Two new Ebay Paypal schemes I’ve recently learned


Now that I’ve gotten back into Ebay to get rid of all the stuff in my basement, I’m learning some new tricks and schemes people are playing these days.  One is definitely a scam; the other COULD be a scam or an honest mistake.  Remember I’ve been doing this a loooong time, so it takes a lot to surprise me.  Let’s go over them both.


Scam #1 – the failed echeck

During the Hatchimals craze, I had a buyer buy one on Dec 21st.  I had put in the title “immediate ship” which was probably not the best idea.  Anyway, if a buyer pays you via echeck, Paypal tells you, “DO NOT SHIP OUT UNTIL THE ECHECK CLEARS in a couple of days.”  Immediately, I thought, “YOU IDIOT!  I’m not going to be able to ship this out to you by Christmas.”  I then messaged them telling them that I can’t ship it out.  I felt bad for them, thinking they were an honest buyer who just didn’t know Paypal’s rules.  Anway, I never heard back from them and sure enough, in 3 days, Paypal said the check DIDN’T clear.  If I was an Ebay noob or someone who felt really guilty, I could have shipped it out and lost my Hatchimal.  Eventually, Ebay hit them with a non-paying buyer and dinged their record.  Not that it means anything since they’re most likely not going to use that user ID anymore.


Scam #2 – the double payments

This one is either a very elaborate scam or an honest mistake.  This buyer was a member since 2008 and only had 3 feedback (kinda suspicious.)  They had bought 2 identical Apple watches back to back from me.  I thought it was odd and figured the 2nd one was a duplicate.  Sure enough, an hour later, I get a Paypal “unauthorized access” email.   Then, Paypal of all people call me to ask me to refund the buyer.  I asked PP if the buyer still wanted 1 of the watches or none at all.  Paypal said they weren’t sure even though the guy said “the buyer was on the other line.”  WHY DON’T YOU ASK THEM RIGHT NOW!?!  FACEPALM!

In a few hours, I get an actual email from the buyer asking for 1 refund and that they actually wanted 1 of the watches.  We exchange a few emails and I think nothing of it.  Fast forward 5 hours later when I get home.  Now I get an Ebay cancellation request for one of the orders.  I assumed it was for the unauthorized Paypal “order” and agreed to cancel.  This refunded the buyer.  I then ship out the other “order.”  Two days later, I get a reminder from Paypal to resolve the disputed transaction.  I then check the history and sure enough, the PP chargeback was on the “order” that I had mailed out.  FACEPALM!  I was able to respond to the chargeback with the shipping details, but I’m not sure how it’s going to work out since I clearly shipped it out AFTER the dispute email.  And Paypal didn’t autopopulate the shipping info like they usually do with chargeback cases.

This one is still pending.  I just emailed the buyer telling them to call Paypal to drop the chargeback.  So this was either an honest mistake or a very elaborate scam.  Although really, I should have acted immediately and refunded the chargeback right away, so that they buyer wouldn’t have had to go through the Ebay cancel order route for the wrong transaction.  This crisis could have been averted.

[update 3 days after I drafted this post] – I had emailed the buyer to drop the chargeback, but they never responded.  Paypal SIDED WITH ME in the dispute saying they saw no suspicious activity with the buyer’s account.  My guess is a credit card chargeback will come next, but I’m confident I’ll win that one even though you’d think there’d be a Double Jeopardy clause somewhere.


Now you know why I got out of reselling….

  • Ken

    Reselling has taught me that there are TONS of people that are out to screw everyone over. I’ve had a lot of problems with FBA where buyers will order an item and then return their broken item and I have to eat the cost. It’s not so bad with some categories, but electronics are awful. You’d think Amazon would inspect things to make sure the buyer returned the item they bought. The ol’ switch-a-roo is alive and well.

    • Miles per Day

      The one good thing about Ebay is that ppl usually don’t pull the switcheroo there. They do it on FBA cuz they know AMZ won’t check. Usually it’s straight fraud on Ebay and you can win those.

      • Ken

        So the days of people sending back rocks in a box are finally over? In the past if they could prove that their shipment, any shipment, was delivered to your address PP would refund their entire purchase price. Happened to me on a Wii and that’s when I stopped doing electronics on Ebay except for cheap prepaid phones where I always record serial numbers.

        With FBA recording SNs has been a waste of time for me. I had a bunch of Nexus tablets returned that were broken and the SNs didn’t even match the box or what I sent and AZ didn’t care. They’re total fraud enablers.

        • Miles per Day

          If you have a high feedback, it’s less likely they’ll try to screw with you. I’ve started to take pictures of serial numbers along with the shipping labels just in case though (for apple stuff).

  • Travis Title

    Here’s a paypal scam that would have been very costly: I had a buyer for my boat offer to pay by paypal and have a carrier pick up the boat. It seemed suspicious, because he wouldn’t talk on the phone, so I did a little research. Apparently, what they do is pay through paypal, pick up the item, then put in a claim that the item never arrived and Paypal reverses the charges.

    • Miles per Day

      Oh yeah, the ‘pick up in person’ is a classic scam. Unless they’re paying you IN CASH, ur gonna get screwed over by a chargeback via PP or venmo.

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  • Steven Simon

    eBay is such a disaster these days. Talk about an industry ready to be disrupted (again).

  • disqus_l7GXsYbTLi

    How many other readers saw the title and got excited that Vinh was going to reveal a way for *us* to scam ebay/paypal?

    • Miles per Day

      There is. Go find my iTunes post.

  • Mark Ostermann

    #2 is kind of genius when you think about it – pretty tricky.

    • Shirley

      It’s confusing enough that it sounds like the buyer’s going end up with a free watch, so I really hope Paypal or whichever company does the chargeback is going make that scammer pay.

      There’s no way that it’s an honest mistake. I like how that person timed it to ensure a package went out and then proceeded to try to chargeback.

      • Miles per Day

        Shirley, they didn’t do the cc chargeback yet. They told Paypal their account had unauthorized use, which is a bit different. Now that they see they failed that, they’ll then do a cc chargeback next, which I should win again.

  • Mark Ostermann

    Paypal said the check cleared

    I think you meant to say didn’t clear?

    • Miles per Day

      Good catch. Thanks Mark.