eBay Fraud – Lawgistics Lucky 7


Many clients use eBay to purchase and sell stock. The process is quite easy but like all online transactions it is open to fraud.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Reading time: 3 minutes

This article is 8 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Many clients use eBay to purchase and sell stock. The process is quite easy but like all online transactions it is open to fraud.  There are a number of useful guides on the internet but let’s consider some of them.

1.    Misdescriptions

Some sellers try and elude you by using an excuse that they’re not an expert. Avoid these or be very wary.  They are already slippery before they do the deal with you. After the sale they will use their lack of expertise to suggest they didn’t know.

2.    Feedback inflation

Sellers can have multiple memberships and along with friends can boost up feedback selling ‘next to worthless’ items.

3.    Shipping to an unusual address

Here the buyer might claim to be in the UK but asks for the goods to be shipped abroad or to a brother on the M1 services. It is possible to set preferences to limit bids by UK buyers, select PayPal as the only payment and wait to deliver an item only after payment has been made – even if it’s a high bid!

4.    Send to a confirmed address using a trackable service

Remember that unless you have delivered to a confirmed address using a trackable service, PayPal will side with the buyer and chargeback the price for you.

5.    Second chance offers

Fraudsters will pick up on seeing buyers pipped at the post and make contact by email with details of the same goodies to sell you, but, of course, not the goodies themselves. As with all emails check them out and, of course check with the top buyer.

6.    Who is selling, what are they selling, where are they?

Think in these simple terms. Joe Public comes to visit you and opens a newspaper. He shows you an advertisement which gives a name, address, a phone number and details of some cars. He says to you “which car would you like?” You point to one. He says great – hand over the cash and I will deliver it tomorrow! Would you do that – no! But that’s exactly what the internet is. It’s an advertisement slightly more refined but still open to fraud because of the fact that all the information is VIRTUAL …not VERIFIED. On top of this, if things go wrong, how are you going to sue them? You haven’t got their address, and probably can’t get it. There is an eBay toolbar with a feature called account guard. This turns green when on an official eBay or PayPal site.

7.    Use PayPal or other secure systems such as Escrow

It’s not ideal but far more secure than paying cheque or cash into a seller’s bank. Escrow is another way to add protection to the transaction. They act as a clearing house and won’t release money for the buyer to the seller until both parties are satisfied with the sale. The only eBay approved service is Escrow.com. The fees are agreed between buyer and seller.

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.