Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest post: eBay, the scammer, and the seller Part 1

In days gone by the best way to be a scammer on eBay was to list a laptop for sale on eBay for an attractive price and send the buyer an empty box.

However this has now changed. The best way to become a scammer on eBay is to be a buyer. When scammers first turned to buying items to get their kicks one of the most popular ways was to use two accounts. Lets assume you want to sell your MacBook Pro which is worth about $800-900 second hand (brand new value $1,500). So in order to attract as many people as possible to bid on your item you start the bidding at a low price ($50 or $100). Now a scammer would log into his first account and place the starting bid (let's say $100) and then log into his second account and place a bid of $1,500 thus ensuring no one would out bid him (I mean who would pay more for the item second hand than you could buy it brand and new?). Now, about a minute before the auction is over he would retract his second bid of $1,500 and the item would be sold to the next highest bidder, which in this case would be himself at the incredibly low price of $100 and he would end up with a MacBook Pro for $100. Obviously the seller could appeal or refuse to sell it and besides this is a very complicated way of getting a free item and eBay have tightened this up, the bid you place is the MAXIMUM you want to pay and the bidding gradually increases as more people bid.

But by doing this scammers now have easier ways of getting free items. All they need to do is claim the item 'never arrived', and to ensure they get their money back they will open a case against you with eBay. Let me explain a bit about cases in eBay. There are two forms of ratings on eBay. One for the buyers and one for eBay (which the buyers don't see). For the buyers there is feedback which obviously the higher the percentage the more trustworthy the seller. eBay generally don't get involved in feedback (unless it dips below a certain percentage or the seller suspects foul play) in which case eBay will intervene and either suspend the sellers account or remove the negative feedback. The way eBay monitor the sellers is by detailed seller ratings (DSR) and by open cases (cases opened by the buyer against the seller).

DSR are those 5 stars you see when leaving feedback for a seller. These rate the seller and the more 5 stars the seller gets the better.

Open cases are any cases opened against the seller for any reason and these are opened in the eBay resolution center. It could be for item not as described, haven't received the item, item is damaged etc...

Now, for a scammer, leaving negative feedback is pointless especially if the seller had thousands of positive feedback. So the scammer will open a case against the buyer claiming he never received the item. Before anything happens the buyer and seller have to communicate in the resolution centre in eBay. After communicating, if the buyer is still unhappy, he escalate the case to eBay who will look into it and make a final decision. Since the case is harmful to the seller the seller may just decide to give a refund and be done. But if the buyer escalates the claim, 9/10 eBay find in favor of the buyer. So the scammer will buy an expensive item and pay for the cheapest shipping (thus ensuring there is no tracking on the item) and then open a case and escalate the claim to eBay and get his money back.

It is that easy to get free items from eBay! (I have essentially written the scammers handbook for eBay! although any scammer already knows this and is no deep dark secret.)

In part 2 I will discuss how eBay is very one sided and even once the scammer has received his money back the seller is still being scammed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Yossi's Guest Post

Hello to all the readers of this blog. So apparently I said I would write a guest post about the joys of selling on eBay, so here is. I haven’t had much experience in blog writing although when I was at college studying Media Production I kept a running blog of the goings on at college. This can be found here although it hasn’t been updated in over a year.

Since this post is all about eBay I would like to extend a special 10% discount offer to the readers of this blog. Click here and here to access my eBay stores and once you find the item you like, put the code ‘TRS10” in the notes section when checking out and I will refund 10% back to your PayPal account.

Anyway, here goes my rant about eBay, or more precisely, the stupid buyers on eBay. I am going to present of list of actual buyer messages followed by the response I would love to give, but having to keep a professional manner can’t.

Q: Hi there,
I haven’t received my item yet. Please can you let me know where my item is?
Looking forward to hearing from you.

A: Are you serious? You purchased your item 2 days ago and as your item is being shipped from the USA did you really expect the item to arrive in the UK in 2 days??? Really?? Use some brains.

Q: Hello, I see your item is for sale at $35 plus shipping. I can buy the item direct from the store for $20. Can you come down on your price?

A: If that is the case why don’t you go to the store and buy it from there. No I am not coming down on the price. No one is telling you to buy it from me.

Q: I have left you negative feedback because the item doesn’t match the skirt as I thought it would.

A: Really? So because it doesn’t match correctly, you are leaving negative feedback? Moron, next time check the color first.

Anyway, that is it for the time being. My next post will be about how eBay is one-sided and favoring the buyers way too much…

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Two thing happened this past Shabbos that prompt me to take iPod in hand and blog a bit. The first was that I spied Rabbi Wilshanski (my old Rosh Yeshiva in Morristown) doing something or other on the bima following kriah in 770. At that point memories of all our interactions flowed through my mind and I tried to remember the stories he had told at a melave malka he hosted in his house. Unfortunately I couldn't recall the details of the stories he had told, which disturbed me, because I distinctly remember telling the stories that very night to Yosef Abramov, and many times over later on. I figured that at some point or other I had written the stories down on this here blog, and in fact I did. But more on that later.

The second thing that happened to me this past shabbos was that I ran into Yossi Beenstock as he was escaping my class shul. He was actually running, or at least walking very briskly, and it is actually my class's shul, though I've never been there. Anyway, Yossi commented, as he has done many times in the past, that I hadn't posted a post on this here blog in quite some time. I replied that if he liked he could write up a post himself, and I'd publish it. He asked if he could make its subject the perfidy of eBay, and I told him that he could do whatever he liked.

Needless to say, this post is not his post. Rather, this post is a link to the stories I heard at that melave malka so many years (5767!) ago. Here is that link. It's cute to go back and read old posts, and even cuter to go back and read old comments. Admittedly, the comments on that post were not particularly brilliant, though my Aramaic was pretty good, if I say so myself. Those were the days, eh? When bloggers were real bloggers, commenters were real commenters, and Blogger didn't look like Microsoft Word circa 1993. We boldly split infinitives that had never before been split, were not yet the youths of Churchill, and set our minds a boggling.

And that was that.