Manufactured Spending

Bummer! No More Free MS From eBay Disputes

best buy open-box
Written by Charlie

What was once a silver lining in eBay disputes is now gone – the free MS with your credit card! Beware, it now charges as a cash advance transaction!


A couple of years ago, I wrote about an Unintended Method of Manufactured Spending. It was something that actually popped up and had surprised me but it turned out to work out quite well for me. Unfortunately, that method is no longer available. 🙁

No More Free MS From eBay Disputes


In a nutshell, here is how this worked. As a seller, if someone purchased something from you on eBay and then they opened a case/dispute against you, there would be a hold put on the PayPal balance for the amount of the item. If there was no money in the account, it used to go to the primary funding method (which I had as a credit card). That meant it would charge my credit card for the amount of the auction until the dispute was resolved.

I have been fortunate in that I have won all the disputes as a seller.  This does not normally happen as eBay is very protective of the buyer but when I have had claims opened against me, it was always because they did not read the auction and understand what the device does/did or they did not want it anymore and would make a false claim.

When this happened, I would have my credit card charged by PayPal for the auction amount and then the amount was refunded to my PayPal account when it was closed. In other words, free manufactured spend! Thanks to the higher dollar items I sell, this has helped me to get a little more in the way of miles and points that I would not otherwise have had.

Credit Card No Longer a Viable Option

That brings us to this incident. I do not know when they changed this (I have not had a dispute in a while) but I had a really terrible buyer this week who informed me that he would be sending it back as soon as he received it and put the shipping on me because he wanted his money back. There was a whole lot of exchange but he was a real pain from the start (after paying) and promised to make a claim and turn it right around to me and make me pay for the shipping again – even saying it didn’t matter what condition it was in, he would file a claim. Thankfully, this was all done through eBay Messages and the reps I spoke to said I should be just fine.

free ms

This actually made me a little happy in that I would at least get some more free miles from this bad incident as a result of the claim he filed! Sure enough, item received and case opened! So, I went into PayPal to load the account from my card like I had done before – except it now says they charge it as a cash advance! Oops, that is not going to happen!

So, my silver lining in this incident just vanished away! No more easy MS through disputes, which was the only good thing about them. Oh well, at least I caught that text before going ahead with it as it would not have been worth it at all!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • But if you go to buy something with PayPal, you can charge the item plus the disputed amount as a purchase.

      • On top of that, if the place you make the purchase from is a place that codes as 5x with Ink you’ll get 5x on the entire amount because PayPal just codes it as 1 large purchase from that merchant to your CC. Go buy a $10 Amazon gift card from Gyft and you get 5x on whatever the dispute amount is plus $10. i.e. If your dispute amount is $1745.99 you’ll see a charge on your Ink for $1755.99 from Gyft.

  • hey charlie, I recently found myself in a similar position for the 1st time as a seller. had the absolute worst customer who either did NOT read the auction/listing or just plain changed their mind after receiving the product. anyways, they left a negative remark, wanted a full refund, and left me on the hook for shipping (both ways.) not to mention FVFs, paypal fees etc.

    and as usual like I’ve always heard, ebay or their automated system sided w the buyer & closed the case in their favor. so I was on the hook for a bunch of expenses unnecessarily for a sale that for all intents & purposes did not even occur as the item was sent back to me.

    so how exactly did you deal w/such a customer? how did you get ebay to side w/you not only that once but everytime you’ve had such an issue? some of the frontline reps I talked to gave me some boilerplate BS, told me its the cost of doing business blah blah blah. how’d you find a sympathetic rep who went to bat for you & sided with you even tho I presume the items were returned to you from the sound of it?

    are there any steps that you took right off the bat? did you just call up ebay at the first sight of trouble/bad buyer and ask for em to get involved? lol is there a magical dept to reach out to that has more power & oversight & actual ability to see the sellers side of the picture?

    • That is really a shame, Adam! So sorry to hear!
      Yes, there are a few steps I take. The first thing I do with someone I know will be a problem buyer is to send one or two calm, rational messages to them. That normally will do one of two things – it calms them down and they become very reasonable or they get even worse and irrational. To me, either response is ok. Because if it is number 2, I immediately call eBay and explain the whole thing to them and ask them what I should do. They cannot tell you the answer to that, but they will go through the messages and they normally come back to me and say it seems like I have a very strong case and they will put some notes in my account of the situation. After a few days and still no dealing with the buyer, I call back again. I have had them actually close it out twice in my favor while they were on the phone. So, definitely loop eBay in. It shows them that you are trying to work it out and you are coming to them for help.
      As for the magical department, there isn’t that I have found so far! But, when you are going through the help and the buyer/seller part, there should be a call/chat button. Once you hit that, it will give you the number to call along with the quick access code. Best way to go. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to follow up more –