• Thursday , 4 June 2020

Beware of This Ebay Scam That'll Cost You Both Your Camera Gear and Your Money

Code Canyon

A photographer has found herself a victim of an online scam that cost her both her money and her camera gear, after one user managed to get around eBay’s “protections” by making false claims they’d been sent an older camera model than that listed on the advert.

Last month, Liz Moughon listed an unopened Sony a6500 with 18-135mm lens kit on eBay for $1,400. Before long, someone purchased it, paying through PayPal. However, shortly after receiving the camera, the buyer requested a refund and claimed Moughon had sent him an older Sony NEX-6 with a 20mm lens. Speaking to PetaPixel, she explained:

In reality, he simply took my camera out of the packaging box, put his inside, took photos, and sent them to eBay as ‘proof’ that I’d sent him the wrong product.

Naturally, she reached out to eBay to reveal the truth of the matter, warning them of the fraudulent behavior. Requesting they investigate the buyer, the company declined as they had to follow their procedure. Despite Moughon’s attempts to have the company block the refund, the buyer was allowed to return the Sony NEX-6 camera. eBay then refunded the buyer $1,400, and the case was closed.

This left Moughon in the position of being without her a6500 and 18-135mm lens and without the money she had initially sold it for. She spent hours on the phone with eBay, PayPal, her bank, and the police in an attempt to claim her money back and to push for an investigation into the buyer.

eBay had promised that if the buyer returned a camera different from what she listed, then they would refund Moughon, but when she sent them pictures of the different camera the buyer had sent back, she says they repeatedly denied her claim:

I requested to re-open the case with my new photos proving that I received a camera different from what I listed. I heard nothing for several days, so I called again. eBay asked for a police report. I got a police incident report, and the officer said they don’t deal with online shopping at all but that he would be happy to speak to eBay for me. I sent it in. I heard nothing for several days, so I called again. This time they asked for an affidavit. I filled that out and sent it back. No word again. I waited a few days and called in. This time the person on the phone told me my case had been denied for the second time. They didn’t even bother to contact me to tell me that.

It turns out that neither eBay nor PayPal are willing to investigate a case unless the buyer is the one who initiates the case.

Taking to social media to expose the scam, Moughon found the attention it received prompted eBay to finally take some action. eBay contacted her on Twitter and Facebook saying that they’d re-open the case for the third time. Shortly afterwards, they backtracked and ended up refunding her the 10% seller fee of $140, as well as the entire $1,400.

I honestly feel bad that eBay was caught in the middle of this and is probably suffering the financial loss from the refund. I appreciate them finally coming through for me, and I understand how complicated it can be to review cases like these. My frustration is that during every conversation they started with ‘Well, the buyer said…’ They began by believing the buyer first.

Even though I called multiple times and voluntarily filled out every form, they refused to ever investigate the buyer until the very end. I just hope that they consider changing their policy to protect sellers and buyers equally. As it is, sellers can’t even leave feedback comments about buyers.

Photographers, beware!

Photos courtesy Liz Moughon, and used with permission.

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