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Sun Feb 2 2014 10:02:48

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I think everyone will enjoy this story. It's a long read but worth it in my opinion. It involves eBay allowing buyers to misrepresent their location, commit mail fraud, receive a refund (from eBay, not the seller), and leave negative feedback.

This transaction and experience was so frustrating and baffling that I wrote a physical letter to eBay headquarters and demanded an explanation. Surprisingly, I received a phone call from eBay's Office of the President and had an hour long conversation with a member of the office. His explanation clarified a few things for me, but mainly just left me frustrated and with no doubt that eBay will do everything in its power to protect buyers to the point of absurdity, while neglecting and punishing sellers.

Here is what happened:

9/13/13 - a buyer claiming to be from New Jersey buys a $150 basketball card from me; he pays and I ship the card from Massachusetts.

9/16/13 - USPS confirms delivery of the card in New Jersey.

9/27/13 - Buyer opens an eBay buyer protection case; I allow a return for a full refund despite having provided highly detailed scans. He mails back the card from South Korea, at which point I notice his account is registered in South Korea. I have my account set up to only accept buyers from the United States, meaning the buyer changed his location in order to receive the card.

10/7/2013 - Buyer (by mistake) closes the case before I receive the card back, and eBay erroneously sends me a message telling me that I issued a refund.

10/8/2013 - I pick the card up from the post office and discover the card has significant damage not present when I shipped.

The nature of the damage was such that it could not have occurred from my shipment from MA to NJ. The damage either had to have occurred between New Jersey and South Korea, or done intentionally by the buyer.

I contact eBay, who tells me because the buyer closed the case, I did not issue a refund, that I should not issue a refund, and there was nothing more I should do.

Also, the buyer's feedback shows that he has pulled similar stunts (intentionally damaging cards and then opening a case) on other sellers. If you wonder why a buyer may do this, it's because sports cards can decline in value rapidly if the player gets injured/traded/does not perform well. Buyers will attempt to return the card if it quickly declines in value.

10/9/2013 - I get a message from eBay telling me to send a refund or else there might be "further escalation." Confused, I respond to the message explaining the situation but get no reply.

10/10/2013 - Without ever receiving a message from eBay, I somehow appealed the buyer protection case, eBay reviewed the appeal, and rejected my appeal in the span of three minutes, all despite the fact that I was at work at the time I supposedly appealed the case.

10/14/2013 - Without receiving any sort of message from eBay or PayPal, eBay refunded the buyer and in the PayPal transaction details, eBay leaves a note that I did not have enough money in my account to refund (even though I did have plenty of funds to cover at the time).

10/28/2013 - Buyer leaves me negative feedback. I call eBay and am told the feedback cannot be removed because I lost the buyer protection case and lost the appeal.

At this point, I sent a long letter to eBay's corporate headquarters, addressed to their legal department, explaining the situation. I explained how the buyer is committing mail fraud by, among other things, misrepresenting his location, and how eBay is facilitating such fraud by giving him a refund.

A few weeks later I received a phone call from eBay's Office of the President - we spoke for an hour. He first acknowledged that many messages sent by eBay are confusing and make no sense (i.e. an e-mail saying I provided a refund to the buyer when I did not), and they "are working on that."

He explained that I was given some wrong information on the phone from an eBay representative - I did not lose the buyer protection case because the buyer closed it himself. eBay then let the buyer appeal the case that he had closed himself, and eBay granted him a refund (eBay provided the refund, not me).

Because eBay granted the appeal, this supposedly triggered eBay to open and close an appeal on my behalf (which still makes no sense to me and was not adequately explained).

Now for the part that really makes me angry: eBay tells me that his negative feedback cannot be removed. His negative feedback also made me lose my Top Rated Seller status and the 20% refund on final value fees that comes along with it.

Here was eBay Office of the President's explanation:

1) My feedback cannot be removed since the buyer was unhappy with his purchase. Feedback is an entirely separate issue from the buyer protection case.

2) If eBay found that the buyer violated eBay policy in connection with the purchase, the negative feedback he left would be deemed unwarranted and removed.

3) It is a violation of eBay policy to use a "middleman" - i.e. a buyer located in South Korea misrepresents that he is located in the United States, has the item shipped to a location in the United States where he does not reside, and then has someone in the United States ship the item to him in South Korea.

4) eBay (supposedly) did an investigation into this particular buyer and determined that he is not using a middleman or violating any other eBay policy. He told me that many buyers live in more than one country and can legitimately change their location.

Therefore, eBay made the determination that the following occurred: the buyer received the card in New Jersey on September 16. Instead of returning the card from New Jersey, he decided to bring the card with him to South Korea. Then, 11 days after he initially received the card in New Jersey, he decided to open a case with eBay and return the card from Korea (a much more expensive option than just sending it from New Jersey).

eBay determined that this occurred rather than the much simpler and logical explanation that the buyer had the card mailed to him from New Jersey to Korea (which, quite coincidentally, takes about 10 days). I pressed him and explained how ridiculous his explanation sounded, but he would not change his position or acknowledge how absurd it was. I also pointed to other feedback of the buyer which indicated he pulls the same stunt on other sellers, but was again just told that eBay's "investigation" pointed to no wrongdoing.

The representative mentioned to me on the phone that, in the non-eBay world, businesses must deal with unreasonable buyers and are not immune from negative publicity. While this is true, it is also eBay's job to protect its sellers from buyers who leave unwarranted feedback, and even more so to rid the marketplace of buyers committing fraud.

In this instance, eBay failed to do its job multiple times. Their determination that this buyer resided in the United States, received the card, brought the card with him to Korea, and then sent the card back, is naive and unreasonable.

As a result, I have received both damage to my reputation through negative feedback, and I have suffered financial loss as a result of my loss of Top Rated Seller status. To date, it does not appear as though the buyer has been sanctioned at all, and he continues to buy and sell.
Andrew




Comments (26) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 2 10:50:46 2014

What you have experienced is de rigueur on todays eBay.

eBay wasnts to and does take NO responsibility for anything. The least amoutn of work they have to do - the better.

If you believe that they did ANY investigaion at all, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

I have situations like this all the time (like the one where a customer lives in one country and buys something, then moves to another country, opens an INR case and I loose ...(how can you claim INR if you moved?) eBay says "too bad".

Or the one where a customer uses Global Shipping (who if you read the help pages is responsible for INR and SNAD - since they check the items before shipping) keeps the item for a month (over xmas) uses it, then decides its not the right model (they only make 1 kind in 3 colors - its not rocket science unless you are eBay) and lets the customer open a SNAD in PAYPAL (GS rules state it must be open in eBay NOT paypal) and lets it drag on now for 60 days (Paypal says "its busy this time of year - we are behind in looking at cases").

I could go on - I haev a hundred of them. (Oh and when I pressed Paypal on the facts (what it says in eBay pages on GS - hey told me to be quiet or they would just "let" the customer open a chargeback on me - that they "know" Id loose!).

eBay is an underhanded criminial enterprise that pretends its an ecommerce company.

Ive stopped being suprised at the crap they pull - since theres "no bottom to it".

(Wait till you tabgle with VERO and they tell you in the explanation that they dont know or understand the rules they claim you are breaking - but just 'cause that guy there says so - its enough to punnish you ... an oh btw "we dont expect YOU to know them either"!

WHen you get crap like that from eBay, what can you expect?

eBay corporate responded to you out of "fear" you were going to sue, or at least make a big stink. They saw that you werent, so they gave you the line they have given me in the past "expect that you WILL loose some money on eBay dealing with thier stellar buyers". (Ask them if they would mind LOOSING on your eBay bill and see what they say.

Beynd all that, the fact that they took the time to stop watching Moonshiners reruns and eating popcorn to actually answer you - is a miracle in itself.

Over at VERO, they watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians reruns and play nerf football all day. (thats why they hide behind vero@eBay.com and wont take phone calls "like a man". (Little girls, small animals, pieces of driftwood are all more human and sane then VERO.

Appologies that you lost money on the deal - I'm busy fighting my eBay demons to make sure I dont loose on my end - no promises - but I call daily and I threaten (lawyers letter(s)).

eBay law #1 eBay will eventually find a way to screw you - just "because".

You best revenge besides a lawyers letter is to make more sales off eBay and cut them out of as many transactions as possible - they wont feel it - but you will feel better!  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

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

Sun Feb 2 13:28:37 2014

I can tell you this, there was no investigation.
I have tracked several buyers for years they have been reported to ebay several times. They are the worst thieves and frauds. You can tell by the feedback they have left.
Ebay has policies guided from the top which are buyer fraud friendly, ebay gets its final value fees first keep that in mind also.
You have wealthy stock market execs who have no retail experience operating ebay, they could care less about the seller losing money, they have no idea that theft is a huge problem in retail and they cannot be bothered with that evidently.
I believe that someday ebay will take a massive financial hit because of its deceptive business practices and changes will be made the steal from the poor and give to the rich regime at ebay will be gone.
There is a way to make a profit and be honest at the same time but that is not going to happen at ebay with the present executive team they go out of their way to be dishonest.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 2 15:32:27 2014

Ebay's defination of an official investigation is====PHONE BLOW OFF, TELL EM WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR....

Anyone who has sold on Ebay knows this.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sun Feb 2 15:44:24 2014

OP, would you believe that eBay can't see any shill bidding fraud on their auctions either. Why? Because they are, in fact, a most unscrupulous, active facilitator of such fraud on buyers as they also profit from such criminal activity ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

But don't worry, eBay is an equal opportunity fraudster; they will defraud both buyer and seller if they can get away with it without anyone noticing ...

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: TraderBoo

Sun Feb 2 18:15:14 2014

The problem is that it's all automatic, there is no human overlook of any situation. OP was lucky to get response from the president office. When I attempt to contact ebay office when they boot me out got me zero response. It is time to create online small sellers association that can protect sellers from corporate abuse.  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 00:22:48 2014

I pay even closer attention to WHERE my sales originate--ie- Korea is on my NO SELL list---and I mention this right out there on EVERY listing.

This won't help the OP now but several countries seem to have a higher percentage of fraud.  Korea and Nigeria and Sri Lanka and a few more.  

I have closed sales from many other places in the world OFF ebay and never been burned---the only place I have insisted on remaining ON ebay is Russia as their mail and customs has serious problems in-country.  

But if I see that a sale is going to an out of country buyer I will try and make this an OFF EBAY sale to protect myself from some of ebays idiocy. I have an ON EBAY sale right now to Russia that is NOT being tracked by USPS even tho the customer paid $28 USD for REGISTERED MAIL for a 5 ounce package!  Now---I know that ebay CLAIMS that IF you have this form of mailing you are "Protected"  Do I BELIEVE this?  Well----

Bargain with the devil.  And I right this minute have a package out for delivery to KANSAS that has been circling thru the USPS since 3 JANUARY with no end in sight.  I have at LEAST 15 scanned reports on this.  No PO will HELP.  Yes I filed a case!  Good thing THIS is OFF EBAY huh????

The OP should get a lawyer type to write a legal type letter to those ever so friendly folk at ebay telling them he will SUE if this is not corrected. The whole losing the TRS and discount--can this even HAPPEN with ONE bad FB???--I would think this is RESTRAINT OF TRADE at the least.  And perhaps some good old slander might be mentioned.  And RICO.  Surely RICO covers something like this!!!!    The ONLY thing they understand.  

I would PAY to see ebay brought down by their own foolishness or something like the RICO laws.  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: AuctionMonkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 00:25:22 2014

This happens to all of us every day. Welcome to the wonderful world of selling on eBay!! :)  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 00:32:48 2014

Do you think that it is possible that the buyer received the card in NJ, and had another damaged card send from Korea so that he got your good card for free?  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Mon Feb 3 03:34:54 2014

It costs more to investigate the case than to just refund the money.

Selling on eBay is like living in the Looking Glass. Illogic is the logical choice there.

Sports cards... little pictures of overpriced ball chasers. Ha ha, from the outside it looks like everyone is ripping each other off.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 04:08:51 2014

We just ran into one of those type buyers. He switched our Elephant pool balls with cheap imitations and send them back for a full refund. Ebay's Rep said that was perfectly okay as long as we got a package from him. "It does not matter what is in the package." All I can say that is polite enough to print here is; At least the Rep was honest about Ebay's "Frankly I don't give a damn," policy.  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

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

Mon Feb 3 05:46:04 2014

Time after time, we hear these horror stories. Yet, the same Sellers continue to sell on eBay. Why do Sellers stay on eBay with eBay's arbitrary and egregious track record when it comes to treatment of the Sellers?

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 3 07:13:05 2014

Pure and simple, this is eBay condoning buyer fraud and it is shameless.

How is this not enabling and abetting crime, because this is exactly what it is.

Hey Rich Matasuura, where are you?  We know you read these posts, why are you silent on this matter.  Do your job.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

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

Mon Feb 3 09:07:53 2014

Thank You Andrew for alerting us to this. Just in a nick of time.

This morning I had a buyer from Korea wanting a discount on a piece of artwork. I responded with the shipping cost.

Then they replied that they wanted it shipped to New Jersey. After reading your letter the alarm bells went off.

The user ID started with 2014 and has purchased 49 items since January 16. All with glowing feedback, of course.

There are several of those IDs with only the last digit different. Locations varied but they had very low or no feedback.

My blocked bidders list is growing.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 09:14:46 2014

Nice way for ebay to save on the TRS discount. That is the bottom line.  

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: Valaset This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 09:43:46 2014

I have a suggestion you will not want to hear:  Move On.

Focus on growing your business.  Sell more.  Don't get wrapped up in one negative feedback.

While I agree that this buyer scammed you.  I would add them to your blocked bidder list and move on.  Don't let it consumer your life...

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 3 10:06:12 2014

Andrew

If you are up to it, another phone call and possibly letter is in order.  You do have grounds to have at the very least the case reversed to your favor.

First, lets' cover your item #3.  This isn't completely accurate.  There is no ''middleman'' rule that I'm aware of anyways.  International buyers are able to use what is called a reshipper anytime they like.  Typically that does not cause or create a problem.

You can not block all international buyers in Ebay.  That is not how that block reads.  I reads to block international buyers that do not have a primary ship to address in a country I ship to.

So international buyers can purchase, just have a ship to address in the US or some other country in which you do ship to.  

Next some clarification on this item ending up in a another country and returned from there.  That VOIDS buyer protection with Ebay.  And that fact alone should get the case reversed.  Since you didn't actually refund the buyer, Ebay did, you won't get money back.  But it should enable you to get the case reversed and hopefully the FB removed.

It would however be interesting to see what exactly they said on the FB.  Since the CSRs you have spoken to have not been completely correct, they may have violated something else.  So if this doesn't work, you may want to come back and let us know what the FB said, or maybe let us know before you call and we can see if there are other violations.

OK, here is the policy you need for the no no I spoke of earlier.

Here are items NOT covered by buyer protection.

The following isn't covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee:
Buyer's remorse or any reason other than not receiving an item or receiving an item that isn't as described in the listing. (See the seller's return policy for return options.)
Duplicate claims through other resolution methods
Items shipped to another address after original delivery
Vehicles (see the eBay Vehicle Protection Program), Real Estate, Business & Websites for Sale, Classified Ads, services, and some Business Equipment categories (see the eBay Business Equipment Purchase Protection).
Items purchased on half.com, eBay Wholesale Deals, or eBay Classifieds

Here is a link to the full policy.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/buyer-protection.ht
ml#timelines

No
while your customer may not have actually re-shipped the item to his country, he did ship it back from there which puts the product at a higher risk of in transit damage.  This should work.  Just remember even though you are frustrated, which is understandable, state completely professional and stick to the facts.  No venting, no personal feelings, nothing like that.  Make that CSR your best friend.  Make them want to work for you and do you a favor.  Keep your goal in mind.

Now while we don't know what your listing looked like or what the buyer's FB actually said.  Check another thing before calling.  Does anything the buyer say in the FB directly conflict with what your title and/or your ISB [item specific boxes] say.  ISBs are EXTREMELY important now as they can be used to get FB removed if the FB states something in direct conflict of what they state.

I hope we get an update soon that all is well with you.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 3 11:09:48 2014

Andrew

I forgot to mention something.  You stated this buyer caused you to lose your TRS standing.  That is not possible for a couple reasons.

First, one buyer can't do that.  It takes a minimum of 2 or 3 buyers depending on how many transactions you normally do.

Second, this is an international buyer.  They can't affect your US TRS standing.  You can see this on your dashboard.  

Once there, on the left under Reports and Service Tools, click on the first report which is Seller Performance Report.

There you can see the three different TRS standings and if you qualify.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 12:30:47 2014

This exact scenario happened to me, and Ebay also sided with the buyer, but they did eventually remove the negative feedback after I went public with my story, but not until after I spoke with 5 different Ebay reps who all mistreated me. A buyer from Singapore, a country that I have clearly blocked from selling to, purchased something from me and the shipping label defaulted to a USA address, where I sent the item to. The buyer then had someone at that USA address, maybe a relative or friend, unpack it and repack it for shipment to Singapore. When the buyer received it he said that it was broken, provided one photo, and asked for a refund, 20 days AFTER delivery confirmation to the USA. I was baffled how my item got to Singapore when I shipped it to Oregon USA! The buyer told me that he uses "alternative" shipping method to his home in Singapore. I explained to the buyer that because he used "alternative" shipping to Singapore that it invalidated his Buyer Protection. When I asked for photos of my box he refused and said over and over again that he had "cleared" the box and that the damage was from inside the box. He then filed a claim with PayPal and left me negative feedback. I requested the negative feedback be removed but Ebay kept telling me that they could not remove it because feedback is a buyer's "experience" on Ebay. BUT, that buyer should have never "experienced" my store on Ebay at all because I have Singapore blocked! I had 100% positive feedback and was a top rated seller for years at that time. I am guessing that in this case the buyer had a card that was in bad shape and wanted a nicer one so he returned his beat-up card for a "mint" card. That also happened to me with an antique clock movement. Luckily I had the serial number photographed but this is common when someone has something broken or damaged and they want one that is not broken or damaged so they swap it with one on Ebay and return their old one for a refund and keep the nice one. Recently I had a buyer open the bottom of the box, unpack the items, repackage them, wrote "REFUSED" on the shipping label which appear unopened because the buyer opened the BOTTOM of the box, then returned it without having to pay any return shipping! Buyers run the show on Ebay that is for sure!

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 3 12:40:37 2014

Oh, I forgot to say that Ebay reps also gave me the old "it's Business 101 that you should expect to lose money to theft", and "if you returned something broken to Walmart they would gladly refund your money." So yes, Ebay reps and their customer service have way too much power to ruin your business and they constantly mishandle problems. In fact, Ebay reps and Ebay's customer service is as inept as I have ever seen. And yes Marie, one bad shady buyer can harm your business, your standings, your reputation, and your sales.

eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller   eBay Shields Korean Buyer and Lets Him Neg Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 3 13:06:35 2014

Valaset says "Focus on growing your business.  Sell more."

Valaset, that is nearly impossible to do on eBay.  We have noticed, and I am sure that some others here will agree, that eBay has seller limits on each small or medium seller.  We can predict within $100 how we will do every month. It does not matter  how many items we have available.  Once your sales limit is met,  you will become invisible on eBay for a few days to a week then boom, sales take off again.  It is as predictable as a Swiss clock.

If you really want to grow your business, you have to have your on web site, or you have to be selling on other venues.  It is the only way you maintain some control and grow your sales.  

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