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eBay Selling Experience - the buyer was compensated for no good reason

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rated:
I sell occasionally on eBay and it has been fairly smooth till now. Recently I sold a phone and the item was delivered as per the tracking information available from USPS. Out of the blue after good 2 weeks of the item being delivered, the buyer claims that the item was never received and opened a case directly. I responded by asking them to check with their local PO. The case was escalated to eBayeBay decided to refund the buyer. However, they did not deduct anything from me. I find this puzzling. This was obviously an attempt to defraud. I fail to understand why did eBay issue a refund to the buyer when there is sufficient evidence that the item was delivered.

Full text of eBay 's decision and my conversation with the buyer:eBay Customer Support has refunded the buyer.We're issuing the buyer a refund for this case. You don't need to do anything else. This case won't be included when we evaluate seller performance. Note: It may take up to 24 hours to update in your Seller Dashboard.
Final decision:
You were not found at fault.

Transaction summary:
Any remaining funds from this transaction are available
Case ID :
5141422XXXX
Buyer ID :
jlf0121 
Request reason : Item not received
Jul. 6 : The case was resolved
Jul. 6 : The buyer has opened a case
Jul. 5 : You added tracking details
Jul. 5 : You sent a message
Jul. 5 : The buyer didn't receive the item
Buyer wants a refund
Comments (my response to the buyer)
Dear Buyer, I've not received any previous communication from you. We've shipped the package as per the address provided. The tracking details clearly show that the package was delivered. It's unlikely that this was not delivered. However, since you claim so, I would request you to contact your local PO and follow-up with them. Also, please do remember that we take fraud very seriously and will take the appropriate steps required to pursue this. We're absolutely certain that this package has been delivered as per the address provided. Thanks pks


Comments (Buyer's initial communication) 
Dear Sir or Madam: This is my 2nd attempt at contact regarding the phone I ordered and it's status as being delivered. I did not receive the package containing the phone, although the tracking information said it was delivered. I have been to the post office for the 3rd time today, July 5th and they still do not have the pkg and can give no details as o it's whereabouts. I have shown the tracking info to them all 3 times and let them know I DO NOT have the delivery and they have been unable to locate at the actual post office. I am not sure what steps to take at this juncture as I am not an avid purchaser of items via the internet. At this point I would simply want to ask for a refund of the phone purchase amount. As this is my 2nd attempt to contact you as the seller I will wait the 4 days via eBay instructions, and then contact them concerning resolution of the situation. I appreciate your time and cooperation concerning this inquiry. Thank You, [Name Removed] (This communication is being sent on 7/5/17 @ 9:15pm CST)
 

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rated:
The post office does on occasion deliver to the wrong address : I have had this happen to me a couple of times and each time the post office volunteered that it was a substitute making deliveries on those days, and that they would inquire, but that they could not guarantee to find where the package ended up. They did NOT suggest someone stole the package from my front porch as they normally would, as soon as I gave them my address and date the tracking says it was delivered. Post office suggested I buy insurance for high value orders for just this reason.

Don't assume the buyer is trying to scam you, given that he was upfront about the tracking showing delivery, yet not having received it. eBay probably concluded the package got delivered to the wrong address OR stolen after delivery.

I

rated:
I'm inclined to believe the OP since it was a Phone, those are scammed so much the sellers have to follow the rules 100%

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Was the buyer located outside the US? I've had a similar issue with a non-us buyer.

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No the buyer was located in the US. Also, the item was delivered to a PO Box address. I find it hard to believe that USPS would mess up a PO Box delivery.

In addition, the tone of the communication from the buyer makes it seem like he is a pro at this. For example, who includes the date and time of their communication in the message. And why would you directly open a case.


I lost nothing in this transaction. However, I feel it's incorrect that eBay should have to compensate this buyer.

rated:
Its your responsibility to get the product to the buyer. This is not fulfilled just because a barcode was scanned(at possibly the wrong address.). But, since you followed the rules (presumably), you were covered by eBay seller protection policy for the lost package and they absorbed the loss.

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Oh OP didn't lose any money? Then don't worry about it, the scammer tried to scam you, you made sure to follow the rules 100% and you didn't lose any money (but lost the case)

Don't worry OP, yours is a lesson that as long as you follow the rules, eBay looks out for you.

Don't be like the guy who got in an accident and wanted to punish the driver (he got insurance money), you are not a deprived party.

rated:
You were lucky they didn't file not described, which sellers can do nothing about and you would have eaten the loss.

rated:
I've had the post office screw up delivering packages to my PO Box multiple times. One was a large package that once delivered, they "couldn't find it in the back". The buyer may have legit not received the item. If i was communicating with a seller, I would provide relevant info and documentation when communicating to prove that I didn't receive it.

rated:
RealEstateMatt said:    If i was communicating with a seller, I would provide relevant info and documentation when communicating to prove that I didn't receive it.
  You can easily prove you received something.   You usually cannot prove you did not receive something.

rated:
Did you use signature confirmation?  

rated:
Bend3r said:   
  You can easily prove you received something.   You usually cannot prove you did not receive something.

  Lack of delivery confirmation easily proves you did not receive something.

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atikovi said:   
Bend3r said:   
  You can easily prove you received something.   You usually cannot prove you did not receive something.

  Lack of delivery confirmation easily proves you did not receive something.

  No, that only proves the package wasn't scanned (delivered or not)...   or that it was shipped without delivery confirmation.

I have a package from last friday delivered from an Amazon 3rd party seller that doesn't show the delivery on the tracking.  This cannot prove I didn't receive it... because it's right here!   Sure, it CAN be used as "proof" to satisfy buyer or seller protection policies, like in this example where the confirmation satisfied eBay or paypal's seller protection requirements.

Likewise, if the package was lifted off my porch it was still not delivered to me and would still fall into the seller's responsibility.

Loss from this manner (stolen from porch, misdelivered, buyer falsely represents no package) is part of the cost of doing business when you sell things to be shipped and delivered to a customer.  Larger companies (and USPS inspectors in some cases) come into play to catch scammers, because a pattern will quickly be evident if someone claims every other package is not received.

rated:
Bend3r said:   
atikovi said:   
Bend3r said:   
  You can easily prove you received something.   You usually cannot prove you did not receive something.

  Lack of delivery confirmation easily proves you did not receive something.

  No, that only proves the package wasn't scanned (delivered or not)...   or that it was shipped without delivery confirmation.

I have a package from last friday delivered from an Amazon 3rd party seller that doesn't show the delivery on the tracking.  This cannot prove I didn't receive it... because it's right here!   Sure, it CAN be used as "proof" to satisfy buyer or seller protection policies, like in this example where the confirmation satisfied eBay or paypal's seller protection requirements.

  OP is refering to an eBay transaction. Lack of delivery confirmation is all the proof eBay needs that you did not receive something and to get a refund from seller.

rated:
atikovi said:   
Bend3r said:   
atikovi said:   
Bend3r said:   
  You can easily prove you received something.   You usually cannot prove you did not receive something.

  Lack of delivery confirmation easily proves you did not receive something.

  No, that only proves the package wasn't scanned (delivered or not)...   or that it was shipped without delivery confirmation.

I have a package from last friday delivered from an Amazon 3rd party seller that doesn't show the delivery on the tracking.  This cannot prove I didn't receive it... because it's right here!   Sure, it CAN be used as "proof" to satisfy buyer or seller protection policies, like in this example where the confirmation satisfied eBay or paypal's seller protection requirements.

  OP is refering to an eBay transaction. Lack of delivery confirmation is all the proof eBay needs that you did not receive something and to get a refund from seller.

  Yes, that gets the refund directly from the seller.  It still gets refunded if there is delivery confirmation, but eBay pays it (if seller followed requirements).  This is because you can't prove the actual buyer received the item with a delivery confirmation.  This is the situation that is described in the OP.  Tracking shows: delivered, buyer claims did not receive item.  Buyer gets refund.  Paypal/eBay covers sellers' liability because it was shipped with delivery confirmation and showed it was "delivered".

 If it happens frequently for a particular delivery address, that person will likely be banned from buying on eBay and/or things can be reported and investigated by postal inspector.

rated:
Honestly, reading that email from the buyer, I'm inclined to believe they're being genuine. They're either kind of bewildered, or do an excellent job of appearing to be.

In any case, if the OP hasn't taken a loss, then I don't see where the problem is.

rated:
music4u4 said:   In addition, the tone of the communication from the buyer makes it seem like he is a pro at this. For example, who includes the date and time of their communication in the message. And why would you directly open a case.

What? Why is letting you know what time they sent it somehow the sign of a professional scammer? I guess that makes me a professional scammer, even though I've never scammed anyone, because I've certainly told people that "as of" time that I am reporting something to them. Why do I do that? Because as someone who has had to provide technical support to others, I've had enough experiences where someone has reported something wrong, I've wasted countless time investigating, and then as soon as I figure out when the event in question happened it's suddenly obvious what the problem was. It's simply a courtesy to provide that sort of info.

On the other hand, since we are talking about "tone": Also, please do remember that we take fraud very seriously and will take the appropriate steps required to pursue this. We're absolutely certain that this package has been delivered as per the address provided. Thanks pks

Your buyer is not necessarily a professional scammer, but you certainly come across as a professional asshole. If your customer IS indeed a professional scammer, he's not going to be deterred by threats of taking "appropriate steps". On the other hand, if your buyer is being honest you've just insulted him by telling him you think he's a thief. If it turned out that the package was delivered to the next door address by accident and he got it back before being credited by eBay, instead of you getting a 5 star review he'd likely tell other ebayers what a jackass you were.

rated:
You shipped the item properly, but the post office messes up from time to time. It's possible that it was mis-delivered. The buyer was simply reaching out to you to figure out the next step in order to be made whole. You weren't helpful so he went directly to eBay. Seems like everything was handled properly. If you're still concerned about this, start offering signature confirmation deliveries only.

rated:
It might be fraud.
However, I was on the buyer side of one of these transactions.  USPS delivery confirmation was used (no signature).
The USPS (in my area) scans for delivery confirmation when the item goes out for delivery, not when they actually deliver it.  
For higher dollar items, as a seller I require a signature.

rated:
I've had items be delivered into the wrong box. Showed as delivered and noting in the box. I spoke with the postmaster who couldn't have cared less. Ended up putting a sign up on the boxes and it turned out one of the neighboring boxes got the package.

rated:
Since in this case it is a phone and neither the seller nor buyer has it... Couldn't the seller report the phone Lost or Stolen to their carrier? That way if someone stole it or it were delivered to the wrong address and they kept it.. they could never activate it/have a hard time selling it? And if the phone ever turns up aka delivered to the buyer or sent back to the seller, the seller could easier tell the carrier it was found and have these limitations removed, hence no harm done?

rated:
on multiple occasions, either ups or usps has claimed to deliver a package it never actually delivered. even the ones with signature required are often left in the lobby of my bldg and become a free-for-all. once, after waiting on an Amazon package that the post office said was delivered on a sunday, no less, my husband watched the security footage for a 2hr window of when it was supposedly delivered. Amazon gave a full refund and resent the package, which turned up 2 days later. you're very lucky that you have a reliable delivery service in your area. the purchaser's complaint of non-delivery is completely plausible and since you suffered no loss, don't see why you're complaining.

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