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

by 28 comments
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 (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 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?

#main internet marketing discussion forum #3rdparty #ebay #items #scam #selling
  • Profile picture of the author 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
    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
    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 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 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.

  • Profile picture of the author 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 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.

  • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
    Are you using His account, or your own? What about PayPal?
  • Profile picture of the author 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 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 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.
  • Profile picture of the author Shazia Mirza
    It looks a bit shady. If I were you, I would go straight out for something that is completely White Hat.
  • Profile picture of the author invincible
    Thanks again guys! The WF is definitely the place to go for straight-talking business advice!
  • Profile picture of the author Mikee17
    Run away... It's a big SCAM. The only way he can make money is that
    1) He sells stolen stuff,
    2) He ships nothing.

  • Profile picture of the author CyberSorcerer
    Well looks like we don't have many eBay sellers on WF? LOL

    Don't forget that the laptops, electronics, products, etc could be stolen also and the only recourse for law enforcement is YOU!!!

    Not sure how long you've been selling on eBay, or your feedback, etc, but eBay does have requirements you have to meet before you're allowed to sell on consignment.

    Make sure you don't loose either your eBay account of paypal account for not following the TOS.
  • Profile picture of the author baggieboyblue

    I have had a similar e mail about this. I have a profitable business on ebay with a high feedback . When i rec'd this email my first reaction was that they could ruin my profile by not sending the item.
    You could get in all sorts of mess with businesses like this. Dropshipping has shot me in the foot in the past where you sell the products only to find the dropshipping company has run out of stock, so you lose face with the customer.
    My advice with any business is never lose control because its your reputation as a trader that gets damaged.
    Another thing with this scam is:
    1. The goods could be stolen and you could be involved if ever they are caught.
    2. The goods could be used to smuggle drugs, again you are involved.
    3. It could be used as a money laundering operation so again you could be involved.

    I think there is at least 10 years in prison listed above !!

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