eBay under fire again in media regarding Buyer Fraud

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We’re all familiar with the eBay issues regarding Buyer Fraud. It takes a few familiar forms. The buyer claims an item hasn’t arrived and wants a refund and the item isn’t tracked. Or perhaps the buyer claims that the item hasn’t arrived (when it has under tracking) and gets a refund. Or, maybe, a buyer returns the goods and they aren’t at all what you the seller sent out.

And once again the problems are under the microscope and, on this occasion, the Guardian has written a piece highlighting the issues called eBay accused of failing its sellers as fraudulent buyers manipulate the system.

What’s interesting in this piece is that eBay is contrite and appears to be planning changes. If you read the article you’ll see that the buyer in question was clearly a repeat offender on buyer fraud. And eBay is apologetic that they missed it: “This is not good enough on our part. We have a buyer abuse team that uses software to scan the site to spot this behaviour. In this case, this buyer clearly has been abusing the system and it wasn’t picked up.” It’s admirable that they do have a team addressing the problem.

And we should look forward to changes later in the year, according to further comment from eBay in the article: “Learning from the experiences of the 50,000 UK and US sellers in the pilot, we have created a different returns experience, including putting obstacles in the way of suspected fraudsters to prevent refunds, or even blocking a buyer entirely when we suspect fraud before they’ve been refunded. We’re also giving the sellers who offer free or 30-day returns the ability to allow partial refunds on faulty, damaged and lost item claims so that they can recover costs.”

Amazon has reported that regular offenders who game the system are being kicked off. It seems that eBay are doing much the same but some try-hards are slipping through the net. Do you reckon that the Buyer Fraud problem is getting any better?

70 Responses

  1. Ebay only cares about $$$$$$$ nothing else, not the seller or the buyer, the buyers will buy and the sellers will ship, eBay takes there cut right away. If there is a problem ebay would just rather it disappear usually at the sellers expense. But they really don’t care who pays as long as it’s not them!

  2. I have stopped selling on ebay because of that. So has my daughter. I have always found it hard to contact them and then as a seller they don’t want to know. My daughter sent out a authentic vintage dress in great condition, the buyer said it arrived all ripped at the front and wanted her money back. She did not return the dress!!!! surprise surprise! and ebay didn’t care. As a result I don’t bother with them anymore, neither does my daughter. I sell on loads of other places and do just as well.
    I’ve been disgusted with ebay for many years now but never had anywhere to go with a complaint. Just because they are so BIG they think they can get away with it. Im glad they are being investigated.

  3. it’s getting worst Buyers rule the roost and many sellers are abandoning the ship because of it, i had a buyer claim back £470 it even said delivered but states got a different item if you sell High value electronic goods you will get scammers, don’t sell abroad your not protected, items can take weeks and half the time tracking doesn’t get updated buyers can multi claim and abuse the system it’s a nightmare they run rings around sellers and lie and lie, Apple equipment is the worst for fraudsters

  4. No still have not had a refund for a m/phone which was sold to us as new but was found to be second hand and when it went wrong we sent it back and have had no refund

  5. For years ebay’s buyer protection policy has been nothing but a thieves charter.

  6. Ebay is a joke there is a loophole for buyers to defraud sellers.I sent some items to buyer he claimed they were faulty he sent back different items.I recorded me opening sealed package and proved buyer sent different items.I contacted ebay and told them I have evidence but they said we dont want to know item has been delivered to me and it is there protocol to refund buyer.So basically you can buy a expensive item like a iphone 7 say it is damaged open a return send back a box with same weight as iphone 7 filled with muck provided it is tracked ebay will refund you.It is a joke and ebay need to start accepting videos off sellers opening returned items as evidence.

  7. One can often see, from a quick glance at the buyers feedback, that they are a serial fraudster. As any business seller knows, reporting them has no effect, so I often wander just what it would take for the buyer abuse team to take action.

    As has already been stated elsewhere, we all know that buyers will just claim a full refund via PayPal if a seller attempts to give a partial refund through eBay.

  8. A quote from the article is “Marchant plans to start a lobby group of disaffected sellers to challenge what he sees as bias against sellers”. Anybody know anything about this?

  9. Ebay deserve everything they get in this. Sellers have been complaining about problems for years and about how damaging eBay’s policies are to the ability to conduct a secure business.

    It isn’t just fraud either. It is the fact that eBay refund without investigating. I had a case recently with a customer who unknown to me wanted an item to go in a 10cm space in a display case, and then complained when it arrived exactly as described at 17cm. I offered a refund at the buyers cost, but because she opened a dispute eBay overrode this, charged me for the return and gave me a defect. All I had done was ship an item as described! This was all self evident from the messaging between us.

    I tried calling but support from Indonesia is dire. Too many don’t know what they are doing or are not authorised to do anything anyway. In other words they are employed to suck up the sellers complaints but to take absolutely no action.

    The fraud, false returns, failure to comply with their own policies etc are all symptoms of the cause. Ebay’s returns and control processes are defective.

  10. Ebay will not allow sellers to leave negative feedback so they only need to put in place a click button where we can say buyer said item did not arrive. It does not need to be visible to anyone else other than eBay. But it will begin to highlight the repeat offenders very quickly.

  11. ebay have a report buyer button
    with less effect than pushing the button on a pelican crossing
    its a placebo

  12. When they say “The system was built on the premise that most people are honest”, they are correct, we have always thought this, however, the small percentage of people that are dishonest will repeat offend as often as they can get away with it.

    Surely Ebay should be wanting to put this type of buyer off, they should not want repeat fraudsters keep using their system.

    Our experience has not been too bad, but we do not sell high value items. Like Lee Smith said, since adding the bar codes to parcels sent by RM it has cut down on the small percent of people “trying it on”.

  13. There’s a pretty big thread on the UK powerseller board highlighting several serial scammers, claiming INR on everything they buy and have been doing for years.

    Even a four year old can clearly see what they’re up to. Sellers have contacted eBay, used the report button etc but nothing is done. Even the community eBay people have said they’ll get it looked at but months later nothing has been done.

    Whatever they say, however many platitudes we hear, eBay is not interested in fraud. It’s all about the buyer, sellers are treated with contempt. Until that mindset changes, people will get away with defrauding hard working sellers.

  14. EBay aren’t the only ones – Amazon are complicit in defrauding sellers as well. Then they have the cheek to suspend your account. If I could find a fair and ethical trading platform I would close both my Amazon and EBay accounts.

  15. The problem goes beyond the buyers. Sellers are also at the mercy of large selling platforms such as ebay and amazon who can never be challenged and rarely accept that they are wrong. Companies continue to lose money and risk penalities and even possibly suspension with no possible means of recourse when the problem is often caused by the marketplace itself (eg a technical problem, or not checking the facts). I think it is about time that the government stepped in and setup a watchdog/ombudsman to monitor and regulate the whole ecommerce environment but particularly on behalf of sellers. Ebay and amazon seem to be able to do what they like without answering to anyone. This needs to change.

  16. for years ebay have been told the exact same thing by thousands if not millions of sellers.

    they respect sellers so much they completely ignore or even laugh at it.

    once a tabloid starts saying it, then it’s worth paying attention to apparently.
    way to show who you value.

    how exactly do they expect to enforce this when anyone can create a new email address and ebay account in under 5 minutes? you could be banned from ebay and back on again in literally 5 minutes scamming again.
    – in fact the scammers are more practiced at this than your average joe, they probably already have a spare email or two on hand, so make that 60 seconds not 5 minutes.

    yes there are possible measures they can take, if they know what they’re doing they may even work, but given ebay’s track record, they’d be either completely unwilling or completely incapable of doing more than the bare minimum. as evidenced by everything they’ve done previously.

  17. I’m glad this thread has been started.

    Our biggest problem is with buyers going direct to Paypal well after the maximum time allowed on Ebay.

    It’s a travesty that buyers can purchase under Ebay rules and, well after expiry of the time allowed to notify problems, can just go to Paypal and get their money back that way.

    We’ve had sixteen paypal claims this year alone, all of which were paid out, even when proof of delivery was uploaded.

    Making claims direct to Paypal means buyers can avoid building a record of claims on Ebay, so they can do it as often as they like.

    Not to mention the fraudulent chargebacks for “unauthorised transactions” – we’ve even pointed out the positive feedback left for these “unauthorised transactions”, but guess what – we’ve lost every time.

  18. Surely it would be easy to set up a system to block and remove a huge amount of fraudulent buyers, making ebay a better place for everyone – and for ebay too. Yes, they might get fees from sales regardless, but the reputation damage has got to be worth more than that.

    All ebay needs to do is have a log of INR refund claims and take action based upon it. If someone is claiming more than a few items didn’t arrive, they’re either thieving them, someone in their household is, or their postie is. You just don’t get much go missing in the post. Set a threshold, similar to the sellers late transaction delivery, which if the buyer drops below, they get some form of ban, whether temporary or permanent. Link it to the address so they can’t pop back up again.

    Re the 2d barcoding from Royal Mail, got to agree with Lee Smith comment. Big reduction in claims for INR. Had a couple, but gave the tracking details and the delivery scan details and the buyers dropped the claim of INR. That in itself is great, but I still wouldn’t want to be selling the prime targets for scammers, mobiles, consumer electronics or designer gear. And that is a problem for ebay surely. If sellers are reluctant to list, then they’re not getting the business.

  19. Hello,
    I am a buyer actually and to be honest with you many times been tricked/lied by seller.
    Actual item that was advertised wasn’t the one I have received. It was for me so hard to get money back from seller as the item was fake/counterfeit so seller didn’t like it. It wasn’t even good dupe, but here you go. I have learnt my lesson and actually thanks to eBay I have my money back. Monika

  20. Ebay are a crock of…. I am at the point of closing my account down though i have 100% feedback, they dont care about sellers, i send everything signed for and tracked due to so many people saying item hasnt arrived and iv had to give refunds, not even mentioning the return cases opened and not even sending the items back, some buyers are a disgrace and ebay know this

  21. As a seller on Ebay and Amazon , i get around 10-15 claims a week , you can normally spot them due to abuse messages they send trying to bully you .
    Had a scammer try to rip me yesterday for £50 , item was delivered to his partners work a large publishing company in Scotland .
    Tried to tell me they had not received it and after i mentioned i would be checking with partners company mail department ,i was sent around 15 abusive messages warning me not to contact them .
    So i did contact them and now he dropped ebay claim , its about time they are called what they are Thief , Online shop lifters ,Dishonest

  22. One of my friends was in a conversation with someone and he just asked what he was up to at the weekend, he didn’t say a nice walk or a meal out he said oh i’m going to spend the day doing eBay charge backs and saying I haven’t received anything. My friend probed him and said I can’t believe you do that, there are small business out there that rely on that money. He just said everyone does it, why pay for something when you can easily get it back from eBay they always side with the buyer

  23. Well whatever you decide don’t go to Bonanza because they are just as scandalous as eBay. I have been selling for 2 years and making money without purchasing any of their expensive traffic packages. Once they discovered that I was making money without their help then they implemented a policy whereas every time your fees reach $100 they Will debit your account. I mean they don’t even give you 24 hours to ship the item before they hit the account, very annoying. If you return an item to the seller you have to jump thru a bunch of hoops to get your fees returned to you. The seller wants their money returned to them and Bonanza should not take you thru a bunch of changes to return your fees. So, I would suggest that you proceed with caution before listing on Bonanza. In my opinion they are very unethical in their business practices so I would skip them all together.
    P.S. do you have any suggestions on other platforms where I can list my items.

  24. after being scammed for 2000 pds dont expect any help from ebay or for that matter the police . both play into the hands of the scammers by total ineptitude even when the fraud was back on selling the same item within days on ebay still nothing done about it . easy fix never use it again only interested in making more money not in helping the customer or honest seller

  25. Yes,I agree with most of what’s been said,but the fact remains that apart the fraudulent people you still make money.So you just have to live with it.

  26. Ebay don’t care about their sellers just the other day a buyer said where is my item
    if you sell on ebay this is something you get used too
    anyway turns out that the address given was wrong, customer seemed to think someone had tampered with it, so I felt sure ebay would take care of it,
    they contacted customer service and they advised to claim against me….
    why is it that ebay is using it’s sellers to police their system at our cost
    Making claims direct to Paypal means buyers can avoid building a record of claims on Ebay, so they can do it as often as they like. Ebay and paypal take £100s a month off us with nothing in return we are just being ripped of left right and centre!!!!

  27. Looking back over the last 12 months, there are 3 factors which the majority of the INR claims on Ebay have in common.

    I simply put this as a statement of fact based on our experience, the conclusions you draw are your own:

    Factor 1: Low feedback (fifty or less) – (87% of INR cases)

    Factor 2: No history of buying those items – (82% of INR cases)

    Factor 3: Female buyer – (76% of INR cases) *(our buyers are roughly a 50/50 male/female split).

  28. Postscript:

    Out of all the INR cases on Ebay in the last 12 months, a grand total of ONE item was returned to us by Royal Mail.

    It arrived in a damaged item bag and the package was empty.

  29. Frankly, I can’t wait to for eBay fail, Its an insidious company run by nepotism in the boardroom. Ive seen it said many times elsewhere, it seems its run as a subscription scam to plug a sinking ship, but the nepotites don’t care, only interested in the bonus as long as they are out before it thuds dead they couldn’t give a hoot.

  30. The actual INRs etc don’t bother us as even some of our regulars occasionally don’t receive a package. It’s just part of business.

    What is annoying is when you report buyers to Ebay that have left hundreds of negatives claiming INR and still Ebay does nothing. Of the positives they did leave a huge chunk of them are revised which suggests they extorted the sellers. And to be clear: I genuinely really do mean “hundreds”. I am not exaggerating about this buyer.

    The fact that they take no action on such obvious fraudsters means they don’t care at all.

  31. I would like to take ebay to court, as a seller on ebay they always go on buyers side and refund the money with out getting both parties perspective, specially international buyers from 3rd world country. They claim not to receive the item even though tracking shows that they have the goods in their country and is being prepared for shipping, buyer starts to jump up and down and ebay totally disregards tracking information and refund their money and few days later they get their goods as well.
    Something needs to be done as we are losing so much money at the moment.
    By the way- what other good sites to sell??

  32. I would like to say that buyers also suffer. I’ve had several crystals from China that I have bid on never arrive and had to be refunded. This is not down to me. I’m am honest buyer but after 60 days when other goods are turning up from the same country that have been ordered a month later something is very wrong. I’ve had it once with Amazon but was refunded straight away. I even got in touch with royal mail to find out where my goods were going. Depending on what tracking system is used abroad they can’t always follow the item once it is over here. I’m sorry that there are genuine sellers out there being done by it goes for buyers too. I’ve just had a refund from a seller in China for a crystal that has taken more than 60 days n still not arrived. As I bid n got it at a great price I’m wondering if it was ever posted at all. After many apologises and telling me he was so sorry and calling me his good friend he then barred me from buying again. I’ve bought over 300 crystals in just over 12 months and 3 Chinese sellers have done this. It is wrong and unfair to me. I genuinely haven’t received the goods and I’m not in a position to pay for products I don’t receive. I rang ebay to make acomplaint and they never called back. Their service is awful. Amazon is so much better but there’s no bidding service available with them. Anyhow I just wanted to stand up for the buyer as it seems the sellers think they are the only ones to be taken for a ride.

  33. Had enough of The Bay of Evil, they restricted me from selling for a month over last Christmas for copy right violation issues EVEN THOUGH I OWN THE TRADE MARK WHICH IS REGISTERED WITH THE UK INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE (UK, IPO).

    When ebay finally decided to reinstated me following proof (UK IPO Certificate number) that I owned the registered trade mark I asked for compensation for the Ebay screw-up and my loss of earnings at a peak time of the year!!!!, EBAY IGNORED ALL MY EMAILS !!

    I contacted EBAY legal dept (The VeRO, their email is; [email protected]) and pointed out there were over 10.000 listings infringing ON MY REGISTERED COPY WRITE. I asked for these listings to be removed. THEY SIMPLY IGNORED ME !!!!! AGAIN!!!!!

    Ebay is to big and the UK does not have enough law to control them !!!!!! I do not have the money to take them to court, so they get away with it. AGAIN


    EBAY IS A SELLERS NIGHTMARE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. i sold second hand digitizer which was working and after 25 days buyer claim its damage when deliver how could it be after 25 days of delevery found buyer damaged when delevery thats strange i provide all my details from my side and ebay didnt investigate we have a long conversation ebay did decission in 1 min how can they read our long conversatation i the seller and buyer made our point and i am out of pocket i stop selling on ebay i am using gumtree this days cash in hand i know gumtree is ebay product as long as its free and cash in hand its fine for me no scammer now as soon as i got money bye bye

  35. I bought a chair in good faith paid straight away to find out following morning it had been removed off site . So contacted Ebay support to be told the seller had abused policies but I had to wait 9 days to get my money back . The seller contacted me and said that if I open a case I would not get my item but if I did not open a case I would yet he had been removed from eBay so not only did he have my money but also trying to blackmail me . So some sellers are just as bad as buyers .

  36. I have also had money stolen from my bank account through someone hacking into eBay-PayPal systems and also eBay said was there systems were down fortunately I did get money. BAck from bank and they investigated as to who stole it .you can’t trust anyone

  37. I don’t like the idea that when you have to pay fees they do not advise day before it is due to go out nor do I agree that if you sell something and it only makes 0.99 that Paypal take 33p asap what is the point of selling to earn 67p they should have a set price as to when they take there fees example £3.00 or over let us make what money we can I’m a buyer not a seller only sold a. Couple of items but it not worth it you mite aswell give it away .

  38. A lot of these problems are caused because people and companies can’t behave themselves. Ebay is on the decline and Paypal will follow. Try contacting someone from either if you have a problem…. everything is automated…..you don’t get a say in any decision making. It’s take it or leave it. So choose.

  39. these marketplaces are only effective as advertising (rankings for search engines)

    i suspect the trick is to limit one’s exposure to just enough products to generate the rankings and to ensure buyers know of one’s own websites – its a hard long term grind but the repeated claims of ‘lost’ are too much to take

    so treat the marketplaces with the same cold indifference that they treat our interests

  40. I did buy a lovely jacket off of eBay t’other day mind you, so it’s not all bad I guess.

  41. eBay don’t care..I had a difficult issue where I had a good case but because of the “policies” my case was dismissed, spoke to CS…the representiive basically told me to buy shares in eBay and if I still feel the same then I should express my views by partaking in ebay’s next shareholders meeting…Its simple! they they only care about the short term and not the long…

    What all sellers like us need to do is to support new marketplaces and allow a competitor to be able to slap eBay where it hurts them the most…

  42. unfortunately this is the world we live in , i have been selling on these market places for many years, and it is slowly getting worse. its not just on line. they say that UK retailers loose £12m a day, from shoplifters . the facts are that people are always going to steal from retailers.
    Ebay does not care about its sellers, its all about the bottom line. how much money they can get out of you.
    people know that they don,t have to pay for there item if they don,t want to.
    what i do when someone steals from me. is to leave a comment on there feedback
    so other sellers can see.

  43. Had 2 INR cases this week from buyers who hide their feedback (make private).
    I always check those claiming INR to see if there is an indication of systematic negative leaving/non delivery or any indicative comment of a scammer left by other sellers.

    I rang Ebay to say that I do not want to sell to buyers who are hiding their feedback or have less than 10 feedback ratings … but they told me it now is impossible to block these !

    As has been said, we are wide open to scammers and Ebay is making it increasingly the case.

    I will be moving my business more & more out of Ebay.

  44. Hi

    If when you try to contact Paypal by phone after the initial questions you are asked by the robot you will be asked for details of your complaint just say clearly AGENT and after the question has been repeated several times and you continue to say AGENT you will eventually be put through to a Paypal agent.
    I have found them to be very helpfull as both a buyer and a seller.

  45. Nothing new here, we just came back from Holiday. Per normal does not matter if you are away eBay has the normal issues. We had a fraudster from Estonia. The normal “demands a refund” blah blah, we get them to open a case, which will time out before we get back and get proper access. We refund, a day later email from ebay “suspicious buyer” and they are kicked off. After they have stole the product. Theft on eBay has been rampant for years, and they or RMG are totally woeful in dealing with this. It is time the actual authorities in the UK for example “take action”. Not just eBay however a lot of new marketplaces are opening and the the fraudsters are targeting them also. All Marketplaces NEED to up their game, every claim should be registered. 2017 the mail does not have the issues of 2008. Some jail time for mail theft would make these people think twice.

  46. They should remame the site freebay, just had INR claim opened 70 days after the order ebay rep confirmed the buyer has 30 days to open a claim cant explain why the buyer could do it after the window and expect me just to refund or prove delivery.

    Another buyer who claimed INR in April and was refunded then just sent a message telling me the item has not arrived a generic cut and past message and from his feedback he must send a far few INR messages out.

  47. After advice if anybody is able to help? Had a customer return an item for buyers remorse while I was away on holiday. Collect + left the parcel outside in the rain and it has now been damaged. The item was a very expensive pair of curtains which were left in a trailer which due to the weather and the way they were left sat in a pool of water.
    I have searched the ebay website for their policy on returns but can’t find anything about who is responsible when an item gets damaged.
    Does anyone have either this policy or had a similar experience of customer returns getting set back via ebay postage labels getting damaged?


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