This is a cautionary tale — one where I was literally just one click away from getting my $1,450 Canon EOS-R Mirrorless body ripped off. Here’s what happened:
I wanted to buy the new Canon R6 Mirrorless body
It has all the stuff I want on it, (and yes, for goodness sake it has two card slots), and I’ve been waiting for what I hope will be the perfect camera for me, and well…it came in yesterday. Anyway, to get this body I decided to sell my beloved Canon EOS R mirrorless body I bought back in 2019, so I listed it for sale on eBay (as seen below).
I’ve sold a number of things over the years on eBay, and I don’t do the whole auction-thing — I only put stuff up with a “Buy It Now” choice. I take my own pics of the product (seen below and throughout), so it’s the actual one they’re getting, and I price it to move, and it usually does pretty quickly. I had a few low-ball offers, but then within a day or so, it sold at full price, and I could see the guy paid in full, but PayPal put a hold on the funds to make sure I actually sent the guy the camera body. Apparently, theft and scams for what PayPal referred to as “high-priced consumer electronics” is a fairly common thing.
Things start getting a bit sticky
I get a message from the buyer saying how excited he was to get the camera, and how he couldn’t believe they actually got it. He also told me the shipping address on the account was outdated, and now he lives in Delaware and could I ship it to where he lives now instead, and he gave me his new address. I’m like “Sure, no problem.”
I messaged back to the buyer that I would be shipping the camera body that day and I would send the FedEx tracking number shortly, and I went to create the shipping label.
The buyer dropped me a note again, and said he noticed that PayPal had put a hold on the funds. I’m not used to this happening (neither was he), so I went “old school” and called PayPal on the phone to make sure it was OK to ship the camera body (I didn’t want to get scammed, and have the buyer pull back his payment after I shipped the camera, saying he never received it). They assured me it was OK to ship it, and that the payment would be released the buyer received the camera. So, as I’m writing back and forth the buyer, I wrote, “That’s going to the Delaware address, right?” He wrote back, “What Delaware address? I live in Tennessee.”
Well, as it turns out, the first messages I got weren’t actually from the real buyer. They were from someone posing as the buyer of my camera, using a different eBay account. He got the buyer’s name after seeing it on my Facebook page, because the actual buyer wrote there, “Hey, Scott. I just bought your EOS R” so this other guy posed as him, used his name, and son-of-a-gun I was one click away from shipping it to the scammer at tthat Delaware address. I would have lost my camera; the real buyer would get hosed because now he’s not getting a camera either, though eventually he would have his money released back to him by PayPal, but the bad guy in Delaware would have pulled a fast one and I’d be out $1,450. I was that close. One click from printing that label and shipping it.
A Rookie Mistake
I’ve been told (since) you never, ever ship to an address other than the address on their account (by the way — the guy in Delaware closed his fake account immediately after I told him I was shipping the camera that day).
I Dodged A Bullet!
The real buyer confirmed he got the camera and he’s loving it. I’m about two days away from having PayPal release the funds from the sale, and my new camera (along with a new 150-600mm Tamron lens) came in yesterday in a glorious B&H Photo shipping box, and man…I just got lucky. This story could have had a very sad ending.
I hope this story of near-disaster helps you if you’re selling any gear online, and at the very least makes you double-check and triple-check before you ship.
Here’s wishing you a wonderful, safe, non-ripped off weekend, and we’ll catch you next week. :)
P.S. A big thanks to everybody who attended our Travel Photography Conference this week. It totally rocked, and the feedback has just been stellar!!! Such a great group of photographers, with lots of great questions and discussions, and laughs throughout. Also, a high-five to all our wonderful instructors and my production team here at KelbyOne who worked so hard to make this conference such a success. I’m indebted to you all. Can’t wait to share what’s next. :)