Hello everyone. This post will not be showing off Pokemon merchandise but will be discussing eBay, a platform most of us use for our collections, and a serious fault in their protection of buyers for pre-order/pre-sale listings. I urge the mods to read this post as I believe it belongs in the community to keep everyone safe. I was scammed out of $111 with a pre-order/pre-sale, from a seller with 100% feedback at the time, that was in breach of eBay's own policy for pre-order listings intended to be followed by all sellers. Sellers are not allowed to make pre-order listings of items that cannot be shipped in 30 days. This does not affect buyers until it is too late. The second the listing went up on eBay, it was breaking a rule but was not stricken down immediately and I have found 5 other people that were affected by this seller. Whoever bought the listing I bought was also scammed, so while only 5 public cases came out, the amount of victims is unfortunately a lot higher.
YOU as a collector NEED to be made aware that eBay does not enforce their own pre-order policy to sellers. I have irrefutable evidence of the seller scamming me and 5 others. This post is a bit long but I am hoping it will help the community, people outside the community when they seek help through a search engine about their options after being scammed with a pre-order, and to publicly hold eBay accountable for the negligence and damages caused to buyers on their platform. Sellers who break eBay's pre-order rule are also in violation of the FTC's 30 Day Rule for items sold online if you are in the USA.
TL;DR: You can get your money back after being scammed with a pre-order listing that does not follow eBay's pre-order rule which you can read following the link, even if it goes back a year or maybe longer. These listings are NOT allowed and YOU as the buyer did nothing wrong by purchasing a listing that broke a rule the second it was posted. The seller offended first. You need to ask for a higher up if you call eBay. A regular employee cannot help you IF you call through the phone. I was able to get a refund through their Twitter customer service account though I am unsure if this person that helped was a higher up. You can get an eBay coupon in the amount you lost due their negligence and as compensation of damages. It is also possible to get a refund to Paypal if you paid through there.
If you got scammed by a pre-order that was not breaking eBay's rule and it's over 30 days, this post might not help you unfortunately. My personal advice is, if you buy internationally from eBay or do pre-orders that are scheduled for release soon, it is worth to get set up with Paypal so that you have a longer amount of time to get the money back in case of a scammer. In this case if you paid with PayPal, you have 180 days to dispute your money back.
Very special thanks to @TheorytheCorgi and @UnsuckEBAY on Twitter for finally making justice possible in this negligence case. @UnsuckEBAY is an account that exposes issues with eBay in hopes of reform. Here is proof of the user that reached out to me on Twitter getting their refund coupon in the amount they had previously been scammed out of. They have been after this money a year! We finally were able to all work together and get it back. As of this time, I have not had the time to call eBay to refund me but now I have solid proof that it is possible. Click the image for the full size.
Here's proof of my own refund:
You can click all images to view them in full size.
This post starts with e-Bay's own pre-order/pre-sale policy which can be found here: https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-policies/presale-listings-policy?id=4252
"How do I list presale items?
To list presale items, you must guarantee that the item can be shipped within 30 days of the purchase being completed, and make clear in the listing and product that the item is presale. The handling time you specify should reflect the time it will take from the end of the listing until it can be shipped.
For some pre-release items and all accessories, we may block listings and products until there are no more than 30 days to the release date of the item.
Are there any presale items that I can't list?
Yes. Any items that can't be sent to the buyer within 30 days of purchase aren't allowed. Examples include subscriptions and layaway payment programs.
"...We may approve certain sellers with verified fulfillment agreements to offer items outside of these guidelines."
Regarding the last line, I will show you the seller that scammed me. It does not mention which guidelines will be skipped. Allowing ANY seller to set up an item that will not be shipped in 30 days is in direct violation of the FTC's 30 Day Rule. More on that later. The rule sets up the buyer for a scam easily and needs to be revised or actually enforced. Even if he did meet the requirement with his feedback and eBay was deliberately breaking the FTC rule, he scammed me and 5 other people PLUS everyone who bought the listing I bought, he had like 10+ available.
How did the seller have 100% if he's a scammer? He sets up these lengthy pre-orders and buyers are not allowed to leave feedback at all after months have passed.
The FTC rule violation was pointed out by the @UnsuckEBAY account on Twitter and it's been invaluable to help us get our money back.
More @eBay scammers exploiting #eBay's overly permissive 'presale' policy resulting in ticked-off consumer-buyers☹️$EBAY @DevinWenig #CX #Fraud cc @FTC @JoeSimonsFTC @M_Wetherington @ConsumerReports @ClarkHoward @EcommerceBytes @tamebay @esellercafehttps://t.co/44OzPsxkJi— unsuckEBAY 🆘 (@unsuckEBAY) August 9, 2019
Now that the policy is clear, I have a screenshot of the first page on eBay when I search for "pokemon preorder".
We will take a look at when the first 2 items release, even though one is clearly not Pokemon.
Violating the rule but still allowed to be listed. Almost 3 months ahead of time.
Violating the rule big time.
This is all the first page. The Switch Lite is not out until September 20th. Listed on August 9th.
Not even a few listings in and the unsuspecting buyer is set up for failure with listings that break the rule. eBay does not have a system in place to protect you against this; these listings stay up no matter what. There's very easy ways to fix this on eBay's end but I will not get into it in this post.
Not only are these sellers breaking an eBay rule, but also the FTC's own rule about items sold on the internet:
"What is the Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Rule?
The Rule requires that when you advertise merchandise, you must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that you can ship within a certain time. If you make no shipment statement, you must have a reasonable basis for believing that you can ship within 30 days. That is why direct marketers sometimes call this the "30-day Rule."
eBay has this rule because obviously they need to comply with the FTC... except they don't enforce their own rule! Do you think the average consumer will go through the hoops of reporting this sort of thing if they get scammed? The FTC will take action if enough complaints are placed. See how to file a complaint here. But they don't know how to, they are too tired from work, or the money they lost is minimal. When someone loses a lot of money to them and are like me that simply don't give up, is when these issues are made aware to the FTC but they are not reported in masses. $111 for me is a lot so I'm raising awareness and seeking compensation for the damage. I have instructed everyone affected on how to file a complaint. It is up to them if they want to do it and get their money back.
I am 100% placing a complain to the FTC even after the refund. I should not have to play detective or babysit a company to protect me. I already have a full time job and can't be dealing with people NOT doing their job on eBay. The inconvenience eBay has caused me with their negligence is reason to still place a complain. People will continue to get scammed unless they are forced into compliance with the FTC, at least in the United States side.
This is the item I bought plus the official release date from the manufacturer.
Not only did the seller absolutely break the rule, they then tried to push the shipping date when I contacted them about it. Meanwhile, I see people online already receiving and posting pictures of their Splatoon girls. They are drop shipping using Tokyo Otaku Mode. "Drop shipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers the customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer." The seller doesn't even intend on ever getting his hands on the item to ship to the buyers.
The seller changed his name between the time I first contacted him and the second message. I suspect this is to avoid persecution since he was blasted publicly on Twitter by 3 people this year alone before I also publicly blasted him.
Upon contacting him about this a second time, he refuses to respond. You can see I never got a message back from my Sent folder.
I will now take you to Twitter where I have made the most progress and you can see all the people publicly affected in my tweet. You can see how eBay has responded and that they say they will look into this seller. I have given them damning evidence of this guy. His account is still standing as of the time writing this.
@AskeBay Can you guys please look into this scammer? I've been contacted by multiple people on here about my Tweet warning about this seller. He's been scamming multiple people this year. More evidence: https://t.co/mtLec1XgfKhttps://t.co/h93IJueISb— Kid Gengar (@KidGengar) August 8, 2019
We deserve our money back! pic.twitter.com/hpP0pn2kGI
I publicly asked them if those of us affected (me and another user that commented on my post who is also a victim) will be compensated due to negligence on their end. They told me to DM them. It's damage control. eBay will not publicly say that they won't refund us. A multi million dollar company refuses to award a measly $111 and $50 coupon for the other person affected due to their negligence. I blasted them at the end and exposed them once again.
There you go. If you've been #scam on #ebay due to negligence on their end, don't expect a refund back. Seller puts up listing that's not allowed, doesn't ship in 30 days as required but they refuse to take responsibility. I will be seeking a solution to this through other means. pic.twitter.com/l0fINoEkJW— Kid Gengar (@KidGengar) August 9, 2019
The other two people who DM'd me about my original warning tweet about the seller. I blacked out one of them because they did not publicly come out about this. The other user I was in contact with told me that they were on the phone with eBay for an hour and that they DID receive a coupon refund in the amount they lost. I told them to ask for a higher up and explain how they are seeking compensation over damages caused due to negligence from eBay, this was not their fault, and that multiple people are affected. Lastly, to threaten with an FTC complain about the 30 Day Rule and that multiple people will mass complain at once because the case is now in the public domain.
Major Edit: I reached to the Twitter account again for help and this time, I did get someone that was competent and did their job correctly. I wanted to add it is possible to get a refund through Twitter and avoid vocal confrontation if that's not your type of thing. (I know that I personally hate it) I was refunded to my original payment method and it did take a few days but I believe the representative has to follow appropriate protocol for this situation.
eBay is a multi million dollar company that doesn't care to enforce its own rules as long as they get to collect the fees sellers owe at the end of the day. PLEASE do not do pre-orders through eBay without making sure they are complying with rules; you as the buyer should not have to worry about this but you are NOT protected and eBay likely will not do anything to change its rules to protect you. There are reputable online shops that do pre-orders better.
General advice to not get scammed on eBay, even if it's not a pre-order. I've been using the platform 7 years now and I still got scammed because of the bizarre circumstances involved.
• Set up a Paypal account to pay through eBay so that you have more time to get your money back in case of a scam through eBay if you do fall victim. I strongly recommend this if you purchase internationally a lot, as items tend to not arrive in 30 days anyways.
• If you do not want to set up Paypal, DO NOT LET IT GO PAST 30 DAYS. If the seller scams you but they did not break any eBay policies on their listing, you are less likely to get help from eBay. At this point, you will have to charge back with your bank.
If you wish to report these listings, you can do so with the following category.
Shop safe, community! If I missed anything, if there are any discrepancies, or you would like to add any advice definitely let me know. If I am breaking any rules of the community, let me know. I just don't want this happening to other people. This has stressed me so much and it's been a real nightmare.