buyer said the item was not inside the parcel and said that the parcel was sealed with no damage prior to them opening the parcel, the buyer also claimed that we were scamming him! The buyer put in an instant claim without giving us chance to reply.

    We can work out from the weight of the parcel recorded on the delivery receipt that the item was present on dispatch, unfortunately it was a fairly lightweight item so it doesn’t make it look as clearcut as if it was a heavy item.

    I am pretty sure RM won’t accept a claim from us for this.

    Where does this leave us, the buyer says they haven’t received the item (but have received the parcel) so we have to refund them? and we are unable to claim our money back from the courier.

    Is there anything you can see that can help with this one? Is there any way of protecting against this in future?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      So the buyer opened Item Not Received case?

      If you sent item via tracked delivery you should be protected as you have proof of delivery.


    2. Graham porter

      Hi I have the same problem.. I sent an item I sold via PayPal to USA.. special delivery and tracked just in case.. the buyer signed for and received the item.. but he/she is now saying that the item is missing ?? I’m contacting Paypal but looks as it will be their favour.. what happened to your claim ? And what steps did you take that could help me.

  64. Hi, I’ve been selling on eBay for years and come across many of these type of buyers in my time but I’ve just had a buyer who is the straw that broke the camels back and I would like to report her to the Police, just because of the principal of it! I sold a new item via one of my 3rd party trustworthy suppliers (basically I dropshipped it). The item was sent and was tracked. The item arrived in good time and was signed for by this parasite. She then decided to open a case because the item wasn’t physically sent by me!!! So she received the correct item, admitted it had arrived but wants a refund because my fair hands didn’t send it personally. Ebay are obviously investigating, I’m not envisaging they will side with this thief but clearly this woman is trying to get this item for free, so attempted fraud. I would love it if the local constabulary knocked on her door to caution her. Make her think twice?
    What would happen if I stole a packet of gum from my supermarket and got caught? Prosecuted for shop lifting…That’s what ??

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jamie,

      Thanks for your sharing this with us.

      If it was a valuable item, I would definitely consider bringing her to Small Claims court. Especially if she admitted, in writing, that she received the item. You have the address, name, proof of delivery so even if eBay sides with the buyer (they shouldn’t really), you can consider 2nd option.


  65. steve seccombe

    hi i sold a phone on buy it now and the buyer never paid me which was september and reported it to the resolution and now clossed the case . now he has put in a complaint saying he never recieved the item and wanting a refund. when looking at the item sold it says in the title payment waiting but when clicking on the item it says paymnet pending.
    there was no notification from ebay to dispatch the item or payment made until today when i got the request from ebay. also there is nothing in paypal saying payment pending from this seller.
    not really sure what to do now.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Steve,

      If they haven’t paid you, there’s nothing to worry about. You obviously don’t have to refund anything as you haven’t actually received any money (make sure you double check this in PayPal account).

      It could be some kind of scam – maybe those emails you receive are not coming from eBay – they’re fake.


  66. I’ve noticed a pattern of buyers sending messages of INR around the 40 day mark.

    They don’t open a INR case……..just send the message.

    Why wait to 40 days if it was genuine?

    They don’t want to open the INR case because perhaps they have too many already?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t know chuck.

      40 days is a long time.

      Probably because they can’t open case anymore as they have to do that within 30 days.


  67. New SCAM? Buyer asked to return defective purchase and asked for a pre-paid shipping label. We emailed the pdf USPS label file to him. They removed my address and they photo-shopped another legitimate address in the same town onto the label. The empty package was delivered to the other address and the tracking service marked as delivered! So, eBay refunded the purchase price even though I never received the returned item. The buyer got a $700 item FREE!!! The Post Office has been no help. The carrier said he delivered it to the address on the label and although the tracking was not exactly right, they deliver it to the address on the label and not the tracking number. Carrier scans the tracking number and it shows up as delivered! I think that the the tracking number -address mismatch should cause a rejection of the delivery, but it doesn’t. I tried to contact the Post Office about this. So far, no help!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      That’s a very clever scam indeed…

      Not sure what to suggest even as probably you can’t do anything about it.


      1. Paul Goodman

        I did file a complaint with the US Postal Inspector’s Office and FBI IC3. Provided them with copies of the original shipping label with tracking and the receipt of my label purchase. It’s clear from the USPS package picture that the label was altered. Incidentally, they do take pictures of all tracked mail. But, they are still looking into it. I don’t think much will be done. So, I guess the only way to thwart return label alterations is to use certified/signature required restricted delivery mail or maybe use another shipping service. And, I am trying to screen my buyers more carefully now. Thanks.

  68. Hi. Recently sent a ps3 with Hermes recorded signed for and received a message from the buyer stating that a not had been posted through the door by Hermes. The note said tha the parcel had beeen left in the shed though it wasn’t there.
    Will I have to refund them? I know it’s Hermes fault which they are saying it isn’t as they have a signature. Any help would be grateful

  69. Cosimo Zizza

    I am regular buyer and seller on ebay.co.uk with 100% feedback.
    When a I sell anything on ebay, I always leave good feedback.
    I did that on the last occasion: I post a Marvel magazine as a first class but without tracking number or sign on receipt. I did that for all the years I am on ebay.
    The person who received the magazine abused the fact that it was a ordinary parcel and said that He never received, I DON’T BELIEVE IT and would like to make a comment here please.
    on ebay is known as: beaverandthebandit.
    Unfortunately I made a positive comment since the beginning on this person so now I cannot make a negative one on ebay for this so called beaverandthebandit. BEWARE!!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Cosimo,

      Have you thought about an option that the package went missing?

      As it’s not very un-common for non-tracked packages…


      1. Cosimo Zizza

        Sorry but that’s really unlikely as the package should have returned to me in case the receiver didn’t get it as this was clearly stated and recorded with the Post Office. Unless the Postman know something more about it? No I don’t think so…
        Thank you for the reply.

    2. EbaySeller

      That same ID has just claimed non delivery of an item that we sent via non recorded 1st class mail. Only waited 5 days before opening an Ebay case, without any attempt to contact us first. Deciding how to further this, but any further info from others having contact with beaverandthebandit would be useful

      1. Hi, I am beaverandthebandit. Would you mind telling me who you are and perhaps messaging me directly through to my ebay rather than anonymously posting slanderous remarks? I have no idea who you are but someone has just flagged me up on this post.

        1. No response from either of you? What a surprise(!). Very easy to slander people with your anonymous profiles when you think theres no comeback, luckily I remember both of you and still have all correspondance between us. Firstly, Mr Zizza. I bought a magazine frim you that never turned up. £80 plus postage on top should more than warrant trackable delivery, however, you couldnt provide this or even a reciept to prove you actually posted it despite me repeatedly asking for it! You chose to ignore my messages and left me no choice but to open a case but even through the 14 days the case was open you didnt feel the need to let me know what was going on or have the decency to reply to any message. Only after the case was shut and I got my money back did you bother messaging me….and that was just abuse! I think you came on here hoping that you would somehow get the refund reversed. The fact is had ebay for whatever reason not refunded me then I would have contacted the police. I fully believe you tried to scam me. With regards to Ebayseller (or Martin) I am very disappointed that after buying from you on more than one occasion you chose to come on here to try and insinuate that I am dishonest in any way. Unlike Cosimo I do genuinely believe you posted my book, however, it never arrived and as I have told you I am still searching for a copy. After this I will never buy from you again. Your loss as the things i have bought from you have always been books upwards of £50, the one that has gone missing is BY FAR the cheapest thing I have ever bought from your shop. One important thing that is relevant to both of you is I paid enough postage to both of you to cover tracked delivery. It is not my fault that you were greedy and tried to add a extra pence of profit to your sale by cutting back on the postage that had been trustingly paid for. It was your responsibilty to ensure the books got with me but you chose to save yourself the 30p. As an ebay buyer/seller with well over 1000 positive feedback myself I find it disgusting that my name is being used like this by bitter people with far too much time on their hands.

  70. Great article.
    I’ve been a business on ebay for several years, and learned not to take fraud too personal. If I receive an INR claim now, I simply apologise, send a replacement tracked and submit that to ebay. I don’t give them an option to request a refund.

    Once pointer I would like to make is regarding the ebay appeal process. Whilst as a seller you want to put further evidence across, or reiterate the case and hope for a better outcome, it’s worth noting that as soon as ebay gets involved, not only can you be 90% certain ebay will side with the buyer, but you will receive a Case Closed Without Seller Resolution (CCWSR). If you receive more than 0.3% CCWSR (Yes, 1 in 334 transactions) in a 12 month period, you stand lose your account.

  71. That is a fantastic post!

    I recently sold my iPhone 6s Plus to an eBay buyer and after I sent with signature confirmation I received an email and a case was opened against me saying that item was not as described. The note said that the iPhone was cracked and locked. I know it ant be locked because I used it. Anyway the seller threatened me with a negative feedback if I didn’t refund them. Long story short I requested buyer to send me a picture of the imei number as I noted it down before I sent. The buyer first said that the iPhone had no imei number and sent a phone (gold and mine was rose gold) of a cracked phone screen. I asked them again and how to get to it, they sent me the same picture again. I finally called eBay to let them know and they sent an email requesting the same. So they finally sent a picture but it was flipped and I couldn’t read the number. After several emails I finally recurve a picture of a different phone with cracked screen and the same serial number yet the imei number isn’t correct. Now what?
    I told the seller I would refund when I revived the item with its accessories as sent minus the cracked screen. But I’m scared if I receive another iPhone and not the one I sent. The seller gave me the same tracking number I used to ship, saying that this is the tracking number. And finally I asked hem again to notify me when it was sent along with tracking number. I haven’t heard anything and I still have the case open. What should I do?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Hanna,

      Your only hope is that they don’t send the item back at all and don’t provide any tracking information.

      As if they do provide legit tracking and send different phone back to you, eBay won’t help you and you’ll lose that money.


      1. I was hoping for that too. But looks like seller just provided a tracking number. I mentioned that once imei number and serial number match that to which I sent and all the accessories are returned as sent I will refund. So if it isn’t, do you know what I can do? I’d defiantly file a police report and let eBay know that I will report. I’ve heard that in cases like this they would refund me, but I’m not sure. Sadly my worst case scenario would be that I lose the money and the phone. Thank you do much for your help. This is my first time I’ve had such a problem. I’ve always sold my iPhone on eBay. Sucks truly.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Yes, apart from filing a report with Police, there’s nothing you can do really.

          You can of course contact eBay, explain them situation but in 99% cases they won’t take into account such images/IMEI numbers etc. as evidence.

          They could side with you only if that buyer has scammed multiple sellers recently and gets banned from eBay altogether.


  72. Andrew, if one has an eBay user’s ID is there anyway to track or find active eBay auctions that such user is actively bidding on, watching and ones that he/she purchased?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      As far as I know, there’s no such a tool, no.


  73. Hello Andrew, I love the article! I sell in a category with very low priced items(<2.00) and we ship the orders in small envelopes. Anyways, it seems like for every 150 items we send out, we get the individual claiming they haven't received their order. Naturally, we can't use paid tracking on such low priced items. How do you feel about taking pictures of the envelopes we're sending out for the day with time stamps? Would Ebay view this as credible proof when we protest the claim? Thanks a lot!


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Steve,

      One out of 150 is actually quite low, with un-tracked postage. It could be that that one out of 150 goes genuinely missing. Even if not, you simply refund or re-send those orders to keep customers happy.

      No, such images are waste of time – eBay won’t accept them. Only tracking numbers are good for them.


  74. Hello,

    I’ve got a problem with a buyer. Even though I clearly stated that I only post to the UK. The buyer bid and won my item but they live in another country! They wanted me to send it to them outside the U.K. But I refused. We eventually agreed on having it sent to a uk address which was his friends. I got him to change his eBay and PayPal address to this uk address. I sent the parcel and it was recorded, signed and tracked. 14 days after this was delivered to the uk address he opened a refund case saying it was damaged, he had his friend send it on to him from the uk! He is adamant that it was damaged when I sent it! Which I have several pictures of the item clearly showing no damage. I’ve advised him to go to the shipping company he used to get compensation. I used Parcel force and they said they can’t help as it was sent on to another country and there were no issues on delivery.
    I’ve spoken to eBay.com and they have advised I try to sort this with the buyer and I have the parcel sent back to me and give a partial or full refund if the buyer agrees to that. They said its my responsibility even though they sent it themselves to another country! I said I’ve told him to go through his shipping insurance.
    This guy has been very aggressive over messages and has even said he will prove that it was broken before it was sent and demanded I pay for it to be sent back from his country! I’ve got pictures of the item before I sent it and it was in perfect condition but eBay said that doesn’t matter.

    What do I do?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t know really what to suggest….

      How many days exactly it is now since the sale happened? And what does your returns policy say?

      1. Hi,
        On my ad under the returns section it says….
        Returns Policy : no returns accepted
        Guarantee : eBay money back guarantee

        The item was delivered to their uk address on 27th May, they opened a returns case on the 9th June.


        1. Andrew Minalto

          sounds like a typical scam to me unfortunately…

          They opened case right within that 14 day time frame.

          Even if they send item back to you, probably it will be an empty box or different item altogether. And you’ll lose your money anyways.

          You should try this of course as it’s really the only option you have.

          or simply refund them in full.


          1. Hello,

            I just looked at the eBay buyer money guarentee policy and it says “items sent to another address after original delivery” are not covered. They had the item sent on to another country. Would this cover me? They have now opened a dispute case for eBay to get involved and make a decision.

            Thank you for your help with this 🙂

  75. This is very frustrating :/

    I just probably lost a $400 dollar phone. The buyer claimed he recieved a totally different phone, and send pictures of another phone model and a broken postal box with my label on it. He says it arrived like that and wants to return that item as he claims I tried to scam him by sending him a different item.

    I don’t even know how to deal with this situation; I went to USPS and filed a claim because who knows… maybe someone did steal the phone mid-way into the address but its obvious the buyer is trying tricks since he’s trying to send me back a completely different phone with box and all.

    Hopefully ebay sees through this and doesn’t steal my money/phone…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ed,

      Are you a private seller? Maybe you have returns turned off in your eBay account?

      As private sellers are not obligated to accept returns.


  76. I myself have just been scammed by a buyer.

    I sent them a pair of expensive shorts £150. They then opened up a snad case against me stating the label was hanging off and that they had now drawstring. Both claims were false. I asked the seller for photos which I never got from them in fact the only contact I had during the resolution stage was their initial complaint.

    Then eBay stepped in and simply told the buyer to send the item back and once I get it back they will refund him. I got his parcel today and he simply sent me back some torn up PJ family guy printed bottoms, not the original item I sent them.

    I’ve already made a efraud report with the police and am in the process of making an appeal with eBay. Though I’m still sure eBay will side with the buyer. I’m not sure how but they seem to favour buyers over sellers. I hoping the fact I’ve reported the matter to the police will go in my favour. I’m a seller with over 1000 feedback whilst the buyer had none. They also had the item sent to Argos UK so I couldn’t give the police his address in my report.

    Anyway wish me luck 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good luck Dylan, really!

      Sounds like a professional scammer – especially if Argos was used to not share his real address.

      eBay will side with the buyer, yes, because they have no way of checking what did he send back to you. So they’re only guided by tracking numbers.


  77. I am an eBay seller, but only started selling items again recently…prior to my last 2 sales last month and earlier this month, the last item I sold was back in 2013.
    For my latest sold item, a buyer purchased it for the Buy it Now price I listed, and marked the item as paid, but I received no payment via PayPal. PayPal is the only payment I accept and was/is clearly stated on my listing.
    A week passed, and still no payment notification from PayPal, and I also sent the buyer a payment reminder as well and no response. So I relisted, and as I was about to send another message and also leave feedback, it said the buyer is no longer a registered user.
    Now, its been about 2 weeks since it was mark as paid by the buyer, and they just made a claim that they did not receive the item and they want a refund. In their claim they said they tried many times to contact me for a tracking number, but I never received any messages from them. I still have not received any payment at all, and I sent them a message to resolve the claim, but I doubt that they will respond to it and let is escalate to eBay Customer Support. What’s the likelyhood that eBay will side with this buyer and make me give them a refund if they never paid me? I have my PayPal account history and shows no payment from this person via eBay and no PayPal email notifying me of payment made like my previous and recent transactions. On my eBay summary it also still says that I am “awaiting payment”, and this buyer is still “no longer registered on eBay.” Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jone,

      You have nothing to worry about here – if they haven’t paid, they can’t get a refund from you, in no way.


  78. David Hand

    I just had some scammer named (Ebay ID btrig1990) scam me on a vintage receiver. He was trying to get the item for free and opened a bogus claim. Ebay asked him to send pictures of the damage which of course he did not. EBay still sided with the buyer and I was out shipping cost to get it back. It came back fine as it left and I took video of it but Ebay still did not kick him off. I’m just so sick of these scammers. I took video and posted the whole story on Youtube and other sites. If we quit refunding them and start exposing them then just maybe it will stop

  79. Gary Jones

    There’s another scam – the buyers who have their feedback as private. They buy things, always leave negative and hope that the seller will contact them & either send out a replacement or refund them in order to get the feedback removed.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Gary!

  80. It’s very hard to use feedback to help protect sellers now, as you can only leave buyers positive feedback. Ebay seem to over protection buyers as it guarantees their profits and new sellers will always come along and get scammed.
    I would love to see a system where sellers could automatically block buyers who have higher an average item not received claims. If all INR cases were forced to open a case it would expose them to eBay and enable sellers to block buyers who have higher than average level of item not received. You can block sellers who have items not paid for, but this does not cause any loss of money or stock.
    It would be easy for ebay yo set up a system, but do the want to? I doubt it.

    1. It is hard to use the feedback system to highlight a INR buyer. but not impossible.

      If I have that slight feeling that the buyer might not be genuine, what I do is follow up my normal positive feedback with a line such as “Please accept out apologies that the item was lost in the post and you couldn’t enjoy it.”. It’s subtle, doesn’t suggest I am accusing them of scamming, but does leave a little trail for a future seller in case others fine similar issues.

      It’s happened on one occasion another seller thinks they’ve been scammed and found my feedback and followed up with other sellers to find a pattern.

      It doesn’t help you as a seller, but might help someone else.

  81. I sold a video card to user charitymarathon. The funniest thing, he’s the student contact for University of Michigan’s Business Ethic Society. Ahhh now there’s teaching modern business ethics! (As a side note I even contacted the 2 professors listed to the society and they ignored me outright. )

    He claimed the item was not as described. I asked what he meant and the buyer would not send any further contact. A month later user did a chargeback and withdrew my profit. Paypal then hit me for an additional $20 chargeback fee. I complained and paypal refunded the extra $20 fee after an hour on the phone.

    As a seller you CAN NOT give negative feedback. I dug through the user’s feedback and found one other seller had this user give an empty box return. This was under a postiive feedback as it’s the only way to give any feedback.

    Contacted ebay and after bouncing around departments I was told there was nothing I could do. They have no reporting of buyers and they had no recommendations on how I could avoid being scammed in the future.

    This needs to get out there more, it’s a horrible problem.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Keith,

      Yes, unfortunately you get such buyers-scammers from time to time…

      It’s not only on eBay if that makes you feel better – there are people who scam on Amazon, online shops etc. etc.

      Just part of being in retail business really.


  82. As Ebay sellers we need to name the id of the scammers so we can block them, yes I know they change ID’s, but it will stop some.

  83. Andrew,
    Great Guide! Very Useful, Congratulations!

    If you allow me to share with all Ebay Sellers another possible way to avoid future scams from same suspicious buyers:
    If a seller send a small valued item without tracking to a buyer that may cause doubts its better hold the feedback until the transation is complete. If a complain appear as a “non recieved” item seller will loose the case through ebay but he can report the experience on buyer feedback without being ofensive and this way could alert other sellers.
    Feedback is useful to check not only the sellers but buyers too. If a buyer show some incidents reported on his own feedback history (even as positive feedback) it is a clear sign of dangerous and precaution to be take, i guess.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for the tip Richard!

      Most serious sellers don’t have time though to check each buyer’s feedback but in theory this could save some other sellers, yes.


  84. Cassondra L.

    I don’t want to be played for as someone’s fool by this seller on Ebay because his excuse or story doesn’t add up to me. But then again maybe I’m not being played at all and the seller’s excuse is genuine and a honest mistake. Okay so this is my dilemma…
    I’ve been an Ebay buyer consistently for around 3 yr now, years ago i used to sell on Ebay so i have an idea of how the seller process works but i’m sure there’s been many changes. Anyways, I recently purchased a cookware set and almost immediately after completing transaction(paying for item) the seller calls me with what i think is a very unlikely story. He began by assuring me that the package will ship the next day and that the label has already been made. Here’s the odd part, then he tells me that a gift card he “purchased himself” accidently got shipped to me. Now from the very get go i thought it sounded kind of shady, but then he told me that the gift card would be arriving the same day as my cookware. Same carrier, same time and everything, weird right? How’s that possible for him to accidently ship to me? he would have had to write down my address and manually put in my shipping information for his purchase which would make it no mistake. Right? I don’t know but it sounds like the gift card is some kind of rebate for the purchase I made and the Ebay seller is trying to act as an unauthorized third party in the transaction. Can someone please give me their thoughts on this situation. thank you…. oh and one more thing is that he’s not trying to get this resolved through Ebay at all or has he made any kind of comments or notes under our transaction. IDK…I think it’s weird but then again i’m the one being weird, so please help me with some feedback, it would be greatly appreciated thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Did you received your cookware set at the end? And that gift card too?

      1. Cassondra L.

        yes, i received the cookware set and the gift card at the same time.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Then what’s the problem really? 🙂

          Just send the gift card back. It really seems like a honest mistake then, if you received the product you ordered too.


  85. Buyer hacked into ebay account paid with paypal, and I sent him the amazon gift card uk digital email. 7 days later the real person on the accounts opens a paypal case. Good luck preventing this going around. Now im stuck forced to return funds and the scammer gets to keep the fkin card?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Welcome to ecommerce Shelly!

      There will always be a percentage of fraud transactions – be it eBay, Amazon or your own online shop. Stolen cards, hacked accounts, charge-back cases – unfortunately that’s part of how his whole thing works…


    2. I’ve had 2 buyers attempt this scam with me.

      This is what I do to help prevent this scam:

      1) Mark the item as dispatched straight after the order comes through, and DON’T dispatch it the same day.
      2) Dispatch the item the following working day.

      These scammers open an “Unauthorised Transaction” case with PayPal just after you’ve marked it as dispatched. So you can then safely refund the scammer and they’ll never receive the item 🙂 mwah ha ha! On top of that, report them to eBay, as one of the scammers actually got removed in my case! 🙂 I got a message from eBay saying they cancelled the sale due to the buyer being suspicious.

      Of course, scammers may be clued up enough to wait a few working days after dispatch, but at least it’ll reduce the number of hits by a scammer.

      Another thing I can suggest is using tracked mail ONLY for buyers with low or no feedback, then when they see they’ve received a tracked parcel, they’re much less likely to try and scam you 🙂

      1. And another thing, don’t try and fight the unauthorised transaction case! Always refund straight away! I tried to fight one, and while it was “under review” PayPal starting holding all my funds under the 21 day hold, even though I’m a top rated ebay seller!!

  86. Mark Walters

    Beware of eBay as a seller; “Seller Protection” is a joke. I have a perfect 500+ rating. I sold an iPhone 6s (Brand New) to a buyer. I followed EVERY step required under the “Seller Protection Policy”. Buyer signed for package, then 6 days later, claimed an old iPhone 5 was in the 6s box. It was not.

    eBay sided with the buyer, made me take the return. What did I get back? An EMPTY iPhone 6s box. Nothing else. eBay “High Value Claims” perpetuate fraud.

    I thought I was also protect by PayPal; you are not if eBay claim is filed. Further, they don’t protect you from an “empty box” buyer claim or a “different item received” claim. Essentially, there is no real protection. ANY buyer can claim the box was empty, or something else was received. The worst case for the buyer is eBay will just make the buyer return the item; in which case they can send the seller a piece of junk.

    SELLER PROTECTION does not exist.

    1. Seller protection is just a name in eBay and doesn’t exist at all. The entire platform is developed to increase fraud and make it easier, because fraud is still a sale that eBay makes money out of – at your cost.
      I would never sell anything valued above $50 on eBay. Retail returns are also increasing and now stand at around 35%…. Even if you only have 5% returns and scams, that can destroy a lot for you.

      1. Andrew Minalto

        “The entire platform is developed to increase fraud and make it easier”

        Ok, let’s not go that far Tim. eBay don’t want scammers on the platform as much as we – the problem is that there’s no easy/automated way to regulate this process and investigate each case WITHOUT putting in massive amount of human resources into it. As eBay doesn’t want to do that, I blame them for that – not for wanting to create a scammers paradise!

        People often don’t understand that there are TWO sides of the transaction – buyer and seller. If you go to buyer forums, you see PLENTY of un-happy customers who deal with scam sellers – sellers who don’t deliver items, send low-quality items, wrong items etc. etc. And they are often left with no options too, unless they want to be criminals and scam the seller.


  87. Rose yates

    Hi, what about when a buyer opens a case with ebay saying item not as described, doesn’t reply to any of
    My messages then claims to of sent phone back to me with tracking number but tracking number is
    not to my house, ebay have closed case and given refund to buyer and I know owe ebay £500
    Realise I should of been more careful when selling but any ideas what I can do now

  88. Rose Yates

    Please could you advise?
    I sold an iphone 6s in December 15 and stupidly did not take the necessary steps as you mentioned.
    2 weeks after the buyer received the phone, the buyer opened a case with ebay saying item not as described said was faulty. I did try on many occasions to contact the buyer with no response, eventually 18th January the buyer sent ebay via a message the tracking number and my return address.
    On checking the number online the parcel was sent on 7th Jan from Congleton, I had to post the parcel to Norfolk (different address to Paypal 🙁 ) the parcel was then collected from post office depot and because the depot had same name as the town I live in, ebay have took that I collected even thought I sent proof of name of recipient, I have even visited the recipient and he sent me an email stating that tracking number was for his parcel from his photography supplier in Congleton, again ebay would not accept this.
    They have now issued the buyer with a full refund and requesting the money from myself.
    I have sent ebay the details that state wrong number but would not accept as not in letter format from royal mail (which I have had no success in obtaining as Royal mail state they have done what they were supposed to for this tracking number).

    Ebay have now closed the case and refused my appeal have you any suggestions of any further actions I can take?!


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rose,

      You have been scammed on all sides here…

      eBay/PayPal most likely won’t help you with this so your only real option is to get you customer to Small Claims Court:



      1. Rose yates

        Sorry posted again your reply didn’t show at first thanks

        1. Rose Yates

          Hi, on looking into small claims court, who would I take to court the person who actually paid for the phone (the only part of address that gives is London) or the person who the phone was sent to, which is the address in both ebay and Paypal?

          1. Andrew Minalto

            Hi Rose,

            Hmm, not sure. Probably one that phone was sent to, yes.


  89. Mika Hakkinen

    This appears to be written by someone with very little knowledge of actual eBay practices. First of all, buyer scams are ubiquitous now, since every criminal out there knows that eBay sides with buyers automatically. Secondly, the ‘best practices’ recommended are ludicrous–excluding someone with four policy violations in the last month? Really? Buyers know about this so when they have four strikes they simply move to another account. Most sellers no longer bother reporting scam buyers because they know it’s a waste of time.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mika,

      This is a beginners post on basic prevention tactics ANYONE can take to minimise buying scams on eBay.

      You’re more than welcomed to post your ideas/suggestions/insights on how to prevent more advanced scams.


  90. Thank you for this guide Andrew, it’s very useful.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Alex! 🙂

      1. I am an eBay seller and was scammed by a buyer whom as you mention “returned a different item” the original transaction was a pair of shoes worth £341. Ebay favoured the buyer refunding them the money despite me sending photographic evidence of the entirely different shoes that were returned, the box, action fraud crime reference number , all corresponding emails in an appeal. They still closed the appeal in the buyers favour. I now have an invoice from eBay for the item fee £41 and the refund £341. I am now approx £720 out of pocket and very sickened by the whole experience.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Hi Dan,

          I would recommend you bring this to small claims court and try fighting it directly with the customer.

          But it will be hard to prove that he didn’t send you back those shoes – it’s basically impossible to prove it…


          1. Why don’t you just video tape the receiving and opening of the package that was returned, if it does not contain the correct item you have your proof. I am potentially dealing with this situation now and that is what I plan to do.

            Record in 4k video on your cell phone, you can’t fake that. Upload it to youtube and send the link to the video to ebay.

          2. Andrew Minalto

            As far as I’m aware, eBay does not accept such videos/images as proof in disputes.

            All they care about is tracking number – whatever item was delivered or not.


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