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”?


Edit Your Comment

  1. gargunkle says:

    Oh no! EBAY HAS SCAMMERS! Alert the presses!

    • Jawaka says:

      lol I read the first sentence of this story and had already read enough. You sent a Macbook to Indonesia? Really?

  2. GoldVRod says:

    From the OP it seems that the CS rep said you must ship or face non-selling performance issues, which is true, but it does not specify if they said ‘you must ship to the Indonesia address’ which probably means they didn’t say that.

    Even if they had, protection policy demands that you ship to the address listed on paypal. Had the OP done that they should have been covered under ebay’s seller protections.

    Tis a ‘blame the OP’ post – but this really was user error unfortunately.

    • zandar says:

      EXACTLY. That is why Paypal has an address confirmation mechanism.

      Users can easily have a new addresses confirmed. They can even have multiple confirmed addresses at once.

      If you are a buyer and don’t have a suitable confirmed address in the system, don’t effing bid on something.

      To ask it to be shipped to the new address is never acceptable.

      • Mike says:

        Agreed, but then eBay policy should be that if buyer requests item be shipped to a different address, then the seller can cancel the purchase without negative feedback. I blame eBay for having policies that penalize sellers who follow PayPal (which is owned by eBay) policies. It’s our policy to give you negative feedback for following our policies.

      • pamelad says:

        PayPal’s Seller Protection Policy helps ensure that you will receive your money in case of a fraudulent transaction. Your buyer MUST be confirmed or there is no protection. PayPal will refund money if shipped to a confirmed address, and if you’ve done everything right but buyer claims they didn’t get item (shipped within 7 days, had delivery confirmation).

        I always state in my listings that I’ll ship only to confirmed addresses. Usually, I only ship to the U.S. (excluding U.S. territories) and Canada.

  3. Altman says:

    Very simple. Don’t ship to international locations. Period. Will prevent more than 75% of scams.

    • madmod20061 says:

      Agree. The rare times I do sale something on eBay I check all the boxes that says I ship to US only and then put a note in my listing that the transaction will be cancelled if you find a way around that. Even if it’s not a scammy buyer it’s still more of a hassle than it’s worth to ship to foreign countries through the USPS.

    • dolemite says:

      Yup. I always put that in my posting. Will not do any country outside of the US. I did Canada once and I think the shipping was unbelievable.

      • travel_nut says:

        Yup. I shipped to Canada once and it was the biggest PITA.

        I rarely sell on ebay anymore, but if I do, I always put in the listing that I won’t ship out of the country.

        • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

          Shipping to Canada is no different than shipping to anywhere in the US. It just costs a little more.

          • bikeoid says:

            … And has a ton of additional paperwork to fill out.

            • Jawaka says:

              Not if you print your shipping label directly from eBay. Everything is printed out for you. all you need to do is sign and date the export form and tape the label to the box.

              • Michael Belisle says:

                Which is all good and well, until your buyer says “Can you please mark this as a gift and say it’s worth $5?” Answer: no.

            • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

              Since when???
              It is one customs form.

          • travel_nut says:

            Let me see if I can remember all the shenanigans I went through.

            USPS was about $25, UPS about $22, Fedex about $12. I listed the item with $14 shipping and decided to use Fedex. (No, don’t start chewing me out yet. I was 16 at the time and didn’t know better.)

            So I took the box to my local Fedex/Kinko’s. They said they can only ship domestic. They directed me to the local Fedex hub. I went to the Fedex hub and they cannot deal with customers, they only handle the shipments. (Does that make sense?) I went home and called Fedex, and they said I should have been able to ship the package from either location. Long story short, it took me more than a week to find a Fedex location that would actually accept the package. Plus there was customs paperwork to deal with. If I had chosen to ship via USPS or UPS I would have actually lost money on the sale, so I was determined to Fedex it.

            I realize that that’s largely a “fedex sucks” story, but had the package been domestic instead of international, there wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      The real lesson is never, ever ship an item until the money in paypal is deposited into your personal bank account.
      If paypal delays sending you the money then you make the buyer wait.

      If you do this then Paypal has to go after the thief not the victim for the money.
      Paypal is the one that accepted the scammers money in the first place and pawned the fake money on you. They are the one that needs to take the loss.

      • maxamus2 says:

        You don’t sell on Ebay much, do you? If you aren’t a frequent seller, the money will not go in to your PayPal account until AFTER the item has been signed for as received from the BUYER.

        And even if you do get the money first, PayPal/Ebay can reach right in to your bank account and pull the money out if they think you are to blame.

        As a seller you have very little control and guarantees as compared to a buyer on Ebay.

        • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

          I sell items from time to time.
          WIth paypal I can ALWAYS deposit the money into my personal bank account before sending.
          Also without being able to do this then how can I pay for the shipping and shipping materials???

          To send something when you dont actually have the money in your bank is crazy.

          • n0th1ng says:

            You don’t ship high value items do you? Because I think it is for anything over $200 you have to ship the item before you get paid. Cheap shit you can get your money the same day. I sold my old smartphone on Ebay for $250. I shipped it to a girl in Alabama and I didn’t get my money for over 2 weeks.

            Here are my rules. No shipping to countries that are not the United States, No shipping to people that have 2 or more strikes in the last x number of days. Shipping to Paypal address only. If the address isn’t confirmed I will wait till it is confirmed before I ship.

          • Steevo says:

            You won’t be doing that anymore. Ebay has changed the rules and now they hold your money until it arrives in the hands of the Indonesian scammer.

    • Gehasst says:

      Ditto that. Last time I sold on fleabay, it was US only. If it was non-us I wouldn’t ship it to them and relist. I dealt with a Canadian once, who sent me a personal check (I only took Money Orders) and it was in Canadian $ (which at the time, was worth much less than US $).

      Meh. Now it sounds like you are setup to fail no matter what for Fleabay as a seller. I haven’t sold on Fleabay for many, many years now.

    • shufflemoomin says:

      Could you be more of an ignorant, racist fool if you tried?

      • Michael Belisle says:

        This has nothing to do with ignorance or racism.

        It’s an option when you make this listing, where you can select “ships to: “. Shipping internationally is often a pain. If something comes up, there are fewer recourses in trying to recover money in another country than trying to recover money in your own country. I know how to sue someone in my own country, for example. I have no desire to learn how to sue someone in Indonesia. There are also export laws, customs issues, etc, that I don’t care to research to learn what I should be doing. Easy answer? Don’t ship internationally.

        • zibby says:

          Yes, this, thank you. And the fraudsters know it, which is why there is more fraud when you ship overseas. Frankly, these squawks of “OMG racism!!!” are so silly, I’m going to assume that they’re being put out there by scammers trying to make people feel guilty for being smart.

      • n0th1ng says:

        How the fuck is that being racist? It’s a fact that more fraud originates from overseas, it has nothing to do with race.A Macbook Pro in Indonesia will cost several thousand dollars more than one imported into the USA so that is why you see more people trying to scam Americans.

      • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

        You essentially just called yourself racist and ignorant. Congrats! Dumbass.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        How the hell is that racist? Is it also racist to not want to drive through neighborhoods that are full of crime & drugs? I sell a moderate amount of items on ebay & I refuse to ship overseas simply because there’s just too much propensity for fraud.

      • zibby says:

        Ha! So you would ship to any location in the world without hesitation? There is certainly one fool present here, but it isn’t altman…

    • bdgbill says:


      I always include a notice in my auctions that I will not ship overseas under any circumstances whatsoever. I still have to delete bidders (from Africa and Indonesia especially) from nearly every auction. I wish Ebay had an option to make my auctions invisible to people from certain countries.

  4. GMFish says:

    I hate to be this person, but I have no sympathy for people who sell stuff on eBay, shop at Sears, or hire the cheapest movers they can find.

    The guy pretended to be from Australia and then wanted it shipped Indonesia… and you did?! Of course eBay is gonna tell you to ship it. Even if it’s a scam, they still get their cut. It’s not like eBay is some disinterested third party.

  5. spartan says:

    I don’t really want to nitpick but he is not out “BOTH” the laptop and the $1,023.

    If ebay wants to “make him whole” they would provide either the laptop or the money. Not both.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      That was what I wanted to comment as well. He expected one or the other.

    • The Cupcake Nazi says:

      He does not have the laptop. He does not have the money. So yes, he IS currently out both of them. Being out both of them doesn’t mean he needs both of them to make it right, it simply means that he has neither of the two items which could make him whole.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        No. If he kept the laptop, he’d have a laptop. If he had sent it to the right person instead of a scammer, he’d have $1000 and no laptop.

        There is no scenario where he would have both $1000 extra dollars AND a laptop, unless he himself is a scammer. The guy in Indonesia: HE has a laptop and $1000.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Reread that comment, it made sense. Being out both the computer and cash doesn’t imply he needs to get both at the same time, simply that he has neither. One or the other is what he deserves, but he is out both of them.

          • Bladerunner says:

            But it doesn’t say he’s out “1000 or a laptop”, it says “1000 and a laptop”. He is not out both things. The statement is poorly phrased, though we can parse the intent.

            • Michael Belisle says:

              The Consumerist phrasing is logically correct here.

              In order for this to be made whole, he should have either $1000 OR a laptop. The logical negation of X OR Y is NOT X AND NOT Y. Therefore, he is out $1000 AND a laptop.

              • Bladerunner says:

                You’re trying to paste technical logical language over standard grammar, and it doesn’t work here. If they said that “Fraudulent ebay buyer leaves you without 1000 and without a macbook”, that would be correct, as you ARE both those things, and you’d have created two separate clauses “without 1000” and “without a macbook”. But the article says “leaves you minus 1000 and a macbook”, thus stating he is in the negative regarding both those things. If this statement is correct, tell me, how would they say it if it were true that he was out both 1000 and a macbook? (if he was supposed to end this transaction with both things).

                • Michael Belisle says:

                  Sometimes a statement is not that precise and context is required to understand the intended message.

                  The statement “he is out $1000 and a laptop” describes both your example (where he’s supposed to have both) and the case here, where he’s only supposed to have one. Either way, he has neither, and it’s not possible from that clause alone if one or both is required to solve the problem. Hence, the desired resolution must be divined from context. In this case, the context was perfectly clear that he only needed one of them to be whole.

                  Sure, one more precise way to qualify the case here is that “he has neither $1000 nor a laptop,” or even “he doesn’t have $1000 or a laptop,” which both imply that he is not supposed to have both and would have been an improvement. But this is an online blog, not the New York Times.

  6. Costner says:

    I don’t care if they threaten to give me negative feedback or not…. I’m not shipping anything to an address which is not the original confirmed PayPal address. This is ebay 101 stuff right here.

    I really don’t have any advice for the OP, because any advice was worthless after he decided to ship to a non-confirmed address in an entirely different country. Now that he has, the USPS is not responsible (they shipped the package to the address he intended it to be shipped to), and eBay isn’t responsible since the OP apparantly didn’t ship it to the PayPal address, but rather to some other random address that the scammer provided.

    I do feel eBay screwed up by not telling him that he is only obligated to send it to the (confirmed) PayPal address on file, but in the end all they can offer is advice and it is up to the seller to make the final decision.

    Personally I’d gladly take the hit on my feedback before I risked $1000. Call me crazy, but a impact to my eBay score of less than 1% is NOT worth a grand to me.

    • kobresia says:

      Also, it doesn’t really seem like scammers are all that prone to leaving any feedback at all, whether good or bad. It’s also fairly trivial to get false feedback removed because a buyer was being shady.

      I used to have folks trying to scam me on eBay all the time. It’s way better than it was, but let’s just say if every time I told a scam buyer I wouldn’t be shipping anything to an alt address, I never heard from them again after filing a fraud complaint with Paypal and applying for a final value fee credit on eBay. My guess is that, once their game fails on a seller, they just move on. They don’t want to call unnecessary attention to their activities or get a seller going on a vendetta & getting the compromised accounts closed before they harvest all of the low-hanging fruit they can.

      Sadly, I suspect that most sellers in the position the OP was in would likely use sound enough judgment to not fall for the scam, but wouldn’t go too far out of their way to report the fraud either– this could let the thefts continue for a month or more, until the credit cardholder noticed the unauthorized charges.

  7. jimbo831 says:

    Easy solution: use Craigslist. Somebody hands you cash and you hand them a laptop, all in a public place. No scamming to be had and no fees to pay.

    • RickN says:

      Last week, a dispute over a computer sell left three people wounded in a BoA parking lot during business hours. Another, uninvolved, party got carjacked at the ATM by one of the wounded men.

      Should the seller have used ebay instead?

      “Easy solution: use ebay. Somebody sends you money and you send them a laptop, all from the privacy of your home. No bullets to dodge or wounds to be bandaged.”

      Good and bad side to every method.

      • OSAM says:

        Your CL example is one in a million; eBay scammers are a significantly higher percentage.

        Exaggeration and overreaction FTL

        • BennieHannah says:

          I use Craigslist extensively. My husband and I have even met sellers AT THEIR HOMES, and have had a few buyers to our home. Wow! It’s a wonder we aren’t dead.

          With Craigslist, you can at least get a handle on who you’re buying from via phone calls. Names are exchanged, usually addresses and phone numbers. And all rules of common sense apply —

          Don’t meet someone alone.

          Don’t go to someone’s home if you’re the least bit worried and arrange instead to meet at a public place. (Some sellers are friendly, flea-market types and they use their homes as a sort of “showroom.” They’re talkers, and usually older people. Other sellers are selling one or two items, or are infrequent sellers, and prefer to keep things short and to the point. They tend to be younger and prefer to meet at a public place.)

          If a buyer is coming to your home to view an item within your home, meet them outside for introductions. If possible, have the item moved to your garage or outdoor area so that entry into your main home isn’t necessary.

          If you’re buying or selling an expensive item (like a car), arrange for the final sale/transfer at your or the other party’s bank.

          • dangermike says:

            Also, I don’t know why anyone would want to meet in a parking lot unless it’s for a large item like furniture or a car which can’t reasonably be transacted inside a 3rd party common ground establishment. Being inside impedes a rapid getaway and generally provide for more witnesses and higher quality surveillance footage. Less anonymity means less courage. I’ve heard some police, sheriff, and highway patrol stations are willing to provide space to facilitate a transaction. At the very least, inviting the buyer to conduct the transaction in the publicly accessible parking lot of a local law enforcement agency might help deter funny business even if the agency isn’t one that willingly makes such provisions.

      • jimbo831 says:

        Wow, you found one example of something bad that happened on CL. I can look at my local newspaper any day of the week and find several robberies and murders. I always meet people at my nearby coffee shop and I feel very safe doing so. I like my chances doing that a lot more than not getting scammed on Ebay.

        • GamerJunkdotNet says:

          There hasn’t been an EBAY KILLER from what I understand but CraigsList on the other hand…

  8. deathbecomesme says:

    Can the OP not sue here? I stopped using ebay back when I got some emails saying my paypal account had been compromised and when I called paypal they wouldnt speak to me unless I sent them forms stating I was who I claimed to be. That was back in 2003.

    • Dave B. says:

      Sure, why not. Why should he take responsibility for his own screwup. Someone else should absolutely reimburse him for doing something stupid.


  9. FearTheCowboy says:


    Well, he seems to have bought an education with his $1000 laptop.

    Having learned your lesson, hopefully you won’t do it again.

  10. Blueskylaw says:

    Seriously? Taking this kind of advice from feeBay?

    I’m sorry Sir, you need to ship the laptop or it will negatively affect your feedback, in addition, you also have to cash his check for $1000 more than the laptop costs, keep $100 for your trouble and send the rest back.

    Who the hell cares about feeBay anymore and their stupid feedback system which used to mean something in the old days but is worthless now.

  11. RandomLetters says:

    Wow, I can understand how it must feel to be out basically 2 grand but really its the OPs own fault. You knew it was a scam but you went ahead and did it anyway because it would ding your feedback? Sorry but that’s no excuse for being stupid with your money.

    • jimbo831 says:

      Where do you come up with two grand? He is out a MacBook Pro, that he has decided is worth about $1000, when it could be worth even less (scammers are obviously willing to bid more than non scammers, since they’re not paying and all).

      • RandomLetters says:

        Geez take a chill pill. I got 2 grand cause when I read the article through I misread the amount he sold it for.

  12. Papa Midnight says:

    USPS is likely to direct him straight back to eBay (and they’d be right to do so) as they performed the duties they were expected to. Insurance only goes so far as to cover lost / damaged parcels, not ones shipped resultant from fraud – that is if I’m not mistaken about the scope of shipping insurance.

    PayPal and eBay are clearly going to pass the buck back and forth on this one. Realistically, he’s going to get no where.

    You want to get somewhere? Small Claims Court. While eBay might not find that it makes them liable when their customer service representatives tell him “send it now or else”, I can almost guarantee that a judge will think otherwise; and realistically, it will cost eBay MORE in attorney fees to defend against litigation than it would for them to replace your laptop and refund the lost amounts.

    • Papa Midnight says:

      Slight correction. I mis-read the article and interpreted that he’d lost both money and a laptop. He’s lost only a laptop, however. Even still, my original point stands.

      • Heather Fyre says:

        Most small claims courts, because they are small claims courts, do not allow lawyers for either party. Just FYI.

        • Papa Midnight says:

          Granted, but usually large corporations send one in acting as a “representative”.

  13. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    I’d say the best thing to do now before writing off the sale as a big mistake would be for Jacob to contact his state’s Attorney General (which usually has a department of consumer protection), the Federal Trade Commission, and the USPS Postal Inspection Service, and complain both about the buyer and eBay’s handling of the matter. I don’t think any of them will be able to take any action against the buyer, but really they’re both part of the problem, so file complaints about both and let the agencies go after whoever they can.

  14. wildbill says:

    It’s lawyer time. Regardless as to what eBay is saying, I think it’s time to lawyer up. They need to pay for the buyer protection, they told you to ship the laptop in an email, so you have proof.

    1. Money you are out on laptop sale
    2. Money for lost time, figure out what you make an hour x7 x3 (triple damages)
    3. Money for your lawyer fees.

    I don’t know a judge or jury that won’s side with this nonsense.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      I wouldn’t side with the seller.

      OP — “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.”

      Ebay — “To qualify for eBay Seller Protection, be sure to…

      Use a shipping method that provides tracking information and/or valid delivery confirmation to the address in the PayPal transaction details or eBay order details page.”

      It seems that he didn’t follow those rules. Pretty open and shut case. It sucks and I feel bad for him but I don’t see why eBay is in the wrong.

      • Extended-Warranty says:

        If I had a dollar for everytime legal action was recommended on this site everytime the customer creates their own problems, I’d be the one buying the Macbook.

    • n0th1ng says:

      No buyer protection. It says right on the freaking screen that you need to ship to the Paypal address for buyer protection and the guy didn’t. Regardless of what the CS rep told him he should have used common sense and shipped to the original address.

  15. Tortri says:

    Call up ebays legal department, explain wtf and tell them you are going to take them to small claims court.

    • Tortri says:

      With small claims they have to show up.. Do you honestly think eBay is going to spend money to send someone for $1000? NO! As I said in my previous post call ebays legal, threaten small claims and don’t take anything less than what they owe you, in fact they owe you more for the hassle they put you through.

  16. Here to ruin your groove says:

    You lost seller protection once you agreed to send the item to an unverified address.

    1. Never send to an unverified address.
    2. Don’t sell overseas unless you like people blaming you for postal shipping times, lost items, customs, etc etc etc. Don’t sell overseas at all.
    3. :(

    You’re screwed buddy.

  17. wren337 says:

    sue them in small claims court. you have no other leverage.
    also, I blame the OP. you knew better.

  18. The Cupcake Nazi says:

    Yeah, I’m sorry, but you got obvious warning signs of fraud, you had concerns (properly) because of those warning signs, and yet you shipped it anyway because a lowly CS rep told you to.

  19. SRK says:

    eBay does not care about sellers, especially if you aren’t power sellers. The seem to always side with the customers. I sold an item a month ago (after a few years away from eBay I decided to try it again. I quickly remember why I left and am not using them for anything else) and I’m still trying to resolve it after 1 of the 2 items was damaged in shipping and we’re trying to find a fair price to replace the item. Luckily, I transferred the money from Paypal and unlinked all of my active bank accounts and credit cards (they don’t allow this normally, but I have an old bank account linked to it still and since they haven’t tried to use that account since I closed it, they don’t know). They now have a $250+ hold on my Paypal account until they resolve the problem. I hate being treated guilty until proven innocent.

    Ebay is heartless. Just avoid them! What type of company doesn’t communicate via email in 2012? Come on! That shows how little they care about customers.

    • scoosdad says:

      No email, no paper trail. With a phone conversation, it’s your word against theirs.

  20. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’m really surprised he thought $1000 was worth the risk for possibly having negative feedback on his account.

    I hope the sacrifice was worth it to him.

  21. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The eBay customer service rep was stupid and I seriously doubt there would have been negative feedback. Either way, unless I sell 10’s of thousands of dollars of stuff on eBay my feedback rating isn’t important enough to send a laptop to Indonesia when I the PayPal account says Australia. I would have fought any negative feedback all the way through EECB, but even if I lost that battle feedback is a lot less important to me than money.

    I have never been willing to sell internationally because I don’t want the extra hassle. Fraud prevention is a secondary but important consideration as well. You can easily select this when you sell.

  22. eezy-peezy says:

    I have been selling on Ebay for over 12 years and NO WAY would I sell something that expensive/fraud-prone internationally.

  23. Straspey says:

    Now you know why many eBay sellers will *only* ship to confirmed addresses within the 48 states.

    • waterboy in Alaska says:

      REALLY!!!??? Cause Alaskans are all scammers, and those people that live on that island in the Pacific are too!!! /s

      So tired of people/companies that “will not ship to Alaska”. We actually have USPS (just like you “lower 48ers”), Big FEDEX and UPS hub here in anchorage too, Alaskans also tend to have a higher per capita income to most ( Yes, we use “American Dollars” up here too). So what if shipping is more….it always gets passed on to me anyway…isn’t my money green also???

  24. Cicadymn says:


  25. RedOryx says:

    This is why PayPal has verified addresses.

    • scoosdad says:

      Does anyone really know that works, exactly? What is the verification process? Does someone at ebay go and verify that a house at that address exists by looking at Google street view or some government official listing? And if it’s like that, who certifies that the listed recipient of the package lives at that address today?

      If it’s verified by virtue of the fact that someone has successfully shipped to that address in the past without a complaint, then how did that person manage to ship to an address that wasn’t verified? Saying an address is ‘verified’ leaves a lot open to interpretation as to what that really means.

  26. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    If you think you are being scammed and see no way out, there is a slightly sneaky way to get out of it.

    Ebay lets you cancel a sale after the fact. One of the reasons is that the item has been broken since it was listed, I forget ebay’s wording on this. OP should cancel the sale with that reason, refund the payment (Paypal refunds fees when you refund a payment). Then “fix” the item and relist.

    • Snapdragon says:

      Good advice, but unfortunately the computer is already delivered to the scammer.

    • eezy-peezy says:

      You could also mark it as shipped, when the buyer says ‘I didn’t get it”, refund their money. Then you still have the computer.

    • scoosdad says:

      Now that would be one neat trick. Got a time machine handy for the OP?

  27. kobresia says:

    It’s time to make a proper “why it is the OP’s fault” form comment as far as all of the P2P internet sales-related services go.

    I see that the OP had a problem with:
    _x_ eBay and/or _x_ Paypal and/or __ UPS/FedEx/USPS

    I hate to have to point this out, but these problems were completely avoidable because the OP failed to:
    ___ Insure the parcel, since insurance is for the seller, not the buyer. If you can’t prove it arrived, you, as the seller, are responsible.
    _x_ Ship to the Paypal confirmed address, which generally helps to prevent fraud from stolen credit card information.
    _x_ Ship to an address that is even on the same continent as the payment address. Really?
    ___ Pack the item properly and verify the correctness of the destination address before tendering it to the shipper.
    ___ Pay using a credit card to get the additional ability to contest the charges if the item is not received or not as described.
    ___ File a complaint regarding the purchase, in the proper manner, within a timely manner.
    _x_ Follow eBay’s so-called Seller Protection Policy, and all of Paypal’s policies, to the letter.

    __ Shut-the-fuck-up about all those details that aren’t relevant to your narrative about how you were wronged. That your (__aunt/uncle / __grandmother/grandfather / __mother/father / __fiance) had experienced the unfortunate circumstance of (__dying / __ losing a job / __being abused by Spirit Airlines) is generally not germane to your complaint.
    __ You’re an idiot for spending a bazillion dollars on mail-order wedding supplies when you could just get married in front of a justice of the peace, on the cheap.
    _x_ Sorry dude, that really sucks, but you just should’ve known better.


    I gotta get to work, but I figure this will save time for future comments and it’s a start, anyway.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I have to agree, when you sell on ebay you, the seller are responsible for reading and knowing their policies for everything you sell.

      First and foremost you are not supposed to ship to any address other than the address on the page paypal presents you with when you sign in to view the transaction.

      If this item was sold to US buyers only, buy it now with immediate payment required, listed with full signature confirmation and insurance and follow all policies to the letter then you would be fine.

      • jeffpiatt says:

        if anything he should have just canceled the sale and refunded the cash. you appeal the ruling after the report in.

  28. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    I am willing to bet 150 points (out of 727, new rules means buyers leave feedback much less often then they used to) of my feedback rating that eBay said you have to ship, BUT they did not say you have to ship to Indonesia.

    By shipping to the unconfirmed address that WAS NOT in the payment info, the OP sidestepped the rules that would have covered sellers.

  29. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    Protip: don’t offer international shipping on eBay.

  30. Extended-Warranty says:

    This is why my terms say I will only deliver within the United States.

  31. benminer says:

    Some of you seem to be under the mistaken impression that the verbal “advice” allegedly given to the OP by ebay override paypal’s very clear policy that you must ship to the confirmed address in order to be covered by seller protection.

  32. twerp says:

    ebay reps are by far the dumbest people on the planet. They do not know ebay’s policies or a scam if it licked them in the ass.

  33. JGB says:

    If the buyer is in, or claims to be in, another country, then it is a scam about 90% of the time.

    If they then tell you to send it to yet another country, then it is a scam 100% of the time.

    I no longer bother trying to sell anything on ebay. I simply don’t have the time to wade through all the obvious attempts to rip me off. Last time I tried to sell a phone there, I got at least a dozen. There were 4 from women “who lived only a couple blocks from me” but were out of the country and had just realized that she had forgot her brother/boyfriend/husband’s birthday who was working with AIDS victims or orphans in another country and could I please drop ship it there? She would gladly pay me extra to do so.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      That always happens to me on Craigslist. I get a buttload of emails from people who are interested, eager, and then when it comes time to cement the deal, I’m asked to ship it to West Africa & can they please have my Paypal info so they can send me 3 times what I’m asking for my item, “just for my trouble”.

  34. jza1218 says:

    This OP is totally at fault.

    If you can’t bear having a -1 by your name and would rather be out a $1000 machine then you deserve whatever you get.

  35. Extended-Warranty says:

    For those who think eBay always sides with the buyers, and screws the sellers, you’re right. Now you know how retailers feel when fraudulent buyers try and chargeback everything. I dream of an economy that sides with reason over “bad press”

  36. Scamazon says:

    Selling on eBay internationally has always been a joke. I remember trying to get eBay to pay attention to a new seller with NO feedback selling over 100 new high end bikes with buy it now and in there comment are do not use buy it now and contact us. Although this is against eBay policies to sell like this, when I reported it to eBay they saw nothing wrong with it. The seller would eventually disappear and come back as another seller the next week..This was happening over 10 years ago and scams like it still exist today…In a case such as the one I described, eBay would tell you its against our policies to deal with sellers like this yet when reported they do nothing about it because it makes eBay overall numbers look like they are doing quite well in the financial realm.

    PayPal and eBay’s seller protection is worthless and I wonder why no one has sued them over this yet…

  37. Dr.Wang says:

    a good example of why I quit using ebay years ago.

  38. gqcarrick says:

    That sucks. I actually mailed out a package, in the US, and got delivery confirmation that it was delivered. Then the person tells me they didn’t get the package. I followed eBay’s rules which were to 1. verify with the person that their address was correct (which it was) and then 2. Refer the buyer to the shipper (USPS) so they can file a lost package claim. So what does the Buyer do? Not a thing. They just left me negative feedback saying I scammed them when I have confirmation it was received somewhere. eBay did nothing in that instance either even though I followed their simple rules. Buyers have all the power now.

    • kobresia says:

      Recipients can’t initiate insurance claims, only the shipper can. As part of the investigation, the USPS would probably need to confirm with the recipient that the shipment didn’t arrive, but it’s just the way things work that the person who paid for the insurance is the one who is responsible for starting the process.

      • gqcarrick says:

        Not what eBay says, but not knowing personally, I won’t argue. eBay wouldn’t even reverse the negative feedback.

        • kobresia says:

          It wouldn’t surprise me that eBay said something stupid, I think the service has gone pretty far downhill in that direction. They actively provide lots of faulty information, which is worse than just providing no information at all and letting folks fend for themselves.

          They won’t reverse any feedback unless it is obviously faulty, such as over an item that wasn’t paid-for (due to buyer stupidity or fraud) or left under false pretenses.

          What you might try to do is file for a final value credit, if the buyer reversed payment or if you refunded the payment. That is one of the conditions that will get negative feedback automatically removed, and it might trigger a more thorough investigation into whether the buyer did indeed receive the shipment. That assumes not too much time has passed, though. I would certainly recommend trying that, since eBay tends to be a little more thorough when it comes to losing their final value fees.

          This is one of the problems with two different companies with opposite agendas which are operating under common ownership. EBay needs to keep sellers happy, because they’re the ones paying eBay, but Paypal has to keep buyers happy to avoid disputes & chargebacks. The key is to know which side you’re likely to get the most traction with.

  39. tungstencoil says:

    Small claims court.

  40. adamf63 says:

    I had a similar experience, but I was at fault for thinking that payment meant payment. I sold a barebones system and the buyer was a russian. The buyer made me think he was a NYC dealer sending product to a business in Russia.

    I calculated postage and made it clear that postage would be about $100. After payment, I shipped it off. It was NOT a verified address and that was my fatal mistake.

    Both ebay and paypal accounts were compromised. Hacker had a stolen paypal account with funds and used a stolen ebay account to make the purchase.

    I already had yanked out the funds when paypal told me they wanted the money back. They set the account negative and sicked a rapingly nasty collection agency on me. My phone rang ten times a day, never with a human at the other end. They used autodialer to harass. I eventually retired my phone number to make it stop.

    Believe it or not, I came around to seeing paypal’s point of view. I had taken stolen funds. It was no different than moving counterfeit money. The stolen funds had to be returned.

    However, I barely forgive them for sicking the asshole collection agency on me. If is because of them that I write this love letter.

  41. ecuador says:

    Sorry OP, your fault. Next time a low-level CSR tells you “good luck” don’t take that as a guarantee to put all your savings on 12 red.

  42. stephent says:

    I would sue Ebay in small claims court. Will probably win a default judgment.

  43. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Sue eBay in small claims court.

  44. SoCalGNX says:

    There is the same scam more or less going on in Florida. A guy offered to sell a Mac then is slow to send it. When ask, he says he drops it and it won’t boot up. There is an entire site devoted to people who have been ripped off by him.

  45. evilpete says:

    I always wait 5 days to a week before shipping big ticket items

  46. kataisa says:

    Why do people insist on listing their expensive computer stuff available to buy “worldwide” on Ebay when they know they’re most likely to be scammed by buyers outside of North America?

  47. dandadan says:

    I have to weigh in on this one too as I sell a lot of laptops on eBay. Everyone is absolutely right, do not ship overseas. Laptops are too high of a value item to ship outside US. All sellers learn this lesson the hard way.

    I shipped a laptop to Romania. The box got there, so claimed the buyer but no laptop! Seller protection? Nope because item was delivered according to records. I filed a claim with postal insurance and filed necessary paperwork along with several trips to post office. 4 months later I received payment for my claim, just 45% of the original value.

    From that point I changed my settings to only offer to US buyers. I strictly follow ebay seller protection rules. I recently shipped out a laptop that was flagged as a fraudulent purchase. They did a chargeback. I provided tracking info. and 3 weeks later Paypal refunded my money. Remember it is Paypal that does refunds, not eBay, even though they are owned by eBAy.

    My advice is to always ship to verified address. Use UPS whenever possible (you can call a package back while in transit) and remember signature is required for items over $250 or so.
    Sure eBay is a pain, but it gives you a large market. Just be smart.

  48. quail says:

    So, long story short: eBay/PayPal sux.

  49. PhilipCohen says:

    And, conversely, don’t forget the criminal facilitator eBay and its shill bidding sellers:

    “Reality TV Star Accused of eBay Shill Bidding Sues Her Accuser”

    “eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding”:

    eBay-Facilitated Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay Auctions: Case Study #1

    eBay-Facilitated Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay Auctions: Case Study #2

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

  50. smajor says:

    When I used to sell on scamBay, I’d never, ever, sell outside the US. I blocked all foreign bids. Never, ever, ship anything using anything other than their print-to-ship offering (which I loathe to say aren’t bad and help you in your seller disputes.) I’ve had cases settled in my favor because I used their shipping and had proof of delivery.

    Once you ship outside the US, you’re just asking for trouble in my opinion.

  51. El Guapo says:

    OP should have shipped a box of rocks COD and kept the laptop.

  52. OMG_BECKY says:

    Leave the buyer negative feedback! Oh wait, you can’t do that.

  53. newmie says:

    I only send to verified Paypal addresses. I never ship to any alternative address. Had he called Paypal instead of Ebay, they would have advised him not to do that. Since Paypal handles the money, they are the ones to consult with.

  54. ancientone567 says:

    First off I am a long time Ebay seller and buyer. When I sell items I rarely do international but when I do it is only to safer places like Canada, England etc. I would never reroute a package to another destination after the sale. I always send it to the address listed with PayPal as a confirmed address. The fault is all the OP’s. Sorry you got scammed dude!

  55. sj_user1 says:

    This must have been the victims first time on the internet.

  56. drtrmiller says:

    You were charged back the amount because you could not provide proof of shipment to the buyer’s confirmed PayPal address after the transaction was reported as unauthorized.

    PayPal cases close automatically within 10 days if you can not provide this information.

    All you had to do was prove that you shipped an item—any item—to the buyer’s confirmed address in Australia (which you failed to do), and then you would have been covered under Seller Protection.

    Unfortunately, by shipping to an address other than the buyer’s PayPal confirmed address you forfeited PayPal’s Seller Protection per the User Agreement.

    Also, shipping USPS Registered Mail, FedEx, or UPS would have allowed you to redirect the parcel while it was in transit. Express Mail alone does not offer this service.

    Better luck next time.

  57. drtrmiller says:

    You were charged back the amount because you could not provide proof of shipment to the buyer’s confirmed PayPal address after the transaction was reported as unauthorized.

    PayPal cases close automatically within 10 days if you can not provide this information.

    All you had to do was prove that you shipped an item—any item—to the buyer’s confirmed address in Australia (which you failed to do), and then you would have been covered under Seller Protection.

    Unfortunately, by shipping to an address other than the buyer’s PayPal confirmed address you forfeited PayPal’s Seller Protection per the User Agreement.

    Also, shipping USPS Registered Mail, FedEx, or UPS would have allowed you to redirect the parcel while it was in transit. Express Mail alone does not offer this service.

    Better luck next time.