Got Scammed by Russian Buyer on eBay

I have sold many computer items to local and international sellers in last 6 months on ebay. One of that was a brand new graphics card that was bought by a Russian buyer. I opted for signature on delivery, took photos and video of the card while shipping to be on the safe side.

After almost a month, the buyer contacted me that his item is not delivered to him. I checked the tracking and saw that it was attempted to be shipped twice but not delivered. I then checked with Australia Post and they advised me to ask buyer to check with their local post. The buyer responded a couple of days later that the item is shipped back to me and demanded a refund. I answered back to him that I cannot favour the refund as I have not received the item.

The buyer then opened a dispute with his financial institution for the refund. After a few days of dispute, I again checked with tracking and still showed nothing new in it. I then contacted Australia Post again and they told me following. The parcel reached Russia and they tried to deliver the parcel but the addressee was not available. Ultimately the parcel has been returned back to Australia on 9/7/2021.

After a couple of weeks, I got the parcel delivered back to me. When I opened it up, the graphics card was removed from the box and there were 2 wooden blocks to mimic the weight of the package. Stunned as I was, I immediately informed ebay about this on chat as well as email with pictures. I also noticed that the buyer ebay ID showed 'not a registered member', as if he was banned from ebay.

The disputed just got concluded a couple of days ago, and ebay notified me that it was in favour of the buyer and he has been refunded. Ebay also said that they will charge my bank account for $3100 in coming days, but I took out all funds from my bank account before that so I am not charged for something I am not responsible for. The transaction was attempted by ebay and got declined from the bank.

Today I contacted ebay again, and told them about the attempted charge by ebay and how ebay can help me in this situation. Ebay chat did not helped much and advised me to check with Australia Post why the parcel was altered while being returned back to me.

What are my options here? I am a regular seller of ebay and sold many similar items to local and international buyer without any issues.

Will ebay send debt collectors to me? Any suggestion will be really appreciated.

Here is the item tracking if anyone is interested to see.


Russian postal website tracking link.

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      • they're starting to creep up to 4000….

    • +16

      OP is a GPU Scalper selling at inflated prices for a profit.

      • +4

        the real story behind this report finally unfolds :O

  • +3

    "but I took out all funds from my bank account before that so I am not charged for something I am not responsible for. "

    well you got the $ but you will have debt collector and maybe bad record..

    oh……… why sold overseas…. why why why…. no human in australia with $3k ? look many buying $3m houses

    • -1

      Correct Ebay Managed Payments make sure the Scammer is feed from Sellers funds that OP so far has avoided .
      Scammer's can be feed by Sellers or Ebay and of course we know who they choose to feed em .

    • apparently 3k graphics cards are rip offs whilst 3m houses are not.

  • -1

    2 wooden blocks

    New block rewards?

    Hodl hodl hodl 4️⃣ 🚀 🚀 🧀

  • +34

    On the upside, I'm impressed AusPost got it to Russia in under a fortnight !

  • +5

    I don't sell to Russia for this reason, especially with GPU warranties you'd wonder why they'd be buying it from you and not locally
    If it's over $200 you should have insured it

    • +2

      If it's over $200 you should have insured it.

      What to lose more ?

      There no pay out here .

  • +7

    I feel bad for you OP, but I get stressed out selling anything over $200 and sending it NATIONALLY, let alone bloody overseas, and to Russia of all places.
    When I used to sell cameras/lenses online I set up two cameras from two angles, recording me packing the goods and sealing with labels to show evidence of tampering (if any) and even then i would still be obsessively refreshing my paypal and emails every few days until buyer replied all good or similar.

    Really surprised you didnt take out insurance, granted it would have cost a pretty penny but worth it for peace of mind.

  • +5

    Question: You removed the money from your account, which is wise, but can't eBay/PayPal now send the debt to debt collectors? Keep a close watch on emails from eBay if they start threatening to do this, and check your credit score monthly (various free ways to do this). You don't want to be locked out of borrowing money for 5 years.

    As for the transaction itself, this is a nightmare scenario and basically a way for people to rob eBay sellers while risking nothing. I sell expensive items on eBay and so far have been fortunate to avoid thieves, but it's something I think about.

    Even if the package was insured it's unlikely you would get paid, as Australia Post can blame the buyer in Russia, while eBay blames you or the postal service, and it's a circle jerk of blame. There's a chance the buyer in Russia is innocent and the card was stolen by a postal worker, who covered their tracks by 'attempting' to deliver twice before shipping the package back.

    • +4

      Thanks for the detailed reply.

      Though I would doubt buyer's innocence in this case. He got delisted from ebay during the mid of the dispute although he had 10 year old account. Here is his id link which says 'No longer a registered user'.

      • +3

        `^ Didn't you notice 17 feedbacks in 9 yrs ?

        No brainer cancel the order .

      • +1

        How do you know eBay delisted the member? - they would not disclose this information. More plausible is the fact the person closed the account.

        • Yes that could be a possibility too. On forums, usually there is the understanding that id marked with 'No longer a registered user' are banned by ebay. But I cannot confirm that.

          • +1

            @oliman: Yes that means that the user was banned. Confirmed by a support person in live chat who helped me get a refund for fake airpods.

      • I was selling a 3080 card back in May and that same user 5445454 sent me a query asking if I would post to Russia via express. Your post rang a bell and I went back to check. Luckily I think I either didnt get around to replying or the card sold before I could respond. Good luck OP

        • You message kind of confirms that the user 5445454 was on a mission to hunt graphics card from ebay sellers outside of Russia. Kind of makes sense now his account was banned by ebay during my dispute as ebay must have observed suspicious activity from his account.

        • +1

          tell him to send the money to you via western union first.

  • -3

    Someone chuck out graphics card from DELL deal and try to reap rewards selling it overseas? Well, good luck.

    • +2

      Please read the post again with your glasses on. It was a brand new graphics card in box.

  • +3

    The postman in Russia is on a $500aud salary. I won't be surprised he picked 3080 that costs $3000 aud in Russia and then disappeared.

    • +1

      That’s an unusually large salary for a postman there. Likely much less than that. More like $200-250.

  • +9

    So if ebay closed the buyers account; isn't this some form of evidence that you are not in the wrong here. and ebay is acknowledging they may be shady?

    what about seller protection?

    keep calling and chatting to them until you get someone who will listen. Use your selling history to your advantage and use that buyers potential shadiness against them.

    got nothing else to lose.

    • Great advice. I will do that to keep building my case.

    • Thanks, will do.

  • +10

    I ain't selling anything to anybody in Russia ever.

    • +1

      what if he/she is an australian citizen living there?

      • +2

        They'll have to pass the secret boomerang test

  • Have you not seen any movies with Russians in them? The word itself scares me. All jokes aside, I thought they can still charge you with an overdraft on your bank account, hopefully not.

    • +9

      Same here, even that I am russian itself… Shit myself when I look in the mirror…

      • +1

        So Mickhail1983 then?

    • All the OP needs to do is get adopted by Liam Neeson. He has a "special set of skills", and he'll do anything for his kids.

  • +1

    Too much risk to sell items of that price online. eBay almost always sides with the buyer.

    Recommend to sell locally in person in cash if possible to avoid buyer chargeback with bank for any reason

  • +14

    Sounds like you got paid via the block chain bro.

    • +4

      Haha….this is a depressing situation but your comment made me chuckle.

  • watch operation odessa… lol see what the russians will do :D

  • +3

    The recipient may have either worked at their local post office or knew someone who did or maybe the delivery driver. There is so much scamming in Russia could of been anyone in the delivery chain, not even the recipient themselves.

    They could actually be in the right saying they never received it. Could of even been customs, they were the first to get the item.

    • +1

      saw there's some Russians on this thread who are far more qualified to make observations and quips than me, but when I was there, caught the train for a few days with an Aussie guy living in Moscow and you are wrong when you say there is 'so much scamming', in Russia this is 'so much business'!!

  • +1

    I wonder why ebay did not side with you considering the user is no longer registered

    • I wonder the same…

      • +8

        That's because ebay is a piece of shit.

        Siding with buyer is easiest with the law. Seller dispute is easier to deal with than a buyer dispute.

        If buyer dispute, they can say ebay is responsible to make sure I got what I ordered. But seller cannot say that eBay is responsible to make sure I got my money.

      • Ebay have their money - care factor NORT.
        Buyer happy - seller doesnt matter at all

        • +1

          Nort? Hahahahah

          • +1

            @Velocita: That's giving even less f's than naught

  • Russia, Ukraine, pretty much the whole of Eastern Europe, Italy, Greece, Israel,anywhere in South America (especially Brazil), anywhere in Africa are all places I would never ship for various reasons. These reasons range from places like Italy, with shifty postal services that lose way too many items, of Israel and brasil that have too many import restirctions or take forever to clear packages.

    • +12

      Nigeria is ok though, there's so many Princes there… what could go wrong !

      • and they are all cashed up with 100's of millions sitting there in an account they can use

  • I had a business, and sold a few things to Russia. Never an issue. I think I only accepted PayPal.

    However, did the parcel look tampered? Is a shame you didn't take a video.
    Substituting product is something that happened 25 years ago, but usually it was the seller that did this.

    • +1

      I have video of packaging, shipping and also when I got the packaged shipped back to me (when I opened it). I do it to all of my sales which worth more than $500.

  • +1

    Hopefully this post will discourage people from selling items to Russia. Sellers beware!

    • +1

      This is a problem selling Anywhere overseas or even in Australia. Expensive items on eBay is a huge risk.

  • Looks like quite a few ozbargainers are selling items to Russia. Must be more profitable but at the same time very risky. Any sellers out there who have sold successfully to buyers at Russia?

  • +12

    I grew up in USSR. Unfortunately parcel contents being substituted with worthless items items of similar weight was a common occurrence when I was growing up. It’s a shame to hear that it still happens. I have many childhood memories of receiving “duds” only to find out that the original parcels contained gifts and treats. This situation probably has nothing to do with your buyer. It is quite possible that you are both victims here.
    If you want your goods delivered, make them unfavourable for resale - e.g. if it’s a book, write on the first page. But basically assume anything that can be resold at a flea market or consumed will most likely be tampered with. Good luck.

  • +4

    Happened to me to Israel
    $300 item but somehow had seller protection and got my money back.

    Will never ship intl again.

  • +1

    Smh why do people risk this stuff by shipping to dodgy countries? Sorry OP but this is on par with people shipping items on gumtree. On the rare occasion I ship int'l it would only be to either US or Canada. Not worth making a few extra bucks in return for a whole lotta headache.

    • Since I was on the other post, I can answer this.

      It's not because we want Russia especially, but because we choose to ship internationally, that is anywhere in the world. I have no idea which countries to exclude or why.

      All things said ebay is really a piece of shit and should have done more to help buyer And seller. I find them to be very unethical.

      Unfortunately there is no other choice, yet.

      • +3

        I think it's easier to setup a whitelist rather than a blacklist of countries if selling internationally.
        US, Canada, UK and New Zealand. I guess countries like Germany and France are ok if you don't mind the language barrier

  • +2

    I send parcels to Russia on occasion.

    Most likely someone from Russian customs has opened and checked package only to their delight the contents of package is worth their yearly salary.

    Tech items are a little bit more expensive in Russia than Australia, but I doubt the graphics card he could of bought new was more than 15% import tax on top of a second hand item you sold him.

    EDIT: My wife says customs or courier has taken the contents of package if tracking doesn't say that item has been successfully delivered.

    • +4

      Except that there's multiple attempted deliveries and no delivery record, why would the buyer refuse to accept their $3000 graphics card and have it sent all the way back to Aus unless they knew it was a scam. Buyer (and probably the postie) is in on it.

      • Possibly worked with the postie, makes sense in a country like Russia. Hey, let me take this out, put this back in, you return it saying could not be delivered. Here's $50 (alot in Russia).

  • +10

    I don't do sympathy for scalpers.
    Interesting story though.

  • There's a tonne of scams in Russia and surrounding areas. I specifically list my items and mark them as not to list in Russia, Ukraine, Bosnia etc.

    • -2

      Lol and surrounding areas… Bosnia.

      • Clearly geography is not a strong point with some on OzB

  • +2

    Yes they do sent debt collectors. But they only contact you by call or email. I just told them to p*** off and they never contacted me again

  • +8

    Mmm, a scalper getting scalped. Meh

    • +6

      Scalper being scammed actually

      • +2


      • +3

        More like a scammer being scammed

  • +3

    As dodgy as the whole thing sounds I don't think ebay can place any blame on the part of the buyer.

    According to the tracking the package was never even delivered to him, it's that simple, so they have to refund him.

    Probably it was stolen by the delivery people, so your claim is with the postal service.

    Or more easily through insurance… if you had insured this $3000 item that you are sending to Russia. I mean seriously man.

  • +1

    For items valued over $15, you should still respond to the request and ensure that the tracking number for the order is correct. However, if we're asked to step in and help, we’ll automatically resolve the claim. If we determine the buyer should receive a refund, we'll absorb the cost and you won’t receive a defect, provided that the order:
    Was sent using an eBay-integrated carrier
    Has at least one valid tracking event (e.g. an acceptance scan)
    Was sent within your stated handling time

    You're covered by eBay seller protection. If they dont refund you after some arm twisting file a complaint with AFCA. If you are using eBay Managed Payments file complaint against ADYEN, otherwise if you're not on managed payments and were paid through PayPal file complaint against PAYPAL

    • Thanks for the helpful reply. Really appreciate it.

  • +5

    Russian girls are beautiful; I mean, this comment may be out of place but it's no less true…

    • -1

      Tatiana Grigorieva. :)

      • -1

        Always found Tatiana reminiscent of a trans Michael Klim….

  • It happens… and I would not trust the "eastern block" primarily to poor postal service.

    The contract is between you and the courier. If the sell says it was not delivered, it is up to you to prove otherwise.

    This could be a story of the buyer being SCAMMED!

  • Just a thought, doesn't Russia sell computer parts?

    • Of course they sell… is the biggest computer shop over there… I still check items I want to buy in Australia for a proper specs/photos/feedback from millions of their customers…

      • I was being sarcastic.

  • ebay are pretty useless and they honestly dont give a dam. I have cut down my ebay usage drastically after having a bad experience purchasing a phone on there…..

  • +2

    Ahh that old chestnut.

    eBay charge you a fortune and are then useless when it comes to protecting sellers.

    This scam is nearly as old as eBay itself and if you Google it, they almost always resolve the case in favour of the scammer.

    Personally, I won't sell anything more than the odd sub-$100 item on eBay after researching this very scam when I sold my last laptop.

    I resolved to only allow cash on pickup for that laptop and I will never send anything overseas.

  • Stories like this are why I never sell anything over eBay and just stick to FB marketplace/gumtree.

  • I would imagine they will chase you a bit, then appoint a debt collector to collect the funds on their behalf, the debt collector will surely take a big cut of the funds recovered. If that doesnt work the Debt collector might take legal action against you. But ultimately you had a contract with the Russian buyer and Ebay was a facilitator/introducer, you made good on your obligation and the buyer made good on theirs by paying you, its a balance of probabilities, civil matter most likely small claims court job, probably wont get to that as the debt collectors lawyers when you tell them your side of the story and tell them you have evidence that corroborates your story will think they got little chance of success and drop it.

  • +2

    Ever since this, I have taken most of the high value items out, only sell the ones I really dont need,

    My conclusion is selling cheap items = good on ebay, selling expensive items = no go on ebay

    By the way that feedback of your buyer is very low, I wouldnt even deal with them to be honest

    • Selling on eBay, in general, is no go as a small seller, high selling fee and no customer support from eBay when there is an issue - intentional or unintentional

  • ebay can try to send whoever they want for whatever they want. if they try to take you to court that sounds way more expensive for them than 3k.
    move on and be extremely happy with your 2.2k profit.

  • +4

    Let this be a lesson for selling to Russia. And oh yeah you were scalping GPUs? No sympathy there.

  • +9

    So the scalper got scammed?

    Oh dear.

  • +2

    Next thread will be "Sold PS5 for $2000 to Russian Buyer, got scammed!!!"

  • +2

    That's what you get for being an annoying scalper. They will for sure get debt collectors after you, hope all your profit has been lost.

  • +4

    Did you ever consider that maybe….just maybe the seller DID send a block of wood rather than a GPU? 😮

  • this is exactly why i never sell high valued items on ebay

    gumtree or facebook marketplace with pickup cash only

    sure you will get less but will never be in this kind of situation which is worth it imo

    • Weird how you're worried about Ebay but you're not worried about getting mugged/receiving fake cash.

      • Yes, plenty of stories of people getting scammed, robbed, beaten, killed. The only way to sell something safely is to be prepared to abandon the account when things inevitably go wrong.

        • Exactly this.

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