Feedback extortion a buyers weapon of choice

Here is a story about a buyer using feedback extortion threats to obtain all there money and a free item because well PayPal don’t give a crap and threatened to dump the sellers account unless she just gave the scammer what he wanted. Read the responses of the PayPal phone call quite sounds like a Mafia hit man.


paypal scam

Source :

Mirror :

What is this eBay scam and how does it work:


This scam helps “buyers” keep your product and claim a refund. It works where a buyer reports you to eBay for some reason, to my mind any reason will do, and that person escalates the claim to a dispute. When the dispute shows up in your eBay account you have the option of offering a refund right away… or of suffering consequences of the kind I’ll reveal now.


It happened to me this week when a man threatened to leave negative feedback unless I gave him a partial refund on his purchase. Instead, I asked him to return the item for a full refund.


The threats of negative feedback continued so I opened a “Feedback Extortion” case again him, not for my own sake but to prevent other eBayers suffering similar upsets.


A short while later eBay replied, saying they agreed it looked like feedback extortion and they promised to remove any negative feedback left by the buyer.


As a result of the dispute and, as a formality, PayPal froze his payment in my PayPal account. Quite rightly so, but I was certain I’d get the money back because eBay was on my side.


But, instead, all that happens is I get a telephone call from PayPal America, asking what I am doing about the dispute against me. I tell them about the feedback extortion case but they aren’t interested and say all they want to know is what I am doing to sort out the dispute against me. I tell them again, several times the dispute is not against me, but they simply repeat the same bog standard question – “What are you doing about the dispute against you?” And that is when I begin feeling threatened and ask “Is my PayPal account in jeopardy here?” To which they reply “Not if you sort out the dispute against you!”


And that’s when I realise I am in danger of losing my eBay business – because you can’t sell on eBay without a PayPal account – so I refund the blackmailer seconds after the telephone call ends. And now that person has my product, and his money back, as well as the postage used to deliver the product.


I complained to eBay and to PayPal and, to be fair, PayPal offered an unreserved apology.


Now I have just spent a week worrying about upsetting another eBay buyer and picking up the phone only to find out it’s a PayPal representative from America and I’m about to lose another £500 in unnecessary refunds!


And that is why in retrospect I know I should have tried to work things out with the man in question without opening a feedback extortion case with eBay.


And I think my readers should also try to work out problems without involving eBay.


More than anything, however, I am not alone in thinking PayPal and eBay should be prevented from ganging up against honest traders purely to keep their share of money spent by aggressive and dishonest buyers on eBay. In a positive light, the Australian courts have already cut the cord that binds eBay and PayPal, and Australian sellers can decide if PayPal is acceptable to their businesses, or not.


But what of the UK?


Well, I’ve discovered in Internet forums that court action is being considered by some eBay sellers, to prevent eBay forcing sellers to use PayPal, but with nothing significant expected to take place for at least another five years.


So until then I think all you and I can do is either give in to blackmail – which I will do for small amounts in future – or try working out a solution with our buyers direct, like this:


• Where a buyer does threaten you, stay calm and ask if you can telephone that person to quell the situation and attempt to work out a solution that keeps both parties happy. You can do this by using eBay’s “Request a Member’s Contact Information” page which brings you to this advice:


“If you’re involved in a current or recent transaction, and can’t reach the other member through email, you can request the other member’s contact information. Here’s how:


1. Click Advanced search at the top of most eBay pages.


2. In the Members section on the left side of the page, click Find contact information.


3. Enter their user ID and the item number for your transaction.


We’ll send their contact information, including the member’s name, city and telephone number, to your registered email address. The other person will also receive your contact information. You’ll both need to respect our Privacy Policy when using this information.”


You’ll also find these tips useful:


• Answer questions, deal with problems, attempt to initiate solutions as quickly as possible, before a simple query or slight concern has time to boil over into an angry dispute. I find it best to telephone aggrieved buyers, rather than rely on eBay’s communication system or conventional email messages. That’s because conventional email and eBay communications are impersonal and just one word out of place can cause a full-scale dispute. As an example, I once emailed someone saying “I will not give you a refund right away,” when actually I meant to say “I will give you a refund right away”. I don’t know why the mistake happened but it caused mayhem. Several things are important here:


– A telephone call lets people compare the tone of your voice against what you are saying, and helps them determine whether you’re angry or trying to help, as well as giving better scope for buyer and seller to ask and answer questions and conclude in a friendly manner. Using the phone, one or both parties won’t have to wait hours or days for an email to be answered, during which time either person can feel they’re being ignored and submit a premature dispute to eBay or PayPal.


– Without support from body language and speech, words and phrases in emails can have different connotations and be viewed as angry and uncompromising, even in a message intended as friendly and reassuring. For example, here in the North, “Listen” before offering advice or suggesting a solution is viewed as helpful and friendly, but can be viewed by non-locals as bossy and overpowering. Similarly, “Get Lost” is a term of endearment here in God’s country – County Durham – but highly insulting elsewhere.


Where just a small amount of money is involved, say a pound or two, I always refund and ask the buyer to return my product at his convenience. Most do just that, some don’t, but a few pounds is worth paying to avoid the kind of telephone conversation I had with PayPal! And the worry and disappointment that followed. Not to mention the amount of money I lost!


• eBay tells sellers to adopt a “customer is always right attitude” and that way you’ll turn unhappy customers into regular buyers. I, however, do not believe in turning big problem buyers into regular customers, mainly because my worst experiences have been with people who enjoy causing trouble and take every opportunity to do so. My advice is to be nicer than nice to really awkward and dishonest customers while you’re attempting to solve a problem, then get them on your “blocked bidders” list the very first chance you get




  1. Scams are never ending, its why i closed my shop last week.

    Buyer – Not as described
    me – why ?
    buyer – it does not match your image
    me – so the item xxx wasn’t blue ?
    buyer – no!
    me – so what colour is it ?
    buyer – it is a blue item! clearly not as shown in your image.
    me – so the image shows a blue item, you say its a blue item, but you are also disputing its blue ?!?!
    buyer – i am reporting you to ebay.

    Pretty much sums up ebay and the mentality of its buyers really! Same kinda thing happens again and again and again.

    1. You got off easy with that one lol, I recall having threats to call the FBI over a £0.99p item that vanished in the post, I have had death threats, people leaving messages on phones, people phoning at all hours (I had a 2am once) just to rant off about something in some kind of effort to get something but I am not totally sure what.

      I have had quite a few empty boxes returned with tracking and claims that follow up saying they returned the item… and of course its up to me to prove the box was empty…

  2. I took my number off ebay a long time ago. I run a business from home, and the ebay people were ringing up every 5 bloody seconds asking where their stuff is, it was preventing my “real world customers” from booking in jobs as the ebay people were flooding the line all the time. This was several years ago. Sounds like you should post a more in depth article about your dealings! I suppose I got off light, even so, the amount of abusive emails is still uncalled for. Calling the FBI over a 99p item just goes to show how pathetic people are, yet again.

  3. People were getting my number I think from the request user details page, as we know eBay throws a fit (when they want) if its not correct, then when eBay owned Skype my Skype number was on the listings which caused even more problems.

    I would recommended a free VOIP number if someone wants to try and filter them and still have a number for eBay.

    The 99p item was a dog ornament going to Las Vegas as I recall (notice you remember all the details of the bad ones lol) the way they went on was like I had ruined there life, they got the dog in the end anyhow it was a few days late over the Christmas period they was screaming about the FBI, online fraud and all sorts, people don’t think theres another human at the other end its demoralizing you just don’t want to carry on after a few of them.

  4. I know how it is, I feel the same, I had one guy overseas email 40 times all full of abuse. Every overseas transaction turned into chaos. About 2 years ago I just stopped selling overseas. Though now its UK as well now. You try to help people and you get treated like skum. Life is too short.

  5. I found that even though you do get some crazy over seas buyers (oddly there 98% American when it happens) UK buyers tend to be far, far, far worse. As they all learn about how to get round eBay and that knowledge becomes more widespread it got worse.

    At one point I did a experiment I was selling computer software packages (just don’t on eBay its hell) and would you know at least 60-70% never turned up… EVERY week, it was getting way out of control, I wanted to know where the items were going. Was they really getting lost? Was the post office stealing them? I needed to be sure after all its eBay…

    So what I did was make a fake barcode up (copied from a Hovis loaf) and sticky label, gave it a name like “ASSET NUMBER” then took 100 packages and then put the label on 50. That week only 2 vanished from the sample 50 down from 15/20 the week before. I had to make the labels up because no one wanted to pay for recorded delivery when it was a option sales dropped weather this was because they had less to scam with or the price I never knew.

    Not a very scientific experiment but it worked.

    PS: The price of this vanishing software £1.50-£2.50…

  6. I do not recall sending many packages to USA, Though I remember thinking I wanted to block certain country’s as disputes were always over the same ones. Though I thought all overseas shipments were disputes, so I thought stuff it all and don’t bother. I would say 95% of UK disputes are people who cannot speak English correctly, and their vocab seems to be 50% swearing. None of which ever had English names. I have had disputes with actually genuine English people, but only a few percent compared to “others”. I have had UK/English nutters too. The ones which are “100% nice” but filled with semi-sarcastic insults which is just as bad as throwing pages of abuse.

    A good test you did there! A few years ago I had packages go missing. At the time “signed for” wasn’t costing much more. I started to use signed for after INR after INR cases, no surprise all these disputes stopped dead overnight. Now I am (well was) selling again, it seemed ok for a few months, now its INR after INR again. Always low value items. Anything under £5, 50% of packages go missing. Higher priced items £30 and over, never go missing. Strange isn’t it ?

    Also strange how people expect the world for 99p and can happily spend hours sending abuse about it. Its just the lengths people will go to, to get a refund. Its only getting worse. The buyers got away with 99p disputes, now £5 disputes, will not be long before £10 disputes start to happen.

  7. I think you’re correct at the price/dispute thing. I seem to have more problems with cheap items £1/£2 then I have ever had with items that cost £20-£30 never thought about that before. I think the buyers presume because its just £1/2/3 you will send another one because your eBays slave and a dispute could ruin you now multiply that by 100 of them doing that…

    I used to send everything 2nd class recorded when it was cheap I think it was about 60p extra at that time, but now Royal Mail have screwed with the prices/weights/sizes and whatever else so much its impossible to give a accurate postal cost it also has the sad side effect of you not being able to post some items because its just not financially worth it.

    Example I had to send a girls headband to a friend a week ago it was £2.50 the thing is barely a few grams.

    I do recall way back 03/04 sometime I think, Royal Mail had a plan to open some kind of eBay counter, I think eBay was starting to hit its peak about then everyone was selling stuff, that plan never came thru I wonder why.

  8. I think got sub £2 items, buyers just assume you are not going to bother to argue for weeks over it, and either send another one (which they then also claim not arrived) or you just refund them to shut them up. I think its what most sellers do as it was taking up my entire week over a few items sold a week, larger sellers with 100’s of items…

    Post prices jumped to £4-£9 for us when prices went up a few weeks back. Postage is more than the item is worth. Buyers think cheap items and cheap postage, but you cannot educate them, and they do not want to listen. They can clearly see the price on the stamp on the box, but they still dispute it as its too high. Ebay then send you warnings about the number of complaints you get over “high postage charges”. Its peoples opinions its a high price, I think its high, but I don’t work for the Royal Mail, and sure shouldn’t have to take the crap from ebay and buyers over another companys charge.

    Best part is, some sellers, as they have never had a dispute in years, think all us sellers having problems are doing something wrong. They probably are not selling cheap items so unaware of whats REALLY going on. Their time will come.

    1. Again you’re right, its not worth arguing they know it and they abuse that, if you’re making a living on eBay you can’t risk it.

      The prices are high at Royal Mail and its killing the smaller item market, people won’t listen and don’t care. Postal prices are another area the Chinese sellers are quite clearly winning by a very long stretch.

      When eBay started putting limits on postage that never helped and is still a problem its so far off, I don’t know how they calculate the limits at one time I think it was based off a average (sure I read about it I was mad then too lol) you usually end up losing money on postage because you can’t dare ask a buyer for fear of a fit and a complaint and you can’t not post it for the same reasons.

  9. I posted some relatively heavy stuff, the max postage I could put was £8.85 or something daft like that, package cost over £12 to post. Ebay make another 20p on fees on that too.

    Trying to explain to buyers that it really did cost that much is a waste of time. its just not worth the time involved. Its the problem with ebay all around, no matter what you do, you hit problems over something or another. 99% of the time, its nothing you can do about it, though ebay expect you to fix it.

    If ebay can explain how I can fix buyers own ignorance and Royal Mails prices, then I would surely do it. The Government can’t fix Royal Mail, so how does ebay expect me too ? lol

  10. It’s an open secret that eBay supports extortion on the part of buyers. Standard practice now is for a buyer to demand a partial (and substantial) refund while keeping the product. If you decline, or offer a full refund for a product return, they will get the refund and keep the product as well (or return a scrap of wood).

  11. Sounds like the type of thing I heard of a few years back. Buyers demand 50% refund, or they will leave negative feedback. Then to make it worse, they demand payment to remove the negative feedbacks. I have known sellers pay £10+ to buyers to remove bad feedback, that’s even after they had a 100% refund AND kept the item. Its just another set of reasons why I closed my shop. I have better things to do with my time and money than give it all away.

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