What's with all the recent "money order only" auctions?

Melisande R.

Urban Archaeologist
Feb 20, 2007
If I've learned one thing from hanging out on eBay forums (and being defrauded twice on big purchases on eBay) it's never to send a money order or check. You might as well send cash to a stranger and kiss it goodbye. Sure, there are scrupulous sellers who won't take Paypal - but I wouldn't buy from them.

Over and over, it's been drilled into me on the buyers' community forums on eBay to never use money orders or checks (or cash!) Bidpay is apparently trustworthy now that it has divorced itself from Western Union - but I got a specific warning about Western Union and wire transfers from eBay just recently.

For me, it's paypal (backed up by Amex) or nothing. In the past week, about half the handbags I'm interested in are "money order only" auctions. :confused1:


Back to reality
May 2, 2006
I think it's possible people trying to scam you or, they've been burned by paypal one too many times / sick of the fees?

I would never send a money order...like you said, I might as well hand it out to strangers.


springtime lavender
Aug 15, 2006
I've seen some TPFers require money order only for high end bag due to scamming buyers. What happens is that people buy designer goods with stolen credit card numbers and then the real credit card owner rightfully disputes the charges. The seller gets a chargeback and is out the designer item. A seller can guard against this by reading Paypals terms and conditions carefully~ship to a confirmed address, get a signature for items over $250 in value, etc. But some are risk averse so they ask for money order only.

Of course, there are evil, scamming sellers also...
Jun 28, 2006
As a seller, I know myself and I know that I will surely send the item and not take money and run so I guess my mind set is, I know myself so but since I don;t know the other party, I worry that a buyer will file a chargeback months later and will end up with my item and the money.

However, as a buyer, I would not pay by money order because I cant trust that the seller will be honest also.

Its terrible, but that is what is has come to for me. I still take paypal though... =T


Mar 28, 2007
I accept money orders from long time customers only. I understand some of my customers do not want to use Paypal, though I prefer payment by Paypal. However, with all the problems with Paypal, I understand the whole money orders only auctions thing too. It's a catch-22.
Personally, I would never purchase anything on ebay unless I could pay via Paypal, especially a handbag.


A taste for the arts
Oct 7, 2006
San Francisco
I unfortunately fell for the money order only scam last year. I purchased an LV denim neo speedy for just under $800 and of course after I sent the MO I never got the bag. We completed the auction outside of eBay so I had no protection. The only saving grace for me is that I bought my money order at my bank, so I have a copy of the back that was signed and cashed. A year later, I am finally close to catching up with the thief. But it's been tough. I've had to involve the police in several states to get answers.

All in all I would never purchase an item with a money order again, no matter what it is, even if it's only $1.


Apr 6, 2007
I've paid a couple times with money orders and I've always received the items. I think the level of risk may vary depending on what you are buying. I bought concert tickets and a microwave oven, things the sellers really wanted to sell. Designer handbags seem to be a scammer's paradise.

Melisande R.

Urban Archaeologist
Feb 20, 2007
Good point, Bag-Mania. It is different with handbags. I had a long discussion via email with one seller - she has 2 feedbacks as a seller, and I told her that I didn't think many people would pay $1200 via money order no matter how gorgeous her handbag was - with such low feedback and no Paypal. I talked her into using Paypal! I hope her auction goes well - the other people I messaged about their money order only auctions either didn't respond or simply said that's the way they're going to do it.

So far, none of them has any bids - it's slooow for sales this time of year anyway.