I think I'm dealing with another scam buyer on eBay

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
I was already going to create a thread when I noticed eBay still showed a "buy it now" option on my listing (item 132803947681, box + unused / untouched accessories for an iPhone) - even after it already had bids and there was no reserve price. Kinda strange.

I created the listing through the eBay mobile app, which didn't present any option for the me to enable buyer restrictions. After typing some title keywords, the app tried to force me to pick a specific model of iPhone, so I had to back up and describe something more general like "iphone accessories" to get past that. It listed some search results and I chose a similar listing for an iPhone box with accessories, from the category for mobile phone accessories.

I set bids to start at $0.01 (no reserve price) with a buy-it-now price of $60 (MSRP for the individual new accessories would be ~$80), I hoped it might sell instantly since I needed the money. Then there were a few bids and the buy-it-now option should have disappeared, but my eBay mobile app still showed me a buy-it-now price for some reason.

I thought it might just be a quirk where the app shows me (the seller) the initial auction parameters. Then, after a couple days, someone did buy-it-now for $60 in the early AM and paid me through PayPal.

The buyer's username is clearly the kind of name eBay suggests to a new user, based on partial first and last name. It is consistent with the name I see on the PayPal payment.

I sent a message to the buyer:
"Thanks for buying the iPhone box + accessories! I'll get it sent out ASAP!!"

I packed and shipped it with insurance. I can't even afford to eat a $60 loss at the moment. I was already getting a sense that the buyer was a scammer since the buyer has low feedback (just 7, all from the last couple months) and hadn't responded to my message. Some time after I dropped-off the package at USPS, it was scanned into the system and started moving.

Then I got an odd message from the buyer:
"Dear seller a banner on my phone says pay now didn’t you
receive my funds? Please send my item thank you.
"

I quickly responded:
"I received payment from "[name redacted]" and shipped the item earlier today. USPS tracking number: [tracking number redacted]

It's already on the way to you with tracking and insurance.
"

The buyer responded:
"Oh I am so very sorry and thank you for letting me purchase
this item
"

All messages from this buyer have strange unnecessary line breaks, but maybe that's due to the device the person is using. I immediately became somewhat more-concerned that this buyer is a scammer because the message starts oddly with "dear seller," awkwardly says "funds" instead of "payment," and only uses vague terms like "my item" / "this item."

This morning, I got another message from the buyer:
"Dear seller a iPhone does come with this shipment doesn’t it?
Please tell me it does
"

It was very clear in my listing title, photos, description, and my initial message that this was just the box + accessories. It was listed in the correct category for mobile phone accessories.

eBay pressures sellers to accept returns, but I set the option in the listing to not accept returns because I don't want to be jerked around by scammers and I couldn't afford to leave money stuck in limbo.

At the same time I saw the buyer's message this morning, there was already a message from eBay indicating that the buyer has requested a return.

Typical eBay trying really hard to make sellers accept returns, it says:
"[...] be sure to reply to the buyer by Oct 10, 2018. Starting on that day, the buyer could ask us to step in and help by opening a case - this can affect your seller level."

I double-checked and verified that my listing says "no returns." Only when I view the actual return request, eBay says:
"The buyer requested a return, but you're not obligated to accept a return for this item.

Please take action by Oct 10.
"

Info from the buyer

Reason
"Changed my mind"

Comments
"Dear seller and ebay I have changed my mind because I thought a phone came with the box it’s my fault"

There's "dear seller" again. I suppose I could grant the refund when I get a bit more cash, even though the buyer hasn't received the package yet. If it's a scammer, I would be playing right into what the scammer wants. I probably would not receive the item I originally shipped.

If someone thought they were buying an iPhone, they probably should have looked for pictures of it. Also the buyer should have seen my first message, which was sent immediately after the purchase and many hours before the package was shipped.
 
Last edited:

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
I have a video recording of the item being packed and another of the package being dropped off at USPS. I do that for practically everything since many of the items I sell are expensive.

Maybe it will be useful to have.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,331
10,043
126
I don't know how common it is to sell "iPhone Box", but whenever I'm browsing ebay, and I see "box", I think,"scam seller!". who the fuck would want to buy a box, without the product? Unless they're planning on scamming a retail store.

So no sympathies from me!
 

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
I don't know how common it is to sell "iPhone Box", but whenever I'm browsing ebay, and I see "box", I think,"scam seller!". who the fuck would want to buy a box, without the product? Unless they're planning on scamming a retail store.

So no sympathies from me!
I had a pristine box with new / untouched accessories. The accessories are worth something. The box would be worth something to anyone who is giving the exact same phone as a gift. I checked first and saw that lots of people sell their iPhone packaging. Most of them don't have the new / untouched accessories.

For some of the game stuff I have, the box is worth 50x more than the game or accessory inside.
 
Last edited:

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,689
2,811
126
I have a video recording of the item being packed and another of the package being dropped off at USPS. I do that for practically everything since many of the items I sell are expensive.

Maybe it will be useful to have.
I've read eBay doesn't care about video recordings and won't even view it as evidence.
 

SKORPI0

Lifer
Jan 18, 2000
18,409
2,315
136
I don't know how common it is to sell "iPhone Box", but whenever I'm browsing ebay, and I see "box", I think,"scam seller!". who the fuck would want to buy a box, without the product? Unless they're planning on scamming a retail store.

So no sympathies from me!
Exactly, all they need to put inside is something with a similar weight of the product and shrink wrap it. I had the misfortune of being a victim, item looked new and wrapped, seal didn't look broken. Opened the item (a 4TB external HDD) and no drive inside the external case. I should have noted the lighter weight difference, but got it for a amazing price of $25+tax. Good thing I was able to return at Walmart and explain what happened.
 

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
Exactly, all they need to put inside is something with a similar weight of the product and shrink wrap it. I had the misfortune of being a victim, item looked new and wrapped, seal didn't look broken. Opened the item (a 4TB external HDD) and no drive inside the external case. I should have noted the lighter weight difference, but got it for a amazing price of $25+tax. Good thing I was able to return at Walmart and explain what happened.
  1. If someone is selling a phone, buying a box and selling with the box will increase the value a bit more than the cost of buying the box. It increases the perceived value. That's also desirable when giving a used device as a gift. I make sure that people receiving a second-hand device from me get an experience that's as-close-to-new-as-possible. Based on comments from friends and family members that have received my used devices, it has made quite an impression.

    A similar phenomenon: Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt for NES is one of the most common games on the planet, which makes the value pretty low. Many years ago, I observed that an NES console with controller and zapper gun will sell for a bit more when you include a copy of SMB/DH. The value difference is actually greater than the value of the game by itself.

  2. Apple had a very unique kind of film on the original box that would not be easy to duplicate.

  3. A scammer wanting to put heavy rocks in the box would buy one of the boxes that doesn't come with new / unused / untouched accessories.

  4. It's 2 years old. Purchased directly from Apple on the iPhone every year plan. The phone was sent back to Apple over 1 year ago. No one can try to return it.

  5. The serial number on the outside of the box has to match the original purchase.
 
Last edited:

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,855
5,726
126
I could easily see how someone new to eBay could be confused by this. I mean even the picture of the box almost looks like it's a box with a black iPhone sitting on top of it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-box-untouched-accessories-for-iPhone-7-Plus-jet-black-256GB-unlocked-/132803947681?hash=item1eebbb6ca1:g:5YoAAOSwnVRbsu23&nma=true&si=gf49eVVEVJcPU7XCTEDhfGh9Tuo%3D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

I also agree that selling a box is sketchy and if I saw it too I'd think it's just a seller trying to scam me. You didn't make it as clear as you could have in the listing either. I remember when people were selling Xbox 360 boxes for hundreds, and some of those even said in the description, in big bold colorful letters "THIS IS FOR THE BOX ONLY NO CONSOLE INCLUDED." You have nothing like that really.

I'd rather keep stuff, throw it away, or donate it than deal with selling on eBay now a days.
 

GagHalfrunt

Lifer
Apr 19, 2001
25,297
2,000
126
I have a video recording of the item being packed and another of the package being dropped off at USPS. I do that for practically everything since many of the items I sell are expensive.

Maybe it will be useful to have.

You really believe that will protect you? Yeah, because nobody could possibly make a video of them putting a phone in a box and then dropping off the box at the post office without switching boxes for one with a brick in it during the journey.
 

CZroe

Lifer
Jun 24, 2001
24,195
856
126
I don't know how common it is to sell "iPhone Box", but whenever I'm browsing ebay, and I see "box", I think,"scam seller!". who the fuck would want to buy a box, without the product? Unless they're planning on scamming a retail store.

So no sympathies from me!
Is this a joke? For many of the things I sell the box is more valuable than its original contents.

Just about any used item is more valuable boxed with original accessories than loose and the prices on eBay generally reflect this. Clearly, they are worth something. This was worth a bit more than the average box+ accessory bundle particularly because the accessories were completely unused:
New original lightning cable, new guaranteed non-counterfeit wall charger, new USB to TRRS dongle with no wear and tear (my friend’s original only lasted a week!), new EarPods with no one’s earwax in them, etc.

It’s preserved by collectors to a collector standards for collectors, historians, Apple fanatics, or whoever else might want it. One only needs to look at the popularity of unboxing videos to see how important the original presentation is for some people.

If I was going to give a used several hundred dollar phone as a gift, the box and accessories would certainly improve the presentation so that it feels less like a used hand-me-down and more like a proper gift.

When there are so many people who want to pay for the box and accessories, it’s actually pretty dumb to throw all that away after trading up to the latest phone. It doesn’t matter how you feel. You’re simply categorically wrong.

This whole “boxes are used to scams retailers” BS is completely ignorant of how returns work in reality. No retailer just takes phones back, sight unseen. The box has information on it that will not match the receipt to verify a fraudulent return. Not only that, they could just as easily use their original box if they were still in the return period.

I mean: DUH.
 
Last edited:

CZroe

Lifer
Jun 24, 2001
24,195
856
126
I could easily see how someone new to eBay could be confused by this. I mean even the picture of the box almost looks like it's a box with a black iPhone sitting on top of it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-box-untouched-accessories-for-iPhone-7-Plus-jet-black-256GB-unlocked-/132803947681?hash=item1eebbb6ca1:g:5YoAAOSwnVRbsu23&nma=true&si=gf49eVVEVJcPU7XCTEDhfGh9Tuo%3D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

I also agree that selling a box is sketchy and if I saw it too I'd think it's just a seller trying to scam me. You didn't make it as clear as you could have in the listing either. I remember when people were selling Xbox 360 boxes for hundreds, and some of those even said in the description, in big bold colorful letters "THIS IS FOR THE BOX ONLY NO CONSOLE INCLUDED." You have nothing like that really.

I'd rather keep stuff, throw it away, or donate it than deal with selling on eBay now a days.
Yeah? Well, I remember when that was happening with the original XBOX after the November 2001 launch. Some people were even selling printed pictures of a box. Ichinisan, our friend (who is now my roommate), and I burned our friend’s account by deliberately outbiding other users to protect them from that scam. Ichinisan is hyper-aware of that and is definitely not pulling that same scam. He has something to sell that people want to buy. Selling the box and accessories after upgrading is routine.

The biggest potential for confusion IMO comes from the product name having “Plus” in it, which makes it seem like it comes with the “jet black 256GB.” I keep trying to tell Ichinisan that I’m not as confident as him that the buyer is trying to pull a fast one, despite the feedback history and communication quirks.
 
Last edited:

CZroe

Lifer
Jun 24, 2001
24,195
856
126
You really believe that will protect you? Yeah, because nobody could possibly make a video of them putting a phone in a box and then dropping off the box at the post office without switching boxes for one with a brick in it during the journey.
It has helped numerous times. That isn’t the only kind of scam people pull, you know? Also, much of the benefit has been for documentation where we were able to go back and get serial numbers and know that certain things worked and such. Half the time it’s for our own peace of mind when we worry that we may have left something out.

It also intimidates the scammers to know that you recorded it if they don’t know how seriously eBay will take it. Also, eBay does take certain things into consideration. You seem awfully hung up on one particular kind of scam, but there are many more where is can be useful.

Let’s say that someone intentionally damages it and provides pictures to eBay to force you to accept a return. Those pictures may show irrefutable proof that it is the same item you demonstrated working and without damage before packing it up. I’ve also made marks along the package seals that would show on video if the box had been swapped or tampered... marks such that you obviously can’t just duplicate it on another box and swap it out.

Having the video has the potential to help even if there is a particular scenario where it won’t.
 
Last edited:

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
I could easily see how someone new to eBay could be confused by this. I mean even the picture of the box almost looks like it's a box with a black iPhone sitting on top of it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-box-untouched-accessories-for-iPhone-7-Plus-jet-black-256GB-unlocked-/132803947681?hash=item1eebbb6ca1:g:5YoAAOSwnVRbsu23&nma=true&si=gf49eVVEVJcPU7XCTEDhfGh9Tuo%3D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

I also agree that selling a box is sketchy and if I saw it too I'd think it's just a seller trying to scam me. You didn't make it as clear as you could have in the listing either. I remember when people were selling Xbox 360 boxes for hundreds, and some of those even said in the description, in big bold colorful letters "THIS IS FOR THE BOX ONLY NO CONSOLE INCLUDED." You have nothing like that really.

I'd rather keep stuff, throw it away, or donate it than deal with selling on eBay now a days.
The title is most important because people using the eBay app usually do not see the description. Without digging, the buyer *might* see a couple algorithmically-selected (laughably random) lines selected from your description. It's very important to be clear in the title: "Original box + untouched accessories for iPhone 7 Plus ..."

You probably don't realize, but lots of people who sell iPhones buy boxes routinely. Lots and lots of iPhone boxes are sold on eBay with no problems at all. Mine had more value because it was more than just a box.

I really should have sold it last year, immediately after I sent the phone back to Apple. I lost track of the box in storage and finally found it while looking for my iPhone 8 packaging (which I sold with the iPhone 8).
 
Sep 29, 2004
18,665
67
91
I wouldn't do anything. No return, no refund. The deal is over with. You are not responsible for people's own ignorance.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,855
5,726
126
The title is most important because people using the eBay app usually do not see the description. Without digging, the buyer *might* see a couple algorithmically-selected (laughably random) lines selected from your description. It's very important to be clear in the title: "Original box + untouched accessories for iPhone 7 Plus ..."

You probably don't realize, but lots of people who sell iPhones buy boxes routinely. Lots and lots of iPhone boxes are sold on eBay with no problems at all. Mine had more value because it was more than just a box.

I really should have sold it last year, immediately after I sent the phone back to Apple. I lost track of the box in storage and finally found it while looking for my iPhone 8 packaging (which I sold with the iPhone 8).
I'm not saying it is a scam or anything, I'm just saying the way it was worded I could see it being ambiguous just because it wasn't as clear as it could be and as clear as I've seen listings when people are selling boxes, so there there really is no question at all about what it is.
 

Cuular

Senior member
Aug 2, 2001
804
18
81
Do not refund the money, until you get your original item back. If they don't return your item. Then keep the money. Refunding it now, then they have no incentive to send the item back.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,331
10,043
126
It's very important to be clear in the title: "Original box + untouched accessories for iPhone 7 Plus ..."
See, to me, that screams "boxed iPhone + accessories".

If you don't put, "box ONLY" somewhere in the title / description, IMHO, you're scamming. So GL with ebay's resolution.

(And I could give two shits about the irrationality of collectors.)
 

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
Do not refund the money, until you get your original item back. If they don't return your item. Then keep the money. Refunding it now, then they have no incentive to send the item back.
Yeah. That's what I'm planning to do. If the person is a scammer, I'm probably playing right into it.

The last time I had an issue with a scam buyer on eBay, I was actually selling the very same box (still brand new and sealed with the unused phone inside) back in 2016. It started at $0.01 and closed for $1,925.00

Because I used the eBay mobile app to create the listing, I couldn't manage buyer restrictions. The buyer was a recently-created account with a bogus address. Never paid, of course. I decided to keep the phone after that. It sure would have been nice if selling that phone paid for another. I was willing to wait for general availability to get another one for myself.
 
Last edited:

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,298
1,234
136
See, to me, that screams "boxed iPhone + accessories".

If you don't put, "box ONLY" somewhere in the title / description, IMHO, you're scamming. So GL with ebay's resolution.
Many other items were included in the bundle. Some of them were more valuable than the box. I would not say "box only"

"box + accessories for [thing]" should never be interpreted as "boxed [thing] + accessories"

(And I could give two shits about the irrationality of collectors.)
eBay is a haven for collectors. The people who give a shit don't care whether you do.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,855
5,726
126
If you had said "IPHONE NOT INCLUDED" anywhere in the title or description I think my opinion would change, but that is not stated clearly anywhere and could easily be taken ambiguously as multiple people in this thread have said.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VirtualLarry

CZroe

Lifer
Jun 24, 2001
24,195
856
126
See, to me, that screams "boxed iPhone + accessories".

If you don't put, "box ONLY" somewhere in the title / description, IMHO, you're scamming. So GL with ebay's resolution.

(And I could give two shits about the irrationality of collectors.)
It’s not “box only.”

If anyone here is being irrational...
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
110,579
29,199
146
Maybe I can get that on Craigslist.

Yeah dude, just submit your buyer's address as the shipping address for the dildos (assuming the Cl dildo seller doesn't demand to meet in person....).

That's kind of my philosophy these days: when in doubt, just send dildos.