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Thu Jan 19 2012 16:46:28

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

By: Ina Steiner

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Dear Ina,
On November 11, 2011, I sold an iPhone to some guy in Russia. I used a Priority Mail Small international Flat Rate Box and about 8 weeks later I get an eBay message saying he never got the phone. Much to my dismay, the tracking info didn't show up as delivered, but I know that International tracking is really bad and I recently lost a buyer protection case because of this.

I called the USPS and they said that all packages are sent out of the country and if they would have returned it, I would have gotten it within a week. So, a couple of weeks ago, I tell the buyer to call his post office to see if I'd package is there (just in case he wasn't home or something).

Today I this email:

I called to central post office, in Moscow. They says, that parcel with this tracking number didn't come to Russia, no information in system. Today I coming to local post office, and write statement to search for parcel.

You called USPS? What does they says? You write my adress on Russian or in English? Maybe in post office cant understand adrdess?

When you return me money or ship another item? I make statements to all government agencies as I know. And I will not stop. Next step is police department. I think that our remoteness is not a problem. Ebay support promise me, that they lock your account. I dont want problems, and dont want to create problems to you, but you must understand me. 400$ is big money to me, and i cant stop.

Now, I've asked some of cousins that sell on eBay what to do. One said that if 45 days have past, eBay won't do anything but the buyer says he'll call the cops and eBay will lock my account and he has all my info!

I don't know how, but I got an email a week ago saying that the buyer requested ALL my information; name, address, phone, email.
Please help.

Comments (24) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: OhForPetesSake

Thu Jan 19 17:02:06 2012

Its doesn't matter how long it has been if he does a chargeback with his credit card company. I've lost cases 6 months after customer paided.

You will lose as you have no online viewable proof of delivery.

Best to just return his money and DON'T SHIP INTERNATIONAL

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: asd

Thu Jan 19 17:16:11 2012

You just got screwed!

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Barbara

Thu Jan 19 18:20:38 2012

I insure every international parcel.  Its the only way to avoid this kind of thing.  I know it doesn't help you now, but in the future make it something you always do.  I don't insure with the USPS... I use one of the private insurers, AND I charge the customer for it.  Otherwise I won't do business with them.  

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Scotty

Thu Jan 19 19:50:10 2012

Under this buyer's should apparently learn Russian.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Buck Efay

Fri Jan 20 00:18:13 2012

Do you have the serial number? Alert the buyer that since they never received the phone you will report it as stolen to the manufacturer & they will deactivate it if it goes online and it will not be able to boot up. (some manufacturers can do that, and it might scare him into admitting he has it) And from now on NEVER EVER EVER ship to Former Eastern Bloc nations, Italy, or Africa, especially Nigeria. These are all fraud capitals & you just gifted this guy your phone, and are now out your phone & your cash. Sorry, but Paypal allows & encourages fraud. Feel free tio repost your story on Ebay's boards as a warning to others. That will be the only satisfaction you can get & you can post his user ID.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Rachel

Fri Jan 20 00:44:25 2012

I only ship express mail internationally because priority cannot be tracked once it is inside the foreign country. It may be more $$ but it is not as much as the cost of the item. The deactivation advice is another option. I don't sell tech stuff but with what I sell it is well worth it. Knock on wood so far so good..I try to feel them out but crooks are crooks and plus they have USA  criminal rings too. I had a package signed for in the Bronx in nonsense syllables that guy said was going to Russia 780jujuju and the guy claimed he never got it because that was not his signature. However my feeling was that the carrier was in on this too. For once I have to rave and give credit where credit is due Paypal said you win, a signature is all you need. I don't want to give crooks any that is where I will stop...They do not all work that way..sadly..where there is money to be made..most people are good but the bad ones are horrible and iphones are their deal and so is my commodity.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Alexandra

Fri Jan 20 01:48:26 2012

I would give the guy the benefit of the doubt in that perhaps he didn't get the phone. It is very likely that the phone was stolen either in Russian customs, or in his local post office, or anywhere along the route. Whichever -- the fact remains that shipping electronics and other highly desirable consumer items to Russia is playing the proverbial Russian roulette. I should know -- I grew up in that godforsaken country.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: DAC

Fri Jan 20 02:26:38 2012

Over the years I developed a simple self-insurance process that really works! I set aside about $1 from each sale into a small insurance fund. If the customer complains of non-delivery, I simply gave them a refund and blocked them from future transactions (until the buyer repays, or if the package is returned). This will keep dishonest buyers from filing claims, and will build trust and keep your good buyers coming back! I've had good buyers repay the refund after the package arrived several weeks later than expected, so I unblock them.    

I think most people are inherently good, but there are flaws in the postal system (and flaws in some buyers :) so I provide my own protections without paying the extra postal fees, and without stressing thru the dispute processes on feebay and paypal. There are MANY more good buyers than bad, so you will always profit in the end.

After more than 12 years, we have outgrown FeeBay, and now sell mostly thru alternate (lower fee) venues and our own websites.  If you don't have your own site yet, start one soon, eBay will only get worse with time!

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Jane Dough This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 20 02:44:25 2012

I rarely sell on ebay anymore, but when I do, I ship international only by Express Mail, which is insured and tracked better. Remembering past incidences with shipping-once I mailed a package via priority from Oregon to Chicago, it took a month to get there. It was the buyers very first purchase on ebay and not a great experience. Another time I sent a package to England and she never got it. I refunded her, collected insurance, and was shocked when months later the package was returned to me. Chances are, in your case though, that you have been screwed by a buyer who knows how to work the system. Don't ship to Russia and find other places to sell than lousy old ebay.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: It's tough out there

Fri Jan 20 05:07:43 2012

I am a long-time eBay seller with over 30,000 feedback. I WILL NOT sell anything on eBay now that I cannot afford to lose.
I get approached quite often by people wanting me to sell somewhat valuable items for them on eBay. I politely refuse with a laugh. eBay is losing millions because they have turned the site into heaven for fraudsters

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Kim M

Fri Jan 20 07:10:04 2012

The same thing happened to me.  I no longer ship to Russia.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Cloud

Fri Jan 20 07:12:40 2012

Russian custom's is notoriously slow. On my packages every last one of them was taking 2-3 months to deliver which is why I stopped selling to Russia. Fortunately, though every one of them file a dispute, they all also waiting and drew it out as long as possible because they knew how long it took and just wanted to ensure they got their package or their money. Eventually they all got delivered but I hated having my money tied up that long. Hopefully your buyer will be just as honest and will give the package enough time to be delivered before closing the dispute. Unfortunately risk is part of the price of selling internationally. Only you can decide of the rewards outweigh the risk.

As far as them calling the police I wouldn't worry about it. You have proof that you shipped so you've done nothing wrong. It isn't a crime if the postal service lost the package. Also, there really isn't much the Russian police can do to you and, if your buyer gets their money back (or the package) then there is no crime.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Y.D.D.D

Fri Jan 20 07:21:56 2012

@RACHEL - Sometimes I to have wondered if a carrier can work as a team, or what

Example: I had a customer buy an item from me, after 5 days they wanted to know where it was, they said online tracking shows it was not scanned again after a certain last stop. I got nervous, as I knew by the tone this customer was going to punish my DSR's for a possible lost package

Anyhow after about 10 days I said please wait 21 days, I will file claim if it does not show up, I still did not like the tone of customer, kept telling customer not my fault, it was insured I shipped it right out, can't help it disappeared after a one depot scan.

Anyhow I refunded them 100% on my own good will, filed a claim, after the inquiry first, still showed last scan in a processing plant then disappeared. Eventually after so many days USPS refunded me.

Customer told me thank you, I was great person and seller, and told me it still never showed up. And I said ok, sorry about all of this but it was not my fault once out of my hands, person gave me good feedback

Now after I got my refund, about 3 weeks later, I punched in the DC# and was shocked to see that it now showed delivered, but after I got refund, and after I last talked to customer, it is like it mysteriously just showed right up as soon as coast was clear for buyer.

What was more disturbing is buyer never even contacted me to say ''Hey believe it or not, it just showed up''

They got a FREE ITEM, with 100% Refund, and never told me it finally came

My immediate thought is I was scammed by this buyer, and they have pulled this sh*t before

So I carefully started reviewing EVERY FEEDBAACK they ever received, or this person gave to a seller.

To my shock I found some feedbacks left for seller where buyer thanked sellers for the complete refund, and were sorry sellers package never arrived., And I saw where a few sellers left comments about how they definitely shipped it BUSTED !

I was scammed, and the only way to pull that scam off is to know a carrier that refuses to scan it until coast is clear, or else customer works for carrier service, and hides it till coast is clear ( Seller gets refunded, wait a few days then scan it as delivered never contact seller ) it could be a single scam if customer worked for carrier, or could be a tag team scam, but either way, it had to be a scam, feedback reveled it happened before to others, this person shows delivered after that refund, and never contacted me

I cannot believe some of the sophisticated CHEATS I have encountered over the years on eBay who will go to any means to get a free item on eBay

I would never send to Russia, the Canadian buyers have been bad enough, not all but quite a few !

Nuff said

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: pace306

Fri Jan 20 10:13:05 2012

1) In eBayland, no customer ever receives anything if they are out of the USA. They know how this game works - as should every seller who sells on eBay. The customer (buyer) is eBays ONLY concern. You , your item, your hard earned money are not even remotely on eBay's radar. You the seller arent thier customer, the buyer is. Sellers are just mules to bring buyers into eBay, and then eBay takes the funds from you and places ALL the responsibilities on you and nothing on the buyer! Dot your I's, cross your T's when you make a sale to make sure YOU wont loose $ if something goes wrong. I'll get jumped on now by people telling me that it never happens to them - but just wait - it will.
2) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS get insurance - from either the post office, or a third party company. Make sure if you use Shipsurance or any other 3rd party co that they cover the country you want to send things to. Most Eastern European countries have coverage ONLY to the airport - which is basically worthless. Think about what you are doing before you do it! Paypal doesnt care 1 damn about you, or your item. Priority Mail at this point in time does not show ''delivered'', and if you cant prove that .. you are SOL.
3) If you can, use UPS, DHL, FED Ex or USPS EXPRESS services. They provide insurance and tracking. Selling your new Mac Air notebook and making $500 isnt a sale unless you actually get to keep the money! Sending it to Turkey or Albania and then getting an ''item not received'' from Paypal or eBay isnt a sale!

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Keeping an eye on them ALL!
Web Site

Fri Jan 20 11:11:08 2012

RE: Y.D.D.D.

YEP, have had the exact thing happen to me some 5 or 6 times now.

Packages show as 'sacnned in' by USPS then simply disappear into the mist and don't show as delievered until AFTER I have had to take the loss of either shipping a replacement item or refunding it - Then in no time flat after 1 of those 2 things happen the package 'magically' reappears and shows as delivered..

NOW, the fact is I actually WORKED for USPS for many years... I tend to know how all their systems actually work from the moment they receive an item for mailing to the final delivery stages...

I just can't explian how this occurs because I KNOW how the items are handled every stop of the way and very honestly, UNLESS the buyer is the ACTUAL USPS PERSON/CARRIER that handles the package at the very final stage of the delivery process there isn't any way on earth for these scammers to pull this off really...

Certainly not defending them, just saying...

On the International shipping part... Oh Lord... Yea, I've spent more time 'hand holding' international buyers and begging them to wait for the package to deliver than I can even remember over the years...

Very 1st Neg. I ever got on ebay when that worthless FB system was 1st started way back when was a Canadian buyer who wouldn't be patient, filed a claim against me, left me a neg. and THEN taunted me later telling me they did in fact receive the high dollar item but saw no reason to repay or change FB because of the delivery taking the time it did? (BTW, I ship all sales IMMEDIATELY, the VERY SAME DAY AS PURCHASED without fail)

But truth is I've had as much trouble out of U.S buyers as I have 'foreign' buyers saying they never got something - They would get a either a voluntary by me refund/replacemnt or a forced refund from ebay/pay pal and then sure as hell the item would show delievered immediately after that?!

And not even ONCE has a single buyer offered to send the 2nd item back at no charge to them OR repay for the item if refunded?!

Oh well, ebay HELL as usual - As many say that's why I/we do 75% of our business on our own websites and Aamazon these days and we refuse to accept pay pal as a payment option anywhere but fleecebay.

I can't explain it, even having worked for USPS and knowing what I do about their systems...

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Fri Jan 20 12:39:56 2012

I stopped selling internationally on ebay about 4 years ago, and also had to stop on my website about 2 years ago.  Unless you can sell without any seller protection, you will eventually lose money.  Returns can also be a major problem.

Since international already required additional work (custom forms and PO visits), the benefits did not outweigh the costs for me.  

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 20 13:31:37 2012

The small flat-rate box is really the same as First Class International. There's no promise of any tracking outside the US and USPS insurance is not available. You should have used an Express Mail flat-rate envelope with the box inside.

If this were a scam, the buyer would know from the format of the 'tracking' number that you could never prove delivery. That does not appear to be the case.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Sam

Fri Jan 20 13:39:52 2012

The USPS SMALL Flat Rate Box remains a mystery to me.  

It looks like Priority Mail but doesn't have the automatic indemnity of about $70 nor can insurance be  purchased.  What's with that?  

In real life it's the same as first class.

With regular Priority Mail you have at least some insurance.    

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 20 14:27:10 2012

I don't know about the rest of you, but my thoughts on international shipments are they should include an additional charge or be sold at a higher rate solely for international buyers.

Why? There are many reasons, listed below are just a few.

1. Increased risk of loss due to untrackability.
2. Additional time required to fill out forms.
3. Some international buyers will require extra time for you to explain the limitations of the USPS tracking system and the fact most first class and priority parcels will NOT get scanned along the way so it is not real ''tracking''.
4. In the event a problem was to arise where the seller must pay freight charges to have either replacement parts shipped or cover the cost of a return shipment, these costs should be factored into the sales price. We have this factored into the domestic sales price, international rates would then require additional $ to cover these additional cost risks.

International sales can add up and they should not be overlooked as a potential portion of your annual sales but the way ebay is set up where domestic and international buyers get the same purchase price is plain wrong. I have noticed intl buyers are rather particular about shipping rates so there is little room for padding the S&H to cover the increased cost risks so it should be build into the purchase price, not the freight.

We avoid shipping to certain countries like: Russia, Brazil and Africa as well as select other countries.

Also- anything which is worth more than $100.00 must go express or we won't ship it.

eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute   eBay Seller Nervous over Russian Dispute

by: TB

Fri Jan 20 16:04:09 2012

Most people are unaware of this, but there is NO TRACKING on USPS Small Flat Rates. Here it is direct from

Priority Mail International provides Tracking service to major destinations in Asia, Canada, and Europe. Tracking is not available for shipments in Flat Rate envelopes, small Flat Rate boxes, DVD Flat Rate boxes, or Large Video Flat Rate boxes. Please consult your local Post Office for additional details.

International shipping via USPS is by and large on the "honor system".

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