PWE = Plain White Envelope. When it comes to buying and selling trading cards online, PWE is the preferred method to ship low dollar cards. Typically, I ship any card priced $7.50 and under using a PWE.
Over the past couple years I began to use this method on eBay as a seller more frequently. The biggest concern with using the PWE shipping method is that there is no tracking. USPS is not always fast or accurate, so it is risky. Hence, using it exclusively for low dollar transactions.
How do you know when the person on the other side of the transaction is being truthful? It’s hard to tell, but my gut instinct is usually correct. Communication is key in deciphering if the truth lies behind the message. Each of us communicate differently, and interpret other people’s communication differently. There isn’t a step-by-step guide to tell you how to uncover if a PWE missing claim is truth or fiction.
A slippery slope is simply blocking or calling out said buyers as scammers. So, this is something I have not done…until today. Usually, if I am suspicious of a user name I’ll remember it in future cases. I will also do some Internet sleuthing of eBay user ID’s and see if there is precedence for these actions.
Last week, I had a buyer on eBay – johkoprowsk_0 – reach out with a simple message, “nothing came.” That’s an odd way to communicate, I thought. It also seemed like a fast turn around to be claiming an item not received. The buyer made payment on Saturday May 23, and the item was mailed out on Tuesday May 26, because of the Memorial Day holiday. His “nothing came” message was sent the morning of June 1.
Sure, I’ve had plenty of PWE arrive in just a couple days. But, the USPS isn’t exactly running on all cylinders right now, and it was shipped during a holiday week. I politely responded that mail may be backed up a couple days due to those two instances. No reply…until two days later when he sent an identical message – “nothing came.”
Is this a bot? Seriously, no correspondence other than “nothing came.” This time I ignored it thinking the package would arrive the following day. It “didn’t arrive,” because another message greeted me with – “nothing came today.”
Now, I am suspicious. Well…more suspicious. This time I responded by copying and pasting his eBay mailing address confirming it was accurate. Would he even respond because to this point only three words exist in his vocabulary. He did respond, and I found out he has four words in his vocabulary after a one word response, “yes.”
Time to do some scammer investigating. First, I popped his name in the Google search bar, and nothing much comes back. At least not in the trading card world. Let’s pop in his eBay user ID and see what comes up…
Would you look there. Four threads on the Blowout Forums with victims of johkoprowsk_0. Sifting through these threads, I counted seven members that have been victims of the “PWE never received” from John. Two of the members looked at their records and revealed they had been victimized twice.
After reading through those, claims occurred twice in March 2018, August 2019, twice in December 2019, three times in January 2020, once in April 2020, and my incident in May 2020. And, who knows how many other transactions that went unreported.
Shortly after I discovered all of this I decided to write this blog post. Coincidentally, another eBay message arrived. “Nothing came.” He’s good with words. A more in-depth response on my part was needed after some amateur investigating.
Oh, a couple more days, huh? Interesting how matters change a bit when theft and mail fraud is brought up.
I find this situation very concerning because one of two things is happening. A lot of John’s mail is being stolen, or John is stealing a lot of mail. I mentioned what I found, and that 10 items from eBay sellers has been reported “missing” by him, and that I should alert his Postmaster General to keep an eye on it.
Oh…he doesn’t want to blame them. I wonder why? Because the USPS is not at fault? Because honest eBay sellers are not at fault? Is that why he doesn’t want to place blame on the USPS?
PWE Sellers Beware
Coconut Creek, Florida
eBay User ID – johkoprowsk_0