First and foremost, this is a guide. It has been posted out of personal experience and is designed to fill in gaps in official eBay guides that do not cover payments made using direct transfer of funds (ie: internet banking). This guide offers NO guarantee of success. Knowing you have been scammed is a frustrating experience and great patience is required if you are to have any chance of recovering your money.
If you're lucky, you've received an email from eBay Trust & Safety informing you that your seller is now No Longer A Registered User (NARU). Keep this email and print out a copy for later use.
If you're not so lucky, a week or two has passed with no delivery of your item and you are unable to contact your seller. Request the seller's full contact details through the advanced search feature
here. A quick telephone call to your seller will give you a good indication of whether you have been scammed, though you probably already know this by now.
At this point, you need to contact your bank (preferably at a branch) and ask whether a trace & recovery of your funds is possible. If you received an email from Trust & Safety regarding a NARU'd seller, bring a copy with you - it will give your story a lot more backing. Also, a printed version of the transaction from your internet banking would be useful but not completely necessary.
This is where the frustration sets in. The basic process of the trace & recovery is your bank contacts the seller's bank, requesting the funds to be returned. Firstly, the seller's bank will send a reply stating they have received the request for a funds return (about one to one-a-half weeks). The seller's bank will then spend however long trying to contact their account holder. Because of privacy laws, the seller's bank cannot just remove the funds from the relevant account, nor can they pass on information regarding the account holder. For the funds to be released, the account holder has to
give permission for this to happen. The account holder has every right to refuse a release of funds, at which point the your bank will be contacted stating the recovery of funds was denied.
Make sure you contact your bank once a week to check on the progress of the trace & recovery. Different cases will move at different speeds but at least you'll know where your bank is at.
Of course, this assumes the seller's bank has been able to contact their account holder. As a rough guide, you should have some form of answer after four weeks. Don't give up smoking at any stage during this period - it will only aggravate you.
While all this is going on, eBay expects you to follow their Item Not Received (INR) process, which can be accessed through the Dispute Console link in your 'My eBay' page. Provided for your reading are links for INR
process and the INR
policy. Make sure you open an INR dispute as soon as you are allowed to (10 days after end of auction). At no stage should you close this dispute unless you recovery your money. If you still have no contact from the seller, escalate this dispute to Trust & Safety at the first possible opportunity.
The AFP will only get involved if you are a Commonwealth employee, while the police will most likely state it is a matter for you to resolve with your bank and eBay. Some people have had a success at lodging police reports and if you wish to try this avenue, feel free. I am yet to see anyone who has managed to recover their funds through this avenue.
Other Useful Information
Any emails (including full headers) you have regarding your item should be forwarded to eBay Trust & Safety, who can be reached through this address (email@example.com). You should do this as soon as you feel you have been scammed, being sure to include all relevant information regarding you seller, the item number and dates of payment and/or contact.
Don't forget you also have the seller's bank details, including BSB number. Do a quick serach around the internet and find which bank your seller holds their account with. From there you can search on any major bank's site and using the BSB number, find the branch the account is held at. Try contacting the branch manager, offering all relevant correspondence you have regarding their account holder's activities. The branch manager can't refund your money but may be able to make a note of it within their system.
If you've been referred to this guide, I don't envy what you will be going through. I can only hope it will assist in giving you direction in a confusing and difficult situation. Hopefully it will help to alleviate some stress as well.
Recovering A Direct Deposit
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16 September 2007
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