Scammers will take advantage of any accessible platform to defraud unwitting victims of their money or property, and eBay is no exception. Scammers have been using the online auction site since it first started in 1995. eBay requires a lot of confidence from both the buyer and the seller, but it's pretty easy to take advantage of that trust. And although eBay has put in certain precautions to protect against scammers, this article will teach you how to recognize the most typical eBay scams and how you can protect yourself.
What are different scams on eBay?
1. The empty box
This is also a common scam used on new sellers who have not yet established a strong reputation in the marketplace to make this claim less credible. A buyer will open a refund request on eBay immediately after getting the item, claiming that they received an empty package, accusing the seller of being the scammer. These are challenging issues to navigate since providing evidence to support either side is often difficult. When in dispute, however, eBay will most likely decide with the buyer, leaving the seller with no money and no item. Although there is no easy way to prevent this kind of scam, it is your due diligence to film the incident on camera.
2. Used return item
This type of scam abuses the eBay return policy in which a buyer uses an item for a particular number of days before returning it. The buyer saves money by not renting that item for a certain amount of time, while the seller has to pay for shipping and receive no compensation for wear and tear.
3. The Feedback Problem
This happens more frequently to new sellers, as establishing a positive reputation on eBay is critical to becoming successful on the platform. After receiving an item, the buyer will complain that it is defective or falsely represented on the listing and seek a partial or whole refund. The buyer will then leave a negative review if the seller does not comply. This is a classic scam to avoid because it violates eBay regulations. Simply report the buyer and request that eBay customer support evaluate your message exchange with the buyer to delete any negative feedback from your account.
5. Payment outside of eBay
The potential buyer proposes immediate payment outside of the platform, frequently citing technical difficulties with his or her eBay account as the reason. The scammer frames this request as a win-win because the seller will be able to avoid paying eBay fees. Note that this is not only against eBay policies, but eBay's terms and conditions state that the FVF (final value fee) is still due for transactions concluded outside of the platform if the buyer and seller met on eBay). Also, eBay does not assist with a transaction outside of its jurisdiction.
6. Gift card scam
Victims of gift card scams are contacted by phone, email, or social media. To generate a sense of urgency, they provide a limited-time discount. The scammer will ask for the victim's gift card number before paying. They disappear once they obtain the code and make off your gift card balance.
How to Avoid scams
When selling on eBay, it's critical to exercise extreme caution to not be a victim to scammers. Some of this advice may come naturally to you, but it still pays to be aware and act cautiously, as internet financial transactions, no matter how diligent you are, can be dangerous. Here are ways to avoid eBay scams and scam-proof your shop:
- Accepting checks as payment is never a good idea. It's dangerous because they're frequently used as a target for fraud. Wait till checks are clear before accepting them. The sum will appear in your account after you deposit a check, but it may take a week or two to be verified. If you deliver the package before the check clears, you may end up having a zero balance in your bank account and no item. Always utilize eBay payment methods that have been approved.
- Always use eBay's official channels to complete transactions. Use the service given to communicate. eBay is unable to follow up on transactions outside of the platform, and it cannot validate discussions or agreements made through private channels. Give yourself the best chance of being protected by demonstrating to eBay that you acted in good faith.
- Everything should be documented. So always keep track of the packing and shipping of each item and any tracking numbers that were used. This will assist protect you from fraudulent claims that aren't based on facts. This is because eBay usually favors the buyer. You should contest any claims you believe are false and back them up with photographic evidence.
- Check if the image used to display the item is also used in other listings or if it's a stock photo from the internet. If it is, and the seller refuses to supply additional images or information on the item, it is most likely a scam and should be ignored.
- Compare the price of this item to those of similar items. It could be a fraud or stolen stuff if it's drastically discounted without sufficient justification.
What to do if you got scammed on eBay
eBay is well aware that its users are a target for scammers. So they work well with law enforcement and advise victims of scams to file a police report with their local authorities. Visit the eBay Security Center to learn more about reporting a scam to the police and how eBay is involved. You can also report a problem with a seller directly to eBay and if you come across an item on eBay that you believe is fake, report it right away.
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