How To Get Deadbeat eBay Bidders To Pay Up

How To Get Deadbeat eBay Bidders To Pay Up

When an auction on eBay ends, the buyer enters a contract with the seller, promising to pay for the item. This doesn’t always happen. Here’s one creative (and questionably ethical) solution for how to handle this overly common problem.

Photo by Toni Dachis

Reddit user “BadgerMatt” (we’ll call him Matt for short) recently posted a story about how he tried to sell tickets to a sporting event on eBay, but when the auction was won the winning bidder backed out of the deal. In some cases this is mainly an inconvenience and you can relist the item, but Matt was selling tickets to a sporting event and no longer had the time to do that. With the losing bidders uninterested in the tickets, he was going to end up stuck with tickets he couldn’t use and a deadbeat bidder who was unwilling to honour their contract. Rather than give up, Matt decided to trick her into paying:

I created a new eBay account, “Payback” we’ll call it, and sent her a message: “Hi there, I noticed you won an auction for 4 [sporting event]tickets. I meant to bid on these but couldn’t get to a computer. I wanted to take my son and dad and would be willing to give you $US1,000 for the tickets. I imagine that you’ve already made plans to attend, but I figured it was worth a shot.”

The woman agreed, but for $US1100. She paid for the auction, received the tickets, and then Matt (of course) never re-purchased them. Needless to say, the woman was angry. Perhaps it was the wrong thing for the right reasons, but I’m mostly jealous I never thought of it back when I still sold things on eBay.

How I got an uncooperative eBay buyer to pay for her purchase. Was it unethical?The Consumerist


  • After occasonial decluttering episodes over a few year, I have recently started to sell new items regularly on ebay and I have been surprised by how often buyers don’t pay. Not a huge amount, just more often that I would have predicted. It’s annoying but my stuff is small beer and after giving them fair time and contacting them, I just raise a case, close the transaction and am refunded the FV fee. I tell myself that maybe something happened in their lives that made this not a priority (and I suppose that’s possible eg. a death in the family).

    Having said that, I do love this story, just for the gotcha factor – it’s very clever. As she was willing to go ahead when it suited, she deserved it.

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