Fraudulent eBay Buyer Leaves You Minus $1000 And A MacBook Pro

Earlier this month, Jacob sold a MacBook Pro on eBay. His buyer appeared to be in Australia, but contacted him after payment and asked to have the computer shipped to Indonesia. Since he’s both a Consumerist reader and a person with a functioning brain, Jacob was wary of this change, suspecting some kind of fraud. He called up eBay to see what he should do. The customer service representative told him that he needed to mail the laptop, or it would negatively affect his seller account. So he sent it along, then heard from eBay less than 24 hours later that the buyer’s account had been compromised. You don’t say! Now Jacob is out both a laptop and the $1,023.74 payment.

I am a victim of buyer fraud on eBay.

On May 2, 2012, I sold a MacBook Pro to a member who is no longer registered by the name of [redacted]. This user immediately paid ($1,023.74) for the laptop using PayPal but emailed me to let me know they wanted the laptop to be sent to Indonesia instead of their address in Australia.

The idea of sending the laptop to another location seemed suspicious so I called eBay customer service at 3:12PM on May 2nd and talked to a customer representative by the name of [L]. L. informed me that if I did not send the laptop, I would be marked with negative feedback.

Later in the day, I mailed the laptop USPS Express International to Indonesia with insurance and tracking number.

24 hours later, I was informed by eBay that [redacted]’s account “was recently found to have been accessed by an unauthorized third party, who may have used the account in an attempt to defraud other members.”

24 hours later, on May 4th, PayPal put a temporary hold pending investigation on the funds transferred to my account. On May 14th, they reversed payment.

Per eBay’s advice, I called USPS to stop the shipment but, unfortunately, the package made it through customs by that point and was subsequently delivered.

I am looking for full reimbursement for the laptop. I should be covered under Seller Protection as I was urged by eBay’s customer service representative to send the laptop. Right now, eBay sees the payment as being fulfilled, not reversed and will not help me.

Ultimately, I spoke to a customer representative who informed me that even if I had gotten a confirmation number of the call made to L. on May 2nd, it wouldn’t matter as customer service representatives only give recommendations and aren’t responsible for actions taken through their advice.

Adding insult to injury, they still wanted to collect roughly $93 in fees for the stolen laptop. That’s right, even eBay doesn’t even know when not to charge people when they are victims of fraudulent activity.

So, as as it stands, I’m out of a Apple MacBook Pro and eBay gets off the hook citing policy differences and encapsulation of corporate entities meaning that eBay can’t be responsible of PayPal’s actions and vise versa even though they are one company.

I have spend 7+ hours on the phone explaining this to various representatives from both companies who are not aware of either’s policies. What’s clear is that PayPal / eBay are more concerned with making life easier for those who would defraud members rather than improving as a company and learning to plug obvious holes in their system.

We would recommend pursuing an insurance claim with the US Postal Service, but that may not work out since as far as they’re concerned, the computer did safely reach its destination. Any other ideas for Jacob, other than “travel back in time and don’t use eBay”?