You’ve heard us talk about the potential pitfalls of eBay many times. eBay is an AMAZING business. We’re big fans. However, there are way too many issues when it comes to buying and selling high-priced luxury items.
Of course everyone knows about the horror stories when buying an expensive watch – the watch shows up broken, the watch isn’t authentic, the condition of the watch was overstated in the listing, etc.
There are horror stories on the seller side as well. Last week we blogged about a legitimate seller dealing with a buyer who claimed that the product she bought was fake. At that point, it just becomes the seller’s word against the buyer’s word. eBay really isn’t set up to be an effective “judge.”
And now he’s another potential scam to watch out for. We are selling a Tag Heuer watch on eBay. Over the past 36 hours, we have gotten then exact same question about the watch – and we’re not talking about a generic question like, “How old is the watch?” It’s a very specific question:
“Hello seller i would like to know if this item is still in the same condition as posted? U can ship this item for overseas? How much shipping cost via US Postal Service Express Mail (EMS) for internationally?? I await to hear from you.
Thanks and I hope to do business with you soon.”
Sure, doesn’t seem too harmful as a standalone question. But when you get the same exact question about the same watch, it makes you wonder. So what do I think is going on?
My guess is that the a completely innocent individual’s eBay account has been stolen. OR, scam artists have purchased eBay accounts from legitimate individuals who have a strong track record on eBay. Then they try to get sellers to ship expensive products overseas using USPS Express Mail. Why so specific about the shipping? Because they know that the USPS doesn’t necessarily get signatures when they deliver in foreign countries – the USPS does not handle the package from end to end. They essentially drop it off with the local postal service when they get to the border. It’s anyone’s guess if the local carrier will get a signature. And if there’s no signature, then the buyer can claim that he/she never got the item. They’ll probably keep the watch AND get a refund from eBay since there is no proof of delivery.
I asked the buyer if they would be open to having the product shipped via Federal Express. I will share the response, if any.
Again, eBay is great for DVDs, random nicknacks, and other low-priced items. But there are just too many risks when it comes to high-priced luxury products.