This ebay scam is especially
dangerous for entertainers
eBay is generally a safe place to
shop and if you know how to navigate your way through their auction
process, there are tons of bargains on new and used goods (especially
musical equipment). However, look out for fraudsters who target
entertainers who buy high priced musical items.
The latest ebay scam I've uncovered involves fraudsters selling
small, high priced items (like microphones, mini-mixers, effects
pedals - even mobile phones and jewellery etc), and then not sending
Although this has been happening for years on eBay, this scam has
a new twist to it which makes it all the more plausible.
Here's how it works
When the buyer complains to ebay that he hasn't received his
goods, ebay then contact the seller (just as you would expect).
The seller (fraudster) tells eBay that he DID send the goods and
that the buyer is the one who's telling lies. To which Ebay asks
the seller/fraudster if he has proof that the goods were sent to
This is where the scam begins...
The seller/fraudster immediately sends out an EMPTY box to the buyer,
which the buyer receives a few days later (remember, most people
just sign for goods on their doorstep or when collecting from their
local sorting office BEFORE actually opening and inspecting the
The seller then responds to eBay giving ebay the "proof"
of delivery details.
So, eBay look at the "facts"
they now have in front of them...and here's how they see it:
1. The buyer initially contacted
eBay to complain that he didn't receive his goods
2. The seller has shown eBay
proof that the buyer signed to receive the goods
3. The buyer has now "changed
his story" and says yes, he DID receive the goods, but it
was an empty box.
The buyer looks bad.
eBay are most likely to take the seller/fraudsters side because
not only is the seller/fraudster the one with "proof"
of delivery, the buyer has changed his story(!), first telling
eBay that he didn't receive the goods, then a week later saying
he DID but the box was empty.
The timing of this scam is all important. The seller/fraudster
needs the buyer to inform eBay that he hasn't received the goods
BEFORE he can begin the scam. The success of this scam hinges
on the buyer "changing his story" to eBay and looking
As you can imagine, eBay will usually conclude (understandably)
that if the buyer is changing his "story" and the seller
has all the necessary proof of delivery documentation, then the
buyer is most probably the guilty party, not the seller...
You can see how all this encourages eBay to take the sellers side
in the dispute. In reality the buyer is the innocent party in
all this, but he's now lost his money, has no goods, and eBay
think HE is the fraudster!
But could this scenario be avoided if eBay insist on proof of
postage as well as proof of delivery? Surely then they would see
the date the item was sent (and conclude that the item was sent
out AFTER the buyer lodged his complaint)? Ermmm...not quite,
even this has flaws.
For example, our postal service here in the UK probably has more
"best practice" processes in place than the postal services
in most other countries (especially those countries in emerging
economies where most of these scammers are based). Yet, any time
I send out a package from my local UK Post office, the girl behind
the counter stamps the proof of postage slip with a rubber ink
stamp - which nine times out of ten is completely unreadable!
So, even if a scammer wanted to do it, he could easily show eBay
a proof of postage slip and say the item was sent out to the buyer
on any date he wants.
Scammers use all these little things to their advantage,
so beware and only buy goods on eBay from reputable sellers. Read
eBays guidelines for staying safe. It's no guarantee you won't
get ripped off, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself
(or at least minimize the risk of being scammed):
I hope this article doesn't sound too negative. Remember,
eBay is still a great place to bag a bargain...just be careful!
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
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