With the holiday season in full swing and shoppers trying to find high-in-demand game consoles like the Sony PS5 console, scammers are all over eBay with listings that include disclaimers like “Photo Only” and “Box Only.”
Many of these listings look like listings for the real item and unless a buyer reads through the details, they can easily be coaxed into purchasing one of these scams.
eBay issued a statement about this problem claiming it is actively removing listings from the site.
“We condemn these opportunistic sellers who are attempting to mislead other users,” eBay said in its statement.
“We are in the process of removing all listings for photos of PS5s from our marketplace and will be taking appropriate action against the sellers.”
The company’s statement does not include the “box only” listings, but it would seem to list an empty box in a deceptive manner should equally qualify for removal as “photo only” listings would.
Here is a listing from Saturday morning with 17 bids currently at $805 for an empty Sony PS5 box. And there are many such listings on the marketplace when adding the search “box only” or “empty box” to “ps5.”
eBay Buyer Beware
eBay tries to reinsure sellers with its money-back guarantee, “Buyers who receive an item which is not as described are entitled to a refund via our eBay Money Back Guarantee, provided they completed the transaction on the eBay platform.”
Of course, the problem is that if a seller claims the listing is for a “photo only” or “box only,” did they really receive an item not as described?
To that matter, eBay warns buyers they should be careful, “For any purchase, but especially highly-priced or in-demand items, buyers should exercise caution and thoroughly read the listing description.”
In other words, it seems eBay wants to remove deceptive listings but if a buyer purchases an item from a deceptive listing, it is not entirely clear if eBay will actually protect the buyer if the listing clearly stated the item was not the game console, but for a photo or empty box.
While eBay does have reputational reasons to remove deceptive or scammy listings, especially for high-demand, high-profile products, buyers need to read the entire listing before making a purchase on the platform.
eBay also has an Avoiding Seller Fraud help page to help buyers spot potentially fraudulent listings.
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