The empty box return scam

By Chris Dawson December 17, 2012 - 1:22 pm

We often hear of complaints regarding buyers claiming that their goods haven’t arrived, and often sellers hold them entirely to blame. But is that the case?

I visited a large eBay seller last week and their courier dropped off a returned product, a rather expensive media player. The trouble is that the box had been neatly slit and all of the contents removed at some point in it’s journey.

This isn’t a dodgy customer, sadly this had to have been done whilst in the hands of the courier and of course it will be just about impossible to figure out on which part of the journey the item was removed. Obviously the retailer is going to ask for a full investigation, but at the end of the day it’s a £100.00 product which they’re unable to replace and is going to result in an unhappy customer, and in the short term at least a loss for the seller.

To be fair to all couriers this is a very rare occurrence which is very few and far between, it’s never happened to me personally, although I was at a friends warehouse one day when they received the old “brick in a box” return, although in that case it was some old electronics used to add some weight. In the case above whoever removed the media player didn’t even bother to replace it with something to add weight, all that came back was the empty cardboard outer.

What’s the worst “lost” item that’s ever happened to you this Christmas? Have you had similar experiences?

  • Stuart
    5 years ago

    We have specific days of large numbers of missing items from Royal Mail, one recently was over 50 parcels, mixed sizes and items that would of gone in different sacks, in one day at the end of November.

    My biggest issue with RM now is that if we are not making clams as businesses, how are they going to track thieves in the system or doggy customers?

    Theft happens in any business and with one as large as RM there has to be thefts everyday surely?

    • rob
      5 years ago

      Stuart, you will know if they are doggy customers if there’s a bit of drool or hair in the parcel when it returns..


  • Stuart
    5 years ago

    Oh and another interesting point about all our ‘honest’ buyers out there.

    We had a system error last month where two batches of the same orders were dispatched. 50 orders went out to 50 buyers and guess how many contacted us> ……….2!

  • puddleglums nest
    5 years ago

    royal mails wait 10days at least before they will consider a special delivery item lost is pathetic,
    even if it was not stolen in the first place ,it gives someone 10 days to think about stealing it, hiding it, and fencing a misplaced package, and I have dealt with less slippery used car dealers for wiggleing out of clauses and conditions,than royal mail customer service

  • 5 years ago

    As a buyer I have had missing items in parcels but ONLY when I have bought books, dvds or electronics which is rare.

    No one seems to want to steal my vintage kimono that come from Japan!

    But how do they KNOW…..?

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