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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

E-Bay Scams

A friend recently sold an i-Pad on E-Bay. Well, actually sold is the wrong word because the "buyer" didn't pay for the item. There are many scams, usually originating in the Ukraine, which E-Bay is aware of but chooses to do nothing about.

Here's how it works: A "buyer" in the Ukraine is the winning bid on an item (usually electronic). They are more often than not the winning bid because they have no intention of paying for the item. They ask that the item be sent by U.S. Postal Service (because it's impossible to track the item once it leaves the U.S.) From the forums I've read there seems to be no sure way to receive proof of delivery of an item sent to the Ukraine. The seller at this point is relying on the buyer to be honest. The seller receives the money, thinks everything is okay and sends the item. After 45 days the "buyer" reports to E-Bay the item was not received. They don't contact the seller because they don't wish to resolve the matter, they want their money refunded (they can do this over and over again with different sellers without recourse from E-Bay) Even with proof that the item was sent and customs forms filled out, E-Bay takes the side of the buyer. The seller is not only out the cost of the item but also the postage.The E-Bay buyer in the Ukraine gets the item free.

If the seller refuses to offer a refund, Pay Pal simply deducts the amount from their account. If there are insufficient funds it's sent to a collection agency. Meanwhile the buyer continues to run the scam with other unsuspecting sellers.

After calling E-Bay, my friend was told that while the E-Bay associate empathizes with her, E-Bay policies will only let the seller keep the funds if they can prove delivery.

Also, you cannot leave an unfavorable report for that buyer letting other sellers know to beware.

There are loads of forums out there complaining about these scams. (Do a Google search to find them). One comment suggested choosing the runner up bid if that person resides in the U.S. rather than risking sending electronic items abroad. A new E-Bay seller might not be aware that you can do this.

It's a shame that E-Bay doesn't warn sellers or protect them against unscrupulous "buyers."

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