TamebayTV: how to deal with eBay UK buyer fraud

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Here is the next in our TamebayTV series of ‘How To’ videos for eBay sellers.

Our first one looked at optimising your eBay listings. The second instalment considered eBay’s Best Match system. Every eBay seller needs to be an expert in Best Match, it’s how eBay displays items to shoppers.

The week’s episode looks at eBay Buyer Fraud. That’s how you cope with buyers who say the goods you sent didn’t arrive. It’s often easy to spot but eBay does seem to find, anecdotally according to sellers, usually in the favour of the shoppers. How do you protect yourself as a seller? This video explores the problems.

These TambayTV videos are produced in association with 1stoporders.co.uk, we’ve made these “how to” videos with specific relation to eBay selling. This is our third video and over the next 7 weeks we’ll be looking at other aspects of eBay trading. Find out more here. Stay tuned.

30 Responses

  1. The chances of correctly addressed mail going missing are around 1 in 1000, yet I sell about 150 items a month and average around 5 claims of non-arrival per month. Tracking is not an option for items worth under £5. What I do get is the entirely worthless free Royal Mail *Certificate of Posting* and always respond to a claim by presenting a copy of it, which does nothing to rectify my loss, but does expose the buyer as a cheat. I then refund, and then enclose evidence of posting and report the buyer to Ebay (who never comment on what their findings are) and advise them to monitor the amount of claims that buyer has made, as, to (semi)quote Oscar Wilde *To loose one letter may be considered unfortunate, to loose two may be considered careless*…..if enough sellers supplied evidence of posting, and reported buyers who maintain they never received their items, then the pattern of fraud will become impossible for Ebay to ignore, although they will continue to do their best.
    This week a buyer really took the cake, claiming 58 days after purchase, and with just 48 hours left before his claim time ran out, that he had not received his item. It was so obvious that he hoped my receipts would not be held for that long that the circumstantial evidence suggests fraud. I had to refund him anyway, or have Ebay do so on my behalf, but reported him in the vain hope that Ebay might be able to smell a rat, but doubt that they will…..

  2. Royal mail delivery confirmation helps with this. I now love seeing an INR being opened because 99.9% of the time we have delivery confirmation.

    We are even getting delivery confirmation now on large letters and letters.

  3. Had a classic at the w.end.

    Buyer requested A refund
    Comments This item hasn’t arrived in time for my friends hot tub party

  4. This is has always been the biggest bug bear of mine with eBay. RMG have done their part with 2d barcodes, as long as we get the correct Postal information it is automated and I have confidence in RMG. Last week we had one, straight away we could tell so what we did was contact another of the sellers who had left Feedback straight after the sale. YES they had the same message as us.
    So basically there is a long paper trail here of this scammer sending out emails trying to get refunds.
    We photo every single package we send, were able to contact RMG VIA Twitter msgs with a image of the package, within 24 hours they were back , confirming this was delivered next day. This was a 2d barcode Large letter.
    We contacted eBay in Ireland, who simply were not interested in looking at this account, it is appalling their attitude to this issue. They are facilitating in mail theft. All they had to do was LOOK at this account and they could see what was going on.

    It is also leading to their own demise, many items we are adding the tracking into because of the high risk of the platform, and we send so much more into FBA now and “mail theft on eBay” was one of the reasons.
    Prosecutions are what need to be brought into play now, and the Police need to be more involved and if also . RMG need to start this, and if eBay are helping the scammers bring prosecutions against them.

    The issue is not RMG or the sellers on eBay. This issue is eBay themselves, no post address checker, and they are the main cause of Mail theft.

    Contact the other sellers, photograph the packages, get RMG involved or the courier with the evidence.

  5. nothing will convince us the report buyer button is anything other than a placebo,
    the only thing that stops buyer fraud is common sense and good practice
    if your waiting for ebay to help you will go bankrupt

  6. Supposition ,here say ,and myth dont constitute action or evidence of ebay being proactive,
    You see many threads and comments from sellers being restricted or suspended,!!!!
    Where are the equivalent buyer complaints of sanctions or suspension .

  7. We don’t get a lot of this thank goodness but when we do we think of it as shoplifting … if we had a shop on the high street there are always those customers that will pocket items or walk out with them this is just another form of it. My only consolation is going in and banning them from purchasing from us again.

  8. One aspect not mentioned in the video is how much the fraud level varies depending on what sector you are selling in.

    If you are finding an unacceptable level of INR claims, try to find a different area to sell in.

    From talking to other sellers, it’s clear, for example, that the clothing and tech areas have a higher incidence of INR claims than most.

    The other thing to remember is that if ever you are in the situation where Ebay sides with the buyer and where you have absolute proof of delivery, you can go to the police and report internet fraud, or even initiate a small claims action.

    It’s now much harder on Ebay to spot repeat claimants, due Ebay to concealing buyer history and identities in feedback.

    The suspicion is Ebay is weak on fraud because it’s not their problem – the seller picks up the tab and the hassle.

    If you speak to Royal Mail, they will always say that compensation claims for Ebay transactions are suspicious. Which is why you have to declare specifically on the Royal Mail claim form if it is for an Ebay item. Note there is no other company singled out – not Amazon or anyone else – only Ebay.

    Go figure.

  9. @ Andy R – you make a good point although I have never had an experience of ebay siding with the buyer when i have tracking information.

    There seems to be FAR more INR cases on my ebay than on my Amazon. Fortunately our items are relatively cheap so its not the end of the world for us to send a replacement or refund. Unfortunately that does not apply to everyone.

    I noticed in particular that Royal Mail are very suspicious of ebay transactions above any other. My assumption is this was from the “bad old days” of ebay as this has been on the Royal Mail claims form as far back as 2002. Things have improved since then.

    I also am getting regular “bogus” returns recently where the buyer uses an ebay tracked returns label but sends back an empty box or worthless random item. We never get this on Amazon. Does anyone else experience bogus returns when the buyer uses a label to make it look as if the item has been returned to the seller and sends an empty box?

    Disturbingly there are web sites and ebooks out there instructing buyers how to do this and other scams.

    We just claim it as “shrinkage” – same as Jonathan above referring to it as a type of shoplifting. Once you deduct it as a business “expense” its not as painful.

  10. it really is quite simple
    do not expect any help from ebay ,
    if you leave your door open your likely to be burgled

  11. Imagine as a high street shop you simply watched shoplifters walk out of the shop with your goods and when challenged they simply shrugged and said I have not had it. Welcome to having a shop on ebay .Not sure how much longer I can continue refunding about the same each week as I pay myself in wage .
    Ebay need to look at this with the utmost urgency if they had to process the refunds from their profits they would soon act

  12. You can block buyers from bidding on or purchasing your items by specifying buyer requirements. You can block buyers who:

    Don’t have a PayPal account

    Have unpaid items recorded on their account

    Have a primary delivery address in countries you don’t post to

    Have breached eBay policies

    Have a Feedback score lower than the number you specify

    Are currently winning or have bought 1-100 of your items in the last 10 days (you can specify the number)

    More info on:

  13. Thankfully we have not had a lot of buyer fraud or “lost” mail. This has also reduced since we started to use 2d bar codes with Royal Mail.

    Twice people have tried and once we told them the item was tracked and delivered they suddenly find the item in the garden.

    I have two claims outstanding, the one is simple, the item just does not appear on the Royal Mail tracking. The address was wrong and we may get the item returned.

    The second is getting interesting, it is on Amazon and the buyer claims not to have received the item. Royal Mail are showing “Delivered to your address or a neighbour.” Amazon are insisting that I show signed proof of delivery

    The buyer said they would check with the neighbour and get back to me but I have not had an update.

    I spoke to Royal Mail and opened a case, they said it would take up to 72 hours to respond.

    Royal Mail also told me that they would check the GPS and should be able to tell which address took the parcel in.

    I sent the buyer a message asking if she had found the parcel with a neighbour and if not the Royal Mail should be able to trace who took the parcel, but I have not had a response. I had hoped she may suddenly find it if she had had delivery.

    Amazon gave me 3 days to respond, I responded without the signature and they have given me another 3 days to provide a signature (which I can not).

    I will update once the Royal Mail respond.


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