eBay user horror story, eBay supporting buyer scams.

Another satisfied eBay seller? read on. Quite a few good points raised in this story, basically shows eBay’s supporting scamming buyers left and right with no appeal for you the seller.


tbh i hate selling on eBay. i will have issues so often with people who purchase my stuff. they’re either scammers, trying to get a freebie by saying they never got it, cancelling payments, cancelling bids or leaving negative feedback “just because”. sellers are at a huge disadvantage on eBay, a buyer only needs to say the box they signed for had nothing in it, then eBay take the money back off you. am i just unlucky?

Totally agree. I’ve had a very stressful weekend because of one eBay buyer who is giving me a hard time (so I’m posting this mostly to vent, so apologies if it’s long-winded!). I’ve been selling on and off since I opened my account 16 years ago. I’ve seen a lot of changes in that time (although not that many – the eBay website still looks and performs like it did in the late ’90s!) and, while I feel much more protected as a buyer now, I feel incredibly vulnerable as a seller.

Basically, eBay and/or Paypal always take the buyers’ sides – and that’s not a bad thing because, for the most part, if a buyer gets what they paid for with no issue they have nothing to complain about. If they do have something to complain about, it’s usually for a good reason, like something is faulty or was damaged in transit – a genuine complaint about something unavoidable that the seller is responsible for putting right.

The problem is the occasional buyer who decides to make things more difficult than they have to be for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s the buyer’s fault – like they haven’t read the auction description and were expecting something different, or they don’t know how to use the item – but they will blame the seller for this and eBay will side with them anyway.

Sometimes it isn’t the buyer’s fault – like an item gets damaged in transit, develops a fault after a few days of use or a genuine mistake is made like the wrong item shipped – and they will still blame the seller personally because they feel victimised for some reason. In the last year I’ve had to accept returns on things that were exactly as described (‘This is white, I didn’t order white,’ ‘Yes you did. It says white in the description and you can see it’s white in the photos,’ ‘Yeah, but I don’t want white.’), because the buyers were expecting more than what I was selling (‘This didn’t come with accessories,’ ‘It said no accessories and it’s pictured without any,’ ‘Yeah but you should have included them’), because of cosmetic issues that were clearly described and pictured in the listing, and things with genuine problems like damage in transit or developed faults that, while I’m responsible for putting right, I get personally blame for and have taken a lot of abuse over – I’ve been called a fraud, a liar and, on Boxing Day, was told that I ruined a child’s Christmas because a buyer received something that wasn’t in good condition that had been pictured and described in that condition and that, after not paying any attention to the listing, they hadn’t bothered checking it was acceptable before giving it to the child on Christmas morning.

I did once have eBay rule in my favour, saying I didn’t have to accept a return on something that was as described, only to have the buyer put in a new claim because it was damaged, with photos of damage that, due to the nature of it, could only have been caused by them so that they had a case to send it back.

I’ve also been restricted in how much I can sell for the last 12 months because I created a multiple item listing late at night one day, put the decimal point in the wrong place in the price, making it £5 instead of £50 and woke up to about 8 orders that I had to cancel. Despite being one mistake, that counts as 8 ‘defects’ on my account, which is a high percentage for the number of items I sell, because apparently I didn’t cancel the orders using the ‘right’ option. Despite several appeals to eBay, that restriction is in place until the end of next month (it also disqualifies me from offers like this).

Now, this weekend, I’ve have someone contact me after receiving an item just saying ‘It won’t work’. After asking for more details it took 3 days to get him to tell me exactly how it won’t work and send photos. I immediately said ‘Sorry about this, send it back for a replacement or refund,’ only for him to say ‘Nah, I’ve got rid of it. Just send me the refund directly via Paypal’ and then leave me negative feedback saying I had refused to offer him a refund. I asked him to remove the feedback, as it wasn’t true, and reminded him that eBay policy is that he can’t get a refund without a replacement. He’s responded saying ‘I can’t get it back off him until tomorrow,’ I said ‘Who’s him?’ and he said ‘None of your business.’ He called me a liar, because the listing said the item worked (because of course I tested it before listing it and assumed it still worked when I sent it out) so I’ve been trying to explain that it’s not a lie, because that would imply I sold faulty goods as working on purpose, which you’ll never get away with on eBay because there’s so much buyer protection that not only will I end up having to take it back and give a refund, I’ll be out of pocket on the postage both ways – if I wanted to waste money there are much easier ways! But no, he’s convinced that I’m a liar and did this on purpose and said he’s screenshotting all my messages to put on his blog to show everyone just what kind of business I run. Well good luck to him because I’ve been nothing but calm and reasonable, telling him to return the item for a refund, and he’s coming across like an unreasonable jerk and the only reason he won’t get his refund is if he can’t get the item back from whoever he’s given it away to, which he shouldn’t have done.

The worst part is, I do believe that there is problem with the item, but because he’s right about that he’s going to think the rest of his behaviour is justifiable.

So that’s my eBay selling experience and the upshot of it all is that it’s really disheartening. You sell an item, it goes out, there’s no problem, you never hear from the buyer again. No thanks, not even a positive feedback in most cases. But one thing goes wrong, even if it’s out of your control, and you’re a liar, a thief, trying to get away with fraud, and people take it personally and set out to ruin you.

One comment

  1. (‘This is white, I didn’t order white,’ ‘Yes you did. It says white in the description and you can see it’s white in the photos,’ ‘Yeah, but I don’t want white.’),

    lol yep, sounds about right!

    “But one thing goes wrong, even if it’s out of your control, and you’re a liar, a thief, trying to get away with fraud, and people take it personally and set out to ruin you.”

    Sadly not only from buyers but also other sellers. I got banned for a week because of a influx of negative feedback, from other sellers, selling similar items. Was as clear as day for anyone with half a brain to see what was going on. I got banned and told by ebay to “do better” else face more harsher punishments. I am still waiting for ebay to explain how I can do better 4 years on.

    Well I did do better, I left ebay, problem solved. I can’t deal with companies like ebay who actively support fraud in any way shape or form.

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