Monday, June 26, 2023

The Partial Refund eBay Scam

I suppose most eBay sellers know this already, but in case there's a newbie out there, then consider this a public service announcement.  I was once such a newbie and fell for it.  Thankfully, I wised up after that.  Basically, you sell an item, then the buyer messages you afterwards that there is a problem with it.  You say, ok, bummer, sorry about that, please send it back, and I'll refund your money.  Then the buyer says, well, I'll keep it if you send me a partial refund.

Don't do it.  Basically, you have a cheapskate/con artist for a buyer who is looking for a discount after the sale.  The buyer likely tries this scam on every seller because some sellers do fall for it, either because they are worried about their seller rating or it's not worth the trouble to spend any additional time on it.

I wish they wouldn't though because it encourages the scammers to keep trying this same scam.  I don't sell a lot on eBay anymore, but I still seem to get it about once a year.  The way to respond I've found is to just offer a full refund if the buyer returns the item.  Usually, the scammer disappears at that point.  The scammer tried and failed.  Occasionally, the scammer will persist.  Just keep offering the full refund.  Usually, the scammer gives up.  Very rarely, will the scammer just return the item and get the refund.  I've had that happen once in the last few years.

Here's some examples:

1) Dude buys a vintage Star Wars drinking glass from me.  He messages me that the box rattles, and he thinks the glass is broken.  Many messages go back and forth, and mine stay consistent:  "Open it up.  If it's broken, then send it back, and I'll refund you."  He disappears, later posting feedback about how he loves his glass.

2) Dude buys a record and claims it skips.  Since I had played the record before shipping it and it played fine, I am skeptical.  When I don't bite at the partial refund requests, he goes away.

3) Dude buys a golden age comic book and is surprised it is in terrible condition even though I have described it as being in terrible condition.  When I stick to my send it back for a full refund line, he refuses and just gives me negative feedback.  I return his negative feedback with negative feedback (technically positive feedback since eBay refuses to let buyers get negative feedback, but my comments are that he is a scammer and other sellers should beware).  When he complains and has my feedback removed, I call eBay to complain, and, amazingly enough, the eBay representative agrees with me that the dude was trying to extort me with negative feedback and removes his negative feedback and gives him an official eBay demerit or something.  He then goes away.  Apparently, he was ok with his purchase after all.

The latest is a guy who bought a brand new cd box set.  His complaint is that the brand new sealed box has a cutout mark (which was in the pictures and noted in the description).  We'll see what happens with this one.  He already opened up an official return (sometimes the scammers do, hoping the seller will just approve the request and then they get to keep the item and their money--I never do that).  This dude messaged me when he bought it with needless shipping instructions, which is always a red flag (I was half-tempted to cancel the sale then), so he may just be a moron who doesn't read descriptions and just wastes everyone's time and money shipping purchases back.  If the item arrives in the condition it shipped in, then I'll refund his money.  Usually, they never end up shipping it, and eBay closes the return request after a few weeks (in the meantime, I get to have eBay hold my money in case he does return it--thanks, dude). 

As I noted, thankfully, this only happens to me about once a year, but I am sure sellers with greater volume probably deal with this nonsense weekly.  I just hold my return the item for a full refund line and add the scammer to my blocked buyers list so the scammer can't plague me again (at least until the scammer gets a new eBay user id).  I've noticed that over the years most of the scammers on my blocked buyers list get thrown off eBay eventually, so I'm assuming they tried the partial refund scam a few too many times and even eBay got exasperated with them (and, unfortunately, eBay is a little too scammer-friendly because over the years eBay switched from being an equal trading post to placing more emphasis on attracting buyers), which is impressive. 

In addition to holding the full refund line and adding the scammer to your blocked buyer list, I also pay for postal insurance on items sold above $100.  Then if the scammer tries the old "it was lost/damaged in shipping" routine as an excuse for why they can't return the item, you can just direct them to take it up with the post office (and the scammers won't want to deal with a USPS inspector, so that will be the end of it).

The vast majority of my eBay sales go through just fine with happy buyers and a happy seller.  Unfortunately, there are some scammers out there though, so know what to do.  If enough sellers hold the line on partial refunds, then the problem should lessen, which would be good news for everyone.

There is a copy of The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus for sale on eBay, but you can also buy the novel directly from me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

New Single!: All The Onions In The World

I was amazed that no one had written this song before (if they did, then I missed it when I searched, so my apologies) since it seems such an obvious song subject.  Of course, that can be a red flag as well, and maybe I'm the only one stupid enough to actually write it, but the notion of someone who has cried so many tears and is so heartbroken that they can chop onions without crying was very appealing (sorry for the onion peel pun there).  I thought about doing a grunge title and just calling it "Onions," but I decided to use the full title instead.  On another day, I might have decided the reverse.  For the middle bit, what I call the third input and others call the bridge or middle eight (basically, it breaks up the verse/chorus pattern so it doesn't become monotonous), it came out like Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones, which was cool (though the Brian Jones Stones remain my favorite Stones).  Musically, it's the usual voice, guitar, keyboard as bass, and drums.  There's no weird instrument this time, though I suppose the fact that I used a toy desktop drum set as part of the drums in addition to a suitcase would probably be considered weird by most musicians.  Lyrics are below:

Joe liked to wrap things up in plastic.
Lori taught art at the local college.
Joe's daughter had a rabbit that pooped everywhere in the house.
Joe and Lori went to Iceland for their honeymoon.

All the onions in the world.

Joe said there's some good looking women in the Walmart tonight.
He said he'd like to put them in his shopping cart and take them all home with him.
Lori didn't like it when she found out CEOs of charities were paid a million dollars.
Lori thought about having a warm and fuzzy rabbit for dinner.

I've cried so many tears over you that I could chop all the onions in the world without crying.
And if our love is not dead, then it's dying.

Joe made jokes about Chuck Berry like "Johnny Pee Goode".
Lori wondered if Joe had wrapped their love up in plastic.
Lori left Joe for a transportation engineer.  He made more money.
Joe was sad, but the rabbit never liked Lori anyway.

Thanks to Hugo at Freewheelin' for playing "All Roads Lead To Death" on his radio show!

For more Wred Fright music, listen to the Yeast? 7"!

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Wild Bill Blackolive Interview


My pal Pat King has started working on a documentary about the Underground Literary Alliance (ULA).  Since we had fun working on the old Underground Literary Adventures blog many, many moons ago, he asked if I could help him out a bit, and I was happy to oblige.  While he's working on the documentary, Pat's been putting out short videos based around interviews with ULA members.  This is an interview with Wild Bill Blackolive, author of The Emeryville War.  Pat did most of the work, while I got to have fun talking with Wild Bill.  Thanks to Madrea for helping set up the interview.  Pat also has a video with Frank Walsh up currently as well:

If you want to read some literature by The Underground Literary Alliance, then please check out The Slush Pile Strikes Back!

Monday, June 5, 2023

Comic: My Friend Larry

My pal and fellow writer Larry Richette died about ten years ago.  I had never gotten around to reading his last novel, so I tracked down a copy and read it recently.  It was a little depressing that it ended up being a signed copy that Larry had apparently donated to a library but had been cancelled and ended up in my hands (the inscription page was torn out but I could read the inscription from the indentation on the page under it).  Larry was quite a character, and I thought he deserved to be remembered a bit better than a torn-off inscription page, so I drew a comic about him (click on the image to make it bigger).

If you want to read my novels before I'm dead, you can find the latest one, Fast Guy Slows Down, here.