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.

https://auspost.com.au/mypost/track/#/details/EJ274617949AU

Update:

Russian postal website tracking link.

https://www.pochta.ru/tracking#EJ274617949AU

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Comments

    • Have you got a screenshot of postal tracking?
      All I can see is the name of recipient "recipient":"МАКАРИЧ" in that text at your URL. "МАКАРИЧ" - is it the family name? I'm russian and it sounds dodgy to have this as a first name (can be a nickname though). Family name is also a very rare thing. Can you specify the exact address of the person you have send your parcel to?

      • Yes I have all the screenshots. Where do you see МАКАРИЧ? I cannot find it anywhere?

        Interesting thing is that I just checked tracking of his shipmen in Russian postal website, and it specified that attempted delivery was failed due to insufficient address? Is it my mistake if the address was wrong on buyer's ebay account? I put exactly the same address in shipment what it was on buyer's ebay id. Does this provide me any more ground to fight this case?

        Here is the Russian tracking link.

        https://www.pochta.ru/tracking#EJ274617949AU

        • EMS delivery2 kg 590 g
          From: 1
          To: МАКАРИЧ

          That sounds dodgy as hell. Normally it should be First and Last Name, and more often for official purposes you will use middle name, so the recipient name would be something like Ivan Ivanonovich Makarych….
          Even МАКАРИЧ itself would rather be written as МАКАРЫЧ, but again it is a very rare last name.
          And I can't see the address still, can you put it here (no need for apartment number)

          • @Michael1983: Very interesting Michael1983….

            This was the Name and full delivery Address (I am sensoring some letters of words in address with * for privacy of the buyer)

            Name: Jem** Markarian

            Address: UL. PROSPEKT KORO**** , D. *,
            SANKT PETERBURG 197***
            Russian Federation

            So the receiver's name is totally different than what russian tracking link shows (MАКАРИЧ).

            I will post the a note which was stick on the package when I received it back. It is in Russian. Can you please translate that if you can? Here is the link…

            https://i.ibb.co/W2s24bH/IMG-9248.jpg

  • Ive had people buy from me and saying they will take it to 'their' country because they sell for double, that is fine as long as they buy locally! But sending anything overseas has for me always resulted in lots of stress and often lost money. Not worth attempting. And unfortunately, eBay has become a really lousy place to sell, and even buy… Very sad as I swore by eBay in the past. And Gumtree is heading that way too, unfortunately. Scammers see opportunity and once they've had some successes scamming people their mates follow suit….

  • +3

    I once sold something on ebay to an aussie address.

    Their long term feedback showed they had purchased multiple similar items (trading cards).

    The buyer claimed his account was used without his permission and successfully got a refund from my account. I lost the cards and postage fee.

    I argued that these items were consistent with what he normally purchases and that they were sent to his home address.

    Ebay couldn't care less.

    Its crazy what dodgy sellers can get away with.

    I was angry on the phone and said something to the effect of, "i could go and do process x to rip someone else off and you couldn't stop me?"

    the reply was, 'Well, technically, no. But don't do that'.

  • +11

    As someone with experience in the debt collection space, OP only has to worry if either eBay or a debt collector lodges a default notice on OP's credit file.

    What OP can do to defend against this, is if he continually gets contacted by debt collectors or ebay seeking payment:

    Record every phone call
    In that recorded phone call, they usually record all their calls and warn you, do the same. If they ask what your address is, provide it. This provides protection against them sending the required warning notices to an old address and then they lodge a default. If you can provide evidence of giving your actual address before they lodged the default notice on the file, you can get the default removed as they didnt give you warning to the address that you had provided. The reason I say all this is some debt collectors knowingly send out notices to old addresses to just get the default on the file and once the default is lodged, they use that as a bargaining chip to get you to pay the debt.

    Once you believe that they are going to lodge a default on your file, review your ebay terms and conditions and identify the clause where you are not liable for the debt, eg Ebay refunding the money but yet protecting you. Then lodge a claim in the relevant CAT to get a declaration you dont owe a debt.

    No more sending expensive items to Russia or without insurance ok?

    • +1

      Thank you so much for your sincere guidance. I don't have words how to thank you for your help.

      Yes I have learned the lesson not to send expensive items overseas without insurance.

      • -3

        Shame the lesson learned was not to stop scalping.

  • Yes, they will send debt collectors after you, i know from experience, and that was over a measly $70. That's a long story. I would jump the gun, and do it myself in your position, and take them to the small claims court.

    If they do not show up for the hearing, you will automatically win. i dont think they have a leg to stand on as they should have been able to identify that this was a fraudulent account, especially considering they are "no longer a registered member".

    Just make sure you are meticulous, and present every shred of evidence you can find, and importantly, take with you an overview of your seller rating which provides proof of your continued positive service,

    • Thanks for the suggestion.

  • +10

    One day that graphics card will be scrap and forgotten about forever. You on the other hand will have two wooden blocks and a treasure trove of options. Who will be laughing then ?

  • I've sent items to Russia before with zero issues. Their tracking systems are pretty good and they are pretty strict with who picks up the parcel.
    But perhaps it depends on which region you sent to and I guess sending anything that expensive anywhere is pretty risky.

  • If you can't get anywhere with eBay, contact the Finance Ombudsman and file a complaint with them. Submit all the evidence you have to them and they will escalate your complaint within eBay.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. Will do in that case.

  • I've been selling on eBay for 10 years, have had an eBay business too, and have never once shipped overseas because of this reason. You're more likely to get scammed, and refunds cost you an arm and a leg.

    Mail fraud happens all the time overseas.
    I was in Malaysia and I mailed a pair of pants back home. The lady charged me, gave me a tracking number and the pants never arrived. I've lived in undeveloped countries before and I'm always cautioned about not receiving or posting expensive goods. I lost my VISA abroad once, so I had it mailed to my parents house in Australia and they shipped it to a local nearby business which I trusted, and I collected it from there, as I was cautioned by people that my package would get stolen if I used my western name.

    It is possible that the mailman tampered with the goods if you had an Australian return address and declared the value/name of goods. However, the most likely case is that the user has scammed you, possibly with the assistance of the postman.

    • -1

      You obviously are missing out on huge margins by simply calculating risk/reward ratio for each country and applying it for maximum profit .
      BTW that why you use to have an eBay business by looks !

      • Do you get a sense of satisfaction that I "used to" have an eBay business? I voluntarily closed my shop as my shop offered seasonal products and I've since moved on from it.

  • +2

    Wow … A $3100 value item shipped to Russia !? .. sorry but you should lose the money to teach you a lesson in life.

  • +1

    If you sold a personal item and got scammed then I hope it works out for you. But if you are a scalper, who prevented a legitimate local buyer from being able to buy this card, only to make a quick and easy buck, then you got what you deserved.
    Scalpers and scammers are the same level of scum in my opinion.

  • Buyer paid $$$ and didn't receive the item. Requested and got the refund and close the account.
    Seller got $$$, sent the item and got it returned with replaced item. Empty the bank account so that Ebay cannot charge it again.
    I cannot see anything wrong with the Buyer. The item was replaced during the shipment by anyone in AUS/Russia but not the buyer.
    The fault is with AusPost. Who's responsibility to speak to AusPost and get this resolved? I believe it's the sender….

    • +1

      If the item was replaced during shipment how did the receiver know not to accept delivery? He clearly knew about the scam.

      • I am judging purely based on the facts presented. You may be 99.99% right, but there's no evident showing the buyer replaced the item.

        If this is a SCAM, someone needs to lose. Buyer is clearly out of this. We have only got Auspost, Ebay and Seller left in the game. It will probably end up Ebay and Seller fighting for $3000. Ebay has a strong legal team, interesting to see how Seller can win the case.

    • Buyer's account was banned/closed well BEFORE the dispute was concluded and refunded.

      • If this is the case, buyer hasn't received the refund? Then it's simple, you can have $3000 back.

        • +1

          Buyer opened the dispute outside of ebay through financial institution. That is another type to refund request. Ebay refunded the buyer's financial institution, which got passed on the the buyer.

  • +12

    The levels to which people will stoop to make a buck never ceases to amaze me. This story is the epitome of greed, on all fronts. The dodgy postal service in Russia, eBay's corporate greed and then the local scalper selling a used GPU for $3K on a platform known for not supporting sellers, to one of the shadiest corners on this planet, and then pulling funds out of bank account when the uninsured postal transaction goes bad. The topping on the cake are all the tips on how to deal with debt collectors.

    A+++ Would read again.

  • Do not ship to Russia, you will get scammed and Ebay ( unless you are a top rated seller ) will 99.99% side with the buyer. I have a close mate running a big ebay store shipped an X brand new sealed to Russia, took photos. The buyer sent a message saying it was a fake. They had photo shopped the Imei and serial ( could tell when photos they sent were enlarged ). Ebay despite many calls couldn't care less.
    There may be a few honest Russian buyers but it's not worth the risk.
    If you are not a big seller leave the account empty and wait for Ebay to take action and fight them. If it gets anywhere near a court the probability is Ebay will loose as their idea of an investigation is looking at what the buyer says and then just refund them. Chances are if you stand up to them ( ebay ) they will back off and may cancel your account. Just make sure they don't report it as a bad debt, although I am not sure they can do this.

    • Thank you for the suggestion. I have already emailed a few times to ebay throughout this issue. Have not got a response yet. I emailed them yesterday to explain why I am not covered under seller protection and also mentioned the buyer account was banned during dispute investigation which clearly hints that issue was on that side. Lets see what do they reply back with.

    • Really use the 99.99% feedback . I can get it in 5 sec buying 100 5 cents items from China to pass your test .
      Risk/reward ratio from Ebay during COVID times because delivery has a high chance of being outside Ebay required time is a cull.
      My great sharing to the thread .
      Off Ebay is another story.

      • Ebay Feedback - and online feedback in general isnt worth a pinch of shit.
        As you say so easy to make a dodgy account look legit and awesome

  • +1

    Mate, honestly you play with fire when selling high value items like that internationally. You have to put all the trust in honesty of the local post agencies in the country you are sending it to.

    It is not about Russia, and its postal service providers, but providers worldwide in general. Once the package leaves Australia, you basically roll a dice on whether or not someone will not just open it up along the way, and replace its contents with bricks/wooden blocks.

    Call it an expensive lesson, face head-on what demands eBay will send your way, take them to a small-claims court if you think $3k is worth your time in there, and move on.

  • +2

    This is why i do not sell anything on ebay anymore and only use it to buy.
    Replacing the item with rubbish is a common tactic and ebay / paypal always side with the buyer even when its obvious they are scamming people.

    Unless you are prepared to lose the item and the money its not worth selling on ebay.

  • Hi there, unfortunately eBay only protects the buyers not the seller.

    I had this same situation to me and lodged a complaint with AFCA.

    Mine was via PayPal tho and they made my account ,-$2000

    I got the laptop back and resold it for $200 chapter so acfa got PayPal to pay me $200 for the difference

    Is PayPal involved or just eBay? What is not a financial institution so I wouldn't worry but if PayPal I would

    Also try contacting a manager or finding someone senior at eBay on linkedin

    • +1

      Paypal was not involved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am already trying to contact ebay and ask for seller protection.

      • Let me know how you go. Will also be logging with the AFCA

      • +1

        in that case I would just leave the account and make a new one.

        Ebay cannot do anything and would have to write it off. The reason I sorted it with paypal is because they are a financial institution and do credit reporting. Ebay do not

  • +1

    eBay will probably sell the debt to a collection agency, and all you need to do is sit idly by and watch your credit rating take a massive nose-dive.

  • Scammed by a Scav. Cheeki Breeki!

  • +5

    You have the money, possessions 9/10th of the law! If you have any problem make a claim through small claims against eBay. It will go away

    You sold a 800 card for 3k - who’s scamming who

    • Thanks for your suggestion.

  • Hope to see more stories like this of scalpers being scammed.

    I give you a 4.5/5 stars.

  • -1

    That really sucks, I don't why there are so many trolls just waiting for this type of story just to leave troll comments.
    Maybe make a youtube video explaining your situation and if it gets a lot of views ebay may give you back the money just for the publicity.

    • Agreed however reading OP's past comments, he seems like a troll as well.

      • I am bold enough to admit that I was wrong if I trolled in the past on someone's troublesome situation. Thanks for pointing out Labourking. Will be mindful in commenting going forward.

  • +1

    I dont see how the buyer was the scammer here ? sounds like someone along the postal delivery system got their hands on it - you should try and dispute this with the postal system, you may not get anywhere but maybe try your luck.
    Also I wouldn't say this type of thing is restricted to overseas countries. We had our deliveries a couple of years back tempered with by the couriers that were involved. they placed empty boxes inside and taped them back up. Its hard to pinpoint the blame when an item changes hands a few times though. Good luck!

  • +1

    I had once bought a arlo pro base station from Netherlands, when i got it it had the ethernet port broken off, (not matching the description and photos it had)

    Seller said me same BS item was in good and perfect condition when sending to me,

    But that time i feel like he actually sent me a broken base station. Like in the package there was no plastic or something that one can say it had been damaged in shipping.

    But yes man i dont sell on eBay for same thing i was once scammed for like 150$ item i sold on eBay ended up loosing all of it.
    eBay does not do anything for seller's. Its crap protection.

    Only thing to do with eBay is use it buy cheap stuff or free stuff using their coupons so eBay is hurt than the sellers or buyers. Go ahead scam eBay if it scams you. Its called tit for tat

    But one thing for sure is you aint going to have a luck with your credit score any time soon, probably at very least expect all mortgage applications, credit cards, and etc loans to be disappearing from your life for 6 years at least.

    As bad as it sounds best and easiest thing to do is to simply pay eBay, (not full $3000, but may be like $400ish or something, for them to stop harrassing you).

    I recently had similar situation to a friend too, its easiest to pay the scammer to stop being harassed unless they are super rich to afford fancy lawyers etc.

  • I have experienced a similar incident, but as a buyer. I bought a camera lens from a Russian seller with no rating. The price was too good to be true. And it was!
    What I received instead of the lens were two packets of macaroni.
    It wasn't an issue getting a refund. But I would never sell to someone with no or very few ratings.

    • +1

      Was it good macaroni?

      • Russian macaroni is very tasty with potatoes

        • Username kinda checks out.

      • +1

        Yes, it was. Couldn't let the food go waste!

  • +1

    Hey mate,

    Wish I knew about staying away from posting to Russia before all this happened to me too except mine was through PayPal.

    The supervisor at PayPal basically admitted that selling your items through their platform is useless because in the end any scammer could do what this person just did and get away with it cause the chargeback.

    Will log this with AFCA and scamwatch.gov.au.

    Also know of another person that also got stung.

    Sounds like this would have happened to a lot of people. Would be good if we could take Class Action or something.

    • Thanks for your information tiztrain.

      • I also got contacted by an aggressive debt collector today which I told to call me back next week when I get my stuff together. lol. Will get some legal advice on the mater

      • +1

        Spoke with the office of fair trading. What you need to do is lodge this with:
        Office of fair trading
        ACCC
        AFCA

        Regarding the debit collector they said to:
        Keep a record of the name, time and date. Let them know that you have lodged it as a scam and have contacted multiple government agencies and this is under investigation. Once you receive the information back from them you will be in contact with the debit collector. Also ask how you can send through the information in writing.

        The more people submit this through those lines, the better our case is.

        Can't believe the loophole with eBay/PayPal. Could literally do the same thing to someone else and get away with it. Terrible

        • Thank you for your detailed guidance. I will action that as suggested.

          Yes this is needed to be addressed!

          • +2

            @oliman: So looks like I got some good news.

            After doing all of the above, I also sent an email to the [email protected] and put the case number in the email subject line. I let them know that I have put in a formal complaint against PayPal and the buyer to all those agencies. I also asked to get all the chat messages and phone recordings that I had with them. Was planning to use that against them if required as they admitted to a fair bit of stuff they probably should not have.

            I received an email from PayPal yesterday stating that the "chargeback was decided in your favour". This is after I was told that nothing else could be done from PayPal and the case was closed and nothing else could be done.

            Not sure which thing has triggered this outcome but I would follow all the steps to make sure you have the best chance of getting a good outcome. Make sure to include the buyer name, address and email in the enquiry as this might have flagged something in the systems.

            • +1

              @tiztrain: congrats buddy!!

              I feel like all these big companies is just a war of attrition. Most people give up or dont know what to do or how to fix it and they get worn down.

              Even if you call 10000 times sometimes it just goes in circles until you get tired and give up.

              Even if it takes 100000000000 calls, or tears you must not give in.
              Save the tears then sell them on ebay you will have the last laugh

              • @AussieMark: also make sure that debt collector is real/legit as it seems a little fast… normally it takes months at least for it to progress to that stage.

                • @AussieMark: Yeah it really is a war of attrition.

                  The debt collector said it was 14 days and that is why he called. I guess PayPal really wanted 'their' money fast. lol.

                  I have just found out, that in the end it was the AFCA who was the only one that could help me out and they were able to push it in my favour.

                  Haha on the tears. I had no tears, just a fire in the belly that kept building up intensity and made me want to take on the big guy. It is a loop hole that I want to shut down. Ha

                  • @tiztrain: My friend spent six months on the phone with her electricity provider as they claimed she had two connections /bills on the same address and needs to pay both (she only has one)

                    I lodged a complaint with the ombudsman and it was solved in 48 hours

                    She was just going to ignore it as they weren't listening to her but I said they will send debt collectors

  • I’m sorry this happened to you. Ebay is one of the worst companies to deal with. They stole my money and returned it to the customer and they wouldn’t help me get the item back. Didn’t want to deal with it.

    • Thanks for your words. Thanks to everyone who put helpful comments on this post, I have some grounds to defend a debt recovery against me if ebay takes that action.

      Rest of the trolls and idiots who are judging me on this post…I can care less :)

      • +2

        "can't (or couldn't) care less". Good luck btw, you're not in the wrong. Chances are both you and buyer may have been scammed by customs/postie.

  • Isn't sending to Russia the equivalent of sending to Nigeria?

  • In joining eBay Plus 2 days ago, I see they're advertising seller protection for fraudulent buyer claims, as a (new?) selling point for Plus.
    Clearly eBay understand the facts: they got ripped, but want you to pay, even though thier request is opposed to thier current marketing.
    Might be worth looking into…

    • I am ebay plus memeber. Where they mention about fraudulent buyer claim?

      • Mate, I'm typing this away from my PC on my phone, so trawling through eBay legals is not possible right now, for me…perhaps ask eBay via chat?
        I defintiely remember being shocked at the point they offerred (that we're discussing), as I imagined it would be included, without Plus being required…I mean wtf is eBay as a marketplace even in existence for, if they can't protect the seller?
        Anyway…
        So all I have for you is what I wrote above, but can confirm it exists as part of eBay's current marketing.

        • +1

          Thanks mate!

        • eBay let me know they can't go back on anything older than 30 days to submit a case on. lol

          • @tiztrain: I see an increasing number of organisations attempting to attrition thier customers & clients out of what they've paid for…specifically, unless you know exactly what to ask for, they're unlikely to point you in the right direction. Then it's "outside thier support window"
            or "beyond thier scope of support", once you eventually find what you need.
            The key to obtaining flex in those situations is only available via escalation and then to highlight your knowlege that they are denying you based on small print from overly strict, internal policy, not legislation.
            It's really a case of a marketplace provider whose priority should be security - if they can't provide a hassle free transaction, then they shouldn't provide a transaction platform - they're just being cheeky & flexing. Seeing what they can get away with, without damaging thier huge brand.
            Overly - Russia is a listing option, provided by eBay, therefore I trust that option as far as I trust eBay themselves. If there's a hole in the transaction once posted, it's a non-issue for the seller. Empty/block your managed payment acc. Ignore all threats.

            • @Unsafe: good news and it has been sorted out in my favour. Posted all the details in one of the above posts

              • +1

                @tiztrain: Awesome news, congrats.
                Love a good escalation :)

  • Лучше поосторожнее с русскими, дружище!