This story is why I’m concerned about selling on Ebay these days. The subject of the story sold a coin for $470 and shipped it via UPS, insured. The buyer claimed he received an empty envelope, filed a claim with Paypal, received a refund, then refused to cooperate with the seller, so the seller couldn’t file an insurance claim.

The seller believes the buyer is refusing to cooperate because he’s lying. But UPS can’t investigate since the buyer won’t even pick up the phone, and Ebay isn’t interested in helping him.
I have two ideas, but I’m not sure that either of them are perfect. Unsure enough that I’m not all that interested in trying to use Ebay to pare down the pile of disused trains in my basement.

One is to ship via US Postal Service. Because if you ship via US Postal Service and the buyer steals the item and then files a fraudulent insurance claim, the buyer has committed mail fraud, a federal offense.

The second, if the buyer is unwilling to cooperate and help you get your money back, is to sue in small claims court. This would be especially effective if the buyer is several states away. It’s much more convenient to cooperate with an insurance investigation than it is to travel out of state to appear in court.

Ebay used to be relatively fair to both buyers and sellers, but increasingly it’s tilted toward the buyer. And although it was people clearing out their basements and attics that put Ebay on the map, now they only seem to be interested in sellers who move a few hundred thousand items a year.

Tags: