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How eBay scammers exploit return labels to get products for free

29 Jan 2019, 17:40 ... abels.html

eBay scammers are still taking advantage of returns policies to get free goods by tricking sellers that the products they sell are faulty. We have heard of this for many years, and it seems not to go away.

The way it works is a fake shopper request a refund because of defectiveness of a product and then returns an empty parcel with an incorrect address but stating the sellers’ postal area code. eBay automatically issues a refund as they assume that the package has been delivered to the postal area. As a result, the scammer is left with a product and a merchant with the consequences of product and margin loss as well as the fear of potential scammer-attack.

While this highlights eBay’s extreme trust in shoppers’ behaviour as well as the lack of clear communication between the marketplace and sellers, their suppliers’ tracking limitations also add to the equation.

eBay seller from Middlesbrough gave his witness account to The Guardian about falling victim to an eBay scammer. When talking about his recent experience of being ‘caught’ by a scammer, when selling his iPhone 7 Plus (£345), he points to “the problem” of Royal Mail‘s tracking. There’s a loophole being exploited by scammers, he says, as the supplier tracking only includes the postal town but not the full address.

Citing confidentiality, Royal Mail said that they couldn’t disclose the location of the parcel. Possibly to the small-scale of the product value or negligence towards the sellers from the marketplace, eBay have closed the dispute the seller opened, stating that the merchant has already “received the item.”

“I find it unbelievable that a company as big as eBay can’t put changes in place to stop these practices.”
-NB, Middlesbrough

Following the release of the story, eBay have decided to refund the seller £345. eBay say that they’re on an “on a lookout 24/7 for bad buyer behaviour,” but are these just empty promises to keep sellers hush?

“We are constantly improving our systems …our team is on the lookout 24/7 for bad buyer behaviour backed by large-scale, automated detection systems that examine millions of transactions every day.”

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