/ Shopping

eBay sellers scammed – where’s the protection, PayPal?

Man in computer holding buy and sell signs

We talk a lot about your consumer rights when you buy goods online, but what if you sell online? We’ve heard reports from eBay sellers who’ve been ripped off by dodgy buyers – have you been a victim?

If you buy items on eBay regularly, it’s likely that you’ve ended up with the occasional dud. I’ve fallen for items like foul-smelling perfume and a ‘new’ dress that was clearly a shoddy factory second.

Regrettably, I kept the perfume, but I returned the tatty dress and was given a full refund. But what happens when you have a bad experience as a seller? Lately, we’ve been hearing more and more tales of dodgy buyers, with eBay sellers reporting some real horror stories.

How you can fall through the net

If a buyer files a claim or chargeback against an eBay seller, unless they said the item was not as described, it’s PayPal’s Seller Protection that kicks in to resolve the issue. However, some fraudulent buyers appear to explain clauses in the small print, meaning the seller receives payment for the items they’ve sold.

Take the Which? member Colin, who auctioned his laptop on eBay. The buyer paid up, and our seller posted the item using recorded delivery, keeping the proof of postage. The buyer then decided to reverse the transaction, using chargeback to reclaim the money from Colin’s PayPal account.

Despite Colin having evidence that the item had been signed for, PayPal accepted the chargeback because the buyer claimed that the credit card associated with their account had been stolen or compromised.

A chargeback claim can be made via a credit or debit card provider, generally to claw back the cash if goods haven’t arrived, aren’t as described, or when the merchant has ceased trading. It’s not enshrined in law, but many banks subscribe to it.

Both PayPal and eBay have comprehensive measures in place to protect buyers and sellers, but it seems Colin fell foul of the terms and conditions. PayPal explained that his listing had not been ‘marked as eligible’ for protection. The buyer was able to keep the money, and Colin was left out of pocket – and minus a laptop.

Stay alert to sneaky loopholes

He was not alone. Another seller, Jane, lost out when she sold an item of jewellery for almost £1,000.

The buyer disputed the transaction through PayPal, claiming that their account had been hacked. Unwittingly, Jane’s sale was not protected because the buyer provided an address for postage that didn’t match one of the PayPal ‘transaction details’ page.

Jane eventually managed to claw back her money. Still, she felt that the terms and conditions of PayPal’s policies were unclear, and found the process of trying to reclaim the money complicated and confusing.

Are you covered when selling with PayPal?

Sellers need to satisfy seven different criteria in order to be protected by PayPal Seller Protection. While some of these are fairly obvious – such as keeping proof of postage – others are a bit more surprising. For example, did you know that if you allow a buyer to pick up an item in person, you won’t be protected if they decide to raise a false claim?

These sellers felt they’d taken sufficient care to protect their sale, so they were surprised to find themselves outside of PayPal’s Seller Protection criteria. While buyers clearly need decent protection when they’re parting with their cash, sellers have just as much at stake.

Our examples show that if you’re selling items on eBay it’s vital to be aware of these criteria. But there should also be clearer instructions for sellers so they know whether or not they’re protected.

Have you lost money to a dodgy eBay buyer and were you surprised to find yourself unprotected by PayPal’s Seller Protection?


If you want to sell on ebay – and millions do – you MUST agree to offer payment via PayPal. After reading your article I am even more loath to sell anything involving PayPal but I have absolutely no choice. As they are based in Luxemburg ebay (& Paypal) are not subject to UK financial regulations so – no help there. It’s about time someone took an objective look at this monopoly provider – how about it Which?

Lord Lucan says:
3 months 25 days ago

France as you would expect of the French said F&&k off Paypal and sellers are under no obligation to accept paypal, we just get kippered up by the richest businessmen this side of the Klondyke and the sellers get royaly screwed by dishonest buyers or postmen but it all adds to lifes rich tapestry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Profile photo of NFH

The best course of action is to encourage the buyer, if they agree, to make payment by bank transfer. A bona fide buyer will normally agree, provided they can verify the seller’s identity. Then the seller avoids paying PayPal’s fees as well, receiving the full amount due in their bank account.


The problem is that eBay are all about the buyer’s and treat all sellers as if they are running a multi-million pound business and make it to easy for buyers to claim for item not as described or non delivery and PayPal will give money back to people before Royal Mail will class a parcel as lost.
I’ve had personal experience of how bad eBay is. I sold a CD to someone in America and was warned by another eBay seller that they had claim for non delivery only 4 days after buying then they did the same to me.
I then did some homework on this buyer contacting people that had sold to her and 80% had non delivery or items not as described comments against them.
With emails sent to the other seller and to me we worked out that she was a con artist she told me that she had had a bracelet delivered from Thailand in only 5 days but she had claimed for this bracelet as not arrived with this evidence in had i contacted eBay emailed all the correspondents from the other sellers and what did eBay do? GIVE HER THE MONEY BACK
So what protection do i have as a seller selling his own items.


Another thing that Which? should look into is the fact that PayPal charge you not only for the cost of the item you sell but charge you on the postage you have to charge the customer as well.
If the postage cost is a third party charge is it legal to make a charge for that service?
I don’t know the law on this but with all the PPI claims could this be the next big claim i have to buy my postage from another company and pay for that so why should i then be charged by PayPal for that payment.
Some overseas parcels can cost £50+ so this makes PayPal a lot of money on something that is a 3rd party payment.
Any no win no fee lawyers fancy having a go at this?

Jean Anderson says:
1 year 10 months ago

I believe Dave’s comment raises a very pertinent but different issue that Which? should consider opening. It is clearly related to this discussion, but raises a significantly different issue that has much more impact to eBay consumers (sellers and buyers) and the Treasury. It relates to new eBay Europe surcharge being imposed on sellers fees that result in profits received by eBay/PayPal being subsidised by UK tax payers.

John Torode says:
1 year 9 months ago

Even worse now is the money back guarantee! I sold a £10 item, the buyer stated it wasn’t received, after over 500 positive transactions on ebay ebay sided with the buyer and gave them their money back, including the postal charge and still charged me for selling the item, however I had proof of posting, so I could prove I had posted it but ebay basically said tough, you didnt send with a tracking number you lose, your money, your item and even more because we will still charge you for selling it, I’m too honest to try it but ebay are making it to easy – they should remember ebays customers and how it makes money is through the sellers – well they have lost me as a customer now as it is no longer a viable selling option

John Torode says:
1 year 9 months ago

Somebody touches on paypal charging a fee on the postage, actually paypal are just charging the fee on the whole amount in the transaction, which I should imagine they are allowed to do but Ebay are now charging their sellers a 10% fee on their postal charge, for example in order for a seller to not lose money they will have to do something like the following:-

This listing postage cost = £0.90, 1st class large letter + £1.10 for recorded delivery (to protect myself from nondelivery) + 20p paypal fee, 10p packaging and 10% ebay fee which would equal 25p so my postal charge for this listing is £2.55, if there is a problem please make a complaint to ebay reference there fees I am just ensuring I don’t lose money.

This still does not stop the buyer saying the item was not as described.

The really bad thing about this is your buyers then also have to rate you on varying things including, wait for it – your postal charges! Which could then see selling restrictions put in place if your rating gets too low!


This is a big problem & I think eBay & Paypal ned regulating.

We are a business & we are getting ripped off more & more.

A common issue is buyers claim non receipt or item not as described, the buyers can claim not as described and eBay simply take their word for it.

eBay or Paypal have no regard for the huge cost it has on business’s like mine where we are expected to refund customers in full and not get the products back.

These 2 companies need investigating and they need to be held accountable for what they are allowing buyers to do to honset sellers.

Like many have said it is only because they are so big that they get away with it, they know that many business’s have to just take it, but why should we?

I hate them with a passion but in all honesty we would not have much of a business without them because many buyers simply will not use other portals that put’s the seller in more control, they like eBay & Paypal because it wllows them to be dishonest.

I might add I have purchased on eBay myself regulary for 9 years, only ever had 1 item not turn up and I don’t think I have ever had 1 item not as described & that’s out of 100’s i have purchased.


eBay and PayPal unwittingly encourage fraud because the buyer knows that any claim they make against a seller is likely to result in some level of refund for them. The most common is ‘not as described’ and I have been the victim of several such fraudulent cases all of which have revolved around the same theme. It is simple for the buyer because he can get a discount at least the equivalent of two postage costs or you, the seller ends up paying these costs to the couriers and receive back a damaged, and possibly now worthless item.

What’s even more insulting and adds further damage is PayPal holds back money from the seller PayPal account equivalent to the value of the initial payment from the buyer until the case is closed.

If all this doesn’t force you into submission and bankruptcy you must be even more stubborn than me and have a lot more money than I have!

Tami Johnathan says:
1 year 4 months ago

I too have just been scammed on ebay. There are so many complaints online and no one has taken a stand against them. Its time to get some compensation for our loses.
Join the fight today!
My story:
About 2 months ago, i sold a band new mira shower on ebay, 1 month after sale, buyer contacted me saying item was not as described and faulty, although i did not buy the story as it was a month in, ebay asked buyer to return item. On receiving the item, it was a different item, used with so many scratches (bearing in mind buyer had earlier said they had the exact same item) but all accessories were in place, untouched and unopened. My guess, item was swapped with her old shower as all accessories were in place clearly indicating item was never installed but simply swapped with with something old. I explained all to eBay, even sending photo’s. Ebay still refunded buyer and now wants me to reimburse them. This unacceptable. Ebay is bullying sellers into accepting and consolidating losses from fraud! No such this as seller protection, its time to end the myth. We must all come together and act. Enough is enough! If you have been scammed and bullied by ebay, visit the page now and share your story. Together we are going to claim damages and fight against bullying and the illusion of ‘Seller Protection’


Ebay , do NOTHING to protect sellers , I have been selling on there for a few years now , I am a top rated power-seller , but with the new backdated defect system I will be below standard .. thanks to Ebays policy of allways siding with buyers ,
the defect system is as follows
a 1,2 or 3 in DSR’S (the stars) = DEFECT
negative or NUETRAL feedback =DEFECT
Late post =DEFECT
item damaged in post =DEFECT
over 2 DEFECTS in 100 transactions =loss of top rated
over 5 DEFECTS in 100 transactions = RESTRICTED
over 8 DEFECTS in 100 transactions = BANNED

all this announced with a 12 month ‘look back’ for sellers like me , in a ‘high risk ‘ area (mobile phones and other tech devices) .. this is a disaster

Customer service are a nightmare , and behave like automatons


I’ve just fell foul of the eBay money back guarantee too. I don’t have a business, I mostly buy but sell personal items when I need a bit if extra cash. Here’s how it went, advertised buy it now motorcycle jacket £25 + £12 postage Economy. Actual cost to me £13.75 royal mail second class Got and kept proof of postage, but with this no tracking! Lesson learned the hard way, lets just say if I ever do sell on eBay again the buyer is going to stump up more for my peace of mind. Everything signed for in future!
Anyway sent next day and marked up as dispatched, then left feedback for buyer for an “easy transaction” a month goes by, the buyer has not left feedback, but then some don’t, next thing the buyer raises a dispute saying they can’t wait any longer and demand a refund, which after a few days of messages going back and forth, scan of proof of postage, checking post office from my end etc, Has it been left with neighbours, have you checked with post office depot, why leave it so long, why not contact me before raising dispute etc, etc? No answers, just pigeon English I want money back now no can wait, buyer escalates case, ebay issue refund and demand money from me! DidI mention, buyer is registered in Usa,address is in London, and since buying my jacket has accrued over 300 positive feedbacks as a buyer when not leaving any feedback themselves, been a member of eBay for less than 3 months and having ready changed their username to one with the word seller in it

Profile photo of stevemuir

Below is a cut and paste of my post on Miles Brignall’s Guardian Money article, Sat 9 Aug 2014


I no longer sell on eBay, but about 2 years ago, experienced a scam that highlights a significant and fundamental flaw with eBay’s process for dealing with cases under its eBay guarantee for buyers/PayPal protection for the sellers initiatives. More disturbingly, a review of recent posts in eBay’s discussion boards shows that this flaw continues to be exploited.

eBay/PayPal terms and condition that have been accepted by a seller, and any eBay decision cannot override a seller’s legal obligations (responsibilities) under the Law. In this case the eBay automated system (technology) decision and immediate payment to the buyer from the PayPal account had done so as a seller’s legal obligations to provide a refund under the Sales of Goods Act is conditional on the buyer returning the items. No return no legal obligation to refund.

The Case/Scam:
Received email from buyer saying items (4 mugs) received but broken and attached were 2 photos showing the extensive damage (all 4 were in bits) – one general shot and the other a close-up. Knew it to be a Scam. Firstly, they had been double wrapped with bubble-wrap with additional packing used to line the parcel box and separate them– the parcel box shown in the general photograph had no sign of any damage/crushing. Secondly, the production number stamp on the bottom of one of the mug fragments in the pictures was different from those actually sent. So a polite reply was sent stating full refund would be given on return of items.

Buyer opened an item not as described case in the eBay Resolution Centre. Replies were given to all Resolution Centre messages from the buyer restating that full refund would be provided on return of items. Resolution Centre sent message to buyer confirming that seller agrees to full refund and for the buyer to return the items.

Buyer reported with details of concerns and justifications for believing the buyer was attempting a Scam. Also reported details of another seller contacted who had confirmed receipt of a similar email from the same buyer for some plates. He was a business seller and had given a refund having decided the hassle associated with the buyer raising a case against him was not worth it.

On the last day of the Resolution Centre time limit, buyer escalated the case.

One minute after the date/time stamp of the Resolution Centre automated message advising of this escalation a message with the decision was received: eBay had reviewed the case and found in favour of the Buyer and the Buyer was refunded from the PayPal account.

Attempted to follow the eBay’s appeals process However, after 3 attempts to get through on the telephone and finding the email route far too proscriptive and difficult to complete, ended up sending a complaint to PayPal.

Few days later the PayPal account was credited with the refund amount.

Buyer reported to Action Fraud and Royal Mail.


I have also been a victim of buyer fraud. I sold a laptop with mild wearing on the track pad. A case was then opened due to alleged faults. When my laptop was returned I found it had in fact been stripped for parts. eBay still insisted the full amount be returned to the buyer. I am now out of pocket and the laptop is beyond repair.

tracy morris says:
4 months 6 days ago

Sold a second hand “working” galaxy s4 on ebay and the buyer said it was not working when arrived, phone would not read his sim.?? offered a refund and when it arrived back today noticed that the part that the sim card goes into had been tampered with, he had obviously taken this part off and put an old one on as apparently they are an expensive part of the phone to repair, after searching his activity on ebay saw that he was purchasing a lot from phone repair sites, kits etc.. so he does it for a living.!! have complained to PayPal who checked his activity also and they said I was within my right to not refund as it was returned in a state that I did not post it in, will be interesting who ebay side with as I have just messaged customer that he is welcome to open a dispute with them as I will not refund… so angry as the phone is good for nothing now..!!!


I am in the process of a scam. My buyer bought a designer bag and claimed I sent a different designer bag and eBay agreed. I’m waiting for the bag to come back. eBay won’t budge and I don’t know how but it looks like this buyer is going to get away with fraud.

Profile photo of Les

I’ve made many complaints to eBay. They don’t even bother to reply to correspondence. Surely, if the Government can bring in protection legislation for other companies, then they can do it with eBay & Paypal. eBay & Paypal are continually changing the terms & conditions. So much so, that that you can’t keep up with them all.

They both need investigating & put a stop to all the illegal buying & selling. Fraudulent buyers & sellers have got it made on eBay & Paypal. I think there are 2 answers to this problem. 1) The old fashioned BRITISH way, arrange a pre-determined month for all sellers to stop selling. This may have to be mostly private sellers though, because it’s not a business for us. The lost revenue should have quite an impact. And if it doesn’t, we’ll do it again. 2) The Government investigates them; but not just write a report on it & make false promises; actually do something for a change.!!!!!!!!!!!


There are several flaws in eBay that guarantee free items to would be thieves.

1. Buyer claims they got an empty or weighted box. Buyer opens SNAD case, wins, and keeps the item. Seller has no way to prove the item was in the package. Even video taping packaging of the item and then handing over the the postman will not be enough proof, since it could all be faked.

2. Buyer purchases an item in order to return an already broken item of same type. Unless seller has proof of the original item’s serial number, the buyer wins. In some cases, buyer still wins since proof of the item’s serial number could have been faked by the seller.

3. Buyer opens SNAD case for some bogus reason. eBay will not give a refund without receipt of returned item to the seller. Buyer simply returns an empty box or box with rock in it. Refund is issued automatically as soon as tracking shows returned item is received by the seller. Buyer keeps the item and gets his money back. When seller complains, he has no way of proving he did not switch or remove the item from the package himself.

eBay is heavily slanted towards protecting the buyers and often leaves the sellers hanging out to dry. Sellers cannot even leave a negative feedback for buyers after getting robbed.

Buyers could be blocked or prosecuted for a pattern of this behavior, but that does not help individual sellers. Amazon is probably even more slanted towards protecting the buyers. Either site can lose lots of sellers and still do fine, someone else will just take their places. A few sellers getting robbed here and there is better in their eyes than many buyers getting scammed by fraudulent sellers.

Thankfully most buyers are not brave enough to risk felony charges for some free items….

Profile photo of wavechange

Do what I do and use eBay to buy rather than to sell, Len. I doubt that many would buy via eBay if they did not have good protection. Anyone in business knows that there is a small number of people who deliberately defraud sellers and have to take this into account.

Hopefully eBay will become fairer to those who sell, but if there is any uncertainty, the purchaser should be given the benefit of the doubt.

dadaoriley says:
10 months 4 days ago

Although I quite agree with you, my recent case (see my recent post on this page) proves its now weighted against Buyers too! I think, now, the ONLY safe way to sell on eBay is to have buyers collect the item in person & pay in cash! Obviously this will drastically lower the Final Bid but, well what else can ya do..?


Easy way to fight with scam number 3.
If you suspect that buyer returning item is fraudulent, simple when you go to collect returned item, open box together with post service staff or postman. Let them see what is actually in the box. If you will find there peace of rock, or box is empty then you can take post staff as an witness, and you can report all this to a local police, as this is became to be a crime with evidence.

This is only way to fight with it.


Geraldine says:
1 year 1 month ago

There is to much risk to sell on eBay.then you have to deal with PayPal ,you really must be mentally deranged to enjoy the full experience of these to greedy twisted money collecting bullying bove the law b?s?a?ds.

Profile photo of natty

This is going to get worse and worse I never sell on eBay ever again after buyers scamming me left right and centre eBay needs to change their buyers money back guarantee protection to a limit of 2 claims a year same for pay pal and give sellers more rights and protection I have been on eBay for over 5 years and only had 4 items that never arrived whilst some buyers claim more than that in a month eBay and pay pal need to wake up and smell the coffee but its more like smell the money sellers are getting a rough deal

Sharon says:
1 year 7 days ago

sent item to buyer who then said didn’t receive item (bearing in mind all other items sent were received). Had to refund,,,, I am out of pocket for £90. How do I protect myself eBay & PayPal don’t protect seller, only the buyer. Yet, they charge extorortiant amounts from the seller. Fed up with paying them to protect buyer.

Profile photo of natty

I can see eBay losing a lot more sellers if they don’t start offering some sort of protection without sellers eBay is nothing they need to cap a limit on the money back guarantee too many buyers are abusing it left right and centre, eBay/pal pay seems to take the buyers side 90% of the time which isn’t fair, lets hope this will change soon in the near furture before it gets too late.

mike leonard says:
1 year 1 day ago

We are TRS sellers on ebay and sell skateboard gear.We have been scammed numerous
times.A classic one is the item not received in the ebay time frame,we had to refund a customer who had not received there order on the ebay prescribed day of delivery.There was no mention that the buyer had received it or not….. Another scam is “my order has not arrived,do you have the tracking number”Usually these buyers go for the sub ten quid items that do not have a tracking number offererd.The will contact ebay after the alloted time and raise a claim,you refund them incuding the post ( a third party service and another issue ) and they get the refund and a freebie.All you can do is block them.We use Hermes for about 40% of deliveries now,as tracking is built into the price,not an extra from RM.We have always supported our local PO,but we are now considering Hermes as our main carrier.


We always use My Hermes as carrier of choice for expensive items or for items that would come under a small parcel category under the Post Office sizing system where the cost would be on par with Hermes.

This cuts out the non-delivery scam, because as Mike said, tracking is built into the price and not extra as is the case with the Post Office.

However, this doesn’t stop the “item not as described” scam nor buyers whom claim goods are faulty.

I sold two school skirts, photographing the measurements in an unstretched and stretched state and yet the buyer still claimed they didn’t fit and weren’t as described in the measurements.

Being new to selling and afraid of negative feedback, I refunded the money before getting the goods back – yes, I know I was daft and, as I expected, the buyer kept the goods and her money. So this case, I put down to experience. My fear of negative feedback overrode my common sense here.

The next buyer claimed faulty goods citing the item was badly scratched. Now I thoroughly checked the item before sending out and know for a fact that it was perfect. I also wrapped the item in bubble wrap and foam, put cardboard around it and bubble-wrapped it again, before sending it out.

My complaint comes with a double-whammy, that eBay takes the buyer’s side on this and now the new Consumer Contracts Regulations (which replaces the Distance Selling Regulations) says that “if a customer claims goods are faulty (not simply unwanted), you as a seller are expected to pay the return postage”.

This means that eBay buyers are going to get to keep more goods from honest sellers, by claiming faults in the knowledge that it will cost the seller more than it is worth to get the item back.

This ruling is so stupid and unfair to sellers. If someone buys from a shop and the item is faulty, the buyer has to pay the return travel expenses and can’t reclaim them as part of the refund charge and yet, we can no longer inspect the goods for alleged faults without further expense to us meaning that this kind of eBay scam is going to get worse.


[This comment has been removed for breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]


Hi. I have just been conned by ebay and a buyer. I am so angry I have complained in the strongest terms to ebay of their decision to refund the buyer. I just need to vent my frustration.

I sold a die cast model car well under the real value. It was in pristine condition when I sent it to him. I put it as a used item and no returns as it was second hand. However it was brand new hardly ever out of its box, in pristine condition. When the buyer received it he claimed it had been broken in the post. I was quite shocked as I had ensured it was well and truly protected. He sent me photos and I had no reason to disbelieve him. He commented on claiming on the insurance and he would buy it back off me for spare parts after my claim? I thought this a bit strange. However when it arrived and on inspection I found it to have sticky glue all over the broken bits! It was fairly obvious he had attempted to repair it. This made any claim null and void. When I queried it he swore he had not touched it, honest, 100 percent. I explained my position and told him I would not give him a refund due to the fact that someone has dropped the item and tried to make hasty repairs which obviously failed. Over several days of discussion I was called some unsavoury names but I kept to my guns. He pestered me continuously for his refund. During these conversations he went from a first time buyer on ebay to revealing himself as a seasoned seller on ebay and a specialist in my particular model! Which confirmed my suspicions that this buyer was a fully fledged conman. I now believe he actually swapped parts on my car. He is now the proud owner of a very valuable model and I’m left with a heap of junk! Ebay in their wisdom have favoured him over me despite clear evidence! I have photos of the glue all over the parts. They are now in the process of returning his money and I am completely helpless to do anything about it. I am in the process of closing my account, I have taken all my items off ebay and I will never do this again. I am so angry!

dadaoriley says:
10 months 4 days ago

My Father is a grateful subscriber to Which! & I want to alert you to a malpractice that could well be a possible future form of scam.

I have sold items on eBay and sometimes the buyer claims they did not receive the item or that they want to return it but in each case I have had to repay the item cost AND the P&P. I have no problem with this because I sometimes have been in their position!

Three items did not reach me over Christmas. I alerted eBay and was refunded for two items that all agreed were lost in the post. One item however was returned to sender as the Post Office claimed that I was not at home although I got no collection card from them.

The seller offererd to resend the item if I paid postage again but as it was a gift and Christmas was over I declined. The seller then said he would refund only the item price! I reluctantly agreed but then he wouldn’t even do this until AFTER I closed the case with ebay. I was advised not to do this until after he refunded me especially as he said -wrongly- that eBay would not allow him to send money via PayPal until I closed the case. I escalated the case with eBay but eBay found in the sellers favour…

Yesterday I was on the phone to eBay for TWO hours (although that included being passed between departments). Ebay acknowledge that the seller has my money; the seller has my item; the seller is reselling the item AGAIN on Ebay & they and the seller are making money from both sales of the same item but they are legally in the right as they have proof, from Royal Mail, that it was once delivered to my home & then returned.

I explained to Ebay that they, Royal Mail & the seller are making money from selling the same item twice & that I am the one that loses. They agreed that this was the case. I said that was against their own advertising which claims buyers will always be refunded if they don’t get the item. But they said this was a guideline & not a rule. I said it was against European law but they said it may not be but it certainly conforms with UK law & for that reason they were bound by it to favour the seller.

I believe this should be looked into. Not because of my financial loss -which, as an unemployed disabled person IS an inconvenience but admittedly is laughingly small in the great scheme of things but because this new way of working would surely affect the online sale of practically anything at any price :-(



Ironically I feel better reading these experiences as I have been so upset with a recent transaction with a buyer.

This particular buyer did not pay (so case raised after giving 4 day grace period) then paid, then claimed they did not receive the item and raised a case which I appealed. Ebay have sided with the buyer every time, despite me sending a copy of the certificate of postage (yes, I know now that this means absolutely nothing to ebay) and put up with emails calling me a liar, accusing me of ripping her off etc.

Ebay say they will take into consideration all email correspondence etc when deciding on a case – they can read the abuse in emails as well as the threats of negative feedback etc and see that she has a history of claiming ‘lost’ parcels (you can read them on her feedback for all to see!) yet, they did not consider this at all – If I hear ‘maam, she says she did not receive the parcel’ one more time from ebay customer service I will scream.

At the very least ebay – allow sellers to put a negative rating on the buyer to make it fair .. or at least set out some better rules for small private sellers who only sell 20 things a year, if that. At the moment Buyers hold all the power, and they know it and know how to abuse your ‘system’.


Well I too have been scammed this week on eBay. Fortunately it’s a low cost item but the buyer has claimed the item was not as described/faulty as I know the unit was perfect and I took great care in wrapping up the item. I’ve sold some expensive items on eBay in the past and thank goodness this happened with a £14.99 item! basically I’ve had to refund/pay twice the postage (so original postage and also the return postage) so out of pocket to the tune of £9 on an item that was perfect. He sent me a photo of the back of the unit where it looks like a screwdriver has been inserted (the try to prise the back cover off?) where in my original advert there is a picture of the back of the item with a perfect back so go figure this out how did that happen eh? Well I’ve decided that I will no longer sell items through ebay.

The good news though as a buyer it seems like you can buy things off eBay, claim they are faulty and then get a refund! So if you have a broken item, buy a functioning item from eBay and then send back the faulty one (or swap the bits for working bits) and you will win and get a refund back every time. Disgusting!

Carol Harvey says:
7 months 23 days ago

I have just been hit by a similar scam and feel that Ebay offers no protection to sellers. I sold a phone on behalf of my grandson for £50. The phone was sim free but after a few days the buyer requested a refund as he claimed it was locked to O2. I knew this was untrue as the phone had never been never been used on O2 but had been used on two other networks. However, the buyer started a case with ebay and was told to return the phone. The phone I received was not the one that I sold and was locked to O2 but when I asked Ebay to intervene my case was decided in the buyers favour within minutes and he was given a refund. I had provided evidence as to why this was a different phone as there were a number of differences but the speed of the decision showed that nobody could have looked at the case properly. I have 100 percent positive feedback from over 400 transactions while the buyer had only 17 transactions but was believed straight away. This buyer obviously wanted an unlocked phone without having to pay to have this done and I am now down £58 including two lots of postage. I can ill afford to lose this as I am living on a pension but I am not going to ask my grandson for the money as it was not his fault. This phone is of no use to me as no one in my family is on O2 but I don’t even want to try and sell it on Ebay as I am totally disgusted with their attitude.

seen me coming says:
8 months 21 hours ago

My yarn is reverse.
bought item paid via paypal then tried for 8 days to get hold of buyer opened a case with resolution centre. Then they emailed me saying hi sorry for delay blah blah blah when would you like to pick up. I very stupidly closed the case. Had a further email asking again when would you like to collect.

Ebay no redress as case was closed in error but never the less closed. Bank said they cant do anything as paypal is considered by them as a direct debit.

Ebay customer support I think as someone else said AUTOBOTS .

any words of wisdom personally peeved with bank.no help at all fobbed meoff

seen me coming says:
8 months 20 hours ago

Forgot to say 5 weeks still have not received item

dadaoriley says:
7 months 29 days ago

Alas, K, eBay don’t always allow clients to leave FeedBack…


‘darren’ your post brought a wry smile to my face -thanks! 😉

I’m afraid you have no real redress as I see it, ‘seen me comming’, eBay have got it all stitched up… :-/p


I think both my links, here, show that the thing about looking ANYWHERE for help is that there is a whole group of NaySayers out there on the ‘net who will rush to the aid of the mighty ebay at a moments notice but as ‘K’ says, above, it IS heartening to know that you are not alone.

In my case I was only out by a mere fiver but what it uncovered made me feel I’d ‘dodged-a-bullet’ and that I should alert everyone I could that ebay break the law.

 Anyhoo, ya can only put the info out there and hope others are forewarned & forearmed. 😉


I have been taken for a cashback claim on an item sold over 5 months ago. It was marked as not eligible for Paypal protection. The only reason I can see is because it was a click and collect item from Argos. My money was returned to buyer and I lost the item. There was no warning before posting the item that there was no protection for it, I have proof of posting but as the transaction was over 5 months I could not trace the postage ID provided by ebay for the item in order to give this to Paypal. I am not happy that I just have to take their word for it that the transaction had not been authorised by the buyer.


In the past 3 months this is what has happened to me
In January I got 4 defects
1 for a genuine fault
2 for an item sent abroad that was delayed in transit
3 for a case opened ‘by accident’ then closed ..
4 a guy bought a modem said it wouldnt work in a car radio ??? , something it wasnt designed for

then , in February my account went ‘below standard’ .. I sold many cheap items to get it back , and it was working fine

I then got a ‘buyer’ with zero feedback ‘bought’ an item worth £100 .. then left a message saying could I send it UNTRACKED as he diddnt want the authorities having his signature (yeah right)

I diddnt see the message until I had sent it TRACKED …
I rang CS who agreed it was HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS …. , I then said yeah but now he will open a SNAD case “why would he do that” she said … I explained she must be the most naive person on ebay …

Next day item arrives and he opened a not as described case (of course) …

I rang CS and coincidently spoke to the same one .. I asked what they were goinfg to do now =answer NOTHING … I stressed this would close my account .. answer = I KNOW

since then ,, different one … I now have a chargeback of £230 for ‘unauthorized usage’

ON 3 SEPARATE TRANSACTIONS carried out over the space of a month or so by the same person … Luckily I have the tracking info … whats the betting they open a SNAD case when they lose the ‘chargeback’ one

They can whistle …. I have withdrawn every penny from my PP account now and I am closing my ebay store

angela nguyen says:
7 months 22 days ago

i just sold an iphone last week – and the buyer, after choosing the buy it now option, didnt pay immediately. this was my fault, i should have made that a requirement. the auction ended, no payment for 2 days, i send an invoice, then i get a message saying the buyer was no longer an ebay member. weird. ok. im a new seller, so i couldnt sell the item again in the same category as it’s over my selling limit. so i post another item, an ipad in a different category. 5 days go by, bunch of bids on it, and then someone chooses buy it now for 600. hooray, this guy paid immediately. a mr mohamed something, out of florida. so i send his tablet out, usps 2 day – insurance, signature, the works. this was on friday. i get notification this morning a few hours ago that the package was out to delivery. keep in mind, paypal wont even release me the money for another 2 weeks. i start researching what the deal really is with this policy , followed by looking up the address of the buyer, its some building in saratoga florida, and i google the exact suite and there’s a few things related to fraud. oh no

AND THEN I CAME HERE… to the seller horror stories on the forums. after only a few minutes of reading, i realized that there are a hundred ways i can get screwed over on this deal, but only one where i actually make anything – and i decided it wasnt worth the risk.

so after the $70 in ebay final value fee, the $20 paypal cut, the $28 insured/signature shipping to florida, that i will never get, if i ever even get the 600 paypal is holding until the 20th of april, i decided it was worth, on top of all this other crap i’m about to have to pay ebay/paypal – to pay USPS another $37.30 estimated (could be more i guess) to REROUTE my package back home to me hours before it gets to this guy.

NO THANKS EBAY – ID RATHER SELL IT ON CRAIGSLIST FOR $200 LESS AND HAVE CASH – since the buyer could send back a box with a rock or a book inside of it and get to keep the ipad, the 600, and whatever else they could possibly decide to scame someone else out of.

now, it is possible that this guy is legitimate, and he wouldnt open an SNAD case but with how easy it is to, i just can’t risk that happening. not when this much money is involved. for some people, a few hundred $ is all they have to their name if they’re in a rut, just not worth to sell it for the chance of a couple hundred more when theres a statistically greater chance of getting screwed over now on ebay. i think i’ll take the safe route and risk getting mugged or jacked off craigslist, at least then i’ll have a fighting chance.

Profile photo of Whiffmeister

eBay constantly default to resolving disputes in the favour of buyers. This is because eBay has become a store front for many different retail companies and business sellers and they want to reduce buyer dissatisfaction. This means that if you are a private seller you are liable for any amount of scams, tricks and end up paying for the privilege. eBay almost invariably find in favour of the buyer no matter what the circumstances, you only need go into the community forums to find hundreds of examples.

My daughter has just found this out the hard way as well. She advertised a BluRay player that she rarely had used and was asked by eBay to enter the model number, which she did. The eBay site then provided a description of the item based on that model number which was handy – or so she thought. She also requested that the item was collection only which would means she would avoid costly P&P.

A buyer from 200 miles away said he was interested and he would pay a courier to collect it. Although a little concerned, she allowed the buyer to purchase and arrange for the courier and off it went. After 3 days of it being received the buyer asked how he could get Netflix. We had no idea seeing as it was only ever used as a BluRay player. It turns out only the US version could (player was 2009 and Netflix was only launched in the UK in 2012). However the eBay description was as follows

“The LG BD370 is capable of streaming movies, TV shows and videos from online services such as Netflix and YouTube via an Ethernet cable”

Which the buyer had assumed meant that it WOULD play Netflix. Despite talking to eBay they found in his favour despite the description being provided by eBay and unalterable. Now my daughter is severely out of pocket and awaiting its return before we can appeal and we don’t hold out much hope there either.


Ebay reimbursed buyer for not receiving item while the item was held by the customs. Some days later he received it. Ebay still didn’t care and insist I have to pay them 699$ for the refund they issued. As a result I closed my paypal account and I am not giving them anything. They’ll have to prove their rights to steal from me in court.

Mazhar Bokhari says:
6 months 7 days ago

One seller sold an iphone 6 plus. Buyer confirmed receipt via ebay messaging system. We sent another message to reconfirm. It was also replied as receipt of item. Buyer also left positive feedback
After few days buyer reported non-receipt of iphone and said my account was hacked.

Ebay decided in my favour.

Buyer lodged complaint with paypal. They decided in favour of buyer and paid to buyer without listening to me.
Paypal created negative balance to my account. Now paypal demanding to restore the balance in my account.

How can i protect myself?? Any one can guide me to protect seller rights? Any court any authority??

Thanks & Warm Regards

[Hi Mazhar, we’ve changed your post so it’s not in capitals anymore – You can have a read more about our commenting guidelines here. Thanks, mods]

Totally Bridal says:
4 months 12 days ago

I really feel for all you sellers out there, eBay is becoming full of thieves – yes they are legally classed as thieves they are obtaining goods without paying for them!! I wish eBay/Paypal would wake up on this issue.

Anyway my stories (i have too many to type out so just a few!)….

I have been having problems with buyers on eBay for 6+ years now so this isn’t a new phenomenon although it is becoming more common.

I used to sell 300+ items a month all varying in value from £2.99 up. I never had a single problem with Item not received or SNAD for the more costly items, i did have the occasional damage in transit but as it was rare (around 2 a year) so i used to just send replacements. Although 2 years ago i did have one buyer purchase some wedding centerpieces with floating candles, once they arrived she claimed they was incomplete and not ready to use as she had to add water so wanted a 20% refund for the inconvenience – SERIOUSLY i thought common sense dictated that i couldn’t send an open top fishbowl filled with water in a cardboard box through the post!!!! DUH me for not putting “water not included” in the listing, anyway lesson learned everything even the most obvious goes into all listings now.

I have always had problems (somewhat minor until last year) with the smaller £2.99 “bait” items, i cant send recorded/proof of delivery at £3.50 as i wouldn’t sell them and the buyers wouldnt be getting a good deal i didn’t even sell them with £1 postage so i have to offer free postage and send via second class large letter at a cost of 79p but SO many buyers are now claiming non-receipt its ridiculous around 2 in every 10 i send! As a “pro” ebayer i just offer to replace or refund as it just isn’t worth the hassle to go through the claims process with buyer ALWAYS winning!

The new targets for sellers dictating which “group” they fall into is pathetic! I would be top rated if it wasn’t for numerous buyers opening cases for items not received which is obviously a scam when compared to Royal Mails deliver rate. Once below standard my sales dropped from 300+ a month to just 10 and so the serious digging starts – no sales = no improvement, made worse as time goes by and sales over 12 months dropping off, its a never ending spiral ultimately ending in what i can only imagine is my shop being closed by eBay!

I have said for the last 2 years that all small sellers should go on strike so as to not run up a bill for eBay and paypal to cash in, eBay is all about making as much money as possible so to hit them where it hurts so to speak would surely make them sit up and listen!

eBay are only interested in big fast turn around companies such as Argos who now have a large high ranked share of the search results (and high street) in most categories, small businesses such as my own really don’t stand much chance on eBay anymore i really do sit and think is it worth it… I always end up back at the same point – there is nowhere else online that is as large and recognised as eBay plus a lot of buyers refuse to shop elsewhere such as etsy (most of my etsy buyers are USA based) so it really isn’t a choice thing for me if i want to keep my business floating!

I dont feel there is a single thing i can do to improve the situation so will just keep riding it out in the hope that eBay’s foggy head clears sometime soon!

Profile photo of bestbuddy77

ive been totally scammed it seems which has cost me a iPad & £240. After 9 weeks after this had been sold I notice I have £240 taken from my bank account with PayPal next to it?! Had no idea what it was so I called PayPal. Then I’m told that the buyer claims he had never recieved his item & had issued a chargeback at his bank. At no point in those 9 weeks did I hear from the buyer & no case was ever opened by eBay to say this item had not been recieved. I had posted the iPad with Royal Mail special delivery the day after they had paid via PayPal. Had heard nothing from the buyer over the weeks so thew my receipt away. I’m not a big seller just the odd bits, normally just clothes.
After speaking to Royal Mail who says without the barcode they could tell me if the item had been recieved. eBay say it’s nothing to do with them & PayPal say without the postage receipt there’s nothing they can do for me. If that’s not fraud then I don’t know what is. Personally if I had paid £240 for a iPad I’d want to know where it is & would be having kittens if it wasn’t with me within 2 weeks at the latest?! How can ebay say this is nothing to do with them when this buyer didn’t open a case or even send any message to either of us?!?! Will never sell on eBay again that’s for sure.

MerseyMale says:
3 months 22 days ago

BestBuddy77, I know, I know, I know….

eBay/PayPal Just DON’T care!
If there was ANY competition they’d pull they’re socks up, but no!

IF you used a Credit Card for the postage then you might be able to use your Bank Statement as proof of postage. Also contact the police. Seriously! Tell the police as there has been a crime: either royal mail are thieves OR the other ebayer is a fraudster. Simple.

If I am stupid enough to leave my front door unlocked and wide open; then go out to work and some stranger pops in & pinches the iPad I am currently writing this on. Then in NO WAY would the police; the courts or any honest person say no crime had been committed!

OK, I’m no legal expert BUT if someone on this forum claims this is a bad analogy then I can only agree- Bestbuddy77’s stranger IS someone known. At least eBay/PayPal know him & via the bank linked to his PayPal account; his address is known too.

When you have an official Crime Number, contact eBay again and say that if you win in a SmallClaimsCourt it won’t reflect well on them so perhaps they’ll have another look at ya case?

MerseyMale says:
3 months 22 days ago

(by the way, Chris -above- you’re wrong about that :-(
when you join PayPal you give them rights to control your account!

Just a matter of time… They’re out of pocket & got a full-time legal team)

I think the underlying point to all these posts is that IF someone sat down and designed eBay from the off as the monster it is now then NOBODY would join and few if any countries would register them as a company!

eBay GREW into the sprawling mass of Loop Holes it is because there was NO contest.
It evolved into this plague cos the Monopolies Commission turns a blind-eye.

So it is the only game in town, that’s the plain fact.

Profile photo of bestbuddy77

It’s good to know that there’s people out there that know how I’m feeling right now. Fustraited. I’ve contacted the financial abundsman. I was never informed by the buyers bank or by PayPal that any money would be leaving my account. I was actually due to go away to Liverpool for a few nights this week but as I was left with £30 in my account I couldn’t. How is it right for the bank & PayPal to have control over my money? I read on someone else’s blog that it left them with charges from their bank as 2 of his bills didn’t get paid because there wasn’t enough guns in the account.
These scammers are cleaver. I would have never thought of doing it.

Profile photo of alfa

It is fraud and theft.

When I had an issue with an online purchase, I contacted the nearest police station to the culprit rather than the fraud squad. I felt they were more likely to take action which they did.

Hope you get some resolution.