After reading the thread “Buyer claiming damage in transit, I think scam …?”, it suddenly occured to me that I hadn’t posted my similar situation with an Italian buyer a couple of weeks ago.
The buyer purchased my VS Psychic/Fighting Booster Box on 16th September 2018. As you can see from the link, it’s photographed to show all angles of the box and seal.
After the purchase, the buyer immediately sends me a message of “Hello,please on pakeage written gift for no pay custom, you have other box japanes or english? New” followed by “Courier” moments later. I can appreciate that English isn’t their first language so kindly explain that as they are within Europe, the customs fees do not apply as I am sending from England. The second message of “Courier” throws me off a little, as it seems strange to ask who the courier is through eBay when it’s handled through eBay’s Global Shipping Program.
The third message is the real kicker and shouts warning signs (in hindsight) from a seller point of view - “please pack well the box 'must not have damage, it is important that it is like in the picture, well preserved thanks”. Oh, did I mention that the buyer had, at the time 2 feedback on eBay…?
So, the item travels through eBay’s Global Shipping Program and arrives at the buyer’s address on the 28th September 2018. I then receive a return request on the order, claiming that it had arrived damaged - along with the following message and photos (translated from Italian):
Parcel arrived in bad condition, all full of dents and tape and also inside a box in English with cards not set that I ordered !! Send me my order !! I do not know if you sent me a wrong and open box or if it was tampered with by the courier on the way but I want the box that I paid !! I also found a picture of yours inside the package !!! A box of this value should be sent as safely as possible not only with white tape !!! Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3.
Now, I can appreciate that from time to time that mail can be damaged in transit, and I will happily go through the returns process to help refund the buyer and claim back through Royal Mail for the damaged goods. But this is clear scamming. Not only are they questioning my honesty as a seller, but they are quite clearly switching out the box and replacing it with some English cards.
The reason I can say this: Firstly, I’m a Japanese card collector, from time to time I dabble in the occasional English Promo or 1st Edition Base Set card - But I have not owned any English S&M boxes for years and have reached the point of despisement for English sets (not my preference to say the least). For the buyer to claim that the box had also been tampered with is completely ludicrous as the courier wouldn’t know to switch a Pokémon set with another opened set - unless it was an inside job from an eBay representative - highly unlikely.
So my first thought was to call eBay and explain the situation, claiming that I believe the buyer to be untruthful in their claim to return the item but as is evident with eBay - they didn’t understand what I was trying to say and just believed the item had been damaged in transit. No help. Upon the second call to eBay a day later, I re-explained the situation to another representative, and gained advice to let the case run to a point where eBay could then step in and settle this from the details provided.
Subsequently from this, I let the case run out and sent an update message to the buyer:
Hi, We sent the Booster Box that you purchased through the eBay Global Shipping Program - Tracking number: UPAAB000000312891397. This item should have been checked at their distribution center and forwarded onto your address. From the photos you have shown, that is not the box we have sent. I have raised my concerns about this case to eBay and they are looking into this matter. I will also forward this enquiry and details onto the Police as there is evidence of tampering on the package, either through distribution or delivery. Please can you provide more photos of the outer box to show the damage sustained from transit, and any clear marks that show tampering of the box? All the best.
I used some choice words in a feeble attempt to “scare” the buyer - stating that the Police would be involved just to see if they would change their actions. The buyer proceeded to claim to send more photos, which never came.
The buyer did helpfully leave some negative feedback stating that I “refused to help” and “lied” to him. - this has since been removed by eBay so I am only paraphrasing from memory.
I escalated the case to eBay as the buyer failed to respond - here are the case notes to show you the lack of response from the buyer.
eBay refunded the buyer at no cost to me, absorbing the price of the listing. The buyer ended up with a clean VS Booster Box at the expense of eBay buying it for them.
I apologise for the length of detail in this thread, but feel that I’ve covered most of the case and what I am sure is a scam in question. Please let me know if you would like any more information about this transaction or any further clarification on points I have raised.
Buyer: **pipitamilan9**Name: Marco GallottaFree item to him: Sealed VS Psychic/Fighting Booster BoxMoral of the story: Block buyers from Italy.
EDIT: I found the buyer’s address on PayPal:firstname.lastname@example.orgAndrea CarboneVia Di Giura 201585100 Potenza PZ****Italy.