Sold iPhone on eBay & Buyer says its faulty. Accepting the return

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by bobbytallant, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. bobbytallant macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    Hi guys,

    Basically I sold a used but fully functioning iPhone 3G on eBay UK at the weekend.

    I sent it well packaged via Royal Mail Special Delivery and he received it today. He emailed me straight away first thing this morning saying it won't turn on.

    He is returning the item to me today.

    He described the fault as, he turns the phone on, the apple logo shows and then turns off again. Does anyone know what type of fault this is? I am thinking this is not something that can occur in transit?

    As I say I sent the phone in 100% working order. I am a powerseller on ebay so hopefully you can suspend the sceptisim of my own description of the item!

    The cynic in me makes me highly suspect the buyer is going to return his own iPhone 3G that was already damaged (i.e. he is going to try to scam me).

    The phone I sold, I made sure to photograph thoroughly so I will know if it is mine or not. I also photographed the phone ON and in settings>general>about where it shows the serial no & imei number.

    I photographed the back of the iPhone where the small text is at the bottom of the phone (is this text / these numbers unique to each iphone?). I also understand the serial number is on the sim tray so I could check that also. However this would be very easy to replace the sim tray..

    I was just wondering if you guys have ever confronted this issue before on ebay and also are any tips you can suggest for inspecting the iphone that is returned? The guy had a purchase history for buying iphone parts so again the cynic in me is thinking something along the lines that he has used my phone's good parts and swapped them with his (maybe I am speculating a little too much here)...

    Perhaps somebody has some greater knowledge of the ebay returns aspect also (when the item that is returned is different to the item that was sent - or the item is returned in a condition that is different to what it was sent in)? I appreciate ebay have a recent reputation for siding with buyers unfortunately.

    I would appreciate your guys inputs on this - Im sure many of you have either used ebay to buy/sell an iphone or have at least contemplated doing it. You may not have purely so you don't run into these types of issues lol
  2. iLauren macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2011
  3. Futhark macrumors 65816


    Jun 12, 2011
    Northern Ireland
    I had a horrible experience on eBay with a similar story to your own. I will tell you all once I get home from work.
  4. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    Its good on the face of it but he is wholly a buyer (you can't leave negs for buyers) - some of the feedback he has left for others have been kind of worrying (where is my item? item arrived damaged etc)...

    I am really expecting a different iphone to arrive back to me.

    I wish I had synced the phone up to the find my iphone thing apple has (have this set up with my ip4).

    But yeah just hoping if this is the case ebay/paypal will accept the fact that I photographed the phone's serial/imei numbers before sending...


    That does not sound great - would appreciate you elaborating when you get a chance yes.

    I wonder if there are any ways to fully safeguard selling your iphone on ebay from (potential) scams like these.

    Im sure a few of us will be hitting ebay soon to sell our iPhone 4's lol.
  5. charliecc macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Well done for taking all of the precautions you did. The IMEI will tell you if it's the same phone or not.

    I assume you have this guy's address, so if it is a scam tell him he's got 5 days to return your phone or you're going to the police. If he doesn't return it, kick off a complaint in eBay, but then go straight to the police. The eBay route will take weeks, they're ***** useless.

    Keep us updated.
  6. boss.king macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    Well if the phones serial number doesn't match that would prove he's trying to scam you, and the money is yours.
  7. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    He may be trying to scam you. He might be sending you a bad iPhone he has prior. Do not refund anything yet and wait to receive the iPhone.
  8. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    I wish it was that simple - but I have been giving it some thought and from a purely neutral position, would somebody simply say (about me having the serial number and imei inumber) - this could be any old iphone. I.e., I could have made this information up.

    I am pretty certain it will come down to my word against his, and unfortunately again, ebay do have this annoying reputation for siding with buyers.

    What more can we do as sellers to avoid situations like these (other than not using ebay)?
  9. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2009
    Seems like you have all the ammo you need in the event he tried to scam you. Keep all that handy and once you get the phone back, make sure you document everything. If you have a camcorder, video tape yourself opening the box and then checking everything on the phone to make sure it is the one you sent to him. Match up numbers and compare to the photos you have of the phone.

    I had a similar issue like this (not with an iPhone) but the premise was basically the same. The auction was for a golf club in mint condition. The buyer received it and then sent me an email that it wasn't as described and the club was all messed up. Fortunately, I took photos just as you did as well as the serial number on the club. I had a friend video tape me opening the club that was sent back to me and the serial number was incorrect. He tried to scam me and it didn't work. I presented all this info to PayPal and they sided with me on the dispute the buyer opened up.

    PayPal is somewhat notorious for always siding with the buyer in most disputes however, with the evidence I sent to them, it was quite clear the guy was trying to scam me.
  10. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    Thanks. I would be quite prepared to file a police report and I understand that these feed into ebay/paypal's decision making should this escalate to a formal dispute.

    On a side note I guess is I know my so far untarnished feedback is on the line. The worst result would be this guy scams me and gives me my first neg...
  11. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
  12. boss.king macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    From the sounds of it eBay is a terrible place to sell your stuff. I'm glad we have a good alternative where I live. OP I don't think there's much more you can do, but I wish you luck, hopefully you win out in the end.
  13. rowley macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2008
    London, UK
    Well, if you prove, when the phone returns to you, that it is indeed a different serial number etc etc, and if you say to ebay I've talked to MacRumors too about this, then they will side with you.

    But first things first, get the iphone back.
  14. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    Thanks for this - its reassuring to know that paypal do listen hopefully if you have taken some precautions.

    Good shout in particular of videotaping the returned item. Will be doing this for sure!
  15. RafaelT macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2010
    Lakeland, FL
    Definitely sounds like your about to get screwed! Sorry.

    Like you said, eBay always finds the need to side with the buyer no matter what evidence you have. If he payed with paypal you want to make sure you empty the money from that account so that it is harder for eBay to take it from you.
  16. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    In relation to the actual fault my buyer is describing, has anybody heard of this? Apple sign then shuts off...

    I have seen an iphone in a recovery loop before but this sounds different - hardware related perhaps???
  17. RafaelT macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2010
    Lakeland, FL
    It's certainly possible, any number of things could cause this. Probably hardware.

    But like you said earlier, I doubt the phone developed this issue during shipping if you packed it well.
  18. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Seems to be a scammer.
  19. -Garry- macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2005
    Manchester, UK
    I don't understand.

    Withdraw all the funds from your PayPal account - that should keep PayPal's grubby hands off it.

    As Hankster said - wait til you receive the phone back and then decide if you're going to issue a refund or not. If you decide not to, have the buyer pay for the return of the phone in whatever condition it's in.

    Under UK law, personal (non-business sales) are not subject to Distance Selling Regulations so you don't actually have to even accept the phone back.
  20. Lindenhurst macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2011
    I sell many items on Ebay, and haven't been scammed out of any money yet. i did have 1 person tell em the iPad wouldn't sync with his pc and that the bluetooth did not work. That was BS. If he couldn't get it to sync to set it up, how would he know the bluetooth was or wasn't working? He was a liar.
    I had him return it on his dime, and issued a refund after verifying everything was the sway I sent it. What I lost was the postage sending it to him.

    I had a feeling he was gonna try to scam me because he actually overpaid for the item, but I had the item sealed and packaged in the presence of a local postal employee so he couldn't claim it was not in the box, or that the iPad was scratched or dented, when in fact it was not.

    And yes...his last name was that of people known to be scammers.
    Not being a racist here. Just telling it like it is.

    Ebay is no the problem. The scammers on Ebay are.
  21. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    I am a business seller on ebay so I do need to accept returns with buyitnow purchases - but this was auction, so not obliged.

    However, the fact that he is officially saying it is faulty and therefore significantly not as described means he would almost certainly win a dispute if I did not comply with the return request.

    I have just finished a 4 year law degree so I should really feel confident enough to present a claim on the small claims track if need be - currently weighing it up whether it would be worth my time (and if I would win lol).
  22. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2009
    As you're a business seller on eBay, I'm certain you have either a checking account or credit card tied to your PayPal account. Simply withdrawing all the funds from your account isn't going to work in the event you lose the dispute. If you take the money out, and wind up losing the dispute, one way or another PayPal will try and recoup that money whether it be collections efforts or a knock against your credit report.

    If you're really that concerned about all this then document everything you do almost to a paranoid level. That way you'll have all the evidence you'll need in case this thing goes to a dispute (which it seems like it will). As for going to the small claims track, it's your money however I think it would be a complete waste of time and effort on your part just to retrieve whatever the final bid amount was.

    It's sad that eBay has turned into what it has. It almost seems as if eBay handicaps sellers and lets the buyer get away with anything. This is why I don't sell that much anymore on there.

    Best of luck to ya.
  23. bobbytallant thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2010
    Cheers for all that - yeah not overly keen on going down the withdrawing money from paypal to avoid getting charged route to be honest.

    As I say I am a powerseller and have collectively earned ebay/paypal hundreds of pounds over the years - if I get burned on this I will most likely stop trading on there to be honest. That threat might (but probably will not) make a difference.

    Issuing a small claim over here is very cheap and you are able to represent yourself - the only risk of course is losing upon which I would be liable to pay my buyer's expenses. Yeah I mean the phone I sold was for £130, probably not worth the effort for the time/money but it would be more for the satisfaction against this guy.

    Its up to them (ebay/paypal) really - I feel I have done everything I could in terms of taking all the necessary precautions and have played entirely by the rules on ebay/paypal. This could genuinely happen to anyone on ebay quite easy - hell I could buy a used working iphone 3g on ebay from someone else and say they sent me the broken one that I am about to get returned lol. Silly really.
  24. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    The big problem is that if he sends you a phone that won't turn on, then you cannot verify the serial nor the IMEI number in order to prove it isn't yours unless you take it to get repaired - therefore you're out another 100 pounds. :(

    Anyone know how to verify that information if the phone won't turn on?
  25. gdjsnyder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2010
    Swoyersville, PA
    Unfortunately, eBay and Paypal do usually side with the buyer. I once had a complaint from a buyer filed against me for a phone I was selling for my mom. They put a hold on the money and requested information, such as the original receipt and stuff. I got all the information for the phone and the buyer had even left me positive feedback (he filed about 40 days after the sale). eBay and Paypal both sided with the buyer. I faxed a very well worded letter to Paypal, insinuating legal action would be taken. The next day I received a phone call from a high level Paypal executive apologizing for the trouble, and that since the buyer had left positive feedback, I was not at fault and that my money would be available later that day.

    Not trying to scare you, but don't expect help from eBay or Paypal. Go directly to the police if the situation turns out badly.

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