There are very few unscrupulous sellers on ebay, but they do exist. I am writing this brief guide to tell you about one particular scam related to event / concert tickets.
The scam takes advantage of two factors: the long delivery time for some tickets, and the short time buyers have to reclaim payments from Paypal.
As an example, let's take Kylie Minogue concerts, scheduled for early January 2007. I am writing this in August 2006. The tickets have already completely sold out, and prices on ebay are as much as double face value. If you buy tickets for this event through ebay, and pay via paypal, in, let's say August - your buyer protection will expire in September or October (45 days after purchase). Before the expiry of protection, you will not be able to make any claim for a refund, as the seller will no doubt have stated in the listing that tickets will not be sent until December, so the contract you have is not broken when your protection expires. However, should the seller fail to come up with the goods in December, you will have no recourse to a refund. You will have paid for goods that have not been received, and there will be no way to claim a refund - especially if the seller closes the ebay or paypal account in the meantime (but even if they have not). Nor will you be able to leave negative feedback on ebay after 90 days.
What's the solution to this problem ? Well there are several. The simplest is to only buy from sellers who have tickets in their possession (in hand). If you don't get them within a few days, you can claim a refund through paypal, or the seller will organise a refund through the local postal service if the item is lost in the post (only available for certain categories of mail). If the tickets are not sent from the promoter until very late before the event, you may find that nobody has tickets in hand a few weeks before. In this case, wait until one month before the event and pay by paypal. If the tickets don't arrive, you can claim the day after the event as you still have paypal protection.
One final point on tickets, which is not related to scamming - if your tickets are lost in the post, the seller only has to provide proof of posting to avoid refunding you. A good seller will offer some kind of registered / insured service for delivery. Otherwise both buyer and seller are open to fraudulent claims of non-delivery or non-posting.
In summary, follow these guidelines:
Only buy from sellers with excellent feedback
Pay by paypal for buyer protection
Only buy if the seller offers insured or registered delivery
Only buy tickets that are in hand, otherwise only if the event is less than 45 days from purchase.
If you do get scammed on tickets, the only thing to do (and I hope you will do it) is to make a complaint to the police, and ideally contact other buyers to do the same. The police in the UK do take such complaints seriously. From experience I know this is very effective at getting revenge on the fraudulent seller, although a refund is still not very likely.
I hope you find this information useful, Gav.
Also see this link for additional info: