eBay’s fraud problem

I realise this isn’t exactly news, but one more small voice can’t harm: eBay is dying. Slowly, messily, rotten with scammers and spammers and all the low-life scum who are the reason we can’t have nice things.

A year ago, I sold a MacBook on eBay. I had a couple of “Would you end it early?” offers, but nothing worse. The eventual buyer was happy, I was happy, and I rather enjoyed the experience.

This year, I sold an iPod and a broken Mac mini. Woah. One bid cancellation (a perfectly sane bid, which the guy left in place for 24 hours, not the “wrong amount” as he claimed), one request to ship to Cyprus (despite my clear terms stating no international shipping), complete with petulent retort when I pointed this out! One request for German postage, but this sounded more legit. Still refused. Two offers of cash to end the iPod early (for way below market value; I guess it’s worth a try, eh?). And that’s just what I can remember. I enjoyed it rather less.

A friend of mine sold his old iPhone today. Not only has he spent the last week politely telling people wanting to do dodgy deals and international shipping (probably to some distant relative in Nigeria) to fuck off, and not only did he have a fellow withdraw a bid because he “couldn’t contact the seller” (my arse) which eBay essentially ignored after having it reported – but when the iPhone finally ended it was to an American account. Registered the previous day. Which had no feedback. And had been bidding on high priced electronics.

Clearly a scumbag scammer. It happens. What shocked me was that his second place bidder was almost identically positioned – except that he’d been even more prolific, bidding on dozens of items in the last day.

One of the accounts was no longer registered within an hour of the auction’s end.

Fortunately, in this case the third place bidder seemed to be legitimate, and jumped on a second chance offer pretty quickly – with immediate payment. So, this time it ended… okay; but I can’t see my friend selling more on eBay soon.

Fraud on eBay.com is no secret, but eBay.co.uk had been holding out. No longer, it seems. eBay don’t care, because they just keep jacking up their fees to keep profits rising despite a fall in usage, but it’s so shortsighted. The worse it gets, the fewer real transactions take place, and you can only raise the prices so far before they’re an even bigger discouragement than the fraud. (At least you can avoid fraud, with due diligence.)

Eventually there won’t be anyone left but the scammers. And they’re not exactly the best customers.

21 Responses to “eBay’s fraud problem”


  • But what will the replacement be? So many people use ebay now that I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere anytime soon.

  • If it gets to the stage where it’s unusable, and everyone has a bad experience, every time, will people really still use it? We coped alright selling things in local newspapers, shop windows and the like before eBay. Sure, it wasn’t as good as eBay has been, but it was better than eBay is becoming.

    One thing the web has taught us is that if your site’s value to users drops too low, it doesn’t take long for someone to come and replace you. Myspace is getting walloped by Facebook, which in turn may get taken out by Twitter. Yahoo were supplanted by Google. If eBay needs replacing, a replacement will be found; is probably already waiting, in fact, for a mass exodus.

  • I’ve had an Ebay account since 1998. I haven’t bothered to bid on anything since 2007. It’s not just spammers and scammers, but the sheer number of people bidding on rare items. I might be interested in a bit of memorabilia, but I am not crazy. I am not willing to pay 10X the asking price. I am also not interested in paying MORE than retail for commercial products. Towards the end I was reporting more false ads (on high end sewing machines) than making bids. I hope something comes along to replace them, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe there everyone who wants to buy a Beanie Baby TM already has one.

  • Just the opposite for me, Deadbeat Sellers. Sellers that don’t set a reserve then back out and refuse to send even though he or she has accepted the money. On 4 different transaction I have had to contact the resolution center and Pay Pal in the last 3 or 4 months. Maybe it’s the economy but frankly I’m getting Pissed and have started to shop ebay less and less. If you look up my account you will find I have a perfect record and have never ripped anyone off. I have noticed that the problem sellers are coming from the east coast but that might be a coinsidence. At any rate if a seller can’t be honest than he better be ready for negative feedback. If anyone is interested I would be glad to give you these sellers names, not here but I would be happy to email away from this site.

  • I just registered on a web site that will begin Nov,1st 2009 and it will be better than eBay.FLAT low fees all around website with NO FEES after the item sells.As of right now it only has categories for everything automotive but I hope it will grow into something bigger and more honest than eBay.Suggestions are welcome.FREE REGISTRATION.
    http://www.bestautoauction.net

  • I have bought several items on eBay the past 3 years, but I’ll soon stop doing so. The past 2 months a Chinese seller sent me a faulty/fake USB drive and another one didn’t send anything, not even an email with confirmation. And the resolution center just sucks, it’s like communicating with a machine. Another serious issue is that two times the transaction record has just vanished from my list of Won Items on My eBay. They simply deleted it without informing me as if I never had bought anything, but I still have the PayPal receipt email that proves my purchase. In both cases I have asked customer service what on earth is going on? But no answer so far. eBay really sucks nowadays.

  • eBay could care less about your complaints. Even if they lose 50% of their customer base that will leave them with over 5 million chaps…………and they keep raising their fees to compensate for the lost customers.

    They just don’t give a shit, as long as the fees keep rolling in.

    I left them months ago, and have not missed a night’s sleep since.

  • So we all know, “Ebay don’t care”. MAKE them care, by evening their opposition.
    FILE COMPLAINTS with the Attorney General’s office (of whatever state, really), but Ebay is based in San Jose, California.

    Same goes for Paypal. They are no different from the Bernies (Madoff).

    Please, do it.

  • I am a first time ebay buyer that didn’t receive what I paid for. I see a lot of sellers complaining about buyer, but what about sellers that cheat buyers? I have filed a complaint with ebay/paypal. How long do you think that I will have to wait to get my money back? I know I’ll never buy anything again on ebay.

  • Don’t trust the security of Ebay – they won’t help you!
    One scammer from England put up about 10 pc of £2500 new cameras for sale on Ebay. One each day. I won one auction. Seller demanded bank transfer within one day. I hesitated due to strange things – the alarm bell rang in my head. I tried to contact other buyers to see if they had got their cameras – they had not but were waiting …
    Suddenly the seller changed his photo to a nude woman and added a very rude text telling all customers to F …
    I immediate put a warning in the Ebay forum to not pay him.
    15 minutes later Ebay warned me and removed my warning!
    Then Ebay emailed me and demanded immediate payment!
    Then Ebay cleaned all negative feedback away to not show people about this case.
    Ebay refused to give out any data about him or other buyers so we could warn them.

    Suddenly a cop mailed me. That man on Ebay had stolen > £50000 from people on Ebay! Ebay didn’t help anybody except if a court demanded it!

    DON’T EXPECT EBAY TO HELP YOU! THEY ONLY WANT YOUR MONEY TOO! THERE ARE A LOT OF SCAMMERS LURING! BE VERY CAREFUL!

  • I used Ebay.ca for the last 3 years and every transaction was ok. However, I bought an item from Argentina and it did not arrive. I lost $20, which is a small loss, but what really pissed me off is that Ebay refused to post feedback on this transaction. All I want is to warn other people about this dishonest seller. Ebay argued that 45 days passed since transaction therefore I cannot leave my feedback. A deal is a deal. Transaction is not over unless both parties received the goods. If Ebay cannot provide secure transaction then let it die.

  • I bought a buy now offer on ebay and then after paying was told not to communicate with the person. I asked why and they wouldn’t tell me anything. I fortunately got the product but was unable to see the actual auction page as they took it off and refused to put it back. Also, I was unable to give positive OR negative feedback because ebay screwed up.

    Its time we can leave ebay feedback!!! I wonder if ebay itself would be 100% – I think NOT

  • Sounds like the New Zealand eBay scammer Dean Artmanni…

  • First thing to do if you get scammed on eBay is to take copies of all the adverts from the scammer and any feedback details or eBay inbox messages you can get because the first thing eBay does is remove any traces they can and then they will try to say the transaction didn’t take place.

    on eBuster,co,uk we list 1000′s of adverts where feedback is being sold for as little as $0.01 and also publish some of the forum messages that eBay pulls in an effort to keep a lid on things get out.

    Make no mistake eBay is doing all it can to protect scammers and does not give a dam about buyers or sellers so no wonder it’s going down which will be a good leson for other corporation to learn from and show that customers still have some say.

  • eBay is definitely doing some strange things. Yesterday I bought an item and today all records of that transaction have been erased from my ebay account. Fortunately, I paid with PayPal and it has the item #. Even more strange, I have not received any winning notification from eBay after I bought the item (it was a Buy It Now offer). However, the item was listed in my WON ITEMS yesterday.

    eBay did not reply to my two requests about this situation. They just ignore customers.

    I had no chance to receive the feedback for this legitimate transaction.

    I am wondering if I can take this case to a small claim court against the eBay?

  • ebay is so unresponsive to complaints, no more feedback from me ever

  • My alternative income stream is selling stuffs on Ebay and i can say that i earn a lot from selling on Ebay-’,

  • Hey,

    I simply look at it this way, eBay has become a bohemoth in the world of online selling, like you have touched upon, they don`t seem to care about the actual business transactions carried carried out as long as the seller doesn`t upset the buyer, and that eBay makes the fees as one big fat middleman!

    However, the only way to combat fraud drastically is to choose comsumable markets to sell into, that simply cater to people who want solutions to their problems, like for example in the skincare niche?

    Cheers…Ed.

  • I HATE EBAY! You guys do know that Ebay owns Paypal & visa~versa right? & 40%>(or there roughly)… & also % of Google & ect… I buy beads & ALOT of them because I make ALOT of jewelry & sell it to have a better monthly income for me & my family… In order to win bead items on auction you HAVE to put in ALOT of bids in order to win ANYTHING… At first on ebay I would put in hundreds of bids & would only win a few items. So I put in even more bids & then won quite a bit. I then started noticing that when I’d pay ALL sellers at once instead of 1 @ a time that ALOT of my won & PAID items(but not all)..would start disappearing out of my items paid! This would happen if I had ALOT of won/paid items in my paid list ALL at the same time… For example I won ALOT from this 1 seller apprx. 30 to 35 items from him, & when paying for these things there were other sellers I would pay ALL at the same time in order to save time doing them all 1 by 1…VER TIME CONSUMING. Anyhow, like a week or so later I started to think well hmmm, I could of swore I won & paid for more items then whats showing now..? But since I won SO MANY ITEMS it was hard to tell. & Alot of thatis my own fault but then again NO ITS NOT… I mean why should a person have to worry about something such as paid items disappearing out of their account!? So I thought, well maybe I just saw it wrong or whatever when I was paying for them? I recieved the items from the seller & there were 15 things in the package. This was in February 2011 when I won/paid for these items. Just recently ebay now has a buyers purchase history on their accounts so they can look back to see what they bought. It can show purchases made up to 3 years ago. I was going thru ALL my hundreds of purchases & saw that same seller from February 2011 purchases that I made that day showing 45 items bought..>”WHAT?!” 45 ITEMS!! I got only 15 & paid for 45 items?! Since it was over the 45/60days since the purchases were made ebay told me that NOTHING could be done about it! In Feb. 2011 around the same time that I bought those items I started selling items myself on ebay. I had a bunch a old glass plate negatives from the late 1800′s that sold & $$ going to my paypal account. At that time I noticed a bunch of $$ never made it to my paypal account from selling those glass plates & called them on it & they said they would investigate it & get back to me. They never did. What I believe they did with this is by somehow putting items back into my account that never even made it to the sellers I paid..I know this all sounds crazy but that is what they want people to think, that is how they are getting away with it!! Think about it…if it all did go to court the judge would think you are whacked out of your mind!! Saying, well I thought I paid for these items & they disappeared out of my account & then they just magically re~appear, the judge would throw you & your case out!! Ebay has also made my purchase history to where I am UNABLE to customize my purchase history for the dates, or look by the seller’s id, or by anything. They also put in the the totals on my purchase history w/out the shipping costs & put,>”shipping unknown”… in order for me NOT to be able to compare to on paypal…how perfect for them is that?! They can change your dates, your feedback left for sellers to match it all up to whatever they stold from you, EBAY & PAYPAL get together & do this to people that bid on ALOT of items & then steal it from them!! If caught all they would have to do is either fix it to where it would make them look totally innocent and/or fix it in your account(s) to match up! I figured them out finally!!! But little do they know when they hacked into my PC that my hubby is a computer geek/nerd PRO. & caught the hack & we also caught them while they were adding ALL these disappearded items back into my account(s)by printing them while they were doing them>”HA”~!! :) BUSTED!&! I’m sure this will make the headlines here real soon! THEY ARE BUSTED! THIS SHOULD BE ENOUGH TO SHUT THEM DOWN >”FOR GOOD”! “HA”!

  • The stock market and national economy now determines the honesty of ebay sellers.

    Personally, I would be very wary now of any ebay private seller as there is very little if any support or reimbursement from ebay for items which are mis advertised.

    Combine this with the extremely high risk to buyers from ‘hidden bidder identities’ seller friends and family shill bidding, the ever increasing inflated postal charges often double the cost of the actual package (that is if you receive the item which you have bought) and the risk of abuse from leaving negative feedback it becomes a recipe for disaster.

    In brief, my advise is if you cannot or ‘not allowed’ to call to collect and pay in person, If the seller requires immediate payment etc, Just don’t bid!

  • Some further reading you may also find of interest;

    http://www.paypalwarning.com/

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