eBay Only To Verified PayPal Addresses Or You Can Get Scammed

I haven’t sold very many things on Ebay. I run a DJ company and had a brand new Pioneer DJ CD player that sells for over $1000 that I wanted to sell on Ebay. I went through the process of selling it and the winning bidder (who had very low feedback) payed me very quickly via paypal. The address the person gave me was for her son in Nigeria. Yes, I know Nigeria I should have known, but I was naive and trusted this person. Plus, I had seen on the Paypal website that they have up to $1000 – $2000 of seller protection. So I figured if it was a scam, then I was covered.

So I received the money and went ahead and deposited it into my checking account via Paypal direct deposit. Then all of sudden after I shipped it the buyer filed a claim against me saying that I didn’t ship it…

I was contacted by Paypal and provided documentation of me shipping it to the address that she gave to me. They told me that since it wasn’t a Paypal verified address that I was out of luck and out of my $1100 that I sold it for. I tried calling the USPS and stopping the shipment, but it was gone already. So I was out of luck.

After a month or two of fighting with Paypal and not wanting to pay them they sent my claim to a collection agency. So I kind of had to pay it at that time or my credit would have been tainted. I ended up paying the $1100 and change to the collection agency via my credit card. I figured that my next line of defense was my credit card company. So after I paid on my credit card I contacted my credit card company and explained to them what happened. They sent me some forms to fill out and I sent them all the proof that I had that I had gotten scammed. They sent me information back saying that they talked to the collection agency and they couldn’t help me with my claim.

So now I’m out the $1100 which I could really use and I don’t really know where else to turn. I know I made a bad judgment call by shipping to Nigeria, but at the same time I would have never done that if I knew I didn’t have any type of protection from Paypal or my credit card company.

If you have any ideas as to how I can get this money back could you please help?

– Evan

Sorry Evan, you’re screwed. Paypal seller protection only works when selling to a verified address. Whenever we sell, we only sell to US, Canada, and UK, require paypal, and make it known that we will only ship to a verified address. Only then will you qualify for seller protection, and for big ticket items like yours, you need to require signature confirmation as well. Consider it a hard lesson learrned, pay your bill, and move on. Next time, a good rule of thumb is, if it involves Nigeria, it’s probably a scam. Those advance fee scams filling your email where you deposit $40,000 in gold bullion and send the princess the difference ? That’s also called the “Nigerian 419 Scam.” Nigeria = Scamopolia. Stay away. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. Shutterman says:

    The best thing you can do in the future is set all your auctions to U.S. shipping only. That way if someone buys something and then wants you to send it out of the country you can say no and EBay supports you. There is a setting also to block buyers with low feedback and such. It’s a sucky lesson to learn though. Just take some hard looks at all the EBay settings you can put in place, some are useful.

  2. vr4z06gt says:

    ehh just target that buyer wait till they sell stuff if they do then pull the same scam on them, but have it shipped to a nearby similar address, not Nigeria, but one that isn’t covered.

  3. Crazytree says:

    a fool and his projector…

  4. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    My friend sent me the link for http://www.419eater.com the other day and I haven’t stopped laughing.

  5. hc5duke says:

    Or in my case, PayPal will still screw you if you sell it to a moron. I sold my old laptop on eBay in 2004, and long story short it was sold to a Russian lady in Brooklyn who I guess didn’t really speak much English. When she got the laptop, she said she was expecting a new laptop (despite the listing being under “USED COMPUTERS” category and the actual page said that it was a used one). Then she claimed that the laptop wouldn’t turn on and I was scamming her, sending “threatening” emails about ruining my credit and things like that.

    We went through eBay arbitration, where I said I’ll refund the money except for shipping fees I paid and she would pay return shipping, but she wanted me to refund the laptop, shipping, AND pay for her shipping (which she said was $100, despite the fact that MY shipping fee was about $40). When all this failed, PayPal decided to rule in her favor without giving me any reasons for it, and I was out $1000 and she had the laptop. I had already purchased a replacement laptop at this point, so I was really pissed at this point.

    In the end I drove there to pick it up from her husband (3 hr drive from RPI) and pulled all of my money out of PayPal money market account, canceled my PayPal credit card, and never used PayPal again.

  6. Kimli says:

    @Shutterman: “US Shipping Only” really screws those of us who aren’t in the US but also are not in Nigeria – I’m in Canada, and if I had a dime for every asshat who tried to claim that the shipping cost for the item was 100% of the item’s purchase price, I wouldn’t need to pull Nigerian scams of my own. Granted, my address is verified and I’m a real live person and I wouldn’t scam people for fear of the Karma Police, but still. We Canucks like to use the eBay too.

  7. Crazytree says:

    I have a friend who worked in Nigeria on an infrastructure project and he said Amazon wouldn’t even ALLOW HIM to get to the checkout screen from a Nigerian IP address.

  8. Buran says:

    Isn’t there an ebay.ca?

  9. Buran says:

    @Crazytree: Sadly, the armies of scammers who scam people all day from Net cafes have ruined it for him. If Nigeria actually gave a damn and cracked down on the fraud, it might be a different story, but until they do, businesses are going to refuse to do business on the grounds that getting the Nigerian (honest) public to start screaming at their government is the only way to fix the problem.

  10. scoobydoo says:

    @Kimli: I sometimes ship to Canada (FedEx only) and if I had a dime for every time some jackass Canuck sticks me with the customs fees I’d be rich. FedEx always tries to get the money from the recipient, but I guess most Canadians have figured out that we dumb Americans will just pay it for them.

    Every time someone from Canada won something in one of my auctions I got an email asking me to send it as “gift” or “commercial sample” and fake the item value. And when I explained that I don’t want to break the law just to save them a few dollars they got nasty with me.

    I stopped using Canadian post because they are (and I’m being nice here) all fucking retards.

    I’ve had packages shipped back by CP to me because the item description wasn’t in French, or because (I kid you not) they claimed there was a spelling mistake in the item description.

    So nowadays I just try and avoid Canada, plenty of people in the US with cash.

    As for the person who shipped to Nigeria, I am trying my best to feel sorry for him. One would think that by now every single person in the world would know not to bother shipping to them.

    In an ideal world Ebay would just block the whole damn country and block every single email with “Nigeria” in it.

  11. scoobydoo says:

    @Crazytree: As it should be.

    Sucks to be him, but nothing good comes out of that country when it comes to the Internet.

  12. Lula Mae Broadway says:

    That really does suck – I was selling my iPod on ebay and it was bought via pay it now by a supposed Nigerian Mom who wanted me to send it to her son in college in Lagos. I smelled a scam… but if there’d been actual money deposited in my account I would have been more susceptible.

    Good to know.

  13. queen_elvis says:

    PayPal is willing to screw its customers in the name of security, even when the security threat is nonexistent. And they work hard at maintaining a monopoly so they don’t have to have good service. I recommend Googling it before you buy anything through PayPal.

  14. bastarre says:

    Why is it that PayPal ALWAYS rules in favor of the buyer no matter kind of crap goes down? Several years ago I sold a DVD to lady for $7 including shipping highly recommending that she get insurance/confirmation. She declined and then claimed she didn’t get it. Longs story short, despite documentation and clear warning that I was not responsible if they declined coverage, PayPal ruled in her favor and refused to pay. They shut my account down. Ebay and Paypal just suck now…sigh…I remember the good old early days …

  15. MercuryPDX says:

    @bastarre: Not true. I tried to file a damages claim through paypal (after the post office out and out refused saying it was SHIPPED that way, insured or not). The seller won, I wrote the $65 off as a lesson learned to never trust eBay OR PayPal.

  16. scoobydoo says:

    @queen_elvis: That really just isn’t true. But every story I’ve ever read of someone losing a dispute with Paypal contains some form of the person not reading the website.

    I mean, WTF ships a $1000 item to Nigeria and expects Paypal to cover their losses?

    Simple rules on Paypal:

    Only ship to a confirmed and verified address. It couldn’t be easier. EVERY single paypal payment you receive will tell you whether it is eligible for protection or not. If not, then simply refund the payment till the buyer fixes their address and confirms it. It is there in GREEN or RED in the email. Non eligible purchases mean you are on your own.

    Over $200 ship with confirmed delivery AND signature. In fact, I ship EVERYTHING with signature/confirmation. FedEx ground is only on average $5 per shipment and is as reliable as they get.

    Don’t ship anywhere that can’t track/confirm.

    Stay away from places like Indonesia, Nigeria and anywhere else you can’t point to on a map.

    Nigerians don’t just love Paypal, they love stupid people on Paypal.

  17. rikkus256 says:

    More stories of how PayPal screwed honest sellers here:

  18. RonDiaz says:

    Paypal is scary as hell period. I was a customer from around 2000 through 2003 when I was frauded on my account. If it wasn’t for the simple fact I had no money (poor college kid) I would have been out 700 bucks. As it was my credit union refunded all the overdrafts from PayPal continuously dipping into my account and opened me a new account as Paypal graciously locked my account out when I tryed to unlink my bank and credit card accounts. It was impossible to get someone on the phone there, and at least at that time filing the fraud reports did nothing. To this day I still don’t know if someone got access to my Paypal account or what. I went without Paypal from then until late last year (in the meantime I used every alternate service that Paypal ended up crushing; cit2pay, bidpay, yahoopay etc) when I switched Webhosts and the company was new and only had Paypal at the time, so I bit and reopened an account. I ONLY have a credit card on there so hopefully if there is ever a problem again Chase will come to bat for me at least but I don’t really know).

    I’m really sad that Google sort of folded in their battle to get Google checkout on eBay because any competition to Paypal would be wonderful.

    Bottom line take extreme care when dealing with Paypal period!

  19. queen_elvis says:

    @scoobydoo: What, do you work for them? Look it up. They like to interpret their terms of service very broadly.

  20. tcp100 says:

    Simple rule.


  21. shades_of_blue says:

    @Evan: I can’t believe people still fall for this shit. I’m sorry Evan, but you really need to educate yourself on various types of fraud, if you want to sell on eBay. I applaud your level of trusting and wish more people were like that, but there comes a point where you have to question who you’re communicating with and what motives they have.

    Did you know that in Africa it’s legal to have flamethrowers mounted under your car, to ‘deter’ carjackers? Think about that, before you ever ship something there again. On the bright side, you can take solstice in knowing that your $1100 probably went toward ammo and assault rifles, which means that your defrauder might end up on the wrong side of a bullet, eventually.

  22. tcp100 says:

    @scoobydoo: Don’t ship to Canada with UPS or Fedex. They charge brokerage fees, which are very high, on top of the customs, but roll it in as one charge.

    Ship USPS. I’ve never had a problem; there are no brokerage charges, and the customs duty, if any, is the standard 10% or whatever rate applies to the item.

  23. scoobydoo says:

    @queen_elvis: Ah yes. The old “if you don’t hate them you must work for them”.

    No. I don’t work for them, I’m just an educated consumer who values his hard earned cash enough to pay attention to their rules.

  24. lestat730 says:

    At the very mention of ‘Nigeria’ you should always run (especially if it’s Lagos, Nigeria) Seems like the only people that live there are heartless scammers. Personally, when I sell on eBay I will only sell within the US and get tracking/signature confirmation so I can protect both myself and the buyer. There’s really no reason why he should have had any problems selling his item in his own country. Anyway, it’s really to bad he didn’t call PayPal to confirm that he was protected before shipping it out. Lesson learned the hard way I guess, I definitely feel for him. Hopefully he can take at least a little comfort in the fact that it was only $1100, these scammers regularly take people for $10,000+ dollars which sometimes results in destroyed lives and broken marriages. I don’t know how these guys can live with themselves, they sure as hell aren’t making mom and dad proud.

    For some more info on Nigeria and the various scams check out:

    That site is fun to read, lots of stories about people who receive scam emails and bait the scammers and waste their time for months on end. This often leads to some very very amusing results.

  25. Scazza says:

    What I don’t get is that Paypal should auto-rule in favour of the person who DOSN’T live in the scam-filled nation of Nigeria… And put a disclaimer on their site saying “if you dont live in the US, Canada or UK, you most likely won’t win, use at your risk” instead of ass-fucking every honest seller on the planet and lining the pockets of the same scammers every day..

  26. informer says:

    @RonDiaz: Your story is a perfect example of why I will never be a “Verified” Paypal member (although it’s a moot point since I’m no longer a member anyway). I can’t imagine why anyone would give their bank account information to a company with a track record like Paypal’s. Fuck them and their little online auction racket.

  27. CyGuy says:

    Just wanted to post a quick objection to the use of “eBay” as a verb in the headline – it is an abomination upon the language and must be stopped.

  28. Hawk07 says:

    Ok, I have a question for the experts.

    Which is worse:

    A) Paying the $1100 off to the collection agency,

    B) Explaining the situation to the agency and the fact that you won’t cough up the money, taking the initial hit on your credit report, and fighting/protesting the charge with the credit bureaus

  29. Hmm, yes… The classic paypal scam… Note to self: Verify My Account.

    The only thing keeping me from Verifying my account is I’ve heard PayPal has a nasty tendency to dip into peoples bank accounts…

  30. superbmtsub says:

    The new name for Nigeria is NOgeria. Always say NO to Nogeria even if they spell it Nigeria.

    And wtf dude? You mailed a $1100 product to Nigeria? Cmon man. You gotta have more sense than that. It’s like handing your keys to a roadside bum while you bend down to tie your shoe laces.

    When you ship international, ALWAYS … ALWAYS remember to add tracking/confirmation stuff. USPS has a good system.

  31. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    To the U.S. sellers that won’t ship to Canada, I say thank you. I ship to Canada every day and have found that, by and large, Canadians are the most honest people in the world. I make it very clear up front that we only ship USPS, we will not pay for any customs charges (I tell them how to figure their customs charges), and we only ship products with insurance against loss and damage. That way there’s no problems from the get go. I live on the East Coast and find it’s a lot quicker to ship to Toronto or Montreal then it is to ship to the West Coast of the U.S. And I’ve shipped over 1000 packages to Canada and have NEVER had a problem that there’s no French on my packaging.

  32. billhelm says:

    I don’t sell anything over 100 bucks on ebay anymore. it’s just not worth the grief. instead, I do cash and carry on craigslist. works quite well, and no scammers.

  33. randalotto says:

    I’ve been selling stuff on CraigsList lately and running into these Nigerian scammer types as well.

    Check out 419eater.com, from where the picture comes. They get back at the would-be scammers, and its frickin hilarious…

    PayPal does blow though. I’ve been ruled against twice now – once for a counterfeit DVD I bought (because apparently receiving a fake product is close enough to receiving the right product,) and another time when the seller just vanished. Man I wish GCO could compete freely.

  34. jwissick says:

    Its not just Nigeria. Simple rule: Africa or Asia or Eastern Europe or Russia = NO NO NO NO.

  35. mac-phisto says:

    @Hawk07: yeah, good luck with that one. you’re pretty much effed either way…if you pay right away, there’s a chance that you could dispute it in a year or two & it would wipe clean (if they keep crapass records). if you don’t pay, you run the risk of that debt being resurrected into eternity (even if it’s not legitimate).

  36. mac-phisto says:

    this guy got taken by what seems like a pretty easy shell to crack, but what if the fraud is slightly more concealed. there’s a whole load of thieves buying with fraudulent paypal/ebay accts. & having the crap sent to a u.s. address. then they turn around & fence it or throw it back on ebay or craigslist under another account. craigslist is full of those “help me sell my stolen shit on ebay” ads.

    if you’re lucky, they buy it w/ a stolen card b/c liability lies w/ the card issuer.

  37. Eilonwynn says:

    I hate to say it, but thou art farked – having dealt unsuccessfully with paypal for several years as a part of my job, i’ve realized exactly how much I wish google would create an entire auction system alternative to eBay. Neither eBay NOR PayPal has *ever* sided with a seller (you know, the ones who pay the fees?) that I have *ever* heard of… in eight years. I use paypal because I have to (my cusomters think it’s just spiffalicious), and not because I want to – Not a good situation for any business to be in.

    A few tips: One: See if you can sue the buyer in small claims court. Probably not, but worth a try at that price.

    Two: If you used a tracking number (which, according to paypal, you have to use every time you ship anything…. (i could write a book on being a canadian seller and dealing with this aspect of paypal alone) see if you can track and prove that the item was recieved. Sounds dumb, but some people forget to do this.

    Three: File as many complaints with ebay as you can about this seller, Negative feedback, etc, etc. There are ways to get another member’s contact info – check on eBay’s site to find out how. This may prove helpful info to have later. Phone ebay as well – they’re open from 7am to about 10pm PST. Tell them about the situation – They may have more tips to help you out. Remind them, you’re the seller, you pay the fees, the buyer doesn’t, and it has certainly soured you and all your friends for both buying and selling on ebay, etc. Bad publicity travels – I wish more people realized just how often the *seller* gets scammed, and not just the *buyer.*

    Tips for the future: One, don’t use paypal. The fees keep rising – not only a percentage, but another cut if it’s foreign currency. etc, etc. It may be free to send money, but it’s damn well not to recieve it.

    It is quite common for people to chargeback, and paypal rarely sides with the seller – Even if the item is sent to the UK from the US, the buyer can claim their payment back anytime after 7 days (iirc). You have 3 days to deal with the complaint, whereby, if it hasnt’ been recieved, paypal will give them a refund *for you.* Even if the buyer only paid for regular mailing rates (ie not express,) and expected mailing time is 3-5 WEEKS. And you cannot do one damn thing about it, except to hope that your buyer is not malicious, and will re-pay upon actual receipt.

    If you DO insist on using paypal for anything over a $100 purchase, send it Fedex or UPS – and don’t leave an option for anything else. If the company will no longer deliver to that location, BIG RED FLAG. They have a much better tracking system than USPS or Canada Post or Royal Mail, some of whom’s tracking stops the second it leaves the country of origin – thereby making even the $12 tracking number from canada post “utterly useless.” (according to one paypal representative I spoke with)

    Finally, as others have suggested, on higher value items, limit the buyers to countries you are comfortable shipping to, and who have more than X amount of positive feedback – there are controls for doing this automagically in the account areas of the myebay page.

    Ebay has proved over and over that they absolutely do not care about the seller. If I was in your situation, I’d tell them to take me to court for the money. Screw’em.

  38. szamot says:

    man if I had a dime for every item I got shipped from US to CND that was $9.99 in US or $40 to CND I would be rich too. Hell screw the dime I will take the shipping difference instead, especially when I see that the actual shipping is usually $20 or so. So to all the boys and girls that got scammed on eBAY perhaps it is just a bit of karma for ship-scamming Canadians all the time. Something to think about.

  39. North of 49 says:

    UPS and Fedex: basic brokerage fee for them: 35-40$. Actual customs costs extra. So something that would or should cost 5$ in fees costs 40$ or more. And you have no choice because they automatically charge the customer the brokerage fee. So if you want that neeto toy from eBay, or grandma Jones for that matter, you need to pay it. UPS and Fedex will hold it hostage until you pay up. Nor will they reconsider the fees.

    Customs fees from Canada Post? Only the actual amount owed – 5$.

    Sneaky little trick: label the item “gift” with “no cash value.” Any spot that requires a dollar amount, write in “$0.” More often than not, it’ll just slip through customs without as many problems.

    I had to rescue a piece of needlework from one needleworker because the person who sent it to me forgot to mark it as “no cash value.” It wasn’t mine but part of a cross stitch circle. If I hadn’t forked the money out, she would have been out her project.

  40. MommaJ says:

    These scams come in a variety of forms. Last year my son sold an Ipod on Ebay. He then received what purported to be, and looked very convincingly like, a Paypal email advising that the necessary payment had been deposited to his account and instructing that the item be sent to the buyer’s “son” in Nigeria using a provided Fed Ex account number to pay for the shipping. Of course the Nigerian connection tipped my son off, and he checked his Paypal account, only to find that no such money had been deposited. At the time, he considered using the Fed Ex account number to send the guy a very large box of rocks, but he got busy and never got around to it. I thought it was a splendid idea, though.

  41. FLConsumer says:

    $1100… where’s your tracking #? You DID use a traceable method of shipping an item AND insurance, right? Of course not, so you’re going to whine to Consumerist, like it’s EBay or PayPal’s fault you got scammed.

    I have no love for eBay or PayPal (c’mon someone else, come up with a viable alternative and charge 1/2 the fees, you’ll get all of my business), but in this case, the complainer needs some common sense. It’s a whole wide world on the ‘net, complete with the scammers.

  42. lordbeef says:

    @North of 49

    Marking an item as a gift to avoid customs charges can land you in real trouble


  43. Jesse in Japan says:

    Conspiracy Theory: When Paypal says to the seller that they’ve ruled in favor of the buyer and are giving him his money back, they also send a letter to the buyer saying that they’ve ruled in favor of the seller and that the sale is final. Paypal then keeps the money for itself and nobody is the wiser.

    If you guys get some kind of scary sounding take-down notice for this remark, it’s probably true.

  44. aikoto says:

    I may have a confirmed address, but I never let them confirm my bank account. When they send me the two deposits, I just don’t respond. That way, I can deposit money from paypal to my bank, but they have no way of getting money out of the account :D

  45. crankymediaguy says:

    “I’ve been ruled against twice now – once for a counterfeit DVD I bought (because apparently receiving a fake product is close enough to receiving the right product)…”

    It occurs to me that you might want to report something like that to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). If they’re anything like their counterparts in the music industry, they might frown on an outfit like eBay “condoning” counterfeiting.

    After all, you’re exactly the kind of consumer they like, one who objects to bootlegging.

  46. scoobydoo says:

    @North of 49: See, ALL Canadians seem to think this is what we Yanks should do.

    “Please save me money by breaking the law”. There is no way in hell I’m shipping a cellphone or other expensive item and labeling it as a “gift $0”. I label what it is, what it is worth. If you don’t like that then you should shop in your own country or petition for free and open trade between the US and Canada.

    As for the brokerage fees, I only pay $7 in brokerage with FedEx, so I don’t know where your $40 comes from.

    I’ve always labeled my shipments so the receiver pays the brokerage and tax/GST and tell them to be aware of this. But each and every time they just refuse to pay it.

  47. Starfury says:

    Over the years I’ve sold items on Ebay and Craigslist. I’ve shipped from my Ebay sales to the US, Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zeleand without any problems. Lately shipping costs have gone way up so I’ll only ship to US/Canada.

    As for scammers: I put two old computers up on Craigslist for around $100 each. Within minutes of posting the ad I had a response. They wanted me to ship the computer to Nigeria and they’d overpay me for the computer/shipping so I could enclose the “change” with the computer. I’m a bit smarter than that so declined the offer.

    I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the person that got scammed in this story; Nigerian scams have been in the news for YEARS and you have to be a fool to ship there from an auction site.

  48. markwm says:

    @szamot: Since we’re painting with broad brushes here, I certainly hope our Northern brethren incur the same karmic results for the ship-scamming they do to those of us in the US. I don’t think there’s been a single time I’ve purchased an item from Canada that the shipping I paid was anywhere close to the actual shipping. I’ve actually quit purchasing items from Canada, simply because I’m tired of being given excuses about the exorbitant fees CP charges, when I can see exactly what they are after the item arrives. And I find it even more interesting that I’ve paid twice as much for shipping from Canada as I have for identical items from the UK.

  49. szamot says:

    @ markwm
    There is a simple solution to this, ask the seller if this is the actual shipping cost, if you get any grief you can always use that to negotiate a refund before you post some feedback. I almost never buy anything from ebay.ca and almost always from ebay.com. Now, I had a guy ship me a huge sink half the size of a crate that he managed to ship for $30 – sounded too good to be true but in fact it was $29.65, I also bought a Cisco VoIP and the guy wanted $65 to ship it – he dropped it to $40 and the actual shipping was actually $19.30 and no customs fees. Sorry I don’t mean to paint with a broad brush but if people did charge fair shipping prices they could increase their market exposure by 10% simply by not alienating everyone one north of 49th. I always ask if they can ship by USPS global express which still gets you a signature and costs pennies compared to FedEx or UPS and almost never has customs fees. Consider it.

  50. reykjavik says:


    umm..has anything good ever come out of that country ever? be it offline or on?

  51. drawp says:

    Additionally- BE A LITTLE BIT NOSY!

    Instead of just looking at the score, check the feedback history and the items they’ve been purchasing. Many scammers boost their feedback by purchasing $0.01 e-books from different sellers.

  52. drawp says:

    @reykjavik: Nigeria won the gold medal in soccer at the Olympics a few years back

  53. Ruzmatx says:

    I was scammed by someone like this but they we’re located in Washington, not Nigeria. Basically I sold them two $500 gift cards and they filed a CC chargeback after they received them. I already deposited the money into my checking account and used the $1000 for something else. Since I never kept money in my Paypal account, I had a -$1000 balance with Paypal threatening me to deposit the money. Here’s waht I did, cancelled every credit card and ATM card I’ve ever used on Paypal. Cancelled my bank account and opened a new one. Why did I do this? Because, 1. They would’ve automatically debited a credit card or my bank account for the $1000, 2. when you owe the money (negative balance) they don’t allow you to remove CC’s or bank accounts. It reallly doesn’t matter anyway because when you think you’re deleting a CC number from the site, they DO keep it on file in their servers. Back to the scammer in Washington, thankfully I still had the receipts for the gift cards and I called up the (won’t mention) company and they cancelled them before they could be used and reissued me new ones. So, I got back the $1000 worth of gift cards, plus I kept the $1000 I got from the supposed fraudlent seller which thankfully Paypal ate. Paypal never bothered me again, and I never logged back on to that site of thieves.

  54. Papercutninja says:

    Did they ask the Olympic committee to send them 2 gold medals and they would return one?

  55. Eilonwynn says:

    @jesse in japan – it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that were indeed the case, but we would likely have heard about it through other channels if it did.

    Regarding cross border – Canada Post is evil. Customs is double-plus evil. The combination of the two means frustration for all. You’re far better doing research and finding out that certain things are already duty exempt (ie photographic equipment) or that if the value is less than $20, that’s usually exempt as well.

    Failing that, if you’re anywhere near the US border, simply go down and get a PO Box down there. (or, failing that, have a friend or relative act as a recipient.) That way you’re not giving a seller any grief, and you can declare it as you wish. Your shipping costs will likely be way less, as well. (Most times a border guard won’t bother if you tell them you bought anything less than $100 worth of stuff.)

  56. LAGirl says:

    always, ALWAYS ship to a PayPal verified address. it states clearly in PayPal’s terms that if you don’t ship to a verified address, you aren’t covered by their protection plan. sadly, this guy is SOL.

  57. ungsunghero says:


    Haha, I thought I was the only one that called Nigeria “NOgeria.”

    I have nothing else to add to this discussion, but I LOL’ed at that picture. Is that a cake on top of his head?

  58. adamt says:

    Paypal is infamoust for pulling shady shady shady things like most of you have mentioned, but unfortunately, google checkout or something similar isnt available through ebay.

    I had the misfortune of selling a 20$ cd to a woman back in January. I shipped it out with Delivery Confirmation as I’d been molested by paypal before without DC. I never heard from the buyer again after that and they even left me positive feedback.

    Fast forward to May 20th (about a week before it would have been 6 months and not disputable with paypal) I get a CHARGEBACK through paypal from the person’s credit card as they claimed it was an “unauthorized usage of their credit card”. HUH?

    So obviously I fight with paypal and dispute it, but it is nearly 6 months later and i point out that the user left positive feedback, but that I only keep the DC notices for 2/3 months until after the item has been recieved. Since I no longer had proof I didn’t think I had a chance.

    Paypal settles with their credit card in their favor because it was a chargeback, so this user has the item, and their 20$ back. THEN paypal attempts to charge me 10$ for the chargeback. I called cand complained STAT and had that fee taken off, but unfortunately there aren’t many other options other than taking money orders or western union for payment through the ebay monopoly.

  59. AdmiralNelson says:

    I don’t even t

  60. AdmiralNelson says:

    I dont even take paypal, while I sell in a certain niche on ebay (though mostly through forums), I only take postal money orders. Nothing else is worth my time; of course, I don’t deal with $1000 electronics.

  61. Djinn says:

    Just spent the whole morning reading 419eater.com, when I should have been working ;) … Damn funny.

  62. LintMan says:

    Ruzmatx: “So, I got back the $1000 worth of gift cards, plus I kept the $1000 I got from the supposed fraudlent seller which thankfully Paypal ate.”

    Doesn’t this mean at this point you are essentially stealing this money from Paypal?

    As I see it, the Washington scammers did their chargeback, leaving you and paypal to fight over who gets stuck with the bill. (Arguably, can’t this be disputed with the CC company and potentially become a police matter?) Anyway, Paypal will of course try their damndest to leave you holding the bag, and you of course want to dump it on them – and actually managed to do so. More power to you for swinging that. (As an aside, though, if you think Paypal should automatically eat the loss, how does Paypal know that you’re not in on the scam?)

    But anyway then in the meantime, you actually recovered your gift cards, so you’re not out any money and you’re still holding onto the $1000 from Paypal! Since the scammers got their chargeback, and you have your gift cards, isn’t that Paypal’s money you have there?

    I dont like Paypal, but they weren’t the scammers here. You have your gift cards back. Wouldn’t the right thing to do be to give Paypal back their $1000? I’d argue it might also be the wisest, since there’s no guarantee they won’t sue you for it or hassle you with a colletion agency, etc.

  63. ronaldscott says:

    @reykjavik: Unfortunately Nigeria, like many other 3rd-World nations, is still in its post-Colonial learning curve. Civil wars, military dictatorships, a largely ineffective federal government, pockets of Sharia law, the whole nine yards.

    Let’s not judge them too harshly–they at least came by their problems honestly.

  64. CapitalC says:

    For all the “no shipping to Canada either” posts…

    I’m a Canadian and I buy stuff from the US all the time. I never ask the shipper to fake the value. If I’m buying from the south, I know damned well that it will potentially cost me 7-30% more (after the exchange and shipping costs) because of taxes and duties. That’s an associated cost with shopping over the border.

    For all the vendors – it’s easy: don’t break the law by putting “$0” or “Gift” on the tag. That’s MORE likely to get flagged by Customs for inspection. If you’re selling something, you’re in business. Act like a responsible business and ship it at its value. (And insure it for such as well!)

    When you send something via courier, be sure to tick the “Consignee Pays Duties & Taxes”, that way nobody can “stiff you”.

    If you haven’t already considered it, look into Express and Expedited shipping over standard. I forget if both of them have it but they automatically assign a customs broker to your shipment and typically there will be no duties or taxes (depending on the value, natch). It may cost a bit more but it’s honestly worth it — plus the package arrives sooner!

  65. ExecutorElassus says:

    by the way, does 419eater know that you posted a picture from their site without crediting it? even though it has a watermark on the photo, it’s kinda tiny.

    their site is awesome (they once got a scammer to carve them a Commodore 64 keyboard out of freaking WOOD). you should credit it.

  66. mathew says:

    I don’t really understand the original story. The seller shipped the item to the address provided, and had proof he’d done so. eBay received a complaint from some guy in Nigeria that the item didn’t arrive, and they went back and demanded money from the seller? How does that work?

  67. reykjavik says:


    thanks for proving my point.

  68. North of 49 says:

    UPS charges a $35-40 minimum “brokerage fee” to all goods shipped via UPS from anywhere to Canada on top of what customs might have charged if anything at all.
    [www.cbc.ca] – Street Cents

    [www.cbc.ca] – B.C. man sets off class-action lawsuit against UPS over hidden brokerage fees. “It started after Robert Macfarlane purchased an amplified telephone device from Arizona over the Internet last year. He knew he would have to pay shipping and handling fees and government levies, but he was also ordered to pay a $38.40 brokerage fee charged by UPS.”

    [en.wikipedia.org] – Wikipedia UPS info

    Its not the customs fees that we object to, its the slam that UPS gives us when they charge far more than what Canada Post would if the parcel went that way.

  69. Gloria says:

    Yes, please DO NOT ship to Canada using UPS … they charge some of the most ridiculous brokerage fees around, and have some of the most terrible service. If you insist on UPS, please inform your customers and let them take their business elsewhere … many of them are not aware of such fees (like my mother, for example).

    I’m Canadian … I’ve had people overcharge me on shipping fees from several countries, including those off the North American continent; blaming Canadians or Americans particularly is neither right nor accurate.

    I’ve had exceptionally reliable service from the post office, both Canada Post and USPS, and never had any sellers complain about having packages sent back to them for spelling mistakes or lack of French information (maybe it’s because I live in anglo Ontario?). Heck, I’ve had relatives in Hong Kong send packages to me with customs info filled out in Chinese and they were delivered with no problem.

  70. fizzak says:

    Paypal and Ebay have few security holes that are not covered, never use them.

    I have already been scammed this way:

    Bought an item off ebay from a user in Kentucky, Buy Now and paid through paypal immediately. Hour later I get an email from Ebay stating that I purchased from a hacked account and and to not pay them. Too late. I contact Ebay, they say to contact Paypal (a sister company of ebay)I forward the warning email from Ebay to Paypal. Month later Paypal is reviewing the situation. I get a box from China with nothing in it but Chineese newspaper (probably to add weight to the box). Paypal ends up denying my claim since the hacker provided a tracking number. So apparently if you ship an empty box to your customer, even using a stolen ebay account, you can get away with this.