Question re: Selling on Ebay and Paypal
I've got a stupid question (and I'm hoping someone else here has more experience selling stuff on Ebay and hence can help me out!)
I put a laptop up on Ebay yesterday. Today I got a single "buy it now" bid for the full price on the laptop (which was a pretty fair price, but more than I expected to get for it based on past sales of similar items).
The purchaser of the item appears to be a brand new ebay member (registered *TODAY*), with no other auctions completed and no feedback, down in Christiansted, St. Croix (in the US Virgin Islands).
I got a notification from Paypal that the payment was received (or, rather, status is "completed"), along with the "ship to" address. That address is listed as "unconfirmed."
Should I be worried about this? I haven't sold much stuff via ebay before, and definitely don't want to be taken for a ride by this guy if it's not legitimate. Should I request some proof of address (a copy of the driver's license or something?), or do I not need to worry about it because the payment status is "completed"?
Usually, the Big Warning Sign is an email saying payment is incoming via Western Union. If you received actual payment via PayPal, you should be in the clear. HOWEVER. Are the funds actually listed in your PayPal account, or are you just going by the eBay auction page? Because even if people opt to pay by check, it will still show as payment received on the eBay page because they clicked the checkout link.
I would be EXTREMELY hesitant to deal with anyone with less than 10 feedback, especially outside of the US or Canada. I always put a note on my auctions that I reserve the right to refuse any bid if I feel the buyer does not meet my arbitrary standards. I also only ship within the US, because i find dealing with customs to be too much of a pain to make it worthwhile.
Last time I checked, the Virgin Islands were part of the United States. Territory of and all that.
Originally Posted by Machfive
Not saying he shouldn't be careful, but I just wanted to clarify.
You may be correct; I haven't checked postal rates to the Virgin Islands. I'm also completely unaware of how laws apply with regards to our protectorates/territories, so I pretty much limit myself to the 50 states for simplicity's sake.
Originally Posted by Athryn
It's like shipping to Hawaii. They're part of the US, and US citizens, so our laws apply there.
Originally Posted by Machfive
(I have a cousin that lives there)
I'd wait until the cash actually showed up in your bank account. There are a couple of different PayPal payment techniques, and the "virtual check" can take a week or more to post.
Also, if you ship to an unconfirmed address, PayPal won't offer any insurance on the transaction.
If it was me, I'd go through the auction cancellation procedure, repost the auction with a more stringent list of buyer qualifications, and send the buyer an apologetic letter saying that you can't ship to an unconfirmed address due to insurance issues, and they're welcome to re-bid on the item after you re-post it. You can issue a refund in PayPal. (use the refund mechanism; don't send them money ;-)
First of all, you're at least selling physical goods, which should be subject to Paypal's insurance. Check into that.
Secondly, Paypal payments can be "yanked back" by the payee pretty easily. All it takes is for the payee to tell paypal that their account was used illegally and without their knowledge.
I wouldn't sell my own spit to someone on ebay without a confirmed Paypal address. Getting a confirmed address on the service is far too easy for legitimate users to do that when people *don't* get confirmed, that's a huge red flag.
What Denny said about insurance and confirmed addresses is true, I'd forgotten that.
Shipping to an unconfirmed address in the Virgin Islands? Yeah. No way. That just screams "scam" to me.
I sell stuff on Ebay all the time and I get plenty of buyers with unconfirmed addresses. It's not a big deal. I moved from a confirmed to unconfirmed address myself some months ago because I didn't want Paypal having access to my bank info in the event of a buyer complaint; they protect buyers a lot better than sellers. (I am adding here the fact that I have never had a complaint from a buyer). It is a completely valid sentiment not to feel comfortable with giving Paypal our bank information, because they're just not accountable and they have some questionable business practices. I was also annoyed how the damned site would always default to my bank account for payment. There's no way to default to your credit card and you have to select it every time.
If you're worried, just put tracking on the package. The buyer can't claim you screwed him that way because you just give the tracking number to Paypal during the dispute process.
But yes, if it is an e-check, wait for it to clear. And if it isn't, send the money over to your bank from Paypal so it can't be claimed back easily, cuz Paypal stops you from doing that in the event of claims, and it can be frozen until the claim is resolved.
You could be screwed here, but that's true in any Paypal transaction where you are the seller, really. I'd be worried too with such a large item, and the fact that the buyer has a new account, but unconfirmed addresses alone should not be something to worry about.
I'm sure there are many reasons buyers don't do the confirmed paypal address thing.
I'm just as sure I'd never sell an item to one of them.
Just say no, Aleck. The dispute process if you ship to an unconfirmed address will basically be paypal telling you not to do that anymore, and sorry about that.
Don't do it. $10 says it is a guy who started up a paypal account with a stolen credit card. Email paypal and tell them it seems fishy.
What is the domain of the paypal address?
Thanks for all the great support and suggestions. I'm thinking that this is just a little too fishy.
The email address domain was aemail4u.com. I'd never heard of it, but it's basically a free email hosting service -- again, not reassuring. I checked for a reverse address lookup for the USVI, but I wasn't able to find one.
If I ask the guy to get his address confirmed, would that essentially solve the problem (since the mailing address would need to match what's on the credit card or bank account)? Or should I just bail on this guy and re-list (eating the listing fees and the like on the way -- which is a lot cheaper than eating the laptop)?
Man, I hate scammers...
Oh, and as an aside, the US Virgin Islands are part of the US -- but you're still supposed to pay customs on anything you ship there from the rest of the U.S. *and* you need to clear customs and immigration when leaving the USVI for the rest of the U.S. (I have a client down there so I go down once or twice a year). The cost of living down there is astronomical for what is, in many respects, basically a third world country. My client ends up paying about 20% above what I pay here in the continental 48 for technology purchases from companies like Dell (thanks to customs, shipping, and taxes), while they pay about 2x as much for technology support services (and sometimes those support services aren't all that hot -- my favorite example was a long run of Cat 5 cable that the contractor stapled to the crossbeams in the roof using a staple gun rather than conduit or a wire tray; needless to say, connectivity was a problem). Gotta love it....
Last edited by Aleck; 06-10-2007 at 06:31 AM.
Proving residence would be useful. A confirmed address just means they gave Paypal their bank information, though; it's not fool-proof. Still, it's not like it's Nigeria you're sending to, and you can always mark items you send as gifts so you don't have to pay taxes on it, right?
You're just hurting yourself in lowering the final price of your items.
Originally Posted by triggercut
I tried to sell a laptop on ebay last year. I think I had to repost it 4 times because of scammers. I finally managed to sell it off ebay to someone that lived in the area.
I sell stuff to bidders with zero feedback, unconfirmed addresses, and international addresses quite often. If it's really a hassle for you, go to your eBay Preferences and check off all the flags under Buyer Requirements, especially the one about disallowing any bids from users with a feedback less than X.
Craigslist is better for high-ticket items, IMHO. You can deal with someone local.
Keeper of the Frop Bog
How To Go
Aleck, try communicating with the individual and just be honest. Ask why no feedback -first purchase, and you're concerns etc. Any intelligent individual has got to understand that kind of thought and would not be insulted.
Also, let us know how it turns out.
One thing I recently learned (this is a scam against photographers and other high-dollar service people) is that a cashier's check can be forged and it won't hit the system for weeks, sometimes. They contract someone for a big job, send them a check for too much money, then ask for the refund. Meanwhile, the check is invalid but the forgery hasn't been detected yet, so you can go to the bank and cash it normally. They just take the money back when they learn of the forgery.
I sell stuff on Ebay all the time. Everything from lowly little collectible freebies I get at conventions to decent value electronics and collectibles. I even sold my grandmother's house on Ebay (after she moved out, you wise-asses!) but there's a compeltely different rule set for those transactions.
Anyway, my veteran Ebay opinion on this transaction is SCAM. Taken out of context, any one thing alone isn't really that bad. Unconfirmed addresses happen a lot. Newbie buyers happen too, though not usually on high ticket items if they're legit buyers as most legit newbies are too scared to go high ticket out of the gate. Addresses in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and similar locations can be fine as well, though they are often hotbeds for scam buyers. However, when all these things are combined, NO WAY this is legit.
Look at it this way, this transaction sets off so many warning bells (unconfirmed address, out of country address, shaky email account, no previous feedback/auctions, account created same day as purchase, no communication from buyer, etc.) that the odds are heavily stacked against this guy being legit.
Cancel the Paypal transaction, cancel the auction (you'll end up eating the listing fee), send a nice apology letter stating that for insurance purposes you cannot ship to an unconfirmed address, then repost with clearly stated qualifications for bidders (over 10 positive feedbacks, confirmed address within the 50 US states, etc.). You'll be much happier in the end.
Well, I haven't heard back from the guy yet. If I don't hear back tonight, I'll cancel the auction in the morning and re-list.
Yep, common scam. They get ahold of a CC# that works, set up a Paypal account with it, and try to get it mailed before the person who's selling it figures out it's a scam, or the person who's CC # it is figures out his info has been compromised.
Laptops and other small, expensive electronics are big targets. I tried to sell my laptop on ebay last year, and had literally dozens of private messages offering to buy for well over what the thing was worth, if only I'd ship to non-verified addresses. Ended up not being worth the trouble with all the scammers who kept messing up the auctions.
Another vote for "it's a trap!" Just use Craigslist. But don't let potential buyers out of your sight.
"Hey, do you have the manuals and stuff for this thing?"
"Yeah, sure, let me go get them out of the box in my garage. Hang out here a sec."
Then you come back and find the dude is OMG GONE!!!1 And so is the laptop.
I was going to make a math joke about the domain and range of the paypal address but I'll save that for later.
Keeper of the Frop Bog
How To Go
Sorry to hear that... but at least you weren't scammed! Report it to ebay.
Originally Posted by Aleck
Well, the quick update: I refunded payment after never hearing back from the guy and attempted to cancel the auction.
Ebay's support folks were uniquely unhelpful, but Paypal's people were actually pretty much right on the money. They indicated they would flag the account and watch it, etc. etc. I don't believe them, but at least there's the possibility that they might follow through on it.
So I'm off to re-list it, along with requirements for the buyer. Gotta love it! However, thanks to all for the good advice and information in this thread, it was/is greatly appreciated!
I actually cancelled a PayPal account after they kept harrassing me to get a confirmed address. It isn't even that easy; when I gave them the electronic number for our bank, they wouldn't allow it because my wife had already used that one for her PayPal account.
So, unconfirmed doesn't really imply "scammer".
Has anyone else had trouble upgrading to an eBay sellers account? I get stuck in a loop of being told I need to enter a credit card, entering a credit card, and then being told I need to enter a credit card. I haven't heard anything from their support department in a week, other than the standard "your call is important to us" confirmation. I tried with every browser I have at my disposal and it happened in all of them.
How To Go
Yeah, be careful Aleck. Some guy totally scammed some speakers off me a few weeks ago with some counterfeit twenties.
Bastard. Probably showed up at your house, pretended to like your dog, and just made off with the speakers.
Originally Posted by ElGuapo
Which, incidentally, work great.
Originally Posted by Qenan
It doesn't imply "scammer" at all. "Confirming" your account is just a sneaky-ass way for Paypal to get direct access to your bank account so it doesn't have to get dinged by credit card fees. That's why they push it so hard. And when you finally confirm, they force you to use the bank account as the default, having to switch to the CC manually every time if that's what you want to use. Grr.
Well, just as a follow up, it turned out the credit card was indeed stolen. So I re-listed the laptop.
In the second listing, Ebay pulled the listing after the top bidder turned out to be a stolen account.
WTF man? I mean, seriously, is ebay always this fucking difficult? I just want to dump an old laptop or two for some cash to help pay off the HDTV. Is that really asking so much?
On to Craigslist, I guess.