The eBay sale that never happened

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Last week I received the PayPal payment shown left which triggered the strangest investigation I’ve ever seen on eBay. On the face of it I’d received a perfectly normal payment for a routine eBay transaction except that 44 seconds later the payment was reversed.

I don’t get too many reversed payments so the next step was to find out why and naturally I took a quick look at the eBay listing.

I was amazed to discover that the item hadn’t received a sale – in my Payal account and on the PayPal payment received email it clearly stated that it was an “eBay Payment Received” but the item hadn’t actually been purchased. There’s no way to guess the email address I have on my PayPal account – it’s totally different to my registered eBay email address so the only way to get it is from an eBay purchase.

I spoke to PayPal and all they could tell me was that the payment had been made through eBay, and that eBay had for some reason triggered the reversal. Contacting eBay was fruitless, support escalated the situation to the technical wizards and they ran a data reset designed to retrieve any lost data from my account. This failed meaning the details of the buyer, Seller, and item number don’t match any transaction record on eBay.

So I’m left with a payment which has been reversed for a transaction which appears never to have occured in the first place and I’m unable to contact the buyer (can I call them a buyer if they didn’t buy?) as eBay are (quite rightly) unwilling to provide me their telephone number.

What annoys me most is not the loss of a sale. It’s the fact that this was a brand new buyer to eBay, who only registered on the day of the failed transaction, and may be left wondering why they never received the printer they thought they had bought.

So what did happen to my sale? Did they buyer buy and then an eBay glitch lost the transaction record, or did they never make a purchase in the first place?

7 Responses

  1. I experienced something like this in March.
    As an experiment I resurected an old selling id and went immediate payment only.
    I noticed a few “reversed” payment in my account (by accident, stumbled upon them while looking for something else). I just thougt they were “immediate payment only” payments that were not completed or failed at the last hurdle.

  2. I had this happen to me a couple of weeks ago. the same buyer, twice, for the same item. I emailed them apologizing for any confusion and explaining how they had to go through eBay to make the purchase first. The fact that they never responded has me leaning towards thinking the buyer was up to no good. At least my gut tells me right now I probably made a mistake e-mailing them, I hope I didn’t give any important info up by doing so. Much smaller sale in my case though.

  3. I had exactly the same thing happen to me around 10-14 days ago. Annoyingly I received an email from Paypal telling me a payment had been received but no email to tell me the payment had been reversed.

    The buyer was new to eBay and had 0 feedback and no record of any sale existed on the ebay system.

    A week later I had a phone call from the buyer telling me that his money had been taken twice and asked that I refund his money, but I think he mistakenly confused the reversed payment with a second payment taken.

    Is this a problem with eBay/Paypal or possibly some new loophole the scammers are trying to manipulate.

  4. Hey this is very interesting.

    It was a zero feedback buyer registered that day. I had the payment paid email but no email to tell me it had been reversed (watch out people that work from emails for shipping orders 😯 )

    Also I don’t use immediate payment so it can’t be a problem there. At least now I know I’m not going mad and that others also have the same problem 🙄

  5. Forgot to mention, mine was zero feedback as well, registered a couple of weeks before.

    So, my guess is it’s got to be one of two things:

    1) New PayPal tighter rules disallowing a sale to innocent new eBayer (maybe some info doesn’t match on their registration)

    2) New PayPal tighter rules protecting sellers from scammers.

    I’m not a big fan of either possibility. I’ll withhold judgment for now, but I think I’m happy PayPal has been stepping in. These buyers don’t feel right.

  6. Hmmm… so either eBay / PayPal have some new form of un-announced protection, or they have a bloody huge problem that is going to piss off their newest potential buyers and probably put them off from ever buying again 😯


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