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Here's what to know to avoid getting scammed on Ebay, and a bit of insight into how some shady sellers will try to scam you.

So you won an Ebay auction or purchased an item through the "BuyItNow" option, you paid with Paypal and now you are waiting for your parcel to arrive. Sometimes a tracking number is included that never shows updated information, like if the tracking number was fake. The last estimated time of arrival has passed by a week or two, now what?

You have 30 days to open a case in Ebay and 45 days in PayPal(2016). But be careful if you agree with the seller to re-ship the item, you may never get what you purchased or your money back The scam works by dragging the conversation long enough for the buyer protection to expire, then you have no recourse. Goodbye money!

To protect yourself the best practice would be to only leave feedback after you have received the item, contact the seller soon after the last estimated time of arrival and communicate with the seller and open a case within the 30 days of buyer protection.
Usually a seller will ask if you can wait for some extra time for the item to arrive, especially if it's a holiday season (google it if it's a foreign holiday, get a synapse), agree if it's within Ebay's 30 days buyer protection. After that agreed upon extra time has passed some sellers will refund you automatically, if they don't then you should open a case immediately in the Resolution Center.

Ebay and Paypal don't take bad reputation and cases against sellers lightly, they have strict policies and ban real people from using their services (this may be somebody's livelyhood, so take it seriously) therefore you must also be responsible when opening a dispute. However this is the only thing that ensures you can get your money back, so it's also OK to open a case to ask for your money back.

If your membership and reputation are important to you (and they should), you should also be consistent with your online purchasing behavior. If you receive the item after you have been refunded, do yourself a favor and contact the seller through Ebay/Paypal and pay them their money back. Some will even send you a second item just because you demonstrated you are a decent human being. Karma.

Which brings me to the last point, ONLY communicate with the seller through Ebay's messaging system. Ebay can and will access these messages to determine the outcome of a case. So also be smart about what you write, asking for a different website for your tracking number to work, agreeing to wait for a few days more and such is a reccomendable to show you are a cooperating user (always within the official time limits of course.)

So in a nutshell:

  1. Buy from sellers with high rating (don't buy expensive things from sellers with low rating)
  2. Pay attention to the last estimated time of arrival.
  3. Remember you have 30 days in Ebay and 45 days in Paypal to open a dispute after the last estimated time of arrival.
  4. Communicate with the seller only through Ebay messages.
  5. When opening a dispute, ask for a refund, do not accept for the item to be re-shipped.
  6. If you get the item after you were refunded, contact the seller and pay them back.
  7. Leave positive feedback if you were refunded.

Happy and safe purchasing!
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