How to Deal With an Ebay Buyer Scam? (swapped pickups on return)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Musekatcher, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks like I've run into a scam, after 21 years of successful Ebay purchases and sales. I sold a 1980's US made classic (I'll keep it anonymous for now), well described, but modified professionally. Fully divulged everything. I also included the parts to convert it back to stock, which was my intention. Pack it professionally, double boxed, in a hard case, etc. Buyer has it a few days, I assume all is good.

    I get an email last night, accusing me of being a thief, that the conversion was poor, and that the "electronics aren't right". Really nasty email. Then I get another email thru the official Ebay channel, requesting a return as not-described, much more civil tone. That alerted me right there. So I right back, telling him there's no need to get inflamed, I'll take care of it, and if he's changed his mind and doesn't want it, I'll refund the amount, and I offer him a partial refund to adjust for supposedly bad pickup. KEEP IN MIND, he got this guitar for LESS THAN HALF the low market value, which is also why I was alerted.

    Then I get another email, that says the pickups are dead - now I've got a red flag. So I write back, and let him know, I pre-identified the parts just in case someone wants to pull a swap and return to rob vintage parts. I also indicate he should make sure the original parts are on the guitar and its in the same exact condition as shipped, or there will be no refund. He should have just accepted the return. I go back and see what his typical Ebay activity is, and its games, lots of gaming merchandise. Not that it matters, but I've never had someone react this way, and curious what kind of cat tries something like this.

    Anybody had this happen? What would you do? I hope Ebay does the right thing if he did swap parts. If I get the guitar back and its complete, I'll just refund the guy, and relist it. Otherwise, I think he bought it as-is, in good faith, and I deny a refund.
     

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  2. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Meister

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    deny the refund and wait what happens...did he pay with PayPal?
     
  3. TampaMan

    TampaMan TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Yes, I've had this happen to me and I just denied the refund. I made the criminal sweat. Nothing ever came from it but a negative rating, which I countered, and doesn't even show up on my ratings now.
     
  4. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    I've never had anything like this happen, but I've always worried about Ebay for things like this, because people I've known have had issues with buyers trying to say things weren't as described on small this and that's over the years.

    That's also part of Reverbs appeal, since they only deal with music stuff, I always assume theyve got plans in place to deal with more specific types of scam attempts.
     
  5. FloInPA

    FloInPA TDPRI Member

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    This actually happens way more than it should and is why I pretty much quit selling on Ebay, especially anything electronic. I know at one point there were a lot of sellers complaining about people buying stuff then claiming it was defective and returning a broken item (not the item they sold) to the seller. I'd stick to your guns on this one. For anyone else reading this for future reference--if an item has any kind of serial numbers on it, be sure to take pics of them and post those in the listing so that any potential fraudulent buyers know you are aware and will avoid your auctions. It's a shame you can't trust anyone to be honest these days.

    Good luck.
     
  6. FloInPA

    FloInPA TDPRI Member

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    Also--you might want to contact Ebay and make them aware. The reason I say this is this person may have pulled this on someone else--who contacted Ebay. I had an instance a few years ago with someone who pulled a dishonest move on me, so I actually called Ebay. I was impressed with the fact I was actually able to talk to someone (I hope it's still that way) and they flagged this person's account so that if they did it again, they faced suspension.
     
  7. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    When at first I read the title of the op I thought the buyer had returned the guitar with crap pickups in it. Makes me wonder if that happens frequently. The scammer buys a guitar that’s been modded with Lindy Fralins, then returns it with some rubbish pickups installed and keeps the Fralins.

    Makes me want to vomit just thinking about it.
     
  8. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    First, I hate that ebay makes it so easy for buyers to demand a refund. It has become a joke that a buyer can come back and demand a return weeks after the purchase for just about any reason...it has even started to bleed over into CL where people assume that they can bring something back days later.

    Second, the person's response indicates a lack of maturity and probably intellect so ask him if he actually had it plugged into an amp and if he turned the controls up. Walk him / her the basic troubleshooting steps to verify the jack, switch, cable, amp, etc. before accepting the return because I am about 90% positive it will not be shipped back the same way that you shipped and will likely get damaged in shipping which makes the mess even worse.

    I have only run into one of these over the last 20+ years and it was a dude claiming that I sold him a dead amp. Went ballistic and called me every name in the book, but it turned out to be a dead wall outlet. I never got an apology, but the return was no longer needed and the feedback cleared up.
     
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  9. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I've resigned myself to the fact that I will eventually come across a bad apple.
    I did.
    So, my feedback was %98.something. Everybody was happy except ONE guy.
    I even used to put in my product description, something about the fact that I have perfect feedback except for ONE jackoff.
    I don't think it hurt me any.
    I would deny the refund and zero out my Paypal account.
    I have no patience for that crap.
     
  10. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

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    According to your post, the buyer still has the guitar but says the pickups aren't working. Where does "swapped pickups on return" come into the story? You are assuming he is going to swap them? Why assume that?

    You offered him a partial refund for a "supposedly bad pickup"? Pickups usually only fail when they are old. Or if the solder connection or pots fail, which shouldn't be the case if the work was "modified professionally".
    By offering him a partial refund you are admitting culpability. Now the buyer has you in his court.
    You might get more problems now, like bad frets or neck twisted issue. And he might want money refunded for a fret job.

    What I would have done was asked Ebay to put me in PHONE contact with the buyer so that we could discuss the problems that way, while Ebay listens in. You may be able to discover the problem is something like user error with his gear or a problem with his gear. I would want to hear from the buyer exactly what the issue is. I don't want to read a text about it. And I would refuse a return unless I could be assured BY SPEAKING with the buyer that there actually is a problem.
    Then, if it sounds like there may indeed be a problem with the guitar, I would request that he take it to a reputable guitar shop in his area, which I would have offered to pay for. A quick examination by a tech should be $25 or less. All they have to do is hook a meter up to the guitar. And you could have spoken to the tech about it if indeed there is a problem, and/or if it looks like the buyer has been monkeying around with the guitar.

    Ebay won't wait for you to ok the refund by the way. As soon as the buyer packs it up and ships it and provides them with a tracking number, they will take the money from you and refund it to him.
     
  11. ladave

    ladave Tele-Holic

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    Sorry to hear this. I also had a bad experience after many years of nothing but good and have sort of soured to selling on eBay, at least for expensive items.

    In my case buyer said EJ Strat was damaged in delivery and wanted to return. I think he just had buyers remorse. Fortunately the guitar came back in same condition but I was out about $200 in shipping fees.

    I also handle ebay sales on a daily basis for my company's eBay store and unfortunately eBay does not have your back in this instance.

    Any dispute of the condition it is returned in and they will simply say that could have happened before it got to the buyer. We have had people say there was nothing in the box, and eBay sided with them.

    And what is worse all they have do do is provide a tracking number showing something was returned and they will get a full refund. We had one crook ship a 1 oz package to a different address in the same town and that was enough proof for eBay to give him his money back. They will tell you to file a police report.

    On top of that, check out Paypal's policy...if they file a dispute they can very likely keep the merchandise and get their money back.

    Unfortunately if you buy and sell enough getting scammed is eventually going to happen. Just like retail stores have to accept there is going to be some shoplifting.
     
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  12. Blue

    Blue Tele-Holic

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    Had a terrible Ebay experience myself about 8 years ago and it still hurts when I think about it.

    I lost a lot of money due to a blatant liar. Now I will only sell on a cash on collection basis.
     
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  13. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I got scammed a couple of times on EBay as a seller, cost me a few hundred bucks in merchandise. I'll only do business in the US and Canada as a result. Just to let you know, they usually side with the buyer even if your story is solid. Best thing to do is get all your ducks in a row for your fight and get the guitar and parts back ASAP if you can.
     
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Assuming the buyer packs well I'd take it back since it sold so cheap.

    I don't really understand the problem though, first the buyer said it worked but was not nicely wired, then the buyer said the pickups were dead?
    Was it the extra set of original pickups that are dead?
    Maybe the buyer sold the extra pickups to a third party who then couldn't get them to work?
     
  15. FloInPA

    FloInPA TDPRI Member

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    I love it!!!
     
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  16. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Friend of Leo's

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    I haven't sold anything on Ebay for years.

    I'd had a very successful 12 year run until someone bought a camera that I was selling and wanted to return it because it had a crack on the bottom (photo of crack supplied). I pointed out to EBay that one of the pictures in the listing showed the same part of the camera body with no crack. The buyer also said that there was rust on the shutter. I pointed out to EBay that you could not actually open the (digital) camera to see the shutter.

    EBay told him to send the now-damaged camera back to me and refunded him his money.

    That's when I said f**k EBay.
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Is that paypal policy the one where the buyer gets the refund from paypal if they win the dispute, and they are then expected to return the merch, but paypal doesn't do anything to guarantee the seller gets the merch back, so a dirtbag can return a box of newspaper?

    Does paypal require a return shipping tracking number before issuing the refund that they then bill the seller for?

    Or does paypal actually tell the buyer they can keep the merch and get their money back?

    I generally think in terms of your last sentence; bad stuff is going to happen now and then and staying off ebay isn't a guarantee that we will not have any bad buying or selling experiences.

    If ebay sided with sellers instead of buyers, I sure as hell would not send big money to strangers on my "faith in humanity".
    Seems like sellers of used stuff are very likely to either not disclose problems with the merch, not know about problems with the merch, or luck out and sell used merch right before it breaks.

    Buyers that set out to cheat sellers are less common than sellers who fail to perfectly inform buyers of every detail as well as of what the future holds in the life of used electronics.
    For a million non professionals to sell used gear online, the buyers need some guarantee that they have some recourse if the seller defaults.
     
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  18. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    I've had wonderful sellers on there refund me in full for things that weren't there fault. I bought a record, usps cracked it, and I left 5star feedback (for promptness) before telling the seller they may want to look into a different shipping company (it was packaged, labeled, and braced with extra cardboard) . He refunded me without me even mentioning money, and said he needed to see if ups knew how to read the word "fragile" since usps did not.
    Theres no system that rewards this behavior, and ebay should be more considerate about disputes. I'll buy there, not sell.
     
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  19. Bassman8

    Bassman8 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Same story here...15 years of selling and only a couple of problems that ebay actually backed me up on. In the last 6 months it's been terrible. Seller's terms mean nothing now.
     
  20. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for all the replies. This guy has gone total ballistic now, vowing to never use Ebay again, and gone super vile with the language. Really unreasonable, and unpleasant (code for being a jerk). All this makes me not even want to try to figure this out.

    I did think about him not knowing what he's doing, and may have screwed something up trying to convert it back. I didn't concede there's anything wrong with the pickup - I only offered him an adjustment to have someone correct his wiring mistake, I don't think there's anything wrong with the pickups. But the fact that he attempted to put it back stock, and has already "worked" on it, tells me he does this stuff, and may be trying to pull a fast one, like maybe HE killed the pickup with a botched solder job. He also blamed me for slow shipping...saying he ships guitars all the time much faster, lol. Meaning, he's a regular shopper...I really like to make everyone happy, and really don't need the money or anything, but I sure don't want my naivete and better sense of doing the right thing, to reward a scammer. I'll see how I feel tomorrow.
     
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