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An ebay scammer

Updated on August 29, 2017

The ebay seller and the scammer tale

How an ebay seller fight back against a scam buyer pretending not having receive his purchase.

This is a true story, it happened to a friend of a friend of mine.

To make the story easier to read, it will be told in first person.

All email exchanges have been posted as is, including grammatical and spelling errors. Name and locations have been changed to protect both parties.

Prelude: an ebay sale

March 2009

Another nice sale. Buyer just bought 7 items for over 80$ worth plus shipping.

Buyer is not a new customer for me, he buys from time to time.

Invoice sent promptly, package is prepared so it can go as soon as possible once payment is made.

Flashback: Not a new ebay buyer

November 2006

Same buyer, on another ID, bought items (over 80$) and claim loss on a package.

He was a regular buyer, and package can get lost, even if it is a very rare event. I granted a refund after waiting for what I consider a reasonnable, but no so long, time.. Buyer kept buying from me from time to time, smaller purchase.

Let's be honest, I had that weird gut feeling I was scammed. I always listen to my gut feeling, but this time for some reason, I didn't. The future will prove I had the right feeling.

Fastforward: buyer paid his ebay purchase

March 12th

Buyer pays. package is put in the mail on a saturday morning, the 14th of march.

Chapter One: first contact by the ebay scammer

March 23rd

Email received trough ebay message system, from the buyer account (linked to buyer's email #1. You will see how email addresses help me on this case later).

Buyer email transcription:

"Dear Seller,

Hello XXXXXX, I have not received all (item's name). I have paid with PayPal on Thursday, the March, 12th. Do you know, where are the items? When do you ship the (item's name). Please help me. Best regards, XXXXXXX

- buyer's name"

Smell fishy: ebay scams smell...trust your feeling

That kind of email, so soon after shipping, from a buyer who have already pulled that trick rang the alarm bell. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me

My response:

"Hi XXXXXX,

It was ship to your address as confirm by you:

Name

xxxxxxxx

city

postcode

country

It was shipped on saturday 14th and usually tales 7 to 10 business days.

I am sure they will be there soon.

Seller

Chapter 2: the ultimatum: scam buyer put pressure on the ebay seller

March 26th

Well, it sounded like one to me, putting even more credit to the scam theory.

Buyer's message:

"Hello XXXXX,

thanks for you answer. But I am little sad, because I don't receive the (items).

The shipping from seller country to buyer country is not so slow. I know that, because I buy often from seller country.

Could you inform your post office, please? I can wait until this Saturday. It's a great pity.

Friendly

XXXXXXX"

Important note here, for some reason, buyer used another email to contact me, cutting and pasting the previous conversations. That email address proved useful later on.

My response:

"Hi buyer,

It is the second time you did not receive my packages already.

I have send over 3000 package in the last years (on ebay and on

3 other sites) and the only 2 lost are your packages.

I will contact directly your postal office in (buyer's city) and fill a claim for postal theft.

There seems to be a problem with the (buyer's city) postal service.

Since my package is very easy to remember with all the colorful stickers on it, and since (buyer's city) is a small town, I am sure the postmaster will

remember it. I will see what he can do. I have a person already from (buyer's country) who will help, He will do the talking since I don't speak (buyer's language)!

XXXXXX

PS you will receive this message two times, because I also send it trough ebay message system."

Your opinions on this ebay scam

In that case what would you have done

Interlude

Now I knew he was trying to go for either a refund for non-receipt or a replacement. I had to find proof, I knew he had receive the package. He did probably receive it the day he send the first email. That will fit in the usual delivery time frame.

So I start researching the buyer's name and manage to find some of his other buying ID, as well as an abandoned, or rarely used seller ID and a now closed online store (I found that one from his paypal payment, he had the old phone and business contact email on it. Google did the rest).

I also checked his second email addy on ebay (the one he used on the second email). Came out as another of his ebay account. Since i was not in transaction with that ebayer, I couldn't have the ID, but I had at least a lead, I was pretty sure it was a seller ID (all his buyer ID have perfect feedback and low numbers, this one had bad feedback and in the thousands of feedback).

That lead me to start searching ebay for my items..........

Chapter 3: cruise control

March 31st

I wrongly tough that the "postal investigation" bit on my last email had him run for cover. I was wrong. Either he did not understand or did not really read anything, since he was on cruise control toward getting a refund.

Buyer's email:

"Hi Seller,

many thanks that you offer me help. I really need this one. I like your packing with the many stickers very much. I would not have this patience that I shall stick so many stickers on myself. Respect.

To this day, unfortunately, I still have not received any (items). Also this is very a pity and I am nervous.

I do not know what I shall do. Could you carry out an investigation for your post office, what has happened there. Please inform me about the loss of the product.

Best regards

buyer

Traveling into the seller's head

Now I am mad, I know he has the items, and the last email triggered my killer instinct.

Suddenly I have a hunch and called myself stoopid for not having done this before!

I know he is a seller, selling mostly the same kind of stuff I do, even tho it is not the same items, du to geographical distinction, but I suspect he might have buy these to resell as parts (or complete) in his country. So I logged onto the buyer's country ebay and start searching for various keywords describing my items, in his language. I had in mind also his feedback percentage and number from the ebay ID that I picked up earlier from his email address.

After not more than 3 searches, bingo, i found something! I clicked to check out the seller feedback and to my horror, it was not at all the numbers and % of the ID I found earlier that was associate with the buyer's second email address. Damn, not my scammer...

I was about to leave that page, when I glanced to the seller's name.....and there it was:

a combination of his name and surname. So he has more than 1 selling ID, but I found the right one. The golden key to the pressure machine.....

I started checking all his auction and found my items, some sold as is, others sold in parts. There was no mistake, these are not unique, but some were rare and almost found only in my country. Having this person selling these exact items was just not coincidence!

Chapter 4: going for the throat

March 31st

Over the last days, I found many information on the buyer. But I was not going to let him know everything. Better keep some card in your sleeves. I wanted this problem to be put at rest asap, so I went for the throat, hoping to scare him enough to trigger the amazing "oh look, I found my package down the road in the gutter, must be the postman" effect.

So, the same day I send him this message:

"I am glad you have receive the items.

I see you already sold some of them:

(here was a list of the items sold or being sold by him on ebay)

I did not check your other ebay accounts (I found at least 1 other) only this one: (link to his ID removed)

I will be forwarding everything to ebay trust and safety departement, to start with and will be working with my contact in (buyer's country) and the postal office here if I need to go further.

I went for the throat, hoping to scare him enough to trigger the amazing "oh look, I found my package down the road in the gutter, must be the postman" effect.

Chapter 5: shock and awe

Reading this I could feel his brain trying to work out some stories:

"Hi seller,

yes, I buy

Hello seller,

please do not misunderstand this!

I admit, that I still have a eBay account. Many eBay-members know that, what also is permitted.

I want to know, where you have this source from. How can one find this out? Please explain to me, as you my have found another account.

I would like to know this. I buy much at eBay. I am welcome to inform you about the sellers where I have bought the other items.

I often investigate in Google . I have a (items name) salesman in (seller country) which sells many..

I have the invoices from everyone. You I proof need, then send you one invoice as a proof if one. Are not these (items and parts) from you which I sell at eBay!

I am a great collector of (items name).

Then I look at eBay and often shop at you or with other private sellers I also like to spend more money there. You know my way now. I can prove, that these (items) have been bought by online shops in (seller's country).

Friendly

buyer

I pretty much knew this was bluff. One of the item is very difficult to get, and the probability of this guy having one and selling one defies the laws of probability.

All his buyer accounts have private feedback, so I couldn't check his purchase, but i knew it was bull. So I was going to email him asking for these so called "proofs" when suddently.......

Now he thinks I am some kind of James Bond

Buyer: "I want to know, where you have this source from. How can one find this out? Please explain to me, as you my have found another account."

Chapter 6: the panic

When suddenly......

Another message from the buyer, less than 10 minutes after the last one:

"Hi there,

I hope you have read my first e-mail. Please read the first e-mail, then this e-mail read.

Because this is a great misunderstanding. I feel totally taken by surprise.

I find this manner very brutal. Why you do not ask me, whether your magazines are.

I am frank and honest, really. I have nothing to conceal. I do not like it at all if I am thought of badly.

My eBay account: " name here " I have published my assessments. You can what see, now I buy everything.

I am already very disappointed that one attacks me so. I will enquire I can what do for my post.

Your letter has been sent out at my PO box. This PO box is stored in the post office. I will tomorrow go to the post office and question the post employee. Perhaps it is any other PO box slipped. This happens sometimes.

I then perhaps could be lucky and your packet is in the store. However, I do not understand,

why I have not been informed if this is the case. I go to the post office tomorrow and will immediately inform you. You can rely on it. The whole does not leave quiet me. Your e-mail worries me very much.

I must say honestly that I have never experienced so that.

An application for investigation very simply has to be made anyway. Or how much does this cost in (seller's country)? The investigation is cost-free in (buyer's country)."

Chapter 7: the sob story

And again, a few minutes later a third email. Trying to make me feel bad, or guilty or whatever:

I am sorry that I write to you again.

When you read the another two e-mails, then you understand certainly this e-mail.

Please read first the other e-mails from me, before you read this e-mail.

The thought does not leave me alone what you will do everything to hurt me.

For me the whole evening falls in the rain. You hopefully read my e-mails first before you consult eBay.

It would be worse if I have reported a discrepancy to eBay. However, I HAVE NOT done this!

I HAVE NOT brought any legal action at PayPal. I HAVE NOT cancelled the PayPal payment.

Other buyers would consult directly eBay and PayPal, if they have not got any items.

I more directly do not have this gone way. I am kind for you contrary to come. I wanted to discuss the problem directly with you. Apparent is also wrongly this. How shall I behave then?

As soon as your "items" reach me, I wanted to buy still more "items" of you.

I am sorry, I have thought this over now. It is a very repulsive feeling if a customer is insulted wrongly. You will lose me as a faithful customer.

Now i knew what was coming next morning: the "I found the package" email. i was sure of it. He wanted to try to get a free ride, but now was scared because he did not know what I was able to do. To make sure he back of I payed one last joker......

Chapter 8: the kill

Now to make sure the message is clear: I pulled out another of his account, not mentioned yet....And giving him a way out as well, so they can save face with their lies.

My last message:

"Hello,

I have not insulted you, I was just pointing out some facts because

this is the second time you say my package did not reach you. First time was in november 2006, 5 items, with your (ebay ID) account (at the time it was "ebay name" account) and now again!

So yes I found informations because 2 lost packages to the same person is bizzare.

You ask how I found information, this is what I do in life, so when you do this since many years for job you become good and you know how to do this.

As I said in over 5 years and thousands of packages only 2 were lost, both were your package. So the problem is not the my postoffice apparently.

So I am sure you understand why I seek information and why I have someone from your country who will help if needed.

It is a very good idea to go to your postoffice when you have time. I know that here, sometimes (very rare) the postman forget to leave the receipt in my box when I have a package. And I have to remind him about it, or go pick it at the postal office."

My Ninja death grip

" You ask how I found information, this is what I do in life, so when you do this since many years for job you become good and you know how to do this."

Conclusion: the scam buyer backed off

April 1st

Drum roll:

last buyer's message:

Hello (seller's name),

I was for my post today. I have got your packet joyfully there. I really had been lucky because the packet can be stored for at most 10 days.

Tomorrow, the letter to you would have gone back if I had not collected the product. The post employee has told me that your (item's name) had arrived 9 day ago.

I have received the notification, that in my PO box bigger shipments have to be collected from the switch. I have apparently forgotten this.

It was my fault and I already thought that the letter has been lost. Everything has ended well. Many thanks for the wonderful (item's name).

Friendly

(buyer's name)

Credits

Special credits to:

Paypal, for allowing scammers worldwide get free items

Ebay, for making the sellers' life so difficult

My imaginary friend, who lives in the buyer's country: imaginary friends are cheap and you can pull them out of your sleeves as needed

Some polls

Do you believe the buyer was telling the truth?

See results

have you ever been scam on ebay?

See results

Paypal is a scammer best friend

See results

Remember this good tip

Always give your buyer an out, so they can save face with their lies.

Feel free to share your ebay stories

Thank you for reading

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Excellent lens! I eagerly read every word. Linked as related to my ebay business lens.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image
      Author

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      @Paula7928: Hi, didn't contact TS because I got the final word with this buyer, but maybe I should have to leave a trace on the buyer account in a way. But really In over 15 years selling all over the world I had 4 problems, all but one were solved.

    • profile image

      Paula7928 5 years ago

      Great lens! Just curious if you forwarded all the info to ebay trust and safety and if so did they do anything about it?

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      INteresting story, not sure how you discovered the facts from ebay search. I had this happen to me sometime ago and I stopped selling on there (there were other reasons to do with Feebay as well). However other auction sites do not seem to atttract the visitors.so am tempted to start again. But I will only post to UK and send recorded delivery. Too easy for the B$"*^+$%"!s to scam sellers with the Ebay/Paypal set-up.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      At least the buyer admitted they had received the goods, but did you report them and all their accounts, plus the correspondence to eBay? You could have hopefully had them closed down for good.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      You and I certainly tend to get hit a lot. I wonder if it is because we simply find more than other online individuals do. It seems to be a constant fight to block the scammers and plagiarists. Oh how much simpler the world could be if everyone would just play fair.

    • dotpattern profile image

      Pat Moire 6 years ago from West Village, New York City

      After the same thing happened to me (or the package was legitimately lost), we use Delivery Confirmation for every outgoing shipment.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      This is quite a story, and not the first time I have heard of something like this happening. Personally, I don't think it will get better in the future - not because I am a pessimist, but because you just don't see much overt concern about it on the part of eBay or PayPal

    • profile image

      tienlove 6 years ago

      Wow, crazy story. If I ever sell anything on ebay I will be sure to get delivery confirmation so I will know it has been received.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This story rocked my world. I can't stand scammers. It's filthy. It makes you feel violated. Like you work hard for what you have and another human is capable of ignoring morality and trying to pick your pockets.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      Paypal is too comsumer friendly. The seller is always believed. I would sell on Craigslist.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Sounds like a Nigerian Scam. You must always send out your packages with a tracking number. Also never sell a Gift Card on ebay as people can say there was nothing on it. I have been scammed a couple times from that. When they try to send it back they have already spent all the money on it.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 7 years ago from UK

      I stopped using ebay when something like this happened to me. Like you i had sent out hundreds ( only) of parcels to buyers but when the first one never to arrive was the most expensive that i had sold, I gave up. It was obvious to me that I was being scammed but could not prove it. i lost the goods and the money. Paypal do not take the sellers side.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, the yes in the scam poll was higher. I can't believe it is that rampant, scamming on ebay. Glad you fought this one.

    • LadyelenaUK profile image

      LadyelenaUK 7 years ago

      Good Lens. We need more like this.

      Too many Scams. Thanks

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      What an awful experience. I'm glad, in the end, it worked out, but what a headache!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      Nasty experience! You (or your friend) handled this well. I agree that it's very important to let people save face by giving them a way out if you the best outcome.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 8 years ago

      Great lens!!

      FIVE HONEST TO GOODNESS STARS!

      ~Kathy

      ~~*~~

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      i get a lot of emails from "E-Bay" claiming they haven't got my package. None of them came through E-Bay, which doesn't surprise me since I haven't had anything for sale on E-Bay for years now. Once I see they are not official E-Bay communications (by checking on E-Bay), I just ignore them.

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 8 years ago from Earth

      I love this! A job well done!!!! Take a stand for honest sellers!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love the way you approached this. It was good you went with your instincts and that you had the first transaction as a history that revealed this buyer’s habit. Good for you!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Ugh! ebay is great except for these circumstances. There are too many loopholes for scammers to get through.Hopefully ebay will make some changes at some point to help out the seller, not just the scammer. Welcome to the ebay education group!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      That is horrible what you went through. I'm glad you fought the scammer. Excellent lens.

    • profile image

      jpetals 8 years ago

      Good for you lady!!! I was surprised he kept the antics up as long as he did. What a nerf! Can you ban him so he's no longer able to purchase from you? not that he'd ever try something like that again I'm sure. CONGRATS!!!!