If you are just joining eBay either as a seller or buyer, it is important to know the various ways eBay scams occur.
Selling on eBay can be really challenging especially that eBay seems to have more support for the buyers.
Not just eBay, Paypal too. Paypal is the official payment system on eBay, it allows buyers access a platform where payment can be made to the seller virtually. The seller will be charged a fee for using the serviceThe seller will be charged a fee for using the service.
There is a 70% chance that eBay will support a buyer in the event of any claim, more reasons why you need to be ready for any situations.
For the buyers, there is no guarantee that they will not be scammed but there is an eBay buyer protection program for them.
If you have never experienced it before, it will surely happen but you can guide against it by taking strict measures.
eBay scams are real, this article might be what you need to avoid it to avoid being scammed either as a buyer or seller.
Common eBay buyer scams
eBay may open you up to millions of potential customers but as seller, you need to take certain measures to avoid losing your money to dishonest customers. Knowing how to sell is just a fragment of eBay, be ready for hiccups especially if you are going big.
Below are some common eBay buyer Scams:
1. Items not received
This is one of the most common eBay scams. When you continue to lose merchandise, you are going to experience loss instead of making profits.
Although it does happen at times that customers do not receive their items which is common when you use normal post for shipping. In order to know exactly if such is true, always provide tracking number and follow up all through.
Make it a point to your customers that you will ship to their PayPal address, this can also give you leverage when a buyer opens a dispute for item not received. If you make your findings and it checked out that item made way to the buyer’s address, you could win the dispute.
In rare occasions, a seller might ask that you should use a different address other than the one on PayPal, never agree to that if you want to stand a chance for any possible dispute. You can request that he should cancel the order if you have not yet shipped it, then he makes another order after changing his PayPal address.
At times you might find out that the address on PayPal is different from eBay’s, in this kind of situation, you are to contact eBay and ask to be advised accordingly.
In the event that buyers make a claim that he or she did not get the item, you can make your findings with the postal office. Once you are able to prove that the items get to the buyer’s paypal address, you win.
2. Scam that occurred through direct payment
There are times that buyers will ask that you should complete sales outside eBay, when that happens, the buyer will still be protected by PayPal whereas you have no protection from either eBay or Paypal.
Buyers sometimes will use greed to get the better of you, they realize you will love to escape some processing fees. eBay often frown against deals done outside eBay.
If it comes to eBay attention that you have been doing that or the buyer reports you to ebay, you might have your account suspended or deleted upon investigation.
3. Discount scam
Another way that buyers use to make money off sellers through dishonest means is when buyers make a claim that item is faulty or broken. Sometimes, they may request for a full refund or partial refund. It may actually not be the case, you need to take precautions especially if you have no formal experience about selling on eBay.
This can hurt your profit if it is not well managed well. To be prepared, if it has a serial number, always take the picture or video before shipping it out. If it does not, you can negotiate with the buyer on a discount. 5 to 20% discount is still okay but when a buyer demands more, you can request that the item should be shipped back to you.
This type of issue always favour the buyer more but you should give it what it takes if you discover any discrepancy. If it has a serial number, make sure it is the same item by confirming it.
When a customer returns an item, during the point of receipt, do not receive the item until your video is set, you can find someone to video the event as it unfolds right to the point where you check the items. This will not always protect you but could worth it when you need it most.
4. Blackmailing using feedback
eBay does support sellers when a buyer threatens to give negative feedback for not giving full or partial refunds on items with no justification for refunds.
When this happens, contact ebays and report situations to them. The buyer has already shot himself in the leg because of the blackmailing mail he or she sent.
Meanwhile, do not frustrate the buyer to the point that he sends such threatening mail, if he had a good case against, eBay and PayPal could still rule in his favour. Reply to your message as soon as possible, be courteous with them and try as much as possible to have evidence on the ground in the event of any possible claims.
Ways by which eBay sellers scam buyers
With my experiences on eBay, I am in a position to tell you that buyers do get scammed too. In light of that, I will be mentioning a few points about how eBay sellers scam can emerge. They are:
1. Delivery scam
Although there are protections for buyers for non-delivery items, nevertheless, you still need to be careful of items being offered to you as eBay may not provide support for some items especially illegal items.
As a buyer, even when you are sure the item is under support on eBay, have enough evidence to support your action against the seller which can be initiated through eBay or PayPal.
After waiting for about 30 to 40 days and still do not get the item, open a dispute on PayPal which can upgrade to claim. After investigation, you will be refunded. This might take a while to get done but if your claim is legit, expect the claim to be ruled in your favour.
Know that 20 days will be given for the buyer and seller to resolve the issue, if after 20 days, there is no response from seller or no common ground, it will escalate to claim. Paypal will then come in, review the case and make a decision.
2. Seller deliberating shipping out a defective item
No business owners love to lose any of their wares, it always hurts when it gets damaged or spoiled while still with them. They may try to sell them to buyers to save their business. If the seller plans to stay for long, he is definitely going to hurt his business because of negative reviews.
The first place most buyers visit is the review section, this will give them more information about the seller. Imagine seeing about 35% negative reviews, that is a thumb down for the sellers.
Only new buyers who have not done much of online shopping will not know what to do to activate eBay protection program for buyers. If this happens, you have three options.
One is to contact the seller and let him be aware of it, you might get a refund or be sent another one.
Just make sure there is evidence to back up your claim, sometimes, you might be asked to send back the item for further investigation. If after doing that and it looks like it is not getting anywhere, it is time to use the other option which is contacting either PayPal or eBay.
3. Fake products shipped to the buyer
As a buyer you owe it to yourself to get a good deal from eBay. When trying to get a good deal, especially at a very low price, that is when you need to be more careful. An item which you know cost not less than $100 but tagged by a seller at a rate very low than that should raise some doubts.
This is common with expensive gadgets like a laptop and iPhone unless you have mastered how to use the buyer protection policy to your advantage, never patronize a buyer with several negative feedbacks.
Maybe you have already paid for the goods, goods was sent only to discover you receive a fake item, say a clone iPhone. You should immediately contact PayPal because there is already an intention to scam. A seller who sent a fake item knew exactly what he was doing.
4. Payment made outside eBay platform
You should always ignore when a seller asks you to wire money through money gram, bank cheque or western union, the reason is that it is almost impossible to recover money sent through another system other than eBay’s payment system.
If you use PayPal even though it was paid directly, you can still enjoy support.
5. A single item being sold to several buyers
This happened to be my first experience as a buyer on eBay. After confirming my eBay account, I wanted to get a used laptop so I made a random check. I saw one and made payment instantly through PayPal.
I was expecting my item after being provided with the tracking code, a few days later I saw the same item being offered, same features, same price but different seller. I decided to make some investigations, I checked the tracking code online and found out that the destination is USA.
This is enough evidence that I am about to get scammed, the seller is sending the item but to a different buyer, so I opened a dispute on PayPal. I even sent a mail to the seller before that but there was no response, that puts me on my toes. The dispute later escalated to claim and I got my money back. You too can do the same once you see signs.
6. Item no longer available after payment
You have paid for an item, shipping confirmed, a few days later, and the item was removed from eBay. Trust me, you need to be worried, how will you track the item when you do not have the tracking code written in your pad or elsewhere?
I have experienced this kind of situation before on eBay, it’s over 8 weeks since I ordered a memory card, I asked for a refund, a few hours later the item was removed and the seller failed to refund my cash.
After several pleas to the seller to refund my cash which he did not, I could not contact PayPal because I used a credit card to make a purchase even though payment was still initiated by PayPal. I could have used PayPal but it is going to take a while. eBay was the last resort, fortunately, eBay came through for me and in a few minutes, I got my cash.
There are several ways that sellers can scam buyers. When you see that something is off, you should contact eBay through their helpline or on social media for help. Tell them the situation on the ground and ask they should advise accordingly. I would prefer a chat as you get to have a copy in the event of any dispute between you and the seller.
7. Let’s take it outside eBay scam
This is one of the common ways that sellers use to scam unsuspecting customers, it is common with new sellers that have the intention to commit fraud. For new sellers with such intention, they do not get about whether the account gets deleted since it is yet to build good ratings.
These sellers know that eBay does not support any deal made aside from the platform, they will create a new account and make few listings. When you contact them, they ask you to wire the money or use escrow. Do not be misled, eBay will never support such a move. Chances are that the payment system they provide will have no chargeback feature. Never make a deal outside eBay.