eBay: The ultimate guide to avoiding scams and other pitfalls

By Chris Dawson January 19, 2016 - 1:27 pm

A couple of days ago I had a conversation with Amelia Murray, a Telegraph journalist who all too often gets letters from buyers and sellers who for one reason or another have lost money on eBay. Often it’s because they’ve done something silly like sent an expensive item untracked or shipped to an alternative delivery address.

EBay- the ultimate guide to avoiding scams, unwanted returns and other pitfalls - Telegraph copyToday Amelia has published an article “eBay: the ultimate guide to avoiding scams, unwanted returns and other pitfalls” with some tips and information on how to do things right and avoid being ripped off.

As any experienced eBay user will tell you, the main tips are to follow eBay’s processes. If you’re a buyer use PayPal and don’t send large amounts of money through bank transfer or god forbid Western Union for eBay purchases. If you’re a seller, ship to the address that eBay provides and if the item is at all valuable make sure that you send it tracked.

My absolute top tip, is once you’ve followed the eBay rules, if there’s a problem let eBay sort it out. If a buyer doesn’t pay let eBay give them an unpaid item strike. If an item doesn’t arrive open a case and if the seller doesn’t resolve it within the allotted 8 days, escalate the case to eBay and again let them sort it out. Whatever you do don’t give the seller a month to keep promising resolution until it’s too late to escalate the case.

It’s all common sense really, but you can read the full article on the Telegraph website. Remember if you follow eBay’s rules it’s highly unlikely you’ll have an unresolved issue and as a buyer if you pay with PayPal for almost all purchases you’ll be covered by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee.

  • Robert C
    2 years ago

    I’m not reading anything from the Telegraph in regards to ebay…

  • Simon E
    2 years ago

    Slightly different but we had 2 cases opened against us on Paypal for NON Delivery. One Germany and one Italy. We had tracking saying delivered BUT Paypal wanted more.

    Moooooooorrreeeee (Oliver)

    They wanted me to prove that I had sent the items.
    Well, we use PPI, so I informed them of this but they wanted something to prove that we had sent the item to the address on ebay – paypal.

    Eventually our kind courier managed to summon a document (God only knows how) with the delivery address region and the localised tracking numbers.
    This satisfied them and they were closed in our favour. + (EBAY NEG REMOVED) B-)

    I asked the Paypal lady, do others go these lengths to get the decisions overturned. She said no, most include the losses into their sales, but that still doesn’t account for the problems that too many may lead your account into a dark alley.

    • Kyle
      2 years ago

      We had the same and I just sent them a PDF of our shipping label (we generate our own) and won the case. I’m fully expecting the buyer to try a chargeback now.

      This is only really a problem with EMS to countries that don’t list the town or post code that a package was delivered to. Couriers nearly always have that available on their tracking pages and I expect Royal Mail will as well once the 2D data goes live (I’m betting that the 2D tracking will give similar info as Mailmark).

  • Sam O'levski
    2 years ago

    Brilliant advice – encouraging buyers to open a case ? …..

    My absolute top tip, is once you’ve followed the eBay rules, if there’s a problem let eBay sort it out.
    If an item doesn’t arrive open a case …..

    How about having a friendly chat with the seller first !
    Opening a case if the mail doesn’t arrive is hardly fair on sellers is it, especially if the item has actually been posted ?
    None of my sales (mostly under a fiver) are expensive enough to justify any kind of insurance, so what should the army of small sellers do……. pack it all in if buyers follow that advice ?

    • 2 years ago

      If you follow the eBay rules, when you first go to open a case eBay will encourage you to contact the seller to sort things out first…

      It’s a bit complicated to include every little twist and turn and the advice is intended for people having to deal with scammers trying to string things out until it’s either too late to open a case or too late to escalate a case to eBay.

      Reasonable sellers have nothing to worry about…. except with scamming buyers which is another story 😉

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Yeah let ebay sort it out! They do nowt about the
    lying tow-rags that defraud sellers on an industrial scale

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Lets be honest if your a buyer as long as you use paypal and use ebays process and guidance ,it your own stupitity or greed that causes loss, if your a seller you need to balance profit with the loss, It matters little what you do or who you rely on ,your the fall guy

  • Toby
    2 years ago

    damn that advice made me laugh…. Ebay is a scammers paradise. You want it for free? just open a case inr ? You want to return it for free but its your error? Just open a case and state item not as described.
    you’ve changed your mind and dont want any hassle… simply refuse it or dont collect it from post office etc.
    In fact ebay has become the perfect place for free returns or just things for free in general. C.S will side with the buyer in 99.9999% of occasions. Seller got tracking as delivered? No problem just deny its your signiture or if no sig then still deny you have received it and you win the case. Oh and don’t forget not to change your address when you move… it doesn’t matter as a buyer, just open a case for inr and ebay will side with you despite giving an incorrect address – apparantly its up to the seller to confirm the address with you personally before sending!
    You see as a buyer you really have no worries what so ever…. Well until all the genuine sellers have been scammed out of business and you have to deal with the Chinese…. now its scam vs scam!
    Happy days!

  • Steve
    2 years ago

    “If you’re a seller, ship to the address that eBay provides…”

    You’ll normally be paid by Paypal, and should only send to the address they give, not the one eBay provides, which can be different.

    It even warns that in the eBay sold item e-mails. Sometimes the customer forgets to update their eBay file address when they move house.

    As for eBay scams in general, I’ve bought 10,000 or so items there since 1999 and sold around a 1000, and the biggest issue in my experience is a seller overdescribing the condition of the item. Or downright lying about it in order to sell to someone they’ll never meet.

    There’s too many people selling stuff they couldn’t hope to flog face-to-face at a car boot, calling it “very good” or “like new” and even adding the bizarre ‘sold as seen’ to their small print as if that someone abrogates them of all responsibility.

    It doesn’t matter if you won it for a low bid or outbid others and paid a little more than ideal, when you’ve inadvertently bought crap, you’ve bought crap. And pretty soon you end up with an eBay box of the stuff in the spare room.

    Rogue buyers and rogue sellers need rooting out, but eBay don’t have the staff to do this.

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