10 eBay Buyer and Seller Scams to Spot and Avoid


eBay is a great place to look for discounts and shop for affordable products. You can get a great bargain here if you know what to look for and when.

Sellers offer huge discounts during holidays, such as Black Friday and Christmas, where products have their prices slashed off significantly. Almost anyone can sell on eBay because the platform is so simple to use. But this ease of use makes it a prime location for scammers to take advantage of others.

Don’t be fooled by common scams that take place on eBay. Here are 10 scams that you can avoid whether you’re a buyer or seller, especially in this time of crisis.

1. The Runaway Seller


After placing your payment, the seller will not send your order. You can avoid this scam by only shopping for items with the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

If a product isn’t covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee, move on to another product. Runaway sellers will trick people into thinking they’re legitimate by having a good rating using hundreds of small transactions, then scam you.

2. Photo-gone

The seller will offer you a product that is unsurprisingly affordable. These will have quality pictures and a well-written product description that are set to deceive you.

You won’t receive the item because it was never the one you were looking at or reading. It may have mentioned in the fine print — “only a photo of the item,” “item not included,” “just an accessory.”

Avoid this scam by reading over everything twice. If you could talk to the seller, even better, so the information’s official.

3. Non-delivery of the Item

Even though there is an eBay money-back guarantee, there are products that are not covered. This includes businesses, equipment, websites, vehicles, classifieds, services, and vehicles.

The seller can accept payment for these items but not guarantee their delivery. If you are going to buy any of these, triple check everything and make sure you have the seller’s contact information for inquiry.

4. Productless Box


Some buyers will claim you didn’t ship them anything. They’ll file a claim that this happened and ask for a refund,  but they keep the item.

Thanks to technology, you can evade scammers by taking photos and videos of the product before you ship it to them. Upload it to eBay as proof that the box was never empty in the first place.

5. Overpayment

Sometimes buyers will pay you more for your item. The reason: they will send you a bounced or bogus check.

Once you’ve received the check, it will already be too late because it takes a week to verify a check’s validity. Just stick to the official payment terms set by eBay, like PayPal and Credit.

6. Broken Counterfeit

You sell something fully functional, which the buyer returns as defective. If you didn’t document everything prior to shipping, the customer may return a replica of the product.

Before you ship out the product, jot down all important details to avoid disputes.

7. Web Phishing


Scammers can send fake links to you via email. They can make it look like an official notice from eBay or redirect you to a fake website that gets all your login credentials. Sometimes phishing attacks will ask you to review your security details, passwords, and purchases.

Regardless of the attack, it will allow the scammer to access your account remotely. Before clicking anything, make sure the website or link is from the official eBay website. It will never ask for your username or password.

8. Other Payment Methods

If the buyer is asking you to accept other payment methods, do not continue with the transaction. They may be planning on fooling you.

eBay’s payment methods include PayPal, Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.), and cash. Other methods, such as wire transfer,  personal cheques, cashier’s cheques, and money orders, are available. However, scammers may take advantage of these because they are difficult and take longer to trace.

9. Wrong Seller’s Name

The seller will ship your product, but they will tamper with the name. They will make you think you received another package. The seller will usually put the product up as a normal listing using the Buy Now option.

Since “you didn’t receive it,” you won’t be able to avail the eBay Money Back Guarantee. The seller will keep your money while you can’t even dispute the product.

The best course of action is to document everything. If you’re not expecting a package, do not open it. Ensure that the tracker says the product has been delivered.

10. No to Wires, Yes to Debit


If your customer wants to wire your payment, decline it immediately because wire transfers can be hard to monitor, recover, and track.

Ask your customer to use other payment methods. Initiate a credit, PayPal, or even cash payment for a more transparent transaction. If they force the wire, respectfully decline them. Explain why you need to use the in-site payment systems as these provide buyer and seller protection.

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