Selling Items On eBay For 3rd-Party... Is This A Scam?

Profile picture of the author invincible by invincible Posted: 01/18/2011
I've recently been taking on odd jobs and offering my services to generate some revenue while I'm putting together a new venture. I recently contacted someone who I came across from a jobs ad on gumtree.com (very popular in the UK, not sure about elsewhere?).

Anyway, so the deal is he wants someone to sell his electrical goods (laptops, etc.) on ebay.com using their own account, and take payment of the goods (we're talking like $1000-2000!!) and then he will ship the item to the customer and I am supposed to paypal him the money after taking out my cut which is between 50-150 per sale.

I've sent him a detailed email with questions, but my main concern is why would someone trust a complete stranger with looking after his income in hope that they will send it to him minus their cut, once the customer receives the item???

He could genuinely be a busy who has a big heart and trusts strangers. But this smells very dodgy to me. What if he sends a faulty/damaged item and the customer tells me AFTER I've sent him his money. I would have pocketed some cash but be in big trouble with ebay/paypal if I can't resolve the issue. If that's the case, he wins big time.

Could this be legitimate? Perhaps I could talk to the customer directly after he receives the item and has thoroughly tested it, if it's exactly what it's meant to be, and in perfect working condition, then I wouldn't have to worry?

Still smells fishy to me though. Anyone ever come across this? Is it a classic ebay scam?

Zak
#3rdparty #ebay #items #scam #selling

  • Profile picture of the author Chris The Traffic Blogger
    Chris The Traffic Blogger
    My advice... do something else with him that is mutually beneficial and automated before trusting him.
  • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
    Alan Petersen
    There are several retail stores that do this. There is one a couple miles from me. You drop off your items. They take the pics, create the listing, post it on eBay, sell it, ship it, collect payment then they keep their cut and send the rest to the customer.

    So it's not a scam to have a 3rd party company sell other people's stuff on eBay but not sure about this guy. So it's good you're being cautious.
  • Profile picture of the author invincible
    invincible
    Yeh the difference here is that he will ship the product, so I never get to see if it is the real deal. How do I trust him, and more importantly, why would he trust me?
  • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
    Alan Petersen
    Originally Posted by invincible View Post
    Yeh the difference here is that he will ship the product, so I never get to see if it is the real deal. How do I trust him, and more importantly, why would he trust me?
    Oh sorry, I missed that. Yea, run the other way!

    Tell him you need to have access to the product so you can ship it. Your fee is 48% commission of the sale amount (that's what they charge here).
  • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
    LilBlackDress
    Selling for other people on ebay is pretty common. But there are also scams associated with it. I recall in one case a person paid for the goods, the person acting as the ebay seller sent the money for the goods to the seller and then the actual seller never sent the goods. The person acting as ebay seller was held responsible.

    So you want to be absolutely sure that goods are sent before sending money to the actual seller. Not only sent, but received and in good condition.

    I think it would also be a good idea to call Paypal and ask about other potential scam deals. They probably have a long list they could share with you to watch out for.
  • Profile picture of the author shamabamma
    shamabamma
    Yeah, this doesn't smell right. Too many things could go wrong with this and you'd be the one liable for non-shipped items, refunds, etc. Not to mention what it could do to your seller feedback.
  • Profile picture of the author miklanderson2
    miklanderson2
    What you're describing sounds similar to dropshipping, where you sell items that you don't have in inventory. With dropshipping, you choose how much you sell the product for on e-bay, and then pocket the difference between what you sold the item for and how much you pay the dropshipper for the item. They keep all the inventory on-hand and send the items out as you order them.

    It seems a little odd that a dropshipping company would be advertising on a jobs board. I'd further check into this individual and his company prior to doing any business with him. If you determine that he is running a legitimate dropshipping company, buy a couple cheaper items and have them sent to a friend's address first. This will do a couple of things:

    1. It will allow you to check out how long it takes for the shipper to send items after you submit an invoice as well as how the items are packaged. Remember that you will be the one who gets negative feedback if things don't go as planned.

    2. It will show whether or not the shipper is capable of sending goods that are ordered.

    If you determine this seller is a legitimate dropshipper and decide you want to start selling for him, make sure you check the prices you'll be selling items for against the prices they are actually selling for on E-bay. There are a lot of dropshippers out there that don't sell their goods for prices low enough to make it worthwhile.
  • Profile picture of the author thecableguy
    thecableguy
    Selling on consignment is a real business on eBay and offline as well, but much like dropshipping if you don't have the product in hand and you aren't the one doing the shipping you won't have control over the transaction. If it's like a escrow service you're performing then maybe, but if you're sending the money before getting some feedback from the customer I dunno... And why would the seller need a middleman?
  • Profile picture of the author Shannon Tani
    Shannon Tani
    Probably scam. Why isn't he using his own account? Why isn't he using his own PayPal account? Probably because he's been banned.

    A long long time ago (Gosh, maybe 10 years?), I started a "business" relationship similar to this. He wanted me to use my Paypal account to collect money, keep a cut, and pay him. He was doing the selling and shipping. Before sending him money, I sent an email to one of the recipients. Asked if he received the shipment. Nope. Same with a few others.
    I told the guy that I wanted proof that he was shipping these things. He said that he needed the money from me in order to ship. I told him I'd meet him at the post office, but had to be able to look inside the packages. No go.
    Knew then that it was a scam and refunded everyone their money.

    Love,
    Shannon
  • Profile picture of the author mjprod
    mjprod
    What you're describing sounds like someone is making you a front for knock-off items. You advertise that the products are new and authentic, collect the money through your personal paypal account, and when it turns out the items aren't real or you have to return items because they are defective, your supplier disappears. Manufacturers scan eBay and other sites all the time looking for people that are selling their products without permission, and you won't have to search hard to find horror stories of people that have their accounts seized and lawyers sending threatening letters to their houses. It's tough times, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't let a quick buck blind you for what you could have in store for yourself down the road. Nobody is too busy to make their own money, or hire someone nearby to help them make money. This reeks of trouble, and I wouldn't touch it. I've done a lot of business on eBay, and I've seen stuff like this before. If you can't verify the business credentials of your supplier, it's not a real supplier.
  • Profile picture of the author drew3806
    drew3806
    I have sold many items on consignment including nearly $20,000 in silver US Coins and always required the seller to sign a consignment agreement and hand the items over before the auctions were listed.

    I would explain that listing an item to sell on eBay is an agreement to sell and that I needed to have possession of the item to insure that they did not try to back out of the deal and not provide the item once the auction ended. None of my customers had a problem with this and were reassured that they had a contract that spelled out exactly what each party's responsibilities were in the transaction.

    I would make sure that the items you are selling have enough sales volume and interest to drive the price to market value. This works best with antiques and collectibles where there is high demand with a very limited supply.

    If the person you are talking to is legitimate they will most likely understand why you need to have possession. If they do not I would be very hesitant to do the deal, the potential pitfalls would outweigh any positive outcome.
  • Profile picture of the author invincible
    invincible
    Thanks for all the responses. I've asked for some answers and will see what he replies. However, I don't plan to go ahead since it does sound very very dodgy, especially after reading the above replies.

    Cheers!
    Zak
  • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
    Silas Hart
    Are you using His account, or your own? What about PayPal?
  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    JohnMcCabe
    Something that no one has mentioned, but is a very real possibility, is you would be used as the "legitimate" front for money laundering.

    If so, and things go toes-up, getting some bad feedback could be the least of your worries...
  • Profile picture of the author blackjack
    blackjack
    Let me warn you. THIS IS BIG SCAM.

    How it works?

    1. You will list few laptops with decent prices. The items will sell.
    2. You will send money
    3. He will disappear
    4. Buyer will raise case with Paypal
    5. You cann't provide proof of posting
    6. Paypal will refund and ban your account.
    7. eBay will ban your account
    8. You will pay paypal & eBay fees.

    Any legit dropshipper won't advertise on gumtree, craiglist etc. He is big time scam. I know someone who lost around £2k in UK

    STAY AWAY
  • Profile picture of the author omk
    omk
    It's not necessarily a scam, but I would be very cautious or get to know this person better. Try doing something else first that's less risky.
  • Profile picture of the author BDW
    BDW
    I tell you, it's a gamble at this point. Why don't you do a background check?
  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    tpw
    If you are collecting money on your account, and he is handling the product, how will you know the product was delivered?

    You are risking your money and credibility to collect money for a third-party seller.

    Suppose he is the typical scammer. You list the product. You sell it. You collect the cash. You give him the money. He does not ship the product, but tells you that he did.

    You continue the process until the chargebacks on non-delivery of product start rolling in. You trusted him, he screwed you, and you will have to pay all that money back the customers or face jail time for fraud.

    You can argue, but I paid him. When your attorney tries to track him down, he is gone like the wind, and often in a foreign country where American law cannot touch him.

    As they say, "There is a sucker born every minute."

    And you very nearly stepped off into that.
  • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
    Silas Hart
    I am someone who brings people on to do sales for my items.

    One reason is competition control. As people might not know, you can only sell 1 specific item as a Buy it Now. There is a good advantage to having 2 or 3 people/accounts selling your item, as you can now make several sales for one specific item across several accounts.

    This deters further competition. If someone see's that there is only 1 person to compete with, they may become a competitor quicker than if they see 3 people selling the same item.

    Another is for testing. Some items sell better as $199.99 + Free Shipping or $179.99 + $19.99, and testing this through several different accounts allows me to determine how to sell an item as opposed to sticking to one method for 60 days, and then switching to another method.

    "Do not put all of your eggs in one basket" - The competitive market sucks right now, and people are resorting to some cut-throat measures to gain control over product markets. eBay is a place where decisions of punishment are made until it is investigated - If it is investigated. What I mean is, say you have $20,000 invested in refurbished 19", 22", and 24" Acer LCD Computer Monitors. You bought these for $92 a piece. They are selling on average of $139.00 - You control the market by having the lowest price (and on eBay, if you aren't the lowest, you aren't selling. Period.) but someone on eBay pops up selling NEW 19" and 22" Acer Monitors for $89.00 + Free Shipping. You don't know how they are even making money, but they must have got them a lot cheaper than you did. They now control the market. Why is someone going to buy your refurbished monitors when they could buy New for cheaper? Well, people on eBay are getting a bit cut-throat, so they do things like go to their local library, register 20 eBay accounts, and start reporting this new sellers listings as Fraudulent, or Bootleg, or whatever. eBay will automatically take the listings down until further investigation. Having 3 or 4 accounts selling your computer monitors helps prevent this by becoming less of a main target.

    Reasons of geographical location. As someone who sells a lot of things from China, a US eBay seller has more local advantages to selling items to U.S. buyers, and a Australian Seller has local advantages to selling items to Aussie buyers - even if they change their item location to "Located in Shanghai, China"

    Being a dropshipper is much less difficult than being someone who sells on several platforms like eBay, iOffer, uBid, Bonanza, Amazon, Craigslist, etc. You accept orders, and send them to the location on the payment. Being a dropshipper also allows you to operate as a middleman, selling items you have access to, but do not have in your possession. For example, right next to my office in Nanjing is a factory that manufacturers bedding. Hundreds of different styles, and they do it for cheap too! There is no sense in me purchasing say 3 of each style and then selling it on eBay. Instead, I can find people who want to sell these items, I go over the pricing and we figure their profit. They choose between the couple hundred of designs and patterns and determine which ones they want to sell. They sell it, I send my order to this factory, they produce the bedding set, and they run it over to my office and we have EMS come and mail it out to the original customers address. (This is how a large portion of Alibaba operates) - sometimes, to cut in someone 20% of my business after fee's is more worth it to me than hiring on 2 employees to process orders and invoices at $1600/mo.

    Dropshipper affiliates request new things and keep me updated on what people want and what they are looking to buy - even though I am a seller myself.

    However, a dropshipper affiliate (I consider the person sending the item to be a dropshipper, and an affiliate is the middleman) assumes a lot of risk. If you sell an item I ran out of stock on, you have to relay this to your customer - and eBay customers HATE buying an item and then being told it is not in stock. They hate it. If I don't send an item out due to an error, it's the affiliate that can get screw and might not know a person didn't get their item until they have already filed a dispute with PayPal.
  • Profile picture of the author Ken Durham
    Ken Durham
    watch for fools gold, it is everywhere.
    Does he have a website? How long in business? Will PayPal give you grief because of the cost of the items? Has he provided a price list? Are his products below normal prices? Are they "far below" competitors prices? If so, then something is amiss...

    You might want to listen to JohnMcCabe, he makes a very valid point.

    Get the man's details and tell him once you check him out with the authorities and such you will be back in contact. You might also tell him you want to come and pay him a visit to see his inventory. If he squawks then take heed.

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