think twice before selling on eBay

I have decided to document this process online, since both eBay and paypal keep their investigations private, and this user continues to scam unsuspecting “honest” sellers. One bad apple spoiling the pot.

Listing the iPhone on eBay

Once I purchased a new iPhone 5 in October 2012, I decided to sell the older iPhone 4 online. I heard from several co-workers that they had sold their iPhones successfully on eBay.

I listed the iPhone in early November for a week auction, with the default settings that eBay provides. I am not a big eBay user, I have sold and bought about 8 items over 3 years, and nothing outside of the US.

The iPhone sells

When the item sold on Nov. 9th, I was a bit dismayed that it was sold to a foreign country. There were 4 bids and the other 3 were all in the US. But, I did not feel I had any option but to accept this persons bid, since they were the highest bidder.


The same day the auction closed, i received a message from the buyer, stating that they would pay $15 above the eBay determined shipping to ship to Sri Lanka.

Hi I’m willing to pay $15 to ship to Sri Lanka through priority mail through USPS first class mail. Adjust the invoice, I’m ready to pay at any time.

I checked shipping prices, flat rate, etc. at USPS and replied on Nov.11 regarding the method of shipping to make sure there would be no misunderstanding.


Dear kfernando2020,

kfernando2020, i have attached the mailing prices through the USPS to Sri Lanka. The Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes will not fit the shape for the iphone box (and padding). the only reasonable price for shipping is First-Class Mail International. The iphone original box will be padded and shipped in a generic brown cardboard box. If this method of shipping agrees with you, I will ship once i receive payment through paypal.
If this method of shipping does not agree, please let me know so I can, make other arrangements, or sell to a more local USA bidder.

I had no further communication from the buyer so, I checked around for the required etiquette on eBay for a length to wait for payment. The general wait for payment is 3-7days. On Nov. 16th I politely sent asking if they were still interested in the iPhone.


Hi kfernando2020,

Just checking that you are still interested in the iphone, you bought on Nov. 9th. I have not received payment through paypal. I will wait one more day before I put it up for Second chance. Thank you.


The same day I received the following message. The buyer was “stuck with money” and be patient.

Oh sorry. I’ll make the payment . I was stuck with money.
Thank you very much for your patience.

– kfernando2020

Later that same day paypal informed me I had received payment, and to go ahead and ship the item.

The iPhone ships


Which I did the following day, Nov 17 using eBays’ recommended, automated system to print the mailing label with the tracking number.

Carefully following the instructions per placement on package.

uspo shipping label

Tracking the iPhone

From that point on I would check eBay, almost daily to see status of the package enroute. If you click the tracking number on the eBay listing, it shows the status. After Nov 27 when the package left NY, the tracking never updated, but the estimated delivery date was Dec. 7th, so I just kept returning to ebay each day to see if there was a tracking change.

tracking on ebay

Meanwhile, paypal has recorded the payment as “received but currently unavailable”.

Then on the date of estimated delivery of Dec. 7th. the funds became available.


Then all hell breaks lose

Then all hell breaks lose on Dec 10th

…as the buyer makes a claim for non-delivery on both paypal and eBay. Because the buyer did not even try and cntact me, or the USPS, I immediately sense a scam and talk with both eBay and paypal representatives, and although both companies are jointly owned, both parties politely place the burden on the other.

As a consumer, you may click through between each interface seamlessly when it facilitates buying or selling, but if there is a problem they don’t recognize each other.

eBay asks me if i have had international sales before, goodness no! and with this experience I never will again. eBay’s rep. says most sellers set up their selling to exclude foreign buyers and eliminate this hassle. Then they walk me through several menus to find a check box to change my settings. These settings are both hidden and not easily understandable to new sellers, And not once in the selling setup process was there information on setting up the auction in a way that would be more protective to the seller, or an obvious method to eliminate this buyer once the auction ended. eBay also indicates that i should contact the buyer and explain that the delivery date is only an estimate and be patient (which i did through eBays’ sanctioned message service).

For anyone else’s information, a seller needs to go to Account > Site Preferences and Block Buyers by setting “Buyer Requirements”. But nowhere was this evident within the setup for selling. For an average user who has bought a couple of items on eBay and now wishes to sell something, there is inadequate information as to the options and risks.


Passing the $$ Buck

eBay reps say to contact paypal, since the money changed hands there.

paypal asks me to contact the USPS since that was the delivery company. they also suggest that I inquire whether the tracking information has been updated, since they indicate that the USPS is lax in updating the information online. They also inform me that I should ask the USPS to update the tracking information immediately since there is a claim pending.

the USPs informs me that they do not track any First Class or Priority Mail, once the package leaves the states? so why is eBay recommending this method of international delivery? Why do neither eBay of paypal seem to know this fact? This seems like an obvious loophole for someone to abuse, and I am becoming increasing suspicious of this buyer at this point. Meanwhile, I have sent a couple emails to the buyer (as suggested by both paypal and eBay,to keep open the communication with the buyer) but the buyer has not replied back to any communication. In fact the buyer waited until the funds became available and quickly filed a claim. This is seeming more suspicious, the more I think about it.

It is also very disheartening that both eBay and paypal will “pass the buck” on to each other, all the while claiming to have buyer and seller protection. This is clearly not evident.

So I start to do some more research on this buyer.
When you first look at the buyer summary, it appears that
the buyer has sold seven items and has 100% positive feedback


on the buyers individual profile page it appears that they have all positive feedback – the chart for the last 12 months shows “0” negative feedback! When in fact there are 2 (so far).


If eBay is not going to show, or include negative feedback in their percentages, then just eliminate feedback all together. It doesn’t mean anything if it is all one sided.


only if you have gone to “show All” feedback and then finally notice the last tab “Feedback left for others” (?) What is going on here? Why is eBay trying to hide any negative feedback? Who is being protected here?

There they are, 2 negative feedbacks that are NOT REFLECTED in the “All Feedback” tab – this is misleading on eBays’ part and is a great disservice to anyone wishing honest discourse through the site. and in actual numbers, this buyer DOES NOT HAVE 100% positive feedback.


on top of this, i contacted each person who this buyer has had contact with on eBay in the last month, and already I have received response from another seller who is having the same problem as I am having from this buyer. Coincidence? I think not.


It looks like that eBay member kfernando2020 is trying to scam me as well!

I have sent a Mobile Phone on 9-th of November and today he escalated the dispute of item not received to a claim.

The circumstances are very suspicious too. I have sent the parcel with PRiority Registered Mail and the Tracking number is showing that the item reached Sri Lanka ( Colombo office) on 24-th of November but the buyer is claimming that the tracking number I gave him is not trackable which is absolute lie.

I have already asked our post office services to investigate and show the records how the packaged moved to Sri Lanka step by step and who received and signed for the item at Colombo Office!

If you have a personal e-mail I could send you what status is showed when tracking the item.

I am determine to do every effort but not to leave that Buyer to continue with his cheating honest eBay Sellers!

I am open to any suggestions in order to prevent any scams.

Kind Regards:

And yet, on eBay’s site this seller has 100% positive feedback still. Perhaps for a 3 striker like this eBay could go out on a limb and temporarily suspend this user while they do their secret internal investigation. Another idea, would be to Red Flag buyers or sellers when there is an internal investigation going on. This would prevent further harm on the general eBay public.

I would say, without a doubt that this person is taking advantage of paypal and eBay loopholes. And that this persons’ claim filed against my sale and shipped iPhone is TOTALLY fraudulent.

And yet this user continues to this day, continues to buy from others on eBay who have no warning.