It may seem an odd notion - that of buyers scamming the people they purchase items from - but with online auction site eBay, it's a possibility. Users willingly report that eBay and the associated payment system, PayPal, tend to side with buyers should any aspect of a transaction be disputed - and it is no longer possible to leave negative feedback for a buyer. It is therefore important to protect yourself wherever possible when selling anything online - be it old junk, or valuable action figures.
1. Buy an invisible pen.
This is an essential purchase if you are looking to sell items on eBay. A common trick is for people to buy an item they actually already own a copy of, but their original item has a problem. A quick switch later, and they can send their item back to you and keep the one they bought - and obtain a full refund, claiming your product was faulty. In these cases, fault will usually be found with the seller... unless you can prevent it. Using an alcohol-based pen that appears invisible, mark any items you dispatch and photograph the markings under the correct ultra-violent lighting to prove they were applied. If you do then receive an item back that the buyer claims is faulty, you can check and see if it is indeed the same item you sent. If not, send the photographs and explanation to eBay.
As a further preventative step, buy your pen and light from eBay itself so there is proof of you having this equipment.
2. Obtain proof of dispatch.
Recorded and signed for postal services are a little more expensive, but are worth it when it comes to dealing with disputes with buyers. Keep hold of your receipt as proof that you have dispatched the item, and scan and email it to eBay or PayPal should any problem arise.
3. Keep all communication with a buyer.
If a problem arises with the transaction, in most cases the buyer will contact you using eBay's internal messaging system. However, on some occasions they may contact you directly by email. Should this happen, keep all of the emails already received and then ask them to return to messaging within eBay. This will mean all messages are stored for future reference.
Essentially, remain vigilant and on your guard for scams. The above are simple protection methods which should ensure safer trading, but even within this advice you may still experience a problem. If that happens, contact eBay or PayPal with your full documented proof and fight for a resolution.
Remember, just like when playing poker, selling your figures properly and getting the best price takes a solid strategy and a good deal of preparation.