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Anybody have this happen to them? We got an email from this woman who said she won't be able to pay for the auction due to her aunt and 2 cousins being killed in a car accident. She said she has to go and help out her family.
While I am loathe to think someone would actually lie about this, I have to be suspicious. She also won an auction for a very similar item to mine about 20 mins after our auction ended. About 20 mins after that, I got this email.
What I want to do is contact the other seller and ask him if he also got a "death in the family" email from her. Would this be wrong?
Any info or opinions would be very helpful. Thank you!
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Sadly, this is just about the most common excuse for not paying that there is. Although I'm sure that some percentage of people saying they have a death in the family (or the variations of "severe illness" or "badly injured in a car accident") are telling the truth, you would be shocked to know how often this is lied about, and simply a case of a buyer changing their mind about the item and looking for a way out.

They think the "death in the family" will make the seller sympathize and cancel the sale. In some cases it works, in other cases a seller will dig around and see the "buyer" bidding on and paying for items during the same period they are supposed to be "going to the funeral" or "in mourning" or "helping with the poor children left behind." Then, guess what - no sympathy!
I get a lot of death excuses, car accidents, sick kids in the hospital, 2-year-olds that bid 9 times on different days...blah, blah, blah... If it's a death, I tell them right out that they have my sympathies and I'll be happy to wait for them to return to pay. I file the UID after 7 days and close it 7 days later. I don't leave feedback until I see them bidding again, and 99 times out of 100, they're bidding again before the corpse is cold. Could I be anymore cynical? I've been on Ebay since '99. You bet.
It's a common excuse yes, but be sensitive. It just may be true.

In fact, last year when my dad died, I had to email all my buyers that there would be a delay in shippings for a week or two. The outpouring of sympathy was amazing, and nobody gave me a hard time.

So just be careful how you treat the situation. I typically follow non-paying reporting at close to 4 weeks on this situation, after a follow up email at 3 weeks. Since it doesn't happen often, it doesn't muck up the works.
Thank you all for responding. I did end up contacting the other seller, but have not heard from him yet. Unfortunately, it seems to be as I feared. A couple hours after she sent me the "not able to pay" email, she started bidding on (and winning) at least 10 other items. (sigh) It really disgusts me that someone would lie about a family member being killed to get out of an auction.
Again, thank you all for responding. Smile
Good for you!
As JeffS said in above post, it would be different if the seller had an emergency, and packages would be late getting mailed. That's completely understandable. BUT (and it's very unfortunate) some people will use any and every excuse to get out of a winning bid and it's not fair to you. Uploading photos, writing listings, fees, etc. That's your time & $ being wasted.
Just do not do a mutual withdrawl-make sure the buyer gets a strike. You'll have to leave the dispute open for 8 days, I believe, or until the buyer responds (pls check this, I'm not 100% positive)then close and give them a strike. This way you'll be sure to get your fees back.
Good Luck!!

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