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Mon June 7 2021 08:50:38

eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Tracking Scams

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Not sure if this is newsworthy or not, but I am an eBay seller of 20 years who just got hit HARD by Russian scammers on a single Macbook Air listing - 5 out of 9 sold were scammers who either pulled the "Empty Box" scam or returned an empty envelope to a school in the same zip code using a doctored return label.

eBay is finding against me in all of these cases despite evidence from the postmaster and police reports, and I will lose $4000 as well as my Top Rated Seller standing all from this explosion of fraud on this one listing. 

I usually do my due diligence not shipping these high value items to new accounts going to sketchy addresses or Freight Forwarders, but I got complacent this time. 
A.

Note from the Editor: See this May 19th blog post, "eBay Fake Tracking Scams Hurt Sellers Too." The Better Business Bureau also wrote about fake tracking number scams in August 2020: "BBB Scam Alert: Tracking Code Trick Costs Online Shoppers." And last week, a buyer sued eBay related to fake tracking scams and its money back guarantee - see, "eBay Hit with RICO Lawsuit."



Comments (16) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 10:49:25 2021

You should think very very hard about requesting to be added as a Plaintiff to that RICO lawsuit a scammed eBay is filing see  https://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog/blog.pl?/comments/2021/6/1
622901051.html#comments



Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 10:52:49 2021

Buying and selling electronics and technology on eBay has become so risky and gotten such a bad rep for eBay I cannot understand why anyone is risking it. Those categories and other high risk ones certainly have generated an atmosphere of fear - earning the "FleeBay", "FleeceBay," and other names for the venue.


Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 10:56:06 2021

@ A -  Sorry - I missed my own proofreading -

You should think very very hard about requesting to be added as a Plaintiff to that RICO lawsuit a scammed eBay BUYER is filing.  

I truly hope you will check out the links Ina has posted. With actual police reports and USPS documentation it does sound like you have good legs to stand on.    

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 11:41:34 2021

While ecommerce fraud happens on every platform, the thieves like to use the platforms that are the easiest to steal from. It costs money for platforms to police fraudulent transactions so the question for selling platforms is, how much do they want to spend policing their transactions?

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: l.l. This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 13:47:35 2021

i have sold on ebay for around 25 yrs.  use turn off feature for overseas buyers and south american buyers for these sorts of items, there is always trouble when sending expensive items to 2nd and 3rd world countries or really any country other than your own (our laws do not apply to people in other countries).  then change  your return policy to NO RETURNS, this will discourage many.  next place a call to ebay and explain what is going on.  they can run investigation into the user including what they buy.  no one needs 20 laptops............. that is a red flag.  you must go to war and defend yourself.   you have to fight hard.   call during the day when you are more likely to speak to americans, ask for american agent (sometimes you think  you have an american and your talking to asian who can do little to help you).  escalate your issue to supervisors.  demand action.  ebay will do nothing and blame you if you  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: l.l. This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 13:56:23 2021

also file a police report.  show ebay your serious and make them understand you are not backing down.  realize this situation is party your fault for risking everything with foreigner buyers, who are most likely to do fraud.  you have learned a valuable lesson.  good luck!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 7 19:34:05 2021

One of the best things you can do on expensive items is to require signature confirmation, even if the item is not over $750. When one of these items has a return request, you provide the return label and also require a signature confirmation. That way the item has to come back to you and if it is an empty box you can refuse it to the postman and there will be a written record of that with the post office.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: eBaySince2006 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 8 09:47:24 2021

Yes these scammers have been hitting us hard as well. It's gotten really bad this year. We have a "high unauthorized payment chargeback rate" on PayPal and it's only due to all the fraud going on.

Most of the fraud is to Delaware addresses. We stopped shipping there but one order got through and it was fraud again. We lost $600 on Monday. Currently appealing it with eBay.

One thing that will work for you is if you can Google the address and show it is a shipping forwarder you can call eBay until you reach someone that will close the return for you.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Michael4747 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 8 10:09:08 2021

I've just learned over the years what not to sell and who not to sell to. After 20 plus years selling, 99.99% of sales fall into the buy, pay, ship, love you and have a nice day category..  I ignore, block, cancel anything outside of that...



Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 10 00:17:51 2021

We recently decided to cut off almost ALL international shipping (we've NEVER shipped to Russia or any other country who doesn't have door-to-door tracking from their postal system).

However, we've discovered that eBay's "Exclude Shipping Locations" system has a major bug in it - as in IT DOESN'T WORK AT ALL.  It used to, but we recently got an order from Greece - who also doesn't have postal door-to-door tracking and has been excluded from shipping because of that.

So how did the buyer get his order in?  Despite being shown all the settings and that they're all correct, eBay was at a loss to explain this.  Apparently it doesn't matter that the same bug appeared a month or two ago and we reported it to eBay then.  In other words, eBay doesn't bother fixing things like this because they figure THEY GET MORE SALES!  Residents of those countries often KNOW there isn't any tracking in their country, ie Russia, so it's FREE STUFF for them.  Ebay, you should be ashamed.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 10 00:20:06 2021

Our reason for cutting off most international shipping was due to COVID delays - and eBay, despite their promise to protect sellers from postal delays, actually taking money from us and paying buyers refunds - DESPITE THE ITEMS ARRIVING WITHIN A FEW DAYS!  Of course, appeals are routinely denied without explanation, costing us DOUBLE due to the lost of the payment AND the merchandise.

And eBay's still trying to figure out why sellers are leaving!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Casmige This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 10 03:37:43 2021

Well, Interesting.

Here is what we have ALWAYS Done from the very Beginning.

We have an Independent Mail-Stop Box Place....NO! NOT A Post-Office Box Because You'll Soon  Learn Why, keep reading.

We have an Independent Mail-Stop Box Place that is licensed & Authorised to despatch/process send & receive DHL, UPSP, FedEx, & UPS Packages.

We pay a Tax Deductible Flat Rate of $500.00USD per Year.

The Service acts as a Virtual Office TOO!.

What does that mean in the scheme of things??.  Well, Like POSTAL INSPECTORS Who Have the Legal Duly Authorisation to Open & Inspect/Audit Packages & Parcels?? When you are a licensed agent or representative for DHL, UPSP, FedEx, & UPS??  That Business Service Provider is ALSO Legally Duly Authorised to Open & Inspect/Audit Packages & Parcels.

Which they do....& very carefully snap pictures of the entire process Start to Finish with all sides, back & fronts of the package & then as they slowly tease it open to carefully & again methodically step-by-step AUDIT & DOCUMENT the Package Contents & Condition.

We have eMail Notification when we are notified of a Return?? that goes out to the Buyers Informing them of eBay Policy.

We remind them of eBay's ToS (Terms of Service) & Buyer Requirements that ''Per eBay Policy?? YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE EBAY LISTING & KNOW WHAT YOU ARE BUYING!!.'' & that ''You're also required to respect eBay Member-to-Member eMail Communication & respond.'' & ''Read The Seller Communication eMails'' & That anything contrary to doing so?? is ''according to eBay is considered Malicious & Unwelcomed Buying & is a violation of Buyers Responsibilities''.

It's an eBay Required Policy anyways to ensure that you, the buyer Know what you are ordering by carefully & fully reading the listing: ''You are responsible for reading the full item listing before making a bid or commitment to buy,''
Under #7 HERE:

1). https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/member-behaviour-policies/user-agre
ement?id=4259

2).
https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/rules-policies-buyers/buying-practi
ces-policy?id=4374

3).
https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/rules-policies-buyers/rules-policie
s-buyers?id=4206

Also?
we inform Buyers of eBay's Policy regarding not abusing returns ''Returning an item with the reason that it was not as described when it was described accurately''. From HERE: https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/rules-policies-buyers/buying-practi
ces-policy?id=4374

AND?
Then there's THIS eBay Policy we point out to them:  eBay's Policy regarding not abusing returns ''Returning an item with the reason that it was not as described when it was described accurately''. From HERE: https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/rules-policies-buyers/buying-practi
ces-policy?id=4374

We
also Have Screen Captures of these eBay Policy's that we attach as part of the 10 Picture Attachment.

Then?? We also inform the buyer that the Return is subject to Off-sets & Deductions according to eBay Policy HERE: https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/member-behavior-policies/condition-
returned-items-policy?id=4763

With
a Table of Deductions as Outlined by eBay HERE: https://www.ebay.com/help/selling/managing-returns-refunds/handle-retu
rn-request-seller?id=4115#refund_guidelines
(Expand the Heading-Title ''Refund deduction guidelines table'' that is almost at the bottom of the page & probably PURPOSELY Hard to Find....smh).

In our 2-Part eMail to the Buyer on any & all returns?? We also outline that we have an Independent 3rd. party Authorised & Licensed Audit & Inspector who is legally able to open, inspect & audit package contents & conditions & that the service provider eMails us back those Pictures.  

We get so many pictures back?? that we must make a Collage out of them in MS Paint in order to attach them to the (Limited to 10 Pics/Graphics) Return Case.  WE DOCUMENT EVERYTHING & WE DEDUCT FOR EVERYTHING.  We also REPORT Each & Every Buyers Return because usually?/ it's a Buyers Remorse issue & THAT?? is a violation of eBay's ToS Agreement & Buyer Requirement Policies & also an Abuse of Returns.

Is all that a TONNE of Work?? Yes indeed....But at what point do we as ''Sellers'' stand up to these abuses??.  We simply have to KNOW eBay Policy's BETTER than the CSR's at eBay know them....AND?? We have to tediously DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.

And yes, we have to have an independent 3rd. Party Service Provider to Open/Audit/Inspect Packages.

They are after all?? Licensed & Duly authorised to act in the Stead of USPS, FedEx, DHL, & UPS As Agents.

Apologies, it's a LOT of work....however it certainly adds up & it's the ONLY WAY to change Buyer behaviour.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 10 03:53:29 2021

Were the Russian scammers in RUSSIA or the US?  If they were in Russia, why did the OP ship to Russia?

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Gumball This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 10 05:40:59 2021

My guess is that you are not a seasoned seller. There are a lot of countries that are not safe to ship item to, and Russia is probably in the top three. Stick to selling electronics in the US. You will still get scammed, selling the kind of merchandise you are selling, but not as frequently. Online markets rarely protect a seller when a switch has been made or an empty box is sent back. It is one of the major problems for online sellers.  That said, I am sorry you lost your merchandise, the money you paid out for shipping, and the hefty amount of  fees you paid to Ebay. Triple seven year whammy on the thieves, and for any who went out of their way to help them.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jun 10 10:37:51 2021

In California businesses can be sued in small claims court for up to $5000

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track   eBay Seller Hit Hard with Empty-Box and Fake-Track

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 10 18:57:50 2021

@toolguy

In California an individual can sue for up to $10000 in small claims court.  There is a limit of no more than 2 lawsuits per year over $2500 but a corporation can be sued for up to $10K in small claims in CA, but you are correct that a corporation can only sue for up to $5k in CA.



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