eBay buyer damaged iPhone - PayPal payment pending

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by lcooperdesign, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. lcooperdesign macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    Hi everyone, hoping for a bit of advice from you all.

    I recently sold my unlocked iPhone 3G on eBay and shipped the device to the buyer. PayPal have currently held the payment in a state of 'pending' whilst they ensure that the recipient is happy with their purchase.

    The problem is, is that I received and email from the guy saying that his T-mobile sim was not working and asked for advice on how to get it working. I felt bad that the iPhone I'd advertised as being unlocked (by my carrier by the way) may not in fact be unlocked as he was seeing a message saying 'no sim installed', so asked him to try a few things that I'd seen on the internet to see if they may help.

    He said that he wasn't very technical and wasn't really sure what he was doing, so in the end I asked him to send it back to me to see if I could figure it out this end.

    I received the iPhone today and immediately noticed that he has completely gouged the sim eject hole leading me to believe that he has been excessively forceful when ejecting the sim tray (looks like he tried to use a screwdriver :eek:) and thus damaging the sim contact points. I'm sure they're damaged as my sim card which worked fine before posting (and the gouging).

    Now, does anyone know where I stand on this? If I call him up on being responsible, there's every likelihood that this guy could screw me over and retract his pending payment, leaving me stuck with a useless iPhone. :(

    If anyone has any advice, I'd be very grateful.

    Thank you,
  2. fishmd macrumors 68000


    Jun 18, 2008
    Sunny South Florida
    Oh man. That does not sound good at all. My advice at this point would be to contact either Ebay or Paypal. Probably Paypal. Explain to them the issue and what has occurred and see if they can offer any solution to you. At the least, they will act as the intermediate for you which is probably better for you legally. You don't want to get into a "he said, they said" exchange here. Unfortunately though, you might be out of luck here. Really too bad. At least you got the phone back though and could always sell it as a iPod touch so to speak and get some money for it that way.
  3. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    Do you think he didn't read the manual on how to eject the Sim and opened it using the suspected screwdriver? :(

    The only thing I can suggest is if you have any "before" pictures of the sim area of your phone that you use them when a dispute arises in future and keep all tracking info you have for deliveries if you need it to present to PayPal.

    If you can you should also check the iPhone's serial/IMEI number as he may have switched it with a broken phone too? Might be worth a shot.

    The whole situation is crap and I feel sorry for you. It's all in the hands of PayPal but I wish you all the best. :)
  4. dojoman macrumors 65816

    Apr 8, 2010
    oh man! That's why I hate ebay, no more honest buyers anymore. It's probably one the main reasons I'm not getting iPhone 4 is thought of selling my 3GS nervously on ebay.
  5. callmemike20 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 21, 2007
    Yep. It's all in the hands of PayPal, which is now known to side with the buyer 99.9999999999999(repeating)% of the time. That sucks, bro.
  6. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    The WORST thing with eBay is that we can't leave negative feedback anymore as sellers.

    I sold my 8GB iPod touch on eBay but the buyer used someone else's PayPal account to pay for it which subsequently got held. Luckily PayPal held the payment before I'd sent it so I still have my 8gigger sitting here on my desk.

    A week of dispute and PayPal returned the money to the buyer which would have left me out of pocket had I sent it.

    Using eBay now puts the fear of god in me as a seller. It just doesn't feel safe. :(
  7. Cod3rror macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2010
    wow, horrible situation.

    IMO, there is no winning in this scenario. Just talk to him ask him if he fiddled with this thing, try to work something out....

    Also paypal pending thing is weird, shouldn't the money just be transferred immediately when he pays you?

    Like Chaz said, check the IMEI, familiar scratches, etc... make sure it's YOUR phone.
  8. s8film40 macrumors 6502


    Aug 14, 2007
    I read about this scam might check to make sure it's the same one.

  9. ChocolateApple macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    New York
    I bought an expensive item on eBay, and it arrived so damaged, I had to get it repaired. I prefer local, in-person exchanges.
  10. h4a5r macrumors member


    Aug 18, 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    As someone who has dealt with PayPal/eBay fiascos on many occasions (both as buyer and seller) ... here's my best advice.

    Oh, and I'm giving you this advice assuming that the phone is essentially unusable - because it most-likely is. And this is also assuming that he will probably end up filing a claim with PayPal to get his money back.

    First of all, the payment is pending not through him, but through PayPal. The buyer has to pay up front and has no control over the money from then on out - it is in PayPal's hands. Email PayPal support and ask that they release the funds, as the buyer has received the item. I hope you got a tracking number... if so, you can provide this to them. The minute the funds are in your account, get them into your bank account. I mean it... the MINUTE you see that they are available. After you have initiated a deposit from PayPal to your bank account, they have no control over the money. But if you wait too long, they can take the money and give it back to him - screwing you over. Not only that, take off any credit cards and bank accounts you have attached to the account once you initiate the deposit.

    1. Take pictures of the iPhone and it's damage before sending it back to him.
    2. Save all emails/correspondence you have had with the buyer. You will need this if it goes into dispute.
    3. Do not confront him of the damage he did to the phone. Ask him simply step by step what he did. He will probably tell you what he did that caused the damage (if he really is as clueless as he seems). You will be able to use this against him if PayPal comes after you.

    Don't confront him until you know the funds are on their way to your bank account.

    Just make sure you cover your ass. PayPal, in all of my experiences, has sided with the buyer. They offer little to no seller protection unless the case has overwhelming proof of the buyer's negligence. I believe your case may be due to buyer negligence, so you do have a fighting shot. Just make sure you have everything to prove it. Emails from him. Pictures of the phone before you shipped (I'm assuming you had some shown in the auction) as well as pictures afterwards. If you can, try to get him to admit to what the hell he did to that poor phone - this can also be used to plead your case.

    In the meantime, try to work it out with him. First, ask what he did. Second, tell him you need a few days to figure it out (all the while, waiting for your payment to clear through PayPal, allowing you to deposit it to your bank account). Third, say you did what you could to figure it out and send it back to him. Then wait for PayPal hell to break loose.

    At least this way, you'll have your money.

    I have to warn you, though... your PayPal account may be closed if it goes to dispute, he wins, and you have no funds to pay him with. (This is why I advised you to take off any credit cards/bank accounts associated with PayPal). Just having to simply make a new PayPal account is much easier than being out hundreds of dollars and stuck with a crappy phone. He did what he did to that phone and you shouldn't have to pay for it.

    This may not be the most ethical way... but it ensures that you will get your money.

    Good luck!
  11. christyn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2009
    Salt Lake
    eBay has gotten really horrible, along with paypal as far a sellers are concerned...

    Sorry OP, guaranteed PP will side with buyer in this case, unless the buyer admits to the damage which is probably unlikely.

    I just sold mine and had no issues, but this is one of the main reasons I plan to either do craigslist or a trade-in program next year and take less money but not have to deal with situations like this.
  12. ChocolateApple macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    New York
    Wow @ the bait and switch.
  13. bacsig macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    I bought a laptop and it turned out the seller was a complete fraud...she tried to get the money out of her account right away but because she was a newer seller it was held..after not getting responses to emails I made a complaint with eBay and Paypal. Eventually I got most of the money back but Paypal kept a portion. I got the rest back from Amex as I used that card to fund the purchase. Moral: forget eBay and Paypal if you don't want to get scammed. Now I buy refurbs from Apple.:apple:
  14. chris975d macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2008
    Georgia, USA
    Bait and Switch

    When a buyer receives the item that they have won, the scammer will find some fault with it and send it back. You the seller will receive a product that looked like the one you sent but it is old, ripped, broken or simply does not work. You return the buyers money thinking that it must have been damaged during shipping. The truth is that there are people who go looking for a certain product and once they find it they will make the purchase. Once they have this new product in hand, they send you back an old one that was already at their home. You are now out of the product and money.

    As a seller, if you are auctioning something with a serial number, write it down and take close up pictures of the item and serial number. This way if someone returns an item, you can easily check to see if it was the one that you sent. If there is no number or way to simply check, get yourself a pen that writes in invisible ink or put a mark in a place that is hard to see. When the buyer returns the product, look for the mark that you put on the item.​

    I can attest to this first hand as becoming a more common scam by buyers on eBay. A friend of mine had this exact same thing happen to him on a Macbook. And since the scamming buyer could provide Paypal with a tracking number of where he returned the "defective" product (in actuality not the item he bought at all), Paypal sided with him fully. My friend was stuck with a broken laptop missing it's memory and hard drive as well, as he didn't take any pictures of the unit showing the serial number before he shipped it to the scammer.
  15. Petey-ed macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2009
    This is why I list my auctions with no refunds, as is. I also state that I will not help with any unlock, jailbreak, or other issues that you may encounter along the way. This way if you have buyer that is a complete idiot, you refer them to the terms they bought the phone under. Hard to dispute this when you have it in your auction.
  16. JaredVegas macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2009
    Why I use Craigslist instead of Ebay so I don't get put in positions like this and I can provide assistance if needed. But as far as this guy is concerned more then likely the phone was unlocked and he damaged it when he initially removed the sim tray thus ruining the phone. You can buy another sim tray for cheap off ebay but as far as the contact points you could maybe bend them back. But as far as the guy is concerned he should be liable for the damage and get the phone back and no refund. But will paypal see it that way they are notorious for siding with the buyer on issues such as charge backs?
  17. Mark Booth macrumors 68000

    Mark Booth

    Jan 16, 2008
    If I sell something on eBay, I am VERY careful to FULLY document the item with high resolution photos before I send it. Further, when I sell something locally, in person, I type up a statement of condition, have the buyer read it, and require them to sign it BEFORE I'll sell them the item.

    The number one rule when selling used goods.... CYA!

  18. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    I do Craigslist, when I was doing ebay I cancel any buyers that are slightly shady.

    Wow, good write up.
  19. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Deal in Craigslst. That's how I did it. I sold it and met in Best Buy's parking lot. Cash only deal.

    Tip: Do not take cashier's check, money orders or checks. They may be counterfeit and may ruin you financially if you cash them.
  20. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You do know that if you do that and PayPal sides with the buyer, then PayPal will send collectors your way. Just saying.
  21. Vertigo50 macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    I know it won't help this situation, and I feel for you, because this sucks, but this is why I sell on Craigslist for stuff like this.

    I met a guy in public last night and helped get his T-Mobile service working on my 3G. After a few minutes, he had tested calls, texts, and data, and was very happy with the condition of the phone. He gave me the cash, and we were both happy.

    I told him to email me if he had any problems, but we both know the condition it was in when I left, so there is pretty much no way he could come back to me with a problem like this.

    Craigslist gets a bad rap sometimes, but I've had a lot of success with it, both buying and selling. Nothing beats getting to thoroughly check out the item before buying it.
  22. iMrNiceGuy0023 macrumors 68000

    Jun 5, 2009
    im glad I stayed away from eBay when selling my iPhone.....Craigslist was a lot more simple
  23. lcooperdesign thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2008
    Thank you very much for such a detailed write-up h4a5r. And thanks to everyone else for your responses too, sparked quite a few comments amongst which it seems there is a lot of consensus.

    I've got to admit that I'm expecting the worst from this. It basically feels like I sent my iPhone to someone so that they could damage it for me.

    h4a5r, have you used this method before and not had any subsequent problems from PayPal as mentioned by jav6454?

  24. tim0409 macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    I have read this thread with interest as I have sold a few iphones/ipods through ebay and its not something I would recommend!!

    The first bad experience was when I sold was a mint condition 30gb iPod - the seller received the item then emailed to say it was not as described as it was covered in scratches - he proceeded to send me back a different iPod which was over a year old and absolutely trashed. He then initiated a charge back from Paypal - they did not bother to fully investigate and debited my account. I decided to raise a small claims action against paypal in the local court - their solicitors called me a week before the case was due to be heard and settled in full (I had claimed the cost of a new ipod, court fees and interest)

    I recently tried to sell my 3GS through ebay and the buyer attempted to pay by fraudulent postal orders! Luckily I had not sent the phone when I received a call from my bank - I reported this to the ebay and the police but neither were interested. Luckily I then sold it to an honest ebay buyer!

    Paypal once tried to withhold payment for an iphone I had sold - this was pending positive feedback or after 21 days had elapsed. I thought this was insane - they expected me (with good feedback) to send a high value item to a seller with no feedback and rely on him to leave me feedback in order to get paid! This shifts the risk from an honest seller and gives the dodgy buyer more power (and there are plenty dodgy buyers around!)

    In short, don't use ebay unless you have to and paypal is not secure or safe and can easily be manipulated by fraudsters - the best way to sell an iphone is to a friend/workmate or on gumtree etc
  25. davey0 macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2006
    I'm also having eBay problems. I sold a newly refurbished iPhone 3GS (received it from the Apple store as an exchange the previous day) on eBay and four days after receiving the phone, the buyer wrote to me claiming that the sim tray had "loose parts" and he wasn't able to insert it into the phone. The next day he filed a complaint on eBay. I tried to dispute it, but they sided with him and billed me for the total amount. I asked the buyer numerous times how a single piece of plastic could have "loose parts," but I never received a reply. I'm now waiting to receive the broken phone. I'm done with eBay!

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