Dealing with an eBay delinquent
December 4, 2013 9:54 PM   Subscribe

I use eBay sparingly, and this time I appear to have a fraudulent bidder that won my auction. It seems like there's a bunch of steps that have to be done on the right days to handle this correctly... and that there's multiple values for "correctly". Help!

The user placed a bid, then contacted me directly and made me a specific offer of an amount well below my buy-it-now price, but at that point well above the current bid. Making direct offers is clearly against eBay's rules, so I immediately reported it, and replied to the person that the buy-it-now price was perfectly reasonable if he wanted the item without the auction.

The user emailed me back to say that his money was stolen and that he wouldn't be able to pay. And then a few days later, whaddaya know, this user won the auction.

This is super duper fishy. The user account has ZERO history. Clearly this person had no intention of buying my item.

So my goals are: 1) get the item sold; 2) get this person's account killed. I can live without #2 but I'd like to help eBay rid themselves of this dude.

So eBay experts: What steps do I need to take to cancel and relist the auction, and what's the timing of each step? I'm confused by the "request cancellation" vs "resolution center", and relisting vs second-chance offers... Simplify this for me, if possible!

* or she, of course, but the [s/he | his/her] thing was getting out of control...
posted by rouftop to Shopping (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Unpaid item policy. Follow the steps outlined there.

As for (2) eBay is just not very customer-friendly nowadays. Note it's not: 'unpaid item' gets an account canned, but, 'excessive unpaid items may result in consequences.' (Hey, in theory he could buy something else, thus generating fees for eBay, so...)

In re. Making direct offers is clearly against eBay's rules. No. Bidders can ask sellers to end a listing early and sell at the current bid price, but sellers don't have to honor the request. How snarky was your response? Did you tell him you were reporting him for [doing something allowed]? He may have decided you were the flake and bailed because of that.

Was there a second bidder with a bid at a price you're willing to accept? That's the person to send a 'second chance offer' to.
posted by kmennie at 11:40 PM on December 4, 2013

Best answer: If the buyer doesn't pay within 2 days of winning the auction, open an unpaid item case in the Resolution Center. That's about all you can do, but it should do the job, you just have to wait a few days for the process to complete.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:31 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing their unpaid item policy linked by kmennie, and that direct offers aren't actually against eBay policy.

And to answer an unasked question, on the prevention side – you can state in your auctions that you won't accept bids from members with less than a certain feedback threshold and/or too much negative feedback. I recently bid on an auction where the seller stated, for instance, "no bids from members with less than 20 feedback". (It's best only to do that on bigger-ticket items, since smaller stuff helps give newbies a chance to build feedback ratings.)
posted by fraula at 3:03 AM on December 5, 2013

Ugh i'm dealing with exactly this right now, and i've dealt with it several times before.

You open an unpaid item case, then you end up either making a second chance offer or relisting. If the second chance offer would be well below what similar/the same items are currently going for then you relist.

In the future, use the whole "exclude buyers" thing in the listing to make it so people like this are prevented from bidding.
posted by emptythought at 3:37 AM on December 5, 2013

Have dealt with this too. In my case it was a buyer who bid and won, then started in on this story about using a 3rd party shipper to send outside of the US. Another bid and never showed up afterward and was located outside of the US (and both auctions were strictly for US shipping only).

In both cases, I and filed a dispute. It took a bit of time to have the whole thing run its course (the buyer has to be contacted and given time to respond), but it covers the buyer. In my case, it was a pretty clear cut situation as the buyer was not in the US and the shipping terms were clearly stated. Also, no money was exchanged, so the issue of a refund was not in play.

So my goals are:
1) get the item sold;

Cancel the auction and re-list the item. I strongly urge you to call eBay and talk to a live person when you are doing this so everyone is on the same page. The Customer Svc is pretty good there. The CS number I called was 866-540-3229. Expect to spend some time on the phone as this is the holidays and that increases wait times.

2) get this person's account killed.
File a report and drop the rest. Whether eBay decides this person should have an account is eBay's business, not yours. eBay is full of professional scammers and even if you get this one account disabled, I would bet this person has another 50 fake accounts running already. Just protect yourself first. Leave the account enforcement up to eBay.
posted by lampshade at 5:22 AM on December 5, 2013

Added: to answer the part of your question about relisting, do this with Cust Svc. It may end up that you have a cancelled auction and a relisted auction up at the same time, but that is fairly normal. As long as one is in dispute and cancelled, you are not trying to "double sell" so to speak.

More than likely though, once you get into some sort of dispute process, chances are very good this buyer you are dealing with will simply disappear before the dispute is settled.
posted by lampshade at 5:31 AM on December 5, 2013

Whether you use second-chance offer vs. relisting depends on whether you think the price will go higher if you put it up for auction again. If you made mistakes in the listing like providing insufficient details about the item or its condition, poor photographs or misspelling the brand or model, then maybe it's worth fixing and relisting. Otherwise I'd recommend Second Chance Offer.
posted by jon1270 at 5:41 AM on December 5, 2013

Just sell it to your second best bidder, cancel the transaction with bidder #1 and move on. Just not worth your energy - this happens on eBay more than you'd think, and though eBay is not generally great at customer service, they're definitely oriented towards keeping buyers rather than protecting sellers.

You're not going to be able to get the guy's account killed. In all likelihood, they won't get anything other than a threatening note from eBay. Just put him on your banned bidder list so you don't have to deal with him again.
posted by arnicae at 7:20 AM on December 5, 2013

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