• Rusty

Ranting about a few scams!


Being a seller on ebay is not without it's risks. One of the worse things a seller can do is sell anything outside of the USA. That's because buyers simply do not want to pay for tracking on their packages. Yet the eBay/Paypal rules demands tracking on packages to be elegible for the Seller's Protection Plan. Yet to do that increases international package costs by about $11.50 or whatever it is these days. No buyer wants to pay more to protect the seller.

What customers don't realize is that without this protection, there are many buyers who will rob sellers blind. It only takes a couple times before a seller gets fed up and block international sales. Some may use the eBay Global Shipping program but that still costs too much for most buyers but it totally protects the sellers from scammy buyers.

Twice I was saved thanks to this reshipper program because there are some countries (like Russia) which is just too dangerous to send to. A couple months ago someone from Russia bought a musical keyboard from me via the program and surer than shit, it got lost (stolen) but luckily I didn't loose a cent. I was a bit pissed off though as I had spent around an hour cleaning that one up and it wasn't worth all the effort, but I do it for my love of keyboards.

Anyway on my other account, the one I use to ship stuff from Japan, is one where we cannot afford tracking on 99% of our packages. That's only $4 more a package but we sell super cheap stuff on there. We cannot charge $4 more because there are dozens of other sellers selling the stuff for next to nothing. Not to mention that the Chinese sell knock-offs of the real Japanese stuff for next to nothing with free shipping because their government gets almost free shipping for reasons.

So some buyers out there are very aware of this no tracking trick and purposely find sellers to abuse. They live in crooked little countries where fraud and theft is not something to ever worry about getting caught on and ebay has no real presence in their countries to check their banking accounts to know who they are. Almost anonymous buying really. They'll buy from many sellers to find out which ones do not track their packages and then they will order up a lot of stuff and then file claims against that seller. This happens to me on my Japanese account about once every 5 years or so.

The key to doing this successfully is to never order a lot all at once or big value items. The seller will almost always toss in free tracking over a certain amount, in our case that is around $35. So what happens is that a person will order several times during the month instead. In this case 9 times! That does alert me of course but without reasonable cause I have absolutely no reason to block that buyer.

Then surer than shit, the claims for unarrived items roll in one after the other the very day they are allowed to do so. I know that they got the items, but there isn't jack shit that I can do about it. This person bought a crap load of times in the same pattern from other sellers as well. Ebay is supposed to take notice and put a stop to them, but then they go and start up a new account and do it all over again.

The other trouble is that we cannot leave bad feedback for buyers anymore. In theory the gal could be innocent and NINE packages didn't arrive, but the chances are so unlikely. These are the reasons why we should be able to leave bad feedback as we need to alert other sellers about customers that does this. It would also raise flags better for ebay to step in and put a stop to people like this.

I know technically it's my "fault" for not tracking packages, but it's not feasible to track every damned package when you are selling them for $12 dollars and tracking is $4 more. We don't even make more than $2 profit on the junk and the competition is fierce fighting for pennies. It's not even worth selling from Japan in all honesty, but I've been doing it for almost 20 years now and it's hard to stop.

Anyway, shipping without tracking actually tends to work as buyers are in fact generally honest, especially on the cheap stuff. It's the more expensive items (and popular electronics and video games) that they tend to scam on. So it's not a huge problem for me. I refund on "missing" packages normally about once or twice a month. No big deal. They probably got the package very late or whatever. It's normal and part of doing business to account for loss and theft.

And then you get the real scum of the earth that attacks innocent sellers like this asshole. I lost on 9 items where it cost me about $150 in sales, close to that amount in inventory cost, our shipping cost, lost fees which I cannot recover from paypal, and packing materials cost, time and labor, and so on with other costs that I cannot imagine. Probably around a $400 loss?!? Profit wise it probably was only $30 or so...

Anyway this dick, she tried to start up with the same trick over again with ANOTHER account. I know it was her because it was the same Canary Islands, which is basically like a small Spanish island off of Africa. It's totally impossible for it to not be a coincidence. So I had to block off the entire country (which happens to be Spain) from ordering from me in order to stop this one person.

I've had to do this before. About 7 or 10 years ago I had a Malta (another Island city, but for Italians) scammer which was doing this and I blocked that country just to stop that one person. About 15 years ago I done this for Russia. With them I think that they actually had shared a list online to target sellers to scam as I got hit with several of them at once and I had a crap load of claims and lost close to a thousand dollars of stuff.

Italy, South America, Latin America and Africa are all areas what I cannot ship to as stuff gets stolen or takes far too long to arrive to. Those are actually worse as 1 out of 4 packages got claims on them. They are well known to scam sellers into shipping without tracking to get free stuff.

So now I had to block Spain but I doubt I'll keep that block up for long as they are generally good people. I just need to cool this one jerk off so they'll forget about me and target other people. When I do remove the block, I'll learn to watch out for the Canary Islands and keep a better eye out for people ordering stuff every couple days non-stop like that. I used to get people ordering stuff from me like that all the time as sales where that good but lately it's super rare and it's more of an indication of a scammer looking to rip you off than a great sales run.

Luckily these issues NEVER happen with my USA account. That's because the USPS made everything with tracking (I think due to 9-11 terrorist attacks) and I never ship outside of the USA, only directly to the reshipper where they take over the responsibility for it getting lost.


That reminds me of a customer I had last week. His media mail package took a holiday around his state. No reason, just hopping from city to city. The USPS does that every now and then because they have idiot mail sorters that just tosses packages wherever they like.

Of course it just had to be one "those" impatient customers that files claims the same day he's allowed to. Like freaking chill out asshole! Look at the tracking! You can see it's hopping around and still in transit, so give it time.

So I had a claim filed against me but the thing is that ebay wants you to answer to the claim immediately, but the truth is that you have 4 days to do so. A smart seller will wait those extra days just in case.

It seems that he turned another seller in for this same reason. I think his state had some issue with the mail and it kept getting redirected as it's rare for two packages to the same buyer to be late. Anyway that other seller had answered the claim immediately and of course that seller lost. And I knew that the inexperienced buyer got the item later on, but was foolish to not wait a few days to see what had happened.

Anyway, the buyer was getting all anal about the package and wanting his refund ASAP, emailing me like an insane person. I was like, no way dude, I got 4 more days for the post office to deliver this. And sure enough it did two days later. I called ebay up as soon as the tracking shown that it was delivered to his door and had the claim removed.

So there are a couple lessons here. Buyers, contact the seller first and do not file claims just because you can. Most of the time you just need to wait a few days longer and it'll arrive. Sellers, do not jump immediately because eBay sends you a warning and makes it sound so important. Know the time limits you have to get stuff done and take full advantage of it.


The situation above reminds me of something that eBay is pushing that I detest. They want me to join their program that says something to the effect of "3 day guaranteed shipping or it's free."


OKAY. Packages like that one prior is the exact reason why NOT to enroll into this program. Why should I offer an insane policy to my customers when the USPS cannot be held to such strict standards? They won't pay ME for THEIR being "late", so WHY should I refund my customers back for something totally beyond my control!?

Sure that's a nice thing to offer to customers, but it's totally unrealistic in practice. There is no (cheap) postage that can guarantee such a delivery. I'm the sure in hell am not going to pay 3 to 10 times more for guaranteed delivery postage (AKA express mail) to always be in compliance with this program.

The postage we are paying for is "ATTEMPTED DELIVERY" and it should be advertised as such with a disclaimer that sometimes shit happens and to be patient. The cost is already insanely too high where customers bitch about it. They rather pay nothing for postage, get items for next to nothing and have it arrive the same day or something insane. That fantasy is also nice for customers but it's totally unrealistic.

EBAY! Break customers out of unrealistic lines of thinking! EBay won't as they bend over backwards to deceive them to keep them away from Amazon. Ebay always blurs the line to confuse customers about delivery times and customers gets horribly pissed off at us sellers for when the USPS is slow.

From what I understand about the policy, ebay will cover for postage...maybe...but they won't cover if the customer refuses the package due to it being late? I think? Nor do they refund the fees involved and blah blah blah with the rules and regulations.

I just couldn't sit and read though it as I knew it wasn't to MY advantage. What I do understand is that there is a very possible situation that I'll be eating postage cost for negligence which isn't due to my fault and that is wrong!

Honestly, and this is the thing I just cannot understand. Why the freak would anyone buy anything that has to be there by X amount of days OR ELSE?! I'm like WHAT!? You are emailing me because you are buying little Johnny something late on a Wednesday night and you need it by Friday? Like, yeeeaaaaah, right. What sort of magic do you wish for me to use, you freaking moron!? Go in your freaking car and drive to Walmart and buy your spoiled grandbrat something instead of messing around online expecting a package to magically arrive in an unreasonable amount of time.

I actually got an email like that about 3 weeks ago and I told the guy that it was highly unlikely to arrive in under 48 hours. Luckily he didn't buy the item. Sometimes though they buy the item first and then demand the item arrive by X or ELSE!

So aside from the logistics of it all, what'll happen is much like the first topic I was mentioning. You'll end up with scammers ordering stuff from across the USA in rural hard-to-deliver-to bum-fuck areas which always takes weeks for anything to get there looking to cash in on the 3 day policy to get free shipping or whatever crap the policy really is saying.

I know that Amazon has a similar policy and eBay is doing this to compete with them. I wish they themselves would guarantee fast processing with their free shipping, as lately it takes almost always 2 weeks to get anything from Amazon directly unless you are in their prime program....but do we have to cater to insane customers whims this much?

EBay...why not tell your sellers that they have to drive the fucking items directly to their customers the very moment it sells? That's makes about as much sense as this new eBay program you keep constantly emailing about to get me to join in on.

It's just not happening, nope no way, no how. I'm my experiences that the insane customers with unrealistic expectations are to be kept away from at all costs. No amount of money is worth getting involved with them. I rather wait and sell my item to a rational person who can wait and understand about postal delays than to deal with them.


There was something else I wanted to rant about that happened about a month or so ago. I had one asshole who bought a group lot of books. I had copy and pasted a title on the listing and I didn't notice that it had said HC (Hard Cover). So one of the books was plainly and obviously a paper cover. Fine, generally not an issue to any sane and rational buyer.

This person used the global shipping program to get these books and it was very obvious that they where doing so in order to get free stuff. With ebay you can call in on the sellers wording mistake like that and get free stuff, more so with the global shipping program as it's too cost prohibited to send items back.

That really really pissed me off to no end. I was only making a couple dollars on the books and the shipping was insanely high, so I lost a ton on them. Only 1 book out of the 4 was wrong, but the dick got a total refund instead of a partial refund which should have been the answer. And yadda yadda.

So yeah. As a seller you have to be dead on with your listings. Totally my mistake here as I was tired because I was trying to do around a 100 listings on the same day and I was going loopy and not paying attention. But to scam a seller because of an obvious miswording is extremely low and dishonest.

I go by the adage that less is more with my listings. Try to say almost nothing about the item and you'll be safe against morons like this who takes every freaking thing in the listing as a potential escape clause for any whimsical reason.

If it's obviously in like new shape, then call it very good shape. Under-grading is always better as customers like to get stuff in better than expected condition.

Be super vague about everything as once you go into details you simply open yourself up to issues like that above. If it's red, then don't say the color at all. As someone will say it's more pink than red and they will win a claim against you. I know it's stupid stuff, but it happens! There are tons of jerks out there that prey on sellers that try to honestly describe their items like this. It's a very cruel world looking to scam you and it's far better to say almost next to nothing and to undergrade items than to fight with assholes and jerks nitpicking on every tiny thing you say. When you say more about anything, it just leads you into that much more potential troubles.

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