6 eBay Buyer Scams To Watch Out For In 2019

Selling on eBay can be difficult enough to begin with. You have to make sure you have plenty of listings, constantly update your inventory, optimize for listing SEO and multiple other tasks. It can be very frustrating when you find yourself a victim of an eBay buyer scam. I will give you the top 6 scams to watch out for to protect your eBay business.

Selling On eBay Scams

1) A Buyer Wants To Make a Deal Outside Of eBay

First of all, eBay prohibits buyers and sellers from contacting each other outside of the eBay messaging platform. eBay is vigilant about going through the messages to make sure we are all in compliance.

Oftentimes, this scam starts off with a buyer advising a seller to close their listing because they want to buy the product right now. Their stipulation is that they want you to contact them outside of eBay to negotiate. This is your first red flag because you know you should not be contacting any buyer or seller outside of the platform.

How To Avoid It

Very simple, keep all contact inside of eBay. If they are unwilling to communicate inside of the eBay platform, you know that something is amiss. They had no problem contacting you inside eBay to ask you to contact you outside of eBay. So they know how the messaging platform works.

Make Extra Money

2) Buyer Offers To Overpay For An Item

This one should raise a concern as soon as it happens. Why would a buyer be willing to pay more for an item when they could just pay you what you are asking for and get the item for a cheaper price?

It’s a scam, that is why! Often, the reasoning is because the scammer wants the item faster than your published shipping option. They will claim that there is a party, birthday, or graduation that requires them to have the item NOW.

This one can be easy to fall for because the idea of making more profit than you were expecting is tempting.

How To Avoid It

Keep your wits about you. As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Never send out an item before you have the money, and more importantly, before the money clears. If the payment is pending, do not ship out the item.

3) Buyer Claims You Shipped An Empty Box

The purchase goes as normal and you receive payment like you should. So you ship out the item to them without any problems.

The problem starts when the shipment arrives. The buyer will almost immediately open an eBay dispute stating you shipped them an empty box. This one can be frustrating because you will have to appeal the open dispute.

How To Avoid It

There are different ways to avoid this scam. The first one is to check the feedback of your buyers before you ship out an item. The reality is that this is a time-consuming process since it’s not a very prevalent scam.

The second option I recommend for every transaction. You should have pictures of the item in the box, serial numbers of the items (if applicable), and the address to which the item is sold/shipped.

This can save you from scams of many types. This also allows you to prove that your shipping provider broke an item in the shipment (it does happen). 

4) Stating The Item Is Broken

This is not a fraudulent claim 100% of the time. As previously stated, it is possible that an item can be damaged in transit. In which case, you will need to provide proof that the item was in working condition when given to the shipping supplier.

The scam here is when you shipped a perfectly working unit and the buyer wants a refund. You oblige and go through the normal process of having the buyer return the item only to discover that it has been destroyed. This is prevalent for phones which is why you took pictures of the serial number (ESN number for phones) to compare to the one which is returned.

How To Avoid It

Much like the previous advice, it is best to document your item prior to shipment. Simply having a spreadsheet with the serial number or other identification numbers for a product to show eBay will not be enough. They will want picture proof.

Take images of all your products before you send them out, you will save yourself money and a lot of headaches later.

5) INAD (Item Not As Described) Claims

This is probably the most prevalent scam out there. A buyer will receive the item then claim the item is not as described. There’s a rip, stain, scratch or a completely different product. Often, I find this is due to buyer’s remorse.

How To Avoid It

This one is a difficult one to avoid because it’s going to happen. What you can do to win your appeal case with eBay is to have very good pictures of the product.

Make sure every blemishes (if any) are photographed in the listing. If it’s clothing, make sure you have a tape measure showing the actual dimensions of the item in the listing. Leaving no room for the buyer to claim it is not as described. 

eBay and PayPal

6) Buyer Issues A Chargeback

This scam happens outside of eBay as the buyer has more protections using PayPal and through their bank. Instead of raising a concern through eBay, they skip that step and go right to their payment provider opening a chargeback through PayPal or disputing a charge with their bank.

This one can really hurt because not only will the payment provider take the money, but they will also hit you with an additional fee. PayPal’s chargeback fee is $20 and a bank’s chargeback fee can vary from $15 to $30 which is sometimes more than the item even costs! Unfortunately, as the seller, you are guilty until proven innocent.

How To Avoid It

Paypal’s seller protection does guard you against such situations. However, it is up to you to know the rules and regulations with PayPal.

Provide all the details you have with the transaction. Again, taking pictures of the product and shipping location will be your saving grace.

Banks will follow up on any chargebacks with an investigation. If you can prove that the buyer bought the item and you sent the item, it can go a long way. Sometimes, it’s enough to give a tracking number to the bank but sometimes they want more proof. Pictures, pictures, pictures! I cannot stress this enough. 

Should You Be Worried?

Not all buyers on eBay are scammers. It is a small percentage and not a huge problem, but they do happen. You should be aware of them to protect yourself and your business.

If a buyer is asking for a refund, do your best to kindly convince them otherwise, but if you cannot, it is best to accept the return. Once you receive the item and verify that it’s the item you sent out, you can refund the buyer.

Do not let this scare you away from selling on eBay. There is a lot of profit to be made selling on eBay. Knowledge is power, know the rules for PayPal and eBay. You will thank yourself for understanding what you can and cannot do as well as keeping good documentation of your hard work. 

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