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Scammers – The Haunting of Online Sellers

One thing we see talked about repeatedly in marketplace forums are scammers. Like you might imagine, a scammer is a buyer who inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally) cheats sellers out of money, products, and a solid reputation. They might feedback bomb, claim damage and then refuse return, or want to file a return long after the given period to request one. It can be hard to spot a scammer – some alleged scammers are just honest buyers who may have made a mistake. We read in an Amazon thread that a seller thought a buyer was a potential scammer when they requested a return, claiming the product they ordered was all wrong. Turns out, the product required minimal assembly, and the customer was just confused. However, there have been some spooky cases where the culprit was indeed a scammer. Here are some of the best stories we could find:

FringeDiv (of Amazon) said,

“We had a scammer years ago (who) scammed us on a $3k camera lens. Unfortunately Amazon sided with (the) customer and we got back an intentionally physically damaged lens with no chance of reselling it. A complete loss. It forced me to quit the reselling business on camera related product.”

That’s a painful loss. Here’s something that’s potentially downright repulsive. Here’s what happened to Seven Star Gaming:

“I received the game back from the buyer today. It was damaged in a way that would be impossible in a new, sealed case. Scratched from one side of the blu-ray to another, and a massive gouge near the center. It was also covered in a film of foreign material. The booklets inside were dirty and fingerprinted with dirt/chocolate/feces/who knows.”

Sometimes booksellers experience what they refer to as a “lending library.”  Scammers purchase a book, read it, and then try to claim damage and return it for a full refund. Amazon and eBay seller Callie Little recounts what happened to her:

“It became apparent she uses eBay booksellers as “lending libraries” and leaves negative FB if a person won’t comply. She had 23 negatives in 8 months. She had left 32 negatives for sellers. She even admitted to reading the entire book.
Long story short, I stood my ground. She left a negative and filed a claim with Paypal. They told her to return the book. A week later, I got the book back. The shiny gold cover had been scratched all to heck with a key or something. Half of the pages had been folded over and creased. You could tell this damage was all done on purpose.”

Being scammed is scary. You work tirelessly to provide exceptional service and quality products, and it’s no fun when a few bad apples take advantage. We’d love to offer advice on how to best avoid or deal with scams, but we know tips are best served from someone who’s in the trenches with you. Amazon seller storybooks had this to offer on dealing with scammers:

“The best way I know not to be scammed is to be honest and careful. Insure (the package) and do signature confirmation if it’s not a cheap item. If it is a cheap item, I do this: I read what the buyer says, and make a judgement by what they say. If they sound reasonable, I take care of it. If it sounds like a scam, I either prove it, or I take care of it.

If you think you’ve come across a scammer, do what storybooks suggests and try to prove it. Document everything – every conversation, transaction, feedback, threat – whatever they throw at you. Make sure you also document all of your responses. Escalate it to an Amazon rep immediately. If they’ve left unfair Feedback, take another look at our posts on removing negative Feedback for more tips.

We hope you never encounter a scammer. But if you do or if you have already, we’d love to hear about your experience and how you handled it. Please let us know in the comments section below.

About the Author

Tiana Byers


Tiana is a content marketer and writer. Her favorite author is Oscar Wilde and she is a self proclaimed Etsy addict.

Tiana ByersScammers – The Haunting of Online Sellers

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