Sunday, December 21, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: How do I protect myself from eBay chargeback scam?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 1/3/2014

Dear eBay Queen: I’ve used eBay to buy and sell, and have never had problems before now. I recently had a horrible experience selling a camera on eBay for $300. When my camera sold, it was in perfect working condition. The buyer made payment through PayPal, and I sent it off the next day.

I thought everything was OK, until 124 days after the sale, I received a message from PayPal stating that the buyer had initiated a chargeback on the sale with his credit card company, stating that the camera was not as advertised, and he wanted his money back. He never contacted me in the four months after he received the camera. PayPal gave me 10 days to provide documentation of the sale.

I sent what I could, but on the 11th day, a negative balance of $300 appeared on his PayPal account. I called PayPal and did not receive any help. They said they had no power over the credit card company and could not influence the decision to make the chargeback. I asked for contact information so I could call the buyer’s credit card company and dispute the chargeback. PayPal told me that was confidential information. My emails to the buyer have not been returned.

After doing a little research, anyone who sells on eBay and accept PayPal, can easily be the victim of a chargeback. eBay’s “Seller Protection Policy” will not protect you because the buyer will say the item was not as advertised, and that is not covered, as their policy clearly states.

I was totally shocked to find out about this, but it is happening and it is widespread. eBay will not voluntarily fix the problem. They would have to admit there is a problem. An eBay director is quoted online as saying that their Seller Protection Policy prevents the problem. As I learned and described in this post, that is clearly not true. eBay’s seller protection policy is useless in these cases because of its own definition of what is covered and what is not. You can provide proof that the item was received and you will still lose, because the scam artist knows to claim that the item was “not as advertised,”

How can this possibly happen? eBay has a clearly stated Seller Protection Policy, but I have yet to see it protect me.

Is there anything I can do? — Jeffery

Dear Jeffery: I am so sorry this has happened to you. You are the victim of the infamous Paypal Chargeback Scam. This scam has been around for a while. Here is how it works:

Most credit card companies allow up to 120 days for a buyer to claim an item purchased was not as advertised, and request a chargeback. If the item was purchased on eBay using PayPal, PayPal accepts the credit card company’s request and immediately initiates the chargeback. The seller is given 10 days to prove the item was received by the buyer. The seller has 90 days to report a buyer’s chargeback activity to eBay, but the unscrupulous buyer will wait until between 90 to 120 days, so this will not be possible.

What can you do to protect yourself? 

• Always send to the buyers confirmed address.

• Insure the item.

• Make sure you use delivery confirmation or signature confirmation if the item is worth more than $200.

The same thing happened to me a few years ago. When it did, I won the case, because I did everything I listed above to protect myself. Never underestimate how important a delivery confirmation is, sent to a confirmed address.

If you review the PayPal Seller Protection — — you’ll see the rules. While you are right that a buyer can say “not as described,” PayPal has an option to check for the item to be returned to you.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 380799348182. Well, Christmas season is over, but why not buy a new sweater for the new year? I’m sure some of those ... “unique” Christmas sweaters could be worn all winter long. Like this one: “Michael Simon Crochet Snowman Christmas New Years Eve Sweater.” It sold for $224.95 at

Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen

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