How Do You Beat Bad Buyers on Amazon and eBay?

How Do You Beat Bad Buyers on Amazon and eBay?

Almost every experienced online marketplace seller will have a story of how some smart – or not so smart – bad buyers have attempted to trick money or goods out of them.

These customers might claim that their goods didn’t arrive on time, or wear clothes to a party before returning them as ‘not as described’. At the other end of the spectrum, buyers have returned parcels packed with garbage instead of the item originally sent, or submitted completely false ‘item not received’ claims.

Some of the reasons for returning an item can be downright funny. In a Web Retailer forum thread about outlandish reasons given for returns, member Easiliving said, “We once had a customer return an eye patch because their kids thought they were being invaded by pirates!”

But bad buyers are not often a source of amusement. A significant number of buyers are tempted into scamming the system, often believing it to be a ‘victimless crime’. But it isn’t victimless if you’re losing money and having your reputation damaged in the eyes of the marketplace.

In this post, I’ll look at some common examples of buyer fraud, talk about steps you can to take to help prevent it, and explain how you can increase the likelihood of cases being resolved in your favour by eBay or Amazon.

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Item Not Received

One of the most irritating tricks bad buyers play is saying that they have not received an item. By obtaining a refund or replacement they effectively get the goods for free, or obtain multiple items for the price of one.

Postal services around the world certainly do lose post – out of the billions of items handled every year, even a tenth of one percent loss rate means millions of items disappear each year. It’s an easy thing for dishonest buyers to exploit.

Many sellers have stories of customers falsely claiming their item was not received. In another forum thread, on the topic of buyer scams, Bigian13 said:

Customer claimed they had not received their item but had ordered several items from other eBay sellers and they had all arrived. We contacted other sellers who had left automatic feedback for the same buyer, and guess what, they had been told the same story.

If they hadn’t been contacted, those sellers might never have realized they were being scammed. Even if you feel certain that a claim is false, you still have to go through a potentially long-winded process with eBay or Amazon’s seller support team to deal with it. Without documentary evidence to back you up (and sometimes even with it) the claim could go either way.

At some stage you have to consider how much your time is worth. If the hours on the phone start to rack up, you may find it cheaper to write it off – even if the fraud is clear.

So what can you do to tackle the ‘item not received’ scam? Here are some suggestions:

Use Tracked Delivery

This is the most common solution. Using a tracked parcel delivery service means you get proof of delivery – usually a signature scan – to show that the item was received.

The problem with tracked delivery services is that the cost can be prohibitive, particularly for low-value items. It’s painful to accept, but the cost of tracked delivery might be more than just letting buyers get away with it.

For example, you might refund 10 orders out of every 200 due to false item not received claims. That’s a 5% fraud rate – a figure that many sellers give. Sending everything tracked might add $2 to each order, and you may need to absorb that cost to avoid losing sales. That’s $400 to avoid refunding 10 orders. In this example, if your average order value is below $40 then tracked delivery just won’t be worth it financially.

Perhaps surprisingly, using tracked delivery isn’t a completely watertight solution. Even when you have proof of delivery, buyers can – and sometimes do – claim that the signature is not theirs. But in most cases, being asked to sign for a delivery will deter most bad buyers.

What Else Can You Do?

If you have the time and ability to investigate bad buyers in-house, you might find you can fight back against some of them yourself. Web Retailer member Bigian13 caught one out who claimed not to have received an eBay order, but then made a direct website purchase using a discount code that was included in the package:

On each of our paper invoices we used to have a channel specific web address to guide people to our website. That way we could track the direct traffic better. This invoice had a customer specific discount code for their first order from the website. One customer claimed they had not received their order from ebay, around £60 worth, and then ordered several items from our website using their unique code. Bit of a tell tale sign! Unfortunately for them they lived quite close to our warehouse so a visit from our “debt collection agency” soon sorted this one out.

A lot of sellers include discount coupons with their eBay orders to encourage direct purchases in the future. A downside that few consider is the risk of upsetting bargain-hunters by making them feel like they have overpaid!

UK eBay expert Andrew Minalto has a more ‘black-hat’ idea (that he does not condone) to get the deterrence effect of tracked delivery without the cost, by adding a label to packages to give the appearance of tracking:

Basically you attach a label to the package that displays a barcode and a serial number… If you go this route, don’t make that label too similar to Royal Mail labels as then the post office may refuse to accept your parcel.

It may seem unethical (and ironic) to resort to deception to ward off scammers, but you could see it as similar to the decoy security cameras used by many businesses. Both give the appearance of being watched, when you actually are not.

Returns Abuse

Amazon and eBay have generous return policies that favour the buyer. It’s easy for customers to take advantage of that. The most common complaint for sellers is that orders are returned with a reason of ‘item not as described’, entitling the buyer to a free return, when the real reason is something completely different.

In a forum thread, Web Retailer member seller252gregb said:

I have had items returned because of the color not matching what they saw on their screen so it becomes item not as described and no cost to them for return. When the item arrives it appears to have been used at least once but cannot be proven.

Returning used items is such a common practice in fashion retailing that there is even a name for it: wardrobing. This is when shoppers purchase items with the intention of using them and then returning them. It’s a common practice, which 1 in 6 women have admitted to, but make no mistake – its fraud.

Wardrobing is very difficult to prove. Buyers who do this will often make efforts to keep items in pristine condition while they use them, leaving tags attached and handling the packaging with great care. A careful inspection may show up tell-tale signs of use, which might be enough to make it impossible to resell the item as new, but perhaps too little to satisfy eBay or Amazon that you’ve been scammed.

Even ordinarily honest people may be tempted to return an item that has been used, but others will go much further. It’s not unheard of for a customer to buy a product, say it was not as described, and then send back something entirely different.

On his blog, technology consultant and writer Jeff Reifman, describes his battle with Amazon.com over a fraudulent return. Reifman sold a valuable second-generation Apple TV unit for $199, only to have a used third-generation Apple TV, almost identical in appearance but worth only $65, returned instead of the equipment originally purchased. Amazon refused to believe him and spent over a year denying his claim against the buyer.

What Can You Do About It?

Returns abuse, particularly wardrobing, is very difficult to fight. It’s often just your word against the buyer’s, without any tangible evidence to help you make your case.

Essentially, you have to show two things: that you sent a specific product in a specific condition, and that the buyer returned the same product in a different condition (e.g. used or damaged), or a different product altogether. Despite the brazenness of this scam, once the return parcel has been opened the evidence is no longer reliable – as they might say on CSI!

It’s impractical for most businesses to record the packaging and dispatch of every order, but you should be able to show invoices to prove that you bought the product from your own supplier. In the case of high-end items, it’s a good practice to record the serial number or IMEI of products as they are sent out. Then you can compare it against the serial number of the product sent back.

When a return is received, one solution is to record on video the sealed return package being weighed, opened and unwrapped. Bigian13 describes how that approach has worked in his business:

eBay, in their wisdom, allowed the customer to send the item back to us at our cost. The item was returned in a medium jiffy bag. This immediately raised concerns as we do not sell any item small enough to fit in one. Luckily we took videos and photos of the item prior, during and after unwrapping. In the jiffy bag was a used roll of 2″ parcel tape and some bubble wrap. The item that was sent out to them measured 30″ x 20″ x 8″. eBay decided in our favour!

Such measures can save a lot of time in the dispute process, but there’s no guarantee that you will win when faced with a determined fraudster.

Can’t You Just Refuse to Accept Returns?

Whether you need to accept returns depends on two main factors:

  • The laws of the country you are selling to.
  • The rules of the marketplace you are selling on.

Under US law, online sellers do not have to accept returns, so it all comes down to marketplace rules. On eBay in the US, accepting returns is optional but from May 1, 2016, Top Rated sellers must offer a 30-day money-back return policy to keep their status. Amazon.com, however, sets a high bar for all sellers and does not allow them to refuse to accept returns.

In the UK, very detailed Consumer Contracts Regulations require sellers to accept returns – for any reason – for 14 days from when the buyer received the order. The customer has to pay for the return costs, unless the seller is at fault in some way. On eBay in the UK, their returns policy is in line with the law, but Amazon.co.uk goes further, requiring sellers to accept returns for 30 days from receipt of the item.

So even though eBay US sellers can technically refuse to accept returns, they are definitely encouraged to do so. Offering a generous returns policy can also be a good business practice, to give the buyer confidence that they can’t lose out by buying from you. But still, for some sellers protecting themselves against bad buyers, even if it means lower sales, is more important.

In Closing

Stories abound of sellers fruitlessly fighting the marketplace for their money or goods back, after being defrauded by buyers.

Many sellers complain that marketplaces always side with the buyer, unless they can prove that the customer is at fault – leaving the seller to play detective. eBay proudly describe their seller protection system, but Amazon does not talk about their equivalent.

Both marketplaces describe abusive claims and bad buyers as “rare” – a word that many sellers would not themselves choose to describe their encounters with scammers. So they continue to fight bitterly, on the principle that dishonest customers should not be allowed to get away with it.

Other sellers have learned not to take it so personally, and can make calm financial decisions about bad buyers just like everything else in their business. Fraud becomes just another business cost, whether it’s returning used items (which many would agree only just crosses the line into criminality) to outright theft when items are ordered with the intention, right from the start, of claiming that they were never received.

Even if five percent of your revenue disappears to fraud, is it worth spending hours investigating and responding to each dispute, when there’s only a slim chance of getting your money back?

For many sellers, the battle against bad buyers continues to rage, even when it doesn’t make financial sense. Why is that? Well, we are all human. Our heads might tell us that it’s just not worth it, but in our hearts we know they just can’t be allowed to get away with it.

How do you protect yourself against bad buyers? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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58 comments on “How Do You Beat Bad Buyers on Amazon and eBay?

  1. Now, I mostly dropship from very reliable suppliers with good return policies, and never list an item that I can’t afford to lose. That said, I have never yet lost a case; I’m very nice to the claims department, but I’ll fight bad buyers like a wildcat every time. This is not just for me, but also for other sellers who might be scammed by the same buyer. I also treat good buyers like royalty.

      1. 1. detailed recodings of the items you sell
        In example, every and I mean every item I sell prior to sending is fully photographed. and sometimes also shot on video complete to packaging, then the packages is also photographed both sides and send with registered airmail.
        2. On the listing DO NOT write to many praises about the item.
        Just a description on what it is make good and clear images for the presentation ( same about images – poses you’ll have to do before sending with the buyers address on a papper and or date).

        Now if you have made these you have some good chance of winning a case.
        Unfortunatelly ebay favors the buyers and there are few things we honest sellers can do.

        Hope this helped.

  2. I have a very generous returns policy. Generally speaking, returns are not that much of a problem. I do get a few people saying they are “damaged” but don’t want to return it (sniffing for a discount). I offer paid returns. If they refuse, I then ask for a photograph. I have had people say they don’t have cameras, I just tell those folks there is nothing I can do.

    I have noticed an increased frequency of lost packages that are marked as delivered. Most of the time, I just eat the cost as there is not much I can do. For overseas, I track it and charge more to ship to those areas based on the previous frequency and severity of the loss. Currently, South America has a 20% surcharge on their shipping (20% of the shipping cost). This mitigates the losses quite a bit to the detriment of sales somewhat.

  3. To be honest I am tired of the Amazon return policy we sell cosmetics products the buyers always say the item is not as describe after using the item for 30 days, they write us it is not a authentic product never give the result we tell them it’s depends people to people with different hair and skin types, then they place negative feedback and AtoZ claim some time even charge back claims

  4. A couple of observations…

    1. This piece reads more like a beginner’s guide to scamming e-commerce merchants than one offering merchants advice on how to handle such scammers.

    2. There’s a difference between a return and a refund; eBay won’t force a seller to accept a “return” of merchandise, however they can force a “refund” of the purchase price.

    1. Thanks for the clarification on returns vs refunds.

      It’s not really possible to talk about this topic without explaining how the scams are done, if that’s what you mean.

      What advice would you add for merchants?

      1. We were scammed twice from China, once on Amazon, once on Ebay. Since there is no tracking within China, they just claim it never arrived. On Amazon, you are helpless: you will lose. Ebay has their Seller Protection Policy, but, surprise, if the buyer makes the claim through Pay Pal rather than Ebay, you are not covered. And all Ebay transactions go through PayPal, leaving a pretty big hole in their Seller Protection.

        With some effort Pay Pal refunded us, but we no longer ship to China from either platform and we will need to reexamine our international shipping policy on our website, perhaps restricting payment for international shipments, because PayPal’s refund policy supersedes the policy we post on our website. Be aware that you are not protected by your own website policies.

    2. “This piece reads more like a beginner’s guide to scamming e-commerce merchants than one offering merchants advice on how to handle such scammers.

      Also my first thought after reading this article.

      I sell apparel on eBay, which I’ve been fortunate to not have many returns in general.

      SAME Exact Items, I also sell on Amazon, have 8% returns rate thru FBM channel and a ridiculous 20 to sometimes as high as 40% rate of return on FBA channel.

      Needless to say, I had no choice but to stop using the FBA channel to send in FREE Merchandise for Amazon and the thieves to profit from!

    3. Yes they do force a return and a refund,99,99% of the times they decide in favor of the buyer and force the seller to accept a paid return, or the buyer keeps the item and gets refund as well.

  5. What if someone bought something from you on Amazon. Then requested a refund on the 29 day. Then kept the book for three more weeks and had it for over 2 months then decides to return it? I refused a refund and I also closed my account woth Amazon. There refund policies are to generous. I have had to refund items that were sent back trashed. I stopped selling DVD’s because people were copying them and then wanting a refund. I have no trouble on E-bay at all.

  6. We were defrauded by an ebay buyer, “Pluczavroh” who contacted us rom ebay but asked for invoices from PayPal and they said he should have rceived three times what was sent. This is big money of $27016.00 He has our goods and has his money. Thanks American Express the helper to those who scam.

    1. Sorry to hear that. I don’t understand the Amex connection if they were using PayPal?
      Where was the buyer located and where did you ship to?

  7. If you don’t accept the return from ebay, no big deal for the buyer, he just files a Paypal claim, he has 180 days to do it. Paypal gives you no choice but to accept the return merchandise or they keep the money that they froze from your account when the return was open. Then the ebay buyer leaves you negative feedback and gets your money and you parts. There is no seller protection on ebay or paypal. You can buy something on ebay, return it as “not a described” then they send back a bag of sh*t. The ebay seller calls ebay and says “I received a bag of sh*t, not my parts” ebay then states “well, we can’t just take your word for it, you have to make the buyer admit (through ebay’s messaging system mind you) that he, in fact, sent you a bag of sh*t..” if he doesn’t admit to it.. guess what.. you lose your money, your parts and most certainly will receive negative feedback.. these are the undisputed facts!

  8. I can’t comment on Amazon as I generally don’t use them, but as for eBay, they couldn’t give a damn about their sellers and unscrupulous buyers get away with it each and every time. Whether I’m buying or selling, when something goes wrong, it never works out in my favour. I’ll never understand the difference if I buy a single item such as a wristwatch that looks different in the photos, but according to eBay the difference is not “significant” enough to warrant a refund, however one CD more or less in a bulk lot of 30 discs, is then considered significant enough to warrant eBay ordering me to refund the buyer, even after I had notified them of the difference by e-mail and added info into the listing days before the auction ended.
    The buyer was so disgruntled by getting 30 discs instead of 31, that allegedly they “were very angry” about it, and demanded that I accept a return. The items were returned, however many of the CD cases & trays had been swapped for damaged ones and many were broken. When I complained to eBay and showed them the photos of the damaged goods, that I had to pay to be returned, eBay still sided with the buyer, as “there were no photos of the discs prior to sending them to the buyer” and in eBay’s own words, “we have to believe in the inherent goodness of people and give people the benefit of the doubt, in this case the buyer”.
    Well that’s great but what about my goodness or benefit of the doubt for me?
    So before I could attempt selling these discs again, I had to use up a whole bunch of replacement cases, which these days are getting scarcer and scarcer.
    Due to scammers, I never send overseas anymore and haven’t for a long time, but even within my own borders, there’s still enough people who’ll attempt to defraud you out of something. Call it buyers remorse or whatever you like but eBay just simply doesn’t care.
    And even after I refund them and do everything that works in their favour, if they still wanted to, they can leave NEG feedback which stays on your record for 12 months and ruins your percentage, and there’s zero I can do about it.

  9. That has not been my experience at all, and I was told by Amazon support just today that FBA shipments are the responsibility of Amazon, and they will make good on any “lost” shipments. Hopefully, I will not have to find out the truth of that.

  10. Amazon has a Retarded thing where if an Order is cancelled, the Buyer can Leave 0-Stars, in All kinds of Areas that don’t even Apply to the Transaction. Like, the Order was “Not as described,” even while Admitting that they never got the Product. A Single disgruntled and Very Rude individual can Easily ruin decades of impeccable Selling on amazon- (if they are the only one who decides to leave feedback)- by Leaving a single negative feedback

  11. How about the newest way to scam an Amazon seller. Even with Signature Confirmation. Post Office attempts to deliver the item and “no one home” or “refuses to sign” then buyer opens and A TO Z for INR, Amazon decides the claim in the Buyer’s favor and then they go to the post office and sign for their item. And Amazon places it on the Seller to take any legal action at THEIR expense. And Amazon made it even easier by lower the claim time to 3 days because why should a scammer have to wait 7 days to get their item for free. And the post office holds the item for 2 weeks before shipping it back. Now a seller USED to have the time to recall the package from the post office if they can but no longer with only 3 days.

    1. I bought something from amazon we had delivery guys that were throwing our packages out in our field, in the road all sorts of places and then mark it delivered to owner spoke to at door. I complained to amazon i never got package, they said TOUGH it shows delivery on tracking, so i was out the product with no recourse and wasnt even allowed to leave feedback!!!!

    2. Sad, but USPS will hold packages for 10 days. As you said, after 3 days the customer gets their funds returned and they subsequently go to the PO and pick up their package.

  12. Enough is enough. Quit offering buyers returns. This is an online business not some retail department store, if they want that kind of treatment they should just go to the store and buy it. Return all they want. I refuse my buyers of any returns just due to the fact that many just abuses it. It is NOT okay for them to buy then just return it because they’re done using it, or just don’t feel like keeping it anymore, the items vaule becomes deappreciated by the time they’ve decided they want to return. Sorry but not sorry.

    1. i don’t see how you refuse returns. i do not accept returns but eBay basically forces sellers to give refunds and blocks the money on PayPal so how do you even do that?
      i have a problem with a fake return thats why i am asking

  13. i was just forced by eBay to refund a buyer for a bag they used and damaged a 1000usd plus bag and the buyer claimed it was damaged.now i am stocked having to pay for return shipping loosing the money of the actual shipping and a damaged item hopefully i receive horrible marketplace that doesn’t protect the seller they just send ready answers that never address your problem

  14. I took back a phone buyer put her email and password all over the phone, I cant even wipe it out, they have that password protected. So I have a $449 phone that is worthless she keeps her money, I paid for it to go to her and back to me to have her damage it. I won the case but I didnt win anything?? She got her way already, I called to find out what it was I had won, and they said I would have to appeal the case, I said why I already won it youshould have either made her take the phone back since she wanted it enough to put passwords all over it, and give me the money plus my postage back. We will see tomorrow what happens

  15. I sold a diamond ring to a woman on eBay. She claimed it was not as described indicating that it was a half size larger than the listing. She had taken it to a jeweler who heated and stretched the ring causing dimples along the side of the ring where the diamonds are set. EBay did not make me accept the return but PayPal did with the condition that the item was in the same condition in which it was sent. So the lady sends me back a worthless piece of junk that I can’t wear or sell, because she had it improperly sized. PayPal returned her money before I got the ring back, and they never looked at the mountain of evidence I provided to prove what she did to my ring. I am probably going to take her to small claims court. It will cost me more to travel to her state than I would win, but until buyers start getting sued and prosecuted for this garbage, nothing will change. I am not going to sell anything on eBay that is worth more than $100 any more.

    1. It’s called Class Action Lawsuit Baby and I’m with you!!! I got back a worthless iphone 5S so you let me know when your ready and I know the place to start it going!!! My seller spot on ebay is empty right now and I’m thinking seriously about going to another user friendly money handler other than Paypal!! You should have gotten your money back from Ebay because there is a rule that buyers are not allowed to alter or even change in the tinest bit an item unless they are sure they are keeping it once they do it , the item becomes theirs! look up sellers rights and buyer obligations. And check into your states statues my seller broke every fraud and impersination to obtain property law there is both federal and local.

  16. The last case I have faced was a ‘not as described returned’ stating that the item sent was damaged, full of dirt and scratches.

    I sent to paypal the pictures of the item but not taken into account! The buyer damaged himself the item before claiming and returning it !!!

    Nothing you can do against that!

    Finally I stoped selling on plateforms with buyer protections, simple.

  17. ebay does not allow sellers to rate buyers after a scam unless they leave an evaluation ! which they never do !

    That is a real problem ! Seller should be given to inform the community of those buyers !

  18. I got a 70% refund from PayPal after appealing the refund given to the buyer. I had to send numerous before and after photos, a video opening the returned package, a letter from the jeweler stating the diminished value of the ring, and sign an affidavit which explained how I was defrauded by the buyer. This process took about 25 days. I realized in my research that I could have sued PayPal in my state by by suing the registered agent. Most states require a company like PayPal that does business in the state to have a registered agent that is registered with the secretary’s of state office. If I had not gotten a reasonable refund offer from PayPal, I would have taken the registered agent to small claims court. I could have filed online and I would only have to show up for the court date. I still would have had to jump through all of PayPal’s hoops before filing, or the case would have been thrown out. I took all of my items off of eBay, because I can’t afford to loose money with absolutely no seller protection. If there is a place where I can sell my wares and have some protection from scammers, please let me know.

  19. Very good general rules to follow.

    False SNAD or denial of receipt is a bigger problem than Amazon and Ebay are willing to admit publicly. And as always the losses are borne to the seller.
    Ebay at least has “seller requirements” and “report a buyer” options which over time do help slightly. Amazon does not.

    I propose that just like Walmart and many other retailers have a “frequent returner” policy preventing or limiting the number of returns, I would like to see a program where we could set our Checkouts to automatically DECLINE a purchase from a buyer who has made “X” amount of SNAD or LOST PACKAGE claims over “X” period of time.

    This information is clearly available on the marketplaces.. and our individual internal systems.

    I’m further hoping that one day, we will be sending that information back to the Credit Card providers as well. This is the clearest way of stopping it at the source. Per my previous conversation with the card companies, they don’t care to do it, as they are only interested in revenue stream…. Unless/Until all the sellers stand together and make a stink, nothing will ever change.

    Does anyone else here believe that the card companies should take the responsibility since the technology is there and they are the FINAL stop for the credit?

  20. Why should they when paypal won’t even honor purchases through there site when they have seller protection, oh wait, you didn’t ask for it before you sold the item? It was suppose to be automatic when you signed up! That is what one of there selling points is that they cover all of it. They would let me start a case and it was a fraud case. No one will???? Isn’t that strange, but according to the law, I have 4 years where I can file a law suit and I sold the Item in florida so buyer will have to come here! I have to pay Florida taxes on every item I sell that means the item was sold here so the case will be here in florida, and it is a criminal case for fraud along with the money for damages. Yes the credit card companies have to honor any purchase made with the card but cover a seller naw never will happen, you need to get insurance to cover you if you are selling high priced items. I was just selling my personal phone, lesson learned won’t ever do that again on line, onl in person. Ebay gets all the junk in my house basically from now on!!!!

  21. I’m one of seller who sold stuff on Ebay and Amazon around 7 yr, more and more scammers (dishonest buyers) comes online, they used items 1-2 month and return like “defective” for avoid shipping fees, they return empty package, damaged items. A lot of talking, but we need to do something real to fight with them. Amazon and Ebay just need more customers and customer with 0% feedback from Africa who stole you item more important than seller with 10 years account and 3000 feedbacks.

    Lets think together how to fight. I planing to open website for Amazon and Ebay sellers community, and start to collect general black list of dishonest buyers, write some articles how to fight. Should be a big community and we sellers should set rules for scammers. Please contact me if you have any ideas or if you interesting or if you want to help, if you have good experience with fighting or if you can advise. My email fightwithscamm gmail

  22. Theres no seller protection.

    After changing to not accepting returns now I mostly get returns instead of INR cases, got very few items actually returned.

    All my negative feedback without any merits.

    When theres a real problem Im always working it out with the buyer as they want to use the item.

    I have to refund for 100% OK items and often also to take the bad FB despite a full refund.

    Report them to badbuyerlist.org

  23. Agreed, there’s no seller protection. It’s a big joke. There’s a few good buyers but the bad apples WILL ruin the experience for you. It was better when you could leave feedback on the buyer. Never had a problem until recently. It’s getting worse on there. I’m quitting selling my used stuff and it is going straight to donation.

    When there’s a problem, you can’t even email Ebay. They have no email support. An online retailer and you have to reach them by phone to resolve an issue or case! Unreal.

  24. I was just ripped off on a return. A buyer wikibuycom just chnaged their mind on an item they bought from me. It was a 107$ gos. I refused because they used it. Ebay forced me to take the return. I received the item back and it wasnt in tye new condition it was in when i shipped it. Ebay allowed the buyerbto rip me off. I then found out wikibuycom is an actual website wikibuy.com. they sell stuff on ebay and earn a profit. If someone returns the item to wikibuy they then put the responsibility on the ebay seller to loose out. EBAY ALLOWS THIS!

  25. To the author of the article: I agree with posts that do not find it of a very high quality in terms of helping. It has enough juice to trigger Google search and I can’t honestly accuse it of being biased, but it’s still pretty much useless.

    And that is because one can NOT beat scammers and idiot customers. The two are different groups, but the rules of the game are such that both can beat sellers and there’s absolutely nothing sellers can do about it on individual case basis.

    This is because both eBay and Amazon are not so interested in determining TRUE or FAIR business as they are in optimizing their profit, i.e. least efficient way to sell most, i.e. with minimal headaches.

    Since they succeed in that the best advice a seller would get from their own support teams is to accept the reality that there is always a fraud and focus on growing the business and making more sales.

    And this is definitely valuable and helpful advice from a certain standpoint.

    What it teaches people is to accept being cheated and not fight back. Because it’s pointless.

    Which is another way of saying WTF cares about anyone’s truth?!

    The best I’ve come up with in response to that is to just put yourself in the shoes of a bad buyer: take full advantage of the system while you can.

    Also get as many sales out of eBay and Amazon as you can. I they don’t care about your own proven system of dealing with counterfeit why should you follow their own system for generating them money?!

    Sure enough these advises break laws – first laws of the marketplace and then possibly laws of the country.

    But if eBay and Amazon do it on a daily basis why should that be their exclusive right?!

    1. You are absolutely correct, as I’ve always been says to all those who bash on me in ebay forums for trying to get sellers to stop bending over and taking it. I felt that if everyone just stood up to all the bad buyers SNAD returns and didn’t care about that stupid 10% savings to be a top rated seller, they would be forced to change their ways or have no sellers left to make them money.

      But the sellers will do anything to stay selling there, admitting guilt to all cases and simply pay out the money to avoid a dreaded defect. Well I had 1 too many buyers pull this crap on me, my items have a shipping cost of $20-$50 1 way, my items usually sell for about the same amount as my shipping cost so if I’m forced to pay return shipping on an item that I sold for $30 with a $35 shipping cost I end up paying out of my pocket $70 plus my time effort and supplies then to get an empty box back or an item that was obviously hit with a hammer or has parts missing? Plus the fact that I stand to make only about $10 on that sale after I pay a total of over 43% in fees plus the cost of the item to begin with. I see no way to make money there selling anymore but I think i can make more money by “buying” and getting what i can and just reselling it on craigslist now.

      I’ve been telling ebay sellers about this problem for years and there was so much opposition to my claims. they always stated it was something to do with me because they never had this problem, i told them it’s just a matter of time before it catches up to you. I figured that the sooner they all had it happen the better, that way they could feel what it’s like to get burned, pay for high shipping, not get your item and then if you report that buyer, ebay will say that you escalated the case (even after you accepted the return and the item was “returned” but had issues) and will automatically provide you with a defect and charge you seller fees on that sale as well!!

      I closed my bank account before the lats $150 return was made with missing parts again, and moved all my money to another account that i am not affiliated with, and I have refused to pay my last months fees and give any refunds, My total is now over $1000 that I owe to ebay. It’s still only a fraction of what they have taken from me and given to bad buyers and charged me in unfounded fees.

      I can tell you 1 more thing i have discovered after the last roll out to get rid of the small sellers, I had 3 defects roll off my record, since I can’t get rid of them any other way I had to wait a year for them to go, 2 days later I had 5 SNAD cases opened! I looked into my sales and noticed a pattern that emerged once I plotted them on a map. It seems that 90% of my sales were to zone 8 zip codes. Meaning i paid the most I could to ship my sales. this decreases my profits but a huge amount, but I also noticed that all of my problem sales and neg feedbacks were coming from those few 10% closer sales?

      This made me believe that ebay was only showing my items to buyers who either lived far away or were known problem buyers, this way they could control my defects and keep me below standard which allows ebay to limit my sales, and the amount of items I can sell. now i pay for a store that gives me 500 free sales per month but ebay limits me to only use 120 of those sales per month while still charging me for my store subscription of $20 per month. Cancel early and you still owe 75% of whats left. Mine was just renewed very quietly 3 months ago, I just went throgh a year of this and I now see exactly how they are doing this. I was given defects for reporting bad buyers, I was given defects for not accepting returns when buyers refused to even tell me what was wrong,

      I video record all of my items working as they should just minutes before I post tracking and drop them off, I include a copy of the recording with each item, I makes no difference ebay still overrides my terms of transaction i have posted in my sales. Everything I have in place to stop this is taken away by ebay. They have assist in defrauding me on a regular basis. They are aiding and abetting to commit fraud, they also are conspiring to commit fraud when ever a buyer contacts them and they tell them to open a SNAD case against me, They already know that they are going to award the refund to the buyers and ebay will still profit from the sales. They make money on all shipping labels as well..

      So I’m with you, quit selling and get all you can while you can, the more buyers this affects the better, it’s time that every buyer gets a taste of this so they all can stop acting like it’s never going to happen to them. make sure you have 2 pay pal accounts you can transfer funds between to avoid any problems.

  26. I was an Amazon customer till I noticed fraud on their website from third party sellers and reported it. You can’t buy a 40lb bag of Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food, Beef Meal and Rice Formula for adult dogs, for $6.08 with free shipping. That is correct from not one but three “Just Launched” sellers. Look it up. Under the item description it has New(14) from $6.08 and free shipping, all three sellers same price. Click on the blue link and you will see. I reported what I noticed. The first customer service representative caught it and thanked me for reporting it but then I was transferred to another one accidentally. The second representative told me to go ahead and buy it. No morals, ethics, or values. She didn’t care if I didn’t receive the item or not. She guaranteed I would get my money back. What after weeks if not months and go through the hassle? Second she didn’t care about the company she worked for because then Amazon would take the blow on top of it, loosing customers and I’m sure money on top of it. I requested to be transferred to the supervisor. The supervisor told me to go ahead and buy it. Why would I go through the hassle buy the item and knowing I would not receiving the item trying to get my money back? I thought they had a good fraud department but apparently not. They also don’t care about their customers since they knew it was fraud and are still allowing it. I found even one item which had four “Just Launched” sellers which also all had the same price but much lower than what it should be. A two person tent for only $1.99 free shipping, no tax. Yes, it is true. Take the money and run is what these seller(s) are doing. Apparently, Amazon does not care because I looked and the items are still for sale from these third party “Just Launched” sellers. If these sellers are legit than everybody start buying these items from the sellers listed when you click the blue link New(?)from$$$ plus free shipping and resell them yourself. My dog can be fed for years for a 40lb bag of Diamond Naturals for $6.08 free shipping and no tax, which I know can’t occur because I live near where they manufacture Diamond dog food. They don’t sell it at their stores for $6.08. More like $30 plus. I can make one heck of a profit buying a two man tent for $1.99 and reselling it. Poor company allowing their customers to purchase these items knowing it’s fraud and more than likely won’t receive it.

  27. We sell very expensive, high end items. Although it may be easy to write off a $10 item’s loss as a simple cost of doing business, it’s not so easy with a $5000 item. When this does indeed happen, here’s what we do in the larger cases where thousands of dollars of loss are involved and a different item is returned from what was sent:

    #1 – We immediately notify the sale platform (eBay, Amazon, etc) and inform them what is taking place.

    #2 – We inform the “buyer” what they have done, and what our countermeasures will be. This is not a threat; it’s simply a statement of fact. (In most cases, buyer’s are empowered by what they perceive to be the safety in committing crimes online. Receiving a phone call from a seller is usually the end game. We have gotten back literally tens of thousands of dollars simply by laying out exactly what’s about to happen to the buyer.)

    #3 – We almost always end up having to fight the seller platform. If we win, we report the buyer and just let it go. If we lose, we proceed with the remaining steps.

    #4 – We draft a demand letter with a due date for the buyer to pay for the stolen merchandise.

    #5 – We file a report with the FBI’s IC3 division. Although this seems like a longshot (and it is), on RARE occasion, you actually get action. We had a federal agent knock on the door of a person who had stolen a $4500 item 6 months back from clear across the country. We had a wire transfer in our account the very next day from that person. She claimed she had “forgotten” all about this, and forgot that she had done a charge dispute, and couldn’t remember the details. Right. The agent showing up was a hell of a memory refresher.

    #6 – We file a local police report and ask them to do a courtesy transfer to the police department of the proper jurisdiction.

    #7 – We do all research on the buyer, compile evidence, and submit to the local DA’s office requesting prosecution.

    #8 – We follow through on the demand letter with a lawsuit.

    Now, this is only done in the cases of outright theft. If it’s just a matter of wardrobing, we simply petition the selling platform and usually get a partial refund back. Don’t take no for an answer; keep calling and harassing the seller platform. I wrote a snail mail letter to the CEO of eBay, got a call back, and got exactly what we were requesting.

    Also, you can write a demand letter for any financial loss for wardrobing. You can follow it through with a small claims suit, but I usually don’t if it’s only a few hundred dollars. Many times, the demand letter, if done correctly, will scare them straight and you’ll just get a check in the mail.

    Hope this helps.

    1. I’ve written the same letters to ebays board of executives, took 2 copies just to get a response telling me too bad, that’s how it goes when you sell on line.

      1 other thing i have been doing is sending an invoice for the total amount I lost on the transaction as a constant reminder of what they did. But of course with no results, all of these things you have listed are simply more wasted time. if you actually did get something back you are one of the very few and should count yourself lucky and quit while you are ahead. that’s what i finally had to realize for myself, until they change the way that the laws are handling online fraud I see no way to continue using it as a sales platform.

      Hers’ what gets me, someone steals a candy bar from Walmart and the Cops are right there, someone steals a vintage home stereo from me online and I have ebay blocking me from getting anything done, effectively shielding the crook and then ebay charges me more and collects on my loss that they created when they set me up with a known bad buyer! Anyone who thinks that ebay is weeding out bad buyers is crazy, they are making sure to keep them around so they can send them to sellers that they would like to get rid of, any small sellers who call them when they have a problem or when they suspect that a buyers ripping them off. Of just not generating enough money for them to have to deal with, now that they have big stores selling they want to thin out the sellers, they think that we are not needed, but they are very wrong, most buyers only come to ebay because they know that there’s unusual and hard to find items that are only available on ebay, 90% of those strange items are sold by small sellers, once they are gone so are the buyers. Those buyers come and look and impulse buy while they are there.

      Ebay is quietly ridding their site of small sellers, they are doing it by using bad buyers and huge fees. They know that we cannot afford to pay $100 shipping fees 2 or 3 times per month for no reason. I have never had a return that was paid by the buyer, and every return is either working properly or it’s missing parts. I lose big money every time a SNAD case is opened and the buyers won’t even reply with a reason as to what they have a problem with? They simply say “it’s broken” and they get their money back in full.

      1. Was this directed towards me or the other poster who wrote letters successfully? I had to write 2 letters just to get their attention when a buyer opened an ebay SNAD case and then 3 days later opened a Paylpal case on the same item. This all happened at the beginning of April. 11th and 13th, according to ebay and paypal policy if a buyer does this the ebay case is supposed to be closed immediately. That did not happen, in fact ebay went with the case and even concluded that I was to provide the refund on or about the April 23?

        The case was still being reviewed by pay pal and I was in contact with ebay asking why this case was still open? I called a few times then i received a message about me loosing the case and i used that message to send a message back to ebay, I figured I’d try and see what happens, they responded acting all confused and could not understand what i was talking about, they had already given me a defect and took my money but the case was closed without resolution, What that means is they never actually closed the case, but they did provide me with a defect and charged me for seller fees on the case, but the case was still open in pay pal. Ebay claimed that they did not finalize the case yet and couldn’t see what i was inquiring about?

        This went on for the next 2 weeks and then on May 14th pay pal closed the case in my favor!?! So now I spent even more time on the phones and sending messages through ebay. After getting nowhere and hearing ebay say the same things about how the don’t understand what my problem was, i called pay pal to do a 3 way call and hear what ebay has to say about this case that i did win. after 2 more hours on the phone with paypal also on my side explaining exactly what i had been saying for the last month, they still acted as if they didn’t understand what we were saying.

        I was furious at this time and what i eventually got was the rep to tell me to write a letter to the board of executives about the matter and have them take it over?!?

        Pay pal wasted 2 hours on the phone with me and we still got nothing done, I wrote the first letter and ghad no reply, I wrote a second letter and had a message in my ebay messages from a guy who said he tried to call me. I didn’t see the phone ringing but there was a call and a short message.

        I wrote back and forth with this guy for the next 2 weeks explaining what happened, i documented the entire thing in ebays community forums, I would add to it as the problem moved along. I stated it just after ebay did not close their case and it ended up spanning over 2 months time before I finally had the defect removed and the fees given back to me but none of it made any difference since they had sprung up 3 or 4 new problems on me that i thought I was handling correctly according to what i saw posted by ebay about when I should report buyers who open SNAD cases and use the following scenarios for their reasons. These reasons provided where showing when buyers missuse SNAD and you as a seller should be able to have those defects removed if any of these situations has been part of what you experienced. There were 2 cases and 1 of them had at least 3 of the 5 examples shown as part of what they did. they bought a USED item and were expecting it to be new. The term USED is meant for items that work as new but show some use. It was an alarm clock which showed barely even a mark on it anywhere. I also thought the buyer was being malicious and bought 1 of my cheapest items to create this problem for me. They also complained about how long it took to ship using the cheapest shipping method, even though it was sent on time.

        the other item was a remote control that used rechargeable batteries, i had a reminder in the listing saying to be sure to fully charge the batteries before trying to program the remote, i sent a message to the buyer right when i shipped them telling them to remember to charge the batteries. they get it and open a SNAD, I ask did you charge the batteries, of course they did, but they will try again this weekend. I accept both items for a return send them both return labels and get them back and see the alarm clock was perfect and i charged up the batteries on the remote and programmed it within 2 hours after it was delivered. I video recorded me using the remote to turn my TV on and off over 60 times in a row. i showed the clock in perfect condition,

        I was going to go give the refunds and then call ebay with my new proof and while I was at the returns page I saw a link that said is there a problem with this sale? I clicked the link and it had me fill out what i had seen and sent it, I did this for both sales then i went to do the refunds but couldn’t I got errors, took a screen shot of the errors and then tried again later, same thing.

        I called ebay and they told me that I couldn’t do the refunds because ebay already did them? how is that possible, they said I ESCALATED the cases when i reported the buyers and I lost them both? How? Why was this an escalation, i accepted the returns and I was trying to give the refunds. I only did as your policy states top do when i encounter 1 or the 45 listed situations where buyers needed to be reported for violation of ebays returns and SNAD cases.

        TOO BAD, I wrote another letter (this all happened within a few days after my defect was removed from the earlier problem which had me restricted and below standard) and sent my DVD along showing both cases were fraudulent and I demanded to get my shipping and my seller fees reimbursed, I also demanded to have both defects removed, no reply Sent another letter a month later showing the same thing with a new copy of the same disc. these letters were costing me $3.70 each time I sent them as well. Then i got a reply sent to me in my messages saying i need to better describe my items to avoid these types of problems.

        Complete BS. All they did was make sure I was given more defects to keep me restricted and below standard to make money off of me , my store subscription just renewed it’s self in May, I allowed it since I thought my problems were behind me and I was going to be OK, I was set to have the very last of my defects roll off in July, they were from cancelling 3 orders and I followed ebays pages telling me how to do the cancellations but had no mention of any defects, i could not find that page ever again.

        I still have copies of their response and all posts are in the ebay community forums as well.

  28. Sorry no help. Per your #1 – when the companies such as Amazon/Ebay knows the seller is a fraud and allows the seller it to continue selling items. Per your #2 – A “buyer” shouldn’t have to deal with a “fraudulent/scam” after it has been proven to be true. A phone call shouldn’t even have to occur to the individuals/scammers. They don’t deserve that kind of courtesy and should be shut down immediately. Per your #3 -These are “blunt obvious” fraudulent scammers and not a simple mistake made by a new seller. Maybe, there should be different policies put in place if the seller has been immediately found to be an “blunt obvious” fraud or scammer. Per your #5, #6, and #7 – Not much the FBI, local police or DA’s office can do especially when most of the fraud/scammers are overseas. Per your #8 – a buyers time is gone dealing with the hassle plus getting their money back may take weeks, months, if not years, in which could and should have been prevented instead of allowing it to continue.

  29. Blocked Buyer
    – Demand exceptions so that they can purchase new items – even when records show buyer’s abusive behavior related to payments (NPB), rude communication, abusive feedback, circumvention of store policies, etc.
    Action: (1) Do not communicate with such buyers. (2) if they persist, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Cancel order
    – Demand order cancellation after making payment and demand immediate full refund.
    – Demand order cancellation after item has been shipped/ tracking number is uploaded and shows that the package is in transit.
    – Demand order cancellation and immediate full refund after tracking shows delivered.
    – Demand order cancellation by blaming an infant/ toddler/ nephew/ niece got a hold of the mobile phone and abused it without the account holder’s knowledge. Ironically, several of these cancellation requests are for variation item listings that require selecting up to 4 variables before the correct item can be selected. Since the BIN button comes on the next screen, these buyers seem petty and lame with their excuses about account abuse.
    Action: explain the package has been shipped and provide tracking link

    Change shipping address
    – Demand a change in shipping address after making payment.
    – Demand a change in shipping address after item has been shipped and tracking number is uploaded and visible in the system.
    – Demand a change in shipping address after item has been delivered to the address that has been provided with order.
    Action: (1) explain that it is against marketplace policies. (2) if they persist, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Communication
    Make unnecessary demands using abusive/ threatening/ coercive language. Some examples include:
    – Guaranteed delivery dates after paying for free shipping.
    – Non payment of duties and taxes.
    – Demand that the seller accept exchange or returns outside the published Return Policy.
    – Threaten with negative feedback if demands are not met.
    Action: report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team

    Customs, duties and taxes
    – Decline to pay duties and taxes when shipping carrier attempts to deliver.
    – Demands seller pays duties and taxes.
    – Decline acceptance of package delivery due to duties and taxes – demand full refund claiming INR.
    Action: report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team

    Damaged Item
    – False claims of damaged items without providing evidence of damage.
    – Break or damage the item after receipt on purpose – in order to claim INAD.
    Action: (1) demand proof of damage; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Discount
    – Demand discounts for Fixed Price items.
    – Make offers and counter-offers for Fixed Price items.
    – Demand free shipping for items listed with paid shipping.
    – Demand payment plans (like monthly payments over a period of 5 years) for high value items.
    – Demand item at cost because the purchase is for an orphanage in Africa. One buyer had just purchased a $300 pair of shades and $480 hand bag using the same eBay account (details were available on her feedback page) but wanted items from our store at cost allegedly for an orphanage in Asia.
    – Demand free items because the buyer did not have any income.
    – Demand free items because the buyer’s wife was dying of a terminal disease.
    Action: politely explain that item is a fixed price item. If the buyer persists, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team and block them (possible on eBay)

    eCheck payment
    – Pay by eCheck and demand immediate shipping.
    – Threaten negative feedback if not shipped immediately.
    Action: politely explain that item will be shipped after payment clears and provide buyers with eBay and PayPal customer support numbers.

    Excepted countries
    – Buyers from excepted countries (e.g. Greece, Italy, etc) with known delivery issues insist on placing orders even when provided with an explanation why these countries are not served via our store.
    Action: politely explain that we do not ship to these locations and provide them with a list of multiple freight forwarders in the US who specialize in such services.

    Exchange/ Return
    – Blame the seller for incorrect size/ color selection.
    – Demand exchange/ return without paying shipping costs or restocking fees.
    – Open false INAD case to coerce exchange/ return.
    – Leave negative feedback if unable to coerce the seller.
    – Demand exchange (next size) for intimate apparel after using the item for a long period (several weeks/ months).
    – One buyer claimed two flaws with a clothing item (stain and fabric quality dissatisfaction) and wanted an exchange. We apologize and agreed to exchange the item provided she could provide a picture of the stain to take up the issue with the manufacturer. When asked to provide evidence, she claimed dissatisfaction with size!
    Action: (1) demand proof; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Feedback
    – Use negative feedback to communicate any trivial issue.
    – Threaten with negative feedback if buyer’s demands are not met.
    – Habitual feedback abusers: use feedback abuse to coerce discount/ free shipping/ exchange/ return/ non payment/ duties and taxes/ delayed deliveries/ address changes/ order cancellation/ exchange/ returns.
    Action: (1) actively engage with the buyer to get them to provide their demand in writing. (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Item not as described
    – Falsely claim INAD to obtain free item. One buyer purchased a black color bag and opened INAD claims. Her claim was that it did not have the manufacturer’s tag to prove its authenticity. She claimed she had an identical bag and the bag she received from us was counterfeit. We asked her to provide a picture of the bag she was comparing the item received from us. She provided a picture of different design bag of a completely different color – pink!
    – Open INAD case without any proof or evidence.
    – Claim INAD for brand new items in sealed packaging direct from the manufacturer – with reasons like “hair found on item” or “I do not like item smell” or “item was dirty”.
    – Claim INAD/ item does not work for items purchased in the US when used in another country. Since most items available in the US are designed for 110V AC 60 hz power supply, using the item on 220V AC 50 hz power supply damages the item. Note: all our listings with electrical items include a warning in bold red font: This item will not work on 220~240V AC.
    – Claim INAD after selecting an incorrect/ wrong part. After receiving and realizing their error, abusive buyers open claims without admitting incorrect item selection.
    – Claims INAD when purchasing a $5.00 spare part and demanding a brand new item for which the part has been purchased. For example a buyer purchased a wheel for a Lexus vehicle and expected a complete new Lexus vehicle. Another buyer purchased a $25 toy specifically designed for baby crib and expected a $400 crib that probably weighed 300 lbs. to be delivered free to Australia.
    Action: (1) demand proof; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Incomplete order quantity
    – Claim incomplete order quantity even when seller’s inventory management system and shipping software shows correct quantity and corresponding shipping weight.
    Action: (1) demand proof; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Item not received
    – Claim INR when tracking shows delivery. Demand full refund for item with Delivery Confirmation.
    – Blame seller for shipping to “wrong address” even when package has been shipped to the address that was provided with payment.
    – Demand full refund for item that the shipping company deems to be “undeliverable”.
    – Several international buyer’s use First Class Package shipping method. Since this method does not provide a robust tracking or delivery confirmation to most of the locations (although that has improved to many countries now), abusive buyer’s use this arbitrage to abuse the Buyer Protection policies by opening INR case.
    Action: (1) demand proof; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team. (3) for high value expensive, purchase insurance and include signature confirmation.

    Packaging
    – False claim that packaging was not sealed when delivered.
    – Leave negative feedback because the packaging size was “too big”.
    – One buyer was upset because the packaging size for too small and provided negative feedback. Evidently it took her 2 weeks to realize that the package was in her mailbox. Tracking showed delivery confirmation.
    Action: (1) demand proof; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Payment
    – Blame seller for non payment.
    – Make late payment after NPB case is opened – blame seller.
    – Demand sellers take checks, money orders, Western Union. One buyer demanded we provide our bank account details so that he could send the payment by wire transfer.
    Action: report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Quality
    – Blame seller for not agreeing with the color – claiming shade difference.
    – Blame seller for not agreeing with the size – claiming sizing information discrepancy.
    Note: sizing information in all our listings is provided by the manufacturer. Retailers have no control over the size or color.
    Action: (1) demand proof; (2) report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Shipping Address
    – Provide a PO Box and select UPS or FedEx as the shipping method.
    – Provide a shipping address that is deemed “undeliverable” by the shipping company. One buyer provided only the city name, and zip code – without any street address. The buyer did not respond to 4 e-mails and two voicemails. Six weeks after the order was placed, the buyer opened a case via their credit card company as a chargeback. Another buyer from Brazil with an identical address issue responded with the complete shipping address and contact telephone number after 5 weeks and wanted us to ship the item by FedEx Priority – order included First Class Package shipping method.
    Action: (1) explain shipping company policies (2) if package is returned “undeliverable”, promptly process refund but charge but charge full shipping costs + our costs to cover all our expenses (fees and labor)

    Shipping and handling
    – Demand shipping discounts after making the payment with a selected shipping method and quoted amount. One overseas buyer (competitor) opened INR case 30 minutes after the shipping carrier picked up the package. In the INR case, he brazenly demanded free shipping by FedEx Priority and threatened negative feedback if the complete S&H was not refunded within an hour – all this was via eBay member to member communication. After getting blocked, the same buyer used another overseas eBay account to accomplish the same objective. A year later, the same buyer used a friend’s (located in the US) eBay account.
    – Make multiple payments and demand combined shipping discount.
    – Order multiple quantity of an item that weighs 13 oz. with shipping to Alaska and demand reduced combined shipping for Priority Mail.
    Action: (1) if possible, block customer (2) explain why it is not possible. (3) if they persist, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Shipping method upgrade
    – Select and pay for the slowest/ low cost shipping method – turn around and demand guaranteed delivery within 2 days.
    – Select and pay for the slowest/ low cost shipping method – turn around and demand shipping method upgrade to overnight delivery.
    Action: (1) explain why it is not possible. (2) if they persist, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Ship to Freight Forwarder/ Mail Box
    – Several overseas buyers use US mail box addresses. Often times these buyers open cases claiming “damage” when their freight forwarder damages their item when shipping from the US port to their overseas address.
    – One buyer demanded full refund when the Freight Forwarder that the buyer had selected, closed their business operation and disappeared with the buyer’s item. Tracking shows item has been delivered.
    Action: (1) explain why they need to take up the issue with the freight company or provide evidence that it was caused by the shipping company that we used. (2) if they persist, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Just Stupid!
    – Select the most expensive item from a variation listing and demand the lowest price option.
    – Demand manufacturer’s sealed packaging be broken so that the buyer can mix and match colors.
    – Demand free shipping because the cost of shipping the item is more than the item price. This demand is more often from overseas buyers – although we have received similar requests from several US buyers too.
    – Purchase a battery pack (design only to hold disposable batteries) and demand recharging capability.
    – Demand to return the item (uses batteries) because it did not work. When we called to assist, we found out that customer was attempting to use the item without batteries.
    – Demand warranty claim after damaging the item – by plugging 110V AC designed item into a 220V AC power socket.
    – Ask incredibly dumb questions. Don’t believe us? See some examples: http://tamebay.com/2012/06/whats-the-value-of-questions-from-buyers.html
    Action: (1) explain why it is not possible and provide evidence of their purchase. (2) if they persist, report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Telephone number
    Note: This was a big problem with eBay customers until recently when eBay allowed sellers to demand contact number at the shipping address along with the order.
    – Not provide contact telephone number when it is required by shipping company (e.g. required for Customs Form or for Express Delivery shipments).
    – Leave negative feedback when requested for contact telephone number.
    – Respond rudely and demand no further contact when phone number is requested for order related item clarification.
    Action: request buyer to provide telephone number -up to two times. If not response is received, the order is canceled and report the buyer to marketplace Trust/ Security team.

    Transit shipping time
    – Blame seller for delays caused by the shipping carrier, customs clearance or inclement weather.
    – Several buyers left negative feedback or opened claims during blizzards (December 2013 and January 2014) on the east coast. Note: This despite the fact that each buyer received a note from us about the potential delays due to bad weather. Note: all packages were shipped within one business day.
    – By providing “estimated delivery dates” eBay sets up false expectations. In the past, since none of the US Postal Carrier shipping methods were guaranteed, buyers vented their spleen on the seller’s feedback for delayed deliveries by the shipping carrier. Low DSRs do not help. Note: Amazon is much better at providing realistic information about transit shipping to their customer’s.
    Action: Provide an explanation in the email that includes tracking number – unfortunately, some buyers continue to behave as if their hemorrhoids have been prodded.

    Warranty
    – Demand warranty after the expiration date.
    – Take item out of the US and demand warranty in countries where the warranty is void.
    Action: (1) provide them with the manufacturer’s contact details. (2) provide them with the option of returning the item to the US – usually works as is a deterrent.

  30. What a long and mostly useless posting!
    Sounds so bad ss it was written by eBay itself!

    Reporting buyers to ebay teams usually does Not resolve problems; they seem to have a rule or rate or limit for ‘resolving’ problems, which is by paying sellers out of their own pocket in a dispute and they would eventually do it once or twice per quarter or month or whatever. Then they start coming up with all the wildest excuses why they can’t help. Last time, for example, we escalated a dispute to a claim since we had proof for buyer misconduct. Buyer got automatic claim resolution as they’ve provided tracking for return and it has arrived indeed – used and abused. Ebay rejected our appeal on the basis of us having had to call them before we escalate the return to claim so we bring it to their attention. Which , note please, is exactly what starting a claim is – calling for attention. The real reason they didn’t do it – we believe based on long experience – is that they’ve settled one or two similar cases on our behalf (and without pelnalty to buyers who actually caused it!) in the previous month.
    We’re on ebay since nearly its beginning and while not volume sellers we have the history and reviews to show we are not in for small time cheats.ebay simply is not after the truth, they are after business automation and cutting down costs and maintaining increasing profits at acceptable cost. If reality is above acceptable cost they just put reality down.
    Which is why reporting to them is more often than not waste of time.

    Telling us some buyers act as if their hemorrhoids got irritated is of no belp either. We would not be here if we didn’t know that first hand.

    And no, asking the international buyer to return item is no help. They just state ‘does not work’ as reason for return and we have to pay, not them. By now most buyers know it.
    The solution is to not sell internationally unless cost of return is acceptable. Which most of the time it is not.

    1. “Bobby
      August 6, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      What a long and mostly useless posting!
      Sounds so bad ss it was written by eBay itself!”

      I was thinking the exact same thing!!!

      Either written or copied and pasted from ebays pages that are allowing people to see at this moment.

      Anyone else notice how ebay will show you some pages with hints and help and shows examples of when you should report buyers, or telling you about cancelling items and not saying you will be getting a defect for doing so, but then when You have a problem and you try to find those pages with that information they mysteriously are no where to be found?

      This is because ebay will hide pages from you after you see them once then you do as they say and get negative results from following their directions, you go back to find those pages and they simply do not exist? I have actually made a point to bookmark pages and when i clicked on the bookmark the pages are not found? HUM, seems like ebay has a habit of changing anything whenever they want too. Since they have no actual set of rules or policies available for download in a single dated PDF file you can never prove anything!

      to all those who say “you agreed to that when you signed up to sell on ebay” I ask where that set of rules and policies is so I can download it as it is written right now and i will check to see if I did agree to this type of problem, Every other site has a set of written rules and policies that is available to all who want to download it, all accept for ebay? Now this is the 1 site that you would expect to have this available to it’s users since there’s so much that needs to be defined.

      They will never make it available because they know that they would never be able to get away with anything if anybody took that to court and a judge reads it. they would be shut down on the spot for so many violations of laws.

      They also have no dates associated to anything they have posted on their site so you can’t prove what was actually in effect at any time, they can simply delete the pages and you will never be able to prove anything. so you need to start using page captures to save the pages when you see them that will provide the date and time stamp as well as show your proof of what ebay had posted as a solution that they did not honor and screwed you over.

  31. What a positive and uplifting response. Seriously though, there has been good advice in this post, even though it is nearly two years old. Andy probably should shut down comments on on it. But, eBay is quite responsive to sellers, much more so the Amazon. Now, if you are calling all the time and have a history of mistakes and complaints from buyers, then you are not going to get much help. You also have to escalate sometimes. Yes, I do ask international buyers to return the item. I will pay for the return item – as a reimbursements, even if I lose more money. People trying to game the system often will not return it. EBay will back you up if they escalate it – saying just return the item. If they do return it, you reimburse it and they will not bother you again. You are running a business and you have to build these costs in and deal with it. If you spend too much time worrying about this stuff you will never make it.

    If you are getting a lot of cases opened against you in a month, there is an issue with how you are doing things – especially since you stated you are a smaller volume seller. I ship hundreds of items a week. I get maybe 5 or 6 cases a month. 99.9% of those are item not received cases. That is a risk that I can manage using insurance (for troublesome areas), increasing the shipping cost, or both. I monitor it very carefully. I rarely get a case for anything else. If they don’t like the item – we pay for the return it. Even on small items. If you cannot adapt to the business then it is time to change the model or move on to something else. Amazon changes stuff all the time. I then change or drop it. I drop products from Amazon. I have stopped selling on Amazon UK due to Amazon’s rules. I switch to immediate pay on eBay for some items. It is the way the world works.

    I get you have to be careful. If you sell items that have a high fraud potential, mitigate it – take pictures, note serial numbers, etc. But don’t expect eBay to intercede for you on everything. It is your business. Use a little common sense. These things are a part of doing business.

  32. I didn’t try to be positive or uplifting, but rather objective and fair.

    Speaking of which, when you ship hundreds of items per week with a few returns a month what are you doing in this thread to begin with?!

    No offense meant nor taken – the point is that in any business there will be returns and if your rate is below a percent then you are so much before both Internet and retail standards for return issues you simply do not belong where they are disscussed.

    The point that if there are many returns means seller is not doing something well is valid within a certain scope.

    It fails if same customer base at our own site yields tenfold less problems.

    Do I make that up?

    Decide for yourself:

    1) eBay has a category called “Specialty services:Restoration and repair”

    This is where people send in something to be serviced and returned.

    Yet at least one in ten places an order thinking they are buying a physical good.

    Could it be because for 10 years ebay fails to update their page templates continue referring to it as an ‘item’?

    Or specify delivery date as if is actually going to be shipped by vendor?

    No, neither of the two. There are still morons who would buy it anyway.

    They can’t do that at our site though. Because we do not take money upfront. Well we also call it service and do not give fake delivery dates, but that is secondary.

    In a nutshell our business is different than yours.

    There, said it instead of you.

    There is more to it, of course.

    Our business also deals with parts. All other businesses that sell parts have same problem, except we sell rare manually refurbished parts where you can’t just throw one out and pick another.

    So when customers buy and abuse those we incur substantial loss.

    And the problem happens when customer admits to returning used part – quite against the terms and conditions – and ebay flushes you down because you did not call their attention the proper way. Three months ago it was because of something else.

    We do not call them a lot. Not at all.

    We’ve done this for so long we just know better than to call them a lot.

    Which is not a solution, since they are the power and they are not after justice, they are a commercial entity.

    The less you rely on them the better you will be.

  33. I’m on a lot of threads here and do a lot of reviews. The thread is “How do you beat bad buyers” and comment on threads when I have time. I take steps to avoid and mitigate risks bad buyers. From your post you have been selling as long as I have – 20 years. These are things you learn to do rather than blaming eBay. I get frustrated with them sometimes too but then I have to regroup and find a way to make it work or stop selling on the platform.

    1. Well so do I.

      And the short answer to the question in this thread is “More and more often you just can’t – you have to learn to live with it”.

  34. Just out of curiosity Has anybody contact the USPS postal inspectors?? Most of my items are shipped and unfortunately return under the same conditions as I am reading about (“item not as described”). Seems to me the buyers that are doing this under such fraudulent conditions with the blessing of eBay & Amazon are using the mail service to commit such fraud.
    I think maybe an aggressive campaign complaining about this to the postal service could bring some relief also will put pressure on these platforms to alter their policies since they are encouraging it.

    1. I have made efforts to make sure that USPS knows about this issue and also asked if I could rely on them to present the evidence if I ever needed to have the weight of a package verified. Meaning when I shipped the package that I weighed at 7 Lbs and paid for a label for a 7Lb package, then they get it , can they provide me with the actual weight of that package? they said NO. So they cannot help on items that are returned in empty boxes, unless the buyers slip up like mine did and admit to getting it at first then changing their story to fit later with their Ebay case.

      So if they can’t even prove the actual weight when I preprint the labels I don’t think they will be much help in resolving ebay fraud.

      I did however come up with a plan that would involve Fed-EX. I have it posted in my listings that any SNAD cases opened without first contacting me to provide help will have to be inspected by the carrier before I will allow the item to be returned. The problem is that Fed-Ex won’t do the inspection unless it’s a high dollar item or you set it up with them, and ebay won’t allow the time it takes to get that set up. I want to have time to contact Fed-Ex and request my items to be inspected by them to see if the items are damaged as the buyers keep claiming when they open SNAD cases,

      They are losing millions on fraudulent insurance claims that ebays making sellers open without knowing if the packages are actually even damaged. By just using the information that buyers provide leaves no options. If they did mandatory inspections of all claims their would be very few actual claims to pay and also their would be very few returns that sellers would have to accept as well.

      I think requesting inspection of returns is the answer. That way you can have proof of the buyers lying and ebay has no say in the matters. They would have to respect the decisions of the carriers who have actually inspected the claims of the items “not working”.

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