Anatomy of a Thwarted eBay Scam

eBay is an obvious scam magnet

How embarrassing: As a nine year member of the eBay community (mostly as a seller) you’d think I would see this one coming. Luckily, I caught it JUST in time. Here follows a cautionary tale for other users…I had an item on the auction block that was won by a bidder who had only been a member for about two weeks, with a feedback rating of zero. (This for many is itself a red flag.) The first official red flag went up when the bidder had an address in Kentucky, but in the country of Turkey. When the auction ended (should have cancelled their bids), I sent an email asking for clarification of the address. They responded (we’ll call him John) that he would have a new address for me within 36 hours. John then provided a new address to a different first (and last) name in Arizona, BUT STILL IN TURKEY!!!! They claimed a friend was bringing it to them from the US. (Gee, they have a friend in Louisville AND Tempe who are both travelling to Turkey soon? Hmm…..)
EBay and PayPal automatically base shipment options on country. So the only shipment options in PayPal for a foreign address is international shipping-not necessary for a package to Arizona. What happens when you edit the shipping address in PayPal? It becomes unconfirmed and you LOSE your seller protection! Even using Delivery Confirmation, the buyer (“John”) can claim that it was sent to the wrong person. (Remember-the first AND last name to the Arizona address were different.) I immediately voided the shipping label, then sent an email to John asking him to either change his address details or begin chargeback proceedings. I have since received two frantic emails stating that PayPal will not allow him to change the address and demanding I send him the item.
So I got a great response from the eBay Answer Center within 10 minutes! (Isn’t Web 2.0 great?) I had no idea that there was a Refund function in the Paypal system-probably because it’s only a small footer link at the bottom of the transaction page. (Hmm, I wonder why THAT is…) Just for that…
ATTENTION PAYPAL USERS: THERE IS A “Refund” LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TRANSACTION PAGE. REFUND AWAY!
(Take that, PayPal.)
I refunded John’s money, banned him, and relisted the item. Justice prevails! I was preparing a scathing email to send back, all about how Trabzonspor, Galatasary, Fenerbahce and Besiktas were all garbage. But then I envisioned a puzzled look from a guy whose name is anything but John and who is likely from any country other than Turkey. Plus, they really are decent football clubs.

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