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Dead-beat buyers on eBay: What's a seller to do?

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Dear eBay Queen:
My dad has been clearing out a ton of his old boxes of baseball cards and other graded cards he's been sitting on for a few years. Within two weeks, he's had two brand new buyers, (I'm basing this on eBay ID history,) win high-end items - a Gretzky PSA 9 RC, and a 48-pack box of late 70s OPC hockey. Neither of these buyers paid.

One of the winners claimed he was new to eBay and had PayPal issues which kept him from paying - but I checked his buying history. He bought some other high-end hockey cards the same day, and later bought a different Gretzky RC. The unpaid case closed, which means no negative feedback could be posted. There's no obvious action against his ID either.

The other winner hasn't responded to any messages. His ID was created on January 2, the day before he sniped the OPC box auction at $1,550.

Have you heard of anyone else having problems like this? How can I figure out if this is some competitor? Is there a way to link newly created IDs to old IDs? I’m pretty ticked I can’t leave negative feedback!

Able M,
Kansas City, KS

Dear Able:
Since 2006, sellers aren't allowed to leave a buyer negative feedback, so 100% positive buyer feedback is a useless metric to tell if your buyer is a good one or not. You can, however, report to eBay if you think a particular buyer is acting in bad faith. When you report a buyer, eBay notates the buyer's account and will monitor that account for any funny business. When you are reporting the buyer, I would ask the eBay representative if your new buyer is related to the ID you think has defrauded you in the past. If they can connect the accounts by relating them to an older account / credit card / IP address, and a pattern of abuse emerges, they'll quite possibly reprimand the buyer.

One way to prevent this from happening again on your high end cards, is to use a Buy-It-Now with Best Offer format, rather than an auction format. Set the Buy It Now price a little over what the item should go for. When the offers start to come in, you might quickly accept a reasonable offer from a reputable eBay buyer. If you get a $1500 offer from someone with 0 feedback, you might contact that person to get a feel for whether they are flaky or not.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item: 380790052877. The fact that this window has proper documentation helped increase its value substantially. Look at this fantastic piece of art: Bonhams Documented Tiffany Studios Floral Leaded Stained Glass Landing Window SOLD: $44,000.00.



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