Saturday, July 3, 2010

A little Ebay advice...

I sold an army on ebay for a friend at the FLGS around the end of May and its come round to bite me in the ass. I want to first say though, that the guy I sold it for really stepped up to the plate and was a man about it and will cover it. That really goes a long way to someones character and gains a TON of respect from me.

I'm posting this story as tip so that hopefully 318 people read this and at least a few that are in the dark will learn what I've learned.

Short story is that I sold some Death Korps to a guy in Canada for 120$. We emailed back and forth because he kept not getting them, not getting them, ect. Finally he called paypal and found out lesson one: you have 45 days from the time you pay to open a claim. So he opened a claim through ebay (same 45 day policy). In turn I called ebay and asked what I can do to protect myself from this money getting sucked out of my bank account. And lesson two: the only way to protect yourself is with a tracking number. So, since I don't have that, I'm screwed.

The nitty gritty of the policy is that ebay sellers according to their policy MUST have insurance AND a tracking number to be protected from this. Also, for items over a certain amount of money, they require a signature for delivery to protect you. I think it was 250 USD. The seller is responsible for the item actually getting to the buyer, not just putting it in the mail. This means that if you ever buy something off of ebay, are of low moral character, and it does not have a tracking number/delivery confirmation, its free! Lesson learned by me!

Keep in mind, moral of the story: If you're selling on ebay and you don't get insurance/delivery confirmation you're giving it away.

Please sound off with other tips and advice you might have to protect yourself while selling online.


  1. Interesting timing... I'm selling an army n eBay, and the auction is ending tomorrow. I was planning to ship UPS b/c I love being able to track it and see when it's delivered, but I hadn't thought about making a signature needed.

    I had a friend ripped off just like you were on a much smaller sell, but it pissed her off something mighty. Now I's a bit paranoid about my sell.

  2. read over the seller protection stuff. Also, pimp your auction, give us a link!

  3. Absolutely. A number of years ago I'd sold a Lightning fighter to a fellow which apparently never arrived - I was forced to refund the final bid because there was no particular record of the shipment on my end. Ever since then It's been my policy to ship any packages priority insured mail with both delivery tracking and signature confirmation, no exceptions. It costs a bit more, and I'm sure that it's kept some people from bidding, but it's worth it for both my protection, and the buyer's assurance that the package will make it to its proper destination. It's saved me several times since then - one package was mis-routed to an incorrect post office and was delayed (but we were able to track it the whole way), and one buyer tried to claim "it never arrived" (the signature confirmation proved otherwise)!

  4. Great article, I am going through something similar right now with my own stuff. Add Malta to Italy as a place I will never mail to again.

  5. Odd, I bought an OOP Tyranid Battleforce right before the new codex came out from eBay. Turns out the guy didn't actually have one in stock. I asked for a refund. Needless to say several weeks later I heard nothing from him so I opened a ticket with eBay. They said there was nothing they could do. I guess it depends who you talk to. My guess is, I got the computer sending out generic emails. Should have called them. It took a few months but I eventually got the seller to send me a new Battleforce. I'm glad to say that most people I encounter on eBay are generally decent people - but this guy was definitely not.

  6. My auction in case anyone is interested in Daemons... If you win, let me know you saw this here (so I know I'm probably not getting ripped off), and I'll knock off the shipping for DFG readers.


  7. That absolutely sucks ... but thanks for posting this man ... I had no idea that was Paypal's policy (really ebay's as ebay owns them) ... ebay changed things a few years back to be so skewed towards the buyer anymore that selling on ebay is a dicey prop. Its one thing if your a store or someone who does high volume ... but for individuals its become rather daunting ... all the things that can go wrong. Anyway .. again sorry for your loss due to some a-hole jerk and thank you for sharing this experience so some of us can possibly avoid a land mine

  8. Yea you didn't know? its Paypals and Ebays policy to let trusting people get taken advantage of and let devious people get free shit. its awesome

  9. One thing I do to protect myself a little bit is to not spend anything until the feedback comes in. That is when I consider the money to be mine. A buyer once said that the item wasn't what he thought it was ... two months after the sale, after he left feedback about a quick and awesome transaction. I told him to send the item, a land raider back in the same condition I sent to him in. He then told me he had already assembled it and painted it completely, he just thought that regular land raiders came with assault launchers and somebody at the FLGS told him I ripped him off. Needless to say, we resolved it, but when it went through Ebay, they told me that once he left positive feedback, he had finalized things as far as they were concerned - hence why I wait for that and demand it from buyers!

  10. I can understand the policy totally because for the buy to be protected it simply costs $2.50. I'm just sad that I had no idea I needed that to protect myself. That's what I'm most upset about. They guy I'm pretty sure really didn't get the item, and it just sucks that the buyer is the one with all the risk and its not shared between us in this case. I'd be fine with a half refund considering I have proof that I sent an item to this guy, but sadly the policy says specifically that the seller is responsible that the item is delivered. So the Seller losses out 100% and the buyer gets off free despite neither party doing anything wrong.

    I don't hold this guy responsible, I hold Ebay's one side policy responsible. I'll still do bussiness with ebay because I do believe in rules and fairness and all of that. I'll just operate very differently in the future.

    It's really easy to protect yourself, just always get delivery confirmation and insurance, its just sad that without that knowledge you can really end up getting punished.

    This experience also makes me have much more faith in buying off forums through paypal though. I used to really fear that I'd be out in the cold if I never got an item I paid for off dakka or warseer but now I have confidence that paypal would refund me. Buying off forums can be extremely cheaper than ebay, especially for forgeworld items.

  11. eBay's policies are quickly becoming annoying to me. Especially since they've decided to set a maximum amount you can charge for shipping on a lot of items. A DVD for instance. You can only charge up to 3.00USD. Now...thats the price of a decent envelope alone. So, if you want to send it in a nicely padded envelope you're already in the hole before its even shipped.

  12. I just wish ebay had real storefronts where people could store their shit, and other people could go through their shit online, then go to the store its at to pick it up.

  13. I've done a lot (well over 500 auctions) of ebaying from both sides over the years, and have only had trouble a couple of times. Once getting screwed by the buyer never sending anything, but ultimately got the money back from paypal, once from a buyer who filed a dispute with paypal because "their checks got stolen" and I took the hit (with "fees" about $40) - *after* they had left positive feedback. But the vast majority of people are IMO honest and just want their money (sellers) or their stuff (buyers).

    For low-ticket items, send and forget is usually fine. For big-ticket ones, yes get insurance/confirmation, and include those costs in your S/H or min bid. Don't send where you can't get those things, and it's worth checking out your bidders and cancelling bids/auctions if necessary. You won't see neg feedback for buyers anymore, but low % and negs for them as sellers can be a tip off, and check the feedback they leave for others. If it looks dicey or just a potential PITA, don't do it.

    Sorry your situation didn't work out, that sucks especially since doing it for someone else.

  14. EXACT same thing just happened to me. I had been selling 40k stuff and ventured out to get rid of some stuff laying around the house. I'm out a pretty nice receiver and 150$

  15. My phone conversation with the paypal guy when a little like this (Small excerpt from the longer conversation):

    Me: So you're saying that if I ever get something from ebay or paid for with paypal, at it doesn't have a tracking number, it's free? I can just tell you guys I never got it and you'll make them give me my money back?
    PP: No, that's something that never happens, you'll only get your money back if it doesn't get to you.
    Me: Never happens?! Do you live in America?
    PP: Yes, I do.
    Me: Have you seen it outside? Do you know what its like in the real world? You trust every single stranger you come across that much?
    PP: Yes.
    Me: That's crazy.