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  1. #1
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    eBay Selling Woes

    Not only is this not about bags it's not even about Tom Bihn bags, but given that a lot of you sell on eBay, I was hoping I could get some advice.

    I'm an infrequent eBay seller. I sold an Osprey Porter 46 backpack a few weeks ago. I shipped the backpack on December 13th enclosed in the official osprey plastic bag and placed it in the original shipping box.

    The box arrived at their post office on December 16th with a notice for them to pick it up. They finally picked it up today (December 26th) and are claiming that the box is damaged and the backpack is not inside.

    I asked them to send a picture of the damage. The picture shows a rip in the box, but nothing big enough for the backpack to have fallen out. I can see a bit of the osprey bag inside the box, but the picture is too dark to see it clearly.

    I noticed the tape is completely ripped off the top of the box so I asked about it. They said they had already opened it and the only thing that was in it was the osprey bag.

    I'm sensing a scam here. I worry that eBay will side with the buyer because there is external damage to the box. They did not receive anything from the post office noting the damage. It doesn't make sense why only the bag would be in the box since the backpack was in the bag and the bag's flap was taped shut.

    What are my options? Do I call the post office, eBay, both? I did not purchase insurance (I sold the bag for $110, it cost $32 to ship USPS ground, insurance in addition to that would have made the sale not worth it).

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  2. #2
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    eBay Selling Woes

    They can only return to to you if you approve. I believe payout dispute comes from eBay. Youíll have to double check, but just deny a return, you may have to suffer a negative review, but thatís better than being out hundreds of dollars. Sounds like youíve been a seller on there long enough that eBay will see your not a scammer. They should go through the usps insurance, that has guaranteed $50 of insurance for just such issues. I understand your woes, I had an eBay buyer follow me here to this forum and write a scathing harassing post on the forum. Lucky for me we have amazing moderators and they took it down. There is definitely a downside to selling online, hopefully, this will not happen to you again.


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    Last edited by melminimalist; 12-26-2018 at 03:42 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by melminimalist View Post
    They can only return to to you if you approve. I believe payout dispute comes from eBay. Youíll have to double check, but just deny a return, you may have to suffer a negative review, but thatís better than being out hundreds of dollars. Sounds like youíve been a seller on there long enough that eBay will see your not a scammer. They should go through the usps insurance, that has guaranteed $50 of insurance for just such issues.


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    Thanks! I just called eBay and they sided with me (no refund issued) on the dispute the buyer had opened since they clearly received the package. My listing clearly says no returns, so hopefully they don't try that. You're right, I'd rather the negative than be out money. You used to be able to respond to feedback, can you still? I'll definitely be saying something if they leave me a negative.

    Ebay said I need to contact USPS because it should have been reported as an empty box when it was received and the buyer would have been informed when it was picked up. They also told me that the buyer can appeal the eBay case and be granted a refund if they win. That concerns me, since this is a she said/she said situation and I don't have proof of anything other than what the buyer has told me and there is damage to the box. I'm hoping USPS will come through (been on hold for a good 30 minutes now) and have information on my package in their system.

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  4. #4
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    Well this just keeps getting better...

    I told the buyer to contact the post office to ask about the package, but they're refusing and adamantly requesting a refund because "the post office can't give me my money back". I told them they can file a theft claim with the post office. As of now, they're refusing and claiming it's my responsibility to put insurance on the package and because I didn't, I should issue a refund. They plan to cash in on Ebays "100% satisfaction guarantee" promise.

    So I called eBay again. They said that the buyer must file a police report since they're reporting a missing package (doubtful they will actually do this). If eBay accepts the report, they will issue a refund, not me. That's really all I care about at this point, I don't want to be out the backpack and the money. Ebay said to just let it go and the buyer will contact them when the dispute timer runs out. They have documentation of my phone call, so they have my side before the buyer can get their bs story in.

    Edit: omg I just saw your edit about the buyer stalker, that's awful! I'm glad the mods took care of it.

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    Last edited by nolegrl; 12-27-2018 at 05:52 AM.

  5. #5
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    Unfortunately, this is a fairly well-known scam in the e-Bay world. In addition to collecting Tom Bihn (ha), I also collect posters/art prints. This scam has been used for years by "poster buyers" on e-Bay. If the scammer is successful, he/she gets both the item and a refund. The best way to protect yourself is to take pictures of the "packaging process" of the item you're selling. That way, you have reasonable proof to provide to e-Bay/Post Office/UPS/etc., that the item was properly packaged and shipped. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by whalaw View Post
    Unfortunately, this is a fairly well-known scam in the e-Bay world. In addition to collecting Tom Bihn (ha), I also collect posters/art prints. This scam has been used for years by "poster buyers" on e-Bay. If the scammer is successful, he/she gets both the item and a refund. The best way to protect yourself is to take pictures of the "packaging process" of the item you're selling. That way, you have reasonable proof to provide to e-Bay/Post Office/UPS/etc., that the item was properly packaged and shipped. Good luck.
    This is really scummy and frustrating to hear. At this point though, as long as I don't have to refund anything myself, then let them scam the money from eBay, they'll get caught eventually.

    They have to file a police report to get their money back now, so they really have to jump through hoops and involve law enforcement to pull off this scam, it's not as easy as "ask the seller for a refund and eBay will force them to do it."

    That's a good idea to take pictures before shipping. I will make sure to do that from now on.



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  7. #7
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    I always take packaging pictures and pictures of the item in packaging at the post office and in the mail bag with mail stickers on it at the post office. Proof of everything that way. I do always ask the seller as well if they would like insurance or not and leave that liability with them. eBay is crap in that you used to be able to add postage extras. You canít anymore.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordAnubis View Post
    I always take packaging pictures and pictures of the item in packaging at the post office and in the mail bag with mail stickers on it at the post office. Proof of everything that way. I do always ask the seller as well if they would like insurance or not and leave that liability with them. eBay is crap in that you used to be able to add postage extras. You canít anymore.


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    That's a good idea. I had really underestimated the cost to ship on this, so the buyer only paid $10 for shipping (actual shipping cost was $32). The backpack isn't fragile (it's basically a carry-on suitcase) so the extra cost of insurance didn't seem worth it. They were even complaining about the shipping cost before they purchased it, so the insurance would just be for my piece of mind.

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  9. #9
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    They were even complaining about the shipping cost before they purchased it
    They didn't want to pay anything for their "free" backpack.

  10. #10
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    @Nolegrl,


    From an intermittant ebay hobbyist of about 15 years, some things I have learned about selling on ebay:

    1. The tricksters come out right before the holidays, those with no purchase history who think they can get away with something due to ebay's truly lax policies for buyers (for example, sellers cannot give negative feedback to any buyer anymore and ebay will not step in until non-payment or fraud has occurred several times with the same buyer)

    2. Pictures are proof of what you sold and sent; take a picture of every angle of the item for sale for proof of it's condition, AND take a pic of the box prepared for mailing.

    3. NEVER pay shipping for your buyer, ALWAYS make the buyer pay for shipping. Here is why: if they are unhappy with the item and want to return it, you are out that part of the cost of selling, which can be quite substantial.

    4. Ebay is NOT focused on the sellers, sell at your own risk. Do whatever you can to protect your costs of selling.

    5. MOST ebay buyers are honest people who know a good deal when they see it. Keep those people in mind when you sell. In my long on and off history with ebay, I have only had maybe 4 issues that did not work out for me as seller, 2 of which were my fault due to an incomplete description of the item. I learned quickly from that and became VERY detailed in my listings.

    6. This is for buyers AND sellers to be aware of: Ebay continually changes their seller requirements that affect the bottom line of the sellers. SO. If you see some strange listings that have an outrageous buy-it-now price or you make an offer for an item and the seller will only go down $1, that is because of the way ebay is now trying to control what the sellers do. Ebay is making the sellers pay more for their listings up front if sellers don't comply to the "new rules".
    Last edited by anna2222; 12-27-2018 at 05:28 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna2222 View Post
    @Nolegrl,


    From an intermittant ebay hobbyist of about 15 years, some things I have learned about selling on ebay:

    3. NEVER pay shipping for your buyer, ALWAYS make the buyer pay for shipping. Here is why: if they are unhappy with the item and want to return it, you are out that part of the cost of selling, which can be quite substantial.
    Thanks for those tips! I do have a question about your third point regarding shipping. How do you attract buyers to your listing if the shipping cost is high?

    To use my backpack as an example, the cheapest shipping option was $32. Idk if it was because of the distance (FL to MN) or the size of the box. The post office seemed to think it was a bit of both. I was aiming for the buyer to pay at least half of the shipping cost, but I was off. If I had priced it correctly and put $32 for shipping, no buyer would buy my backpack. It retails for $140 and it frequently goes on sale for $100 with free shipping online. My backpack was exactly the same as those (new with tags, it was sitting in my closet unused for months, I had missed the return window), but the buyer has more confidence in a store than an ebay seller. So to attract buyers, I either have to price my item super low and/or have cheap or free shipping.

    Shipping for a few other things was also more than the ebay calculator had estimated. It had charged $7.40 each for two priority packages, but it was actually $14.80. Once again, I find it hard to imagine a buyer agreeing to pay $15 for shipping unless the item was priced super low to offset that.

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  12. #12
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    I've used eBay to sell things on and off for a number of years. Someone told me once not to sell anything I couldn't afford to lose, given the number of scams. I do try to go the Craigslist route or use apps like Letgo because I can generally meet people in public for the transaction, but eBay definitely has a wider audience. Still, eBay gas gotten less and less supportive of its small sellers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post
    Thanks for those tips! I do have a question about your third point regarding shipping. How do you attract buyers to your listing if the shipping cost is high?

    Grab your coffee and some snacks because this is a bit LONG! : - )

    My procedure for selling/shipping:

    1. First, I find out what the going value is for the item I want to sell on ebay. I do this by using the "Advanced Search" option and I type in the item name, then I choose "completed items". If the sold price is too low for my liking, I usually list it on craigslist or a local community sale page. For this type of item, a really good quality backpack, in my experience they do pretty well on the local pages. I looked up your backpack and you said you sold yours for $110 + shipping. According to the sold items, you actually faired pretty well even with the extra shipping you had to pay, as some were going for as low as $60 and most sold for under $100.

    2. I have a small postal scale at home so I can get accurate weights on my packages and I have learned over the years that sometimes it is cheaper depending on buyer location, to use the USPS Priority mail FLAT RATE boxes, because then weight is not a factor. One time I sold some diecast items that weighed over 10 lbs and I was able to fit them into a Large Flat Rate Priority Mail box, saved a lot! The large, long one costs $18 that it looks like your Osprey (22" long) might have fit in. They also have a large square one that goes for the same price. Get to know these sizes. The USPS provides all shapes and sizes of these boxes and envelopes for free, and I stock up so I have every kind.

    3. I use the ebay link to printing shipping labels, which gives you a shipping discount for things sent priority mail and first class mail.

    4. The bigger the item, the more risk you take in calculating the proper shipping. Once I sold a box of 6 sets of LEGOS and I had charged $30 to ship. Well, the person who bought them was on the other side of the country and the cheapest shipping I could find was over $60 at UPS! They were awesome after I told them my woes. They asked if there was any room in the box, because I was only 1" over on one dimension to get a discount, and they cut the box down for me and gave me the discount. Had the buyer lived right next door or even one state over, I would have been fine, but I did not want to "scare" people into a high shipping rate that would show up on my auction page. Well, after that, I decided I will show them and I always explain it in my description by telling them that the closer they live to my state, the cheaper shipping will be.

    5. (Can you tell I like lists? LOL) Keep the packing material light and keep all of your bubble wrap and those puffy plastic things filled with air. That makes the package lighter.

    6. Learn to make your own boxes, which is really easy to do with any box that is too big. I cut them down if they are too big. Less weight.

    7. Sell the small stuff that is 13oz or under, which is 1st class mail rate and less than $6 at the heaviest weight. A lot of Tom Bihn items go under this weight because they are feather light.

    8. Some ebay buyers WILL complain about the shipping, but realize that those people are complaining because they are INTERESTED in your item. Don't stress over it. I get emails from buyers all the time on my more popular items, trying to make a side deal with me for a lower price (which is against ebay policy, by the way), buyers who think my shipping costs are unfair, who think I have too high of a starting price or buy-it-now price on my listings. Depending on how polite they are, I will explain to them why (ie, it weighs so many pounds, shipping higher due to further away, etc). Those who make nasty comments, I ignore. There is also a way to BLOCK ebay buyers that you don't want to bid on your items or have nasty comments.

    9. Bottom line: If you have done your research and you know you are offering a good deal and you are happy with the price you will get for your item, then keep the auction going as is, the true shipping cost listed. Ebay has a "Good until Cancelled" listing choice that you can pick if you have the patience.

    10. Ebay wants you to offer several things to buyers, like FREE SHIPPING, 30-DAY RETURNS, and INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING (I do NONE of these and never will, FYI). NONE of these make sense to the casual seller like you and me, so again, don't feel pressured to make less than what you deserve. If the item is worth it, it WILL sell, like your Osprey. I buy on ebay too, and I actually trust the small sellers more than the big sellers. They always email me back with answers to my questions and offer purchasing help like extra photos, etc.

    Good luck with your future auctions, hope this helps!

  14. #14
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    So I have an update and I am seething.

    The dispute period has now passed as of December 31st and I haven't heard anything new. Well, I go to make a purchase with my PayPal account and I'm denied so I login and my account has a negative balance for the amount of the backpack transaction.

    I call Paypal, they tell me to contact eBay. Ebay says that the money is put on hold until the case is closed (a month long period). Since I already took it out of PayPal, my balance is negative. I understand this (I guess), but I wish I had some notice. I have no idea how this will impact scheduled transactions from billing agreements.

    eBay also reiterated the same thing as before, the buyer has to file a police report. Here is what they told me that's different though...if the buyer files a police report, they win the case and the money is refunded from me. What the frick!

    I've filed a police report before and you didn't have to prove anything, just walk in and report.

    I told eBay my side: I have proof of the package weight and size when shipped. The post office did not report to me or the buyer damage or an empty box.

    How the heck am I responsible for a "stolen" package?. Plus, the damn thing was sitting in the post office for a week before it was redelivered or picked up. Ebay told me in a prior conversation that it was the buyer who had to handle a stolen package issue and I was not at fault in any way. Well, the second they take the money away from me, I am at fault.

    This should now be between the post office and the police, eBay and myself can't do anything and the seller shouldn't be out money because of a "stolen package".

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    Last edited by nolegrl; 01-12-2019 at 04:04 AM.

  15. #15
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    Years ago I sold books on ebay. For about five years it helped supplement my income, and I made a decent amount of sales (and feedback). Then, around 2009, ebay drastically changed their rules for paypal disputes and essentially all the buyer had to do was complain about any aspect of the transaction and their money was refunded. I sold a rare book for $300, and lo and behold the buyer had buyer's remorse about a week after receiving it. My description was accurate, item was well packed and arrived two days after payment. But I lost the dispute and the buyer refused to send back the book. Meanwhile my Paypal balance went negative and I refused to authorize a payment to them. I still had to pay my ebay fees and my paypal fees, plus the cost of shipping...So I let them take me to collections, but I fought the collection agency. And I won.

    Unfortunately, though I won my paypal account was forcibly closed, and I had to stop selling on ebay. While the financial hit was hard, the headache of dealing with the new rules (that constantly change to benefit the buyer) really wasn't worth it. I miss the old ebay where it featured little sellers instead of massive operations selling goods from China for pennies and was a fair deal. Paypal is a nightmare too if you ever have to deal with their customer service...
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