Recently, I upgraded my iPhone from a 3G to a 3GS and was planning on selling the 3G on Ebay. After listing it then going through the bidding process, a user named “charlesgaulle” had won. Immediately after the auction ended I noticed that this person was from France and my auction explicitly stated that this was to only be sold to someone living in the UK. Also, the person’s name (Branson Jean) doesn’t even match the username, which is when I started getting suspicious. Even though he was outside of the UK, I decided to go ahead and calculate shipping to France. Once I had the shipping number, I sent him a message through Ebay detailing the new total including the updated shipping.
The following day, I received an email (that looked to be) from PayPal telling me the funds had been transferred, but the total was £20 more then I had requested. This was weird, but even more concerning was that “PayPal” said they were waiting for me to ship before they would put the funds in my account. Checking my PayPal account, there was absolutely no record of funds being added to my account. Now that I was skeptical of this entire transaction, I went back to my email and checked the header on the email and sure enough it was fraud. Here’s the from address in the header:
Going back to Ebay, there seems to be absolutely nothing that I can do. I can’t report the user as they are no longer registered on Ebay. Also, Ebay’s reporting system is abysmal. It’s a tangled web of links that never lead you to what you want. The closest thing to reporting anything about a member was “Threats of Bodily Harm”, so I submitted my complaint there.
A few days later and I’m still receiving all kinds of fake emails from PayPal, Ebay and “Branson Jean” trying to get me to ship the product even though funds still don’t exist in my PayPal account. The frustrating thing about this whole thing is that Ebay is basically washing their hands of this. You can see hundreds of the same types of fraud all over Ebay by just looking at descriptions of iPhones that are listed: People relisting because of ‘time wasters’, auctions explaining that people trying to fraud others shouldn’t bother as “they have seen it all before”, etc.
I find it very disconcerting that Ebay is allowing this to fester because there are very few rules to stop this fraudulent behavior and they don’t give users an easy and straightforward way of reporting it. Because of this, I’m not going to use Ebay for anything until they clean things up.