January 13, 2012

Dealing with bad buyers on eBay

If you have sold more than a few items on eBay recently then you are well aware of some of the nutty buyers there are out there. In my own experience I get one nut job out of every 30 sales.

Ebay does offer some great filtering settings to weed out some buyers such as the non-paying filter which you can set to filter out buyers that have had more than 2 incidents of not paying for items on eBay in the past year. What eBay does not filter is the scam buyers. Unfortunately I have gotten 3 of them in the past 2 months.

My scamming buyers operate like this:
They buy an item. They typically wait for about a week after they receive it to contact me with a problem with the item. Two of my last 3 have claimed that the item was not described correctly and they have a problem with it. One item was advertised as broken and it even had pictures showing the broken parts. The buyer wanted $10 or they would leave negative feedback. That is called feedback extortion and eBay will close accounts that are found to be trying that. I emailed the buyer back and told him that I would not be refunding any money and thanked him for suggesting the $10 as a pay off for not putting negative feedback and told him in the message that he was guilty of feedback extortion and if he did go through with leaving negative feedback - I would report him. I reported him anyway and added him to my blocked buyers list. He never did leave feedback.

The next buyer claimed the item did not arrive. The delivery confirmation showed it was delivered. I sent back this email which is a standard email for sellers to send out to "missing"deliveries

 Dear, XXXXX
I am sorry to hear that your package is missing. First check with your post office, neighbors & family, and if you do not find your package, take the next steps below.

Since Delivery Confirmation was used, the Post Office will investigate why you never received your package, because someone, somewhere, has it. Mail fraud is a felony, and the Post Office takes these type of complaints very seriously.  What to do if Delivery Confirmation shows delivery and you don't have the package, USPS can often deliver to the wrong address, or mark the package "Delivered", when it's still in the Post Office.  The first thing to do is to contact USPS using this "Lost Mail" form and fill it out:

This is the only form that will cause USPS to look for and trace your package and get to you.  Choose "Delivery" then "Lost" from the drop down box.  Using this form places a "Note" first on the USPS Delivery Confirmation tracking page.  This will be important if you have to file a charge back with your credit card company.

After the investigation, if your package is not found, the Delivery Confirmation delivered will be changed to "Lost".  When DC shows "Delivered", Paypal, or you credit card will not refund your money.  Paypal or your credit card will not refund until you file this form and the investigation is complete.  You can also call USPS Track & Confirm service at 1(800)222-1811.

If you suspect that it might have been taken from your mailbox, I do suggest filing a police report. Since stealing mail is a federal offense you may have to follow up with a report to the post office.

Thanks so much. Let me know how things turn out.  Best of Luck.

After I sent that email to the buyer I get a "case" filed against me in eBay. It was plain that the buyer had no intention of looking for the item because not enough time had lapsed since I sent the email (just about 40 minutes), or she had indeed gotten her item and either wanted me to refund her money or send another one (which I did not have).

Ebay's case process has the buyer and seller message each other until one of them either gives up or tells eBay that there is an impasse. It was during the process the buyer admits the item was stolen and wanted to see if eBay's buyer protection would cover it. I did not want to say "sorry lady, but both eBay and the seller are not responsible for items taken from you after they are in your possession."  Instead she closed the case and left me odd positive feedback. Her final words on the item were, "too much hassle for a $5 item"

My latest odd buyer bought an item she just didn't like. I told her that I would refund in full as soon as I got the item problem right - wrong. She sent me back an email trashing the item and that she would not send it back. I was getting a feeling that she wanted a refund and keep the item too. I held my position because I know that if she filed a case with eBay, eBay would require me to refund, but I can add "on the condition of the return of the item" to the case. So she leaves me a negative ding. I do wonder if she plans on filing a "case" against me.

All 3 buyers are now on my blocked buyers list.

Now some advice to sellers. Use to check out your buyers. You can use that website to see what feedback they have been leaving for others. The buyers who are new to scamming sellers are nuts enough to leave negative feedback that shows what they are up to like "buyer would not refund money" only to have the seller leave a reply like "You are lying. Feedback Extortion Reported to Ebay." The buyers that are expert scammers usually do not leave feedback at all. They just move on to the next victim to extort money from.

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