Protect yourself as a seller on eBay

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Hi
A quick note on some of the things which can happen to an unsuspecting seller and protecting yourself as carefully as possible.  This is not completely scam proof and I find out new things every day.

Good place to look for info is the Q&A boards, daily, someone will be posting about something, however, this is a very very small minority of transactions on eBay - so remember to keep it in context.

Scams pulled by buyers (see other guide for finding a good seller)
They pay by Paypal and claim it hasn't arrived - maybe it genuinely did not or...Or
Did they receive it and didn't like it, they bought it and can not afford it, you have upset them before or you state in your policies you wont accept returns for non-fit, they just lost their job and need the money back
?
Once a buyer disputes an Item Not Received INR, as a seller without a tracking number you haven't a leg to stand on.  Paypal 99 times out of a 100 will refund the buyer, - they have your item, and the money.  At this point you can claim from Royal Mail for non delivery, they are pretty clued up as to who is pulling a fast one,  I have known them not to refund postage or the full amount of the item before now for multiple claims from the same address.  So I would strongly advise using tracking, it will assist you and genuine claims - plus you know if someone has not collected it from the sorting office . . .

You should have a returns policy
Seriously, if you believe in what you are selling and it is good value, does it matter if it is returned?  You will sell it again, however on this occasion, buyer pays return P&P fees and the refund is bid price.  This will stop the vast majority of Paypal complaints.  As the buyer gets it, doesn't like it, and knows they can get the majority of their pennies back.

Use tracking - when the buyer has a verified address
Use recorded delivery (72p) or special or signed for.  If you can prove posting and receipt, then you will not have to refund the buyer.  If you can prove posting and no receipt, i.e Royal Mail have lost it - then Royal Mail will refund you.  In this case, refund the buyer first, because as a decent seller the responsibility for INR (items not received) is with you.

What if the buyer's address is not verified ?
Put simply you get NO paypal protection unless you are in the extended seller programe.  NOT one bit.  So someone buys from you using a stolen credit card, as their address matched up with eBay and paypal you send it (tracked of course) then the card is reported stolen.  TOUGH.  There is nothing you can do, apart from notify paypal, eBay and the Police.  Paypal will investigate and will 99 times out of a 100 return the funds to the poor mug whose card was used.  You have no item, no money, and even using special delivery can not stop this happening.  I have found the police will not get involved either :(
But, if you have extended seller protection you are protected

What to do
You have 4 options, with an unverified address from a buyer,
1 Send the item, keeping your fingers crossed. Maybe it's low value?
2 Refund the buyer and refuse to sell to them, as they have an unconfirmed address (but you must have somewhere on your listings that buyers must be confirmed with paypal) - however if you can not supply/will not supply you are open to adverse feedback
3 Refund the buyer and ask they use another method,  At this point they can verifiy their address with Paypal, (UK, Canada and US only) or use bank transfer, a genuine buyer sincerely will not mind.
4. Join the expanded seller protection programme with Paypal - I can not link from it here, but searching in Paypal should reveal it

(PowerSellers can apply for Paypal expanded seller protection)

Warning Signs
There are no hard and fast 100% guaranteed rules. But be suspicious if:
- their account is in one country and they want shipping to another
- they pay small amounts with 2 or 3 different paypal accounts
- they will not confirm address with paypal/use bank transfer (outside UK US CA)
- they purchase 20 items on the same day and have low f/b (advanced search)
- the email address and name on the paypal account do not match up
- they only buy off the big big sellers (as they have less time to chase up probs)
- they want next day delivery, are in a rush
- they claim they will send you cash through the post.

What else can you do?
- In advanced settings, and preference, block bidders with 2 NPB strikes
- Block bidders who do not have a credit card on file
- Block bidders who have low feedback
- Report any card misuse to the police

Unfortunately, this on it's own isn't enough and a great deal of thought has gone into finding the weaknesses in eBay and Paypal by the scammers, they are relying on seller apathy to get away with some of these tricks.

Paypal is a great flexible method of payment, but for sellers, unfortunately it has it's weaknesses and these are being exploited by the scammers - however, remember for me (and I get scammed constantly selling fashion) it is less that 0.25% of my sales, the majority 99.75% are perfectly fine.

Happy safe selling on eBay

Suz xx

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