Think I was scammed on eBay ... stop PayPal transfer?

So, I bought a new cell phone on eBay last night, using Buy It Now, and sent the buyer about $100 via PayPal. This morning, I see that the seller is now listed as “no longer a registered eBay user,” which immediately causes me to be suspicious.

“But he had 100% positive feedback, so it must be a glitch,” I tell myself.

Until I check his feedback in detail, which I clearly should have done beforehand, and see that all ten of his feedbacks were posted in the last couple days by users who have, like the seller, now disappeared from eBay.

So now I’m pretty sure I’ve been scammed, and I really can’t afford to lose this $100.

But the PayPal transaction is still listed as “pending,” and the money doesn’t seem to have been taken from my bank account or credit card yet.

I’ve contacted PayPal, but they basically said “We can’t stop the transaction from going through. All you can do is file a claim if you never receive your item.” Well, that sounds like a reasonable policy, but obviously something is wrong if this guy is suddenly no longer an eBay member, despite having ten more auctions for similar phones still going on.

So is there any way I can tell my credit union to not honor the PayPal request? Or, if I just withdraw all the money from my account, will that accomplish my goal? Or would be a Really Bad Idea, like bouncing a check or worse?

First of all, don’t deal with Paypal. You see the bureaucratic “help” they give you. Go to your bank and sit down with a bank representative or manager when they aren’t busy. And be honest with them; tell them the situation you are in.

I was in a similar situation. I spoke with the bank manager and she took it to the bank HQ. The next month, I received a letter:
“At your request, ______ Bank has reviewed the alleged unauthorized transaction… the investigation confirmed that the transaction was made in error.”

Present the claim that you have an unauthorized transaction on your account and the problem should be cleared up.

I bought a cell phone on eBay just a month ago from a seller who disappeared on me. It was a userid who had had a lengthy, 100% positive and varied history as an eBay seller. About 2 weeks after the auction close (and mostly silence in response to my email queries, followed by an actual reply indicating some kind of warehouse problem and a free upgrade to overnight shipping) I noticed 4 or 5 negative feedback ratings given to the seller for other identical cell phones.

I took a closer look at the seller’s history, and given that the userid in question (a) had not sold any kind of consumer electronics before, and (b) had not sold anything of any kind for 4 months or so leading up to the auctions for the cell phones, I am guessing that his account got hacked by some scammers who were looking for dormant or inactive 100% feedback accounts.

I filed a complaint with PayPal (which is now owned by eBay). They promised an investigation. Soon after the user was no longer registered on eBay. About a week later I got my money refunded.

This was the first time I’d had an eBay purchase fall through in 7 years of using the service, and they came through, hopefully you will have the same experience.

I would be at the bank as soon as it opens to stop the payment. It will cost you a “stop payment” fee, but it won’t be as much as the $100 for the phone.