- Business and Employment
An ebay scammer
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
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
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
Buyer pays. package is put in the mail on a saturday morning, the 14th of march.
Chapter One: first contact by the ebay scammer
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:
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
It was ship to your address as confirm by you:
It was shipped on saturday 14th and usually tales 7 to 10 business days.
I am sure they will be there soon.
Chapter 2: the ultimatum: scam buyer put pressure on the ebay seller
Well, it sounded like one to me, putting even more credit to the scam theory.
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.
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.
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)!
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
Fight and do my best to uncover the scam
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
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.
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.
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
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:
yes, I buy
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).
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
Another message from the buyer, less than 10 minutes after the last one:
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:
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
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).
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
The special effects - How did they do it?
- Find an ebay member
How to find if an email address is linked to an ebay account
Do you believe the buyer was telling the truth?
have you ever been scam on ebay?
Paypal is a scammer best friend
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