Updated: Sep 27, 2020

I have come to the realization that I am going to get nowhere with eBay. They are as criminal as the thief on the other end. They will never side with a seller and I am far from the first seller to be a victim and I am not going to be the last. I am dealing with a policy that will never change because it works for eBay. Their policy, "The buyer is always right continues because there are more buyers than sellers and without buyers there is no eBay.

Any one person or company that silicates, aids or contributes to a crime should be as accountable as the perpetrator of said crime and be held accountable.

An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime. The distinction between an accessory and a principal is a question of fact and degree:

  • The principal is the one whose acts or omissions, accompanied by the relevant mens rea (Latin for "guilty mind"), are the most immediate cause of the actus reus (Latin for "guilty act").

  • If two or more people are directly responsible for the actus reus, they can be charged as joint principals (see common purpose). The test to distinguish a joint principal from an accessory is whether the defendant independently contributed to causing the actus reus rather than merely giving generalized and/or limited help and encouragement.


In some jurisdictions, an accessory is distinguished from an accomplice, who normally is present at the crime and participates in some way. An accessory must generally have knowledge that a crime is being committed, will be committed, or has been committed. A person with such knowledge may become an accessory by helping or encouraging the criminal in some way. The assistance to the criminal may be of any type, including emotional or financial assistance as well as physical assistance or concealment.

Relative severity of penalties[edit]

The punishment tariff for accessories varies in different jurisdictions, and has varied at different periods of history. In some times and places accessories have been subject to lesser penalties than principals (the persons who actually commit the crime). In others accessories are considered the same as principals in theory, although in a particular case an accessory may be treated less severely than a principal. In some times and places accessories before the fact (i.e., with knowledge of the crime before it is committed) have been treated differently from accessories after the fact (e.g., those who aid a principal after a crime has been committed, but had no role in the crime itself). Common law traditionally considers an accessory just as guilty as the principal(s) in a crime, and subject to the same penalties. Separate and lesser punishments exist by statute in many jurisdictions.


In some situations, a charge of conspiracy can be made even if the primary offense is never committed, so long as the plan has been made, and at least one overt act towards the crime has been committed by at least one of the conspirators. For example, if a group plans on forging bank checks, and forges the checks but ultimately does not attempt to cash the checks, the group might still be charged with conspiracy due to the overt act of forgery. Thus, an accessory before the fact will often, but not always, also be considered a conspirator. A conspirator must have been a party to the planning of the crime, rather than merely becoming aware of the plan to commit it and then helping in some way.

A person who incites another to a crime will become a part of a conspiracy if agreement is reached, and may then be considered an accessory or a joint principal if the crime is eventually committed.

In the United States, a person who learns of the crime and gives some form of assistance before the crime is committed is known as an "accessory before the fact". A person who learns of the crime after it is committed and helps the criminal to conceal it, or aids the criminal in escaping, or simply fails to report the crime, is known as an "accessory after the fact". A person who does both is sometimes referred to as an "accessory before and after the fact", but this usage is less common.

Criminal facilitation[edit]

In some jurisdictions, criminal "facilitation" laws do not require that the primary crime be actually committed as a prerequisite for criminal liability. These include state statutes making it a crime to "provide" a person with "means or opportunity" to commit a crime, "believing it probable that he/she is rendering aid to a person who intends to commit a crime."[1]

Knowledge of the crime[edit]

To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed. Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime, or evade detection, or escape. A person who unknowingly houses a person who has just committed a crime, for instance, may not be charged with an accessory offense because they did not have knowledge of the crime.


The term "accessory" derives from the English common law, and been inherited by those countries with a more or less Anglo-American legal system. The concept of complicity is, of course, common across different legal traditions. The specific terms accessory-before-the-fact and accessory-after-the-fact were used in England and the United States but are now more common in historical than in current usage.

The spelling accessary is occasionally used, but only in this legal sense.


The English legal authority William Blackstone, in his Commentaries, defined an accessory as:

II. AN accessory is he who is not the chief actor in the offense, nor present at its performance, but is someway concerned therein, either before or after the fact committed. — Book 4 chapter 3

He goes on to define an accessory-before-the-fact in these words:

As to the second point, who may be an accessory before the fact; Sir Matthew Hale 12 defines him to be one, who being absent at the time of the crime committed, does yet procure, counsel, or command another to commit a crime. Herein absence is necessary to make him an accessory; for such precedence is necessary to make him an accessory; for if such procurer, or the like, be present, he is guilty of the crime as principal.

and an accessory-after-the-fact as follows:

An accessory after the fact may be, where a person, knowing a felony to have been committed, receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the felon. Therefore, to make an accessory ex post facto, it is in the first place requisite that he knows of the felony committed.18 In the next place, he must receive, relieve, comfort, or assist him. And, generally, any assistance whatever given to a felon, to hinder his being apprehended, tried, or suffering punishment, makes the assistor an accessory. As furnishing him with a horse to escape his pursuers, money or victuals to support him, a house or other shelter to conceal him, or open force and violence to rescue or protect him.

United States[edit]

U.S. jurisdictions (that is, the federal government and the various state governments) have come to treat accessories before the fact differently from accessories after the fact. All U.S. jurisdictions have effectively eliminated the distinction between accessories before the fact and principals, either by doing away with the category of "accessory before the fact" entirely or by providing that accessories before the fact are guilty of the same offense as principals. The Model Penal Code's definition of accomplice liability includes those who at common law were called accessories before the fact; under the Model Penal Code, accomplices face the same liability as principals. It is now possible to be convicted as an accessory before the fact even though the principal has not been convicted or (in most jurisdictions) even if the principal was acquitted at an earlier trial.[2]

However, modern U.S. jurisdictions punish accessories after the fact for a separate criminal offense distinct from the underlying crime and having a different (and less severe) punishment. Some states still use the term "accessory after the fact"; others no longer use the term, but have comparable laws against hindering apprehension or prosecution, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, harboring a felon, or the like. Such crimes usually require proving (1) an intent to hinder apprehension or prosecution and (2) actual aid in the form of either (a) harboring the criminal, (b) providing specified means (such as a disguise) to evade arrest, (c) tampering with evidence, (d) warning the criminal of impending arrest, or (e) using force or deception to prevent the arrest.[3]

Federal law has followed both these trends. The U.S. Code effectively treats as principals those who would traditionally have been considered accessories before the fact at common law:[4]

(a) Whoever aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures the commission of an offense, is punishable as a principal. (b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense, is punishable as a principal.

However, federal law treats accessories after the fact differently from principals. Accessories after the fact face a maximum of only half the fine and half the prison time that principals face. (If the principal faces the death penalty or life imprisonment, accessories after the fact face up to 15 years' imprisonment.) Federal law defines accessories after the fact as persons who provide criminals with certain aid in order to hinder a criminal's apprehension or prosecution:[5]

Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.
The following are actual eBay incidents:

Buyer Scam using Mail Fraud

10-28-2015 09:10:25 AM

I sold a pair of shoes on ebay. The buyer purchased them using the buy it now option. I sent the shoes out the next day. The buyer received the shoes and claimed that there was paint poured on the box and it got inside of it and on top of the shoe box while shipping. He then opens a return claim. I called ebay and asked multiple times about that if i accepted a return that i would be covered or not if he would send back a bs item or with my product being damaged already because the buyer poured paint onto the box. Ebay told me either i accept a return or that they would step in and make me accept the return and i would receive a mark on my account for not coming up with a option for the buyer. I then accepted the return and the buyer sent back some bull **bleep** item that was not even close to the same as what i sent him. I then called ebay and spent 3 hours on the phone till i reached management with ebay. They informed me that i am not protected at all and i will not be getting my money back or my shoes. Is there anything i need to know to protect myself better so this will not happen again?

@milo1108 wrote: I recently sold a purse worth several hundreds of dollards to a low-feedback buyer.  Today the buyer opened a SNAD case claiming purse is fake. I bought this purse from its own brand store. There is no way it can be fake. I will take the return but am concerned about mail fraud like receiving back a box of air. I plan to open the returned package with postal workers or policemen as witness and report to police should there be any fraud. Anything else I can do to protect myself? Please advise! Thank you all very much!

That won't work. Wish it would cause it would have saved me $300.

All you can do is accept the return and hope for the best. If you get something other than the bag you sent, you can report the buyer for return abuse. Someone can give you the steps to file fraud claims if it's a significant amount.

03-26-2017 10:24:31 AM

Hello Friends, We have been victimized by what appears to be a Dummy Package Scam involving 3 cell phones purchased on Ebay and paid for via PayPal. Neither Ebay nor PayPal gave more than a cursory review of our filings and rejected out of hand our claims including Appeals. Clearly their Protection Plans are at best flimsy and at worst a Hoax. Sadly, the phones were purchased from 3 different, first time Sellers who shipped them from the same Post Office via USPS on separate days spread over 2 weeks. We have detailed USPS Tracking Reports that clearly demonstrate false addresses for receipt. PayPal's response is that they have Strong documentation from the Sellers that Delivery occurred, and our only recourse is to contact the Seller. Good Luck with that. All emails to the Sellers either by Hotmail or Gmail were promptly bounced back as Undeliverable. The point is that Delivery may have occurred but not to our address - a subtle but critical detail that continues to be overlooked by both Ebay and PayPal. Sound Familiar? Sure looks to us like Mail Fraud. The next steps that we are considering are to 1) File Report with USPIS 2) File Report with local Police 3) Contact FBI Mail Fraud Division. Our questions are if anyone has had a similar, recent experience and was there a successful outcome? i.e. did you get your money back from either Ebay or PayPal? What additional steps should we consider? Looks like a long slog, but after all we are out nearly $1000.

This content is old, go here to start a new pos Buyer Chargeback ; Mail Fraud 06-23-2013 10:57:23 AM I recently had a buyer do a chargeback , and it appears the buyer intends to keep the merchandise based on email communications. This appears to be mail theft. I sent a detailed letter to the US POSTAL INSPECTORS  Mail Fraud Dept. in Chicago IL  along with a printout of delivery confirmation, email communications from the buyer including buyers refusal to return merchandise, and details of the charge back. Has any seller ever tried this with any success ? In the past few years, it broke my heart (and wallet) many times as SNAD claims were files only to see those buyers reselling the previously unsatisfactory items months later. I am hoping I have not wasted my time in writing to the POSTAL MAIL FRAUD Dept.

Mail Fraud

09-21-2017 01:56:25 PM

 5 times this year I have had buyers wait until the day I leave them positive feedback to open return request. I leave feedback 2-4 weeks after they have received the item. Even though I clearly state that I have a no return unless damaged or not as described I get these request for returns.  Some people claim damage or just don't like the item. I know if I get a damaged item I contact the seller right away not 3 weeks later on the day they leave me positive feedback... This just happened again today and I am tired of it. Is there anything that can be done to stop this?  I wish eBay had a policy that if an item is damaged they must notify you within a couple days. None of the buyers wanted to return the items either. I believe it is just mail fraud and eBay is an accessory to it.

Has Anyone Ever filed a Report for theft and/or Mail Fraud?? How did it go?

09-20-2017 11:48:44 AM

I have a buyer who purchased a couple of razors from me. 3 feedbacks. They are from 1983. I stated they are unused. She/he contacted me first via messages to ask the model #. I had to go buy a magnifying glass to read it, as it was raised lettering same color as the body at a peculiar location. She verified correct model number but now has photos and says there was hair all over it. That the plug part that goes into the razor is blue. Beings I had to buy a magnifying glass and this is stated within our ebay messages, I know for sure I used it to check the razors over. The photos she has are unbelievable. Being a Christian, I could really care less what happens but know i need to file a police report and federal mail fraud report because this is a professional. The price is very low as I got them for free anyhow and obviously, it would be easier just to refund her. No biggie but that would be participating in her crimes, abetting her.  Thanks for any advice or experience you can share with filing a federal mail fraud report & police report. She is in Northbrook, Illinois

Letters to the Editor

Your emails to EcommerceBytes

For consideration, send your email to with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line! Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear in the blog. Sun Sun Apr 23 2017 09:27:47

eBay Ignores Seller Documentation Proving Fraud

By: Reader

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Dear Ina, eBay is beyond stupid! We sell small value items on eBay and sold 10 such items to customer who later asked to return them via the return process, which we approved. Total ticket about $45.  The customer returned items that were not ours. Taking good photos, opening a case to get assistance with the issue, submitted those photos with clear and concise details that anyone "should" understand (unless your a bot, right?), we get notice that we lose about 10 hours later because we should accept the fact that "customer's can damage items" and we submitted "no photos" or proof. Duh!  So we're out the cost of the merchandise, the outbound shipping, the refund including the original shipping all to get back items that we didn't even sell. Cheap China crap no less! I suppose we should be happy to have 10 pieces of junk at least in our hands LOL. We have been selling since 1981 when we started out in mail order, have been selling online since 1996 with a website and selling on eBay since they started. We are successful.  While we have a commitment to honor and serve our customers, we find it very hard to do the right thing(s) using the eBay platform. eBay forces things to a "take it or leave it" mode not giving the good seller a method to do the right thing for the customer.  Selling on a handful of different platforms, eBay is the worse of the venues when it comes to handling problems. And we don't just sell a few items, we know how each platform works at a volume pace.  Amazon is a close second to this nonsense but at least we can escalate things on that platform and get someone with a brain instead of a script to read. Both platforms have the pretense of good customer service for the buyer and a penalizing customer service for their sellers. And we realize we have to accept things beyond our control unfortunately. As platforms or venues go, eBay should wise up and get out of brain dead mode, but they won't. They are trying to pretend to be another venue and frankly that will be the downfall. It never will be a Amazon.   Should eBay be worried when their long term sellers are frustrated and angry? I would if it were my company and platform. But then again, eBay would have to care about the core issues which once made their platform great and are now failing in that role in almost every manner. Of course investors or shareholders can and will sink a good ship. Just ask the giant Radio Shack how that worked! $45 isn't going to really be missed, but if I were selling items in the 100s or 1000s of dollars or more on a casual or routine basis, I would be concerned about a platform and mode of operation that could cause me to lose big time! Smoke and mirrors!


Blog Post - Dave, This was the official eBay response to questions I have about their users buying items and returning a bag of sand.  They basically said "we do not try to stop buyers from stealing". This means that eBay Inc is complicit in mail fraud.  When you receive the bag of sand back instead of your item, eBay steals money from your PayPal account to refund the person who committed the fraudulent act, thus becoming an accomplice. View full-size And the conversation continues.  The official ebay customer support team clarifies that they are not willing or able to do anything about people using eBay to steal from sellers. View full-size This is pretty terrible when you think about it.  The sellers are paying fees to use eBay's service, and then eBay just allows people to steal from those sellers.  What's more is if the seller gets a bag of sand and refuses to issue the refund, eBay will steal money from the PayPal account of the eBay seller to issue the refund.  And if that's not interesting enough for you, if a seller pushes back against theft a few times in a month, eBay will limit their account and put a hold on the funds in their PayPal account. It's not ethical, but eBay just told the entire world that eBay Inc doesn't do shit if you use their service for mail fraud. But don't worry, this lady is "working behind the scenes to make eBay a great place to sell" View full-size Tagged: ebay, fraud, tech, ecommerce, twitter, customer service 0 Likes Share Subscribe in a reader Comments (3) Newest First Oldest First Newest First Most Liked Least Liked Subscribe via e-mail Preview POST COMMENT… Andy 2 years ago · 0 Likes Funny I'm reading this article tonight. Just got a nice sale today on ebay for about 380.00 but I googled the address of the Buyer. It's in an industrial office complex and has numerous yelp reviews of people stating their credit card info was used to buy and ship to this address: 7291 Garden Grove Blvd. Suite B Garden Grove, CA. 92841-4211 Since they hadn't paid I just canceled the order and re listed the items. Maybe others will read this post when they google the address. 10millflip 2 years ago · 0 Likes I've been researching this myself. Ebay in many cases is complicit in mail in wire fraud. They are essentially conspiring with felons to commit felonious acts against ebay sellers who have not only put their trust in the company, but also are paying the company for a secure legitimate service. This also brings up legal concerns. What you "you agreed to eBay's tos" morons need to realize is this. NO tos gives any company immunity to commit crimes against it's users / customers. I honestly believe your going to see some class action lawsuits flying real soon! James 3 years ago · 0 Likes The only thing Ebay cares about is their fees. Being ethical? What does that have to do with fees? They side with whichever party makes sense for their bottom line. Everyone knows Ebay has no values. They allow the huge Chinese sellers to take people's money when the sellers have no intention to deliver goods. Even after these sellers have been reported multiple times and provided no proof that shipping was even attempted. Hey, eventually after these sellers "borrow" the money the purchaser will get a refund and Ebay will still get its fee. See how that works? Values, what's that?

As you can see, eBay is aware of what is going on and admits their part in mail fraud and nothing is being done about it, What do we do?: TO BE CONTINUED

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