Seller Gets Scammed On Ebay, PayPal Won't Help

Matt just got his first taste of Ebay, and it wasn’t good—as soon as he mailed off the Best Buy gift card to the buyer, the buyer reversed payment on Matt’s PayPal account and stopped communicating with him. We’re pretty sure he’s screwed on this one, but does anyone have any good advice for what he can do next?

I was just scammed from selling a 100$ valued best buy gift card selling it on ebay for 96$. I wanted to get an mp3 player but not from best buy because they have no selection of mp3 players greater than 20 gb at all.
Everything looked fine because someone bought this gift card and “supposedly” sent me the money. It was shown i had 96$ on april 3 in my paypal account, so of course i did the “right” thing and sent my card to the unfortunate fraudulent buyer.
Then the same day after I say i sent the package, the money gets somehow reversed. I get this notification from paypal that i might have been dealing with fraud. They notified the man and even received confirmation via email. Paypal finally gets back to me on April 22nd just saying that I did not have seller protection so they will not refund me in any sort of way.
I have his address, phone number and e-mail, but I do not know what to do. He has not responded to my emails though.
I need some advice in dealing with this besides any more pointless responses from paypal. Where is the justice? What can I do to get my money back if possible since paypal will not help or refund me? Why should only certain sellers get seller protection but not others? I would like to sell more stuff on ebay but after this risky transition I’m not so sure if I still want to. Thank you.


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  1. sickofthis says:

    Is there ANY chance at all you have the number from the back of the card? I wonder if you can report it stolen so that Best Buy can zero it out.

  2. rdm says:

    This is *exactly* what happened to me in December. I was shit out of luck. by the time paypal emailed me and told me the transaction had been reversed, the guy had already used the gift card. Paypal was absolutely 0 help and so was ebay. Now I have the lovely option of trying to take this guy to Small Claims court (for yep, $95).

  3. Ron Seigel says:

    Maybe the fact that someone was willing to pay $96 for a $100 gift card should have been an indication that something wasn’t quite right?

    Just saying…

  4. BigBoat says:

    I feel your pain buddy. There’s a reason I nominated EBay/PayPal for Worst Company in America.

  5. SOhp101 says:

    LOL funny thing… this happened to me but the complete opposite. I sent my payment, seller sent me the wrong stuff, I sent the stuff back, didn’t get a refund for 2 weeks so I filed a chargeback. Now Paypal locked my account and says I have to send them a check if I want them to reinstate the account.

    Screw Paypal/EBay.

  6. BugMeNot2 says:

    “They notified the man and even received confirmation via email.”

    What kind of confirmation did they receive from the man? “Yep, I scammed him. Har har!!” …?

    I second the first suggestion: See if you can get the gift card voided..

    For the record, the names are capitalized “eBay” and “PayPal”.

    I love how both websites make money by taking a cut of all your transactions, but provides no help to you when the transactions go south.

    Lastly, thanks for not titling the post in the “YOU Get Scammed On eBay, PayPal Won’t Help YOU” style.

  7. mgy says:

    Or, if you have the number, spend it quickly.

  8. allisonv7 says:

    Exact same thing happened to me, except my transaction for $400 was reversed three weeks later.

  9. eelmonger says:

    If he voids the card, he’ll still be out the $95, he’ll just have the satisfaction that the scammer didn’t get anything out of it.

  10. mr.dandy says:

    You have his physical address, right? There’s a lot you can do with that. Quite a lot.

  11. se7a7n7 says:

    If he can get a hold of Best Buy and have them reissue the card…

    Let’s not make this into a eBay bashing. It’s a great place to get hard to find items and stuff at much lower than retail price.

    I am an Ebay Powerseller, consignment store and I VERY rarely have problems.

  12. Eilonwynn says:

    This happens to us on a pretty much daily basis. It’s frustrating, aggravating, and ups my blood pressure if I think too much about it – I’m surprised it took consumerist this long to post something on it.

    There’s virtually nothing you can do, except leaving negative feedback – and you’ve only got a short time to do that.

  13. jvette says:

    Ebay has become worthless. I no longer buy or sell on there due to all the scams.

  14. Milstar says:

    Best advice I can give for selling gift cards is to take down all the info on the card. If something like this happens you can quickly claim/redeem the GC before the scammer. Sure you might have to buy something you don’t really want but better to get something than nothing.

  15. AT203 says:

    This is why I don’t like to offer PayPal on my auctions. In my experience they do NOT offer protection. They claim to offer protection but it is illusory.

  16. jadenton says:

    This is effectively just like a bounced check scenario, and you should proceed accordingly. While a fraud report with the cops if they will take it, and then take him to small claims court. You have his physical address.

    You can also dispute the charge back with PayPal. The discrepancy between the payment reversal and the ship date should lend credence to your side. And even if it doesn’t, his account is likely frozen while the dispute is investigated.

  17. ivanthemute says:

    In Soviet Russia, eBay scams you!…oh wait…

  18. galatae says:

    @mr. dandy having been through a scammy ebay buyer with a fake address, there’s not a whole heckuva lot you could do with it. They will give you an address, then stake it out for the mail and leave their mess to the real owners.

    Good luck. Write it off and take it as a life lesson.

    Oh, and definitely file a police report.

  19. nysports says:

    Um, hate to sound obvious, but call the cops. This is a big deal to police departments these days and if you know where he lives, call the precinct in his area. See what they say.

  20. xthexlanternx says:

    Ebay and Paypal are just huge scams nowadays. My brother sold some stuff on Paypal, the guy did a chargeback. Luckily the goods he sells are electronic so he just revoked the guy’s access to our services, however, my brother’s Paypal seller account is permanently in limbo because he is supposed to submit proof of shipping when we have told them 100x that it was not a physical item. Nothing was done to the scammer, although we did make a nasty call to his parents (I believe he was either a minor or still lived with his parents as his father answered the phone).

    I wouldn’t do business with Ebay/Paypal anymore because their policies are just so scammer friendly.

  21. xthexlanternx says:


    Unless you sent the card via registered mail, you don’t really have proof according to paypal, and they will freeze your account while they investigate his. Guess how long it will take? Pretty much forever as they hardly ever resolve any of these. So you can look forward to having to create a new Paypal account because this one will be perma-locked.

  22. Jesse in Japan says:

    Conspiracy Theory: Paypal also told the buyer that he had engaged in fraudulent behavior and, instead of refunding his money, just kept the 96 dollars for themselves. I’ll bet they do that every time. How else can they always seem to screw over both the buyer and seller?

  23. midwestkel says:

    If I had the persons address I would take a trip to his house, I think the extra money to spend on going out there is well worth it to me at least…

  24. XianZhuXuande says:

    How can someone even begin to defend eBay on this? They have basically created this little ecosystem around PayPal where you are easily screwed if you use other services (or flat out prohibited from using them). When you use PayPal you have to dance a very fine line to stay protected, and even then there are plenty of ways you can get scammed.

    I sell there regularly. I have to be extremely careful to make sure I’m not screwed. People attempt to take advantage of me regularly. I wish Google would compete with them.

  25. StevieD says:

    @Ron Seigel:

    Duh. Who in Hades pays 96 cents on the dollar for a high risk product. For all the buyer may know the seller is scamming the buyer.

  26. sgodun says:

    Welcome to eBay. Please lube up before bending over.

  27. krunk4ever says:

    Just for clarification, seller protection is only offered if your account is verified and the delivery address you’re shipping to is confirmed.

  28. MoCo says:

    How does a buyer reverse a PayPal payment that they sent? I’ve always been under the impression that only the receiver of a payment can reverse the payment.

  29. ShortBus says:

    Use Craigslist next time so you can conduct the transaction in person with cash.

  30. PayPal is the WORST. About $750 went missing from my checking account last year and PayPal did NOTHING. I closed my account. Fuck them.

  31. gregmick says:

    Not to sound like a jerk but it is Matt’s own fault for not reading how to cover himself. I have been selling on ebay for about 4 years and have never once been ripped off. As long as he followed normal protocol, he will be ok. Only ship to a confirmed address when you will be covered by ebay and Paypal says you will be covered by their seller protection policy. I never ship unless I will be covered by this policy. I may have missed where this guy lives but if the buyer does not live in the same state as the seller, it is not worth pursuing. Lesson learned, follow ebay’s policy next time. I had been in this scenario before but because I followed their policy, a few days later, Paypal gave the money back to me and they ate it or took it back from the buyer.

  32. Ron Seigel says:

    @ShortBus: Or next time you could trade using Craigslist and…ummmm…nevermind.

  33. gregmick says:

    Don’t use Craig’s list like other people are saying. You are asking to be stabbed or shot!

  34. gamabunta says:

    @mr.dandy: Chances are it is an empty lot or an empty house. Same exact thing happened to me with a Wii I sold on eBay. Paypal didn’t care and I was out $250.00. Best thing he can do is contact the shipping company and tell them not to deliver the package and explain what happened. If it was already delivered then he’s pretty much SOL unless Best Buy can track the card or cancel and transfer it to another account.

  35. humphrmi says:

    At least file a complaint against the buyer with eBay. It probably won’t amount to much now, but eventually they’ll close his account. Then he’ll open a new one. Sigh.

  36. SuperJdynamite says:

    I think the best protection is to skip PayPal. Specify that you only accept check or money order and that items ship when payment clears.

  37. homerjay says:

    I do believe this constitutes mail fraud and since you have a name and address you should get the Postmaster General involved. As any Seinfeld fanatic will tell you- a Postmaster General is a postmaster first but is also a general, and the job of a general is to by God get things done!

    Here’s where you file your complaint:

    That being said- For future reference ONLY ship to paypal confirmed addresses. Put that in your auctions. The main reason people don’t qualify for seller protection is because they ship to non-confirmed addresses.
    I’ve had the SPP kick in for me once and not kick in for me another time. They WILL help you but only if you qualify.

  38. humphrmi says:

    Oh and another thing, if you’re going to sell something for less than face value, never underestimate the power of standing in front of your neighborhood store and offer to sell it to people going in. You can always confirm the value at the customer service desk inside, and ask for cash on the spot. Just a suggestion, ’cause I’d never heard of selling gift cards on E-Bay and that’s probably the first thing I’d try.

  39. Buran says:

    @se7a7n7: Really. Maybe 10 years ago you could get deals…

  40. Buran says:

    They don’t give a shit. Even when mail fraud is involved. My tale of woe from Paypal: won’t refund cancelled order

  41. MyPetFly says:

    Although there are plenty of horror stories regarding PayPal, I did have a major issue decided in my favor a few years ago.

    I sold $2,000 worth of movie equipment to one person and shipped it in two parts — a well-packed box and a well-taped and cable-tied padded Pelican case. Both were insured, as paid for by the buyer.

    The buyer claimed damage and missing items, but wasn’t willing to file an insurance claim, so although my PayPal account was temporarily suspended (I think), they eventually sided with me.

    That being said, I’m very careful now anyway, regardless of how I pay.

  42. Norcross says:

    How about….don’t take PayPal?

  43. tcp100 says:

    Hmm. I’ve been using eBay for 11 (yes, 11) years now, and have yet to be scammed. PayPal and eBay are pretty clear on their seller protection policy, and I’d never use eBay for a transaction like this, since you have zero recourse if there is a problem.

    However, unless the guy lives in a one stoplight town, if folks here think the police will get invovled via an out-of-jurisdiction complainant for a lousy hundred bucks, you’re smoking something.

    The only thing you can possibly do is go down to the police station in the recipient’s area in person, and file a complaint directly in person.

    Unless it’s right next door and/or justice and vengeance is worth a whole lot more to you than your $100, I’d consider it a relatively reasonably-priced lesson.

    You could always try USPS Form 1509, sender’s application for recall of mail – but I’m guessing it’s already too late.

  44. ShortBus says:

    @gregmick: Um… ok? I live in Detroit and I still use Craigslist all the time: found my last two jobs, bought a mini fridge and a motorcycle, sold some extra computer junk, found someone to help me move, etc. It’s probably the most useful site on the web.

  45. Caveat says:

    Here are a few tips I picked out along the way:
    1. Don’t EVER rely on eBay/Paypal for help.
    2. Never buy anything using your checking account for payment. Use your credit card, so you can dispute it.
    3. When selling, never give eBay a normal credit card number. With Citi Bank, for example, you can generate virtual credit cards that are only good for one month and for one transaction.
    4. Again, if you are selling, don’t accept payment through Paypal. Instead use Google Checkout. I trust Google far more than I trust eBay.

  46. Jigen says:

    I’ve had Paypal help me out once, and fail me once. Thankfully it was only like $20 they failed to help me on.
    Recently I got scammed again. Bought item, never received it. But with moving at the time, I’d forgotten about it for a couple months, and figured it was far too late to do anything.

  47. ren1hoek says:

    Sometimes that’s the only way to get justice. Remember the story “How not to steal someone’s Sidekick?

  48. MyPetFly says:


    Unfortunately, in my experience, postal inspectors are worthless. I won an eBay auction for a used UPS, and because the seller had “had problems with PayPal,” requested that payment be made using a money order. I bought a postal money order and sent it in, then ever received any item or replies to my emails. I filed a complaint with the postal inspectors, got a postcard saying they’d received it, and then never heard anything from them again.

    USPS sucks, UPS sucks, and now FedEx sucks — I just received an obviously damaged package today from them. What’s the world coming to?

  49. shikaningen says:

    If you are ever diagnosed with a terminal illness, when you are on the verge of dying and you have lived it up, go to where he lives and set him on fire. That would be satisfyin’. That’s about all the advice I can give.

    /You might throw in a bit of ass rape for good measure.

  50. Milkham says:

    post his info on digg and let the internet deal out the justice

  51. rubberkeyhole says:

    if you have a receipt for the gift card, or paid for it in some traceable way, you can go to Best Buy and they can cancel it and transfer the balance to another gift card.

  52. pecheckler says:

    If you have his phone number and address call his local police department.

  53. dragonfire81 says:

    You might as well give up fighting with Paypal, they are soulless bastards who are not worth your time. Ebay and Paypal have gotten more scummy as time has progressed, that’s why I don’t sell there anymore.

  54. wring says:
    Sellers really get the short end of the stick with paypal. You should’ve withdrawn the money as soon as it reached your paypal account.

  55. É®îç says:

    This is a failed business transaction and a civil complaint. No police department will entertain this complaint. Your recourse is in the civil arena (AKA small claims court).

  56. wring says:

    @rubberkeyhole: ya he could claim that it was stolen.

  57. kdoyle55 says:

    welcome to ebay

  58. Paypal does not back up the seller in most of their transactions, dude is pretty much f’d.

  59. crazypants says:

    Some websites can find the address of the fraudulent bidder with his phone number. Maybe he has a different address on file for the phone number he gave you. I’ve used one in the past called Phone Search Central to help find where someone who scammed me on ebay lived with just their phone number. The police went to the person’s actual home and told the lady she had to send me the product she never sent me. She didn’t ever send it, but I guess the scare made her reverse my paypal payment, because she did it the next day and apologized about a “misunderstanding.” Maybe they can help you.

  60. Buran says:

    @XianZhuXuande: They do. You can’t use Google Checkout on ebay.

    How convenient.

  61. AmbroseP says:

    Post the scammer’s details online so I may find him, slap him with my white glove and challenge him to a duel.

    I LOATHE scammers. I’m usually for human rights and all but these people deserve to be waterboarded…

  62. Buran says:

    @EricAugu: Mail fraud is a federal crime.

  63. TechnoDestructo says:

    Do you have a physical address for the scumbag, or just a mailing address?

  64. Buran says:

    @pfblueprint: I was a buyer and they fucked me over even with proof of fraud.

  65. kyle4 says:

    “I wanted to get an mp3 player but not from best buy because they have no selection of mp3 players greater than 20 gb at all.”

    This guy is obviously a moron. Let me say this: Zune 30GB and 80GB, iPod touch 32GB, iPod Classic 80GB and 160GB, Creative Zen 60GB. What the hell is he talking about? He should’ve just sold it to a friend instead of over ebay.

  66. japinard says:

    So where do you do this kind of shopping? I don’t like what E-Bay/Paypal have been pulling lately and would like to look for an alternative with less seedy/greedy characters running it.

  67. Trai_Dep says:

    @EricAugu: to those knowledgeable about such things, what’s the difference btn “a civil complaint” and fraud?
    That is, when can you call the police and expect them to (admittedly and fairly, on a low priority) unleash the dogs?
    And, at what point would it go from being a pesky annoyance to something that would make them salivate? Ten instances, one hundred, over a certain dollar amount?

    PS: eBay or PayPal people – I buy a LOT of stuff online, including multi-thousand dollar items. After reading this, I’d never use any of your services. Not even for a $3 beanie baby. GREAT job, fellahs.

  68. LUV2CattleCall says:


    The nice part is that you are now REQUIRED to offer payment via either PayPal or a merchant credit card account…

  69. warf0x0r says:

    Don’t sell anything that isn’t a product or finished good on ebay. PayPal would back you if you do that. If not your S.O.L.

  70. nox says:

    Not that I am defending Paypal or Ebay on this… but if its not a confirmed shipping address that is usually the first sign that something is wrong.

  71. Buran says:

    @kylo4: The blame the victim trolls seem to be 24/7.

  72. viqas says:

    a friend of mine sent some ram to a verified address, apparently it was one of those addresses that forward mail outside the US. They reverse the transaction and paypal said sorry but didnt refund him.

  73. khiltd says:

    I would assume that anyone who has a Best Buy gift card is a child who got it from a distant relative as a birthday gift and therefore not the greatest decision maker in the world.

  74. timmus says:

    I run a tiny publishing business. Last year I had a Paypal buyer disputing a transaction. Paypal wanted documentation, so I contacted the buyer directly, smoothed everything over on friendly terms, and the buyer wanted to continue with the sale. In my response to Paypal I told them this. So what did they do? They upheld the dispute and took the money out of my account.

    Paypal is truly a bunch of asswipes… if they dropped the ball with this transaction, I can only guess at how incompetent they are at processing serious disputes. I hope that Consumerist lights a fire under their asses, and maybe even a Congressional inquiry into their business practices.

  75. Dobernala says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: This is the precise reason why I closed my eBay account.

  76. ninjatales says:

    I had a problem with a car stereo I bought only the unit mailed to me was broken.

    It definitely looked USED (the box didn’t even match the model #) even though it was advertised as BRAND NEW and it wasn’t working at all. The seller said that SHE wasn’t a “DUDE” and that she didn’t know much about cars so figured it was working.

    eBay sends me the contact info and it’s actually some DUDE. I call him up and he tells me he’s going to put back my money. 2 calls placed 3 days later and he’s disconnected the line. The money wasn’t put in my account. Called the cops and they told me I should take him to a small claims court since eBay wasn’t going further than providing me contact info but I called it off.

    He messed up my $85 but I’m not going to go and ruin his life for that. Karma will bite him in the ass later.

  77. BugMeNot2 says:

    @Trai_Dep:The difference between a civil matter and fraud in a case like this is whether the cop feels like looking into it or not. :P

    I was scammed once. The local sheriff claimed it was civil and blew me off. The local PD’s Sergeant also claimed it was civil and blew me off. The fraud department agreed with me and took the case. In the meantime, the perp had skipped town. Heck of a job, Brownie!!

  78. Craig’s List is a better alternative to the fee for everything eBay, you still have to watch for scammers. I always ask for cash and meet in person. I am so glad I closed my eBay account two years ago.

  79. elmuchachos says:

    forget the police. did you send the GC thru USPS. If you did then get in contact with them as this becomes a federal offense which is a felony. Since you have his contact info, give that to them and a postal inspector will investigate. The post office does not mess around when you commit fraud and the USPS is involved. They are very familiar with ebay scams.

  80. elmuchachos says:

    @Caveat: another thing to do is dont ship an item until the money has left paypal and cleared in your bank account…once it has done that then there is no way the payment can be reversed. i know from experience.

  81. edrebber says:

    Set up your paypal preferences to only accept payments from buyers with confirmed addresses. Then when the payment is made, check to see that it is eligible for the Seller Protection Plan. If the payment is ineligible, then refund the payment and ask the buyer to mail the payment. Paypal gives you 7 days to ship the item, so wait a few days before shipping to see if the payment is reversed.

  82. mike says:

    @tmccartney: The thing with giftcards is that they are like “cash” except…they are worth less than cash.

    I think he’s stuck.

    @Big Flicker: I switched to Craigslist a couple of years ago. Much easier to sniff out scammers. Ask for cash and meet in person.

  83. Skankingmike says:

    I don’t understand, First off you should never send your item out right away, i wait 1 – 2 days after the money has cleared before anything, they cannot reverse payment. & I only allow people that have no infractions against them to buy from me.

    Other wise I’ve never had a problem with Ebay, I use them to sell all my stuff I don’t want and get some extra cash doing it.

    The problem is people don’t understand that in the real life you will get scammed and screwed even if you owned your own business and a lot of times you can’t do anything about it. This life lesson is called life.

  84. wdnobile says:

    Publish the mans Name, Email address, Home Address and phone number. Post it on absolutely EVERY blog you can find. Disclose ALL his info. Maybe you can embarass him.

    Or just drive to his house and knock on the door.

  85. Phildawg says:

    I’m very experienced in eBay fraud.

    A couple of things I need to know is why were you not covered by seller protection? Did you shipped to a non-confirmed address? Did the person tell you a different place to ship the item?

    This sounds like the paypal account and eBay account were hacked. I have dealt with at least 10-20 of these type situations.

    So contact me at cybertrek36[at] and I might be able to give you some advice.

    I don’t think you will be able to get your money back from paypal, but you might be able to learn how to avoid this in the future. Even with stolen paypal accounts, as long as you shipped to the confirmed account with delivery confirmation, they HAVE to be able to track the package via an online service, nothing else matters to eBay/paypal.

    eBay has it’s own protection, it’s no where near as good as paypal, but you might be able to file a claim through eBay.

    A lot of people have bad experiences with paypal and eBay as you can read here, but its for one reason. Paypal almost always chooses the buyer… EVEN if you get your money back through Seller Protection policy, if the buyer makes a good case against you, Paypal will actually give them their money too, just to keep the buyers happy and coming back. The seller is always the first one to get screwed, but in this environment, this is the best way to operate to protect ignorant buyers from unscrupulous sellers. eBay fails sellers against unscrupulous buyers, but if you play by the rules, you are generally okay.

    You can try 1-888-best-buy corporate… however they are not likely to help you. How would they know you weren’t doing a reverse scam? selling a gift card, then canceling it and getting the money back on another gift card? At the end of the day, when somebody shows up at BBY with what they feel is a valid gift card… BBY always tries to make sure that card is what matters. Maybe if there was a police report, a local store might help. But it has to happen very quickly before the scammer uses it.

  86. Phildawg says:

    @Ron Seigel: I swear, people who don’t know about eBay making bullshit comments always pisses me off! Saying 4 dollars is saving 4 dollars. It only takes a couple of seconds to setup proxy bids on a bunch of BBY gift cards, and maybe you are planning to go buy 3000 dollar home theater setup. Say you save 5 dollars on every 100… that’s 150 bucks you save for maybe 10 minutes of your life… also if you do rewardzone… lol the gift certificates are 5 dollars every 250 dollars… so yea, people would do deals like this all day long. And if you have ever bought a GC from eBay, you would know this is generally how it works, about a 5-10% max discount on the face value of the gift card. You don’t buy GC’s on eBay for 50-75% of their face value. You pay 95% or more almost everytime.

  87. Phildawg says:

    @SOhp101: sure buddy, lol, because paypal lost the money… you didn’t file claims, you did a chargeback. You took the money from paypal, and they had no right to take it back from the seller who it should have come from…

    basically this is the same procedure people do constantly on eBay as a reverse scam. You need to follow their claims procedure so that it all shakes out appropriately. Now the only person who lost money on your deal was paypal. But their big corporation, they don’t need it anyway right? so I say fook em! fook the man!

  88. Floobtronics says:

    Before everyone crucifies eBay and PayPal over this – the notices from PayPal are *very* clear. If you’re not shipping your item to a confirmed shipping address, you do not get buyer protection. It happened to me once too – though only for a $10 item.

  89. psyop63b says:

    I would notify the authorities. It seems to me that this is a case of mail / wire / internet / all-of-the-above fraud.

  90. guyguy says:

    I once bought my sister some of her favorite discontinued shampoo… The stuff cost $40 a bottle and I had it insured. The seller did not insure the shipments and shipped knowing that the cap on one of the bottles was loose… Yup you guessed it, I received an empty bottle packed in a box of goo..

    Took almost a month, but I did get the seller to send me a new bottle (They wanted me to ship the old bottle back which was annoying because it was their fault for not insuring the original shipment).

    Overall it cost me an extra couple of bucks but I could have been out $40, so while disatified it wasn’t a total lost and I left a positive feedback because the seller did do the right thing in the end.

  91. Pro-Pain says:

    eBay hasn’t been worth a crap in over 8 years. I can’t believe people still attempt to use that service. Sure, you can get some off the wall stuff on there but getting ripped off isn’t worth it. And don’t even get me started on Pay Pal.

  92. Pro-Pain says:

    I also HIGHLY doubt the cops would give a rats ass. They are in business to make money, not help the general public. Cops helping people is so 70’s.

  93. FLJOE says:

    Publish his email address here and we’ll slam him with emails “suggesting” he pay you.

  94. tvmitch says:

    Call eBay and call PayPal. Don’t stop until you get a person that can help. eBay’s support is fairly worthless, but much less worthless over the phone.

    eBay 800-322-9266, hit 1, then 47207. This is Sarah Carlson who works in Trust and Safety. Call every 3 hours until you get a response. Another T&S extension is 47205.

    PayPal 402-935-2116 and 402-935-2238 are good numbers. This guy works in fraud: 402-935-2239. is a great source for internal phone numbers at the company if those three don’t work. Do not stop calling until you get your money back.

  95. Pro-Pain says:

    If eBay REALLY cared about their buyers/sellers they’d have a 1-800 number with special reps to help you solve issues like this. They don’t. Pay numbers only that can be hit and miss.

  96. @Eilonwynn:
    You can’t even leave negative feedback anymore:

    Ebay no longer allows sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers.

  97. othium says:

    I have been selling on Ebay for years and never take Paypal for an amount over twenty dollars.

    They got me once.


    Never again.

  98. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Put an ad on Craig’s List that this guy is moving and all his stuff is free for the taking.

  99. lolalola2 says:

    Same thing happened to me when I wanted to sell a Best Buy gift card I didn’t need. Must be an ongoing scam. PayPal send me a message about “possible fraudulent activity” and deducted the money. Meanwhile, buyer’s account got deleted from eBay. Now, I’m verified, have been doing business with them for years, power seller, bla-bla. Well, after calling Paypal many times, they agreed to refund the money “as a courtesy to you just this one time and never again” and made it sound like I am the scammer.

  100. Lambasted says:

    Buyer and seller beware when using a Paypal account. Someone hacked into my account, bought $600 worth of electronics in the UK for shipping to Russia. Paypal sent a confirmation email informing me of this transaction. I freaked. I got the phone number of the UK store, called them and told them about the theft and advised not to ship out any merchandise.

    Thankfully, the store had smelled a rat and weren’t going to process the transaction until it could be verified. They told me that merchants there are very leery of transactions with shipping addresses in Russia. The store promptly refunded my money.

    I still used Paypal after that but I watched my (new) Paypal account very closely.

  101. stevekal says:

    um, a couple times buyers have TRIED to scam me, but paypal has decided in my favor. Here’s how they’ll side with you:
    Applies to physical goods only:
    1. ship only to the buyer’s Paypal confirmed address.
    2. Send via Fedex or UPS, signature delivery required

    Someone tried a paypal chargeback on an ipod I sold a year or so ago. Paypal sided with me once I sent the Fedex link showing the stupid dude’s signature.

  102. vinnycthatwhoibe says:

    The same thing happened to me. I lost about $1800 from paypal refusing to help me. Paypal should only allow people who are able to confirm their address the ability to use their service. This would vastly reduce the number of stories like these.

  103. ketama77 says:

    Post his info you have online if paypal won’t help you maybe the internet community can.

  104. Buran says:

    @timmus: If they returned it to the seller, the seller needs to re-pay you or they’re guilty of theft/fraud.

  105. katworthy says:

    Is eBay just getting super scammy?

    I just got scammed too. Buyer paid, when I went to send the insured mail #, his email address bounced back. Later, he disputed the payment on Paypal. Paypal pretty much immediately sided with him. LUCKILY, I’d saved the Insured Mail form, and was able to go to a Post Office and get physical confirmation of delivery. I called, Paypal reopened the case and gave me a fax# to send the evidence. Still waiting to see if Paypal sides with me before filing an insurance claim.

  106. Dyscord says:

    I’ve dealt with something like this before. Someone buys a cell phone off me, I ship it off (Albeit a little late since I was out of town). It gets disputed and I have to provide proof of shipping. Well the options they give are UPS and Fed Ex tracking numbers and I sent it through USPS, since that’s what was paid for. So Paypal proceeds to give the buyer the money back…so they got a cell phone for free. A few months later I sell my PSP on Ebay and had to relist the damn auction three times because of fraud. Afterward, I said “To hell with it” and sold it on Amazon.

    It’s amazing how much of a scammer Ebay/Paypal is.

  107. chartrule says:

    since the OP has the scammers
    phone number / email / address

    why not try the attorney generals office either where the op lives or where the scammer lives

  108. HOP says:

    i tried to use pay pal once….i got so confused trying to sign up that i forgot the whole deal…pee on pay pal…..

  109. crackle says:

    Call him and tell him you contacted his local police, and that you’re ready to take him to court for theft and fraud. I did this to a guy that bought 5 wiis from me for $1800 and attempted a chargeback. He called my cell phone 5 minutes later and apologized.

  110. crackle says:

    Actually, I posted on with the full story.


  111. bufftbone says:

    I always ship 2-3 days after i say i did just in case. blaming the postal service still works.

  112. rdm says:

    @tvmitch: I don’t think you understand. Paypal will do nothing because it was not shipped (at least not at first). They will pretend they are going to do something, but they don’t.

  113. RobinB says:

    That happened to me dad, too. He somehow managed to track down the
    UPS truck right before his item was delivered to the guy who had had
    the payment reversed.

  114. tvmitch says:

    @rdm I understand that PayPal is evil and could care less; however, it’s a lot easier for them to send you a form email than deal with you on the phone.

  115. lapantz4less says:

    This happened to me too. I won’t sell on Ebay ever again and I use USAEpay for my credit card processing.

  116. katbalou says:

    This is why I backed away from ever selling or buying on eBay again. I have both sold and purchased (a LOT on both counts with 100% positive feedback) over a period of several years but elected to stop doing so because of the prevalence of fraud and bad news scam-artists. Cheer up! If it is any consolation, there was apparently someone who got scammed on eBay motors for $12,000 and the seller’s PayPal account is STILL frozen some 9 months later. Really sorry this happened to you.

  117. Jeneni says:

    @ Skankingmike
    They have 30 days to reverse payment… I’ve had people do this to me 20 days after an auction, after I’ve long since forget… this happens the most when its over seas customers because it’s difficult to provide tracking info.

    Anyway, I feel for the guy from this post… Paypal is terrible. Not to mention really slow about this stuff in general… I sent something out to someone within a week… provided tracking information and the buyer freaked out and said I was a liar because the notice on usps’s site said they had only been notified. Well, anyone who’s used to using the usps site knows that they are horrible about updating their tracking information. Anyway, about a week and a half in she decides to tell paypal I’m scamming her and they put a hold on the money (because it was a high enough amount–like $250) while they investigated. I left them comment after comment with the tracking number and they did nothing for weeks, holding my money. I had to actually call her and ask her to drop the dispute because they refused to take action because she never responded. She did, but never did remove the negative feedback saying I’m a scam artist who stole her money-this is why I don’t use ebay anymore-I’ve had countless dealings where someone files a dispute to get their money back either claiming I never sent it or claiming it wasn’t what they bought. They never have to provide proof and sometimes my proof of sending a tracking number means nothing.

  118. nardo218 says:

    Act quickly!

    Call Best Buy, especially if you have the name and ccredit card number of the card. Yes,this may involve confession to your gift giver that you tried to sell it, but that’s the lesser of your problems at this point. Tell them you really appreciated the gift and you really wanted an MP3 player but Best Buy didn’t have it, so…. Emphasize that you do appreciate that they thought you’d want electronics, it’s Best Buy’s fault for not having the electronic device you wanted. Tell them how upset you are that you got ripped off; they’re bound to feel sympathetic and not be mad.

    Tell Best Buy what happened, and they’ll be able to bring up the card and void it, and send you a new one. If the card has already been used, maybe they’ll have a fraud department.

    I lost a gift card from Wegman’s and called them almost a year later, and they were able to pull up the card info and issue me a new one.

    You can ask the person who bought you a card to issue a chargeback on their credit card, or try to return it at the store.

  119. kyle4 says:

    @Buran: I’ve never blamed the victim and I’m definitely not a troll. Looking back calling him a moron was a bit harsh but that’s a dumb comment to say that Best Buy does not offer mp3 players over 20GB. What are we in, 2002? Also, it is very possible that the buyer thought that the gift card was already used (a reason not to buy them) and cancelled too late. Who knows. It was probably a scam.

    Here on Consumerist you are allowed to offer your opinion. There is a difference between saying, “This idiot deserved it because…” and saying, “Well I believe this may be false and he should have done this because…”In this case, out of the 400+ topics I’ve read on Consumerist, I feel it was the victim’s fault here. I don’t know why anyone would buy or sell a gift card that could’ve been used up on ebay, it just doesn’t make sense. He should have either used it or sold it, and making statements as to why he didn’t use it (the Best Buy remark) damage his credibility.

    So tell me, is having an opinion trolling? Is having an opinion that is not absolutely useless against Consumerist policy trolling? Or should I just kiss his wounds and say, “Next time it’ll be better, poor poor him”?

  120. Buran says:

    @kylo4: You can offer an opinion. But blasting the guy for having a reason for selling the gift card was uncalled for. All that matters is what happened when he tried to do so, not why he did it.

  121. swan20 says:

    Hm…i guess this was kind of hidden from many users but a while back i had the same thing happened and filed through bbb on Paypal cuz i was so pissed. they in return gave me a list of what you need to be “illegible” for seller protection. Please note first that if a buyer chooses to file a chargeback, Paypal will not question it, Please read about it in the bbb website.
    here are a few (there are about nearly 10 requirements)
    -You are only protected if you have transactions with US, UK and Canada only
    -A chargeback/reversal will be honor by Paypal when request from CC.
    -You need to always buy tracking or proof of shipment
    -Ship within 7 days
    -Confirmed addresses only (or verified, i am not 100% sure right now)
    -You need to be Premier or Business account holders

    —–Can you see scammers had caught onto the chargeback/reversal lately.
    Good Luck to you. I still have a case with the French Police for over a year now. Still going nowhere!!! Will be alot worse once May comes.

  122. asrx says:

    I don’t use eBay to sell anything anymore because of scams. Craigslist and bulletin boards for me. It amazes me that no one mentioned that eBay owns PayPal. Thats why you cant use Google Checkout. I hope that Google launches their own faster, cheaper, more reliable auction sight soon.


  123. Keat says:

    eBay needs to have an option that rejects bids from PayPal account holders that do not have confirmed addresses.

    Otherwise, it’s easy for a scammmer to overbid a legitimate buyer. Even if you don’t ship out to the scammer, you’re still out the listing fees.

  124. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    If you are serious.
    You can work with your PD and give them the number.. You have the card number right? If you are savvy, work this and if need be, help them help you.
    Since in this day and age, that stuff is tracked. Plus the cameras in store.

    The chances of getting your money back are pretty much next to nil.The chances of getting the human who used the card physically is better.Even online… Products have to ship someplace..

    1. Use the card number
    2. Work with your local PD
    3. Track the card number you should have.
    4. Prosecute to the full extent of the law. (Follow through)
    5. Do not let any party give you the run around. It is your money.

  125. highmodulus says:

    Laptops, giftcards, iPhones variously easily fenced items are not worth selling on eBay. To many “phished” accounts are used for these.

    Still have good luck in the cycling area, especially seeing none of my auctions are international.

    eBay is like a very sharp tool, useful if used properly, but dangerous if you are not very careful with it.

  126. edrebber says:

    @guyguy: Even if the seller had purchased insurance, the claim would have been denied due to inadequate packaging.

  127. edrebber says:

    @Pro-Pain: As long as you use paypal and fund your payment with a credit card you can get your money back. The only catch is you have to pay return shipping to send not as decribed items back to the seller.

  128. edrebber says:

    @Keat: Paypal allows you to block payments from buyers without a confirmed address. It’s possible to receive a payment from a buyer with a confirmed address, but not be covered by the seller protection plan. Always make sure the transaction is eligible for the seller protection plan.

  129. Snarkysnake says:

    The best ‘Seller Protection Plan” is to get your money FIRST and make sure that it is good funds and then send the item to the buyer.

    Look,Ebayer’s need to stop kidding themselves- PaYPal is looking out for PayPal. They don’t care about your little problem. They are a fee grabbing adjunct to Ebay’s core business and as such,their interests are not your interests. I never got burned with PayPal,but after I signed up,they stopped my account until I would fax them reams of information. ( I was careful to have about $.04 in the account at the time). I told them to shove that fax machine up their ass and haven’t looked back.

    Little known fact – IF you have a good feedback score and IF you ask nicely in plenty of time before the auction ends,most “Paypal Only” sellers will let you pay by check or money order. I have done this hundreds of times. I am always careful to send good funds promptly and give great feedback for their understanding. Hasn’t failed me once. I guess that there has been a half dozen sellers that said no to this,so I thanked them and moved on .

    One thing that you MUST consider these days with Ebay is the high percentage of scammers that have picked PayPal’s security locks and still swindled trusting sellers (like the OP).In this case, he would have benn much better off to accept a check,waited for clearance , and then sent the card. Cost ? -$0.

    Okay, if he deposited a bad check – cost – $30 – $40 bucks. Bad,but not a total loss (and a cheap lesson about selling high risk goods on Ebay).

    His cost here- $100. Total loss.Now,tell me how PayPal offers “protection” for sellers ?

    PayPal is a convenience.As always,you will pay dearly for this convenience.In this case,you even fund your own undoing.

  130. radio1 says:

    @Buran: Oh come on… No one is blaming the victim. I feel for the guy. But the dude, seriously, has some common sense issues.

    Any time you try to sell anything from one unknown party to another there’s always risk.

  131. radio1 says:

    @Snarkysnake: So very true…

  132. thedap says:

    Here’s good advice: Selling gift cards and coupons is against Ebay’s policy.

  133. Daniel-Bham says:

    File a police report with his local jurisdiction.


    Post his personal information on the internet and let vigilante justice run its course.

  134. dmartinez says:

    You are caught in the new ebay scam

    Sellers can’t leave feedback so Buyers can now scam sellers completely and their is nothing the Seller can do. This is why I will never sell anything on eBay again.

  135. TenaciousC says:

    This same thing happened to me. In the respect that I sent items to a buyer after he paid me via paypal. Then he reversed the transaction. Paypal and ebay were no help, so i took matters into my own hands. Here is what i did…

    I requested his email account via ebay. I couldnt belive my luck when he used a domain account he registered. A simple whois revealed all the info i needed. I contacted local police in his town and provided them information.

    I called his house and spoke with his parents. Who confirmed the package from me was at the house. Local police told me that unless i wanted to travel to the state the crime occured, i would not be able to take any legal action. They did keep in contact with me weekly asking me how it was going.

    I asked the parents to ship the goods back to me. They did and couldnt belive i had tracked him down. All of this took roughly 4 weeks, additionally I looked at his recent purchases via ebay and contacted each of the sellers and asked if they had been scammed. Once they confirmed i gaave them the info they needed to get everything back. All but one guy did and it was a laptop this kid destroyed once the heat was on.

    Moral of the story? Hold ALL paypal payments for at least 5 days or ship through paypal and it will email the buyer the tracking number making them think it was shipped. Then still retain the item for 5 days.

  136. austinchu says:

    I work for a company that manages and tracks gift cards. We blog about gift card issues on Selling a gift card on the net, is risky business. My advice? Swap or trade it in person and go get it checked out. It may be a pain in the butt, but so is calling paypal 24/7 to get your money back.

  137. awolcfh5150 says:

    There is no protection for a seller with PayPal. I had a problem with them releasing my money even after the item was delivered. The PayPal rep basically said they don’t protect the seller. Once I did get my $ I promptly closed my PayPal account and told them to f*ck off!

  138. themike314 says:

    If you have proof that you sent the item (delivery confirmation or something similar) you can file mail fraud against him. You probably won’t get your card or money back, but it may put a stop to his shenanigans. If you didn’t add delivery confirmation or something similar to the package, there’s not much you can do but to chalk it up to experience.

  139. seandp_83 says:

    next time, as soon as you see the money hit your paypal account, transfer it to your checking account immediately.

  140. jimconsumer says:

    @tcp100: However, unless the guy lives in a one stoplight town, if folks here think the police will get invovled via an out-of-jurisdiction complainant for a lousy hundred bucks, you’re smoking something.

    Nope… I bought a UPS from a guy on eBay once, then he refused to ship me anything. I rounded up about a dozen other folks who he’d just recently sold items to but not delivered on by digging through his list of recently ended items. Then I called his local PD and said, “Hey, this guy is ripping people off. He stole a hundred bucks from me, and I’ve got names and phone numbers of a dozen others he’s stealing from, too.”

    Local police department was very interested. In fact, they paid him a visit that same day, then called me back and told me what his lame excuse was, and that if he didn’t refund me, to let them know. It took him a week or two but he managed to scrape together the money and pay us back.

    Try it. The police may well be interested in helping you.

  141. Props to everyone saying craigslist… I’ve bought 3 different things off of craigslist in the last month; a truck, a gas stove, and something for my kid. I always offer cash, and meet in a public place. Haven’t had an issue yet.

    As for gift cards we just want cash for? A friend of mine likes to buy something worth about $10 OVER the gift card value, pay the remainder in cash of course, hold onto the product for 5 days, return it with receipt, and get the cash. Some places haggle about the gift card thing, but he hasn’t had too much of a problem yet just getting cash back. Most places don’t want to give you $10 cash and a $150 card again…

  142. limestone says:

    Perhaps you might consider checking out the seller’s feedback before bidding on any item. I have bought and sold on eBay for over 8 years and it has been great…BUT I always check out the feedback before doing business.
    Try it…it really does help.

  143. rikkus256 says:

    “Where is the justice?”

    I’ve been on eBay for many years and I can tell you there is no justice when eBay/PayPal is involved. PayPal is NOT a bank so they can screw you all they want as none of the bank regulations apply to them.

    And even if you qualify for the “seller protection policy”, you will still get scammed as easily.

    Oh, and don’t complaint to PayPal and eBay, that will only get your account(s) suspended. (Yes that happened to my friend)

  144. hardygirl says:

    We [my husband and I] are going through the same thing. We look like bad people here because we have so many people taking our money from paypal and we have done what we were suppose to do. We sent them [the buyer] what they bought and then they file a complaint with Paypal saying we never sent the item. We have proof, but some of it was for PokerStars gift certificate and we even had a guy scam us and Paypal is saying that that buyer used a stolen credit card. We should be protected no matter if it is for intangible goods. We are consider as a “lower” class family. We live in a trailer, we don’t have a lot of things, so we did this to get a little money to get us to the next payday and well we ended up being poorer than dirt. We are in so much stress with this. We have two young kids and we need diapers and food for them. How can people do this to others?!? It just makes me sick. It was a lot of money that we have been scammed out, well to us anyways.

    I cry all the time just thinking about this. That was our money and we NEEDED it. Now we just are “surviving” in life, instead of living. Luckly we have the family we have to help us with food and things right now in the difficult time.

    People just don’t understand how some people really need that little bit of money to survive. I just don’t know what to do. Because of all these claims on our paypal account, paypal probably think we are the scammers and bad people and if you knew us, you would see that we weren’t. We help people and apparently we helped a lot of people out with getting free gift certificates. They pretty much got free money from, I don’t want to say poor, because we aren’t “poor”, we just have very little money, especially for a famly of 4.

    But I hope one day, and I hate saying this, but I hope the tables get turned to the people who took our money.

  145. hardygirl says:

    Oh and the people who have done this to us, had good feedback. I don’t get it. Why would they choose us to do this too???