Observer highlights eBay buyer fraud

An investigation from the Observer newspaper into the various buyer scams on eBay has yielded some interesting results.

Not only have several aggrieved sellers had some cases reversed, some serial buyer scam offenders have also been identified and an eBay spokesperson admits that reform is necessary.

Here you can read the full article called: It’s seller beware as eBay’s buyer guarantee is exploited by scammers. The various cases will be very familiar to any seasoned eBay sellers. Items are claimed as not received or switched on return. eBay’s team of reps also don’t seem to use evidence supplied by sellers and also don’t dig deeper to find the serial scammers.

But eBay is reasonably contrite, a spokesperson says: “There is something wrong. There is a small group of people who abuse the system which was built on the premise that most people are honest. It does need to become more intuitive.”

For me the article raises two questions. Firstly, why aren’t repeat offenders being rooted out? It should be relatively easy to spot buyers with a higher than average tally of claims.

And secondly, are reps empowered to exercise judgment on individual cases or are they hamstrung by rigid, ‘computer-says-no’ styles workflows?

It shouldn’t take the intervention of a national newspaper to get a fair hearing for sellers (likely paying many thousands of pounds in fees every years) who have bent backwards to do their best. We look forward to hearing from eBay in due course on how the system will become more “intuitive”.

Edited to add: eBay are already running a ‘Returns Resolution’ Pilot in the US which hopefully will be rolled out in the UK.