How eBay Saved Me from a Fraudulent Buyer Dispute
This is a true story about a conniving and deceitful eBay customer. My experience shows how eBay is carefully protecting both buyers and sellers.
I have been selling on eBay for well over a decade, for my business as well as buying and selling personal items.
In its early days, eBay had troubling times when they attracted unscrupulous people who took advantage of the system.
More recently I have witnessed a desire to become a powerful platform where businesses can sell their products and where buyers can feel secure purchasing just about anything old and new. I see eBay being very careful lately with conniving and deceitful individuals.
A long time ago eBay purchased PayPal and has done a great job at intertwining the two platforms so they work together seamlessly. This gives customers the ability to securely pay for things they buy on eBay, at auction or for immediate sale.
PayPal and eBay Now Work Well Together
The support policy of both eBay and PayPal have been recently revamped so that it benefits both buyers and sellers with a more positive experience.
I've been protected by eBay on both sides of a sale several times. As long as you do the transactions according to their rules, they protect you from fraud. And that includes unreasonable credit card complaints. I know, because they saved me from buyers who put through scrupulous credit card disputes by working together with PayPal.
I recently had the weirdest experience with a customer who did everything possible to scam the system. The story I’m about to tell you is about a fellow who bought a product I sell on eBay.
This is actually quite an amusing story. Some people can be so silly and self-destructive, as was this fellow.
How a Manipulative Customer Is Doomed
I had what I thought was another routine order from someone who selected my product on eBay and made his payment with PayPal. The actual product I sell is of no consequence here since this story is not about me. It’s about eBay support and about a customer who behaved strangely.
This customer called me for support within a few days after receiving my product. He had problems understanding how to use it. After much time on the phone he admitted he didn’t read the guidelines for proper use. He even hooked it up incorrectly.
Based on what I learned about this customer’s planned usage I explained that he did not install it properly and that his office configuration did not match the compatibility standards described in my eBay listing. I told him to return it and I would refund his full purchase price.
Two weeks later he called again. He still was struggling with it. Again I told him to return the product. And again I said I’d refund in full as long as he returns the item within 30 days of receipt as stated in the return policy in the eBay listing.
Silly Customer Ignores 30-Day Refund Policy
I never heard from him and his 30-day limit was coming close. So I was about to call him when suddenly I received an eBay email notifying me that he started a dispute claiming that the product was not as advertised.
He also posted negative feedback stating that I was rude and refused to tell him the return address.
This was so silly of him, because I mentioned the refund and I gave him the return address via a message through eBay’s email system. So he couldn’t really expect to fool eBay. What was he thinking? I clearly offered a full refund in writing.
At this stage, since he got eBay involved, he now was forced to return the product in order to move ahead with the dispute. Meanwhile eBay held my money to refund to him in case we couldn’t work things out, or until either of us escalates the dispute to eBay’s support staff to decide the case.
I finally got the product back and discovered that he had damaged it. But I decided to refund him anyway and write it off as part of doing business. These things happen. I’d rather not waste time with troublesome people when my time can be put to better use. So I just wanted to refund him and get on with my life.
Customer Escalates Dispute to eBay Customer Service
When I logged in to issue the refund, eBay notified me that he had escalated the dispute. That means that he turned it over to eBay to make a final decision. Therefore, I no longer could refund his money. It was in the hands of eBay now to decide his fate. Well, that was his choice!
The only thing I did at that point was to take pictures of the damaged product and upload them to the dispute platform for review.
It became obvious to me that eBay is focused on making sure that buyers and sellers are treated fairly by one another. They have been working hard on that lately. I once had trouble with something I purchased from a crook that was selling stolen merchandise, and eBay protected me and got my money back.
Now the tides were turned and I was the seller in trouble with a disgruntled buyer. But once again I was the honest one being taken advantage of by a ruthless individual.
He chose to have eBay make a decision and they decided the case in my favor. And they told me why:
- They saw I had given him the return address way back at the beginning when he first asked for it. So his complaint that I refused was unfounded.
- They saw his feedback stating that the product did not match the description, even though all my other customers posted feedback stating how well the product works as described. (What made this guy think his one negative comment would hold up against all the good stuff?)
- They also a message he sent before returning the item, saying he would remove the negative feedback if I refund his money. He sent that via eBay’s mail system. What a fool!
Based on all this, eBay said it was clear that he was trying to manipulate me into refunding him without returning the item, and that’s against their policy.
They told me I don’t need to refund his payment since the unit was damaged and they released the hold on the money and credited it back to my account. They also removed that nasty and inappropriate negative feedback that this fellow had posted.
Imagine, I was going to issue a refund despite getting back a product I could do nothing else with but to toss it out.
Honest Buyers and Sellers will be Protected
I have noticed over the years that eBay has dramatically improved their support in both directions. It doesn’t matter who one is, a buyer or a seller. If they are honest and get deceived, they will be protected.
This is being done in a creative way showing team effort between eBay and their buyers and sellers. They have the vision to see the need for this strategy, knowing that it displays integrity and provides for a successfull transaction for all involved. It’s a huge change from how things were in the past.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Glenn Stok