It's sad but true...we all know that unfortunately, eBay is fertile ground for scams by both buyers and sellers.
If you are an eBay seller, there are a few precautions you can take to protect yourself from dishonest buyers. These are only a few tips...things I've learned...and a few I've learned the hard way. Hopefully one or two might be of some help to an unsuspecting seller out there in Ebay Land. Each and every one of us would like to avoid being scammed, right?
Now, I understand that there are "newbies" and other troublesome buyers who are really honest people who simply do not know how eBay works...but there are definitely others out there who are flat-out crooks who are looking to get a free item or rip off any seller they can. It's smart business sense to learn how to protect yourself as a seller, and to avoid unpaid item disputes if at all possible.
1. There is NEVER enough information you can give in your listings. Explain your shipping policy and shipping schedule in detail. What carrier do you use? Is insurance optional? How often do you ship? Do you combine shipping costs when multiple items are purchased? Is there a discount? If so, what is the discount? Do you provide tracking information automatically or upon request? Answer these questions simply and to the point.
2. It is key that you explain your return policy very, VERY clearly. Too many scams are centered around buyers who want to return items for foolish or dishonest reasons. It is more than worth your time to make your policies abundantly clear in this area. It can definitely help the seller to avoid trouble later on. Make it crystal clear that "buyer's remorse" or failing to read the listing are not acceptable reasons for a return.
3. Use security labels or tags on your items. Dishonest buyers have been known to "switch" an item to replace a damaged or broken one that they own....or to wear that gorgeous one-of-a-kind designer dress to some special occasion and want to return it to the seller the next day. (With a wine stain on the front...don't laugh, this has happened to me!) State very clearly that once a tag or label is removed, the item can not be returned for any reason whatsoever! Keep pictures of your expensive items ...just in case you have to prove/show the item's condition when it was mailed to the buyer.
4. Explain your payment policy. Again, leave no stone unturned. What types of payment to you accept? How long does the buyer have to send their payment once the item is purchased? Cover all this information in detail so the buyer is fully informed.
5. If you ship with USPS it is vital that you ALWAYS use Delivery Confirmation! You then can easily track your package online and prove it was delivered. If the buyer files a dishonest non-receipt claim, you will then have absolute proof of the delivery and will win the dispute. I want to know when my package arrived at it's destination so I can quote the EXACT time...just in case there are any questions later on.
A side note....Unfortunately I NO LONGER SHIP TO FRANCE because tracking and delivery confirmation is limited in that country. Once a package reaches French Customs it can no longer be tracked. I've encountered buyers in France who have taken advantage of that fact and claimed that their items never arrived....even though USPS assures me the packages were delivered, they cannot prove it. Signature confirmation is not available in that country, hence in a Pay Pal claim the seller will always lose. This has happened to me, and not only did I lose my $350.00 item, Pay Pal refunded the buyer's payment plus the $35.00 shipping charges. (It was Christmas time and the buyer insisted in Global Express Mail, of course) This was quite a financial hit...and to top it off the buyer unfairly posted the only negative feedback I've ever received! She lied to Pay Pal when she claimed that she never received the item and then she stated in her feedback that the item was not as described...go figure....so in this case I couldn't avoid a scam...but I assure you that I learned my lesson!
Update...eBay realized when they saw the negative feedback that the buyer must have received the item...they removed the negative feedback...but I still lost my money. *sigh