Money

eBay’s Little Red Riding Hood costumes are no fairy tale


Can you please help solve a most bizarre problem I’m having with eBay? Every few weeks a package arrives at my house containing a Little Red Riding Hood costume and other capes. The packages are addressed to me and appear to be from people who bought them on eBay but have decided to return them as they are not suitable.

The problem is, I have no idea why they are sending them to me as I don’t think I have an eBay account, and I certainly don’t sell Little Red Riding Hood costumes. At first, I thought it must be a friend playing a joke. However, they keep coming, complete with eBay numbers and return labels.

Trying to talk to eBay if you don’t have an account is rather difficult.

AB, Bristol

Resolving this took far longer than it should have done, not least as eBay seemed initially reluctant to say too much about it – possibly because of data protection issues. After much to-ing and fro-ing, it emerged that you did, indeed, have an eBay account you had used briefly back in 2006, registered to a long-gone email address.

It seems that someone had got hold of your eBay account login and password, and started selling Red Riding Hood and bridal capes as you.

Some of the people who bought them had decided to return them, and they naturally sent them to the registered seller, which was you, at your address.

Quite why this person was doing this remains a mystery, given that it is not that hard to set up an eBay account. Perhaps they had been banned in their own name and simply used your existing account as a way to get round the prohibition.

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The good news is that eBay has frozen the account. It has also done a search, at my request, to make sure your details were not registered to any other accounts on its site. It has also offered to help you close the account, and says it will refund all the buyers of the returned capes that were sent to your house.

In the meantime, it points out that you may still get the odd returned cape posted before the account was closed, meaning your retriever will have another costume to pose in.

I would be looking at my credit report to make sure no other financial applications had been made in my name by this person.

I would also consider signing up to the fraud prevention register, Cifas. It will notify you every time there is an application for credit in your name.

It is a very weird case that other readers may want to use as a spur to close a no-longer-needed eBay account.

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