Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 4 2017 22:06:10

Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader alerted us to a discussion thread where eBay solicited feedback about a certain change it had made, but only appeared to want positive discussion.

"eBay posted on the eBay Selling board about "Improvements to the iPhone Buying and Selling experience,"" the reader said. But as he explained, a moderator stepped in and cautioned that the discussion was getting off topic. "There were calls for attempts to stop the scamming in the iPhone sales arena," the reader told us. "It's like the Wizard of Oz saying ignore that man behind the curtain."

The eBay employee who started the thread explained he was looking for feedback about an improvement to the iPhone buying and selling experience on eBay. The explanation of the change was confusing, and users quickly pointed out the dangers of selling expensive smartphones on eBay, particularly for new sellers.

Since eBay charges a commission fee, it encourages users - especially consumers - to sell their expensive gadgets on its site. But scammers are also attracted to eBay, and it has its share of "bad buyers" who target new sellers of expensive items. 

In 2014, we pointed to an eBay marketing campaign called "Flip your phone for the win" that coincided with the launch of the latest Apple iPhone, and some of the challenges sellers encountered when selling iPhones. ("Is eBay Really the Best Place to Sell Your Used Smartphone?" was the title of the article.)

We cited sellers who called in to an eBay "Town Hall" webcast who described carrier-compatibility problem. "For instance," we wrote, "a buyer may seek to return a mobile phone that only works with AT&T because AT&T doesn't have coverage in their area, which results in defects against the seller and puts them at risk of losing their selling privileges."

Ironically, it appears the improvement described in today's thread soliciting feedback addressed that very issue. Buried in the poorly formatted post was the following:

"Apple creates multiple models of their iPhones that support different network technologies like GSM or CDMA. These network technologies determine which network carriers are supported on the phone. e.g. The iPhone X Model A1901 supports GSM only. This means that you cannot use Verizon or Sprint as the network carrier on that phone. To help sellers and buyers navigate through this complexity, we have updated our experience." 

Regardless, forum posters zeroed in on what they thought was the most important issue; in the words of one poster, "The iPhone scams are rampant here and it needs to be addressed."

As eBay was trying to manage the discussion and was removing some posts from the thread, the very problem users were describing surfaced on the same board in a different thread: a seller explained they were victimized by a buyer of the phone they had sold.

The seller said they had checked with eBay customer service about whether it was okay to ship the iPhone to a different address at the buyer's request and was assured by the rep eBay would protect them. (Some readers are now groaning, suspecting what's coming.)

Here's what happened, according to the seller:

"I shipped the item to the new address, and what would you know, the next day I get an email from PayPal that the buyer is trying to reverse the transaction because it was "unauthorized". I responded to the case, saying that the buyer requested me to ship it to the new address. PayPal closed the case in the buyer's favor because I didn't ship it to the address on file, HOWEVER, I did my due diligence and contacted eBay to make sure it was safe, and they told me it was, so how was I supposed to know better? So now, I'm out $400."

The initial response from the eBay customer service rep was infuriating to posters who wondered why the eBay rep didn't know about the scam and about the PayPal loophole and fully inform the seller. Said one poster:

"It's also a glaring omission on the part of the CS person to give eBay's blessing to the redirected shipment without even raising the possibility that either (1) it's the hallmark of a classic scam, or (2) the most likely payment processor (PayPal) is not going to protect the seller if it does indeed turn out to be so. Given that PayPal is holding the purse strings anyway, shouldn't the CS person have referred the seller to PayPal to answer that question?"

eBay is doing its best to attract new buyers to its marketplace, but if it doesn't have the customer service in place to protect those trying to generate some cash, is it throwing those marketing dollars away?




Comments (9) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: Cargo11 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 4 23:39:00 2017

This is just one example that is so horrible for new sellers - it's that "hidden" problem everyone knows about on Ebay that has been there awhile.  Every day someone feels they are being scammed, a buyer with "0" feedback asks to have a invoice sent to them or sends a paypal phishing email to the newbie and then - the $$ phone is sent, money not there and the seller is at a great loss and there seems to be no place to turn.  It's a very expensive lesson to learn on Ebay - so what do the newbies do - they make a whine on Facebook, on other social media to avoid selling on Ebay, they stop selling (and buying).  More and more - the people are drifting over to Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza, Ebid, Ecrater etc.  and other local sources.  It's as if Ebay nor Paypal take any responsibility once a scam has occurred (of course it has to be in their favor) and they see this DAILY - sellers complain to them DAILY and NOTHING is done about it - EVER.  The oh well too bad so sad ....the seller should have..........well our CS person was wrong....too bad...........cost of doing business.

The point is - sell nothing on Ebay you can't afford to LOSE. item and money wise.  Very sad indeed - however, the ones that manage to find the discussion boards and whine I don't even think half of them read the replies that tell them steps to take - the Newbie Buyers just go off on their own to experience the scam AFTER they have asked and the board members EXPLAIN to them the steps to take.  Well, can't help those that don't want any advise.

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 4 23:43:51 2017

What's that old saying about one man's trash is another's treasure?

All irony aside regarding eBay's 'state changes' over the past decade to disregard that premise, they are losing nothing in this marketing ploy.  Every 'sale', consumated or not, is claimed to boost GMV.  Every newly snagged seller is a new member to butter their rolls, and every new 'scammer' buyer is too.  Then there's the revenue from all the competing ads on each new listing (likely contributing to increased UPI's too).  Here's an idea to almost 'guarantee' a sale:  auction it starting at a buck.  They'll even toss in all the photos, descriptions and a handfull of UPCs - no extra charge!  Just press pay.  (No, that's not a typo).

So, the only 'losers' in this shell game are the poor noob sellers who fall for this fraud generator.  That's why eBay ostritch's any questions or concerns raised to that issue.  

No skin.  No scrapes.  No problem.  For eBay.  The rest of you, try to bleed more quietly, ok?  

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Dec 5 02:09:02 2017

Ebafia refuses to invest in decent customer service because they and Wall Street consider investments in customer service to be a liability rather than an asset.

Customer service produces no immediate or measurable profits. Historically when ever ebafia has laid off employees, Wall Street rewards them with a temporary increase in stock price. Wall Street won't reward ebafia for improving customer service.

It's ALWAYS about the money. ALWAYS. Keeping their theirs and stealing ours.



Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 5 12:06:14 2017

fleecebay just keeps showing sellers they do not care about fraud, heft, etc.

they facilitate it. as long as they get fvf's their happy.

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 5 12:39:31 2017

Posted later in the thread by the original ebay poster:
"Thank you everyone for the feedback.
Clearly the overwhelming majority here is deeply concerned about some iPhone buyers involved in fraudulent activity.
I personally don't work on Trust and Fraud detection but I will forward all this feedback to the relevant team."

If this isn't the blind leading the blind...
Actually, T&F isn't blind...they wear high quality blindfolds.

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 5 19:05:33 2017

True story...someone on the boards about a month ago requested an ebay contact number.
I posted the one from ebay's own contact page.
It was taken down within 30 minutes.
The mind boggles...

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 09:56:53 2017

""...but I will forward all this feedback to the relevant..."" trash file.

There.  Fixed it for ya.  

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed Dec 6 12:35:52 2017

Please refer to the David Tarver story for more info about common iPhone scams.

davidtarver.com/2016/.../seller-beware-ebay-policies-fac
ilitate-theft-of-your-property/

This
is not just limited to smartphones and other goods. Another scam is where someone purchases a large, heavy item from either a newbie or 100% feedback seller.

As soon as they receive it, they file a SNAD claim, since they know the seller cannot afford to pay shipping both ways if the merchandise is returned. And then they negotiate a partial refund.

Scammers know they can take advantage of this, since new sellers do not know any better, and those with perfect feedback wish to keep their unblemished record intact. They are also aware that eBay will aid and abet their cause, since the site will force their sellers to bend over backwards (and forwards) for their buyers.

And why not? Since eBay does not own the item, all they lose is the Final Value Fee, while keeping the buyer happy. And the total amount of the ''sale'' is still added to their revenue stream. A win-win for everyone. Except the poor seller.

If you are taken advantage of and call eBay with the details, no matter what evidence you present, the response will be ''all businesses occasionally lose money due to theft, and you as a seller must allow for these types of losses in their business plan'', and / or ''you need to take one for the team here''.

Immoral and unethical.

Perminate Link for Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix   Why iPhones and eBay Do Not Always Mix

by: imbloated This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 23:48:44 2017

"glaring omission on the part of the CS " -No, CS are untrained. Their employer, who just wants the sale to go through, purposely does not train CS.



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