Scam-Bay - Italian buyer stealing my VS Booster Box.

Hi All,
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 story:
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 !!! :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: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.

In summary:
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:andreacarbonepk1995@outlook.itAndrea CarboneVia Di Giura 201585100 Potenza PZ****Italy.



So it’s ten times worse than I had initially imagined. Not only does a scamming buyer win 99% of all return requests, but even when the seller has ludicrous amounts of evidence against the dishonest and blatantly stupid (showcasing “damaged” English vs Japanese product) buyer, the buyer still ends up winning?! Albeit at the expense of eBay, instead of the seller. This is madness. Thank you for sharing, @teammagma !


At least you fought it hard and ended up “winning” in that you didn’t lose the money. Sucks that a scumbag like this ended up winning too and gets away with free product but it does start to develop a track record on his account with eBay. Having been funded out of their pocket this surely leaves history that future CS reps will see and take into account for potential future disputes.

@melchior the issue is that scumbag sellers exist also. It is very possible for a seller to send exactly what the buyer was claiming had been sent. It always comes down to a he said she said scenario and there really is no way eBay could properly police it. A common scenario of a few bad eggs spoiling it for everyone.


Honestly, it’s posts like these that made me never sell any cards on ebay, and be glad that there’s the efour community where I can do transactions safely.


You’ve got to be careful though. Simply judging something by the ~0.01% horror stories on the internet I don’t know how one could go about daily life. How could you ever buy ANY car or house with all the lemons out there. How could you even drive a car or walk a sidewalk when people die every day doing those things? Even e4 has some history of bad eggs and scammers you’ve just got to do your own due diligence and make sure to do things the right way and you’ll be all right.


You’ve got a point! To be fair though, I don’t have much pokemon cards compared to the average efour member (I think less than 100 in total), with most of them being high end so the risk jumps exponentially. I guess we’ll see when the time truly comes for me to part with my cards, but at the moment the risk outweighs the rewards for me.

Hopefully I participate enough in the forums to know the bad apples from the good ones Dan :wink:


This is my worst nightmare I am at least glad it was at no loss to you. The reason it is so scary is because it is so exploitable on eBay, as a buyer there are loopholes like this allowing people to get away with fraud with little to no repercussions. I wonder if eBay has a more involved behind the scenes action plan with these sort of cases a part from just cautioning or watching the buyers account. My gut says eBay just takes it on the chin, too expensive to chase up etc.


I would say that these are a one in a thousand occurance on eBay, there are plenty of amazing buyers too that I have great experiences with. As long as you protect yourself effectively then you’re fine on eBay. :blush:


I can only assume that the buyer would create a new eBay account and restart the process again, considering they do not have much to lose with 7 feedback. a quick change of address to a family member and it looks like a clean account…

In regards to Scumbag Sellers, I totally agree that there are people out there who would rather send you a different item and fight hard to make sure they keep the money and item. It works both ways.

Stories like this is why I try my hardest to sell local before throwing anything up online.

eBay appeared to be happy to absorb the £720.00 hit on this occasion, I cannot imagine they would be so happy doing so if for example, it were a 5-figure item that was “damaged” or “switched”.
eBay seems to be a buyer’s playground, they hold all of the control from feedback to backing from eBay in case situations. .

Luckily enough I knew I was covered by sending to the eBay Distribution Center. After the item reaches that center, the sale is as good as done. This situation could have been a lot worse if I’d have sent directly to the buyer.


That’s true! Like Dan and now you would drill to my head, if selling internationally, go GSP, unless you know the person very well.

For example from Italy we don’t have a GSP if we sell internationally. We would be so easy to be scammed.
Anyway i’m very sorry about what happened to you Adam but fortunately eBay “covered” you because of GSP.

There is a lot of good people here in Italy and scammers could be anywhere. But i truly understand your “moral of the story”.

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Please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t mean to say that everyone in Italy is deplorable, I just mean that I’ve had some tremendous headaches with Italian buyers, as I have seen from other threads with other sellers too, and wish to ease those pains by removing that shipping option.

As it was said earlier, a few bad eggs spoil it for the rest of us.


Of course, i didn’t take this bad, actually that’s why i told you that i understand your point and your moral of the story :blush:

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I’m italian and I don’t buy from belgians’ ebayers because I’ve been scammed in half of the occasions… a few occasions, but enough for me. This don’t means that belgian are worst than italians but in my experience they are terrible. Our experience is important when we talk of our sweaty money… but however it’s a little and unsignificative piece of a bigger picture.


I found the easiest way to scam and get the items I want plus my money, thanks Ebay/Paypal! :blush:… On a serious note, I feel your pain and I am sorry :/.

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Yes. Belgium would be my number two due to their multiple rewrapped sealed product incidents.

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What’s your #1 if you don’t mind me asking?

@teammagma Man that really sucks. It makes me especially furious as this is about such a scarce item. I wish you better luck on your future transactions. Thanks for sharing anyway!

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