eBay Follies

I’m trying to sell a Nokia N9 smartphone on eBay. I first listed it a couple of days ago, and only a day later someone had bought it using the “buy it now” option. They provided rather detailed instructions of how and where to email them the final invoice, that did not include going through the usual eBay workflow. The buyer said he was in New Zealand but wanted the item shipped to England. Hmm. So I sent the invoice using the normal eBay process. Then I received an email from eBay saying that there were problems with the account and the sale had been cancelled. Good on eBay. Bad on me for providing the buyer with my actual email address rather than a temporary one that would reveal less about me.

Then today I receive an email purportedly from eBay, looking very official with format and images, but originating from different domain, saying that the problems with the disputed account had been resolved, and that I was “obligated” to go ahead with the sale. Hmm. There was nothing in my actual eBay account listings that indicated this.

Then I received an email purportedly from the buyer, saying the account had been resolved and that he was going to pay momentarily. This time he said he was in South America and wanted the item shipped to Nigeria. It so happens that the name and address he wanted it shipped to is a well-known alias used by scammers and easily Google-able. So I replied superfluously that I wasn’t going to send anything or accept any money and not to mail me again.

Then I get another email purportedly from PayPal, again with formatting and graphics but from a different domain, saying that the money had been deposited, but that it was on hold pending receipt of the item. Needless to say this transaction doesn’t show up on my PayPal account either, and I will obviously not be sending the phone to Nigeria.

No doubt run-of-the-mill stuff for old eBay hands, but rather bemusing for me, who doesn’t do a log of business on eBay.

Update: After a bogus purchase for my second listing, a bit of googling has shown that I should have restricted buyers to those with valid PayPal accounts. I’ll try that next time.

Update 2: That won’t work if the hacked account has a valid PayPal account. I also found that there is a flag to keep the listing open until payment is received. Tried setting that flag, but eBay wants me to have a Premier PayPal account. So I upgrade my PayPal account to Premier, but eBay still tells me to upgrade to premier. Finally talked to a very friendly and on-the-ball eBay customer service person who told me that I’m the 6th person today to have that problem. She will try to email me when it is fixed…