Monday, September 28, 2009

A little dishonesty

Sigh.  I had this situation on eBay last week, and it involved a little dishonesty.  

A buyer won an auction for a postcard - a very inexpensive item.  The card only cost $.99, and since the buyer lived in China (People's Republic of), I charged a flat rate $1.50 shipping & handling, so the total cost for the item was $2.49.   The auction ended & I sent an invoice for the total amount.

After I sent the invoice I noticed I had a message in my inbox from this buyer.  He said he was from China and had decided to open an eBay store.  Although is grammar was not great, it was crystal clear what he wanted.  He wanted to pay me only the $.99 - in return I could keep the card (he didn't really want it), and I would give him positive feedback.  In other words he wanted buy a positive feedback from me.

I had three immediate thoughts:  1) this is dishonest 2) this is irritating (just pay me the stupid $2.49 & I'll give you feedback & send the card) & 3) if I do this I'm just as dishonest, and whats worse, should he get caught and it was found I knowingly participated, eBay could shut down my account.

I did not respond, but I did check his feedback - it was only 4 at the time.  eBay requires new users to achieve a certain positive feedback score before they can do certain things - such as open a store and start selling.  I'm not sure what the exact requirements are, I'm way beyond that point in my eBay "career".

This was Thursday (Sept 24th), on Friday I took a weekend trip to Kentucky (more on that later, maybe).  At some point I received another message from this buyer, saying that if I insisted on charging the s&h that he wanted to cancel the transaction.   I checked his feedback, and it was up to "21".  I looked at some of the items he'd bought, and they were all $.99.   I have no way of knowing if he just bought their feedback, or if they actually sent him the items.

I still didn't respond.  I could have easily cancelled the transaction, and that would have been that.  I would have lost the final value fee eBay charges, but we're not talking big bucks here.  

So on the way back from Kentucky Patti Anne and I discussed what we should do, and somewhere between Kentucky & Tennessee (perhaps in Virginia?)  we decided to report it to eBay, instead of simply cancelling the transaction.   Good ol' eBay.  

Sunday evening I did some research and found that artificially increasing your feedback score is indeed a policy violation, it can lead to all kinds of sanctions up to & including shutting down your account, and there is a specific mechanism for reporting it.  So for the first time in my life, I reported what I thought was a policy violation, and included copies of the emails that I had received.   I received a form letter back thanking me, then today received another letter from an actual person who thanked me again and said this was being investigated.  eBay will not tell you the results of the investigation.

However, that user-id is no longer a registered user on eBay, so I think I know the results.

I did not like doing this.  It did not make me feel good.  I've never done it before.  But frankly, I didn't want anything to do with this person.  



Patti Anne said...

There was no dishonesty on your part. You did the right thing and reported it and refused to "sell" feedback. That guy was a creep and his account's been canceled.

Good for us!

Jude said...

I agree with Patti Anne and it's nice to know there are honest people selling encase I ever decide to purchase anything from E-Bay.

linlah said...

You did the right thing.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Patti Anne: Yep

Jude: I've found the vast majority of people by far, both buyers & sellers, are nice people trying to do the right thing.

linlah: Thanks!

Mom said...

Wow!!! Good for you for standing up for your own honesty and "outing" this dishonest person to the authorities who had the power to deal with him.

Seriously, would YOU want to purchase anything from somebody who is obviously so unconcerned with integrity?

You may well have prevented several people from making bad purchases.

Kathy said...

You did the right thing. I know it made you feel bad, but think of it as keeping eBay cleaner with legitimate, honest sellers. One less cheater in the midst.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Mom: You're right - the requirements to open a store aren't that stringent, it doesnt take a that much time. The ironic thing is, had he just sent me the amount due, he would have got his positive feedback. And a postcard.

Kathy: This person struck me as someone who cuts corners. No - I definately would not want to buy anything from him.