While I did not lose much money, (little under $2 including shipping), I was victim of a scam nonetheless. The scam basically goes like this, an international seller claims to have sent the item, then after about 20 days (near the end of the shipping window) either you get tired of waiting and contact them, then they plead with you to give it more time. They will try to get you to wait about 1 week more. The next contact, they will claim to re ship the item within a few days, and still never ship anything.
After waiting for the reshipment which also never arrives, they will begin pleading with you to wait even longer, then the second the buyer protection window reaches it’s close after 45 days of the initial purchase, the seller will then reduce the speed of their replies and then offer a refund, which will also get delayed, then after 60 days of the initial purchase, the seller stops all communication.
A phone call with eBay’s resolution center states that they have no way of dealing with this issue as all feedback windows have closed.
This makes me wonder, how many people is this happening to. If this were a non international seller, I would have already made a buyers protection claim, but since the seller was in China a longer delivery time was expected, and giving them the benefit of the doubt, allowed them to delay until after the 45 day buyer protection window, in addition to delaying until after the feedback window.
The end result is the seller scams you out of money, they get no negative feedback, or buyer protection claims, eBay customer service cant do anything, so finally the sellers account remains in good standing.
From my experience in being scammed like this, if a seller does it right, they could probably seriously pad their income by only making good on a small portion of their sales to maintain new good feedback while tricking many other users into waiting until after the buyer protection and if possible, also until after the feedback window.
I only lost a small amount of money, and don’t expect to get it back, but I hope that this can at least educate others about this kind of scam in order to at least get them to file for buyers protection earlier on regardless of what the seller says.
We’re not saying that buying stuff on eBay from China is a bad idea–sometimes it can be a very good idea. What we’re saying is to know the rules of the marketplace and know your rights: file a dispute on day 44 if you have to, but make sure it’s in the system. A bad feedback score won’t tip you off to this scheme.