Almost Scammed As A Seller on eBay & Why I Won’t Use eBay Authenticate

Do you ever shop on eBay? I tend to shop on eBay in spurts. I may go months and not shop there at all, but occasionally if I’m looking for an item that’s no longer being made or sold in stores, I’ll search for it on eBay. I’m truly thankful eBay exists because I’ve purchased a number of things there over the years that I simply could not find anywhere else.

Do you sell on eBay? I very rarely ever sell on eBay. The last time I listed anything for sale was many, many years ago when I was finishing out my silver flatware collection. At that time, I would purchase silver flatware sets, pull out the pieces I needed (like iced teaspoons) then relist those pieces I didn’t need. That was so long ago, I don’t think I was even blogging back then, so it’s probably been over 10 years since I last listed anything for sale on eBay.

This past spring I had gathered together a few items I was thinking about listing, but I just kept procrastinating, not wishing to take the time to take photos or sit down to fill out all the info for the listing.

While I was procrastinating, I tripped across a YouTube video where the YouTuber (let’s call her YT for short) was describing how she was nearly scammed out of a very expensive handbag she attempted to sell on eBay. If you want to watch the video, just type, “I Got Scammed on eBay” into the search box at YouTube and it should pop up.


YT had listed a beautiful Valentino bag for sale on eBay. She said she was contacted by an eBay user/buyer who loved the bag and had a few questions. YT said she and the buyer had great conversations/messages via eBay’s messaging system and came to an agreement on a price. The buyer then purchased the bag.

YT travels a good bit and she had an upcoming trip planned. She shipped the bag to the buyer before leaving. While away, as most of us would, she purchased a few new items for herself with the money she had received from the purchase of her bag.

Upon her return, she found an email from Paypal stating the buyer was disputing the purchase via Paypal claiming she had not made the purchase. Scammers know they are protected via Paypal, so when they dispute a charge PayPal pulls the funds back out of the seller’s account. I guess if the funds have been withdrawn, maybe they charge the seller’s credit card…not sure how that works.

After daily phone calls to PayPal over the space of a  month (YT said she was often on hold for up to 50 minutes each time) she finally got her money back. During that time when everything was still up in the air, she was worried the buyer would mail the bag back. With the buyer having had the bag for over a month, she feared the condition the bag would be in, if it was returned.

If I’m remembering correctly (it has been a while since I watched the video) YT said the buyer ultimately paid PayPal back the money she had scammed them out of because she was at risk of being blacklisted and never allowed to purchase on eBay again.

YT went on to share several scams that are taking place on eBay these days. One of those scams is where an evil buyer will purchase an item on eBay, sign for it when it’s delivered, then claim when they opened the box it was empty. In other words, they try to make the seller look like a scammer, basically accusing the seller of mailing out an empty box.

YT said in order to avoid that, a lot of sellers are now videotaping themselves boxing up the item and sealing it inside the post office or UPS, even going so far as to film themselves handing it over to a post office associate.

Another scam is where the evil buyer purchases an authentic bag from an unsuspecting seller. When the bag arrives, the evil buyer tells eBay they received a fake bag. Ebay instructs the buyer to return the bag, then they will be reimbursed. The evil buyer mails a fake bag back to the seller and keeps the real bag. Plus, they get their money back. The evil buyer ends up with an authentic bag that they can then turn around and sell to make a lot of money while the poor seller ends up with a fake bag.


My Story

After listening to YT’s harrowing eBay tale, I’ve been very reluctant to list anything on eBay, especially anything of true value. eBay has been tempting me, though. Every few days I’ve been receiving emails from eBay saying I could list up to 5 items with zero selling fees.

There are also listing fees. I did a bit of research and learned you can list up to 50 items without any listing fees, so the zero selling fee offer was very tempting. With zero listing and selling fees, I would only have to pay Paypal’s fees when an item sold.

I finally decided I would take a chance and list two items I had rarely ever worn and had been thinking of selling: a pair of designer earrings and a pair of designer shoes I’d only worn 2-3 times. Both were still in excellent condition but had just not worked out for me for various reasons.

I listed the two items and following the suggestions of YT who had almost been scammed out of her designer handbag, I planned to ship them insured with tracking and signature confirmation, filming myself at the UPS store during the shipping process.

There were a few other things I knew to watch for, like buyers with no feedback. Unfortunately, eBay will not let you block anyone with zero feedback from purchasing an item, even though the typical behavior for scammers is to open up a new account the same day they purchase an item they plan to steal from the buyer.

Note: A seller can cancel a bid from a zero feedback bidder if using the eBay auction format and the bid is caught before the item sells. But if a seller is using the “Buy Now” option, which is what I wanted to use, you have no control and can’t block buyers who have zero feedback.


So What Happened? What Was My Experience Selling Two Designer Items on eBay?

So how did it go, what happened when I listed two high-end, designer items on eBay? One item–the earrings, sold quickly and with no drama. The buyer had a lot of good feedback and our communication was normal and congenial.

Things didn’t go so well with the shoes. Here’s what happened:

I listed the shoes and a few days later they sold. The buyer paid immediately. Yay! But then I noticed the buyer (let’s call her Buyer A, which is a fictional name I just made up) had zero (0) feedback. None. In addition, I noticed her eBay username was written as Buyer A – 84.

At first glance, I thought Buyer A had 84 feedback/purchases, because of how the username appeared, but when I clicked through her name, I could see she actually had no purchases. Instead, she had created a username that looked very similar to the way feedback appears beside a buyer’s name on eBay. Ummm, pretty sneaky. This was not a good sign.

I also noticed Buyer A had just created her eBay account the same day she purchased the shoes. I had a very uneasy feeling about this. To me, these were all RED flags! I wanted to cancel the sale but figured eBay would frown on me doing that without a good reason. I later asked an eBay representative about that and they verified that it’s a big no-no in eBay’s eyes for a seller to cancel a sale due to a seller having no feedback, even if the item you’re selling is a high-end item.

As I was preparing the shoes for shipment, I noticed the buyer’s address didn’t look right. The street name was written in an odd way with no vowels. For example, say the buyer’s address was Scammer Road. (Just made that up, hopefully, it isn’t a real road.) Instead of being spelled out as Scammer Road, the address was written this way: Scmmr Rd, missing all its vowels.

By the way, the actual street name of Buyer A is a well-known street in Los Angeles, so most sellers would probably have assumed it was fine to ship to the address since it was pretty easy to figure out the name of the street even without the vowels. But I decided to confirm the address before shipping the shoes because of all the scams I had been hearing about. I wasn’t taking any chances.

I messaged the buyer via eBay’s messaging system asking for clarification on the address. Several hours passed and I heard nothing back from Buyer A. This struck me as very odd, yet another red flag. If I had just purchased a pair of nice, designer shoes, I know I would have been checking my email occasionally that day, eager to get the shipping/tracking info.

After hearing nothing back I checked on eBay and noticed a seller can make a request to cancel a sale due to not having a valid/good address for a buyer. I clicked that option on eBay, requesting to cancel the sale. Within minutes of me doing that, the buyer suddenly replied saying: Yes, the address is XXXX Scammer Rd, followed by a smiley face. 🙂

Umm. They hadn’t replied to my other message for hours, but the minute I requested to cancel the sale, they replied immediately. I wondered if this person’s scammy plan was to trick me into mailing the shoes to the misspelled street address so they could later claim the shoes had never arrived. Maybe they would have someone else, a friend, sign for them. Who knows, I had no idea what they were up to, but I smelled a rat.

A few minutes later I got an automated email from eBay saying my cancellation request had been approved. I clicked over to Paypal and refunded Buyer A’s money back. Next, I messaged her via eBay to let her know I had canceled the sale and issued a refund since the address had been incorrect.

Within moments I got this email from the buyer:

I place my order again. 🙂
My address is:
XXXX Scammer Road
Apt. XXX


At the same time, I got a message from PayPal saying I had received an instant payment. I checked and there it was, the buyer had once again paid for the shoes. But then, something really unusual happened. I received this email from eBay. I clicked over to PayPal and refunded the buyer’s money for the second time.


Yesterday I called eBay to ask a ton of questions, including how they knew the buyer was a scammer. The representative I talked to said their system attempts to detect when a previous scammer opens up a new eBay account to scam again, then it removes them.

I guess it was a good thing I didn’t box up the shoes right that second and drive over to the post office to ship them. Something tells me I would never have seen the shoes again and would most likely have been fighting a big ole dispute with PayPal.

I asked again and the rep confirmed that there is no way to sell something as a “Buy Now” item and block buyers with zero (0) feedback from purchasing the item. So there’s no way as a seller to protect yourself from a scammer who opens up an account that same day just to scam you out of your item.


eBay Authenticate

EBay has a selling service for designer/high-end items, but I would never, ever use it because they will not let you set the price on your item. Say you have a designer handbag and you give it to eBay to sell via their eBay Authenticate program. They can list your bag for any price they wish, and if it isn’t selling, they can drop the price even lower.

I called and asked about that several months ago, so I knew that was how it worked, but recently I came across a YouTube video where the YouTuber had used eBay Authenticate and was not happy with the results. He sent them 2-3 designer items to sell and all had ended up selling for much less than he had expected. That was exactly what I had thought could/would happen, so I’m really glad I never tried that service.



In conclusion, if you are going to sell a high-end or designer item on eBay, know that as a seller you are somewhat powerless. If a scammer buys your item and then disputes the payment or claims the item never arrived, or that the box arrived empty, you may have to fight like h-e-double-hockey-sticks to get your money back–and it could take a long time and a lot of phone calls like it did for YT who was out over $1,700 for close to a month.

I will continue to buy regular, everyday items on eBay, like pretty David Carter Brown salad plates that are no longer available in stores. But I will not ever purchase a high-end item on eBay because of the many fake/fraudulent items I see on there every day. Tip: Think twice about ever buying a Hermes Clic H bracelet on eBay–I’ve seen and reported so many fakes on there, but they are never removed.

Also, I think I’m done selling anything of real value on eBay. From here out I will look at selling on eBay the way I look at packing for a trip. If an item is valuable or irreplaceable, it will only go in my carry-on bag where I know it’s safe and secure. If it’s an item I can afford to lose and wouldn’t be too upset if it vanished forever, it can go in my checked luggage. Until eBay finds a way to rid itself of the evil scammers, eBay is my checked luggage.

Ever been scammed on eBay, either as a Seller or Buyer? I also had a bad experience buying a designer scarf once on eBay…read about that experience here: Burberry Scarf: Fake vs Real and How To Avoid Getting Scammed.

Please share your experiences in the comments below because the more we know, the better we can protect ourselves from scammers.


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  1. Thanks for posting. It was just in the nick of time. I have been considering selling my like-new Nu-Face device, which retails for a few hundred dollars. Now I think I’ll reconsider. My business had a scammer buyer a few years ago. He said the item was never shipped. Fortunately I had all the paperwork including tracking which indicated it had been delivered to the address he had given. Very time-consuming and nerve-wracking. There is nothing worse than being accused of something dishonest when your integrity is part of your DNA.

  2. I sold all my 1960s Barbie dolls and clothes, not high end ($170 most expensive for 1 outfit). Easy peasy, no problems.
    However, I will take your advice re my Valentino purses

  3. This is a very informative post. I have not used eBay very often and will be extremely careful if I choose to use it in the future. Thanks for the info, Susan.

  4. Good grief…ALL that effort & time you put into this…ordeal. Honestly, “they” just ruin so many things trying to…beat the system. Never sold on eBay but have gone through a dispute as the item was not at all what was promised and eBay & PayPal corrected promptly. Next day…this company was no longer on google or ebay. It’s a jungle out there!! franki


  6. This must be the day for Barbara’s as I am the third to share. I used to sell and buy items but several years ago someone hacked into my Paypal account and ran up my account. I had to close the account and they dismissed the charges but it was hundreds of dollars. That was the end for me. It is still fun to look but all I do now is window shop!

    • Wow, I would freak out if that happened!
      Barbara, can you believe the next person who left a comment is named Barbara, too. There are 7 comments and 4 of them are from Barbara’s. This has to be a record of some sort!
      When I was growing up, it seemed everyone was named, Susan. There were 4 Susan’s in my Biology class one year.

  7. Years ago, my boyfriend (we live in the USA) sold his metal detector (orig price: >$2,000) on eBay to a buyer in France. The metal detector was returned smashed, missing parts, and French batteries. A dispute was registered by the buyer in France claiming my boyfriend had sold an item that was not the same as described in the eBay seller description with photos. eBay through PayPal had removed the funds from my boyfriend’s account and returned the money to the buyer.

    We know what really happened. The buyer stripped and destroyed my boyfriend’s metal detector and claimed my boyfriend scammed him. PayPal insisted we go to our local police station and file a complaint. This is bogus because its a civil matter, not a criminal matter. The police officer was kind and gave us a document. The document was sent to PayPal. The money was returned to my boyfriend’s account. We threw the worthless metal detector in the garbage. Although my boyfriend sold many items on eBay, this was the last time.

  8. Interesting information about eBay. I have never had any problems purchasing there, but have only sold on a beta shop of RubyLane called Ruby Plaza in 2012. I was talking to someone the other day, complaining of all of eBay’s fees for potential sellers, and he suggested opening an Amazon shop. I know nothing about how they work. An idea for selling designer items might be Poshmark, ever heard of it? I have purchased a pr of Sperry flats on there that were no longer available. You set up your ‘closet’ and sell your clothing, accessories. Again, I know nothing about selling on there, but thought it could be an option for wardrobe purging.
    Glad you didn’t get taken.

  9. I don’t buy any designer items on eBay. Amazon is filled with fake items, also. There are all sorts of reputable high end second hand shops on the Internet and they check for fakes. I find that, for example, the Kate Spade website has sales, the prices are better than the high end resale stores and the product is new. As far as selling on eBay, they encourage sellers to use the eBay shipping center, then they package your item themselves and ship it to the buyer.

    • Yup, I only buy straight from a retail store for items that are considered designer. I’d rather pay more than risk getting a fake.
      Ginene, how does that work when you use the eBay shipping center? Who packages the items? Where do you take them for that?

  10. I have bought and sold on eBay for decades. The first thing I always remind people is to think about it in the same way they would any transaction in person. And, if it seems to be too good to be true it usually is. EBay has the other issue of being an auction site and it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of an auction. As a seller common sense is everything. The best and most complete photos and description are everything. Totally understand the shipping process so you can make sure that you have the best chance of not being scammed. If you have a whiff of something that does not feel right act to protect yourself (insist on a signature on delivery, full value insurance, photos of item as it is packed – and always overpack for protection). There are buyers and sellers always trying to put together a scam and both eBay and Paypal do what they can to protect each side. As someone said once one scam is blocked another is concocted. I am very impressed with the quickness of the letter that eBay sent to you, Susan. My policy is never to ship anything on the day I receive payment. I want to make sure that there is time for “things” to be corrected. Having said all of that everything we purchase or sell can be problematic. I am fortunate that I have had less than 5 bad transactions in thousands of transactions. If you do not feel comfortable do not use eBay because it is not worth that negative feeling. I do admit that I like eBay the way is used to be but I also know there is no going back 🙂

  11. Snowflake281 says

    Good grief Susan! That there are so many miscreants out there that most likely have such a sad life they feel that they have to spend their day scamming people is very disconcerting. I’ve only made purchases on Ebay without incident in any of them, but I have thought about selling. After reading this article, I think not. I’ve had a lot of success as a seller on Craigslist, which has its own share of scammers too, but overall I’ve learned how to detect a potential scam right away. Whenever I list something for sale, I always add a final line in my Craigslist posting: Payment to be made in cash only please. Well, I hope you find another safe way to sell those shoes. Good Luck.

  12. Thank you Susan! I used to sell on eBay but no longer do as I found I spent too much time posting, answering questions, waiting for payment, wrapping and lugging packages to post office for not much money. I rather shop on eBay! Too bad scammers are making it bad for the rest of the eBay community!

  13. Richard (in Charlotte, NC) says

    Sorry to hear of your troubles on eBay. I haven’t been scammed but I did purchase a vintage Indiana Glass Hobnail Deviled Egg Plate from a seller that actually shipped it in a used pizza box that was taped up but had ZERO padding for the glass whatsoever! I received a pizza box with glass sand and shards. I was refunded my expenses but I was just so flabbergasted that someone could be that ignorant with shipping a glass item. And a vintage, irreplaceable item at that.

  14. Wow Susan,
    that’s scary but can you imagine the look on those bad guys faces as you cancelled the sale? lol Can’t you almost hear their “He**, she’s smart!” 🙂
    But at least they were kind enough to add a smiley face to their reply to you, weren’t they? (Not!) 😉
    Susan, I have no experience with eBay as I’ve never used it and never will because I always assume the worst when money is involved (and your today’s post partially confirms my concerns) but I just wanted to say hi as I am back home from vacation. 🙂

  15. Susan,
    Thank you for posting about eBay scamming practices. This was very timely information, as I plan on listing some items on eBay soon. Being a first time Seller on the site, I am interested in learning the processes and what works well and what doesn’t. Hopefully with this new found knowledge, I will be fully prepared to work with Buyers. ~ Happy Fall, Bren

  16. Well that was close. You have quite the sensitive radar for “something doesn’t sit right” that saves you again and again.

  17. Thx for a great write up. I do want to make note to you that while the listing fee is waived the selling fee still will be charged. So it isn’t ‘free’. Ebay has changed a lot over the years. I think they do make an effort to keep up on new scams. I have bought and sold and have an over 800 feedback. I think I have had problems 2 or 3 times. I don’t have much to do with a lot of electronic of designer items. It can be very fun to buy and sell.

    • Thanks! Ebay definitely has changed, in some ways for the better. They just have a hard time keeping up with the newest scams.
      I’m pretty sure the selling fees were free, as well as the listing fee. Here’s a screenshot I took of the promotion eBay offered me and that I “accepted” before listing my items. It was good for 5 sales.


    • Taria,
      Just confirmed with eBay that I wasn’t charged any listing or selling fees for the earrings I sold under their Labor Day promotion. Of course, there were no listing/selling fees for the shoes I listed, either. But get this, if I were to relist the shoes that were initially listed under the Labor Day “no selling fees” promotion and ultimately purchased by a scam buyer they had to remove from their site, they would charge me selling fees. So obviously I will not be relisting them because that’s just completely unfair and bad business on their part. eBay seems completely clueless when it comes to taking care of their sellers…or even being fair to their sellers.

  18. I don’t bother with ebay. When you look at all the time and trouble it takes to sell something, why spend that much time and you still may be cheated.

    About 8 years ago, my sister bought a cheap item on ebay and communicated with the seller. Oddly enough, immediately she had a virulent virus that ‘took over’ her new computer and it took me at least a full day to remove.
    Some things just are not worth it.

  19. Your blog was interesting. My husband and I have both purchased on sold on eBay for years now and for the most part no issues. Buy I have run into a few less than ethical folk. Have you ever used Poshmark or Tradesy? I have had success with both. Poshmark in particular carry high end items. Good luck.

  20. We we’re a power seller on eBay in the early 2000’s about 10,000 dollars a month. eBay was so anti seller protection that after a face to face meeting with them at the SEMA show in Las Vegas we told them that we were going to close our eBay account unless they would help us. They basically said the world of selling was changing and we would not survive without someone like them. After 5 years we closed our eBay account and have not looked back.

  21. Susan, glad you were alert and didn’t fall in that trap! Some people! If only they’d use their cunning for good instead of evil.

    Two things struck me about your post; first, the fact that the person responded immediately after you asked ebay to cancel – and second, the fact that they weren’t even registered? How does a person even make a bid of they are not registered? And the timing after your request is quite ‘coincidental.’ Made me think the whole thing was an ‘inside’ job. How else could someone have that info immediately, and how else could they make a big without even being registered?!

    I have only bought on ebay but was thinking of dipping my toe in the sellers pool, just to see what it was like. Now I think I’ll keep my feel dry. 😀

  22. Oh my goodness, I haven’t been sipping any wine. Honest! But I made so many typos in that post. Eek. 😀

  23. Great post Susan! After 10 years of selling online (never Ebay), I’ve had my share of shady requests. As a seller, I suggest triple checking all of the buyer’s info if anything sounds hinky. As you mentioned, it’s usually the smaller things that send up a red flag. I do recommend going with a site like Etsy or Ruby Lane if you’re buying vintage and for used items, go local. There are so many options for selling gently used items via local apps.
    Communication is key if you’re buying or selling online. YT is a great example. After a purchase, I write a thank you email letting the customer know when their item will ship, followed by an email that includes the expected delivery date and tracking number (separate from the one that Paypal sends when you marked shipped). I then keep track of the package until it reaches it’s destination and if I don’t hear from my customer in a couple of days, I write a touch base email, to be sure that they’ve received and are happy with, their item. None of this changes whether I’m on vacation or not. It is time consuming but after all of these years, I find that the time is worth it’s weight in gold. I have piece of mind in knowing that the item arrived and the customer is happy. By the same token, the customer knows that I’m involved and not just slapping a sticker on something and forgetting about it unless there’s a problem.
    Between the fakes/reproductions and the scammers (both buyers and sellers), it’s really important to use a reputable site and even then it isn’t foolproof, so dotting i’s and crossing t’s is crucial to a smooth transaction.

  24. Carolle Graham says

    Susan, I always read your blog and this is a totally different subject but you were commenting about dishonest people so it made me want to share.
    I was in an automobile accident last week. Nobody was injured btw. I was driving in a round-a-bout and the lady on my right should have exited at the next street since she was in the lane to do that. Otherwise, she should have been in the same lane that I was in. Instead, she cut in front of me as I was wanting to continue onto my intended street. Therefore, I hit her in the driver’s side rear panel behind the door. I have been waiting for her insurance company to call me so that I can get my vehicle repaired. However, I called them today to find out why they had not contacted me. Come to find out, she is saying that I came over into her lane and hit her car. I am so furious. The policeman at the scene told me that it was her fault and explained to her and her passenger what she did wrong. Her insurance will not pay for me to get my car fixed because our stories of the accident don’t match. I am trying to get the police report so that it will coraborate my story but what is a person to do? I need my car fixed. She works for her insurance company btw. Convenient!

    • Carolle, that is horrible! If the police report shows she was at fault, I don’t think she can get out of it…her insurance will have to pay. You definitely want to get your hands on that report. Go to the police station in person, they should be able to give it you…I think reports like that are available within a few days, so I would try to pick it up as soon as you can. I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with that.

    • Get the police report take it to her boss and get her ass fired

    • Hi Carolle, reading your story reminded me of a scammer who hit me about two years ago in the grocery store parking lot. The worst part of the incident was I made the officer do a police report because I had damages, and the scammer now has my name, address, and phone number on their copy. They claimed they had damages because they drove into my steel bumper because his giant foot got stuck between the brake and accelerator. The parking lot was half empty. The officer, who I knew, said they didn’t. It had to be a two car scam because there was no way that little car dented my van bumper. Their insurer didn’t want to hear about their scam and paid them. Older people need to be very cautious today, especially after dark. First thing you do is take a photo of their license plate after an accident. If you do not get proper results, contact the insurance commissioner in your state. The officer printed the police report on the computer in her car. Should never take more than 24 hours for a report you can pick up at the police station. Hope this helps.

  25. Well seems you did end up getting scammed but by ebay – in their notice you’ll see you didn’t get your final value fees credited which is a joke in itself because they should refund them to you immediately but ebay refuses to but in this case seems you didn’t get a credit either…On ebay I just had a customer buy a bin $100 item from me didn’t pay and immeadiately requested I cancel the sale as thier daughter bought it by mistake – I cancelled- keep in mind I never received any payment but ebay still charges me the 15.00 final value fee and graciously gives me a credit for it against future listing fees – OUTRAGEOUS but that’s the eBay way the same bs way they charge fees on shipping too now…ALSO they are probably the #1 or 2 site in the world for counterfeit merchandise and believe me (I had been on their reporting committee for years) they are well aware of all the enormous illegal profit they are making and outright refuse to remove most of it – the government should really look into investigating ebay for profiteering on illegal merchandise…As a longtime seller over 10 years I haven’t had too many problems overall fortunately – I’ve sniffed a few out, had a couple attempted scams corrected and the like…Now as a buyer (hardly do anymore) I was often getting sellers listing items as certain condition when it was either broken or in terrible shape…there are great sellers like me out there so look for well written listings with info and many pic – you don’t need the top seller bs – ebay was handing them out like crazy to so many sellers I reported who had sold nothing but 100% illegal items so the seals really mean nothing at all believe me better to look at the sellers overall feedback and experience and items listed and sold and quality of their listing.

  26. I have a large Thomas Kinkade AP painting that I am considering selling as too big for my little short walls. I was considering eBay and now if I do it, I will be careful. It is valuable!

  27. I’ve been victim of the empty box scam. It was a $750 car part I purchased. I was the buyer. It was a 13 lb part but the box felt like nothing was in it. There was no visible damage. It was sent registered, so I had to sign for it. I opened it right in front of the post office clerk, and they ended up writing me a letter stating nothing was inside and there was no visible damage to the box. I lost the Paypal claim and had to do a chargeback with my credit card company that I ended up winning. I’ve also sold things with issues. Just the other day I delt with a buyer who said all contents were not present and there was no visible damage to thr box. I sent everything. The “missing” items were only $7, so I just refunded (and then blocked) the buyer. There’s also a third option in my scenerios though….. USPS employees could be stealing product, resealing the boxes. Here’s the problem with online selling….fraud of whatever sort is always going to happen. The people who are hurt most, are one off sellers. Businesses have to bake into account that fraud is real and active and is going to occur, and it’s just part of the whole process. For the “little guy” go the route of Craigslist and Facebook and deal with cash in person transactions only to minimize the risk of online fraud. That’s really the best way to limit fraud and not have to deal with chargebacks.

  28. WOW, I never knew this. Thanks for the information.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing! This is a very informative post and it came at the right time. I have a designer dress that I wanted to sell on ebay, but thinking that maybe a local consignment shop would be a better bet. I have only sold a few items on ebay and I was able to sort out the scams by their use of poor grammar (I noticed on yours: “I place my order again.”) Lesson learned: Always trust your gut instinct; I’m glad you were able to resolve this.

  30. Susan, thank you for sharing….I’ve been purchasing for years…w/ only a few issues and PayPal & EBay have always been excellent in making sure that I am a happy customer….knowing what to watch out for is very helpful indeed. I love Talbots…although not “High End” some of their pieces are kinda pricey at times…..Poshmark…I can get them at a fraction of the costs….new or used…as a buyer, you just have to do some research and make sure their legit…I could not recommend Poshmark enough. They have been fantastic in dealing with them….Just bought a retired pair of driving moccasins brand new, and paid under $20 for them…and my Hunter Boots…Tiffany Blue at that…..$48 bucks out the door….new in the box…and nope not fakes!!! the girl was moving to LA per her story and was just having to get rid of everything she had…. thanks again for the insight!! always a pleasure reading your blog.

  31. Karen Wright says

    Very interesting and good to know! I really enjoy all the great information that you include in your post! Susan, I have a question…totally unrelated to this post. In one of your previous post you had a link to a wanderlust map where places traveled could be scratched off. I would like to ode one, but now cannot find that post. Could you tell me where to go to find that map. Thanks!

  32. WOW Susan, this is certainly an eye-opener and thus appreciate the information. Also hope you don’t mind me adding; another scam is online purchases through your visa card that can present a head-ache as have heard of many cases where an item is sent by a seemingly reputable company however charges continue on your account but not necessarily under the same Company’s name. Moral of the story; ensure you check your next month’s statement after any type of purchase, report any discrepancy to your credit card provider ASPO and cancel your card! -Brenda-
    P.S.: Be aware of Pinterest as there are scammer links on there as well who rely on users to re-pin/use them.

  33. Jill Brewster says

    I ordered steps for my husbands pickup on e-bay. They immediately took my money, and the following day said the item had been shipped and what the expected delivery date would be. The day before it was to be delivered they sent me a message that they found a flaw in the item and could either refund my money or when they received their next shipment in two weeks would send it right out. My husband chose to wait the two weeks. Two weeks passed and I messaged them and asked where we were on shipping the items I had ordered. The assured me they expected them any day. I waited another week and had not heard from them so messaged them again. They replied that because of the new tariffs Trump had applied they were delayed but should be there by the end of the week. This was on a Tuesday. I waited until the following Monday and messaged them again… response, waited a day and messaged again… response. That evening I messaged them again and said if I do not here from you by tomorrow morning I will be contacting e-bay and filing a complaint that I had not received my item and that I was not getting any communication from the seller. No word, so I filed the complaint. In the mean time I googled the name of the company and it came up as a down town LA address, and that there were two employees. One was the CEO. That was a red flag to me. E-bay messaged me that they would contact the seller. Later that day I received a message from e-bay stating that the sell had refunded my money and the case was closed. I then received a message from the seller saying that they had refunded my money, but it could take as long as 30 days to show up in my bank account. I was lucky because it was there the following day. We ordered the exact item on Amazon Prime the following day (free shipping) and had it 7 days later. I don’t think I will ever purchase an expensive item on e-bay again. The risk is just too great. Jill

  34. Be aware of fakes on Amazon also. I recently purchased some Chanel fragrance from an Amazon seller that was just a smidge cheaper than my usual department store price. I felt like a smart shopper, and the price difference was not enough to make me suspicious. The packaging was convincing, and the fragrance was pretty close to the genuine Chanel. Someone trying it for the first time might not have noticed, but I have worn this particular one for 35 years and could tell from the first squirt it was wrong. Amazon made it right in our case, and my money was refunded in about 3 days. But I’m going to chime in with the others here and say if you are wanting a designer item, and want to buy online, go only to the company website for the brand.

  35. Thanks for the heads up! My husband & I have bought & sold many things & never had a problem. I guess we were lucky. I know people that use Craigslist but there’s problems with bad people with that too. I’m a Stampin’ Up demonstrator & have had many an e-mail with a fake order. We have been trained to spot them. You get all excited because you have a new customer but then you can tell it’s fake. The bad guys just have to ruin everything! Maybe I’ll just have a cash only garage sale & get a marker to check for counterfeit bills!

  36. Hi Susan, I’ve been selling and buying on eBay for 8 years and have never had a serious or unresolved problem in over 700 transactions. I sell and buy Spode, Wedgwood, Vietri, Villeroy & Boch, Eileen Fisher, David Yurman, Coach and Brahmin- and no issues with eBay or PayPal. eBay is a great method to buy discontinued china patterns, as I’ve had better quality purchases than using Replacements Inc. and for less cost. Most of my listings are No Return and a few with 30 day return; I leave the sale proceeds in my PayPal account for that month in case of an issue, but it is rare to have a return and positive feedback is an indicator of solid transactions. I only ship in USPS Priority Mail boxes with tracking and insurance.

    • So good to know there are good folks like you selling on eBay, Nan! Wish they were all like that. I just don’t know if it’s worth the hassle, dealing with all the headaches. I ordered three little Dept. 56 houses for my bookshelves her in the office as shown in this post:

      One came two days ago with a part broken–just returned it today. The one that arrived today isn’t “New” as the seller stated it was in her eBay ad. Plus, the Great Expectations book that’s part of the set is defective…the cover is on upside down on the book. Trying to decide if I’m going to keep it or return it. The seller said she accidentally shipped me the “store display” house and not the new one. Argggg.

      • On the flip side, I received my new order from Vietri Inc. in North Carolina today. Out of 8 new bowls- 1 was broken, another chipped, another with open flea bites and a glass vase was lop-sided and defective. Brand new and the box was so flimsy and dented with inadequate packing- no bubble wrap around any of the pottery!! I took photos before I opened it as I was shocked FedEx would even dare deliver a package in that shape. Another Vietri order I received from Belk was in shards when it arrived. The pottery was simply placed in a cardboard box and shipped- no bubble wrap or padding whatsoever. It is so frustrating to order and have items shipped now days only to get defective broken things upon arrival. My eBay fragile orders are packed like a fortress (handbags too) – which I often get positive feedback for that! It would break my heart if any of my discontinued Wedgwood Countryware, Golden Bird, and Strawberry & Vine patterns were broken in shipment!

  37. Thanks for this info. I just signed up for a class on how to sell on Ebay, because I thought it would be a good way to make a little $ on things I want to get rid of. Now I know not to sell anything of value. Actually, not sure about getting into this at all!

  38. I have never sold on ebay but have been thinking about it. However, thanks to your post I doubt I ever will. Think I will just rely on yard sales or on a local resale site. This was very good information and I appreciate you taking the time to explain all this.

  39. I have been very fortunate as a seller of authentic high end Chanel pieces, though I have been concerned about many of the stories. As a buyer, I was scammed twice; lost $1200 on a crystal chandelier back in 2006 for which the funds were never recovered (the item never shipped and the seller disappeared), and again as a buyer for my first Chanel classic flap which turned out to be a fake (I did recover those funds). Interestingly, I recognized the same type listing recently for a Chanel bag, and there were no watchers for it. I sold a $4k Chanel bag three years ago on eBay without any complications at all, though I am reluctant to sell anything, now. I have a $6k bag that is extremely rare, and wondering what is the best method of selling it when I decide to release it (just purchased from heart of house). Since my own terrible experience with my first Chanel bag, I won’t buy from anywhere except the boutique, yet anyone who buys from me can be assured it’s a brand new condition, rarely used, and original boutique piece. These days though, it’s not so much buyer beware as it is seller beware.

    • I know, it’s so sad that this kind of stuff goes on. Shopping on eBay could be so much fun if it wasn’t for the dishonest sellers/buyers who ruin it for everyone.
      Cynthia, last year I sold my Chanel WOC to Fashionphile since I was no longer using it. There had been a few price increases so that helped. I had used the bag extensively for 2 years but it was still very close to “Like New” condition. Fashionphile gave me a pretty good price for it so I was happy to sell it to them and avoid the whole eBay nightmare. So if/when the time comes, you may want to offer it to them and see what they’ll pay. The way Chanel keeps having price increases, you may make out okay.

  40. I’ve sold luxury watches on eBay and they force you to send certain brands to their “authenticator” in Dayton, OH. The authenticators don’t actually authenticate anything. They just check to make sure what was advertised was sent. Many times buyers have claimed the watch defective or damaged in some way, conveniently after having worn it around for a week or so. They return to eBay, eBay returns to us. It comes back destroyed, missing parts, manufacturer stickers and labels removed, etc. eBay takes the buyers side regardless and guarantees it was the same condition that they originally inspected it in. How this is possible I don’t know as it would imply it was already destroyed the first time they saw it and then sent it to the buyer anyway. In any case, we just kept losing money with eBay and had no protections at all as a seller. I mean, were talking many thousands of dollars here.

    Main thing I want people to take away from this is that their authentication program is just people hired off the street. They aren’t properly trained and can’t actually authenticate things. The best they can do is check to see if anything is missing when you originally ship the watch. They don’t check condition, and don’t verify anything when it’s returned, but will 100% guarantee that you’re wrong and the buyer is right every time.

    Also, in the situations where the buyer claims it was fake, they don’t have to return a fake item. They can return a brick, or just a box filled with nothing. We had one guy buy a $16,000 Rolex, and return an envelope. The problem is that once eBay has a tracking number, they just assume everything’s good and wont help you afterwards. They also automatically refund the buyer before the returned… whatever… reaches your building.

    Sell cheap stuff on eBay you can afford to lose, or sell things that don’t go through their authenticate program. Or, better yet, don’t sell on eBay at all. It’s a dying platform.

    Amazon’s not much better for sellers, by the way. But that’s another story for another day.

  41. Maureen Khalil says

    I know I’m adding to this post 18 months after the fact, but some things never change. I too use Ebay at times to look for an item I can’t find elsewhere or that is no longer being made. I have purchased several things this way. I will say that I feel I’ve been burned a number of times….when things arrive but are poorer quality than expected. One thing I finally swore off purchasing was handbags. I’ve purchased at least 3 handbags all of which stunk!! By this I mean, they smell of mildew and age. What is so odd to me is they all smelled similarly….as if these purses were stored in some funky closet. So…no more purses from Ebay…or Tradesy or Postmark!

    • That’s awful, Maureen! I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t buy any more handbags either. One thing I will say, if you pay with Paypal, they will back you and make the seller take the item back and refund your money. I have my American Express card linked to my Paypal so when I make a purchase, I have eBay, Paypal, and Amex all behind me…so one of them will make it right. You can always dispute the charge with your credit card and Amex is great at standing behind you in these types of issues. Usually, Paypal takes care of it though, and credits you back after the handbag is returned…and the seller ALWAYS has to pay the return shipping. It’s a pain to fight it, though.

  42. John Warner says

    I saw a suit on Ebay advertised as made in Saville Row for sale in Debenham’s stores. What I received was a cheap suit with labels in both trousers and jacket saying made in Egypt. I returned it straight away and received a refund but. I sent a bad feedback it was not published. The company was Suit-Factory-Outlet who advertised that that had over 29,000 feedbacks, all good. That is impossible but Ebay only seem to be about money and not fraudulent advertising!

  43. ebay is a playground for fraud/crime/scamming and the best part is that ebay themselves are complicit with their deliberately incompetent policies and poor customer sevice that fail to address any inappropriate behaviour , even when they are presented with clear evidence, they more often than not take no action whatsoever.The issue is they have a preference and skewed relationship with their buyers who line their pockets successfully, so will happily turn a blind eye to them as long as they are making profits.Dont take it lying down…name and shame them:

    • I know you’re right! I once purchased a Dior handbag strap on eBay and I made sure to pay for it via Paypal using my Amex card which was linked to Paypal
      in case it turned out to be a fake. The seller stated he lived in Texas. When the strap arrived, it was an obvious bad fake so I attempted a return and he refused. I noticed the shipping label indicated it was from an address in Mexico and when I Googled the address, the building looked like an abandoned, falling-down, mud shanty. I asked the seller why it has shown that the item was in TX when it shipped from Mexico and he said that he was vacationing in his condo in Mexico so that’s why it had shipped from there. Yeah, right!
      I reported all this to eBay and Paypal and PP forced him to accept the return and they reimbursed me. I shipped the strap back and I noticed it was right back for sale on eBay by the same seller within days. I reported that to eBay, that he had placed the fake strap back online for sale again and they did absolutely nothing about it. It sold a few days later to another unsuspecting buyer. I sure hope they knew it was fake when it arrived!

  44. Devi Detroit says

    Yep with the User Name dash a # you’ll think is it’s their FB.

    I ran into this now, 1st time. Luckily, I almost always check the Buyer’s addresses, call it OCD.

    This person was like ScammerSmith-145. They actually had 0 FB. But what struck me as odd was the address. Kentucky, of all places.

    So it is a KNOWN scammer who was actually on other websites, like Amazon & such. What they were doing was having an expensive item sent to them at this warehouse in KY, it has many “Suites” but it too looked abandoned. The username, address, I found complaints all over about them. Something beyond me, but it’s like a depot for the Global Shipping program. Yep, out of KY.

    No matter how much insurance, videos, eyewitnesses you have, these people are still able to perform this scam. They re-sell your item OR simply ship it to China, but make a case that it wasn’t received or you sent them something counterfeit or similar, always getting their $$$ back too.

    I immediately cancelled the sale, strangely they had already deleted their account/User ID. Next day, sells again, you guessed it, ScammerSmith-201. Cancel based on address, User ID gone. Then a 3rd time, like ScammerSmith-353.

    I reported all of this to ebay, which of course they could see.
    They sent me back the rules stating where you can’t create a new ID in order to avoid a block, etc. I was like Yes, I Know, I’m emailing you people.

    Recently sold a new cellphone, some $$$ computer parts, a video card, etc.
    Ran into similar situations.
    I don’t care what their Rules are, if somebody creates a User ID that same day, then buys a $600 phone from me…it’s getting cancelled.

    Just had that, person had TWO feedback. Looked, did a double-take. Both lines of FB said the SAME THING, but different Sellers. Looked closer, both Sellers, from that same day, were in China. This buyer too was in Texas.

    I couldn’t cancel that fast enough.
    An aside tho, if you answer a Scammer’s email, they can keep emailing you, like the Block will not work.
    Now I always quadruple check b4 I answer.
    I had a guy buy comics from me. To say he was rude, pushy, had no filter would all be an understatement. I didn’t want to keep dealing with him, so I Blocked him.

    Well he figured this out & I was subject to a lot of terse emails along the lines of, “Who did I think I was?” & “He’s been on ebay for years,” threats.

    Ebay did nothing about it.

    • What a nightmare! It really sounds like eBay is letting the scammers run the site now! They are a shadow of what they once were. You were smart to cancel those purchases. If I ever decide to sell anything on there again, and seriously, I doubt I will with all that’s going on, I will do the same–cancel any transaction that looks like a suspicious buyer. That’s good to know that replying to a scammers email will void the block–I didn’t know that. And thanks for sharing what you’ve experienced…it really helps hearing what others have experienced while selling and buying.

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