I’d like to begin this post by asking: “WHAT IN THE WORLD HAS HAPPENED TO eBAY?”
I remember back in 2005, collecting a bunch of DVDs from my shelf, putting them on eBay, and selling them with zero hassle.
13 years later, my experience as a seller was totally different.
You may recall me talking about cameras that can be useful for a small business in a previous post, where I was referring to upgrading from a Canon 77D to a newer Sony model, and as a result, needing to sell the Canon.
It’s been a long time since my DVD reselling days but I right away thought of eBay and made the suggestion: “See what you can get for it online instead of trading it in at the hobby shop,” I said to my husband.
He had been offered about $150 less by the hobby shop than it advertised for in Excellent, Used condition in Google results from various websites. He thought haggling, selling and shipping it to a complete stranger might not be worth the hassle.
I understood his point of view, but $150 is a good chunk of change. I convinced him to give online reselling a try.
Now, this may be hard to believe, but sometimes, I’m wrong.
This was one of those times.
Let The Games Begin
The listing for the camera hadn’t been active for more than an hour when it sold at the “Buy It Now” price. That was only $50 less than what a brand new model of the same camera retails for. That was the first red flag.
The second and third red flags appeared when my husband decided to call the buyer who, by the way, had a 2-year long, 5-star reputation. (Their feedback comments, however, seemed suspiciously canned, cut and pasted) Although their name was “Gavin Keenan” and they were supposed to be Australia, they sounded like English was their third language.
Through text message, “Donnie” informed him with bad punctuation and grammar that he hoped the camera is in good condition because he was sending it to his cousin for his birthday.
He asked for the PayPal email address to send the payment, which was also odd since you can process PayPal and other payments directly on eBay’s site.
What happened next was a total joke. Within minutes, a few peculiar emails arrived from “PayPal”
One had a subject line that read: “You’re 100% Protected”. The other was “You got money from the buyer – Ship now.”
Upon inspecting the email about the payment deposit, it was noted that the buyer was paying an outrageous sum of $150.00 for shipping the camera from Florida to Kentucky.
At this point, the charade was just lame and annoying. The shipping, in reality, wouldn’t cost more than $25.00 through the US Postal Service. The “PayPal” email came from an email.com domain and could have been written better by a 6th grader.
The scam was so obvious; it should have been extremely easy to simply cancel the sale and re-post the item, or cancel the newly opened eBay account without question. Much to our chagrin, this was far from the case.
What came next were 3 20-30 minute calls, web inquiries, and trying to reason with customer service agents that are not empowered to provide an appropriate resolution after actually listening to a customer’s complaint.
Getting Stuck With a Scammer
Within minutes of attempting to cancel the sale, the scammer filed an “Item Not Received” complaint.
My husband simply wanted to close the account, but couldn’t due to the open complaint. He tried to reason with eBay that the claim should be canceled, offering the proof of the scam that he had in emails and text messages.
eBay never asked to see the proof and was only interested in quoting policy about not being able to close the claim until the passing of XX amount of business days.
Not to mention, a complaint for an “Item Not Received” should not even be able to be filed within an hour of buying an item that has to be shipped.
Spending over an hour following up, he couldn’t cancel the pending sale or repost the item until he managed to find a customer service rep with that would actually listen to reason.
He received an email providing some closure over a week later, stating that eBay closed the case in his favor after discovering that the account through which the attempted fraudulent purchase was made, had been hacked by an unauthorized person.
So, is it possible to sell on eBay?
Without a ton of hassle, and especially if you’re a newbie, I doubt it.
I’m sure there are some people still selling on eBay, and I hope for the sake of all the people that are employed by them and otherwise benefit from the company, that things are turned around.
I say that especially remembering the manager that took over the issue when it escalated to a height of frustration. He was extremely patient, humble, and very professional. He assured that measures are being taken to reign in scammers on the site, and said he looks forward to things getting better.
Given the outcome and the whole experience, because of him, it can be said that the experience wasn’t entirely bad.
But I feel really bad for the unsuspecting sellers that get taken by scams like these on eBay and other sites. Sellers — beware!