eBay Suspected Scam Buyer

I listed an iPad Pro on eBay last week - via Gumtree (no fee listing) thought why not!

A buyer has won the auction, I stupidly allowed for local pickup and the buyer has paid via PayPal.

The buyers eBay account was created on the same day they won the auction, they have zero feedback on eBay.

When they won and paid they send me a message asking them to text them on a phone number to organise pickup.

The above has raised major red flags. What are my options? I’m afraid of letting the item be picked up and they will just claim not as described, etc. Does buyer protection apply to pickup items?

The other bummer is that if I cancel the order I’ll be slogged with a $40 PayPal fee.



Buyer refused to sign any document (reciept) on pickup when I suggested this via eBay messages.
I cancelled the order/refunded. Have not heard from buyer since.

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    • +5

      It does

      Items collected in person are covered by eBay Money Back Guarantee, provided all other eligibility requirements (including payment methods) are met.

      After you've completed your purchase, we'll send you an email with a local pickup code (a QR code and a 6-digit code). You can either take the email with you or show the seller the code in your eBay app when you collect your item. The seller will scan or enter the code on their eBay app to confirm you’ve picked up your item.

      • -4

        That's for the buyer. The op is a seller…

        Managing returns and item not received requests for local pickup items

        Even if an item was collected in person, a buyer can still open a return request or report that they didn't receive an item.

        Return requests need to be handled in the same way as other delivery options:

        If the item is faulty or isn't as described in the listing, the buyer can return it even if your return policy states that you don't accept returns.

        • +3

          That's for the buyer. The op is a seller…

          But op asked about buyer protection and your response was "nope"…

          Anyway the answer is yes

  • +8

    If he pics it up in person, let him sign a short document saying.

    Item picked up.
    I am buyer xxx
    Item as described
    picture of driver's license.

    That way you can dispute any potential buyer post hoc dispute.

    • +3

      That way you can dispute any potential buyer post hoc dispute.

      Not guaranteed though.

    • +15

      Good luck with that. Some muppet eBay customer service rep in the Phillipines won't give a sh!t about that.

  • Most people pay by PayPal on ebay so it's hard to use that as a gauge on whether they're out to scam or not. A new account might raise some eyebrows, sure.

    Given that they're looking to pick up, go with grang's advice - take a photo of their licence and have them sign an acknowledgement that they've picked up the item, inspected it and verified it's as described.

    I don't really think there much else you can do here, either go through with the sale or renege on it.

    • +7

      take a photo of their licence and have them sign an acknowledgement that they've picked up the item

      Haha no way would i be letting another person take a photo of my drivers licence

      • exactly my thought as well

      • -2

        You could cover up the license number

  • +4

    Definitely sounds like you are going to get scammed.

    Why would you be charged a PayPal fee? If you refund the item the PayPal fee gets refunded too I believe.

    • PayPal no longer refund their 3% fee.

      • +2

        That's awful, so PayPal can make money for themselves by just sending random people money and when it gets refunded they get to keep the fee too?

        • I would assume the financial ombudsman would have a word with them if they sent money randomly, maybe the money laundering squad would too.

          It does cost time and resources to execute a transaction. PayPal has fulfilled their contract, it would be like a 'change of mind' in ops case.

  • +4

    Probably worth cancelling if it gives you piece of mind.

  • +10

    If an Apple product and Gumtree are involved, the odds aren't in your favour.

    • -10

      dumb comment

      • +6

        "dumb comment" Certainly was.

  • +4

    As part of the handover you scan QR codes to complete the handover, so ebay has a record the transaction took place.

    After than I do not see that it would be any different vs if you posted the product at that point… either way they can still make a 'item not as described' claim.

    So I think the concern is that you've sold a high value item to a zero feedback person… and in that instance your only call is to decide whether to cancel or not. FWIW I just bought a high value electronic item from a zero feedback seller and it arrived perfectly… I also bought an apple pencil from a seller who had good feedback and they tried to run off with the money, so nothing in life is guaranteed.

    Good luck though, and TELL US HOW IT ENDS.

    • +6

      Cool didn't know about this.

      For the benefit of the 'wait what? how?' crowd:

      Proof of pickup

      *For proof of pickup, you can use the eBay app to scan the QR code or manually enter the 6-digit code the buyer received after completing their purchase.

      To scan the code, go to the Arrange pickup screen on the eBay app and tap the Scan to confirm pickup button. Once you've scanned or entered the buyer's code, the item will be marked as delivered. You'll still need to mark the item as paid if you collect payment at the time of delivery.

      If the buyer doesn't have their email with the codes, they can also access the code by going to their Purchase history in the eBay app. Alternatively, a signed receipt/invoice or an eBay message from the buyer confirming they collected the item can protect you against item not received cases.*

      source: https://www.ebay.com.au/help/selling/shipping-items/setting-...

  • Easy solution is feedback at pickup !
    Or a short message on Ebay stating pickup occurred .

    • +4

      PayPal won't care about the eBay message, they will always side with the buyer.

      • +2

        Exactly this, as Ebay and Paypal are separate companies now they don't give two tosses about what the T&Cs/evidence of the other platform are.

  • +2

    First step is to get all your serials/imei from the Ipad. Then take a video of the Ipad working and being "as described" with those serials. Demo it when they pick it up and get them to sign the note as above. This is all to avoid a non working claim or a return swap scam with a non working unit.

  • +2

    This is very common scam, Do Not accept pickup. If the buyer refuses, the forgo the sale, even if it means you lose the fee's, etc.

    Getting a note signature from the buyer that it was picked up won't be enough for PayPal, so you'll still get screwed.

    You have to send it via tracked postage, and provide tracking to Ebay (even then you're leaving yourself open to a return/swap scam), or else the buyer will pickup, and then lodge a 'didn't receive' with PayPal meaning they get to keep the iPad, and receive their money back.

    Personally I'd forgo the $40 as a learning lesson, and list/sell the item on Gumtree using an in-person cash transaction..

  • +1

    How bout you request cash on pickup and then send the money back using PayPal at the time they do the pickup?

  • Refund their PayPal payment immediately and message the buyer that it's cash on pickup only.

    If the buyer is genuine they'll agree.

    • Ebay is not the same platform as Scumtree for cash only people .

    • ebay states you cannot refuse paypal payments, if you do then they can close your account if you get reported a few times.

      • they can close your account

        @ garetz I'd like to see a current link to that. AFAIK PayPal has always been optional, as long as seller provides other approved electronic payments also.

  • +2

    Ebay is just as bad as Scamtree nowadays.

    Buyers know that they'll get a refund for the flimsiest reason.

    I only sell on eBay for cash on pickup or on occasions, depending on item and buyer, by bank transfer.

  • +4

    Refund the buyer
    Cancel sale with reason "something is wrong with the buyers address" for a refund of ebay fees.
    Relist the item. Not sure about sales by individuals, but with our store we can block any buyer that has less than a certain number of positive fb's

  • Did they select "local pickup" as the postage option?
    If not, then refund the item immediately. Offer to sell at agreed price if they want to pay with cash on pickup.
    If they had selected local pickup then there's steps to prevent a not received claim (though I'm not sure how foolproof it is).
    I'm not sure if PayPal fees are non-refundable but better to lose $40 than the iPad Pro

  • -2

    Hang on! He's paid by PayPal, haven't they sent you a Paid email? Just write a Receipt. Laptop, ……, ,Sold As Seen, Tried and Approved etc No probs.

    • +1

      No probs.

      Until the buyer puts a claim via PayPal or eBay. Or both. With whatever excuse: change of mind, not as described, never received/collected. Anything.

      OP should run away or use this as a social experiment an accept loosing the iPad to a obvious scammer.

  • +1

    Thanks for the replies!

    I suggested some of the ideas to the buyer. Below is their response.



    While I appreciate the offer, I’m not comfortable with carrying cash and prefer to proceed as is. I’m not willing to sign any document as we already have a contract with Ebay for this sale.

    Happy to get a refund, and for you to relist the item?

    I’m getting a bit annoyed by all this drama, I paid for the item (an immaculate working iPad pro and magic keyboard) is there a problem with it? Your behaviour is making me suspicious.

    I thought this was just a straightforward auction for an ipad…why is it getting so complicated!?

    • +6

      Refund and move on.

    • I'd reply in the same manner as your buyer. So doesn't mean anything. Maybe you should stop selling on eBay high value items?

      • It could be legit but it could also just as easily be a scam. I would just cancel the order, not worth risking the iPad Pro.

    • +6

      Not willing to sign any document? Run.

  • +3

    “not comfortable carrying cash” rings alarm bells to me.. it’s not that much cash.. and based on his response, i’d definitely say, “cash only sorry”

  • +1

    I saw someone described as a “good Gummie”

    No way could I do business with a “Gummie”

    Cancel the sale and cop the charge for peace of mind

  • +1

    I don't see any "major red flags", just 1 minor red flag (no ebay history). I think you are jumping at shadows.
    The buyer is doing just as i would as a buyer

    what you need to do is provide a receipt (2 copies, 1 each). Receipt should have all identifying dates, times, codes and names etc (your paypal receipt gives you more info on buyer) and state that buyer has 1) picked up item 2) has tested item 3) accepts seller is not offering any warranty.

    Then take a pic of buyer holding laptop and receipt.


    • The buyer refused to do anything like this when I asked them if they would be ok with that.

      • -1

        well you didn't state that initially
        if he refused to sign a receipt then you did the right thing to cancel

        it does seem by your story that buyer started to think you were acting suspiciously, so situation evolved where both buyer and seller suspected a possible scam.

      • " I’m not willing to sign any document as we already have a contract with Ebay for this sale."

        The document you're asking them to sign is to satisfy PayPal (Not eBay), as it's with PayPal a scammer lodges a request of 'didn't receive' to get their money back, and keep the item.

        At any rate as stated (and in my experience) PayPal almost always sides with the buyer, leaving sellers high & dry, so I wouldn't proceed.

    • PayPal requires proof of shipping/tracking number. All of that would mean jack squat if the buyer/scammer opens an item not received dispute.

    • Some people are against being taken a pic of by a stranger, for whatever reason.

      A good way would be to exchange mobile numbers on eBay messages & get them to text you when they have arrived and are out the front. I doubt they could then claim "item not received"?

      • None of that matters. I once had a buyer exchange a DOA item with another brand new one and he happened to live close by and opted to pick-up the replacement.

        The buyer had opened a defective return case and I didn't think much of it and assumed that the buyer would close the case once they got home and had no issues with the replacement.

        Anyways fast forward a few days and the buyer had not closed the case and it was getting very close to the day when eBay was going to step in. I messaged the guy via eBay and sent a text but no reply.

        So I contacted eBay. I had the texts and eBay messages plus a pic of the buyer's drivers license next to the faulty one and the replacement. However none of that mattered to eBay.

        Either I had to provide tracking for the replacement or have the buyer confirm that they had picked up the item via eBay messages to close the case.

        Fortunately the guy wasn't a scammer and closed the case once I rang him up. Otherwise eBay would have stepped in and given the buyer a refund no questions asked. Lesson learnt!

  • Scam.
    No other alternative.

    If unsure and don't care about loosing your iPad go ahead and please later report how it went.
    Either confirming a scam or showing there is good people out there and my judgment (and of others) was incorrect.

    Can't wait
    Thank you.

  • +3

    Just to update: I cancelled the order.

  • A wise move IMO

  • +1

    Do not ever allow PayPal for pick-up purchases unless it's for some low priced item/s. Cash only unless you want to get screwed over royally.

  • OP said - A buyer has won the auction, I stupidly allowed for local pickup and the buyer has paid via PayPal.

    What make you think or anyone else for that matter, that sending via post is a safer alternative.? They could easily claim you sent them a 2008 model ipad, the old switcharoo scam

    If a buyer is out to scam you, they'll scam you, as eBay almost always sides with the buyer.

    Having said that, someone with no feedback, account created on the same day, then claims they never got the item, I highly doubt eBay would rule in their favour over someone with high feedback, but you just never know.

    • +1

      Yes but in that case you can actually ask eBay to step in and email you a stat dec form and once you add that to the case eBay themselves should refund the scammer not you. However in this case you'll have no leg to stand on since there's no tracking number if the scammer opens an item not received dispute a few days after picking up the item. Also eBay will always side with the buyer regardless of their feedback score or how long they have been a member. Since sellers are not even allowed to leave negative feedback to warn other sellers it's just way too easy for scammers.

    • +1

      "I highly doubt eBay would rule in their favour over someone with high feedback, but you just never know."

      It won't be eBay, but PayPal that will screw the seller, as its their guarantee the buyer/scammer invokes.

      • With eBay managed payments it works the same way. Just recently had a single feedback buyer who joined eBay just last month buy a brand new earbuds off me and then claimed it was faulty/doa. I accepted the return and he ended up returning a used faulty one with a different serial number.

        I have been on eBay for over a decade and sold hundreds of items with 100% feedback. Still as expected eBay ruled in favour of the scammer and refunded the guy no questions asked. Not only that but the scammer left negative feedback ruining my 100% feedback score and eBay refused to remove that as well.

        Only after asking eBay to send a stat dec form and adding that to the case was I able to get my money back. The only thing the scammer had to do was provide a tracking number for the return that's it. Even if it's an empty box eBay would end up refunding the scammer. Too easy!

  • -1

    Getting sick of eBay… people with 0 buys need to be watched.
    I have purchased items only to find the seller has not the goods… never did… they live off your money until chased by eBay

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