How I Lost $470 To A Vindictive, Abusive, Extortionist eBay Buyer

Justin used to sell on eBay until policy changes made it a more favorable marketplace for buyers than for sellers. But he still has his account and a good feedback rating, so he’s helping a friend sell off some gold coins worth a few hundred bucks each. They’re shipped UPS with signature confirmation and full insurance. The coin itself goes inside a plain envelope, placed inside a sealed cardboard UPS document mailer. This plan worked for 25 shipments, until the buyer from hell wandered into Justin’s life.

I used to make a nice living on eBay until they changed their policies and fees a few years back. Once they rid the marketplace of sellers being able to leave negatives on buyer I left as every transaction would go unpaid and as a seller I had no recourse.

Fast forward to a month ago, in this tough economic times my buddy wanted to liquidate some of the gold coins his family had been keeping for a while. I started selling gold coins on his behalf without trouble for about 25 transactions, until I had a horrific experience with [the buyer from hell] on ebay. Side note: until this point my friend had been receiving the money directly to his paypal and he was shipping the items. He went out of town and left me with three coins to ship while he was gone. [BFH] pays for the item and I ship his coin. I place it in a white regular envelope, seal it and then place the sealed envelope inside the UPS cardboard envelope (the document sized ones) and ship it with signature delivery, and insurance for the full value. If anything should happen, I should be covered.

Man was I wrong, a few days go by and I receive an email from [BFH] saying “The Envelope was empty” and immediately starts harassing me from there, using profanity and becomes increasingly threatening. He even looked up the address of the business I shipped the coin from, (my family business) then took it upon himself to go plaster our Facebook fan page cursing and threatening.

As I try and talk to him all he says is “go fuck yourself” etc. I tried explaining to him that I did indeed ship the coin and if there was a mistake then everything is insured and all will be right, but no the tirades continue. Without being able to resolve anything, he disputes the coin though eBay. Without speaking to anyone, eBay grants him his full refund.

The tirades continue, time and time again I explained to him he now has a full refund, he has not been screwed out of any money and someone obviously stole, or misplaced the coin during shipping. I would like to claim insurance on the package, so I am not out $450 as well.

Up until this point, it is just a typical eBay transaction gone wrong, but now is where I become upset with the process of UPS and eBay.

After numerous pleading emails to the buyer, he now understands that I need him to cooperate in order to receive my insurance claim from UPS. Under their terms, they must inspect the envelope before they grant an insurance claim. The buyer now tries extorting me for money in order for him to cooperate with UPS. He wants $100 delivered into his bank account or else he says he will never pick up the phone.

After countless calls to UPS & eBay they will not help. I’ve submitted documents to UPS and eBay explaining how he in writing has said he will not help without being paid. UPS continues to say that without inspecting the package or at least talking to the buyer, they will not grant insurance. I understand this is a common sense policy, but there MUST be special circumstances! I have in writing a customer that is basically telling me to go fuck myself because he has his money.

Moral of this story is, if you want anything for free on eBay just purchase an item, say you have received the item and the package was empty, never help the buyer. They will grant you a full refund, and the seller will be out money.

Unbelievable.

It is hard to put into words the frustration I have had with eBay and UPS and this story doesn’t even do it justice. I am being scammed by a user and then extorted to cooperate and UPS and eBay just sit back and do nothing!!!

I am out a gold coin, $450 plus $20 shipping UPS and I receive a big Negative from the buyer in my perfectly clean 1440 feedback!

What a mess. Systems put in place to instill confidence in buyers can instead give evil buyers a refuge when they scam honest sellers. I wish this were an isolated incident.

Comments

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  1. ReaperRob says:

    Can you use the messages as evidence and press charges?

    • NC106PH says:

      I agree with you and others, sounds like he could press charges and at least take to small claims court. I wouldn’t let the buyer get away with it…it just teaches him that he can do that to people with no consequence.

      • keith4298 says:

        eBay policy limits any actions to California law brought in Santa Clara County. Good luck with that.

        • dwtomek says:

          eBay policy trumps federal law (mail fraud)? These are interesting times we live in.

          • Snowblind says:

            Not mail fraud if he used UPS, unless they changed the law recently.

            Has to use USPS to count. That is why many scammers use FedEx and UPS to deliver false documents and products.

            • Kate says:

              Extortion is extortion, it has nothing to do with mail fraud. The only problem is, that the public attorney is so overwhelmed, I doubt he would bother to go after a penny ante extortionist.

        • Raanne says:

          But the extortion only has to do with UPS & Shipping Insurance, so that should have nothing to do with ebay policy.

        • longfeltwant says:

          eBay policy doesn’t over-ride the law. If this guy has a valid claim in his local jurisdiction, then eBay policy is not relevant. But, I don’t know if he has such a claim.

        • thomwithanh says:

          But that’s for claims against E-Bay… this is a claim against a buyer.

    • El_Red says:

      Exactly, the buyer is guilty of extortion, if you have emails as proof, this is a criminal charge.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      Yeah, you have harassment and extortion going here at the very least. A distinct possibility of mail fraud as well, and a possibility of some form of libel and/or slander as well.

      • shthar says:

        UPS is not covered by mail fraud laws.

        • ZachPA says:

          Mail fraud no, but presuming the seller and buyer are in different states, using an electronic device to commit interstate commerce fraud comes to mind. In general, if it can be defrauded, there’s a federal law for that.

          In this case, I would probably just tell the buyer since he doesn’t want to cooperate with an investigation, he can be the subject of a criminal investigation in his jurisdiction. File a police report where the buyer lives. And then let them sort it out.

        • Sneeje says:

          Actually, yes they are. As an example, if you receive an unasked for package with an invoice, those laws say that you may treat the item as a “gift” and not have to pay. It does not matter how the item was shipped to you. Nothing in the statute (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1341) mentions USPS specifically.

    • nearly_blind says:

      Yes life is unfair, but that doesn’t mean you can successfully sue or file criminal charges against everyone you feel has done you wrong. There’s nothing in the law that places a duty or burden on the BFH to help out the OP by meeting with a postal inspector so that the OP can collect the insurance. It’s not extortion if the BFH wants $100 to compensate him for his time and a likely grilling by the post office. Also a lawyer would tell the BFH not to talk the postal inspector because he has nothing to gain (especially if he doesn’t get $100) and opens himself up to possible federal criminal charges if, for example, he signs a form that says there was no coin in the package and the inspector decides he is lying.

      Maybe someone (e.g. UPS store or PO) could start a secure delivery service where Ebay sellers could deliver directly UPS store (on behalf of buyer) for pickup and the UPS employee and buyer would open the package together. The employee would verify the item is in the package and, given the package was shipped to the store instead of the buyer, could aid in processing any insurance claim.

      • longdvsn says:

        It might depend on the wording used by the BFH. If he states he wants compensation for his time and effort to return the envelope, then that’s perfectly fine. However, if he uses a tone of saying “give me $100 or the envelope goes in the trash and you can kiss your insurance claim goodbye!”…I think a reasonable attorney/judge/etc might agree that a criminal act has occurred.

        I like your idea for the UPS service. For expensive items, this would be a big plus for all involved – unless your nearest UPS store is two hours away (for those middle-of-nowhere people).

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        Sounds like OP needs a lawyer, pronto.

        A business I work with had a similar (but not exactly alike) situation, where a customer tried to extort money from the owner in exchange for not leaving negative reviews online/and spreading malicious gossip. Happily, the customer was stupid enough to write this down. The business had their lawyer look at it and the lawyer went to the DA. Problem quickly solved.

    • maxamus2 says:

      Not exactly. He can claim that since he received an empty envelope and if he feels it was the seller trying to pull a fast one, that he does not wish to be part of insurance fraud or that he requires $100 to pay for his time to do this. He still is the victim if he truly did not receive the items.

      I know if I got an empty box/envelope in the mail, I would not want to cooperate with the seller. I wouldn’t really go the route of asking for $100, but with this story (like most) all we get is the point of view from one side. I’m not saying the seller was an asshat but all I have is his side.

      • sagodjur says:

        How can the buyer be the victim if he got a full refund? He was made whole and if the OP’s story is true, the OP is the one who is out money and the item. On top of that, why would the buyer need $100? Asking for that is unethical (if not illegal, i.e. extortion), even if it would be slightly inconvenient for the buyer to have to talk to UPS about the envelope.

  2. incident man stole my avatar says:

    Since you can’t leave negative feedback for deadbeat sellers I include a list of all the deadbeats on every one of my listings. I used to list username, full names, addresses and phone numbers until eBay made me remove everything but username. It’s cut down on the number of deadbeat buyers.

    • SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

      This is a nice thing.

    • ianmac47 says:

      Why doesn’t someone else create an independent database with this information that sellers can simply check up on? Sellers could submit names to the blacklist without ever going through ebay, and then before completing a transaction, a buyer could simply check the blacklist and opt out of the sale.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        It’s very easy to create multiple IDs and PayPal accounts as a buyer. Once you get blacklisted with one, you create another. Sellers are not able to block new buyers from bidding without recourse against them, especially on a BIN item. And new seller IDs to escape a black mark are much more rare because you have to earn feedback all over again. Buyers have the choice of who they buy from, sellers have to sell to whoever bids or risk negative feedback

        RIP- you are awesome for that though

  3. g051051 says:

    He doesn’t have anything “in writing”, he has emails that are trivially forgeable. There’s a big, big difference.

    • Marlin says:

      E-mails are admissible in court. If you want to testify that they are not yours then I will get permission to have your e-mail provider check their system, and then not only are you guilty of that but you also just lied under oath.
      Judge in a case of mine looked at the e-mails and I logged into my e-mail account to show him. He accepted it and saw I was telling the truth and anything else the other person said was BS, and I won.

      • g051051 says:

        Like I’ve mentioned to others who replied, none of this is a court of law. If he wants to sue, great (and he should if it’s at all possible) but until then, just sending emails to eBay and USPS isn’t any kind of proof.

        • 180CS says:

          Actually, FACEBOOK posts have even been used and upheld as valid proof in a court of law. Any idiot would know that you if you have email records like that, the provider can validate them for the courts. Moreoverm HIS provider can validate when subpoenaed for the records (Legally obligated to be retained for at least 180 days due to recent cibercrimes laws). Emails actually have shown to have just as much weight as return registered mail these days, provided you are telling the truth when the court employs a forensic computer scientist to do the fact checking.

          But I wouldn’t expect a simpleton like you to understand that. dictionary.com is a great resource if you need help understanding anything I’ve said here. :)

          • Hemera says:

            I don’t know why you’re being so rude. People are pointing out, rightly, that emails are NOT that easily forged, so you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. And court of laws have higher standards of proof than ebay and UPS, so if you can use an email in court it is relevant to the question of using email in a UPS or ebay dispute.

            Which, by the way, you absolutely can. I have done it. UPS is not refusing to help him because they don’t think his emails are genuine, they’re refusing to help him because their policy of needing to speak to the person who got the package keeps them from having to pay out all the time and they don’t want to pay out.

          • Yomiko says:

            “Any idiot would know”

            An idiot clearly is claiming to know. Be nice, damnit.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      Except there not fully forgeable and require confirmation from the e-mail provider, but authenticity can be verified.

    • Hoss says:

      The communication would be sent through the buyer’s ebay account so it’s more reliable than a typical email

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Says someone with little to no knowledge on how e-mails work, or case precedent on their use in the U.S. court system.

      • g051051 says:

        Are eBay and the USPS a court of law? Then how emails are handled by the US Court system doesn’t apply here. If he brings suit against the guy, then it’s a very different matter.

    • Kestris says:

      You quite obviously haven’t read up on cybercrimes lately.

  4. eli says:

    A few years ago I sold a cell phone on eBay. The guy claimed it was broken and wouldn’t pay. As per eBay instructions he sent me back a phone… but it was a *different* phone that was indeed broken. Of course eBay sided with him and left very little opportunity to even explain what happened. So he got away with it.

    That’s the last thing I ever sold on eBay.

    • zerogspacecow says:

      Wait, so this guy had a broken phone. So, he bought yours, then claimed it was broken when he got it, then sent you back his original broken phone? What a terrible person.

      I can’t believe how people are able to justify things like that in their own heads. It probably doesn’t help that you’re just a faceless screen name on the internet.

      • DariusC says:

        Exactly why society needs to encourage integrity a lot more. It’s a value that everyone loves to tout, but nobody bears. Everyone is out for themselves and if society keeps breaking up, the corporations/government will have an easier time dividing and conquering pieces of the population in this battle for money and power.

    • kcvaliant says:

      If you bought it originally. Could you call and have it bricked?

    • kcvaliant says:

      If you bought it originally. Could you call and have it bricked?

  5. Marlin says:

    Call the police in his area and have them knock on the door. Bet he helps real fast after that.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I agree. Have them investigate him for fraud.

    • Damocles57 says:

      Another option is to report him to the IRS for tax evasion. Remember Al Capone?

      In all probability he does this kind of thing often. Assuming he is doing it to resell in his area, he will be leaving some type of money trail and the IRS might be interested in all aspects of his “business,” not just his eBay thefts.

      And, if the IRS finds anything and collects unpaid taxes, there is generally a reward for turning the person in.

  6. Jayrandom says:

    Short of escrow, I don’t see any foolproof way of avoiding situations like these, because if the mechanism for decision is known the system can be gamed. eBay has defaulted to believing the buyer, which as a buyer makes me more likely to use eBay. I think that choice reflects the idea that buyers have a myriad number of choices and sellers a very limited number. If eBay becomes too buyer-favorable for it to be worthwhile for sellers, sellers will find or create other opportunities and eBay will change its policies.

    • Velifer says:

      Paypal is supposed to BE escrow. That system is broken.

      • skylar.sutton says:

        Digital reselling is oh-so-very broken. I had a similar headache as the OP but instead of an eBay dispute the buyer did a PayPal dispute.

        The package was damaged in transit, but I had paid for insurance out of my own pocket. My preference was to open a FedEx claim and have them pay the buyer directly but they needed his cooperation. He refused and made a big fuss, opened aPayPal dispute, and THEN opened a FedEx dispute (which blocks me from opening one… and effectively screws me out of the money).

        I explained to PayPal that the buyer had two disputes opened, and the FedEx one cannot be reopened in my name now that he has opened it… so we should let that one play out before they make a decision. NOPE! Default judgement for the buyer… I got screwed.

        I’m done with PP, eBay, etc. The model is broken.

      • One-Eyed Jack says:

        eBay bought PayPal a loooong time ago. At one point, they were an independent intermediary.

  7. Marlin says:

    Oh and if you sell anything remove the money right away.

    Worse case you lose a Paypal account and not the money.

    • clippy2.0 says:

      that’s what I’ve been doing, I have been selling a few car parts, and just to save myself the headache I have them cut me a check as soon as the cash is in the account. Push comes to shove, I lose paypal

      • DariusC says:

        Totally agree, I did this with my sale and good thing too because the buyer got his money back and USPS lost my package on the way back (it was broken). No insurance, no payback. Thankfully I have enough documentation that I can shoo Paypal away in court. +1 for documentation!

    • ashtonn4 says:

      paypal has strangely set my account to put a hold on any money I receive for up to 21 days…unless the buyer confirms that they received the item… I won a cell phone through my work recently and was getting nowhere trying to sell on craigslist so I ended up just accepting the fact that I’d wait longer for my money…all went through fine and a few days after the transaction they reversed the 21 day hold which I figured was because I had a successful transaction. Nope, a few weeks later and I get another email stating “we have reviewed your account and have decided to put a 21 day hold…blah blah blah” Never had a negative thing happen with my ebay or paypal account…and there’s no actual reason stated… So I’m definitely done with both.

      • Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

        I got the same thing. You have to have $250.00 in sales or 25 successful transactions to have this lifted. One more nail in the coffin.

    • dourdan says:

      um.. if it wants money it will take it from the bank account that you have connected. (that is required , right?)

    • Actionable Mango says:

      No, they withdraw the money from your attached bank accounts or credit cards. And if you close those before PP withdraws, they send you a bill. And if you don’t pay for the bill, they send you to collections. And because Ebay is so tied into PP, you can’t use Ebay any more.

      So the worst case scenario is not just losing a PayPal account.

  8. pgr says:

    This is why I stopped selling anything on eBay and using PayPal. You have NO rights as a seller. They just don’t give a damn about sellers. It’s time the feds investigated the both of them and get them on restraint of trade or running a monopoly or operating as a bank without any of the consumer safeguards. Of course they donate way to much to their “Republican congressmen & senator” friends for this to ever happen!

    • Marlin says:

      They sided with a seller in a case I filed.

      I got someone at paypal to admit they could not find for me because the person was not selling anything and had no money in their account now.

      So thats why I tell sellers to make sure there is no money in your account. Paypal is less likly to side with the buyer if Paypal knows they could be the ones on the hook for the money.

      And for buyers pay for everythign with a CC. That way you can do a chargeback.

      • Kaleey says:

        Other key: make SURE your Paypal account (for those of you who still have one) is NOT linked to an account. If it is linked, then even if you have no money in the PP account, they can still charge you (And it comes from the linked account).

        I am one of the lucky ones who never got screwed by ebay/paypal – but I don’t deal with either one anymore.

        • Jevia says:

          I rarely use PP anymore, but its linked to a completely separate account that I keep $20 in to maintain. When I want to buy something, I transfer money into that account. If for any reason it gets hacked, or PP wants to take money, my losses are limited.

          • maxamus2 says:

            Not exactly, they can still take money from the account and you will have a negative balance and now your bank will come after you (once they add their fines as well).

            • DariusC says:

              Wrong, you cannot go into the negatives with a checking account unless you are set to authorize overdraw (by law, a bank cannot let you go into the negatives and charge you for it without your permission). Also, the bank can charge the amounts back despite Paypal’s claims, especially if you tell them that you are having a dispute with Paypal and they they should decline any charges originating from their systems.

              • kella says:

                The new overdraft rules apply to debit cards, but not to ACH transactions, which is how PayPal debits from a checking account. PayPal can overdraft a checking account linked by ACH (if you gave them your checking account # and routing #, it’s ACH) but you can always call your bank and tell them it was unauthorized.

    • alexwade says:

      *Facepalm*

      Why did you have to make this a political debate? Lobbyists bribe both all elected representatives, not just republicans.

      • kataisa says:

        But, but, Republicans make up the top 1% of rich, greedy, racist, evil Americans. That’s what the media says and they’re completely professional, unbiased, non-partisan observers without any ties to the Democrat party or President Obama.

    • Markitect says:

      The political pot shot is totally bogus. You can easily find eBay’s political contributions online and there are donations to both Dems and GOP. (http://www.ebaymainstreet.com/us-political-contributions-disclosures)

      • longfeltwant says:

        Well, their CEO for a decade was Meg Whitman, who quit that job to run for Governor of California, as a Republican, using hundreds of millions of dollars earned at eBay. I think it’s a pretty fair pot shot.

    • Firevine says:

      Mary Beth, is that you!?

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      As much as some people want to avoid politics, they play a humongous role in our day to day lives. You can’t live like an ostrich. Your life is being decided for you whether it’s discussed or not. At least if it’s discussed you have the opportunity to possibly have an impact

      Anyhoo while the Republican slant may be a little unfair I have no doubt that politician payouts (corruption is on both sides) is the reason they were able to avoid bank classification. PayPal being able to play by their own rules that they make up as they go along is the root of a lot of the problems with eBay. A lot of bs could be avoided if they were federally regulated

      • DariusC says:

        I say this all the time, but I want to say it here. Instead of regulation which adds cost, why don’t they just be honest and stop ripping people off? Is that really so hard to have a little empathy and compassion? Do we really have to REGULATE this?

  9. cecilsaxon says:

    I dropped PayPal and eBay after a hold was placed for 21 days on an iPhone sale. Crazy as I had been on eBay for over 10 years with 100% feedback AND the recipient left positive feedback within 3 days. We even we exchanged emails saying all was good. Still they withheld payment. No looking back- I am done with them.

    • tinadoll says:

      I had the same thing happen to me! They placed a hold of money of a DVD i sold,even-though i had been with Ebay for years! I was so mad! I had to send the item so i wouldn’t get negative comment.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      Under eBay’s newest “screw sellers over” policy you have to have a certain number of transactions over a certain period of time in order to avoid having the hold placed. I want to say it’s 100 every 6 months, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.

      It doesn’t matter how long you have been selling or how much positive feedback you have already accrued, it happens to everyone that doesn’t meet this standard. A lot of sellers just sell a bunch of $.99 items to meet the threshold and avoid the hold

    • thomwithanh says:

      21 day holds used to be for new sellers or those with questionable feedback. Now just about everybody gets them.

      True story, they sent me an e-mail in December saying they were no longer holding my payments, and then sent me another one three weeks later to say they were putting me back on 21 day holds. Meanwhile I had no account activity whatsoever during those three weeks.

  10. u1itn0w2day says:

    If you truely think it’s fraud I would call the police and inform a federal agency like the FBI or FTC if the package crossed state lines. UPS must have someone who handles fraud/security so try informing them as well, who knows maybe they have a corrupt driver.

  11. scottd34 says:

    amazon has a program where you send them the items you are selling and they ship to the customer, might want to look in to that for your next sale.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      I used to sell things on Amazon.co.uk when I lived overseas; it worked pretty well, though I shipped directly to the buyers.

    • Markitect says:

      After getting screwed by Half.com (part of eBay) I switched all my textbook buying and selling to Amazon. So far I’m a happy customer. I think it’s past time for auction sellers to leave eBay and start using competing services.

      • DariusC says:

        I loved Amazon for buying books, but I love BookRenter more. Better than buying a book at $200 and having to sell it back to the college for like $60 or on Amazon for maybe $100. Instead, I just rent for a fraction of the new price and send it back. Not like I’m going to read up on my Business Law after I take the class, right?

      • incident_man says:

        Amazon Marketplace is no better than eBay. If you sell something on Amazon Marketplace and it doesn’t include something the retail package does, say a user manual for example, the buyer can open a dispute and get his money back and keep the item, even if you clearly said in the item description that it did not include the user manual.

        • DariusC says:

          That’s very hard to believe given you put the notice in the description. This happened to you? With Amazon’s stellar customer service?

  12. chucklebuck says:

    So we all know (or at least have heard the stories) of how crappy eBay/PayPal is. But people keep using them. Are there no good alternatives? Surely if everyone hates the one player in this market there’s opportunity for a viable competitor to set up shop and say “We suck less than eBay/PayPal”.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Nope, none that I’ve found. If I want to get rid of something, I can’t get money for it anymore. Craigslist doesn’t even work anymore (too many scammers). If I have anything of value that I want to discard, I offer it for free to friends on Facebook. No takers, it’s donated to charity or goes out to the curb.

      I miss being able to sell things.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        I do the same to avoid the hassle. I had a working 55″ TV (rear projection) that I wanted to get rid of because it took up so much space. It still had “some” value, so I considered my options. In the end, I just didn’t want to deal with the prospect of being stuck with it or dealing with some nightmare of a “customer”. I had Best Buy (I actually got the new TV for a good price) take it away when they delivered the new TV.

        Ridiculous “customers” are actually the same reason why I am hesitant to sell my own car as well. I know you can get more money, but I picture a scenario where I sell a car, with “AS-IS, NO WARRANTY” spelled out on the windshield and when something breaks in the first month, I have some idiot harassing me for compensation. I am probably overreacting to a problem that has a 2% chance of happening, but you see so many unreasonable people on sites like Consumerist, FatWallet, SlickDeals, and even when I worked retail and at a service department that I don’t want to inject myself into that world.

      • maxamus2 says:

        Have you ever been scammed from craigslist or ebay, or are you just overreacting to the occassional story you see broadcast on the media?

        In reality, most every sale through those work extremely well. I’d be more concerned if I was a buyer as I would think there are more selling scams than buying scams.

    • Markitect says:

      What about OnlineAuction.com? Are they any good?

    • maxamus2 says:

      Except that they work extremely well in 99.9% of the cases. It is only the .1% you hear about.

    • Jawaka says:

      Nothing will ever compete with eBay as far as selling goes until other sites manage to get the user base that eBay has. Other auction sites may have more seller friendly policies but if they have half (or even less) of the amount of buyers then its just not worth it.

    • reybo says:

      No auction site is in 2nd place. For sellers looking for a decent price, eBay is first and all the others are tied for last.

  13. Psycho Conductor says:

    This sounds like small claims court material to me.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Since the guy is in another state, you have a good shot to file small claims and they will never come, and you win bedefault (assuming you have sufficient evidence). Then, since they will doubtfully pay, you can file a wage garnishment against them in their state.

      • shepd says:

        Or, if you’re like me and would rather lose the money just to make his life hell, get his car repo’d. :-)

  14. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    I hate to say it, but it maybe time for the OP to seek legal advice. The only other thing I can say to the OP is…believe in Karma!

  15. Howie411 says:

    What was the Buyers Feedback rating? I tend to not let anyone with a low rating buy items I sell on there.

  16. Kaleey says:

    This probably falls under some kind of extortion laws. A fun trick would be to set the police on him. Keep UPS in the loop, that you’re pressing charges against him. Let the police know the entire story behind the situation, too – you may even be able to file a theft charge (Though it won’t stick).

    Also try some UPS corporate people – they could probably grant you an exception on the insurance claim rules. Obviously the “check the packaging” rule is a good common sense rule, but apparently evil parasites like BFH can take advantage of it (sounds like he is lying about the empty envelope).

    Interesting thought: at certain points (like when the package is accepted), the weight is registered. Can you track the package and see what its weight was at any point on the route? Gold coins weigh more than empty envelopes, last time I checked.

    I’m expecting that unless UPS makes an exception, Justin is out the cash. But pressing charges for harassment and extortion might make him feel better.

    UPS needs to just drop by unannounced one day for the investigation.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Definately notify UPS if for no other reason to findout if there’s a problem in their system or with the drivers, loaders, packers etc.

  17. EnergyStarr says:

    if you videotape an uninterrupted packing & sealing of a shipment including the shipment tracking #s and addresses, would this help in the resolution with eBay and UPS?

  18. Kaonashi says:

    Funny this should come up now. I just closed my Ebay account after spending 30 minutes this morning on the phone with their customer service dealing with an account restriction because I dared to list An XBox gold 3 month card. An item which 278 other people have listed and numerous others have confirmed to have sold via eBay in the past successfully.

    Even if it had gone well, the simple fact that eBay customer service will refuse to tell you which policy you violated is reason not to do business with them. They will outright refuse to tell you other than to say that you broke the “rules and spirit” of selling on eBay. Utter BS.

    • maxamus2 says:

      But just because other people are speeding doesn’t mean you won’t get a ticket.

      • Kaonashi says:

        If it were just other people with listings I would understand because there are delays between listing, reporting (if applicable) and delisting but when there are numerous reports of products being successfully sold and money being paid (via paypal no less) for the sale it doesn’t apply.

  19. Vox Republica says:

    Disclaimer: Don’t listen to me. I’m clearly a deranged individual, and this post is 100% satire.

    There is the ever-present nuclear option… publicize *his* information: 4chan, reddit, wherever else terminally vindictive and nameless people assemble. Let the market decide how many pizzas/escorts/extreme fetish magazine subscriptions this guy is willing to get delivered to his house until he surrenders.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      I think this would be a satisfiying option. Of course, try contacting the cops first, extortion, whatever, go to to small claims court.

      In fact, do ALL of that.

    • Nyxalinth says:

      This is the sort of thing where if Anonymous got involved, it would be settled in five minutes. They’d find his ass faster than you could spit.

      Not that I support hackers, mind, but the guy is being a douchecanoe.

  20. jmcolberg says:

    I don’t use UPS all that much, but the last couple of times I sent something expensive (which was also big) with insurance UPS told me they’d have to pack it to make sure it wouldn’t get broken during shipment. Obviously, that’s not an issue with a coin. But you can simply have UPS pack your material (pay a little extra – the buyer would have to pay for it), and then you have insurance plus UPS knows the material is in the box since they packed it.

    Of course, a buyer from hell could still claim the package would be empty, but that buyer would then have to argue with UPS since they packed it (and I don’t think they will be amused).

  21. silver-spork says:

    DH and I were each burned on Ebay by unscrupulous buyers, but luckily that was when you were still able to leave negative feedback for buyers. Once that ended, we stopped selling.

    We may sell through Amazon if we ever need to sell again.

  22. quail says:

    This is why I don’t do eBay. Even before their changes it was a hassle to be a seller.

    Anytime I see someone with a PayPal credit card I’d love to back them in a corner and vent my frustrations at them for their idiocy.

    Still can’t believe the number of eBay/PayPal fanbois there are out there.

  23. Jevia says:

    At some point, someone has to sue (or start a class action) against ebay.

  24. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    I haven’t used eBay in ten years, but I’ve wondered why, with all the rules changing, some seller out there hasn’t started a site listing eBay blacklist buyers.

    I can see that being legally problematic – but there has to be some recourse to protect the seller…

  25. Guppy06 says:

    IANAL, but “pay me to file an insurance report” sounds an awful lot like insurance fraud. Call the police.

    • cheezfri says:

      It’s extortion. The cops could probably get him on that if they can verify the authenticity of the emails.

  26. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Doesn’t eBay offer some sort of intermediary service for high value items? That being said, this item should have been shipped Fedex next day air.

  27. kuhjäger says:

    I used to sell coins on ebay. I had accumulated a huge collection from various sources, and kept the best for myself.

    Note I “used to”. When it comes to coins people are ruthless, and will cheat you like nothing else. Sold tons of other collectibles no problem.

    The one that stands out to me the most though was one coin, an 1873 Indian Head. The obverse was in perfect shape. I mean perfect. The reverse unfortunately oxidized in one area due to the person who owned the collection before me not taking proper care. Took a coin that should have been worth 2 grand to a couple hundred.

    So I sold it as such. The pictures I took clearly showed the issues, and the pictures were huge. Someone bought it, and I was surprised that it sold for about 45 bucks than I thought it would. I was happy.

    The coin arrived, and the guy threw a shit fit because of the oxidation stain. He claimed he didn’t see the stain in the pictures, despite me advertising it in the title. He filed a claim against me, and got all my money taken away, and kept the coin.

  28. RipCanO'Flarp. says:

    Sounds like the OP found the same buyer that screwed me out of ever using Ebay again. Very similar circumstances- sold thing- shipped thing-got delivery confirmation of thing- (always shipped UPS)- buyer sez: thing “not in package” – I sez: yes it is- UPS delivery confirmation, well packaged, etc etc etc. Buyer sez: STFU I want refund for thing not received- I sez no- Buyer disputes with Ebay- Ebay sez “you suck as a seller” sides with buyer- I’m out $200 and no thing and buyer haz thing for free…..Moral- ebay sucks if you sell or buy on ebay make sure all T’s are crossed and I’s dotted to protect yourself!

  29. homehome says:

    well to the seller if i see you have 1440 positive feedback and 1 negative, i would just attribute that to a difficult buyer. I mean you’re flawless for 1440 then 1 idiot. I’d overlook the negative 1.

    And I would pursue legal action, mainly against the buyer for extortion. He knew he didn’t have the product and wouldn’t do the right then and tried extortion, I would check with a lawyer about that.

  30. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    eBay’s condition of refund should require the buyer cooperate with all claims processes on the package.

  31. tinadoll says:

    I’m frustrated because that Ebay is geared towards the buyer. I sold a DVD for ten bucks in November and had to wait until after Christmas to get the lousy ten bucks. And what, buyers expect thier stuff NOW.On the other end of the spectrum, as a buyer i have had trouble with things being stolen off my door step (FED EX UPS and USPS don;t understand that you DON’T put packages on the doorstep of an apartment but i digress) so I know how convenient it is to file a claim and get money- no questions asked. However, is there some way to regulate how many of these “refunds” a customer gets? I mean how many times can you actually file a claim?

  32. DonnieZ says:

    As a buyer, I use eBay a lot. Just about anything I shop for that’s not food I look for on eBay first and it generally works out well.

    Unfortunately, I’ve sold a few things over my 13 years as an eBay member and it’s becoming less and less of an attractive option. I sold an iPad for $375 around Thanksgiving, and after eBay and PayPal took their juice, I was left with about $315. That’s almost 18% of the selling price. It’s to the point where it’s almost worth it to deal with the Craigslist flakes when selling something.

    Regardless, eBay has become a place that’s unfriendly for the occasional seller. They cater to large buisnesses that basically run their business or at least an arm of it on eBay. Most “mainstream” items listed are just mirror images of items offered on a particular businesses website and eBay is just another outlet for them.

    • Actionable Mango says:

      Switch to Amazon. Amazon’s fees are slightly lower, they have better fraud protection, and the payment system for both the buyer and the seller is vastly superior.

      Granted, it is significantly different than Ebay because the prices are fixed instead of a timed auction.

  33. cheviot says:

    As much as I don’t like the deadbeat buyer, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything actionable here, assuming the envelope was actually empty.

    The buyer is under no legal obligation (although certainly he’s under a moral obligation) to help with your insurance claim. He’s asking for a $100 fee to help. As much as that buyer deserves a good thrashing, that’s not extortion.

    Now… my guess is that the envelope was:
    A) Not actually empty
    and
    B) Long ago thrown away

    He signed for the envelope. Sue in small claims court. His emails trying to get money from you to help with your insurance claim with make him look guilty as sin.

    • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

      I fail to see your logic where “asking for a $100″ fee is not extortion.

      The buyer is under no obligation to help, true. If he doesn’t want to deal with the insurance investigation, he only has to say that the packaging is gone. This is a simple cash grab.

      Otherwise, I agree with everything else you said.

  34. Lyn Torden says:

    Three wrongs (ebay, paypal, ups) don’t make a right.

  35. PhiTauBill says:

    I think we all can agree that it is time for a competing service offering, but the barriers to entry are just huge… I was hoping that Google would get into this space, but they remain uninterested after the spectacular failures of other would-be entrants (Yahoo! auctions, etc.)

  36. APCO25guy says:

    Fuck Ebay, plain and simple. A greedy pig shit company who want small sellers to GO AWAY. If you haven’t read the writing on the wall with there recent changes not allowing negative feedback for BUM BIDDERS and TURD BUYERS like this, or CHARGING final value fees on shipping (even when sellers don’t mark up the shipping charges by a penny), to the JOKE of “seller protection”- then you’ve been living under a rock.

    Ebay is nothing but a vast wasteland of overpriced shit that you can buy online cheaper from someone else. and not get hosed on fake merchandise. On the seller protection scams it is true. Short of taking detailed photographs and video from the moment you pack and hand an item over to the shipping carrier, it’s your word against the buyer. They can send you back a box of air or rocks, so long as a signature is used and verified by Payfraud/Greedbay, they’ll refund 100 percent of the selling price and original shipping.

    When I see that Allstate commercial with the “Mayhem” guy playing keyboards telling you “your expected wait time is 94 minutes”, this is about as useful as Ebay support is for sellers.
    They don’t want you, unless you move 100,000 items (then you can scam buyers all day long taking weeks to ship and selling fake crap), they want you to GO AWAY. Ebay sucks, you could put a toilet seat on top of it.

  37. La Flama Blanca says:

    Wait a few months…find this BFH guy, kick the sh*t out of him when he’s rolling back to his moms basement with a bag of taco bell. Say nothing about what or why, but he’ll know. Stomp his crunchwrap supreme too.

  38. Chipzilla says:

    Once you get money paid into your paypal account, get it out of there FAST! Specially if you’re selling $450 coins…

  39. Invader Zim says:

    Did you look up transaction that the buyer has had before. Chances are this isnt his or he first scam. I had similair problems. Looked the buyer up and contacted other people on ebay that the buyer scammed. Gathered my info and presented it to paypit (paypal). It worked for me…but who knows if it will work now. You can also try to contact people who have items that the buyer is currently bidding on to give them a heads up.

  40. bkdlays says:

    I smile every time someome gets burned on Ebay. Eventually you will learn your lesson. Ebay buyers are jerks and sellers are scammy. Of course not all, but many.

    Ebay buying paypal is a HUGE conflict of interest. Plus the buyers and sellers are ebay’s customers.. so all the balls are in their court.

    They are bi-polar in the way they act in dispute situations. You have no recourse ever. Ebay has been putting itself out of business for a long time, but it is as bad as it gets now.

    I refuse to buy or sell on there because you never know what will happen

  41. xamarshahx says:

    Ebay has become horrible, I barely use it now and probably won’t in the future. Their fees are insane! They even charge fees on the shipping charge! Also, always withdraw money from Paypal the minute it comes through.

    The one time I gave a UPS driver a package for an Amazon.com return. The guy basically stole or lost it. UPS said their agreement with Amazon does not allow them to launch investigations and luckily Amazon refunded my money since I spend thousands with them. Any other company and I would have been screwed. Why would UPS have agreements not to have investigations??

  42. cornish says:

    “Once they rid the marketplace of sellers being able to leave negatives on buyer I left as every transaction would go unpaid” So Justin believes that the only reason why eBay shoppers pay for their merchandise is because of the threat of negative feedback? Let me guess, he was one of those problem sellers that withheld feedback until they received it themselves. Sounds like eBay is better off without him.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      More like after eBay removed sellers’ abilities to warn others, the scammers came out in full force. A quick search should bring up lots of ‘how to scam free stuff on eBay’ sites so you can get an idea of what the limited-feedback culture has spawned over there.

  43. Cat says:

    If there’s something I need, I can get it from someplace other than eBay.
    If I want to sell something, I can sell it someplace other than eBay.

  44. fmatthew5876 says:

    You got really unlucky. One time I was selling 2 items on ebay and accidentally shipped each of them to the wrong person. When the mistake was discovered they were all cool about it. They shipped the items to each other and I refunded the shipping via paypal + a little extra. Everyone was happy and I got 2 positive reviews.

  45. Ashman says:

    Contact the FBI, file an interstate mail fraud case with them and extortion case. get the local authorities involved as well.

    I would also look to file an EECB to ebay / paypal as well just for good measure.

    I would also call the guy up and have a conversation with him about the situation and ask him again to cooperate with ups. record your phone call and try to catch him extorting you for the $100.00.

    Then let him know you have it recorded and that you are taking it up with the necessary authorities.

  46. shibotu says:

    That is just evil.

  47. waicool says:

    sounds to me like ebay is a candidate for this years tournament.of worst companies.

  48. Sean says:

    Keep an eye out on ebay for the coin, maybe BFH is stupid enough to list it for sale. Buy it from him and then say you did not receive it. Score!

  49. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    “This plan worked for 25 shipments”

    at which point I’d be looking at the shipper as they probably caught on to what was in the envelopes.

    • who? says:

      I still buy on ebay. Mostly cheap crap from sellers in Hong Kong, for 1/4 the price of what I would pay for something similar (but probably better made) locally. I’ve never had a bad experience, but I do understand what I’m getting into when I buy. Last week, I had an ebay audio cable break into two pieces after a few weeks of use. I didn’t know cables could just break like that. But I had only spent $0.06, shipped. So I ordered a new $0.99 cable, and didn’t worry about the broken one.

      When I sell, I sell on craigslist. It’s so much easier to just meet someone face to face, get cash, and be done with the whole thing. It doesn’t hurt that I work at a facility with armed guards. If it’s an expensive item, I set up the meeting in the guard shack at the entrance. The prices I get are the same or higher than I’d get from ebay.

  50. DarrenO says:

    “I used to make a nice living on eBay until they changed their policies and fees a few years back. Once they rid the marketplace of sellers being able to leave negatives on buyer I left as every transaction would go unpaid and as a seller I had no recourse.”

    So, the OP claims to know that eBay is a really bad place to try and sell anything and he vowed to never do it again.

    “Fast forward to a month ago, in this tough economic times my buddy wanted to liquidate some of the gold coins his family had been keeping for a while. I started selling gold coins on his behalf without trouble for about 25 transactions, until I had a horrific experience with [the buyer from hell] on ebay.”

    Now that times are tough and scammers are abound everywhere, NOW must be a good time to go back to eBay. Not only to go back to eBay, but to sell stuff for someone else!!

    “Side note: until this point my friend had been receiving the money directly to his paypal and he was shipping the items. He went out of town and left me with three coins to ship while he was gone.”

    I don’t understand why the friend being “out of town” would change anything. Paypal accounts can be checked. I also don’t get why the guy is using his eBay account, where he’s really concerned with his perfect feedback, to sell stuff for someone else.

    “[BFH] pays for the item and I ship his coin. I place it in a white regular envelope, seal it and then place the sealed envelope inside the UPS cardboard envelope (the document sized ones) and ship it with signature delivery, and insurance for the full value. If anything should happen, I should be covered.”

    I guess the OP has never had one of those cardboard envelopes rip. Putting a valuable item inside an unmarked white envelope and putting that in another envelope doesn’t seem all that secure / safe to me.

    “Man was I wrong, a few days go by and I receive an email from [BFH] saying “The Envelope was empty” and immediately starts harassing me from there, using profanity and becomes increasingly threatening. He even looked up the address of the business I shipped the coin from, (my family business) then took it upon himself to go plaster our Facebook fan page cursing and threatening.”

    If he’s threatening you, call the cops.

    If the envelope really did arrive empty, then he thinks you’re the thief.

    If the envelope arrived intact with the coins and he’s scamming you, then you still want the police involved.

    “As I try and talk to him all he says is “go fuck yourself” etc. I tried explaining to him that I did indeed ship the coin and if there was a mistake then everything is insured and all will be right, but no the tirades continue. Without being able to resolve anything, he disputes the coin though eBay. Without speaking to anyone, eBay grants him his full refund.”

    I know they’re part of the same company, but eBay can’t refund anything to anyone. If you mean Paypal refunded the payment to him “without speaking to anyone” I have to call shenanigans as Paypal always asks the seller for information before they do a claim adjustment. Not that WHAT you say is important to Paypal it seems, but they DO ask, so I don’t believe this part of the story at all.

    “The tirades continue, time and time again I explained to him he now has a full refund, he has not been screwed out of any money and someone obviously stole, or misplaced the coin during shipping. I would like to claim insurance on the package, so I am not out $450 as well.

    Up until this point, it is just a typical eBay transaction gone wrong, but now is where I become upset with the process of UPS and eBay.

    After numerous pleading emails to the buyer, he now understands that I need him to cooperate in order to receive my insurance claim from UPS. Under their terms, they must inspect the envelope before they grant an insurance claim. The buyer now tries extorting me for money in order for him to cooperate with UPS. He wants $100 delivered into his bank account or else he says he will never pick up the phone.”

    Extortion, the new white meat! Call the cops.

    “After countless calls to UPS & eBay they will not help. I’ve submitted documents to UPS and eBay explaining how he in writing has said he will not help without being paid. UPS continues to say that without inspecting the package or at least talking to the buyer, they will not grant insurance. I understand this is a common sense policy, but there MUST be special circumstances! I have in writing a customer that is basically telling me to go fuck myself because he has his money.”

    I love how the OP can’t get his point across without profanity, that says a lot. The problem isn’t with UPS it is with Paypal if they gave the buyer a refund. UPS has a system, and to get the claim they need to inspect the package. The fact that Paypal screwed that up for you isn’t their fault.

    “Moral of this story is, if you want anything for free on eBay just purchase an item, say you have received the item and the package was empty, never help the buyer. They will grant you a full refund, and the seller will be out money.

    Unbelievable.”

    Is it really unbelievable? The start of the post the OP says he left eBay a few years back specifically BECAUSE of the fear of this same thing happening.

    “It is hard to put into words the frustration I have had with eBay and UPS and this story doesn’t even do it justice. I am being scammed by a user and then extorted to cooperate and UPS and eBay just sit back and do nothing!!!

    I am out a gold coin, $450 plus $20 shipping UPS and I receive a big Negative from the buyer in my perfectly clean 1440 feedback!”

    The OP is out a gold coin?? What about the part that it was his friend’s gold coin that he was just selling for him?? How does THAT equate to the OP being out a gold coin? This story is a bunch of hooey. Especially with the items being gold coins, there are plenty of places to go sell gold coins for full value locally no matter where you are and you don’t have to sell them on eBay.

  51. cameronl says:

    As with any business, theft and bad customers are a part of the picture. One bad feed back won’t kill you, and you gotta accept that the money is gone. You can’t look at a single item, but at the big picture. For all the gold coins sales, look at the profit.

    • DariusC says:

      You fail to understand that this only works for large businesses. One flunked sale for a small business can mean they go tits up. Also, bad customers are not a “regular business liability.” The government had that same logic back in the day regarding construction incidents. They said there was an allowable amount of deaths/injuries per project. Now, they realize that ALL injuries can be prevented, just as all unscrupulous behavior can given we teach people to be more honest.

  52. Guppy06 says:

    Settings eBay likes to hide:

    * From “My eBay” go to Account > Site Preferences
    * Next to “Buyer Requirements” click “Show” and then “Edit”
    * For both “Buyers with Unpaid Item Strikes” and “Buyers with policy violation reports,” make sure these are set to the fewest problems for the longest amount of time. Remember: without the ability to leave buyers negative feedback, you must assume the worst.
    * Probably want to check “Don’t allow blocked buyers to contact me,” unless you find humor in the messages Nigerians will send you.

    And for the really, REALLY hidden setting:

    * As above, on the “Site Preferences” page, click the “buyer requirements exemption list” near the top of the page.
    * “Add an eBay user to my Blocked Buyer/Bidder List.”
    * Anybody who rubs you the wrong way, anybody whose jib you like not the cut of, anybody you get any sort of negative vibes from in any way, shape or form, goes on this list. Not just the bad but also the merely questionable must go on this list, because blocking the questionable now is better than trying to deal with them when they go truly bad later.

    For example, someone asks you a question you clearly already answered? Block them, as they are far more likely to file a “not as described” dispute; you have no idea what else they’re unable or unwilling to read.

    Ridiculously lowball offer? Blatantly trying to test your naivete earns them a place on the list as well, as you don’t know what other avenues they’ll try to explore to shortchange you.

    Be exceedingly liberal with the blacklist, because it’s often the only protection you’ll have as a seller.

  53. Scamazon says:

    I agree, I was fleeced on eBay by a buyer who switched items on me and got eBay to side with him even though we found through his feedback he had done this numerous times before. There are a bunch of bottom feeders on eBay right now and I guess the deals get even better if you yell and say you never got the item or the item was damaged even though it was INSURED!. I suspect a class action lawsuit is due…

  54. dogmaticman says:

    If you read ebay policies carefully you’ll find that all the legalese overwhelmingly supports the buyers. Ebay/Half.com does this to increase the buyer pool by making them feel safe and protected. Having been a seller for many years I can say that its total absurdity…its pretty much a one way street on protective rights, and with recent drop shipping scams (where the buyer fwds it to another seller to skim profit and then claims you didn’t send it) it’s getting even worse. If Ebay/Half.com doesn’t wisen up to these recent trends, they really deserve to go down, and as sellers we should all play our role by leaving the market.

  55. evilpete says:

    If you shipped with USPS you could send a few nasty postal inspectors

  56. SlimDan22 says:

    I just removed all my school textbooks up for sale on half.com after reading this, i would rather have Amazon have my business

  57. wildbill says:

    Get a lawyer man, you have one hell of a case. Sue the buyer for defamation of character, sue for harassment, sue eBay, sue sue sue

    good luck, this why we have bloodsucking lawyers.

    Also file a police report in the jurisdiction of the buyer for theft and extorsion. With any luck they will show up to his place with a warrant looking for the gold coin. Best case you get the coin back and still sue him for whatever he has for defamation of character. Ask the judge to ban him from the internet (they actually do that too in harassment cases).

    • dangermike says:

      That’s not going to get anywhere. First, there wouldn’t be a search warrant. Second, even if there were, it’s not likely to turn up something so easy to stash or move as a coin. Third, even if they obtain a warrant and find a coin, how would they prove it’s *this* coin? Unless there’s a pattern of several complaints, I wouldn’t expect to see any action from the authorities.

      The answer, in this case, is to learn from the situation. First, if the both parties are being honest, then the coin might have been stolen while the package was in transit. This has been known to happen from time to time, especially with high dollar insurance policies on small or light packages. Second, if the buyer is being dishonest, then the seller would need to be able to prove this. In either case, selecting a shipping method that provides a verifiable chain of custody is imperative. USPS registered mail provides such a service. Alternately, for purchases of this nature by establish brokerages, it is not uncommon to utilize a bonded courier service. Protecting the shipment is the seller’s responsibility, and unfortunately, due diligence was not performed in this case, and the lesson has come at great expense to the OP.

  58. Bent Rooney says:

    OP knew eBay/PayPal was no longer safe for sellers, but used them anyway to sell an expensive item. Wow.

  59. dush says:

    People still use eBay? I never see that old website mentioned anymore. It’s all Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter now days.

  60. chiieddy says:

    I think at the very least you have a case for extortion. Because it was over state lines, perhaps a federal charge under money laundering since gold was involved. Contact your police and see what they suggest. At the very least file a stolen property report.

  61. mikeqube says:

    I’m done with ebay and paypal. My last ebay transaction was a camera that I sold for a bit over $800. The buyer was really nice though the whole transaction, I even helped him via email to get it connected to his computer. He thanked me and said everything was working great, he loved it and blah blah blah. Fast forward to about a month later and my paypal account is $800 in the negative. He decided to do a chargeback and claim he never received it. I provided the delivery confirmation with signature, emails form him saying he was happy with it and paypal didn’t do a damn thing about it. So now it seems if you want something for free, just do a chargeback, paypal won’t do anything to help make things right.

  62. ronbo97 says:

    Was the gold coin insured by the OP’s buddy ? At the very least, he could file a claim with his insurance company. I’m not sure, however, how a value would be determined for the loss.

  63. reybo says:

    Did the buyer have a feedback record? I know eBay screwed up the FB system by allowing only Positive FB for buyers. It’s insane and horrible for sellers, but they did it. But did your buyer have a record? Newbie bidders are a no-no for anything better than used panties.

  64. mazterjedi says:

    ya ebay is totally slanted for the buyer….even tho its the seller that does all the work and pays all the fees.

  65. maruawe says:

    You should take him to court of damaging your reputation ,if the case is true and he will not help state the time and frequency of his calls with a short description and print it all out The take UPS and him to court -neither will probably show up for court and you will get a default judgement for your money and court fee’s..

  66. Greggen says:

    Funny how sellers complain about how unfair Ebay/Paypal is to sellers, I stopped using both years ago after being crapped on by one too many powersellers.. Ebay let them get away with all kinds of crap.. Heck, even normal sellers sold crap and there was nothing Ebay would do..

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Sure, there are (and have been) bad sellers. While powersellers were given special privileges, that doesn’t take away from the fact that occasional sellers have to deal with this kind of BS.

      Oh, and I was primarily a seller, and had my share of scumbags to deal with, but also received broken merchandise and bootlegged tapes as a buyer.

  67. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    This is happening time and time again on ebay now. I too, am done selling on ebay. I haven’t been screwed yet, but I’m stopping before then. I had a friend get screwed this same way just last summer on some communications equipment. He also lost hundreds. Ridiculous.

  68. movalca says:

    OK, lesson learned. Now here is the correct way to ship coins or other monetary instruments: NEVER, NEVER ship those items through UPS or FEDEX. ALWAYS go to the Post Office and ship REGISTERED MAIL.

  69. FiorellaMajumdar says:

    Yeah, I stopped selling on ebay when they made my life hell over a SUCCESSFUL transaction, conspiring with PayPal to hold my money for two months even after I received a positive review. I’d rather sell on CraigsList (and I’d never sell on CL) than deal with ebay again.

  70. Debbie says:

    He should file a theft/rifling report with the post office. Most dishonest buyers will not risk being charged with fraud and will drop the case.

  71. One-Eyed Jack says:

    And this is why I will no longer sell on eBay, either.

  72. Verdant Pine Trees says:

    My man, you need to look into postal fraud.

  73. dwfmba says:

    eBay has become unbelievable. Every time I sell an item anymore, I have a feeling in the back of my head that I’ll never see a payment or have an experience like this. The thing that needs to happen is shippers change their insurance policies if associated with an ebay sale. This is effecting them too.

  74. dourdan says:

    ebay is always a gamble, but i think there are good people out there.

    i have lost items 2 times, once to a buyer in Mexico and once to a buyer in Colombia.My dad works for usps and said certian countried have “issues” with customs.

    i trust people and i have been treated well on ebay.

  75. toodarnloud says:

    If you are selling on eBay, before you ship the item can you make the person sign a legal document stating that if the product is damaged or stolen during shipping that they are to cooperate with the shipping company to finish the insurance claim? And failure to do so will result in a small claims court complaint in the seller’s jurisdiction and/or a complaint of theft to the police in the buyer’s jurisdiction?

  76. emyaeak says:

    My husband sells model trains on eBay. We didn’t have BFH as bad as this guy did, but eBay’s actions to the situation were absolutely absurd. Without going into the whole story, it ended with eBay PAYING the BFH to remove his negative feedback from our account. What kind of solution is that? They are rewarding the guy for lying in the first place. Granted, there is no way really for eBay to find out the truth because they don’t even ask, much less have any way to verify anyone’s story. Whatever, we still use it to sell, but at least the trains are relatively cheap ($20-50, occasionally $100 max).

    Oh, don’t get me started on the guy who complained that the train arrived broken, and wanted a refund. Fine, we have no problem giving you a FULL refund as long as you send the train back to us, on our dime. He refused, and still opened a dispute. He couldn’t produce the “broken” product for refund, and luckily eBay ruled in our favor. Sorry, buddy, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

  77. OMG_BECKY says:

    So…what exactly does Paypal mean by “Seller Protection” then?? Should I stop wasting my money on delivery confirmation if it doesn’t mean a damn thing in eBay’s eyes?

    I suggest the seller signs that buyer up for EVERY magazine subscription on the face of the earth (go to B&N and collect subscription cards out of every single magazine there). Google his name and address–you’ll be surprised how much you can learn about a buyer this way. I had a guy dick me around on eBay once and I managed to find him and his girlfriend on Facebook as well as his place of employment. Fun ensued. Terrorize the mofo.

  78. ancientone567 says:

    What comes to mind is sealing the package in front of a licensed notary and have the notary be witness that the coin was in the package. Have this done for expensive items. Then when it comes to court you have a rock solid witness. The judge will love that. Facts are facts!

  79. donovanr says:

    First mistake was using UPS. Keep in mind that if you ship to Canada and UPS smells internet sale they will tack on a $40 “brokerage fee” also they nearly always charge duties even on duty free items. If you as a shipper ask about them they will deny they exist. At the receiving end they hold a gun to your package. Before buying anything from the US I check to make sure they aren’t using UPS. Ship a package USPS to Canada and it is usually here in a week.

    UPS is scum.

  80. InvisibleEcho says:

    I don’t understand. How does anyone make money selling things on Ebay and why does anyone continue to use it if this kind of activity is so prevalent? Are there any other less abusive companies where this kind of practice isn’t tolerated that can be used instead?

  81. PhilipCohen says:

    And, don’t forget PreyPal’s facilitating of this loss ‚Ķ

    “When Do We Start Calling eBay A Payments Company?”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/ebays-transformation-when-do-we-start-calling-ebay-a-payments-company-2012-1

    A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. This linked “Business Insider” article contains a graph of eBay revenues since 2003. It shows, quite starkly, how eBay’s Marketplace revenue has stagnated since 2008, about the time that the headless turkey from Bain & Co, John Donahoe, got hold of the tiller and started his “destructive renovations”. eBay’s share price has moved little in the same period; ergo the eBay Marketplace has effectively been in decline since 2008.

    It should be obvious, even to the simplest of analysts, that as time passes, the Amazon River flows ever more strongly, whereas the eBay Marketplace now consists of little more than a chain of stagnant ponds covered in slimy green algae—and isn’t that a couple of rusting Chinese-made shopping trolleys that I can see dumped therein?

    The graph also shows the eBay-underpinning increases in revenue that eBay has received from PreyPal during the same period, that is, from roughly when the “eBafia Don” effectively mandated PreyPal’s use on the eBay Marketplace. Some analysts therefore think that eBay’s future lays in PreyPal.

    Well, if anyone thinks that the retail banks are going to let parasitic middlemen, such as the clunky, “merchant of sorts”, PreyPal—who after all does no more than ride, precariously, on the back of those banks’ own payments processing systems—continue to nibble away at one of the banks’ principal areas of business for any length of time, all I can say is, dream on …

    PreyPal is little more than a clumsy, fraud-enabling middleman the use of which also nullifies the statutory protections that, in many countries, would otherwise be available to users paying directly via a real bank’s credit card.

    Then there is PreyPal’s current testing of “mobile payments” at POS in Home Depot stores. Are people actually leaving their funds “on deposit” with this clunky, unlicensed, prudentially unregulated, PayPal “non-bank” that is itself not even licensed to provide credit? Otherwise, how are the funds for such mobile payments being sourced by PreyPal from the payer’s real banking account in a way that the merchant can be sure of ultimately getting paid by PreyPal? Not with the standard non-guarantee of payment that PreyPal serves up to its online merchants, I hope.

    And, unfortunately for eBay’s chief headless turkey, Visa’s professional online offering “V.me”, when it is up and running later this year, will undoubtedly put paid to whatever success that the clunky PreyPal has had with professional online merchants outside of its mandated use on the eBay Marketplace. And soon thereafter both these unscrupulous and clunky entities should commence/continue their long-deserved journeys down the gurgler.

    Scott Thompson saw the writing on the wall; John Donahoe remains delusional, that fact confirmed by the reported sightings of him waving his mobile phone about and mumbling about UFO sightings over San Jose.

    “How secure is PayPal for sellers?”—UK “Guardian”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/jan/27/is-paypal-safe-protection?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

    And an interesting follow up to this UK “Guardian” article at:
    http://www.hadess.net/2012/01/getting-conned-ebaypaypal-fun.html

    “Vendor Claims eBay Plays Dirty” [Who would have believed it?]
    http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/01/43529.htm

    “Seller Files Suit Against eBay” [eBay’s “Featured Plus” scam]
    http://www.theonlineseller.com/2012/01/27/seller-files-suit-against-ebay/#comment-383

    “New Developments in PayPal Class Action Lawsuit over Payment Holds”
    http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y11/m11/i11/s01

    “A PayPal Christmas” [cartoon video]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV2fk56ktVE&lr=1

    “PayPal: The Horror Stories” [What, more?]
    http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=23607

    “Does Visa Have The PayPal-Killing Card In Its Wallet?” [Yes!]
    http://consumerist.com/2011/03/does-visa-have-the-paypal-killing-card-in-its-wallet.html

    “Visa Launching PayPal-Like V.me Service Next Year” [2012]
    http://consumerist.com/2011/11/visa-launching-paypal-like-vme-service-next-year.html

    Scott Thompson abandons the struggling eBay for the struggling Yahoo
    http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=166803#post166803

    PayPal claims PayPal not a debit card or payment network!
    http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=24148

    Then, if all that‚Äôs not enough to inform you of the utter contempt that a great many users feel for PreyPal and eBay, try Googling ‚ÄúPayPal sucks‚Äù and you will find about ten million more reasons. There‚Äôs more involved in judging the future of a corporation than simply its published financials, and this applies especially to eBay/PayPal, who have become the two most despised commercial entities on the planet‚Äîeven more despised than “the banks”, and that has taken some doing …

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

  82. Raj says:

    I used Ebay for years without much hassle, both as buyer and seller….but one lousy buyer changed all that, and now I find that it’s just easier to buy items through Amazon, and use my local classifieds website for selling (in Canada, usually Kijiji).

    Honestly, it’s not worth the hassle to sell on Ebay anymore; sold a beautiful little 1980′s Nikon lens that took fantastic pics, but was completely manual focus. Buyer waited 3 weeks to complain about the lens, and wanted a full refund…despite me posting a 1 week return window (more than enough time to test a lens). I said no, he disputed, back and forth for a month with rep from Ebay asking me to just give the lens back (lens was over 300, so I wasn’t going to give up without a fight), until I finally got lucky and Ebay sided with me….although the negative stain on my feedback annoyed the bejesus out of me. Long story short, not worth it anymore.

  83. Robert Nagel says:

    A bright spot is that he didn’t keep you from getting the insurance refund. UPS would not have paid anyway.

  84. Robert Nagel says:

    Next time send it USPS, Registered. The possibility of facing a postal inspector should get the miscreant in line pronto.

  85. mramos says:

    A lot of people aren’t aware but you can generally call Paypal or Ebay and talk about a case. I’ve done this twice and it was a lot easier than dealing with the online back and forth. The last time was about 3 months ago when I sold a pretty messed up (water damage) phone. I think the buyer intended on repairing it and failed but around a month after the auction ended he opens a claim saying he never received it. I had tracking for it so I called up Paypal and told them that USPS said he received it almost a month ago. They told me that I had done my job and this was more of a paypal issue and closed the claim in my favor.

    I had another issue with a messed up phone about 2 years ago that ended very similarly. The buyer complained about issues I clearly stated in the auction and damage that was clearly visible in the photos. The Ebay rep asked me if I wanted to give him a partial refund to keep him happy which I declined and she closed it in my favor. It took under 15 minutes both times. I’m sure these reps are going through thousands of claims a day so actually getting one on the phone who takes a couple minutes to actually review everything completely can make a huge difference.

  86. hahatanka says:

    Have a lot of stuff would like to sell on ebay. But with the current “screw the seller” policy, will just stick to Craig’s List. Too bad would make more money on ebay.
    Court is usually a waste of time. Under several $1000 they want you in small claims court. My county will only accept a case if the person you’re suing also lives the the county.

  87. SteveHolt says:

    This counts as internet fraud, and possibly mail fraud. I got scammed by someone online once, and I filed a complaint with the government’s online fraud… thing. Sorry I don’t have a link for you. It got me my $50 back. You might want to Google that and check it out.

    Also, I’m not a lawyer :)

  88. tater says:

    As someone who has worked for 2 top eBay sellers (both with over 200,000 feedback) for the last 5 years, I can say that, sadly, this does not surprise me at all. It is the general consensus in the eBay selling community that eBay has become progressively more prone to side on behalf of the buyer, and while this does not necessarily seem a bad thing, it obviously (and frequently) applies even when the seller is not at fault.

    They introduced their (officially titled) “eBay Buyer Protection” policy about a year ago, and since then my company is lucky to have a case decided upon in our favor every few weeks, at best. We have maybe 3-7 cases opened up against us each day, just because of the volume of business we do. Of course, we actively work with buyers to ensure they are content with their purchases, but when they are unwilling to work with us, that’s when eBay tends to step in and just side with them.

    I handle cases all the time where a buyer is completely unreasonable and unwilling to ship back an item which they claim is damaged or not as advertised, and eBay quite often, ultimately closes the case and automatically issues a refund to the buyer. It’s a shame, and this is just the icing on the cake when you also take into account their regular fee hikes, poor customer service and utterly preposterous expectations as far as seller feedback and “DSR” (detailed seller ratings) is concerned.

    My company has been struggling more and more just to appease our buyers as well as eBay, even getting to the point where we have nearly faced account suspension on multiple occasions despite maintaining a positive feedback percentage of 99.5% and above!

    My opinion? If you’re a seller, ditch eBay for Amazon. There are a million reasons why and I won’t go into the details, but really — at least try it.

  89. kataisa says:

    What about taking Ebay or PayPal or even the buyer to small claims court? Could he do that?

  90. McGuirk says:

    I’m an ebay seller (reluctantly, of course) and I have a couple good stories. Yes, it is true that since the policies changed on negative feedback left for buyers (left from sellers); the likelihood of scams has gone up exponentially. I had one guy who bought a jacket from me and did the “box was empty” scam; he got his money back, I’m out a $200 jacket, and ebay instantly sides with the buyers. (btw, I have a 100% rating with more than 200 sales and the kid had a rating of less than TEN!!!) However, after getting fed up with dealing with paypal and ebay giving me the runaround; I decided to take matters in my own hands. Here’s what I did; since I knew his full name and location, I decided to “friend” him on facebook. Since he already knew my name, I used my friend’s account and he friended me instantly. I then sat on it a little bit and posted a message on his “wall” about being scammed of the jacket and asked his friends if they had noticed him wearing the jacket. (It was a REALLY unique jacket and very difficult to find); low-and-behold, I got about a dozen replies (one even from a family member) telling me that they have seen him with the jacket and how he wears it all the time. Long story, short…I got the police involved, they made a visit to his residence, got my jacket back, and he received a HUGE fine for the misdemeanor and he was humiliated on facebook in a variety of ways through my “trolling” on his wall. Yes, I was eventually “unfriended”, but I got a good 3 or 4 days of digs on his own wall before the idiot could figure out how to “unfriend” me.

    Second story, now whenever I’m selling/sending an item to a buyer who has a dubious rating/ebay history, I get the package “notarized” with proof of item being sent from a “secure” location with enough safeguards to ensure that they can NEVER claim that the package arrived empty. I’ve even gone as far as boxing it much like the “Russian Eggs” nestle into each other. (i.e., a box in a box in a box in another box and then duct taped inside a last box.) I now make it somewhat of a game when I sell my items and LOVE to get disputes and shoot them down with all the PROOF that I have that it was sent. I’ve actually had a couple ebayers have the audacity to tell me that the last box was empty and then I delight in sending them PROOF that I had my delivery notarized. I usually don’t get any replies, payment is sent, and they then delete their account on ebay.

  91. SoCalGNX says:

    Buyers can do what ever they want on Ebay. There are a lot of psychos there who will also try to bully you into selling them things at a cut price. Sellers also have no way to flag evil doers so that others have any warning at all.

  92. wakeboardermom says:

    The problem is definately ebay automatically believing the buyer and not allowing the seller to leave negative feedback. They should at least require the seller to work with the buyer to file an insurance claim before deciding the case! I had this same problem. Thankfully it was only a loss of $10 on a gift card, but it infuriated me because I received several emails from other seller saying the say buyer was scamming them the same way. We all lost! She bought 20 $10 gift cards that day and ended up getting them all for free. I guess she thought noone would waste too much time fighting for $10, but we all notifed ebay and all got back generic responses showing they didn’t even check it out. It’s so sad that ebay allows scammers! They won’t even shut down their accounts!

  93. technoreaper says:

    This guy was a professional scammer. I would have gone straight to the Feds. When it comes to gold and jewelry, the scammers come out of the woodwork. He got the coins and your $450, then wanted to profit even more. You did not handle this right. I would have written a letter to UPS, then went to the FBI or Secret Service ASAP. They need to find this guy. He has likely done the same thing to other people.

    This is all you need to know. You were just too nice to this guy. I wouldn’t have sent him any money back until a full investigation was completed.

    In future, sell these items face to face in your local area, at a public place. That way, you can get the money, see if it’s real, meet the buyer and hand him the items so you know he got them.

  94. edrebber says:

    The buyer requested $100 be deposited in his bank account or he would not pick up the phone. That’s not extortion. The buyer has no legal obligation to cooperate with an insurance claim. The buyer is simply requesting compensation for performing an service that is not legally required of him.

    The buyer doesn’t become the seller’s indentured servant when entering into an ebay transaction. The thirteenth amendment to the constitution forbids forced servitude.

    The carrier knows perfectly well that many buyers refuse to cooperate with insurance claims, but failed to disclose that fact to the seller.

    A buyer should never cooperate with an insurance claim, because by doing so they are giving testimony under penalty of perjury. Nobody should ever put themselves at risk of prosecution, if they don’t have to.

  95. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    ” Systems put in place to instill confidence in buyers can instead give evil buyers a refuge when they scam honest sellers”

    How daft are you? eBay *IS* a system to give evil buyers a refuge for scamming honest sellers.

    eBay/PayPal is the most evil organization on the face of the planet. The entirety of their organization should be dismantled and shuttered with prejudice. How their heinous hijinks haven’t landed every single employee in jail is beyond me.

  96. JackSchitt says:

    You could go full psycho on him:

    Basically the idea is to make him think you’re crazy and that if he doesn’t help out, there’s some serious ‘oh shit’ type stuff that will go down.

    Fedex him a banana with “$100″ sharpied on it. Include a note that says something to the effect of “I paid your satanic fee to answer your phone. Our Lord Jesus asks you to help me get my money back. You’ll help me right? Oh Lord please say you’ll help me… or are you an agent of Satan?”

    Photoshop a plane ticket which shows a trip to an airport near his address for an airport near you. It should have a close date on it. Email that to him.

    Burn the song “They’re coming to take me away” on an audio cd. As many times as will fit. Then find somebody on craig’s list that you can mail it to who will deliver it to his mailbox (make sure it’s not in an envelope. Make sure “$100″ is sharpied on it.

    Call the local police in the area and ask them to do a wellness check on him.

    Post the results on youtube and link to it in future ebay posts as “scammers beware”.

  97. JackSchitt says:

    You could go full psycho on him:

    Basically the idea is to make him think you’re crazy and that if he doesn’t help out, there’s some serious ‘oh shit’ type stuff that will go down.

    Fedex him a banana with “$100″ sharpied on it. Include a note that says something to the effect of “I paid your satanic fee to answer your phone. Our Lord Jesus asks you to help me get my money back. You’ll help me right? Oh Lord please say you’ll help me… or are you an agent of Satan?”

    Photoshop a plane ticket which shows a trip to an airport near his address for an airport near you. It should have a close date on it. Email that to him.

    Burn the song “They’re coming to take me away” on an audio cd. As many times as will fit. Then find somebody on craig’s list that you can mail it to who will deliver it to his mailbox (make sure it’s not in an envelope. Make sure “$100″ is sharpied on it.

    Call the local police in the area and ask them to do a wellness check on him.

    Post the results on youtube and link to it in future ebay posts as “scammers beware”.

  98. Moosenogger says:

    I’d say it’s time to file a police report and go to small claims court.

  99. Dyscord says:

    Yeah, I tend to avoid eBay when it comes to selling things. My story is nowhere near as bad as this, but I did sell my old Xbox on Ebay because I had gotten a newer one. The disc drive needed to be opened manually with a paper clip. This was explained in the auction. The person who buys it ends up giving me negative feedback because the drive “Did not work”. Now, you can respond to feedback, but they don’t give you anywhere near enough space to explain anything. It’s amusing how they cater to buyers, but without sellers there would be no eBay….

  100. ecuador says:

    If there is evidence (e.g. messages that went through ebay), it would probably be enough for small claims court.