Fraudulent refunds on Amazon catch buyer out

By Chris Dawson November 7, 2018 - 11:45 am

Online sellers are only too familiar with buyer fraud in the form of requests for returns or fraudulent refunds but it’s still amazing quite how far some buyers will go to get relatively small amounts of money back. What’s not quite to usual is for a buyer who has had a refund to attempt to get a second payout for the same item.

The buyer purchased a relatively low value item and claimed that it never arrived. The seller had tracking so Amazon backed the seller but granted a courtesy refund to the buyer. Amazon will often do this as the seller isn’t at fault but Amazon’s mantra is to obsess about the customer experience and they don’t want a buyer out of pocket for an item that never arrived. Occasionally this instance could be genuine such as if an item is stolen from a door step so Amazon side on the side of the honest buyer and carry the cost of fraudulent refunds.

In this case however, the buyer seems to have forgotten that they never received the item, or think that sellers and Amazon are stupid, because they then opened a second claim requesting to return the item that never arrived for a full refund! Unbelievably having already been paid out for an undelivered item that tracking showed was delivered they tried to get refunded again by returning it.

Amazon have instructed the seller to accept the return but only to refund if the item arrives back in perfect condition and naturally won’t reveal what steps they are taking with the buyer, but this is a prime example of how greedy some buyers are… and how stupid they can be if they forget which items they’ve already had refunds for.

“As per our conversation, this buyer opened an A to Z claim with the reason “Item not received.” The claim was closed and you were not responded and it was funded by Amazon. This buyer opened a return request with the reason “No longer needed” and wants to return the item because the buyer wants to be refunded again. As per advised on this, since the buyer ordered the item on October 12, 2018 and its still within the 30 days Return policy of Amazon, you may authorise it and the buyer will be the one to pay the return postage. You may only process a refund once you receive the item back from the buyer because you need to check the condition of the item. If you can still sell the item as a new one, they you may process a full refund but if not, you may do partial only.

I also reported this buyer on Amazon because what she did not is not right. She was refunded by Amazon already and now, she wants to be refunded again by returning the item back to you. Amazon team will reviews buyer activities as part of any investigation into possible violations of our policies.”
– Amazon

Buyers appear to think that large companies are blind to fraudulent refunds. This may have been the case when they ordered online and then returned in store claiming to have lost the receipt but online everything has an electronic trail and if you’ve been refunded once it will immediately be noticed if you try for a second refund.

  • Merlo
    3 years ago

    Had an ebay case where the buyer claimed 3 out of 5 were missing from the box. When the claim was refused she returned the ‘missing’ items for refund.
    Currently getting a run of ‘my box was empty when I opened it’ cases,

  • stuart
    3 years ago

    We found a buyer over a year had claimed every order from us had not arrived, some 25+ products.

    We reported this to Amazon and Amazon’s response was they do not take action against buyers!

    All this is just pennies to them and they don’t want to upset customers.

  • 3 years ago

    its fraud no matter if its a high priced item or not action should be taken its giving these con merchants the idea that they will always get away with thesenscams

  • Simon E
    3 years ago

    I keep an eye on ebay forums and this sort of thing seems to be a daily occurrence.
    The mobile phone scams are absolutely rife and the advice by the knowledgeable is don’t sell your phone on ebay, it’s just not worth the hassle. If it all goes through fine then you are one of the lucky ones, it appears.

  • Jay
    3 years ago

    It’s funny you say since eBay are running promo right now encouraging people to sell their mobile phones on the marketplace and that they can expect to get £50 more (compared to other selling venues)…. what they wouldn’t want you to know however is that there’s a decent chance you’ll end up out of pocket when your buyer claims you sent them an empty box.

    • Simon E
      3 years ago

      I see that every day and makes me smile.
      Every time I see it I think, “You must be joking”.
      The last place I would sell a phone, is ebay.

      I don’t think it’s all ebay’s fault but they don’t make it easy for themselves when they clearly don’t have facilities to look at the buyer’s history and make educated guesses.
      The scammers use the buyer’s protection and know the rules very very well.

    • james
      3 years ago

      i thought the promo they were running was more of an Envirofone (or webuyanycar) type deal.
      you’re selling the phone to ebay for FAR LESS than you would actually sell to a customer, but ebay claim that’s still up to £50 more than if you gave it away for practically nothing to Envirofone (or if you listed it on ebay normally then ebay refunded it on arrival).

  • 3 years ago

    Always make sure you send ya phone special delivery and remwber your recipt has the weight on it so if your phone in the box weighed 450g itl prove the box wasnt empty when you posted it and if the customer says the packaging was tampered with they shouldnt of accepted it just my thought

  • Toby
    3 years ago

    Emma…. It doesn’t help. I had a similar case and although i provided the weight details as measured by the courier and the official details from the manufacturer, ebay still used the same old line ‘as we are not able to see the item before sending and on reciept we can not state what was or wasnt included….’ Then they say that you have to refund as best outcome for all!
    I even had a guy state not as described, then admit is was same as description, same as on the box etc…. Yet ebay ran off the same line aboutbthey couldnt know…. Despitevthe buyer just stating it was actually exactly as described.
    You simply can’t win.

    • Mark
      3 years ago


      you need only to remember their response when they accept a return against you.
      They buy the shipping label and give it to the buyer. So the contract is between the carrier and eBay not you and not the buyer so when we had an item returned that was smashed to bit recently at £180 value eBay refused to cover us. £ weeks of arguing and appealing they said we do know how it was packed so we will not cover you.

      We issued the following letter to them.

      The agreement made for the delivery of said item was not ours or the buyers the couriers will not discuss the matter with us.
      They also stated that like an airport you agree that the item is packed securely by you for the ongoing journey. It was not seen by you or packed by you therefore you breached the terms of the shipping agreement with XXX couriers.
      Plus one final point if i were travelling up and down the motorway delivering illegal drugs at the risk of getting caught i could just purchase a pair of socks listed on eBay by the person i need to send drugs to.
      They arrive and i start a claim as they have a hole in them. Case escalates and eBay steps in providing me a returns label which i use to ship a 1kg of columbias finest.
      If intercepted Ebay shipped and agreed they had packed it the minute they purchased the label.

      Maybe that should be made public forums.

      They apologised and refunded us inside 15 minutes.

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    Why would either Amazon or eBay be concerned over returns scam Amazon runs the biggest one yet.
    We jumped on board with the Seller fulfilled Prime on the Amazon site and wow were we stung.

    We began well selling a lot of collars about 15% more than normal and our price covered the cost of standard Prime but to be competitive we had to swallow the cost of premium Prime so lose a £1 on each one of those sales.

    After about a week the huge sting in the tail.

    The buyer mis measured and wants to return and buy different size Amazon automatically accept the return and bill me £2.99 WHAT!!!!!!!!
    the law states the buyer has to pay return shipping and they just kept coming 25% returns which is not unusual but under this scheme it now unviable. Nowhere did their advertising and email to recruit us into the system say anything other than Amazon take control of the returns it never said and we bill you £2.99.

    So we now think as the sales on Prime are not that massive we are better just offering the free shipping at the same speeds and saving £2.99 each time the buyer has the inability to use a tape measure.

    Returns robbery and returns fraud are just Amazons and eBays bread and butter that make them millions

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    Here is a good one we just got an email from eBay. 10 minutes ago.

    We’re writing to let you know that we had to cancel the following transaction(s) because the item(s) were purchased without the account owner’s permission: 37155xxxxxx3 – BEST xxxxxxxx ON THE MARKET

    Please do not ship any items that were purchased by eBAYER ID and disregard any bids they may have placed on any of your listings. We’re working with the account owner to prevent any additional unauthorized activity.
    If you already sent the item(s) and they haven’t been delivered yet, please contact your shipping carrier to find out if you can stop the shipment.
    – We have credited all associated fees except for the final value fee for your listing(s).
    You can find these items in the Sold section of My eBay. For information on relisting these items, please visit:

    Additional tips:

    Because the account was taken over by an unauthorized party, please do not contact the member directly.
    If someone emails you about a refund or payment, please do not send any money without contacting eBay first.
    Verify any payments by logging into your PayPal account or other online payment service.
    We’re sorry for any inconvenience and we thank you for your patience and cooperation.

    So there is no mention of what to do if you have shipped it over 3 weeks ago and its delivered with full tracking as eBay demand fast shipping.
    So i ring them and get the response oh we will protect you. So i ask why do i need to jump through hoops for this and ring you, when you can see the details and the tracking etc. Plus why tell me nearly a month later.

    The response was as follows “maybe the seller on just realised when their payment bill arrived etc.”
    So my next question was this.

    They have a registered mobile number and an email on eBay which means as soon as they buy a notification is sent in messages saying thanks for your purchase. then we tick dispatched they get a message in eBay saying your item has been dispatched.
    Our carrier then sends an email and text 2 days later saying your item will be delivered today at xx o’ clock and then another later that day saying it was delivered at xx o’ clock.

    So all in all that was within 3 days of purchase. So either they never check their eBay account yet it shows regular weekly purchase. Or they never check their private emails or they never check texts on their phone. Or all their details are obsolete and wrong on eBay. But if not they are liars.

    If you give anyone your credit or debit card pin you are liable and yet it seems peoples kids and anyone else can access their eBay account and make purchases and even then access their payment method to pay for them. But the best bit is they must have access to their house as they don’t even ask for a delivery address change. So while they are watching tv the person enters their home picks up the parcel and walks away.

    This is something eBay need to stop or hand immediately to the police.

    The law says their account should be suspended until they have altered passwords and payment passwords and anyone who gives others access to their account should be suspended. That should be the basic terms of eBay.

    • Alex
      3 years ago

      @ Mark, we had the same thing happen to us last Friday. The buyer had bought things from us 9 times before. Used the same delivery address and signed for the goods. The last thing they bought from us was 5 weeks ago, signed for with the same signature as the other nine orders and to the same delivery address.

      The buyer has opened a case saying unauthorised access to their account and eBay sent us an email like the one you had saying we would lose the money from the sale.

      The buyer hadn’t contacted PayPal as when we spoke to them they knew nothing about the unauthorised access.

      Like your case the buyer just wants some free items and knows ebay will payout however crazy the case is.

      We are challenging it at the moment as it is definitely ebay buyer fraud. PayPal are more interested in seller protection than ebay on this. We have also blocked the buyer on eBay.

      We have had one scam a day over the last 15 days on eBay, soon we will not be trading on eBay, as it is taking too much time and money to deal with fraudulent eBay buyers. Sales are down but scams are on the rise.

  • Sharon
    3 years ago

    Refund and return scams are rife on both EBay and Amazon. As a very small company we have had our fair share so can only imagine how bigger companies must be affected. We had a used headlight SWITCH +/-£10 (not ours) “returned” instead of a full set of headlights £290. Clever to send via EBays tracked service using some outfit called “Doddle” EBay claim they cannot prove we didnt get the headlights back despite sending images of the item sent and the packaging showing the tracking number which couldn’t contain a tissue box let along a full set of VW Golf headlights! Had another on Amazon claiming something was “missing” from his tyre repair kit (which is supplied in a polybag sealed by the manufacturer). We apologised , opened another kit and sent out the missing piece (tracked, of course) only to have him open an A-Z guarantee Afterwards. To be fair, Amazon did refund us but they also refunded him. Net result – He received a free kit, we were down by on ekit as were left with an incomplete one which we cant sell And don’t let me start on items returned broken or damaged….. And why should sellers have to pay for returns? If you buy something from a high street shop you have to return it yourself (at yuour cost) and would not be refunded if it was incomplete, damaged or not the right item. But once you are in the wheel….

  • alan paterson
    3 years ago

    These problems are never going away. Its the new type of “theft” and should be regarded the same as “shoplifting” similar if you had a bricks and mortar shop.

    Remember to record any incidents like this and give the details to your accountant. It is tax deductible.

    if you loose an item over fraud / theft its easy to concentrate on the full amount of the item – however that is not what you have lost once you get tax relief on the “theft”.

  • Jim
    3 years ago

    Its the principal not the amount
    Shop lifters are prosecuted on our high street ,
    Not encouraged or passively tolerated,
    Out bobby does what he can to help
    He would think us insane if we asked for a crime number for our tax returns

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Jim, yes but its not going to change and you are mistaken – some folk HAVE been prosecuted.

      If you cant change something – change the way you think about it.

      Everyone on here moaning about it isn’t going to help – in fact its letting the fraudsters win by letting it effect your business.

      There are advantages in online retail compared to bricks and mortar retail. At least selling online you dont have the risk of confronting the shop lifter face to face – which usually ends badly for the shop owner.

      Online retail is a lot safer.

      Regarding the crime reference number – I would get advice from your accountant but I dont think it is necessary to obtain a crime reference number for a text/vat return. If you have lost money over an “incident” I think it is only the amount that needs to be recorded. Obviously you will be able to back it up if asked.

      Some high street chains allow up to 4% for “shrinkage” much of which is caused by their shop staff – not just the public. I dont have any staff in my warehouse and I do not allow the public in so there is no chance of theft.

      Include these incidents in your accounts and you are not loosing the amount you first think – once you get your tax relief and build things like this into your pricing / business plan so that it has no unexpected financial impact on you.

    • jim
      3 years ago

      the crime reference number was a tongue in cheek attempt at humour,
      we know all about the ifs ,whys ,and wherefores ,of trading on line and high street retail
      we were attempting to point out that online theft is becoming almost acceptable or expected ,
      big market place sites seem to do little countering the fraud and theft problem, they
      what has not changed is as a seller if your unable to absorb theft and fraud using online market place sites
      dont look for help

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Jim, my apologies. I dont always get humour. I have read your post again, and I get it now.

      sorry for being too literal.

    • Ross
      3 years ago

      Jim , Paterson is a Savant – he understands a lot but NOT humour

    • alan paterson
      3 years ago

      @ Ross…….. I am a “Savant?”

      you have said this before on here.

      OK my IQ might be a little on the high side , and my EQ a little on the low side ……… however……….maybe folk should just say what they mean…….. or maybe some folk just aren’t funny. (sorry Jim). It would be a lot easier.

      If I was a Savant I wouldn’t be doing ebay – I would be “The Accountant” like Ben Affleck and be making a tonne of money.

  • Marc
    3 years ago

    Its quite simple I think, all buyers should have a record of their buying history i.e. INR / IND displayed on all sites, make them choose by accepting that agreement to buy.

    We as sellers have this displayed so why not buyers?

    Then we can see before we fulfil what their history is like and send tracked, refund etc.

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