Selling Tips – Step 9: Don’t Get Scammed!

In this final section I’m going to list a few common scams that have been doing the rounds and catching some sellers out. Please read and look out for the warning signs.

  1. The cheque overpayment scam: The buyer offers to send a cheque for you item and will send a friend to collect the item. However the cheque is for too much, so asks you to give his friend the difference in cash along with the item. Couple of days later, the cheque bounces and your left with no item and a lot of cash down.
  2. The PayPal collection scam: The buyer pays for your item via PayPal, but collects the item. A few days later, they file a ‘item not received’ complaint with PayPal, who reverse the payment. Without a proof of postage, you can’t back up your claim with PayPal.
  3. Fake PayPal emails scam: When ever you receive an email from PayPal or eBay claiming an item has been won, purchased or payment received, double check your PayPal account for confirmation (and not by clicking links in said emails). The email maybe a spoof, hoping you’ll post the item without payment, or worse, linking to a fake PayPal or eBay phishing site where your login details will be stolen.

Check out your buyers reputation, when they joined the forum, how many posts they’ve made and how much feedback they’ve got. Someone who joined the forum yesterday, is offering your full price but wants shipping to Egypt, could be a bit dodgy, proceed with caution. Conversely, someone who’ve been on the forum since 1999, has 25,000 posts and is based in Coventry is likely to be well known to all on the forum and reputable. Common sense really.

Make sure you get proof of postage whenever you send anything. Even when posting a £10 cable, via 1st Class Royal Mail, a Certificate of Postage can help with a lost parcel claim. Always insure your items to a high enough value to cover them, its not worth skimping to save £5 postage.

Finally as a general rule, don’t deal with anyone in Nigeria!

One thought on “Selling Tips – Step 9: Don’t Get Scammed!”

  1. Hi. Luvin’ the site! Very interesting, innovative search service, and lots of useful info! One thing I found out recently… I buy and sell quite a bit of Hi-Hi to fund my hobby. And during the course of this I met a seller who ‘does the eBay thing’, but on a large scale. It was a seller who did this as his full time job, made a profit, and knew all the tricks of the trade. The biggest lesson I learned from him was the postal insurance scam. And by that I mean how it’s just about pointless to pay for insurance on postage to cover the cost of the item, as you’ll never get it back. According to him the only point of paying for postage is to make sure the buyer signs for it on delivery, so you can prove it was received. However if it gets lost in the post you won’t get your money back. Why? A number of reasons:

    1.You only get what YOU paid for the item initially, NOT what you sold it for. You buy an item from a car boot sale for a tenner, sell it on eBay for £50, the most you’ll get back is your tenner!

    2. You need a receipt for each individual item. You buy a number of items from a car boot sale, all on one receipt, the receipt is worthless.

    3. The receipt needs to be ‘approved’. A hand written note from a car boot sale won’t suffice.

    4. And lastly, the number of items NOT covered by insurance is massive. Things like glass, antiques, etc., obviously aren’t covered. But other every day items aren’t covered too. I forget the exact details, but I had a look at the postal flyers the professional eBay seller showed me and to be honest, there isn’t much that IS covered.

    So what with only refunding original purchase price, type of receipts, and large number of items not covered, there seems to be little point in doing anything other than ensuring it gets signed for on delivery.

    The seller I met has tried a dozen times to get a refund, and has NEVER been successful. So now he pays just to ensure it is signed for, and little else.

    And as a seller, stating ‘Sold as Seen’ won’t work. As soon as a buyer pays via Paypal you are locked into Paypals Terms & Conditions.

    As a seller eBay has ensured the onus is on you/me to pay for items damaged in transit (unfair), or significantly ‘not as described’ (fair). All we can do is ensure it arrives and doesn’t get lost in the post, and pay up if it arrives damaged!

    Ways around this? Currently looking into the new Ericsson payment scheme, using online banking (BACS), using couriers, insisting the ‘buyer sorts a courier, or listing all items as ‘Spares or Repairs’, or delivering it personally (and charge appropriately, give demo, and insist buyer signs a receipt). None of which are ideal.

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