Would You Ship a Broken iPhone to Réunion?

My brother dropped his iPhone in the Pacific Ocean.  An original, $399 iPhone.

Needless to say, saltwater does not do good things to an iPhone.  It doesn’t boot anymore.   No recourse with Apple or AT&T.  He had to get a new phone.

As a result, I ended up with my own variant of Pierre Omidyar’s famous broken laser pointer… I listed the broken iPhone on eBay.

Well, it sold today, for $122.50.  However, it sold to an international buyer… in Réunion.

Réunion, as it turns out, is a little island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Madagascar.  It is a French island, and happens to be the first place in world (due to time zone) to adopt the Euro.

So, would you ship a broken iPhone to Reunion?

They paid with PayPal.  All the info lines up, roughly.  eBay has a hotmail address for the user, but the payment came from a wanadoo.fr email address.  However, the name and address on both is the same, although eBay lists United States for the registered country (with the Reunion address).

That could be a sign of fraud.  Or it could be the sign of a user who moved.  eBay data is pretty messy at times.

He has made recent purchases with positive feedback.  A cheap piece of wireless equipment, and an expensive ($259) piece of tree climbing equipment.  So, not just trivial items.

So, do I ship it?  Not sure.  The worst that would happen is that the credit card would end up being stolen, so PayPal would seize the funds.  And I’d be out a broken iPhone.

But, on the plus side, selling to Reunion is a new destination for me.  I’ve sold to over 30 countries on eBay at this point, and it’s getting harder to attract buyers from new ones.

I think I’m going to ship it.

People are basically good… right?

5 thoughts on “Would You Ship a Broken iPhone to Réunion?

  1. Adam,

    I have shipped to Reunion Island several times in my former eBay life via the USPS with no trouble.

    People are basically good, I’d ship the item.


  2. Wow…just occurred to me that it would be really cool if eBay incorporated a ‘passport’ concept attached to your username. Each time you ship to (or buy from) a new country, you get a new stamp.

    Wouldn’t be hard to build, would be really cool (and you know the power-users would be competing to build up their number of stamps, which could only help revenues).


  3. I recently had a similar quandry about a user who won an item I listed, and despite my requirement for only having confirmed paypal accounts and addresses, he didn’t (why won’t eBay let me set some checkboxes…) So, I looked at his past auctions, googled his name and address, looked at the place on Street View, tried to match up a business address… and realized I’d just wasted an hour and a half selling a $250 item, time I could have been billing instead. So I stopped, sent it, and transferred the money out of PayPal successfully. I should have just done that in the first place, obviously. Next time, if there isn’t obvious fraud I’ll place my faith in the odds.

  4. Adam,

    I will lend my Trust & Safety expertise on this matter 🙂 I generally do not ship internationally because customs and such add too much time in the whole process with customs forms and what not. I’ve also been burned with items not arriving somewhere in the Middle East.

    Two things you can do are to email the buyer to confirm the buyer’s address. This is a friendly way of confirming there is someone on the other end of the transaction. If they are a Prince of some sort or mention that you’ve just won a sweepstakes, be careful!!! 🙂

    If you’re not totally comfortable, just give it a few more days for “processing”. This gives more time for any account compromises or other fraudulent indicators to be recognised by the internal fraud detection systems.

    Hope no claims come back,
    Mark L

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