eBay - No Seller Protection, Be Careful.

How my eBay sell cost me over $175.

*** Update! As of 1-02-2010 I filed for a double appeal and WON! eBay cancelled my fee, and now I am at square one! Thank you eBay!  You may still read this article to see a struggle; do not give up fighting it! ***


This blog is simply stating a very recent experience I've just had with eBay, and as a warning to others who might be selling on eBay. This is not a scare tactic to try to get you to not use eBay, just to help you become aware of what could possibly happen if a Buyer makes a claim against an item you sold.

First point is, as a seller, if you sell an item, and the buyer claims it was not the correct item, eBay WILL refund their money and charge you for it, with zero evidence. What can a seller do to protect themselves against this type of fraud? Absolutely nothing.

I will now tell two short stories about eBay's unfair policy, and give you warning.

In early November, of 2010 I received a brand new phone from Verizon, this was my phone to keep and I was finished with my contract. It was a very expensive phone, probably around $450 new, it was called the Palm Pixi Plus. I decided to list this phone on eBay and sell it, since I had just switched my service to Straight Talk, because I needed an unlimited plan for our entire family. I opened the phone and turned it on to verify it was working, left it on for about an hour or so and everything was perfect and new, so I listed the phone on eBay.

I have been selling things on eBay for 5 years, keep in mind, with 100% positive feedback, never one single negative comment.

So I put the phone on eBay, immediately it sells for $170. I undercharge for shipping, ($5) and spend $8 to ship off the phone. The buyer opts out of insurance. The listing says "no refunds."

2 days after the buyer receives the phone, the buyer creates a dispute to eBay and says the phones screen was completely black and would not work, that he had to take it to Verizon and they said the phone was damaged and unusable. He wrote a second letter to eBay saying that the phone had been activated and had text messages to me in the phone.

Let's think about these two messages... the phone is broken, the screen is non functional - second statement; the phone has been activated, and has text messages to me all in it. The buyer admitted the phone being 100 percent non working, and then admitted to reading the text messages on the phone (That could not have been there). Now, I knowing the phone was brand new and had all the documentation and proof from Verizon it had never been activated, thought that eBay would be smart enough to realize the seller had just made two contradicting statements that proved he was being dishonest.

My response letter to the seller and eBay was:

  1. To check his conflicting statements.
  2. Verizon could offer 100 percent proof the phone had never been activated.
  3. If the phone was honestly damaged, the seller opted OUT of insurance in shipping, and I had listed clearly on the item "No Returns"
  4. The seller was a brand new eBay account with 5 feedback.

Within a few hours eBay responded to me, we have found in the buyers favor, please refund the buyers money. Part of the message I found interesting I will post in quotations:

"we will have your customer send the item back to you for a full
refund even though you mentioned that you don't accept returns. I hope
that this does not come across incorrectly."

eBay made this decision with no proof from the buyer whatsoever, I had offered a very quick means to prove any of this, but eBay immediately went in favor for the buyer.

Another thing, eBay and Paypal together charged me $30 to sell the phone, with listing fees, payment fees, and eBay final value fees, and then they charged me back the entire price of the phone, which means, that my sell of the phone, I had to pay back the entire amount PLUS the extra $30 dollars that was included in the sell of the phone. Does that make any sense that once an item is refunded, eBay still makes you pay the fee as if the phone sold.

So I received back in the mail a battered and broken phone, a bill for $175. Lost $8 in shipping to begin with, now having to pay back the seller the original $5 I charged them, and I lost $30 in selling the phone. So my nice new Verizon phone that was worth $450, actually cost me -$213 thanks to eBay.

I started telling my story to friends and family, and realized I was not the only one having this problem. I heard a story of losses of over $600 from eBay immediately ruling in the buyers favor.

The problem with selling on eBay is:

  1. If the seller makes a complaint, they WILL win, even if you have proof to despite their claim.
  2. eBay makes the vast amount of money from advertisements, and buyers. When a buyer pays money, eBay deducts money from the seller in 3 different ways: listing fee, final value fee, and paypal transaction fee. So a lot of the buyers money never reaches the seller.
  3. eBay has created a system of realizing buyers are what it mainly profits from, and that sellers have very little other choice (Besides) Craigslist to sell their products online, so even if eBay does screw them over, they have no other option to sell their material but to turn back to ebay, the buyer can buy their products from MANY other online places, so eBay fights to protect the buyer.

What would correct this situation? A fair system between buyers and sellers having the same amount of protection. Cases should be asked to demonstrate proof if possible, cases should not immediately be awarded to buyers.

Overall, Jesus has everything in his control, I am not fretting about this because nothing happens that God does not allow to happen, but I did feel the need to make public awareness that eBay, even though a highly respected corporation, can be extremely financial and sometimes steals from the smaller guy.

I will close with the last paragraph in the email to me saying that my funds would be automatically pulled out of my bank account, then this:

"I'd also like to add that while I was reviewing your account, I saw that
you have been a part of the eBay community for 5 years. We appreciate
your doing business with us over the years.

Thank you for contacting us and for choosing eBay.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey D.

eBay Customer Support"

How sweet. :)

Thanks for reading! :)

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Comments 5 comments

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

I have only had good experiences with eBay, but I've heard other sellers complain of the same kinds of problem you experienced. Don't know what can be done to make eBay treat sellers more fairly...it's a problem.


slurpies profile image

slurpies 5 years ago from Vale, NC Author

Yeah, it's sad, I know eBay is quite trusted, but they seem to have the philosphy as we need them, and in ways we do.

I have to buy my glucose testing strips from eBay, I get them 4-5x cheaper that way, as a buyer, my experience with eBay is perfect! As a seller, it's not so bad, but unfortunately if you're one of the unlucky ones that a buyer wishes to scam, eBay will not defend you.

Thanks for the comment Stephanie! :)


TinaAtHome profile image

TinaAtHome 5 years ago from California

You shouldn't have lost ebay and paypal fees. Do you know you can claim those back?


slurpies profile image

slurpies 5 years ago from Vale, NC Author

I've heard that as well, even read it on eBay's site, but I called Paypal and they said they will not and do not refund. I said, you're asking me to refund 100 percent of the customers money, then an extra 20 percent, and you're not going to refund any?

:) Oh well what can you do, lol :)


TinaAtHome profile image

TinaAtHome 5 years ago from California

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