Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Sept 13 2015 20:48:19

Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers are discussing the appropriateness of eBay's recommendations to buyers concerning packages that show as delivered but were not received. "Have you seen this," one reader asked EcommerceBytes. "eBay is asking buyers to file a police report for items not received, and giving them a link to do so. What a blackmail tool."

The reader linked to this page on the eBay website where it states:

Situation: The seller's tracking information shows the item was delivered, but you still haven't received it.

Required information: Confirmation number for an IC3.gov report or a copy of your police incident report

On the eBay boards, there was disagreement about what the consequences were of a buyer filing a report with either the IC3 (the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center) or the police in those instances.

"I actually see it as a way to tell buyers they need to contact their PO when tracking shows delivered instead of dropping the issue into the lap of the seller first for a refund by opening a case/request - not a means to report your seller for mail fraud since the tracking shows delivered," said one eBay user. 

But several were concerned that a report to the federal crime center would have serious consequences for sellers, even though tracking showed they performed their duties. 

"IC3 is for reporting FRAUD," said a seller. "It is not for reporting STOLEN MAIL. That Help Comment should tell the buyer to report STOLEN MAIL to police and USPS (NOT the ic3). It is written to make it look like the buyer is supposed to report FRAUD to ic3 on the seller!!!!"

Another called it "over the top, even for eBay," to suggest filing fraud reports on a mis-delivered items, "especially as supposedly having tracking is supposed to PROTECT the seller from a false INR."

Another suggested that buyers needed to report missing packages to the shipping carrier, "not the feds."

Instances of "front porch shopping" are increasing - some thieves follow delivery trucks around neighborhoods, stealing newly-delivered packages. If tracking shows the shipping carrier delivered your package but the buyer reports not having received it, how do you handle it as a seller? And how do you think eBay should handle it?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Sep 13 21:28:22 2015

I could use this to recover the money I lost when I "bought" a lamp base from a guy. PayPal would work so I asked if I could pay by Postal Money Order. He said "Yes".
Never sent the base, kept my money.
I still have all the Postal Investigation paperwork.
He should reimburse me, AND get booted from Ebay.
ALSO : Be aware : delivery people ARE IN FACT robbing us. This will only get worse during the Christmas Season.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Sep 13 21:29:40 2015

Meant to say PayPal wouldn't work....

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 13 22:13:56 2015

Once the USPS has accepted the item (by acceptance scan) the seller has no legal liability for the item any longer. That does not mean that Ebay doesnt consider the seller liable, I am just saying it would be heard to win a court case against a seller.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Sep 13 22:44:33 2015

If there is a USPS scan showing delivery, that's the end of the story for me. If the buyer insists they didn't receive the package, then either it was stolen or they're liars; there isn't a third option. If a buyer filed an IC3 against me, I'd be filing a Mail Fraud Complaint against them.

I had an eCrater buyer contact me, stating my item showed delivery that day, but she never received the package. She also stated a package from another seller also showed delivery that day which she never received. I started giving her ideas about what she could do (contact neighbors to see if they got her packages by mistake or saw any strange people in the area; get confirmation from her carrier that he actually delivered the items; etc.), and after about two hours she started talking chargeback. I told her she would never win because the USPS showed she had my package. I didn't hear from her again so I don't know if she ever did receive her item.

As far as eBay, they need to go back to being "just a venue" and stop giving legal advice to buyers to the detriment of sellers.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 13 23:04:23 2015

Ebay : Come to shop.

Now with so many new ways to defraud our Ebay sellers.....+ we'll show you how.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

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

Mon Sep 14 00:28:14 2015

I had an odd one week before last. Tracking showed delivered on 8/31; got the INR from eBay on 9/2. Responded that tracking showed as delivered. She received her package on 9/3. I surmise what the carrier, who was a newbie, scanned delivery ahead of time (a no-no) and then forgot to actually deliver said package over the next 3 days. Hopefully, this PO employee is either back in training or has moved on to wreak havoc elsewhere. No fraud - just inattention to detail.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 00:40:00 2015

The US Postal Inspection Service--postal police--are very competent investigators and it is to them a report of missing mail should be made.  https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 00:54:26 2015

I had a buy neg me saying he did not receive his package. It turned out to be behind a flowerpot on his front porch- the UPS delivery said that. Proof of delivery.

He admitted it. ''Oh, it was there all along.'' The neg, it's still there.  

This never used to happen when we had two way interlocking feedback, because people tried to cooperate.

Now, there's no effort to cooperate at all.  

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Sep 14 01:37:33 2015

This is what insurance is for.  

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Sep 14 02:14:05 2015

Just last week an item I purchased online (not ebay) showed delivered/in mailbox on Sept 8 at 1:48pm. I even heard the carrier putting the mail in my mailbox. Just like Pavlov's dog I went to get my mail but the expected package was not there. I did contact my PO to locate the package. The missing package turned up the very next day. I am wondering if the USPS is placing so much pressure on carriers to show the mail delivered this will create more pre-mature INR cases.

Now as far as filing a police or IC3 report, I would think true scamming buyers would stay clear. The only way the seller should be involved would be if there are no scans showing the item even being shipped. Of course, eBay's ''help'' never spells anything out clearly.    

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 02:17:27 2015

I suspect that if you had Postal Insurance and the scan showed that it WAS delivered--that the PO would rightly NOT pay out.  Other insurance plans might tho.  

Most often mail issues here are the result of the PO having my items endlessly circling a conveyor belt somewhere--right now I show a package that went from here in Upstate NY to a NJ sort center on it's way to Texas--and has BEEN at the Sort Center for 5 days now.  Which is of course MY fault in the eyes of ebay.  

Tomorrow will have to start the process to shake it loose--something I dread with the fear some (inc me)  have of dental visits.  

But calling the Police?  Hmmmm---I have seen the large and very attractive AMAZON boxes left plainly on porches--and they easily could be lifted off rural porches.  And probably easily off of a town porch too.

My sons former apartment complex had cluster mail boxes AND a large package box---of course you did have to trust your neighbors--but it was more secure and presumably had a camera on it.  Maybe this will be something coming to your neighborhood.    

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 02:17:31 2015

I suspect that if you had Postal Insurance and the scan showed that it WAS delivered--that the PO would rightly NOT pay out.  Other insurance plans might tho.  

Most often mail issues here are the result of the PO having my items endlessly circling a conveyor belt somewhere--right now I show a package that went from here in Upstate NY to a NJ sort center on it's way to Texas--and has BEEN at the Sort Center for 5 days now.  Which is of course MY fault in the eyes of ebay.  

Tomorrow will have to start the process to shake it loose--something I dread with the fear some (inc me)  have of dental visits.  

But calling the Police?  Hmmmm---I have seen the large and very attractive AMAZON boxes left plainly on porches--and they easily could be lifted off rural porches.  And probably easily off of a town porch too.

My sons former apartment complex had cluster mail boxes AND a large package box---of course you did have to trust your neighbors--but it was more secure and presumably had a camera on it.  Maybe this will be something coming to your neighborhood.    

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by: Biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 05:17:16 2015

As a seller who insures privately my insurers will not pay out on a tracked package which the mail carrier shows as ''delivered'' on the tracking without documentary evidence to the contrary. In one such dispute they told me the buyer would have to obtain ''a letter from their carrier stating that the scan was in error and that their package had not been delievered or mis-delivered'' before they would pay out. We all know insurers are famous for setting up such hurdles for insured parties to jump over. However as a seller I take the view that I am ''off the hook'' when the scan shows delivered and its then upto the buyer to make any enquiries or file any reports locally.

Sellers are held to be responsible for far too many things that they cannot control so the buck has to stop somewhere.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Sep 14 06:58:55 2015

If tracking confirmation shows that the item was delivered, I'm done, but in a polite way. I do advise that they speak to their mail carrier and if that does not solve the issue for them to then speak to the General Manager at their local postal unit.

Sellers are not a delivery service. We rely on our carriers to do that. eBay need to stop treating sellers as if they are mail delivery services. Defects should go to the carriers, not sellers.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 07:32:50 2015

Over the years I have reported buyers for fraud a number of times.
I never had a buyer report us for fraud, in almost all cases it is a bad buyer, however that is not to say that packages are not stolen.
I recommend buyers to file a police report if the package states delivered and they do not have it.
The way I look at it the buyers who are lying will not file a police report. I believe this is a tool to weed out fraud by buyers.
A seller is supposedly protected if the tracking shows delivered and the buyer claims not, but a seller is not protected from a bad review of feedback all the time and never on Etsy
THIS IS WHY MORE TRANSPARENCY IS NEEDED TO TELL SELLERS WHICH BUYERS HAVE FILED NUMEROUS CASES AND OUR BAD BUYERS FEEDBACK SHOULD WORK BOTH WAYS. IF A SELLER IS OUR OF LINE THE FEEDBACK LEFT FOR THE BUYER CAN BE REMOVED.
The largest retailer in the world keeps a list of shoplifters, bans them form their stores and has rules in place. Online shopping and buyers should  be policed also.


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

Mon Sep 14 09:34:08 2015

In all my years of selling, anything showing as delivered and the 'buyer' said no, it was always found either where it was supposed to be - once in the mailbox that the buyer hadn't checked (who would write to complain that they hadn't gotten something in the mail if they hadn't check their mailbox first?) and another opened and put where it belonged by another family member. In every case, they got it either redelivered or when they realized I too go by the philosophy that if it shows delivered it is not my problem, although I would prefer that once it gets its acceptance scan by the PO I'm no longer liable. Really how can a buyer 3000 miles away expect us to be responsible for the actions of the PO, family members and the thieves in the area????

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by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 10:37:48 2015

Postal delivery drivers make mistakes, and I've had neighbors bring me packages scanned as
'delivered' that ended up at the wrong house.

Many sellers are deeply confused by who is responsible for a missing/misdelivered package.

There are only two parties to a transaction: the BUYER and the SELLER.

The SELLER is accountable to the BUYER for getting the package to the BUYER.

The SELLER chooses a shipping service who becomes the SELLER's AGENT for the purpose of delivering the package.

The SELLER is responsible for the actions of their AGENT.  

Lost, stolen, and mis-delivered packages are entirely the legal responsibility of the SELLER.

The BUYER contracted with the SELLER to provide a product, including DELIVERY of the product to the BUYER. If it doesn't arrive, the SELLER is responsible to reimburse the BUYER.

If the actions of the AGENT cause the SELLER to incur a loss, the SELLER must go to the AGENT to be reimbursed for that loss.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 11:29:24 2015

@hopeforthebest

You need to change brands of koolaid in the morning.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Sep 14 12:18:56 2015

@hopeforthebest - So what you're saying is, if my package gets delivered to you, and you live in a neighborhood where "porch shopping" is rampant, and you don't have a secure location for mail carriers to place you packages, then it is entirely my fault that your package got stolen? You must work for eBay if that is how you honestly feel, because that sounds like something JD would say.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?   Should eBay Recommend Filing a Police Report in This Case?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 12:29:28 2015

Having filed on of those last April, I have had no response at all on a $7k crime.

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