Receive updates via email:

 Updates via RSS

Tag Cloud

Blog Archive

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Anatomy of an eBay Scam – Resolved

Well, how things change quickly. I am happy to report that after 3 weeks of research, struggles and frustration, I have been refunded my money for the Canon SD800 IS purchase that I attempted to make through eBay. But, I want to be very clear that neither eBay nor PayPal did anything to help me out.

In fact, in a conversation with PayPal on Friday – I had a representative rudely hang up on the phone on my when I asked them not to continue to say they were "working hard to recover my money." Because, they are not -- PayPal does absolutely nothing to protect their customers or try to actively recover funds, especially if you paid a seller with your PayPal balance or via bank account. The representative even told me as much as you need to pay with your credit card if you want to be able to issue a charge back or dispute funds in the future. This, and PayPal continues to promote paying PayPal with your available balance.

All PayPal does to “actively” work to get your money back in the case of PayPal balance payment, is scan the other parties balance to see if money gets added. If nothing gets added, they do nothing. However, if you issue a charge back with your credit card, then PayPal actively works to get that back though any means possible, because it is money out of their pocket. Lessons learned, never pay with your PayPal balance, and never keep any funds in your PayPal account. This is the only way to really protect yourself using their service. And bottom line, PayPal does not care if you lose money using their service. They provide no additional value other than a clearing house for payments – as soon as it catches on, you can guarantee I will be switching to Google checkout!

So, you ask – how did you get money back if eBay and PayPal did not provide assistance? Well, I did it the old fashioned way. I went ahead and went through the process of contacting my local law enforcement agency to file a police report. At the same time, I contacted the seller to let them know I was pursuing this path. I almost immediately received a response asking that if I received a refund, would I stop pursuing this. I said yes, and almost instantly the $289.00 showed up in my PayPal account. So, now I just need to close out the police report as resolved and move on with lessons learned.

Was it truly a scam? I believe so, the last email I received asked my why I did not dispute it with my credit card company for resolution. This leads me to believe that this person or ring is attempting to use smaller (<$1,000) auctions and assume that eBay, PayPal, and the credit card companies will not pursue the smaller dollar values. Regardless, the user’s eBay id has been cancelled on eBay, they refunded my money and I learned some lessons that will make me more vigilant in the future!


Biddy said...

Glad you got your money back (and that eBay chucked your 'seller' off) :-D

Ken Hanscom said...

Thanks for the note, Biddy. Although I am happy the eBay kicked the user off, I am afraid that not enough is being done to prevent them from simply signing up again. It is really too easy for a user on eBay to assume someone else's identity and be part of identity theft. All you really need is an email address. eBay should really be more proactive in protecting their community. If things continue as is, it will not be long before people lose faith in doing transactions over eBay. Just like many people require photo id for credit card transactions, eBay should require more verifiable evidence of a user and an advanced scoring and ranking system based on number and value of transactions to insure the integrity of their systems.