|Tue Jan 22 2013 12:13:23|
Successful eBay Seller Shares Anti-Buyer-Fraud Tactics
By: Julia Wilkinson
| An eBay seller who has total sales of approximately $46,000,000.00 with a high ASP (average sales price) recently dug up some statistics that show how she has thwarted a number of buyers with mail-related claims who were likely scammers.|
Sending an insurance affidavit (from her third-party insurer, U-PIC) to fill out, along with the "insurance fraud statement," to buyers who have "it's damaged" claims has led to 54% of these claims being dropped, she reports.
Another ploy the dishonest buyers sometimes use is to say they did not get tracking info from eBay, "so I want a refund." This sellers says 100% of these issues have been solved "with USPS actual tracking, and two had proper signature of delivery which led to some interesting emails after proof was shown." In other words, in the odd instance that USPS and eBay don't talk to each other vis-a-vis tracking, the buyer tries to take advantage of that to get a refund.
Some other stats she found:
- 100% of actual damaged items have had affidavits sent and items returned without incident.
- 70% of customers with items damaged that filled out affidavits and returned items, came back to purchase other items.
- Customs falsification requests have increased 25%.
In general, she said, "the insurance affidavit has been the best thing we have found to combat the guys who want off-eBay refunds."
This seller wants to emphasize that most of her buyers are great, but the cautionary measures need to be in place for that small number who are dishonest or scammers. "The bad buyers account for about 5% of our buyer base, and 95% of our buyers are great. I wish I could serve the 95% more fully, but because of the 5% (which when you do $4,000,000.00 in sales a year adds up fast), we have to put some pretty strong anti- fraud stuff in place."
Sure, legitimate claims will occur and occasionally things go wrong and customers need refunds: If a legitimate buyer has a item that gets damaged or has a problem, "we want to serve them fully, and I find they have no problem signing the affidavit so we can collect the insurance we purchase, and providing images and returning the item," she says. It's just the scammers who have a problem with this. "I want any customer who is harmed by damage to be made whole; that's why I purchase insurance," the seller said.
While I usually insure my high-priced items, I have not used third-party insurance yet. This seller's practice makes me rethink that, and I think I will look into it now. One thing I have noticed in my own selling business and anecdotally from other sellers is that customs fraud requests do happen frequently. The buyer usually is bemoaning the high customs tax, but in each case I simply politely explain that I cannot mark items as a "gift" and this could ruin my business, and so far no one has complained after that. But I know a seller who felt compelled to do so, until I made her aware of how serious that could be for her.
What kinds of buyer claims have you gotten that are fraudulent, or you think are fraudulent, most often? Have you tried the insurance affidavit, and if so have the results been good? Do you get a lot of customs falsification requests? Post a comment here!
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