We were robbed of $1400. The criminals used eBay to facilitate the crime and eBay isn't standing by their system or their customers.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

On Sept 17, 2014, we auctioned my son's Canon camera Lens on eBay.

 On Sept. 30, 2014 I received a notification from Paypal that I received a confirmed payment of $665 from Dawn Morris and that I should ship the merchandise.
On the same day, Dawn communicated to me through the official eBay email system where to ship the lens that she had purchased for her daughter.

On October 2, 2014, my son and I delicately gift wrapped the lens and added 8 complimentary lens bracelets. My son also included his business card with a note saying, "Thank you. If you have questions about the lens and photography, please feel free to contact me."  We were happy that another photography enthusiast was going to make use the camera lens. I mailed the lens to Dawn through USPS Priority Mail, and also provided the Insurance and Tracking Number of VH 950 586 367 US.

A few days later, the buyer, gave my eBay account an A++ and positive feedback and thanked me for the lens.

However, on November 1, 2014, Paypal sent me an email informing me that the buyer opened a chargeback with the credit card issuer and that the buyer did not authorize the purchase.

To say that I was distraught was an understatement.

I immediately called eBay the same day and spoke to Customer Service who transferred me to the Paypal Resolution Center.  My case number was PP-003-504-534-876.

I explained the situation to the customer representative named Rene. I informed her of the following:

  • Paypal confirmed the purchase and payment on Sept. 30, 2014.
  • The buyer received and acknowledged the merchandise, and provided me with the positive feedback.
  • The merchandise was shipped on the request of the buyer through the official eBay messaging system. I also said that I expected that transactions handled through the eBay system were protected.

The representative asked me to email her any supporting documents, which I did. She also informed me that she was able to review the communication I received from the buyer through the eBay system. I asked the representative if I needed to contact the buyer, and she replied that there was no need.

After listening to my case the representative told me that she would reverse the chargeback since I am a valued customer and that I am protected. However, she added that next time, or in the future, whenever I sell again on eBay, any changes to be made to the shipping address should be changed directly on Paypal.

For that specific transaction, eBay collected $66.50 and Paypal charged me $19.59 for the transaction fee.

My panic subsided. And I was relieved that the chargeback was reversed. But I was dismayed that such a thing could occur within eBay’s system.

But this is where the story gets much worse.  On November 17, I received an email from Paypal stating the following:

"One of your buyers opened a chargeback with their credit card issuer. This means that the buyer has asked their card issuer to reverse the money for this transaction.  

            We want to help you fight this chargeback, and are disputing it with your buyer’s credit card

             In the meantime, the disputed amount has been debited from your PayPal account because
             of the following reason(s):

            •The merchandise was not shipped to the address provided on the Transaction Details page.
            In addition, you have been debited a chargeback fee of $20.”

That was Thanksgiving week. That email brought me to tears and depression! I felt completely violated. What a depressing way to start the Holiday Season!

Grief-stricken, I called Paypal and informed them of the conversation I had with the customer service representative on November 1st.

 "I can't believe there are bad and fraudulent people operating within eBay and that they don’t protect their honest users from criminal behavior." I exclaimed.

"There's a lot of bad people everywhere - not just on eBay!" the eBay representative replied.

I asked if there were notes on my account. After not getting any resolution from the customer representative, I asked to speak to their supervisor.

This time, I spoke with Melissa, the supervisor. She informed me that I should not have been told that I was protected. Melissa emphasized that I wasn't covered under Seller Protection.  I emphasized that ALL transactions were made through the eBay system.

However, Melissa said that Paypal will help me fight the chargeback but may not get a decision for 75 days. In the meantime, I owe Paypal $665 and the $20 transaction fee!

I am a trusting person. I believe that there's kindness in people. When I see a stranger, I smile and say "Hello".  When people need help, I figure out a way to inspire other people to help other people. I usually root for the underdog. Maybe being nice, trusting and compassionate is a flaw.

So being a victim of a fraudulent transaction which eBay and Paypal facilitated has been causing me to lose sleep - aside from the fact that I was just robbed of $1400 through eBay!

I also called eBay and reported the buyer. I sent an eBay message to the buyer, but I didn't get any response.

I also reported the Buyer through eBay Resolution Center which ironically states that "eBay is committed to making eBay a fair and safe marketplace -- which helps protect you as well as the rest of the community." So far, this eBay experience is unfair and unsafe!

The representative told me that I should have printed the shipping labels through eBay. I replied by saying, "I hand-wrote the address and provided the tracking number."  If it was so essential that shipping labels would have prevented the fraudulent transaction, how come eBay and Paypal didn't have big, bold, warning signs to alert the Seller?


The representative said that shipments to unconfirmed addresses are not covered.

However, the eBay website states, otherwise:

We recommend against stating in your listing that you'll only ship to confirmed addresses. Since a confirmed address isn't a requirement for Paypal Seller Protection, this is an unnecessary restriction and might discourage a potential buyer.

For all I know, Dawn Morris has already sold the camera she "stole" from me on eBay -- which would mean that eBay is allowing stolen merchandise to be sold on their site!

I can't believe I was robbed and that the criminal used eBay to facilitate their crime and that eBay isn't standing by their system and customers.

The following is a screenshot from the Ebay Community webpage.  There is a long thread in there with posts from many people who have been scammed.  Please share this link so that people can learn about these scams and how Ebay doesn't do anything to help the victims.

For now, I am filing case with the Federal Bureau's Internal Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the New Jersey Attorney General's office and contacting eBay Investor Relations. 

Please help get the word out.

UPDATE: On January 31, 2015, PayPal's office of Executive Escalations contacted me . Read more on "The Power of Pen and Persistence: Paypal's reply to my appeal regarding an eBay scam.

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  1. OMG, Jen - so sorry this happened to you. I do sell on Ebay occasionally but didn't know anything about this catch-22. I'll know now to watch out for it. I hope you get this resolved in your favor somehow.

    1. Thank you Felicia. I really hope so. I just filed a claim with the USPS Postal Inspector's office, too.

    2. We know how awful it is to be scammed by an individual. It is hard to understand how people that hurt others, can sleep at night. What is even worse, however, is the lawlessness of the COMPANIES, EBAY AND PAYPAL WHO STAND BEHIND THE CRIME, NOT THE VICTIM. BEING VICTIMIZED ONCE IS AWFUL, BEING VICTIMIZED TWICE, IS UNCONSCIONABLE. THIS HAS TO GO VIRAL! PLEASE REPOST AND REPOST AGAIN-SHARE

  2. I am so sorry that this happened to you. It's so frustrating when faced with things like these. I hope this gets resolved in your favor soon.

  3. You didn't ship to the address provided. That was your rookie mistake and it's clearly stated in the TOS on ebay and paypal that you have to ship to the address that is linked to their account. If the person wanted it sent somewhere else, it should have been changed in the system before they hit "buy." It sucks for you that you lost so much but you should always read TOS before selling on a website of any kind. They all pretty much have that same rule though.

  4. I agree with Anonymous. You never change the address from that which is in the system. I have had a customer call me "lazy" because I wouldn't change her address and I still outright refused because it voids my seller protection. They can think I'm lazy all day. I'm not setting myself up to be robbed. Gotta be more careful. You should always review the websites TOS before you start listing your items. Yikes. Also, how were you robbed of $1400? The math doesn't add up. You said the transaction was $665. You got paid $665 but then they took it away, which balances to zero. But you lost your camera which was worth $665. So you lost $665. Not $1400

  5. I'm a bit late to this thread, but since starting selling on eBay last year I've come across a few different scams! I've had a couple of people send me a different address after payment and luckily I Googled whether I should accept it before doing so, I've also had people claim they haven't received items and had to refund one person as I didn't send recorded delivery. The worst one that I fell for though was selling vouchers and sending them via email (rookie mistake). I lost about £25 in the end, as the buyer requested a charge back, as in your situation. Luckily the scammer wasn't smart enough to use all £300 worth of vouchers before he claimed the money back, so i was able to use them before he did. I lost sleep over this too, I was so upset and felt completely unsupported by PayPal and eBay. Sadly these scammers are everywhere and their tactics change all the time. Always best to err on the side of caution with eBay! I hope this situation got sorted for you in the end and you got your money back x


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