1. Home
  2. /
  3. Blog
  4. /
  5. eBay
  6. /
  7. A Complete Guide to...

A Complete Guide to Buyers-Scammers on eBay!

April 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 206 Comments
Spread the love

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,

Spread the love
Join 500+ Amazon Sharks Members
and Start your OWN Amazon FBA Business TODAY!

Other Similar Articles To Help You Take Your Online Business Elsewhere

Other Similar Articles About eBay

Click Here to Leave a Comment

  1. 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!

  2. 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. 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.

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Anna for sharing this with us.

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


  3. 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.

  4. 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.


  5. 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.

  6. 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…


  7. 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.


  8. 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.

  9. 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.


  10. 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!

  11. 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.


  12. 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.

  13. 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. 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.

    2. 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.


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


  16. 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.


  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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. 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.

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

      2. 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.


  22. 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.


  23. 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.


  24. 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.


      2. 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.


      3. 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 🙂

  25. 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.


  26. 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.


  27. 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.


  28. 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

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.


  32. 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.

  33. 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.


  34. 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.

      2. 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.


  35. 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. 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!!

    2. 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…


  36. 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.


  37. 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

  38. 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

      2. 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?

      3. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Rose,

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


  39. 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.


  40. 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.

      2. 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…


      3. 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.

      4. 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.


Leave a Reply to james Cancel Reply

%d bloggers like this: