Unscrupulous ebay buyers

Beware if you sell on ebay. I’m probably stating something most already know, but anyhow, I listed a brand new cartridge there which was bought and shipped on time. Buyer receives It, opens it and installs it. He proceeds to play his records. He then messages me that the cartridge has muddy bass and poor channel separation. I advise him to check all alignment parameters, but he insists cartridge is defective, I highly doubt it. I do not accept returns as stated in the listing. He proceeds to pack it up, taking a photo, and states "on the way!"...I again told him that I do not accept returns for a cartridge that is now used...also said that just because you bought something you have never listened to and you are displeased with its sound or performance, does not give him the right to demand I accept a return. I reported him to ebay, as in my opinion he is pulling a fast one. He could very likely have damaged it while installing it. It was brand new pristine condition upon shipping it. I am standing my ground and will not accept a return. If it shows up at my door, too bad. At this point, I can care less if I receive negative feedback, it would be my first. Worse buyer I’ve encountered in 20 years of selling. Man I hate ebay. Honestly, to me it sounds like buyer remorse, not a defective cartridge, plus I am not the manufacturer....he can pound sand.


though if he paid with Paypal, be ready...it becomes a Paypal not an ebay decision...

I have sold many many items on ebay with only 2 issues which I won, but now I only sell within a few self imposed restrictions.  I don’t sell items over $100 and most are under $50 such as tubes, CD’s, LP’s, other assorted items. All are low risk and not worth fretting over.  I get very few complaints and if I do I give a full refund with pictures or video proof.  The goal for me is to reduce stuff not make money and ebay is a good partner for this.  Any higher ticket items go on agon or mostly usamart since commission fees add up.  So far good luck on those sites but I do get nervous especially now with everyone using F&F.  

(1) @jl35 has an important point.
Using PayPal as the payment intermediary can shift the discussion away from terms and conditions in your EBay ad , to vagaries in terms and conditions in PayPal. PayPal has its legendary warts and risks causing endless irritation and frustration when it comes to dispute resolution between buyer and seller.

(2) Warranty claims against unit build defects are generally those against the OEM manufacturer’s designated distributor. Intuitively, if the Seller is not an authorized retailer with Distributor, then that warranty option generally is rendered null and void in the fine print templated in 99+% of product sales documentation

(3) Unless otherwise forced upon you by PayPal TBD, the AGON Court of Public Opinion can sympathize with your reported facts situation and your further response options.
My take: Unless otherwise forced into further formal written debate with Buyer, many forum readers would similarly cut him off with the common slang profanity pejorative embodied in Genesis 9:7.

Carry on and good luck.

There are scams galore out there. He might be keeping the good one that you sent and sending back a bad one that he already had.

Thank all for you input! I'll be sticking to my guns, no refund. I'm not sure of warranty, I informed him to contact the manufacturer and take it up with them, as I do not provide a warranty. I clearly indicated this in my listing, no returns, no refunds, all sales final, no warranty expressed or implied. Yet, he continues to message me. I'm not taking back what was a brand new cartridge after he man handled it. He may have caused damage during the install for all I know. People are just so entitled today. Honestly, he just does not like the cartridge and thinks I'm foolish enough to take it back. Anyhow thanks again!

I have sold hundreds of items on eBay and thankfully only had 2 issues - one similar to yours. A guy bought a vintage guitar amp from me which I said worked fine in the description, but that due to the nature of vintage electronics was not warranteed, and no returns are accepted. I even checked off the “no returns” box on the listing form. The buyer obviously decided he didn’t want the amp after all, and said it wasn’t working, filed a defective item claim, and eBay let him return it in spite of my appeal. When I received it, the amp was fine, I sold it again to a satisfied buyer. It cost me shipping both ways, which wasn’t cheap.  I now sell guitar/amps on Reverb and avoid eBay ( primarily due to their excessive fees).

You may wish to read up on eBay's rules, regulations, etc. governing purchases and returns.  As I understand it, eBay is no longer connected with PayPal - they deal directly with the buyer's credit card and the seller's bank account (which, as a seller, you were required to give them access to). This allows eBay to essentially enact a  refund without your consent (they call this "buyer protection.").  Second, if you sell on eBay, there is no such thing as "no returns."  Buyers can initiative the return process at any point and for any reason - even if you've clearly stated a "no return" policy.  All this was designed to eliminate unscrupulous sellers; now it empowers unscrupulous buyers.  In a nutshell: eBay contends they merely provide a platform for buyers and sellers to connect - after which they assume no responsibility.  Since they get a piece of every transaction (regardless of outcome), they're content to simply let buyers and sellers eat one another alive. Financially, it's a foolproof business model; ethically, not so much.  My .02.  If I'm wrong on this, I stand to be corrected.

@tds3371 I don't doubt that you are correct. I'm waiting for next shoe to drop....in other words as you stated, money deducted from my balance for this jerks refund. He is treating me as if I'm some kind of audio store where as he can buy my stuff, try it, and return it at will because he doesn't like how it sounds. Sorry, in my book it does not work that way, at least not for a cartridge. I checked many an audio retailers return policies on cartridges, and 99% of them do not accept a return if it was installed and used. Which is the case here. For all I know he f'd it up and now wants to return it. In fact it now says returned. I don't care what it says, he's not getting a refund if I can help it. Ebay may, as you stated, have other ideas in mind. So be it, unfortunate. I have since blocked this buyer. Not much else I can do. Worst buyer in 20 years of selling. Just unbelievable this guy. ..

Haven't been selling on ebay for quite a while and decided to re-open activities. 

For no reason account suspended indefinitely with no explaination.

Turns out to be that if you really wanna sell on e-bay you gotta buy an anonymous account and tie it to pre-paid card for security. Once received money, CASH right away from ebay-paypal domain preferably next second once available. 

You said, “no returns.” End of story.  
This buyer either,
a) failed to comprehensively read the terms before buying (this wasn’t some sleazy ‘fine print’ situation, but a conspicuously stated term)
b) is an extremely entitled person, 
c) is scamming, or
d) is very stupid.


There are scams galore out there. He might be keeping the good one that you sent and sending back a bad one that he already had.

Not the first time that's happened and with a cartridge.

ebay and Paypal are no longer connected so any dispute would have to be solved by or through paypal. Unfortunately they can hold your funds till the dispute is solved or closed.

And as another member stated correctly, It does not matter whether you accept returns or not.

Yes it is frustrating.


If it shows up on my door step, I'm sending it right back to him. This is bs....

Don't do that, you will be out the cartridge & your funds. eBay will side with the buyer and will refund with or without your consent. Now, if it is damaged and it was new, sealed in the package you might have a case.

If you have a local craigslist in your city, and if it has a reasonable amount of audiophile equipment activity, it works best. You and the other party meet, you make the exchange, and you are done.

The downside is that you may wait a long time. Here in the SF Bay Area, for example, I kept an ad for the wonderful Quicksilver integrated amp going for four months until a buyer appeared.


First of all, I want to say - I’m very sorry this happened to you - and I'm not trolling! Someone stole my cellphone yesterday, so yeah there are $hitty people out there in all walks of life. Nonetheless, I wanted to say, I’ve sold 200+ things on ebay - most recently a $2500 turntable, and I’ve probably bought over a thousand things, dating back to 1999. I’ve literally never had any major issue buying or selling. An occasional minor thing, that we were able to reach a middle ground on.

I wouldn’t discourage anyone and everyone away from the platform... just my $0.02. I do agree, Craigslist is sometimes easier depending on what you're selling, but beware for scammers and ridiculous negotiators, and people trying to use fake $. 

nonetheless I hope you get everything settled!

This applies to sellers as well.

EBAY is not user friendly. It treats users as "stores." Taxes, fees, etc. It's endless. I avoid it. The experience is very bad. It's not the haven it once was.

eBay has deteriorated greatly since it was founded. There is zero seller protection. I don’t care what they say. They do not back it up. I don’t and won’t sell on eBay for that reason and others. I also rarely buy on eBay and certainly never buy audio gear on eBay. I only sell and buy on USAM and Audiogon. Period. 

@icehawks18 thank you...

@tee_dee agreed, not what it used to be for sure.

@tylermunns agree with all you said, most likely he is as stupid as a brick.

“No returns” on eBay does not apply if the buyer claims the item isn’t working or described properly.

‘EBay does not inspect items claimed as such and takes the buyers word.  They will immediately allow the buyer to print a return label charged to you.

Essentially, eBay allows any sale to be voided, the seller gets the item back, the buyer gets all of his money back and the seller pays shipping both ways.  It can happen on virtually any sale on eBay.  Kind of “no harm/no foul” only the seller eats shipping and any damage/misuse/etc. to the item.

If you refuse to accept the cartridge back, the buyer will get the cartridge AND all his money back.  You might even get charged a 3rd time for shipping it back.  That would REALLY piss you off!  Take it back and sell it locally to reduce your loss.

‘Despite all this, for me it is rare to have a buyer do this, but it has happened to me.  That’s just part of selling on eBay.  (It works great if you’re a buyer.)  It can get really expensive for items that cost a lot to ship.  So I am not doing those on eBay.

Got a stylus in today from an eBay purchase. Old stylus for a 1960 Empire 108 (selling for $400+ now!). When I looked at the stylus using a 25x loupe, there was NO tip on the cantilever! Just an empty hole. I took pics. Sent to the seller. He gave me a refund. But I didn’t play it. I inspected it upon receipt and immediately notified the seller. 

A subjective judgement of “I don’t like it” after purchase is not a malfunction, nor “not as described.”

What proof you have?  1. product acquired from manufacturer. sealed box 2. packing video. 3. Your seller positive score for years. Paypal will be biased towards buyer.

@wolfie62 You are correct that ”I don’t like it” is not the same as “not as described.”  But all the buyer has to say is that it isn’t working properly and he will automatically be given a return authorization.  That apparently is what happened here, because the OP says the item is now marked ‘Returned.’  The OP will be getting it back soon, so there’s not much room left for discussion with eBay.  The buyer will get all of his money back.  eBay is not going to use their money to compensate the OP.  eBay doesn’t have the capacity to evaluate if an item isn’t working right.  THEORETICALLY, a brand new sealed cartridge when opened and used could have a defect - right?  I’m not saying it’s likely or happened in this case, but am just pointing out that eBay doesn’t evaluate that level of detail.

For the purpose of looking at this in another direction - if a seller had a cartridge that looked brand new, but was defective, and sold it on eBay - what happens when the buyer tries out the cartridge?  He has no ability to prove that it was bad when he received it.  So in this sense, eBay always finds in favor of the buyer.  

It can even become worse for sellers.  Such as damaging an item in a way that doesn’t show up on the original photographs.  Hopefully the OP gets it back in good shape.

@ashoka  As far as PayPal, they follow the same system of supporting the buyer.  There’s no interest in delving issues concerning defects, although you might better argue your case where there is VERY CLEAR photographic proof supporting your position.

All of these procedures are automated.  Perhaps very expensive items over a certain amount are handled differently.  But I have never sold those types of products on eBay.


I had that happen to me once, but I didn't realize it happened until after I took the pair of speakers back. Buyer insisted that one of the tweeters was blown, which I know it wasn't. But when I checked, damned if the tweeter wasn't blown.

Nowadays I put a subtle identifying mark on whatever I am selling, just in case.

As others have stated there is no such thing as NO RETURNS. That Seller BS hasnt worked in probably 15 years now.


  If I purchase something on EBAY and its defective/not as advertised etc I dont even bother contacting EBAY or Paypal.  I go to my Credit Card company who has authority over EBAY/Paypal.  I get my money credited IMMEDIATELY and dont have to wait 30 days or whatever for Paypal to make a decision.  Always always always pay with a Credit Card and dont mess with the other 2 services if things go south.  You'll save yourself a ton of headaches doing all your transactions this way. Sorry the OP's transaction didnt go well but thats the sandbox you're playing in.  Sell elsewhere if you dont like the rules


I was shocked down to my boots when I read your post:

"they deal directly with the buyer's credit card and the seller's bank account (which, as a seller, you were required to give them access to). This allows eBay to essentially enact a refund without your consent (they call this "buyer protection.")."

We should never divulge our bank account details to anyone and empower them to operate our account.  This is the basis of all scams.  Anyone at eBay can transfer money out of our account as a criminal act.  If this happens, our banks will not refund us for the loss because we revealed out bank details, which we are specifically told not to do.



The guy opened the cartridge, installed it and played records. Said he did not like the sound of it as its too warm. This is in no way warrants a return or a refund. He rendered my brand new cartridge as now used, and for all I know possibly mishandled or damaged. There has to be some rules against returning something for frivolous reasons. 

I read what you wrote. There isnt any protection against what happened to you. Think I have at least 30K Feedback on EBAY since 1998...and probably have done at least twice that amount of business on the site since half the people dont leave feedback.  Its the way it is so you have to live with the rules that are in place....fair or not....otherwise choose some other avenue to unload your stuff.  Thats all Im saying.  Ive been screwed over COUNTLESS numbers of times selling Music Industry Gold and Platinum records.  Clowns in Europe expecting 50 year old awards to not have a mark on the frame or plexiglass when they receive them. Then filing complaints and I eat $300 in shipping charges.  I understand your frustration believe me.  BUYERS REMORSE is a Bitch!!!

Ditto what @riaa_award_collectors_on_facebook states.

This is from eBay:

Even if you specify “no returns accepted,” under the eBay Money Back Guarantee, the buyer can still return an item if it doesn’t match the listing description.

@audioguy85 all the buyer has to present to eBay is your cartridge didn't match the description. Buyers like these are very creative and will word their complaint in such a way eBay may likely approve the return. This is based on experience (+1950 transactions there)

I do know this is a fact that if the buyer ask for a return and you don’t grant it within 10 days EBay may suck the funds out of your eBay connected account to force a refund.  You may want to take measures at your eBay connected account by blocking any activity from eBay or close the account.  Sounds like a large value transaction so be proactive with your bank 

Good luck Willy-T

If he sends it back to you your good keep the money and the cart. He's doing it all wrong. He would have to open a case against you and you would have to except the return and provide him with a return shipping label. Once you receive the item you then refund which eBay already has your fees on hold. Been there done that. 

Ebay is a gamble.

Exposes your items as a seller to countless more potential buyers than most other sites, however, opens the door for countless more scams as well. That along with Ebay's business practices keeps me from selling or buying anything there.

Just don't do it.

Thanks again to all of you for responding to my post. All of you have provided some great points and input. I'll keep you apprised of the final outcome....


If the buyer bypasses the eBay return process - and sends the item back to you *without* invoking a formal return - I don't believe you're under any formal obligation to make a refund:  It's not an "official" return and, hence, not subject to eBay intervention.  Basically, if they don't follow the exact return process (via eBay), they're on their own.  eBay is likely to tell them as much.


What cartridge did u sell him ?

Maybe someone here might be interested if you have to refund the money ?


@tds3371 yes, I believe that is what he did. He claims ebay told him to return it, which is untrue. I received a message from Ebay indicating that buyer requested a return.  Ebay gave me the option to accept or decline the return. I elected to decline it. I have not heard from Ebay since. It is he that sent a picture to me of the cartridge all boxed up with his own return label. He said in quotes " on the way!"....meaning im returning it no matter what...so i informed him in bold, there are no returns....and i said that i woukd not accept the package and would return it back to him. We shall see i guess.....



If the guy files a claim with his CC company he can bypass EBAY and Paypal. You dont have to fret about any decisions from EBAY/PAYPAL cause you almost always win with your CC company.  If you dont....change your Credit Card.  Nobody has power over your CC company


Sorry for the sitch you find yourself in.

You earlier stated that the buyer thought the cartridge "too warm".  My bet is on the SO who "How much did that f'ing cost! @#(*$##@$(@!. And then too warm turned into too HOT.

I know this was of no help to you....just a thought.





I suspect you're correct.  I've never had to personally exercise this option - except in the case where my credit card account was obviously breached.  Of course, this type of fraud (sadly) seems to occur on a more regular basis.

@tony1954 I notice that when I buy used appliance parts on eBay, they are all marked by the seller.  Obviously they have been scammed before where the buyer sends them back their original broken part for a refund.

OP - Boy, if you get back the cartridge, I sure would not send it back to the buyer.  You are headed on a course where you could lose your money and the cartridge.  The system is not under your control, so you can’t force an outcome. Hold on to the cartridge and see how it plays out.  If you arrive at a point where eBay says you are keeping the buyers money, then you can send it back to him.

This guy is very crafty....he left me positive feedback, yet does not say anything positive. He ends his feedback indicating that he sent the item back. He somehow thinks that because he did not leave negative feedback, that this will influence me to refund him his money and accept a return. 

Well, he sent it back, it arrived at my door today. Not sure what to do about it now. Wait and see If ebay deducts money from my account or send it right back, try and re-sell as used, or throw it in trash? He is still not getting a refund if I can help it, as I advised him to Not send it back.

Did you open it up to see if it the same one you sent him? Take photos as you open the box and of everything you discover also look for damage.

Post removed 

@dill yes, i opened it up and had a look, appears same, but i mean they all do...it was new. Does not appear damaged, but i cannot be certain without first mounting/aligning it and listening etc, which I don’t have time for. It does not appear as though he followed proper channels to return. There is seemingly no case opened and no ebay interaction. I have already previously messaged him, indicating that should it be returned, I would refuse it and send it back. Whether I follow through or not has not been decided...

I understand your frustration, however DO NOT send it back to him unless eBay instructs you to do so, they won't. Your account from eBay will be debited the refund amount. You have come across an a**hole buyer, it happens. I would list it here, AudioMart or Audio Asylum Trader as an open box as a next to new cartridge with less than 5 hours. Check the cantilever with a loupe to make sure it is straight and the diamond is intact.