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Wed Apr 7 2021 12:11:39

Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

By: Ina Steiner

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The UK press are agog at the idea that undeliverable packages are being sold on eBay. The Daily Mail said hundreds of parcels that are "lost" by shipping carriers are being auctioned off, leading to fears that the personal details of online shoppers could be stolen.

"Sellers have been making up to £140 per bundle of undelivered items which include electrical items and jewellery," the UK newspaper reported.

But it's not Royal Mail and Hermes who are selling the items in question, according to the Daily Mail; it explains that in such cases, overseas sellers who send the packages provide a return address belonging to a third-party company located in the UK. "The third-party company then resells the item for the original seller on sites such as eBay," the newspaper said.

If that's the case, it's an interesting service to offer online sellers the option to have their undelivered packages sent to a company that turns around and resells them. 

If such services compensate the original seller, it could prove profitable for them while eliminating the cost of having to deal with international returns.

It's not clear why such companies don't open the package and sell the items without the packaging, but that might entail too much work - and apparently people are intrigued with buying "mystery mail."

In an eBay auction listing in the US for a lot of 10 unclaimed USPS, UPS, and FedEx small packages, the description included a link to an article about a woman who buys unclaimed packages and unboxes them on social media. ("TikTokers are obsessed with these $1 mystery packages of lost mail,'" Yahoo News).

We watched some TikTok videos, and we saw one showing the shipping labels on the small parcels they were "unboxing" in the videos.

People reading the reports about such practices in the UK this week were also upset that packing slips inside the unopened packages might reveal sensitive information about buyers, including their shopping habits. 

What aspects of these practices would you embrace, and what disturbs you about them? And, if you've come across companies that offer such services for your international orders, let us know!



Comments (7) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 7 22:47:24 2021

You won't see that here because opening up mail addressed to me that is "lost" is also a federal crime.  

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: andanotherthing This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 07:26:34 2021

First of all, I live and sell in the UK. I've seen nothing on soshul meeja or in the more respectable newspapers about this alleged "scam".

Secondly, really you don't want to really give anything you read in the Daily Mail or the Daily Express in the UK any credence whatsoever.

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 08:19:33 2021

I thought they had to take the effort in returning the packages.

The packages are to go to the return address.
If no return address, they are allowed to see if there is any packing slip or way to send it back to the originator.

If this is true, that is a Federal Crime in the USA.

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 08:47:06 2021

Just slightly off subject: I was getting returns for a new polo shirt of which I had a many identical ones. They were Women's shirts and sizes. I quit putting "Woman's" or "Men's" in the title because it's so redundant and I need the room for other information; The category was Womans and the 'department' was Womans in item specifics.
So I lowered the price $5 and added a $5 handling fee to the shipping. That means eBay get's their vig and I make a few bucks when the buyer returns it because it was not a man's shirt.  

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 08:55:39 2021

This may or may not still be possible (I haven;t checked for a few years): You could set up something in your preferences not to accept messages from prospective buyers asking questions, which told them you were so busy you were not answering questions. I did that and it NEVER worked. It also used to be a violation to make an offer through the message system. They changed that and now encourage it. If eBay reputation is a flea market, eBay must be ok with that because that's the path they have chosen.

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: AddyUp This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 13:34:41 2021

Over here that paper is called "The Daily Fail" for many a good reason.

I think this comment on the news page sums up exactly what most are thinking.

"Most are just advertising as lost Royal Mail. In reality its their own rubbish they are selling."  

Perminate Link for Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail   Report Claims Sellers Are Profiting from Undeliverable Mail

by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 18:06:24 2021

@andanotherthing

Thank you for the advice, over here, we (or I) would just assume that there may have been more merit to articles.

@AddyUp

"The Daily Fail"
- Excellent!



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