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Mon Nov 4 2013 11:32:20

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clock

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Ok here is my dilemma and I need help in what to do. I sold a clock on eBay and there are 2 different sizes and it is clearly listed in each auction which one is which and the measurements are there and also a warning there letting people know that the one is the smaller clock and if they are wanting the larger one please make sure to purchase the correct one.

What happened is that I got an email from a customer telling me that the clock arrived with an arm broken and we test all these clocks before they leave our hands and all of our items are new and in perfect working condition before they leave our hands. But we know things can happen in shipping but when we got the clock back one arm was broken (as they said) but the eyes were both out of the clock, the minute hand was off and mechanism was completely frozen up.

When I told the customer that we could not refund for an item that was totally destroyed and it was not possible all this happened in shipping because the box was in perfect shape when we received it back and they swore that was the way they got it.

Well knowing we would not stand a chance to win a case because eBay always finds in favor of the customer. We agreed to send another one.

Then the conversation changed and could he exchange it for the larger clock and I refund him for his return shipping and then he would pay the difference for the larger clock. Red Flags went up. We told him no we would not pay for return shipping that he did not insure his purchase and we cannot return shipping on an item they returned to us with such damage that we shipped to them free.

After going back and forth I called eBay and of course I got no where and were told we could choose to refuse to give him his money back and he would file a claim and then eBay would review the information and make a decision.

As we all know the sellers always ends up the loser no matter what and so it is a waste of time because they will in the long run get their money back and then I will receive negative feedback and then you can't fight that either because they won't remove it.

This is the second time this has happened to us with someone destroying an item because they want a refund for return shipping for something they don't want so they destroy it.

I had almost 99% good feedback till all these changes with eBay that sellers can leave negative but we as a seller have no recourse. Please can someone give me some advice on what to do.

Things are getting so much worse on eBay and they are catering to China and leaving us sellers all behind and they are just getting their fees. Please, please any suggestions? I am at my wits end. Looking for other options to sell any suggestions? I need to supplement my income but can't handle all the stress and losses.
Regards,
Karen




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 12:28:01 2013

If you were 100% sure that clock was tampered with, you should have refunded the loser and then blocked him from bidding ..... remember that the definition of "fool" is : somebody who does the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 14:01:12 2013

Karen,
There really is nothing you can do when dealing with ebay and its horde of THIEVES and LIARS.

The best you and every seller can do is start diversifying.  ebay is not going to get better and is purposely getting WORSE.

ebay really believes that as they get rid of their seller base they will pick up mass amounts of box stores. They THINK they are doing good by following Amazons lead but they are ignoring the LOSES Amazon is taking for allowing the ANYTHING GOES policies.

ebays ANYTHING GOES policies are going to bite just as hard for their box sellers as well because ebay is selling these new policies for the entire site.

ebay scammers do not care WHO they scam from, big, medium or small sellers, they are all fair game to them.

The FACT is, JD is a total LOSER who has proven that he CANNOT figure out how to make ebay profitable enough to compete.  The best he can do is copy Amazon and  force his sellers to take loss after loss and making ebay HATED more and more by EVERYONE except for the SCAMMERS.

Karen, selling on ebay is a NO WIN situation.  Sales will continue to go down and your costs and losses will only continue to RISE, and ebays demands on sellers will continue to get worse and worse until everyone says ENOUGH! and leaves.

The funny thing about that is that the only ones the scammers will then have to scam are the box sellers and they will deserve everything they get. lol

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: Linda This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 15:02:49 2013

@Karen,
Call CS in the morning and alert them this has happened. Ask them to tag the item with the problems you are having. If history is recorded that you called in with concerns, they may be able to help if he leaves bad feedback. I have done that twice on unruly refund requests and I am now the proud owner of 2 ''What has Ebay done to protect you'' - Just keep trying to get someone to make those notes before you get the bad feedback so CS has something to look at and you have a leg to stand on.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Nov 4 18:25:55 2013

Karen,

Unfortunately, it is becoming clearer on a daily basis - eBay has trained their buyers how to abuse the system to take advantage of sellers.

Speak to eBay customer service, and read what eBay management says about returns... you will quickly learn that 100 % of time, eBay is going to side with the buyer regardless of circumstances.

Keep in mind customer service does not care, eBay management does not care - the mentality is that you are the fraud - not eBay's buyers.

It is becoming clearer on a daily basis how to avoid the abusive buyers eBay cultivates and nurtures - stop selling on eBay and after you stop selling stop buying on eBay also. That is the only way to protect yourself from eBay's anti-seller policies.

You can easily import your listings to both Bonanza and eCrater, start the migration away from eBay before they kick you out.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 19:33:44 2013

I think you should fight this one--take pictures of the way the clock was returned, compared to the image of what you sent, and ask how such damage could possibly occur in shipping? If your service record is good, eBay will cover you, I'm sure.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Nov 4 22:02:07 2013

@Karen - How about telling your buyer that you will be initiating a mail fraud complaint against him/her? Or filing a report with your customer's local police for destruction of property? Scammers generally stop making demands when the authorities become part of the equation.

And as others have stated, you need to find a new venue because eBay is only becoming worse by the day, in terms of scams, unreasonable policies, and lack of visibility. I sell on eCrater and highly recommend that site. Others have started their own web sites. Other alt sites have their fans. But stress and losses are going to continue to be part of selling on eBay.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 4 22:04:25 2013

Karen

It isn't true that Ebay always rules in the favor of a buyer. I know there is many postings here , on Ebay and elsewhere that they say that, but it isn't always the case.  However it honestly is very hard to win a case as a seller, but it can be done is certain circumstance.  Unfortunately I don't think yours would be one of them.

What you describe is something that faces all sellers from time to time.  It is hard to avoid them and harder to prove the buyer intentionally damaged the product.

As for insurance.  Can't have the buyer take that blame on.  Ebay doesn't allow you to charge a separate amount for insurance anymore.  Insurance is for the seller anyways.

In your current case, you just need to refund and be done with them.  Let them know you can not upgrade the item as you nor the buyer would be protected via Ebay rules.  That's what I always say and it typically works.  If you ship them something back that is different than what was in the listing they purchased from then of course it would be pretty darn easy to file a SNAD claim.  And with a buyer like this, they may very well do that, ship the item back to you [or a box of rocks] and you have to refund anyways.  Personally I would just try to as gracefully as possible be done with this buyer, put them on your BBL and report them to Ebay both via email and calling it in.

For the future, increase your shipping rate a bit or your price of the item to accomodate insurance.  And if this happens again, request pictures from your buyer first.  AFTER you see those, then bring up filing a claim, but you really want to see what they are going to give you BEFORE you mention anything about insurance.  Obviously if you don't see any packaging damage, there may be more to the story.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 23:20:58 2013

It is true that a seller can win a case every now and then but even when you win ebay holds it against you, so you really lose.

I also agree that this is going to be a very hard case to win.  I suggest EVERY seller no matter where you sell, even on your own site to video tape ALL shipments.

This is what a friend of mine suggested and they are absolutely correct.  I can tell you with 100% certainty that it DOES help prevent this type of fraud and abuse.

Even if ebay, paypal, Amazon Etsy etc ignore the video proof, the police will not.

I also seen a youtube video where a guy had a buyer scam them at least once by returning a box full of magazines in place of a saxophone, the second return he got from them he had the police come out and verify the contents as he opened the box for the first time and he video recorded it.  Low and behold they once again sent a box of magazines.

The police made a report.  I am not sure what ever happened though.  

So, do not just record your shipments going out but also record ALL returns.

Video cameras are very cheap and is well worth the expense.  A good one is about 100-150 and they are wireless.  You just need it on your shipping and return area.

The more sellers begin to do this, the more all of these sites will be forced to accept them and will eventually run off a majority of the thieves.  At least opportunistic ones.

What buyers do not realize thanks to places like ebay is, they do not just face fraud charges but MAIL FRAUD as well.

Well good luck to you Karen.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 4 23:42:58 2013

@justthefacts
"It is true that a seller can win a case every now and then but even when you win ebay holds it against you, so you really lose."  How is it or what is it that they do?

Videoing shipments isn't going to help you on Ebay as they won't view them, but they certainly could be useful if you ended up in court.  So I think it is great advice for higher end items.  We each must do whatever it takes to protect your interests.  

It's mail fraud.  Reporting them to the post office can be a useful tool.  It is a federal offense to use the mail system to perpetrate a fraud.

Actually most phones nowdays have a video function and then you could just download it to your computer as needed.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 23:55:29 2013

@ Marie,
ebay keeps record of all cases win, lose or draw and even though they do not out right punish you for them, they still look at it as a case against you on their end.

This is why they are once again planning to include ALL cases filed against the sellers in the metrics.  So even when you are found NOT guilty, in their eyes you are GUILTY just because a case was filed.

So, just because ebay does not give you a black eye, they will still make sure to at least punch you in the stomach.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Tue Nov 5 00:21:01 2013

I do make a notation that all returns are opened in the presence of a postal worker and/or video camera for documentation and legal concerns, and that I do initiate both local and postal fraud charges against those that try to do so.

However, with that said, I have been told, and I don't know how much truth there is in this, that eBay does NOT like ''their buyers'' taken to court for any reason, and sellers who do take ''their buyers'' to court will ultimately be targeted with removal from the site.  Again, I do not know if this is true or not, but I wouldn't doubt it.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

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

Tue Nov 5 05:47:44 2013

The ''new'' return policy expected by Buyers these days I call the ''Walmart Entitlement Return Plan''

Walmart, and big stores like them, have this open return policy that strives to ''not upset'' the customer at all costs. And, honestly, they are large enough to build this cost of marketing into their costs.

Unfortunately, the small seller can not meet this expectation.

Myself, I'd take the negative and move on. This driving need to have a perfect ''score'' is just as much the fault of the Sellers (who strive to meet an improbable target set by eBay) as it is the fault of eBay to set an impossible target of a perfect score.

Only God is perfect. The rest of us can only strive to do our very best.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 08:19:56 2013

@ Windsorbear,
I started doing the same  2 years ago. Had been stung a couple of times by getting magazines, piece of wood, even the old rock trick (instead of a camera).
I changed all returns to a PO Box. Also, mentioned, the box will be opened in front of a postal employee. No problems after that. Easiest way for returns, providing you are close to the post office.
I also do the same for Amazon and Etsy. However, never got a return from Etsy.  Amazon buyers think and DO return for any reason. The BIG difference with Amazon vs ebay is that Amazon will allow you to use a restocking fee for buyers remorse. Amazon will charge a restocking fee if it is not in the new exact condition. Also, charge a restocking fee for buyers remorse. Think a lot of buyers on Amazon are surprised when they return an item and get a partial credit for refund.  

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

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

Tue Nov 5 09:18:56 2013

Even if you 'win' a case, you will still be punished. I had two bad buyers that filed disputes that ebay refunded them under buyer protection, but did not use my money. I went from years of being on page one of search results to page 25...essentially I disappeared. I was restricted. So I decided it was time to start all over again which I did on Zibett...an Etsy format. I'm having sales, and regret not leaving ebay years ago.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: Larchlea1

Tue Nov 5 10:18:55 2013

WAIT! The new eBay policy IS protecting sellers in this situation! I was skeptical but they did it for me last week! Buyer tried a scam, I said no. She left a neg. I still said no. She opened a case. The reps saw her outrageous demands, closed the case and took down the neg.

Seriously, read new policy. It's strong. Keep communications with this scammer through eBay messsages. Call eBay. Explain the situation. AND no matter what happens with eBay, DO follow up with police and the USPS. This is out-and-out POSTAL FRAUD which is a federal crime. If he's doing it to you, he's doing it to others.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/return-process.html#mis
use

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: punkin432 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 10:19:28 2013

Thank you everyone for your advice. I talked to CS till I was blue in the face and it was a no win situation as many of you know. They basically told me there was nothing I could do about it. They gave me the address of corporate head quarters and I will write a letter but as we all know it will only be probably tossed in the trash with millions of other ones they get. Even though I agreed to send him the larger size and charged him the difference I think I am going to tell him I changed my mind and that I am refunding him a portion of his money. ebay said I could do that if I want to (which is the truth) and I have taken pictures of how it was returned to me. I will take the hit and if he files I will not be as much out of pocket and I will block him and hopefully this will be a lesson for him as well and that ebay will hopefully see my side but I'm not holding my breath. I supplement my income and these are big hits for me. To the person that said  remember that the definition of "fool" is : somebody who does the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Trust me I am not a fool and I honestly believe this clock was tampered with. I don't know if this is the right decision but I am going with my gut feeling as that's all any of us can do. If it was the first time something like this had happened that would be one thing but it isn't. My issue is, no matter what I do it's a no win situation with ebay. I'm not a fool just no matter how you try you can't win with ebay from my experience. There are more and more scammers out there and I have tried so many other venues but am about to give up on ebay and hope I can get my followers that are honest and trustworthy. I am from the era of kindness and honesty and it is very difficult to understand even though I know we are in different times I still live my life with those qualities. I will try ecrater, bonanza and I even have things listed on craigslist and there is a new site I have items listed but so far not even one sale. It is called webstore so hopefully one or all of these will be the answer for me. I really appreciate all your sharing.  

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: Larchlea1

Tue Nov 5 10:20:50 2013

There is so much outdated information in this thread. Sellers, wake up. Read new policy. Get aggressive. Stop being passive victims. Change is happening. I'm not a cheerleader for eBay (I have mostly moved off to my own site) but I AM one when it comes to sellers making money and shutting down criminals.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 11:10:23 2013

This situation got far too muddy. If the buyer says that it arrived damaged, you did not insure it and you have no interest in getting it back, just ask nicely for photos so that you can verify the damage, then refund. If you do want it back, don't refund until you receive it and verify that it is in fact the one that you shipped, then refund. If it was insured, the buyer will need to return it to the post office for their inspection when you file your claim (although given the dubious story your buyer is telling you, he may not want to cooperate with that). In case of an insurance claim, you still need to refund the buyer regardless; the insurance is for reimbursing you.

Don't go off on a tangent with partial trades, etc.; just keep it simple. I would have limited communication to just arranging the refund, then blocked the buyer.

As you have now agreed to send the buyer a larger clock, do so. Reneging on your own promise, regardless of the prior circumstances, will not help anything.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Tue Nov 5 14:18:57 2013

Quite frankly, this doesn't sound like a scam at all.  Sounds like he got a broken clock and tried to fix it himself.  I did exactly the same thing with a printer a few years ago, and thankfully the seller took pity on me and sent me an exchange.

The buyer wanting to upgrade his order may have been nothing more than him trying to give you a bit more money, get a working clock, and deal with some of his guilt.

But does it really matter?  Returns are a part of doing business.  

The Captain says give the refund and go sell something else.

What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo   What to Do about eBay Scam: Case of the Broken Clo

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 16:30:15 2013

@A_C_GREEN---

The Op never claimed they did not want the item back;  as far as I understand they HAVE the item back and it was broken in several different ways---including the ONE way the buyer claimed they had received it in!

To me--this IS a scammer.  The item has an UNDAMAGED box but--the entire inside of the clock is damaged in DIFFERENT ways?  Beyind even what the buyer CLAIMED??   Unless they were able to remove the item from the box-- damage it and then replace it like new---the Post Office probably did NOT do this.  But surely the buyer could have.

OH--and if this was sent Priority MAil---the OP SHOULD go to their PO and claim the automatic insurance that is now offered on these packages.  AND alert them to MAIL FRAUD.  

AS to insurance---everyone has to decide how much this is worth to them.  Recently I had an inexpensive item go MIA after being received by the PO and being tracked by the PO to a Processing Center.  Now---my buyer was patient and nice and after giving the item several WEEKS to show up I refunded.  Then I had a buyer with a much more expensive item claimed damages!  

We decided that anything selling for over $50 will now carry USPS  insurance.   This will protect me in the event something goes MIA and also if it is claimed it is damaged.  How exactly this will work if the buyer refuses--as several have done---to even show me pictures of the alleged damage---much less RETURN the item----I dunno.

BUT----

I DID win on that "damaged" item.  The buyer was unrealistically demanding;  claimed the item arrived damaged BEFORE the PO reported it delivered.  Buyer wanted a 60% REFUND and to KEEP the item---Now---on all of these ebay told me I was screwed.  HOWEVER---the buyer volunteered that they had USED STAIN REMOVER on the item--now THAT turned out to be the straw that broke ebay's back!  Apparently--THAT is a no-no.  And so I WON this case.'

But all of the demands to keep the item AND get a refund AND trash my rep etc etc etc---THAT meant nothing to ebay.  Off with her head!

One of these days the Ho's head will roll.  Pray we are all interested enough to care.  

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