By Tessa Hebert

To see the Questionnaire, please click here:

Part 1:  Report Latest Update
Prior Updates
Narrative Results
Part 2:   Results of Questionnaire
Table Showing Amounts Lost
Respondents' Replies to Questionnaire
Part 3:  Summary Impressions

Update:  6-13-02

eBay Motors Purchase Insurance
Buyer Beware:  If you purchase a car through eBay Motors, make sure you, the seller, the vehicle, and the institution paid are all located within the USA and that the listing is in the Passenger Vehicles Category on eBay.  Otherwise, you are not covered by eBay Motors Purchase Insurance.

A respondent has reported that his insurance claims was denied, because his seller was located in Canada.

This was the first I realized eBay had different coverage for eBay Motors.

The information on insurance for eBay Motors is at this location:

Be sure to read that page carefully, because coverage is limited and the requirements are strict.

Some of the requirements are:

Only vehicles listed in auctions in the passenger vehicles category (#6001) on eBay Motors are eligible.  You are not eligible if you have filed another claim within 6 months of the auction's end.  The purchase price must be over $500, and the maximum coverage is $20,000.  The amount of payment will be based on the lesser of a devaluation amount or the amount of the winning bid, plus shipping expenses of up to $800 if that applies.  Most importantly, the buyer, the seller, the institution to whom payment was made, plus the vehicle, must all be located within the USA.
A fraud complaint must be e-mailed to within 14-25 days of the end of the auction.  Include the auction item number and a brief description of why you are filing the complaint. The subject line must state: "Motors Purchase Insurance."

I will report here on this respondent's data, but the data will not be combined with the other survey results on eBay's insurance on auctions that are not part of eBay Motors.  My plans are to report separately on eBay Motors Purchase Insurance.
Respondent Final Bid Amount Shipping Costs Total Loss
Insurance Paid --
% Total Loss
Loss Not Reimbursed --
% Total Loss
Please state the reason you filed a claim:
A I had not received the car and filed the claim just in case.
Result of the claim:
Claim was denied:
A The claim was denied.
Date claim was denied:
A 05-31-02
Please provide the reason the claim was denied:
A The seller is located in Canada.
Please give any other information that you feel would help the author to write a better article:
A If American buyers are not protected when dealing in Canada, there should be a big tag on the item listing informing all.
How satisfied are you about the results of your claim?
A Extremely unsatisfied.
What do you suggest the eBay could do to make filing an insurance claim a more positive experience for you?
A Get insurance for the American buyer dealing in Canada.
What do you suggest that eBay could do to make filing an insurance claim unnecessary?
A --
Please add any comments or feelings you have about your experience in filing a claim with eBay's insurance:
A --

Update:  05-03-02:

An 11th respondent reports that she finally got paid by eBay's insurance, after almost 4 months, and she was paid the maximum amount of $175.00 on a $410.99 loss.  Happily, she also got the entire amount of her loss back from PayPal, about the same time as she received her eBay insurance payment.  She believes that she will have to refund the insurance payment to eBay's insurance.

Her suggestions are that eBay provide online claim filing and a site where claimants can find out the status of their claims.

I am very happy to know that PayPal refunded her money.

My advice for all who want to be safe when paying for an eBay transaction is use a credit card to pay through PayPal.

Narrative Results:  05-03-02:

Five out of eleven respondents got paid, six out of eleven claims were denied.

Two respondents were "very satisfied" with the results.  Six were "extremely unsatisfied," and three were "not very satisfied."  (11th respondent has not yet replied.)

One claim was denied because the seller filed Bankruptcy within two weeks after accepting payment from respondent.  Another claim was denied because the claimant's claim form was supposedly not received within the deadline required by the insurance company, although the respondent followed eBay's instructions and sent the form in right away.  Two other claims were denied because the insurance company claimed it arrived late.  Two claims were denied because supposedly seller's feedback was minus zero.

One claim was paid within one month of filing.  Date of claim paid was not provided on one response.  Two other claims were paid within 3-1/2 months of filing.  One claim was paid almost 4 months after filing.

Total Losses reported (on both paid and denied claims) was $5,269.05.  Total paid by the insurance was $875.00.  That is a recovery of only 17% of Total Losses.

On the claims that were paid, the Total Loss was $3,042.61, Total Paid was $875.00, and that is a recovery of 29%.

I think the results show only the tip of the iceberg, and it is not pretty.  Particularly interesting is the comment of respondent number 4, who reports that her estimate of what one group lost from one seller is between $80,000.00 and $100,000.00.  That seller was selling computers in Dutch auctions, and some bidders paid for several computers at over $1,100.00 for each computer.  Obviously, a one-time insurance payment of $175.00 to each buyer on losses from $1,100.00 to $3,300.00 is not sufficient to restore what was lost.

A point made by respondent #8 is that successful completion of the insurance claim does NOT result in the seller being suspended from using eBay.  If a seller can continue to sell on eBay after proof of a loss on an inaccurately-described item, you can conclude that eBay's fraud-report and insurance-claim processes do not provide sufficient protection against fraud for future buyers.  I can only hope that even if this seller is not suspended from eBay, the experience may lead him to be more careful about describing his items in the future.

Respondents #9's and #10's data shows how fast a dishonest seller can defraud eBay's users.  (See "Update of 02-06-01" and Update of 12-24-01 for complete details.)

Respondent #11 reported that PayPal refunded her the entire amount she had lost.  I applaud PayPal for returning all of her money, which is certainly better than a partial insurance payment from eBay.
Prior Updates

Update:  12-24-01:

A tenth respondent's information has been added to the Results shown below.  This respondent's information shows similar information as #9's, how fast a seller can steal a lot of money from eBay users and that even though the seller has positive feedback at the time of the transaction, eBay's insurance denied the claim because the seller had negative feedback later.  This leads me to ask this question of eBay:

Those winning bidders who posted negative feedback against a seller who defrauded them, eliminated any possibility of obtain eBay's insurance because they left negative feedback?
A careful review of the information available on eBay showed that at the time the auction was listed, the seller had a positive feedback total of one and only one feedback in his file.  I am not sure why this respondent's claim was denied, although he thinks it was because of the seller's subsequent negative feedback and that the seller's account was suspended when he filed his claim.  However, as far as I know, an eBay winning bidder is eligible for eBay's insurance as long as the seller has a positive total feedback at the time of the transaction (or when the auction ended).  However, please see Respondent #9's data, his claim was denied for the same reason this one was.

Lest anyone criticize this respondent for failing to heed eBay's warning about "buyer beware" or that he might have been more cautious than to bid on a new seller's auction, the fact is that 16 others bid on the same auction, and 5 others posted negative feedback on other auctions that indicates that they also paid the seller without receiving the paid-for item.  Also, the seller obtained 9 negative feedbacks before his account was suspended by eBay and all of the negative feedback was given within 2 days.  This respondent had no way to know there was a problem, until it was too late.  Obviously, bidders are falsely reassured that it is safe to bid on eBay on an auction by a seller without a lot of positive feedback, and bidders have a false impression that eBay's insurance provides some protection from this kind of seller.

This seller registered on eBay on September 4, 2001, and the last feedback in his file was on October 26, 2001.  In about 3 weeks of selling on eBay, he managed to obtain:

Positive feedback on a $2 auction, auction ended 09-27-01, feedback left on 10-09-01
Negative feedback on auctions for these winning bid amounts:
$      0.25 Auction ended 9-28-01, feedback left on 10-25-01 *
$  182.50 Auction ended 10-14-01, feedback left on 10-25-01
$1,476.00 Auction ended 10-14-01, feedback left on 10-26-01 *
$   381.50 (Total $909.04, lost by same user ID, 4 auctions ended on 10-17-01, feedback left on 10-25-01)
$   282.50 "
$   117.52 "
$   127.52 "
$  637.00 Auction ended 10-17-01, feedback left on 10-26-01 *
$  250.00 Auction ended 10-17-01, feedback left on 10-26-01
$2,545.75 TOTAL
That is $2,545.75 lost by 6 users on eBay, in 9 auctions.

* The seller also left positive feedback for 3 of those bidders, plus 11 bidders on these 12 auctions:

$   0.99 Auction ended 09-27-01, feedback left on 10-06-01
$   6.06 Auction ended 09-27-01, feedback left on 10-17-01, same winning bidder as next, NARU
$   8.02 Auction ended 09-28-01, feedback left on 10-06-01, (NARU = No Longer a Registered User)
$   1.75 Auction ended 09-30-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$   9.02 Auction ended 10-14-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$ 17.00 Auction ended 10-14-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$ 59.00 Auction ended 10-14-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$   0.99 Auction ended 10-14-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$ 31.00 Auction ended 10-15-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$ 22.25 Auction ended 10-15-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$ 34.33 Auction ended 10-15-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$   7.47 Auction ended 10-15-01, feedback left on 10-17-01
$198.88 TOTAL
It does seem strange that except for 2 auctions (where negative feedback was left for seller),  the seller left positive feedback on auctions that ended in very small amounts as compared to most of the large amounts lost by those who left negative feedback.  I think this suggests shilling and an attempt to look like he was really doing business instead of stealing.

Curiously, the seller did not leave feedback for the only bidder who left positive feedback for him and gave him his positive total of one (+1) that was useful to convince others that he was safe to do business with.  Perhaps, eBay (or criminal investigative agencies like the FBI) ought to investigate whether or not that auction was a sham, shilled by the seller himself to provide himself with positive feedback.  It is possible that some of the other winning bidders the seller left positive feedback for were actually the seller using another user ID.

eBay's search does not provide access to auctions beyond two weeks, and there were no auctions showing when I checked on 12-24-01, so I was unable to see what other auctions this seller listed.  So, it is quite possible that this seller stole much more from many other eBay users.

It appears that the seller listed auctions on eBay only to steal from eBay users.  And a bidder on eBay would have had no way to know what this seller was doing until it was too late.

Also, as this respondent found out, an eBay user cannot obtain a seller's registration information once that seller's account has been suspended by eBay.

But I am quite hopeful that the FBI will obtain the seller's registration information from eBay and that this criminal will soon be viewing the walls of a jail cell.  Unfortunately, the people he scammed might not get their money back.

This respondent's information provides an ugly picture of a possibility that can happen too often on eBay:  A seller like this one can easily register on eBay under many different user IDs and quickly shill his own auctions and leave positive feedback for himself, and in a matter of weeks steal thousands of dollars from unsuspecting eBay bidders.

In spite of eBay's reassurances to bidders about its insurance, as this respondent's information shows, eBay's insurance is worthless in a case like this one.

Bottom Line:  Do NOT be reassured.  Bidder beware!

Update:  02-06-01:

A ninth respondent's information has been added to the Results. This respondent lost $247.50, and his claim was denied because the insurance company claimed the seller's feedback was minus zero.  Actually, the seller's feedback was zero until a week after this auction ended.  The seller registered on 11-26-00, the day before this auction was listed.  The seller's first feedback was not received until 12-07-00.  The seller's feedback file contains 11 negatives, 10 of which are for accepting payment and not delivering item, 1 for non-response to winning bidder.  2 of the 3 positive feedbacks state that the transactions were not completed, and the third feedback is suggestive of the same.  Feedback was given on 14 auctions, 3 positive, 11 negative, for a total (at the point the seller was no-longer-registered) of a minus 8.

This appears to be a clear case of a seller using eBay ONLY to defraud bidders.  According to feedback given, there were 14 transactions, 10 which indicate that the seller received payment without delivering item and 3 which indicate the transactions were not completed.  The respondent's comment that eBay "should handle all claims against that individual" is a valid point when all appearances indicate this seller used eBay only to commit fraud.

These auctions had ending dates on eBay from November 29th to December 6, a time period of 1 week.  All of the seller's feedback was given in a 2-day period (December 7-8).

I was unable to obtain a list of all of the seller's auctions, because of eBay's data-base structure which allows a search for only 30 days back.  I did check the auctions that show in the seller's feedback file, plus I added in respondent #9's and these are the figures for those auctions:

10 Auctions with feedback claims that seller took money without sending items
  1 Auction without feedback (respondent #9), seller took money without sending item
11 Auctions Total

$1,858.93 total amounts bid on those 10 auctions
$   247.50 amount paid by respondent #9
$2,106.43 Total Amount Lost by bidders on this seller's auctions

This data may show only the tip of the iceberg, because this seller may have cheated others who were not able to leave feedback before the seller was no-longer-registered on eBay.  I doubt that many people would be sure that they had been ripped off within 1 week after an auction ends.  Apparently, some of the victims of this seller were alerted through e-mail notice given by another victim, and they were not able to leave feedback before the seller was no-longer-registered.  I am unable to get data on the true picture about this seller's fraudulent activity on eBay because of the accessibility limitations on eBay's public data base.  Another alarming possibility is that this seller may have operated on eBay under another user ID and may still be defrauding eBay user's under another user ID.

This shows that this seller defrauded 11 people in one week's time, using eBay to do it.  Interestingly, the items at auction were a variety of things, from jewelry to television sets, and the descriptions appear to be accurate to the items described.  It also appeared to me that this seller made an effort to describe the auction items in great detail.   There would have been no indication that there would be a problem until the unlucky winning bidder realized he had been cheated, or received a warning from someone else who was cheated.

It is my sincere hope that one or more of the people who got defrauded by this seller will have filed fraud charges with the FBI or the United States Postal Service and that federal prosecutors will soon have this seller behind bars where he belongs.
See my article about what to do if you get defrauded at this location:

Another interesting, but ugly fact is that the only feedback the seller gave was to the winning bidder who first left negative feedback that appears to be related to poor service, rather than non-delivery of the item.  The seller's feedback in that case includes a vulgar curse word that definitely breaks eBay's rules against profanity.  Lucky for the other victims of this seller, this seller was no-longer-registered soon afterwards and was not able to leave any ugly feedback for them.

I appreciate greatly respondent #9's information, because it allows the point to be made about how fast someone can defraud eBay users for large amounts of money.  Buyer Beware is too true in situations like this, where the seller was operative on eBay for a very short time (probably less than 2 weeks), yet managed to cheat 11 eBay users of an average amount of $210.64 each (not including shipping costs paid).

I do not have data from the others who were cheated by this seller, but their information would be appreciated, and I will update this article to include their information if they will complete my questionnaire.

Thanks for your interest to all who read this page and especially to those who completed the questionnaire.  I will continue to report on the data provided by respondents as it comes in.

Update:  January 25, 2001

An eighth respondent's information has been added to the ResultsThe respondent lost $483.62 in a $629.00 transaction in which the item was received not-as-described.  The respondent's claim will be paid, but the respondent was not satisfied.  The respondent's dissatisfaction was due to (1) the length of time required to complete the claim; and (2) the fact that the seller is still able to sell on eBay, when she hoped that he would be suspended so that he could not do this to others.

January 18, 2001:  Update

A seventh respondent's information has been added to the ResultsThe respondent's claim was paid, but the respondent was not satisfied.  The respondent lost $46.00 in a $221.00 transaction in which the item was received not-as-described.  The respondent also reported other costs, $15.00 for the mediation by Square Trade, which was unsuccessful because seller was non-responsive to mediation attempts.

This points out that the mediation of Square Trade may be ineffective when seller refuses to cooperate or respond to mediation attempts.

October 2, 2000:  Update

A sixth respondent's information has been added to the Results.  His insurance claim was denied because the insurance company claimed it was not received within the deadline.

This points out again the need to comply with the 90-day deadline after the auction ends, for filing an insurance claim with eBay, which is a requirement that may not be possible for some to comply with because of the length of time it takes to (1) realize there is a problem; (2) file eBay's Fraud Report; and (3) submit the insurance claim with documentation.  Also, it may be necessary to prove that the claim was received by the insurance company within the 90-day period.

September 28, 2000:

Response to Questionnaire:  First, I must say I was hoping for a better response.  So far, only five eBay users have responded to my questionnaire.

Many thanks to all who responded.  I am grateful for the kindness of those who responded and for the time and effort it took to respond to my questionnaire, as well as to answer my e-mails for more information required to update the information on those claims that were pending at the time the questionnaire was first completed.

I have decided to leave the survey online and continue to hope to accumulate more data and add it to this report as it comes in.  So this will be an ongoing report, and any further responses to the questionnaire will be greatly appreciated.


Non-Confidential Results
These are the replies from respondents, who have given me their permission to publish these results.
Please note that replies have not been censored or edited, except for grammar or punctuation.
Any comments or words in parenthesis were added by the author.
Respondents are identified only by their numbers.

Respondent # Final Bid Amount Shipping Costs Total Loss
Insurance Paid --
% Total Loss
Loss Not Reimbursed --
% Total Loss
9 $247.50 -0- $247.50 -0- 0% $247.50 100%
10 $182.50 $7.95 $190.45 -0- 0% $192.45 100%
Respondent Number/Question/Replies
Please state the reason you filed a claim:
1 Sent postal money order for $435.00, received no computer, watched seller's feedback drop from 400+ down to 350, web site disappeared, phone disconnected.  Got worried, filed claim.
2 I have been registered with eBay for a good year and a half.  All that time up to a couple of weeks ago, I was very happy and had no problems.  Then I won an auction with an item selling for $174.99.  The seller had a rating of around 60 (total positive feedback), so I felt comfortable bidding this amount.  The e-mail response was good in the beginning.  But when the item failed to show up, I started inquiring and the e-mails started coming back with an automated response.  I followed all the directions.  Then after 30 days I went back to eBay to get some information about the auction and to file a claim.  The seller had been removed from the system.  Everything except his/her feedback.  There were 22 new negative feedbacks now.  So I decided to start the claim process.
3 I purchased a laptop computer from _____ on eBay, sent him the money which he received, and he never sent the computer.  In later correspondence, he admitted he never had the computers he advertised for sale.  I have attempted to contact him many times.  I have had no response since he promised delivery 3-16-00.
4 Winning bid on a laptop from seller.  Seller insisted on payment via money order only, laptop never received.  Filed formal complaints with various agencies, including Lloyd's of London. 
5 Seller never shipped item to me or any of the dutch auction winners.  Mail fraud filed, local police contacted, called numerous times day and night, left messages and emails.  All to no response.
6 On May 8, 2000 I was the high bidder on auction #_________.  On that date I contacted the seller, _________, to request his address and sent him my data.  On May 9, 2000 I was contacted by the seller and given 7 days to make payment, not stated in the auction, and told the amount due was almost $9.00 more than the closing bid.  On May 11, 2000 I emailed the seller and informed him I would get a
postal money order the next day and asked why the additional money as priority would ship it for $3.20. I got back an email that said to just send $4.00 shipping.  On May 12, 2000 I sent a postal money order to the seller - #___________.   On June 3, 2000 I emailed the seller asking if he had received the payment and asking if the item had been sent.   On June 5, 2000 the seller e-mailed me that the payment had been received and the item had been sent.  On June 12, 2000 I emailed the seller the item had still not arrived and
that I would contact eBay's fraud department if the transaction was not complete by June 16.   On June 13, 2000 the Seller emailed me requesting I cooperate with him and he would trace the package.   On June 16, 2000 I emailed the seller asking what had happened as still no item.  On June 18, 2000 the seller emailed the item was returned to him as he used the wrong address - he would also send the item in the morning - express.   On June 24, 2000  I emailed the seller that the item still had not arrived and let him know that I had contacted eBay and filed a report.  Since I filed that complaint I have not been contacted by the seller but I now have negative feedback from him calling me a scam artist and a liar.  I have sent to eBay by the postal service copies of all feedback between
the seller and myself (asking ebay to remove the feedback, but it has not been removed). 
7 I sent a payment and received the merchandise, but the merchandise is different than the seller described it. 
8 The item was described as:  "Yamaha Mod. YBH-301S 3 valve Baritone horn in Silver plate with case and mouthpiece.  Horn has some minor dings and lacquer wear, but plays great.  Lists for $1300.00".  There were 3 pictures, which looked good despite having some reflections and shadows.

When I got the horn, it was obvious that the wear was more than minor.  The silver plate had been completely worn off down to the brass at the places where the player holds the horn.  The "minor dings" were large dents, and when I shown the horn to the repair technicians they explained that because of the specific location of the largest dent, under the bottom reinforcing brace, it would be extremely difficult and expensive to remove, and not worth the cost.  There was some other damage that was not apparent from the pictures.  I showed it to technicians at two different stores, and they both said basically the same thing, old horn, much used, much repaired, not worth repairing again, fair market value about $350.

Seller absolutely refused to accept a return.  He offered me a small refund, the difference between my bid and his reserve of $500.  The horn is not worth $500, I would not have bid on it at all if I had known the true condition, and he was being such a jerk that I was not inclined to let him off.  I decided I would take my chances with proving my case on an insurance claim, and hopefully get him suspended from eBay.

He was slow to answer my e-mails, and often did not respond at all.  He never responded to the Square Trade mediator, nor did he give any information to the Fraud Report.  He did send one long e-mail to "dear ebay", with a cc to me, basically stating that he was right and I was wrong.  He claims that the pictures are an adequate substitute for a personal inspection, the description is only a supplement to the pictures and does not need to be complete and accurate, the horn is worth what I paid, and that I was unreasonable to accept the partial refund which he offered.

At one point he said he would call me to discuss the problem, never did, then said I should call him.  I did.  He was difficult to talk to, made some unreasonable statements, including that if I thought a personal inspection was necessary I should have come to his shop (in another state) to do so, absolutely refused to take the horn back, finally withdrew his partial refund offer and hung up on me.

He also stated in e-mail that "we will probably end up trading negs," but offered to give me positive feedback if I would accept his $129 refund and give him positive first.

He does not seem to understand that selling on eBay is different from selling in person in his pawnshop.  I have bought instruments in pawnshops, was satisfied with the transactions, and would never dream of taking an instrument back and saying "I changed my mind."  In a pawnshop, what you see is what you get.  I tried to explain to him that an eBay seller must describe the item completely and accurately, because the buyer does not have the ability to examine it before purchasing.  All his other feedback is positive, but in this case he misdescribed the item, and will not take responsibility for that.

9 I was notified on November 30 that my bid was winning (high) bid for 20" panasonic tv/vcr, mailed money order approximately December 3, within a day I started receiving numerous emails from other eBay users stating _____ (the seller) was defrauding people right and left on various eBay auctions that all had expiration (date) of November 30.  I tried to contact _____ (the seller) thru e-mail, no response.  I filed complaint with eBay, complained to authorities in Michigan where _____ (the seller) was from, and after receiving tracking number, I filed a claim with Lloyd's.
10 I sent a check in the amount of 190.45 on 10/18/01.  It was cashed by Mr. ______ [(seller's eBay User ID and e-mail address)] on 10/23/01.  No item was ever sent, he didn't respond to any emails, and I've been contacted by other "winners" with similar problems 
11 I purchased some auto speakers from seller.  I paid for them with PayPal.  Seller never sent item and stopped responding to my e-mails.
Result of the claim:
Claim was paid:
4 Claim was paid 3.5 months after filing.
5 Claim was paid 1 month after filing.
7 Claim was paid 
8 Claim will be paid, payment not yet received, 3.5 months after filing.
11 Claim was paid, almost 4 months after filing.
Claim was denied:
1 Seller filed bankruptcy and Lloyd's denied claim based on bankruptcy.
2 Insurance company claims my claim was not received within 90-day filing deadline (after auction closed), although I mailed in the claim within the deadline.  The rules as I recall were to:
1.  I had to wait 30 days after the auction before I could file a fraud report.  This time was for me to try and establish contact and settle the dispute.  They provided me with a name, address, and phone number.
2. Then I had to wait another 30 days for Ebay to try and solve the issue.
 3. Ebay contacted me and gave me a Florida address for the Lloyds of London claim department.
I don't remember the exact date.  I didn't keep notes.  I do not remember being in a rush mode to meet a deadline.  I did file the same day I received the information because I am not a procrastinator.
3 They denied the claim saying it was late -- after 60 days.  I asked them about an extension and I was told to contact eBay's customer service since they would have to approve any extension.  I will be contacting them soon.  (09-26-00)
6 Claim was denied because it supposedly was not filed within the deadline.  eBay stated that I did not file the Fraud Report complaint within the 60-day deadline, but I did file it sooner than 60 days.  In spite of what eBay claimed, I still mailed in the insurance claim within the 90-day deadline, but the claim was denied by the insurance company.
9 (Claim filed on 12-11-00, almost 2 months later on 02-02-01 respondent found out:) 
Claim not paid because seller had less than zero rating at time of auction.  This is totally untrue, his rating was zero (no feedback, or a positive)  when I bid, check with the other people he defrauded and I'm sure you will get same answer.
(Author's investigation verified this. See "Update of 02-06-01" above, for report on author's investigation.)
10 [The claim was denied apparently because the seller's feedback was a negative total (less than zero).  However, at the time of the auction, the seller's feedback was +1.    See  Update of 12-24-01 above, for report of author's investigation.]
Date claim was denied:
1 11-02-99
2 09-24-99
3 --
6 --
9 02-02-01
10 12-17-01
Date Claim was paid:
4 07-01-00
5 04-15-00
7 12-22-00
8 E-mail notice on 1-23-01 stated claim would be paid.
11 04-26-02
Please provide the reason the claim was denied:
1 Seller sent bankruptcy papers to me.  Insurance feels this is enough compensation.
2 Insurance agent's e-mail stated:  "Claim forms must be received within 90 days of the listing close date to be considered valid.  Don't wait until the last minute, please allow ample time for the U.S. Mail. "
3 They denied the claim saying it was late -- after 60 days.
6 When I went in to the page that gives information about the complaint, the complaint is closed...  * 
I would accept this except there was one item on the Fraud Reporting and Insurance Claim Form that upset me.   Item 4 states that I am not eligible for insurance because I filed the complaint more than 60 days after the auction end date.  This is incorrect as the auction ended on May 8 and the complaint was filed on June 24.  I mailed in the insurance claim anyway, within the 90-day deadline, but claim was denied because insurance company claimed it was not received within deadline.

* (eBay later wrote and explained that all complaints are normally closed within 30 days.  He was unable to get eBay or the insurance company to agree that both complaint and insurance claim were timely filed.) 

9 Insurance company claimed seller's feedback was less than zero, which is not covered by the insurance; but this seller had zero feedback (no feedback) at the time he was paid.
10 The seller had negative feedback (at the time of the auction, he had positive feedback, but as his scam became apparent, the buyers started leaving negative feedback).  The result is that eBay only "unregistered him when his feedback got to -4 and denied all insurance claims against him.

(Seller had one positive feedback at the point this auction ended.  It was 11 days later before the first negative feedback was left.  Apparently, the seller was not "unregistered" at the point his feedback reached -4, because 2 others left negative feedback for him after he had -4 total feedback.)

Please give any other information that you feel would help the author to write a better article:
1 My feeling is since the company filed bankruptcy two weeks after receiving my payment, it is fraud.  Claim should have been paid and the insurance company should be on the bankruptcy papers.  Lloyd's of London does not appear on paper as a member of the bankruptcy proceedings.  I believe from the paper work I have received that over 200 eBayers were taken by this company.
2 The first thing I ran up against was they required the auction number.  Well, I didn't have this information.  I don't print the pages out because I always felt that if a situation like this one arises that I can go to My eBay and pull up the auction page and then make a hard copy.  Since they had removed this information, I had no way of printing out the hard copy.  So I e-mailed them requesting that they get the auction number and e-mail it to me.  They said that they cannot do this, that the information is gone.  Unknown to them, my profession was Main Frame Computers.  I know what is going on.  So I explained to them that I know about backups and I know that they had the information on a backup and that they indeed had the capability to extract the requested information.  I also asked them to not to insult my intelligence by stating they don't have it.  I asked them to tell me they would not do it.  This I can understand even though I don't like it.  But to tell me they can't is an affront to me.  Anyway, again they told me that they can't, ignoring my plea to not say can't.  I was very upset at this time.  I again wrote a lengthy e-mail.  This time I addressed the fact that they must keep all information removed from the system for any and all criminal cases that may arise.  I went into detail on this subject.  They relented and produced the information.  They also stated that this was against their policy and that it was a one time deal.  Then they offered the offending person's name and phone number.  Not the address which I was able to get later when I filed a report.  I tried calling but again it was an automated message about leaving some number.  At this point, I gave up and decided to file a claim.

I went to eBay and started the claim process.  I have to post a complaint to eBay and wait thirty days before I can file the insurance claim. 

I did find out that one of the two items the insurer needed is a hard copy of the auction.  I am sure when I supply only the auction number, description, date, and amount paid that they will deny it, because I didn't produce a hard copy.  Of course, I am just guessing at this, but I feel strongly that this scenario will take place. 

[Author's Note:  I was able to help him find the auction, which was still available in eBay's public data base.  But I have left his comments here, because they do point out the problem this user encountered.]

4 The only sure way to avoid this happening, is to avoid purchasing items from online auction sites.  I doubt that I will ever purchase another item online. I now equate this activity with gambling at a casino (without the pleasure).  This is a gamble, therefore, never throw down more than you care to lose.  Cyber crime is almost totally unregulated.  Crooks will continue to develop  methods to part money from unsuspecting participants.  One need not even be smart to do this.
5 I really haven't had any problems with Cynosure (eBay's insurance carrier).  I telephoned them when I was unsure if they had received my claim.  This, perhaps, is the only drawback - the time it takes for them to enter your claim into their system and for a representative to contact you.  Other than that, I've no problems.  I only wish that the claim limit was higher.
6 I am not sure of the date but the seller is now NARU (No Longer a Registered User).  I have done nothing except try to follow all the rules.  I bid on and won the item, I paid my money and received only negative feedback for my trouble.   I have been bidding and selling on eBay for a long time with nothing but excellent ratings.  I would expect that due to the nature of the feedback  (name calling ) and that it is completely undeserved the least I would ask of Ebay is to remove it.   However, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to get eBay to remove the negative feedback from this seller.
7 I can provide my e-mails to the mediator and her responses.
8 I have not yet actually received the check for this claim, but I have an e-mail promising it, dated 1/23/01:

"Thank you for your patience.   Settlement will be made on your claim this week.  A claim check will be issued for $175.00 through cynoSure Financial, Inc.  If you do not receive a claim check in the next thirty days please notify us via email.
"Thank you, Lloyd's Claims Administration"

When it became obvious that the seller was not going to make any response to the Fraud Report, I made several comments myself, giving excerpts from his e-mails stating his position.

9 I was never even informed of any progress on this claim.  I started checking around the eBay site until I found where I could look at
claim in progress info on December 2 and discovered above information.
10 I feel that eBay does not provide the proper information to buyers when they "unregister" the sellers.  We have no way to find out why they are no longer associated with them or any way to get information from eBay to help in fraud claims against the seller.. 
11 Paypal withdrew from sellers account the balance he had and transferred it to my account in the amount of $103.46.  On March 25, 2002 Paypal deposited into my checking account $352.53.  I received a total of $455.99 from Paypal and $175.00 from Ebay insurance for a total of $630.99.  My total Loss was only $455.99, so I am expecting Ebay to
be contacting me in the very near future to retrieve their funds.
How satisfied are you about the results of your claim?
1 Extremely unsatisfied.
2 Extremely unsatisfied.
3 Extremely unsatisfied.
4. Not very satisfied.
5 Very satisfied.
6 Extremely unsatisfied
7 Not very satisfied.
8 Not very satisfied.
9 Extremely unsatisfied
10 Extremely unsatisfied
11 Very satisfied
What do you suggest the eBay could do to make filing an insurance claim a more positive experience for you?
1 Make bankruptcy a part of the fraud claim payment plan.  Make it easier to file claims online instead of through the mail.
2 If eBay would have kept the information on the system, then I would have been able to print out the auction page... They can leave all the other information in place so that people like myself can get the information we need in a reasonable time and manner. 

[Author's Note:  It seems in this case that eBay staff could have told this user that the auction page was still available and helped him find it so that he could print it out to use for filing his claim.]

3 They could have better coverage.  The possibility of getting $175.00 back from a $1,111.00 loss is not much.
4 Amount of coverage.  $175.00 received after losing $1,126.00 should hardly be referred to as "insurance."  It is merely token compensation.
5 --
6 --
7 I do not understand the artificial $200.00 limit.  The Lloyd's contact was not agreeable to my settlement request.  My overall loss after the settlement was $61.
$15.50 Not Covered
$25.00 Lloyd's deductible
$  5.50 Shipping
$15.00 Mediator (Square Trade)
8 The length of time that this has dragged on is upsetting to me.  It was obvious early on that I was never going to recover the money I spent, but I decided that getting this bad seller suspended from eBay, so that he could not do this to other users, would be an adequate outcome.  The auction ended in August.  It is now 5 months later, and he is still selling on eBay.

I realize that the accused party must be given a fair opportunity to defend themselves, but I think five months is an unreasonable length of time.  Also, although I received the notice of the successful claim several days ago, the seller is still registered, and I do not know whether he will actually be suspended or not.  I will be very upset if, after jumping through all the hoops, and paying the expenses of several trips to dealers getting the instrument examined and appraised, long-distance phone calls and special mailing, he gets off "free" or with just a warning.  We are talking several hundred dollars of loss here, plus the fact that I am stuck with a piece of junk that I do not want.

9 When someone like _____ (this seller) rips off a multitude of people, I think Ebay should handle all claims against that individual itself (and waive $25 deductible) and eBay should deal with Lloyd's.
10 Provide a contact name or number so that more information on the scam artists can be provided to the innocent victims who take part in their auctions.
11 Allow claimants to file a claim online.  Create a website where claimants can check on the status of a claim.
What do you suggest that eBay could do to make filing an insurance claim unnecessary?
1 No suggestions
2 My suggestion would be some type of escrow.  I am sure that with eBay's volume that they could contract with an escrow company at a very fair fixed rate.  They could add some of this charge to every auction that meets a guide line.  Such as all auctions with reserves, starting bids or items valued over $50.00.  Most fraudulent people don't want to deal with penny ante auctions.  They want to get thousands in a short period.  I know this is not a perfect solution.  But I see the following improvements:

            1.  Secure buying.
            2.  Higher bids because bidding is with confidence.
            3.  More bidders because of confidence in delivery of item.
            4.  More accurate descriptions of items from seller.
            5.  Less backing out of bids.
            6.  Less of a need for feedback.
            7.  eBay can save on insurance costs and apply it to escrow costs.
            8.  This will eliminate most fraud.

All of these things benefit the sellers and buyers and are in eBay's best interest as well. 

For the sellers benefit, eBay should require Social Security Numbers of all registered bidders and this information should be verified and matched to the name of the registered bidder.  This is not perfect but it is more reliable than other forms of identification.   This should make things easier for the legal system to investigate any fraudulent claims as well.  I don't have any suggestions for the international community.

3 They could strongly caution buyers against purchasing from anyone who does not accept credit cards or some other form of secured payment.  The buyer in this case had a very favorable rating (feedback) from eBay.
4 ---
5 I've heard that eBay is moving towards requiring (or making it optional) users to supply social security numbers.  I am all for this, since I am an honest user.
6 --
7 Take a stronger position for the claimant/injured party.  Lloyd's would not open the JPEG or the 3-1/2 inch diskette that I sent.  Have they never heard of virus protection?  C'mon,  the fraud was so obvious when you looked at the pictures.  As soon as the book was sent, they paid.
(I reviewed the pictures, and it's my opinion that the damage was not sustained during delivery, damage was wear and tear due to use and age.  According to respondent's subsequent e-mails to me, seller required respondent to file postal insurance, which respondent would not do.)
8 In this case, I think there was no other option.  eBay cannot assure the accuracy of item descriptions, nor force a settlement of a
dispute based on "he said, she said."   In a situation like this, an insurance claim is the only option.  I do think that the maximum payment is too low.
9 When someone like _____ (this seller) rips off a multitude of people, I think Ebay should handle all claims against that individual itself (and waive $25 deductible) and eBay should deal with Lloyds.
10 Provide more information to the buyers when it becomes apparent that a fraud transaction has taken place.
11 I think that if the money was held in the sellers account for a specified period of time until the buyer had an opportunity to receive and inspect the item.  Then this problem would not occur.
Please add any comments or feelings you have about your experience in filing a claim with eBay's insurance:
1 eBay posted a claim form for me to print and fill out to mail to them.  Form was up for 2 days and disappeared.  Had to e-mail them and wait for them to send me one in the mail.  Should be instant form to print and copy or they should automatically send one to you.  Found the process very slow and time consuming.
2 I hope that I have given you some good information and that your article will help to change the eBay policy so as to help those that get defrauded, rather than make the incidence worse with complete removal of all pertinent information.
3 ---
4 To be honest, my complaint lies with eBay, not with their insurance.  eBay representatives gave us their word they would get involved (our group lost between $80,000 and $100,000 to this one person), but they did nothing to help us pursue this person.  I would have thought they would, since they are a public company who should be very concerned with public opinion and potentially damaging press. 
5 --
6  I wasted my time.
7 What does Lloyd's do with the returned product?  (Respondent reported that claim was successful only after item was sent to insurance company, to prove the damage that seller denied.)

Why doesn't Lloyd's at least use a fictitious name, rather than the impersonal initials?

Punish the seller when Lloyd's finds for the buyer!!

8 I have no problem with the process other than the unacceptable length of time involved.  The process was straightforward, the requirements for filing reasonable and achievable, and the insurance adjuster was polite, clear, and prompt in all his e-mails.

I do think that the fraud/insurance process requirements should be made clearer.  I was fortunate in that I had all the necessary understanding of eBay to be able to comply with the requirements and time limits, but I can see that many people would be caught by technicalities.

Two things in particular that users should be told are (1) the need for obtaining at least TWO printouts of the auction as soon as possible.  I needed one to submit with my claim, and another to show the dealer when obtaining the appraisal.  Good thing I got two, and got them early while the pictures were still up; and (2) I discovered that when submitting comments on the Fraud Report, you are limited to 15 comments, and after that you cannot add any more information.  This is not made clear in the instructions.  I also made two empty comments by mistake, by clicking on "continue" or something like that too soon.  The button should say "submit my comment" or something to make it clear that that is what will happen when you click it.

9 Totally negative.   I feel like I have jumped through hoops to provide accurate information within the time frame allowed, to get some totally bogus response from someone who does not want to pay a claim no matter what you provide regarding fraud perpetrated on eBay.  I am so angry that I will pursue this matter through other avenues available, just to make someone aware of this shoddy policy, and I rightfully so want my money back.
10 Very disappointed in their lack of information provided..  They have made it a abundantly clear that they have no real interest in protecting the consumer after a fraud has taken place.
11 I only wish that this would not have taken so long and that there had been a way of checking on the progress of the claim.  I also believe that had I not filed complaints with the Attorney General, FBI and several other organizations that you recommended * the outcome would not have been as favorable.

* (See the author's help article for buyer's who have trouble at this location:


Impressions:  My impressions about eBay's insurance are two-fold:
1.  eBay's insurance coverage is very limited.
a.  Claimant must be a buyer in an eBay transaction.  Sellers are not covered.

b.  Both buyer and seller must have non-negative feedback ratings.  (Total feedback number must be positive.)  This requirement pertains to the time of the transaction or at the time the auction ended.

According to Respondent's #9 and #10, their claims were denied because of negative feedback, even though the sellers had positive feedback at the time their auctions ended.  Apparently, if the seller feedback total becomes negative after the auction ended, the buyer has no recourse to eBay's insurance.

In effect, those winning bidders who posted negative feedback against the seller who defrauded them, eliminated any possibility of obtain eBay's insurance by their acts of leaving negative feedback?

c.  Buyer must have the auction number.

d.  The buyer has to have sent the seller a payment and either (i) never received the item; or (ii) the item was significantly not as described.

e.  A buyer cannot file more than one insurance claim per month.

f.  The item must comply with the User Agreement (insurance does not cover forbidden or illegal items).

g.  The amount of loss must be over $25.00, because the deductible is $25.00.

h.  The claim payment amount is only $175.00 (maximum amount paid is $200.00 less the $25.00 deductible).

2.  eBay's insurance coverage is further limited by strict filing requirements.

a.  The buyer cannot file the Fraud Report until 30 days after the auction ended, and the buyer must file the Fraud Report within 60 days after the auction ends, using the Fraud Reporting and Insurance Claim Form at this location:
Update 6-13-02:  I note that these filing deadlines are no longer listed on the eBay Fraud Report page.  However, as far as I know, the deadlines still apply.

b.  The buyer may have to wait 30 days after filing the Fraud Report (wait until the fraud investigation is completed), before sending in the insurance claim.

b.  The buyer's insurance claim (mailed to Lloyd's) must be received within 90 days of the auction's ending.

(Simple math shows you the problem with these requirements.  If the buyer files the Fraud Report on the 59th day after the auction ended, and eBay takes 30 days to complete its investigation, the buyer would have only 1 day left to get the claim to the insurance company.)

My Advice:

1.  When paying, pay with a credit card through PayPal.  Notify PayPal within 30 days of the date of payment, if you suspect there is a problem, to be eligible for PayPal's help to get your money back and $200.00 insurance (in addition to eBay's).  If PayPal cannot get your money back for you, then you can file for a chargeback with your credit-card company.

2.  Do not rely on eBay's insurance to protect you in the event of loss.  Even if you are successful in making your claim and getting paid, the payment can be very small compared to the loss.

3.  Check the rules and deadlines first and carefully adhere to the strict rules and comply with the deadlines.  See eBay's page for the rules and deadlines at this location:

4.  Be sure to have proof of the date you mail the insurance claim (mail claim by certified mail), as well as hard-copy proof of the vital details of your transaction.

5.  File eBay's Fraud Report as early as possible, so that you have time for the investigation to be completed, so that you can get your claim form filed with the insurance company within 90 days after the auction ended.

6.  File fraud with all the govermental, criminal, and investigative agencies listed in my article at this location:

If you have a question, please send e-mail to Tessa Hebert:
Last Updated:  06-13-02
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