How I got an uncooperative eBay buyer to pay for her purchase. Was it unethical?
First of all, I am not claiming to have invented this trick. I imagine others have used it with varying degrees of success. I also want to point out that nothing here is embellished or exaggerated.
I had tickets to a sporting event and couldn’t attend. I made a 1-day listing and clearly stated that the tickets must be picked up in person within 24 hours (the game was the evening after the auction ended, so there wasn’t any time to ship the tickets). A woman won the auction for about $600. The auction had ended at 10:00am and by 5:00pm she still hadn’t responded to my emails trying to organize the exchange. Finally, at 9:30pm, I got a one-liner email: “I overbid and my husband won’t let me buy these. Sorry and enjoy the game! :)”
I first tried explaining that I wouldn’t have the time to resell the tickets (I already got turned down by the losing bidders). She said, “… that’s not my problem. It’s eBay, not a car dealership. I can back out if I want.” I still don’t understand the car dealership reference.
I was pretty upset. I was basically going to be stuck with tickets to an event that I couldn’t attend. That’s when I got the idea to convince her to change her mind.
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 $1,000 for the tickets. I imagine that you’ve already made plans to attend, but I figured it was worth a shot.”
At 11:30pm she responded to Payback: “I’ll do it for $1,100, no less. I can meet you at the game if you agree. I need your phone number.”
At 11:35pm, Payback wrote: “Deal. Here is my number…” (Thanks Google Voice for the throwaway number). She called a few minutes later and made Payback “promise” to go through with the deal. She emphasized that she’d be out a lot of money if Payback backed out. Payback swore he would never do such a thing.
At 11:45pm, the woman emailed me: “Fine. I’ll buy them. But you have to drop them off at my house tonight. I’ll have the cash ready.” So at ****ing midnight I drove to her house across town and met her on the road in front of her apartment building. She was a nasty and rude individual. Things didn’t get any better when I told her I wanted an extra $20 for the trouble of driving there at midnight (yeah, pushing my luck, I know). It became very awkward and she literally threw 31 $20 bills at me. I counted them before handing over the tickets. I said, “thanks for the great transaction” as she flipped me off while walking away.
At 10:00am she called Payback to make sure they were still on for the exchange. Payback said that he could no longer go to the game and wouldn’t be able to do the exchange. She blew her ****ing top and I swear to god started speaking in tongues. Payback said, “Ma’am, this is eBay, not a car dealership” and hung up.
I got a rabid email 10 minutes later telling me that I was going to hell and that she’s reported me to the local police, FBI, and… the fire department. WTF?
I never heard another word from her. I have no idea if she went to the game or not.
Was this wrong?