Thursday, October 20, 2016

Scammed by a buyer on ebay!



As many of my friends,colleagues and readers know,I’ve been a professional photographer in the  media for more than 3 decades and for the past several  years I’ve shuffled between my go to Nikon full frame camera system and the Sony full frame system.
I loved both for their quality but after a huge investment into Sony,sadly I discovered the system wasn’t for me.
I posted all of my Sony gear for sale on ebay which included the Sony A7RMII,Sony A7s,Sony A6000,lenses and flash units. My tears were included with all transactions.

Sony is great,but I do more action and candid events and a pro DSLR at this time fares better for the speed,battery life, lens and flash selection.

My last Sony item to sell was the camera to flash cable.In this instance it was the Sony MIS cable from Vello. I’ve used Vello cords for my Nikon gear and my quick slide to Canon gear for many years. They are just as reliable as the main brand at a fraction of the cost.I purchased this cable from B&H Photo where my receipt clearly states what camera brand it was for and the name of the item.

I photographed the box with the Sony Vello cord removed the cable from the box to show potential buyers that this wasn’t a normal flash to camera  connection like other cables.Sony had a proprietary hot shoe that has electronics at the tip that goes into the hot shoe part of the cable.
I shot o my auction photos on my Nikon DSLR in RAW mode,converted to jpeg to post on ebay.You can clearly see the cable says SONY MIS. This is the same photo that was on ebay.

The cable sold within a day or two of listing and I inspected the cord before I put it  back the Vello box and a shipping box to send to a buyer in Texas.

I was surprised to hear from the buyer several days after he would have received the cable that he said I sent him a Vivitar/Pentax cord. The photo he posted to me in email alongside my VELLO/Sony box probably could not even fit in that small product box. Another Pentax footnote is, I’ve never used anything Pentax.Until their recent jaunt into a way too heavy for me  full frame system,Pentax doesn’t offer the pro line of lenses and flash units that I require so they would not be on my radar for purchase.

I noticed on my company web stats that someone from his area was googling me and landing on my company website.
Though my company name sounds big,guess what,I’m all automated online and it’s just me here.No one else from this location or state.My companies are all online and need no babysitting from me.

Upon receiving the buyers email I knew right away I was being scammed. Just google ebay buyer scam or read the Facebook ebay Timeline where others have posted the exact same scenario.

I corresponded back and forth with the buyer and the more he wrote,the more he put his foot in his mouth.
In one email he stated,” I tried this cord on my Pentax camera.” SEE! HE HAS A PENTAX CAMERA and I’m sure he planned to mail me HIS broken cord that he owns back to me.

In another email he stated,” Someone in my company organization could have switched it out.” GUESS WHAT,there are no somebody’s here that work with me.

I think with my company name he assumed I have 25 people working in a busy office that would be handling items I’m selling and never assuming it would just be *me.*



I asked a detective friend of mine about this situation and he knew immediately I was being scammed and even wanted to call his buddies in the town where the buyer was at to see if he has a criminal past. My friends in tv news are also interested in this and have requested I do an interview and they will do a story on this.

Apparently the  ebay buyer scam goes something like this:

A buyer purchases an item and claims it’s broken or baits and switches to one of their broken items.They file an ebay claim stating it’s broken or they received the wrong item. Ebay makes the seller refund the money within 7 days and in many cases,the buyer gets to keep YOUR item.

Here are several mentions of this on the ebay forum:
https://community.ebay.com/t5/The-Front-Porch/SCAMS-committed-by-eBay-buyers/td-p/2662626

Someone even did a guide to ebay buyer scams:
http://andrewminalto.com/buyers-scammers-on-ebay/


Google,’ebay buyer scam’ and you will see more than 535,000 references to this.

In recent years ebay has changed their leadership and rules making it very difficult for sellers to sell there.Reports of authentic high end designer items being sold to where a buyer later claims the item was a fake and gets a complete refund and returns a fake knock off item or doesn’t return the item at all and still gets a refund.

The day that I received the request from the buyer about this item,I called ebay and spoke with Hannah. She said it was ebay’s policy to refund the buyer.


I have been a member of ebay since December 1998. My feedback score is 1742 with 100% positive 5 star feedback.I have sold items for as high as $2500  and have never had a request for a return.I’ve bought and sold at least 6 figures on ebay and ebay has made a tidy profit from my account.

I have been on the buyer end where something was not as described or broken and have returned the items to the sellers without incident. I’ve never had a bait and switch incident. I try and do my homework when purchasing and considering how many things I’ve transacted it’s not been that bad.

I do not make a living from ebay nor would I want to.The time it takes to list,photograph the items and going to the Post Office is really too much of a field trip and I lose money by not concentrating on my main businesses of photography and publishing.

Sales from ebay have dropped off so much in the past 7 years for so many it’s not really worth it for me.All of my items were my photo equipment I sold or things around the house.I am not a distributor or reseller of anything.

After this incident I realized I am no longer going to be a buyer or seller on ebay and to practice what I often preach,’Buy Local’ or thru the Facebook for sale ads which seem a bit safer than Craigslist.

This was not an expensive item and of course I have the money to refund the buyer but I will let ebay handle it because I know I will just receive back a Pentax cable that was never mine,is most likely broken and something I could not even test because I do not own Pentax equipment.


Just wanted to inform others that being scammed on ebay or other sites can happen to anyone at anytime.Buyer and seller beware!






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