Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 22 2015 21:31:42

eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

By: Ina Steiner

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Buyer fraud on marketplaces such as eBay is common, according to newly published research described in Monday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash. But unlike seller fraud, it's little known - and there is little incentive for marketplaces to publicize it.

The research was conducted at PayPal to explore something called "liar buyer fraud." Here's how the authors describe that type of fraud:

"In a typical liar buyer instance, a consumer orders and receives some merchandise, and then reports it not delivered in order to get a refund. Commonly, the liar buyers are not repeat fraudsters, and many of them are believed to act in response to losing a similar amount to another instance of fraud - then contesting the charges but not being ruled in favor of."

The researchers conducted experiments with subjects to test several methods of potentially deterring buyer fraud.



Above: Researchers introduced a "temptation" phase into their experiments to introduce the idea of performing liar buyer fraud to get even. (They also included an angel that told the user not to fall for the temptation to avoid having subjects feel they were only given one option.)

Several things in the study jump out at anyone who has experienced buyer fraud on eBay. One is that customer service reps (presumably at eBay or PayPal) said in cases when they were fairly certain a dispute involved a liar buyer, "they had no practical tools to address such cases."

Another is the incentive to keep the problem of buyer fraud hidden, since awareness is likely to increase incidents of such fraud.

And, citing PayPal, the researchers say "quite commonly, it is a peer consumer who loses money" (peer consumer meaning not the marketplace, but the seller).

As tomorrow's Newsflash article points out, even though buyer fraud is a common problem, eBay doesn't allow sellers to warn their colleagues about buyers who commit fraud since sellers are only allowed to leave positive feedback for buyers, whether or not those buyers are liars.




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Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 22 21:48:12 2015

"Commonly, the liar buyers are not repeat fraudsters"
I call BS on this one. We know for a FACT on seller central that many of the Paypal scamsters are repeat offenders. This sounds to me like Paypal setting the foundation to be able to shrug and say "what can we do? They only (usually)do it ONCE...."

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 22 23:40:05 2015

BOTH eBay and Amazon encourage this behavior - on a MASS scale.

But since eBay & Amazon 1) wont take the financial losses and 2) wont DARE call the bad buyers out on it - push it on the innocent seller. "'cause  of course smaller sellers can eat the losses, right?"

Amazon has always been this way. When you sign on to Amazon you know (or you BETTER know) that you WILL be eating losses along the way. The only reason sellers put up with it, is because of the sheer amount of sales you can make on Amazon - so you make it up in the long run. Amazon takes back ANYTHING from FBA buyers and as noted by Ina, will credit a return before the item is even returned to the seller or to Amazon itself.
When its Amazon whos the seller, they simply eat the loss (aka their insurance account) when its a 3p seller - they HAPPILY pass the loss onto them.

What makes people so angry at eBay was that IT was supposed to be different. With in reason you could run your shop as you saw fit - 3 day returns, 7 day, 14 day, restocking fees etc - you made that decision. As time went by and sealed by the Fall Seller downgrade (LOL) all that dissapeared. eBay for the longest time had almost always taken the buyers side .... but always balanced it with the great lie of "Seller Protection" (Im looking at YOU Rich Maatsua). eBay started loosing buyers after lying to Google and after a data breach - so they trotted out Returns as a way to make up the difference. #1 make sure customers come back by letting them steal #2 make money off the label (both eBay and Paypal) ... problem solved .... or is it?

This article proves what all of us have been saying for MONTHS/YEARS - eBay allows buyers to rob us blind with false claims of SNAD, false claims of INR and more.

I guess eBay is JUST A VENUR when VItton comes knocking, all other times they are your crooked business partner who steals inventory from you when you arent looking.

Typical Mafia shysters!

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by: forrosebud This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 00:17:24 2015

@pace306

You could not have spelled out it better!  Great job!

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 00:20:14 2015

I am not sure this article is accurate. This is one of the rare instances "xbay" will side with the seller. If the tracking shows delivered ebay will completely back the seller by removing any bad feedback and denying a claim to a buyer. Sellers should always use tracking and this can't happen. Not sure where the author of that paper based his facts, but this is not true.  

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by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 00:23:17 2015

To assume that this is limited to cases where buyers are simply trying to recoup a previous loss - BS!
First off, there's already buyer protection in place, so if they had been ripped off they could have filed a claim initially. More to the point, if it were (mostly) limited to this sort of thing, then how come you get so many results googling "get stuff free on ebay"??  

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 00:24:44 2015

Another reason for eBay to keep quiet - if they admit that they realize how prevalent this is, and how they do nothing to stop it, they would be leaving themselves wide open to a class action lawsuit (with the potential for major punitive awards)

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 00:32:26 2015

Maybe they might have started out as a one-off liar buyer but for many, once they learn how easy the marketplace makes it for them to attain free stuff or otherwise steal from a seller they often fall off the wrong side of the fence and become chronic liar buyers.

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Mon Feb 23 00:36:45 2015

I agree with QuirkyAntiques - it's laughable to believe that honest members (that is, "they're never done it before") log onto eBay one day to then and there decide to steal something. Sadly, some folks are thieves and others not so much, maybe?  

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 00:53:33 2015

I hope they didn't PAY these "researchers" anything for this--WE could have told them allll this and much much more for FREE.

It's kinda like leaving food on your counter and letting the dog in tho.  Once the dog discovers that tasty unattended roast beef he will forever after be looking at that counter for SOMETHING to grab.

However using a doggie gate and some attention to preventing this goes a long way to not having to make a second dinner for the humans.

Sadly EBAY went shopping and bought a whole BUNCH of tasty treats and then led the dog to the counter and said Good Boy Will you have another?  

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 01:47:25 2015

Glad they admit to it! Actually it a very commonly known scam that Ebay has let go on for years and expected the sellers to eat it financially for the ''privilege'' to sell at Ebay. Two years ago I had a buyer from Australia purchase a tiger eye pendant from our personal website. He actually complained it wasn't as pictured. I had explained in the description we had 6-7 of them and had pictures of two different ones. He didn't even realize there were two different pendants used as reference. He was demanding that I paid shipping back from Australia and send him a different one at my expence. We only ship USPS international priority and insured which comes up to $45-$46. The cost of the pendant was $80. Easy math tells you that shipping twice would have been more than the cost of the pendant. He realized that too. After going through the PayPal process they came back stating if he shipped it back to me he would get full refund including the original shipping. After all the BS he decided to keep the pendant knowing he wasn't getting another from me. He even stated after the decision that Ebay would have just let him keep the pendant and refund his money. Obviously he'd played the game before at Ebay and figured it would be the same if paying with PayPal.

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Feb 23 02:12:34 2015

Common? Pleaseeee!

At least 40% of eBay buyers use fraudulent claims thanks to eBay promoting the so called Fraud Protection. Amazon does not blast all over the pages the Fraud Protection, is just a simple fact, if a buyer really needs to know that he or she is protected, just look at the guarantee section. But eBay loves to encourage buyers to put claims, and then the idiotic outsource customer service reps always give buyers the money back or close claims in the buyer favor. No brain cells involved. eBay is a magnet for scammers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Feb 23 02:18:15 2015

Sellers with any length of exposure on eBay have been on the receiving end of this eBay sponsored fraud.

Studies show that in many cases shoplifting can become an addiction.  eBay and PayPal are notorious for tolerating and actually encouraging electronic shoplifting by perpetually favoring buyers in disputes.  As such, eBay/PayPal aid and abet buyers criminal acts.

eBay & PayPal decline to publicize these acts, not because they believe doing so would encourage more of the same, but because the company does not want a spotlight to reveal the fact that the company allows, permits and condones the liar buyer electronic shoplifting syndrome by constantly deciding cases in favor of the liar buyers.

Sales volume on the eBay marketplace has been so damaged by the existing mismanagement team's bad judgement that the company is desperate for sales at any cost.  This includes not sanctioning liar buyers, but actually rewarding them for their bad acts with free merchandise in order to drive up sales volume.  

Keep in mind that eBay does not deduct refunds from their gross sales as a brick and mortar retailer would, consequently, eBay has zero motivation to manage, throttle or otherwise attempt to limit forced refunds.  This is the same reasoning behind eBay & PayPal's ultra liberal return policies.

The corporate culture within eBay is that sellers have deep pockets and can afford to absorb losses. Management only cares about corporate profitability and is willing to sacrifice seller profitability to achieve their goals.

Another corporate culture is that sellers need eBay more than buyers do, as such, the deck is purposefully stacked against sellers at virtually every turn. By rewarding liar buyers with free merchandise, eBay believes the buyers will return another day.  Their misconception has driven thousands of sellers from listing on eBay and the resulting decline in SKU diversity has resulted in the alienation of honest buyers.

This company has been horribly mismanaged under CEO John Donahoe.  Donahoe's decision to go ahead and break the company up into pieces was not done for the good of investors, it was done to bury the bad acts and mismanagement and prevent their exposure during his tenure.

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 02:24:29 2015




In other words  eBay made the problem worse by not allowing to leave just feedback (negative) to a buyer who clearly lied about the transaction.

And I think that's why eBay worked wonderfully before the changed. Both sides had a chance to leave appropriate feedback and it was up to a third party to decide what was true.  But it was fair cause it was totally open, uncut communication and free speech.


 

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by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 02:35:38 2015

The underlying message here is that scams are so prevalent on ebay it's just purely academic. That's without considering the many perpetrated by eBay itself, all of which are the root causes issues such as here.

Years ago there was an academic study which seemed to conclude that moving to a double-blind, yet fully reciprocative feedback system would be better. Since ebay couldn't subvert and profit from that, POOF it went.

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by: Katie This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 23 03:11:19 2015

We recently had this happen.  Buyer claimed she didn't receive a package that had tracking and insurance.  The post office denied the claim.  Ebay paid her "as a courtesy."  I didn't agree with it, but they paid from their money, not mine.

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 23 03:24:29 2015

@common

You are right.  With an INR they are relatively easy for a seller to win if they can prove delivery.  It is hard to lose those when you have online tracking showing delivery.

But every other kind of claim that they run under a SNAD is not like that.  Ebay is beyond horrible about assessing the proof offered when a buyer is clearly misbehaving.  

I'm not talking about proof that is kind of iffy, but solid proof.  Clearly showing the buyer is wrong or not telling the truth.  And Ebay rarely will stand behind its seller on these.

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis
Web Site

Mon Feb 23 06:19:19 2015

The program that they based their "eBay Guarantee" on is the Verizon Superpages Guarantee. If you google it, you'll see they even stole the logo!

Perminate Link for eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud   eBay Motivated to Keep Quiet about Buyer Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 23 07:08:15 2015

Rest assured, if the money came out of eBay or PayPal's pocket, it would not go on.

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by: Maui5150 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 07:24:39 2015

This is all you have to know about eBay and their intent to promote and protect fraud.

Many years ago, back when you could see IDs on Bidding History, one of my customers was being shilled.  They were bidding on a similar item that I sometimes buy and resell, and I could clearly see a history of a second ID with zero history, 100% bidding on one seller, as well as the biggest tell tale sign, about a dozen wins over two months from the seller, all items relisted AND rebid on again by the same buyer.  Really blatant.  

I warned my good buyer, gave them the details and told them they should talk to eBay and I said I would do the same.

Well... as the classic saying goes... No good deed goes unpunished.

I was THREATENED with suspension or lifetime ban for "Bidder Interference"  Yes.  Not the blatant shilling, but me the whistle blower

Why did I care?  Because this was a good customer.  If they realized they got burned, they would likely spend less of distrust eBay as a whole.

Over the years I have seen a lot of shilling, I have reported a lot.  It becomes a lot harder to detect, and I hardly "trust" ebay is looking out to "protect me"

While I report about 2 - 3 cases of shilling a year, I have never seen a seller suspended.  They just keep on listing.

I also know the practice is rampant, and while some cases not s blatant as the one mentioned in the beginning which has something like 200 bids and 15 won and relisted auctions (and this was also back when a seller could give negative feedback) what I do see, since I am also  big buyer... I get at least 10 Second Chance Offers, minutes after an auction has ended and looks like a clear pattern of the price being pushed up.  I also see a lot of relists on items I did not bid on but were non-reserve auctions that were won, and minutes after closed relisted.  This I see as more of "priming the pump" trying to get all those watchers into bidders thinking if they don't bid they will miss and that the item no longer looks like it will be relisted lower next week.

Granted most of the above is Seller Fraud, but if eBay will cover up and protect bid shilling by threatening whistle blowers, you know they will do the same at all costs for buyer fraud.

As long as they get paid, it does not matter who loses, buyer or seller... it is all about eBay making money no matter the cost

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by: Leesantiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 23 07:28:17 2015

Of course Ebay doesn't want people to know about this type of fraud.  It would cut down on their fees if the "liar buyers" were barred from buying more items.  

Ebay makes money from fraud, and it has for years and years.  They know it, but pretend otherwise.  

Someday someone is going to go after them (Ebay and Paypal) with a major fraud claim.  Maybe a class action, maybe RICO, with serious attorneys leading the charge.  It will be interesting to see what defense the fraud enablers (because that is what Ebay and Paypal are) can mount.

Lee

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