Ebay and fraud

The UK's Guardian newspaper has an excellent article that claims that eBay and PayPal are failing to deal adequately with buyer fraud.  It gives examples of buyers who appear to be exploiting lax eBay and PayPal systems to steal from sellers.


I have been buying and selling on eBay for years. It used to be ok, a good place to dispose of surplus items.  I have returned to selling after a break of a couple of  years and have found a very different situation.

I have several items for sale.  I know how to set prices and write descriptions. I have 100% positive feedback. In the past the items would have sold quickly. Now eBay produces

1.  time wasters and idiots.

2.  lots of offers to buy off eBay for cash.

3.  very few genuine buyers.

I am very dissatisfied with eBay.  I think they need to change, but will they?  I doubt it.  They have a de facto monopoly. Why should they.

The Guardian has reported another example of an eBay and PayPal related fraud

I lost £1,165 to eBay fraudster when selling my electric guitar

[In this  article Guardian advises that 'Our advice is never sell an expensive item on eBay without demanding the buyer pays cash – in person. The risks are too great of doing otherwise.']

Another strategy that some sellers might be able to follow is get a buyer through eBay but then sell off eBay for cash. That cuts both eBay and PayPal out of the loop and makes some frauds impossible.

eBay and PayPal would not collect their commissions, but they would only have themselves to blame.

Update 8th October 2017

I have a £500 plus item for sale on eBay. So far there have been four fraudulent attempts to buy it. In each case the fraudster has used an account with a 100% feedback record.  In each case the attempt has failed because I insist on collection in person by someone with photo ID [e.g. passport or driving licence].

eBay have suggested that I insist on immediate payment. This means the item remains on sale until payment is received. Of course, that does not prevent most forms of buyer fraud but it does ensure the item remains on the market and avoids the need to relist.

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