If you’re an honest online seller dealing with an utterly insane buyer who is threatening to call police, here’s what you need to know:
First, the key to dealing with a nut job is to simply resolve the issue and be done with it, without anything crazy happening and without your business (or sanity) taking a massive hit. So, read our blog posts How to Deal with Batsh*t Crazy Buyers and 20 Ways to Respond to Utterly Insane Buyers, because you will probably learn how to deal with your psychopath WITHOUT spinning them up more.
If you have done nothing wrong and tried everything (within reason) to amicably resolve this issue, and if you have discovers that you have already reached the point where none of the advice in the two blog posts mentioned above will work and the deranged buyer is threatening to call police right now, here’s the things you need to know:
An issue with an online sale is CIVIL, not CRIMINAL, unless you sold the buyer stolen, counterfeit or otherwise illegal merchandise. Police deal with CRIMINAL issues whereas courts deal with CIVIL (and criminal) issues. So, if the buyer is pissed off because the online purchase arrived damaged, this is a CIVIL issue, not a CRIMINAL issue.
Criminal law deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. This involves things like burglary, assault, battery and cases of murder but also involves stuff like vandalism, trespassing and so on. Whereas Civil Law deals with the disputes between individuals, organizations, or between the two, in which money (compensation) is awarded to the “victim”. This applies to things like negligence or malpractice, but also include damaged merchandise, services not preformed, merchandise not received and so on.
With that in mind, the police literally CAN NOT get involved in a dispute over an online purchase, unless the merchandise is a bag of cocaine or human trafficking or something of that criminal nature.
This means that even IF the livid buyer contacts police, the police will most likely tell them to file a lawsuit because “this is a civil matter”. On occasion there might be a police officer or detective that will take the time to call, or stop by, the sellers residence and ask them why the buyer is accusing them of (whatever the issue is). However, this is very, very, very unlikely. And, even if the police officer does show up, just politely explain to them that the buyer is a psychopath and that you have already issued a full refund (or whatever).
A POLICE OFFICER CAN NOT ARREST, TICKET YOU OR INTERROGATE YOU FOR AN ONLINE ORDER GONE WRONG. And I can guarantee you that police officers have 0 interest in getting involved in a dispute over a $20 dress purchased on eBay that showed up with a supposed rip along the seam. In fact, 99.9999% of police won’t even accept a report of this nature (unless the item in dispute was a stolen handgun or illegal weapon).
Second, the buyer is trying to scare you. They are relying on the fact that you ARE a good person, you likely are not a criminal and you are probably afraid of being arrested over a false claim. Most likely, the delusional buyer uses this threat all the time, in hopes of getting refunds, scoring free merchandise or both. With that being said, the buyer likely has no intention of actually contacting law enforcement. The buyer has come to realize that if they threaten to involve the law, the seller will jump and do whatever they want.
And lastly, if the buyer is making the famous “double threat” of calling police AND suing you, it is more likely that you will be struck by lightning than either of these things happening. I encourage you to read our blog post called “Can I Sue a Buyer Over a Bogus Chargeback?”, although this post is written about sellers suing buyers, the information is identical for buyers suing sellers.
As you already know, the threat of “calling police” is basically a joke (although it’s not humorous in any way). Suing is a long, expensive, time consuming process that a buyer who is just trying to get a discount, refund or freebie, isn’t every going to follow through with. Again, they are just trying to manipulate you into doing what they want.
Additionally, IF the buyer did decide to pay for a lawsuit then travel to your hometown and make you appear in court, you will have the ability to countersue. This means that IF you are a good seller and IF you did honest business and tried to work with the psycho to make them happy, you will likely end up winning your countersuit and they will end up owing you money (but don’t get excited; chances are you will never collect a dime).
If a buyer has threatened to call police, before you reply, read our blog post How to Reply to an Online Buyer Who Threatened to Call Police
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