Welcome to this week’s edition of our Reader’s Question blog post series!
Today I want to touch on a rather sensitive topic – dealing with problem customers on eBay. Well really “Problem Customer” is not the right way to describe it so let’s just call them what they are – crazy people.
If you have been selling online for at least a few years, chances are you have come across such crazy people. If not – good for you, you’ve been lucky!
Sadly Ally didn’t have this luck… let’s hear her story:
I just thought I would see if you have any advice on how I might proceed.
I sold an item of furniture via eBay in January 2015. The buyer paid via PayPal then sent a courier to collect it. All very regular for my business.
In October 2015 this buyer charged back via PayPal, stating that her account had been hacked and she did not purchase my item.
I contacted the buyer via email then telephone and she insisted she did not buy the item and that her accounts had been hacked and she had lost many thousands of pounds. She said a massive fraud investigation was underway via National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – City of London Police and that my details had been forwarded to them for court action to be taken.
She then began harassing me via email demanding that I pay her back the amount taken from her account, even though PayPal had already taken back the money from me and presumably repaid her.
The emails became quite threatening (not physically) but became abusive and threatened court action. They usually arrived very late at night or during the night ready for a nice little early morning treat.
So eventually I went to the local police station who advised me to report this all to Action Fraud – which I did.
PayPal and eBay informed me they were investigating as well and that her accounts had been suspended while they did so. That was as far as it went and I heard nothing more from Action Fraud, eBay or PayPal.
I could not claim any compensation from PayPal as I did not post the item and therefore did not have any tracking information. So I just had to write the incident off to bad luck and try to forget about it.
In February 2016 this ‘buyer/non buyer’ again emailed threatening me with court action. I did not reply and have so far heard no more from her. This contact prompted me to look her up again on eBay and I discovered that she is back with her original 100% positive feedback score and trading again – so I started to follow her as I knew she had lied all along and I just knew she would put my item (an oak bookcase) up for sale one day.
Now she has! It is listed for sale on her eBay account and she has actually had the audacity to use one of my original photographs which I posted on eBay when I had it for sale.
I have contacted eBay and PayPal but – guess what?? I haven’t heard anything back from them and she’s still got the item on there for sale.
This makes me so mad as I was running a business and so did purchase, transport, clean, and advertise this item for re-sale so it’s not like I got it for nothing! Also eBay charged me the sale & listing fees and have never refunded me. Besides my loss who knows how many others she has ripped off like this and seems to be getting off scot-free!
Surely eBay and PayPal should have banned this person from using their platforms and what the heck is Action Fraud doing I wonder? I know it’s not the crime of the century but that is what they are supposed to be there for!
Anyway just wondered if you have any brilliant ideas on how I can somehow get some sort of satisfaction – or even if not perhaps you could make others aware of the need to obtain shipping information when you accept PayPal payments. Seems obvious now but I had often sold things and had them collected in this way so never really considered it a risk.
P.S. The only other thing to mention is that this woman says she has an MBE. I have tried to look her up and cannot find anything about her being honoured. All I’ve found is a long list of defunct companies of which she has at one point or another been a director.
Many thanks for sharing this story and allowing me to publish this on my blog as I believe that many people can learn from this.
I have been in similar situations in the past – not just once but a few times (over the last 10+ years) and I’ve learned that by far the best way to deal with this is to simply LET IT GO.
Yes, as painful as it may sound, you just have to force yourself to forget this.
There’s no point in fighting this. In fact, you can make the situation even worse as crazy people can turn your life into a chaos.
I strongly recommend that you DO NOT reply to any future messages from this person. They “feed” on vulnerable people who reply to messages, trying to come to some sort of solution. They like it and use it as a reason to harass you further.
So just ignore her completely from now on.
If messages keep coming in, just report them to eBay but don’t reply to them.
Obviously you want to add her eBay ID to your blocked buyers list too.
But apart from this, you simply want to forget about this incident and move on with your life and business. There’s no point in fighting it as you can’t win.
eBay or PayPal won’t investigate such conflicts. It’s too specific for them to look into it. All they care about is tracking numbers, proof of purchase and stuff like that. They’re not the police and won’t work on individual cases like these.
If you have the buyer’s full name, you could try to bring her to Small Claims Court but the question is – DO YOU WANT IT? Do you really want to deal with that person again? It’s clear that by definition you have been scammed by a CRAZY person. If you bring her to court, God knows what kind of revenge she could plot against you in the future. You don’t want that.
So to sum it up – as painful as it may seem, you simply have to ignore and forget about such customers. It’s not worth your time, nerves and the loss of a good night’s sleep to try to make your case straight and get some kind of justice. Some people are simply not made for that, they’re simply “crazy people”.
Ok, that’s it for today!
I know this is not a miracle cure Ally but I hope this helps you better understand the whole situation and will help some of my other blog readers to avoid costly mistakes in future.
As usual – if you want your question to be featured in an up-coming Reader’s Question post, feel free to get in touch with me via my Helpdesk here. Even if your question isn’t selected for a blog post, I will still personally answer all queries within 24 hours, Monday – Friday!
Have a great Black Friday weekend everyone!