I wanted to share with you guys a recent scam experience I had on ebay just a few weeks ago. Hopefully some of you can use this information to avoid or mitigate damage from something similar.
On October 18th, I found a really great deal on a Hasselblad H3DII-39, I had been looking for one to replace my H3D-39 because I have heard the back has less problems using copal shutters and 3rd party platforms, which are essential for my food photography.
Price was good but still realistic, pictures looked authentic, I even reverse image searched them and nothing came up. Seller had 100% feedback and a few hundred transactions. They were located in the united states, description was not copy and pasted from anywhere, everything looked legit.
I paid with paypal, no problem there. A few days go by, I hear nothing from the seller, I send a message and they respond that they are going to ship out the package in a few days. A few days ago by, I am a little irked by this, but figure I will give them some slack. I get sent tracking, tracking seems legitimate, it was shipped from the same area as the sellers ebay address. Sounds good so far right? Later that night I get an email from ebay saying that the listing was removed for fraud, and I should contact the resolution center and try to get a refund if I had already paid. I immediately called ebay, but they tell me they must give the seller 7 days to respond. Also, since I worried that this is just an empty box scam, ebay advises me that when the package arrives I need to video tape the entire thing, from the second I receive it to when I open it. They also recommend I take it to an airport of all things and get it x-rayed before I open it too. Basically if I did not do those things, the seller could claim I just took the item and made up that I did not get it, and there is nothing ebay could do about it by then.
At this point I am getting a little worried. What if the post man drops off my package when I am not home? What if my video is not sufficient for them? The day the package gets to the post office, I call them up first thing in the morning and ask them to hold the package there. They tell me they cannot because the name on the package does not match my name, so I am not authorized to do that. I call up ebay again, ebay says they need proof, and ask me to take a picture of the box with the same tracking but with the wrong address. I call post office back up, they tell me no because it is not my package. But they did tell me the name and address did not even exist, and they were going to return the box back.
I call ebay up again and tell them this, still they cannot do anything. a few more days go by, I finally get contacted by the seller. They tell me their account was hacked. I tell ebay about this, still nothing they can do. And because the seller responded, it added even more time until it could be resolved, regardless of what the seller had just told me. Ebay does assure me that after the 7 days they will make a final decision after they have looked at both sides of the case. Finally, it is the end of the 7 days, I get a message from ebay saying they need more time to resolve it. I ask how much more time? They say they do not know. Also, I would like to mention that during my various calls to ebay, despite them claiming to have made a case or to have been taking down important information, like the tracking for the package, the communication from the seller about their account, each time I called them I had to explain the entire situation again and each time they acted like this was the first time they had heard about it. Even worse, they repeatly tried to use wrong information to mislead me into a direction that would of made me ineligible for a refund. For example, they tried to tell me that too much time had passed and I should of made a case as soon as I noticed something was wrong, I tell them I did and I even have the case number, after a bunch of auguring and threatening to take legal action they suddenly "found" my case.
Finally on oct 31st I get a full refund, but not before calling them up over and over again. What seemed to work was telling them my legal counsel advised me to record my calls with them, they did not seem to like that and told me I was not authorized to record any calls with ebay. I could continue at my own risk though they informed me. Nevertheless, that seemed to get the ball rolling and I finally got the full amount of money back.
Basically what I want people to know is that the ebay buyer protection is not as iron clad as you would think. And you will probably have to really fight for a refund even in the most clear cut possible scenario. Also ebay and paypal are not your allies in this, and they seem to do everything they can to delay, or misinoform you out of a refund.
What I also found out was the seller had not been active for over 6 months, and when I looked closer they had not been buying or selling anything related to photography.
This led me to look at other hasselblad items right now, and I have seen at least 8-12 other scams. In every case, the account is in good standing, but has not been used for 6 months to a year. So I just want to warm everyone to be EXTREMELY careful right now on ebay, there are scams left and right.