Truland Photography

Friday, March 15, 2013

No More Selling on eBay

While this isn't a post about photography, it is a post about selling cameras and why I'm no longer going to use eBay for that purpose.

eBay used to be a reliable, safe place to buy and sell camera equipment. In fact, I began on eBay well over a decade ago buying and selling trumpets for my personal use. But like a lot of things, the bigger it gets the more dangerous it gets.

Yesterday, I listed my 1D Mark III for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1,330. Within minutes I received an email from eBay saying the camera had sold at that price.

Having just looked at ended sales of 1D Mark III bodies and knowing that my price was at the high end of the range that camera had been selling for, I was skeptical. When I saw that the buyer was in the UK and had no history of transactions with eBay I knew something was up.

My auction listed shipping only to the US so I notified the buyer that we would have to cancel the transaction. I communicated both through eBay and directly with my photo email which is not the same email I use with eBay and PayPal.

Here is the first response:

Hello, I am the buyer of your item...I am buying it as a birthday Gift for my son...Also should i made the payment to this PayPal email address (truland not.please get back with your correct paypal email address,i want to be sure via can also send me paypal money request to my mail (waltervivian451

First, that email, is not an address I use or have set up. My reply was that no, I'm not shipping to the UK and would you please agree to cancel the transaction.

I then get this fake email purportedly from PayPal (click for full size):

It looks real but the email isn't from PayPal at all as the return address is a domain. And it's not possible that money had been deposited in that account because that PayPal account doesn't exist. It's my email but not the one I use for PayPal.

The same time as the fake email arrived, I get an email from the fake purchaser as follows:
I want to notify you that payment for your item has already been made and the necessary funds have been deducted from my PAY PAL account.i want you to send the item  to the address below,am buying it as a birthday gift for my Son,who is currently working with the UNICEF and he is on special duty in Nigeria at this can check your Spam box if you did not see the PayPal notification mail in your inbox.

I have provided 150.00 USD available for the shipping USPS Express mail international sign for EB So endeavor to get the item in post ASAP,so that it can get to my Son on time for his birthday Gift.

I want you to get the item to my Son as soon as you receive notification from the PayPal. Because I want my Son to receive the item before his birthday.

Name.......Gabriel Abayomi
Address...17 Otun Street
Zip code...23401,

Best Regards.
And this message through eBay:
Payment as been made you can check your Spam box if you did not see the PayPal notification mail in your inbox.
And yes, I did check my PayPal account via web browser since the actual account information was passed along to the purchaser by eBay. Of course there is no transaction.

I forwarded the fake email to PayPal and reported the issue to eBay. My problem is the sale of my camera, which already cost $12 in fees, has been ended with a fake purchase.

I also noted a transaction on eBay recently where a purported purchaser bid almost $8,000 for a used 5D Mark II body which would be worth, at most, around $1,500.

So, if anyone out there wants to buy a really nice 1D mark III for $1,300 let me know. It looks like I'll be holding on to it for a while.

UPDATE: 3/16/13

Wow, my would be scammer doesn't give up easily. Here's an email I received this morning:
Dear seller, what is going on with the shipment to my son, payment as been made out and your funds as been deducted from my paypal account, and it will be credited into your paypal account once you get the item ship and get back to paypal with the shipment tracking number for confirmation...Check your Spam box if you did not see the paypal notification mail in your in box.. 
You do have to admire persistance, I suppose. By the way, the email address the scammer is using is And here is my email response:
Fake emails purporting to be from Paypal don't fool me you turkey. Your scam has been reported to eBay and PayPal.

Here's where you screwed up. The PayPal account you pretended to deposit into doesn't exist so I couldn't have received an email from PayPal. 

My real PayPal account was sent to you by eBay but evidently you're too stupid to figure it out.

And, it's easy to log in to PayPal and see if anything has been deposited.

Do you really think people are stupid enough to ship something to Africa for a purchaser in the UK when the whole auction was limited to the US?
Another by the way, neither eBay nor PayPal have responded to any of my contacts to them over the past several days.


  1. saw your link from DPR. came to read it. I would honestly not try to make a point with this clown by teaching him how he screwed up. that certainly does not benefit anyone, except making you feel smart, and helping him in his future scams.
    Just ignore, and he will go away.
    good luck on the sale of your 1d3.

    1. I disagree, I guess. The point for everyone is that don't rely on emails, always check the website. There is no way a scammer can get past that.

      When I started on eBay PayPal didn't exist. Transactions were by check or money order and the seller waited until the check cleared before shipping. And only once did I send a check (for about $10) and never received the item.

  2. I had a similar experience with a South American scam buyer a couple of years ago. Like you I had limited my shipment to the US. When I notified this "buyer" of that he/she came back with a cousin in Seattle who would accept delivery and provided me with an address. The thing is, if you are scammed neither eBay or PayPal will help you as they will cite some rule you violated. Lucky for you, you figured out the scam and didn't fall for the fake PayPal emails.

  3. You'all must be new to EBAY fraud issues. This happened to me years ago when selling a Nikon coolpix p/s. Folks, it is common sense to NEVER trust a) communication that includes loads of mispellings, b) long sob stories c)deaths, gifts, altruistic gestures. At this point, I delete emails. You should probably change your selling strategy. I have had good luck selling cameras on EBAY. And I would NOT tell the stupid scammer where he screwed up....who knows maybe they will be more savvy next time. Do not teach the enemy. FWIW

  4. I think while complaining in the background to ebay/paypal, it would have been more effective and fun to string the guy along, the same way people have been doing with the classic Nigerian 511 scams.

    "I sent it out yesterday, your son will be so happy"
    "sorry, I didn't get to the post office in time today, but I certainly will make it tomorrow"
    "The Post Office said something is wrong with your address. Please confirm it is spelled correctly."
    "Ok, the PO says it's ok this time. Not sure what that lady was talking about last Tuesday. Now it's going out with tracking number XSUCKA511"
    "Guess what? The package came back today, marked return to sender. I think I need to just give you your money back. Can you send me your paypal account info, please?"

  5. @AnonymousMarch 18, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    The Nigerian scams are known as "419 scams" and NOT 511. I am sure a Wikipedia or some such search will advise you of this.

    plevyadophy (DPReview forum member)

  6. And on the topic of 419 scams, I'd heartily recommend anyone interested in finding out more about them as well as having a few laughs, to visit

    where you will see some of the payback being visited upon these scammers by a professional scam baiter.

  7. its a good thing you managed to find the warning signs in time. I do ebay transactiosn as well as as what I have learned after getting scammed ones is that always buy from those ebay stores with top ratings from the latest month, testimonials and stuff. That has helped me buy things used in Ebay without much hassle and problems at all. just have to be careful and if an item is too good to be true, just skip it. spend some more on another slightly more expensive but secure.

    I also avoid sellers who sell only one item at a time.

  8. At least that one was easy to spot. To be honest selling stuff on Ebay internationally is a real risk, because even if they pay via PayPal they can just do a charge back on their credit card once they have the item. PayPal offers NO insurance for international sales, and purely suggest contacting the police (lol). Credit card companies will generally defend their customers and believe their story that the item was different or such.

    Having said that, there's lots of reports and stories of how useless PayPal are for actually fighting charge backs shipping within the US too.

    But yeah if the person does a charge back, PayPal will suck the money out of your PayPal account, or charge it to your credit card / withdraw it from your bank account. And if you smell a charge back coming and close your PayPal account & change your bank account and credit cards, good luck buying anything on Ebay ever again.

  9. It's the Nigerian Scam cartel, you can google about it.

    1. Nigeria. That's always a red flag.

  10. Of course EBay and Paypal doesn't give a shit. All they care about is PROFIT. They'll shaft a customer just to make a buck. How did EBay get to buy paypal btw, since it's a clear violation of anti trust laws? Must have bribed a few corrupt US politicians ;-)

  11. I used to work in a camera shop selling cameras. We had many issues with scammers on E-bay over the years. My boss was pretty good at sifting the legit ones from the dodgy ones that had one name on their account and different name on "stolen' card. We got stuck once with a small compact camera though. Could have been worse. Some of them use really dirty tricks even when calling through on phone. Had once a so called interpreter call up for a so called " hearing impaired" (for a Canon 5D MK III ) person trying to prey on the good will and sympathy of people. Lesson to needs to be vigil and alert. There are many of crooks out there.