How to Respond to Buyer Threatening to Call Police on an Online Seller (YOU!)

How to Respond to Buyer Threatening to Call Police on an Online Seller (YOU!)

Posted by Big Brand on 24th Nov 2021

Every good, honest seller just wants to do good, honest business… and, unfortunately, lunatic buyers know this too, and they abuse your kindness to get free stuff… yep, that’s all it comes down to; the dishonest buyer wants you to ship them more for free, or let them keep it and get a refund (or at least a nice discount).

Any REAL, honest buyer who is experiencing a problem will be happy to cooperate with the seller, without threats. And, any REAL buyer who is willing to communicate with an honest seller about a problem with their order will usually have their issue resolved to their liking. But this blog post isn’t about the “normal” buyers, because the average buyer doesn’t quickly resort to threatening a seller. So, let’s discuss how to reply to those not-so-normal buyers who want to strike fear into the soul of the honest seller:

First of all, unless the buyer paid you in cash (in person) or via bank wire or money order, the buyer is 100% aware that they can file a dispute / chargeback regarding the purchase. The reason they are instead trying to scare you is because:

  • They file a LOT of chargebacks / disputes and don’t want to lose their account
  • They have lots of experience scaring sellers and they know this tactic works great
  • They have no legit reason to file a chargeback / dispute. They know they will lose. So instead they resort to threats
  • They are exceptionally immature. Surprisingly, many people are not able to communicate their thoughts with ease. We wrote a blog post in 2020 called Decoding Buyer Complaints: What They SAY versus What They MEAN - I encourage you to read this post.

Hopefully you read our blog post called How to Deal with Batsh*t Crazy Buyers, because this article outlines very basic psychology of your insane buyer and what they SAY versus what they MEAN, in addition to the only outcomes you can offer them. If you have already attempted to reason with the buyer and offer them the only outcomes you can provide, and the buyer is now threatening to call the cops, here’s the 3 ways you can reply:

RESPONSE OPTION #1: Simply don’t respond. If you have already followed our advice in 20 Ways to Respond to Utterly Insane Buyers, you have already been polite and professional and stated everything that needed to be said. It is often better to avoid “stirring the pot” and spinning them up even more. Give them some time to calm down. IF the psychopath comes back around in a couple days and acts more civil, then you can POLITELY reiterate what you have already told them. On the other hand, IF the delirious buyer is being rude and obscene, by responding to their belittling messages you are giving them what they want, which is the gratification of knowing you were forced to read their nasty messages and you took the time out of your schedule to respond. Basically, they are trying to get you to get involved with the back-and-fourth name calling fight.

Keep in mind that if a buyer sends you awful, degrading messages and if you choose to keep replying, you are doing what Dr. Phil refers to as “Rewarding bad behavior”; when you reward bad behavior you encourage the buyer to keep it up.

RESPONSE OPTION #2: Reply, “That seems like the best solution for both of us at this point because, per eBays policies, I have already offered a full refund upon return and you do not appear to be satisfied with this option” - You can alter this reply to fit what you sold and where you sold it. For example, you could instead say “That seems to be the best solution for both of us at this point because the Poshmark listing and photos detailed that this sweater was a size Extra Large and measured 24” in length”. - Politely “agreeing to disagree” will catch the buyer off guard because they are expecting you to cower in fear over the threat of police.

RESPONSE OPTION #3:  Reply, “Ok. I will be happy to speak to them when they arrive”. - do not be sarcastic. No need to add emojis or try to get the “last jab” in. There is also no need to get involved in childish bickering because it is a waste of your time and energy. POLICE DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN CIVIL MATTERS, so the buyer is either full of sh*t or just a weirdo. After you respond to say you will speak to police when they arrive, just leave it at that. There is no need to keep the conversation going at this point; the buyer told you they are calling the police and you agreed to speak to them, so the conversation is over. 


If you are dealing with a "level 10 crazy" buyer who is threatening to call police, you NEVER want to do the following things:

- NEVER use sarcasm

- NEVER use emojis, such as eye rolling, "i don't know", devil, frowny face, smiley face after saying something witty, etc.  All you're doing is making the psycho even more upset and this can lead to serious Danger for Online Sellers.  In fact, we have an entire section of our blog to share with you how crazy online buyers can be; from stalking to hacking to physical violence and more. 

- NEVER instantly reply once the conversation has become degrading, obscene or threatening.  You can learn a ton more about dealing with these lunatics on How to Deal with Batsh*t Crazy Buyers and 20 Ways to Respond to Utterly Insane Buyers

- NEVER "fuel the fire".  Yes, the buyer is a total assh*le.  If they call you a terrible mother, a crook, a liar, a piece of crap, etc, JUST LET IT GO!!!  The buyer is trying to get under your skin.  They WANT you to reply and say something mean back.  NOTHING GOOD COMES OF THIS.  You are the one who has a business, inventory and a reputation that you CAN lose.  The buyer has nothing to lose.  

- NEVER give in to threats.  If the buyer is threatening to sue you or call police / FBI / etc, NEVER, EVER beg them not to.  If you let them know you are afraid, you have fallen directly into their trap.  

- NEVER respond with lengthy detail.  They will NOT read it.  Keep in mind this nut job doesn't want to cooperate.  They want to beat you down to the point that you surrender and give them what they want.  

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