According to data by Statista, in the first quarter of 2018, eBay had reached 171 million active users. A far cry from its humble beginnings in the living room of Pierre Omidyar where it started its life as the online auction website AuctionWeb in 1995. The success of eBay has been based on its ease and convenience of use, instant access to thousands of different products and the protection offered to those who use its platform to buy and sell. It’s also a brilliant way to find the weirdest things you’d never find anywhere else.

Unfortunately, times have changed and there are increasing number of fraudulent claims by those who blatantly manipulate the system. In its attempts to protect buyers from unscrupulous transactions, eBay has instead left sellers at the mercy of scammers. As a result, a marketplace of simple, honest and convenient transactions is fast becoming a thing of the past.



So how is eBay dealing with this?

Not very well from where I’m standing with eBay siding almost always in favour of the buyer and it’s almost impossible to argue your case. There are countless cases on the eBay community forum of unfairness in the way eBay has dealt with various issues but I thought I’d also ask some of my fellow bloggers to share their own experiences. Here is what they had to say about being a buyer and a seller.


“Some buyers definitely take advantage. I had a woman insist that a new with tags dress wasn’t new. I told her to return it for a full refund, as I couldn’t be bothered to argue. ……….. At least that way she couldn’t justify any bad feedback and I could get it removed if she left any.”

Jane Berry at Shoestring Cottage

“I’ve found eBay have both buyer AND seller protection. As long as I’ve got a paper trail and describe my items correctly, when I have escalated cases to eBay they have refunded the buyer AND let me keep my money.”

Emma Drew at EmmaDrewInfo

Emma also has an excellent post about what to do when an eBay buyer opens a case against you. Take a look by clicking here.

“I’ve been selling quite a bit on eBay recently (mainly clothing) and have had issues with people saying they haven’t received items. I always spend the extra little bit on a signed for delivery now as you can prove the parcel has been received/signed for. eBay will just return the money from your PayPal back to the buyer if they say they haven’t received it, even if you can prove it was sent.”

Ami Pilkington at Ami-Rose

“I listed an item in their “no sale, no fee” period. Had an email confirming it. They keep sending me letters and emails saying I owe £17.99 fees for the item (which didn’t sell). I have replied to every email stating that there should be no fees due to the offer. Several months later, my account is suspended and I get almost daily correspondence about it, but not a single reply to any of my emails!”

Emma MacDonald at Crazy with Twins 

“I recently sold a microphone, which had minor damage. I took numerous photos and went to great lengths to describe it. I also had multiple conversations with the buyer discussing it. He returned it saying he thought it was a newer model, even though I’d not specified a model and had provided plenty of photos showing it. …………. He then claimed the damage was “really bad” and despite providing all the emails to show he had seen it and discussed it, he was given a refund as it was “not as described ” leaving me £20+ out on postage.

Adam Lewis at LewisLoves

“I always get proof of posting and send expensive items through special delivery. I’ve sold a lot and not had too many issues – I do notice more people bid on things now and then don’t pay so you have to cancel the transaction.”

Lucy Dodsworth at OnTheLuce

“We sold one of those skateboards for the PlayStation back in the day – the buyer got it at a bargain price and then broke it, made us pay to have it sent back and had taken a part of it to fix theirs. We lost so much money and never really sold on eBay ever since.”

Joy Jackson at Pink Oddy 

“We sold a brand new car seat base on eBay, the buyer even came to look at it and collect it. A week later, I get a claim saying that it was broken. The guy had included photos of it all cracked. So, of course, he got his money back from PayPal, I spent so much time trying to fight it and phoning eBay but of course, the buyer is always right, no matter what!”

Emma Harris at Me, the Man and the Baby

“It’s about protecting yourself as much as you can but eBay isn’t the place it once was that’s for sure. A major reason for the expansion of Facebook groups and Marketplace.”

Helen Dewdney at The Complaining Cow

Helen has a whole chapter on eBay in her book How to Complain: The Essential Guide to getting Refunds, Redress and Results where you can find lots of top tips and advice for buyers and sellers alike. You can get your copy from Amazon by clicking here.



The security eBay offers those who use its service has for a long time been its strength but if that no longer exists or is undermined in any way, then what’s the point? It is most definitely not what it used to be and there are lots of alternatives out there, which do not incur the same level of costs and offer an equally convenient and easy platform for buying and selling.

Ultimately, can eBay adapt its judicial procedures accordingly to deal with the new challenges posed by fraudulent users or will the previous success of the protection it offers, eventually be its downfall?


Please note that this post contains affiliate links.

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