bad experience with ebay seller - advice welcome!

Discussion in 'Community' started by r6girl, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #1
    so, this is my first negative experience on ebay so far. there was a little twist in the saga today, and i'm thinking about what to do next, so any advice would be appreciated!

    here's what happened:
    i'd been looking for a deal on those jbl creature speakers and found an auction for them and won (at $50 for a set used for a month). the seller had one positive and one neutral feedback - i wasn't too worried about this (i only have 33 feedbacks myself and know that it's a little hard to get going), plus it was "only" $50. the auction stated shipping would be quoted based on location. i sent one of those "request total amount due" emails through the ebay system immediately after the end of the auction so i could send just one payment for the item and shipping. after 2 days, i still had not received a response from the seller. i got a little antsy and did not want the seller to think i was a non-paying bidder, so i sent payment via paypal plus $10 as a "good faith" payment toward shipping ($60 total), at the same time requesting the total shipping amount so i could pay any remaining money due. i never received a response from the seller (nor the speakers), and about 10 days later sent another email through the ebay system asking about the item and its shipment. still no response from the seller.

    i requested the seller's contact information from ebay and tried calling him - it was a non-working phone number. i notified ebay of the invalid contact information and requested assistance. ebay advised me they would address the seller's invalid contact information (which they never did - he still have an invalid phone number) and suggested i start requesting a refund through paypal. i started the paypal refund request last week. i was waiting to file a fraud report on ebay until the paypal claim process was done.

    in the meantime, i found the speakers i wanted at a good price on amazon and bought them. i figured i would just get my money back through paypal and would never receive the speakers from the ebay seller...

    until today, i had not heard anything at all from the seller! then i check my mail today, and i see a package delivery attempt notice, listing him as the sender...

    i still haven't left this guy feedback (and it WILL be negative), but i really have no need for the speakers anymore since i already bought them from amazon. i have half a mind to refuse delivery and have them returned to him and just continue with the paypal resolution and get my money back. but that means i'm not following through on the "purchase agreement" i entered into when i bid on the item on ebay.

    also, i don't want this guy to be able to leave me negative feedback in return for my negative feedback for him. i suppose i could just wait until after he leaves me feedback (if he ever bothers to) but i'm worried i'll get screwed here even though he is completely at fault. i have 100% feedback and want to keep it that way - i have worked hard to make all my transactions smooth.

    geez, this is long. so, any advice? i need to look up the policies on ebay about my ability to just continue requesting a refund and return the speakers to him. but any other thoughts would be welcome!

    marianne
     
  2. Archaeopteryx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    #2
    Well, I have always had "good" experiances on ebay... though I usually only bid on auctions knowing what shipping will be, since many people tend to try and screw you over by chargeing you 10 dollars shipping on a book... wich I would never pay... I think your plan of sending it back and getting a refund is best... If push comes to shove and he leaves you negative feedback.. there is the ability to "reply to the feedback" though it doesnt help your rating any :-/
     
  3. Jovian9 macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    Planet Zebes
    #3
    My advice is to leave negative feedback. If they leave you negative you can respond underneath it in your feedback area so people can see. As much as you try it will be very difficult to get 100% positive feedback on eBay. I'm at around 130 now and have 1 negative and 2 neutral and I have a STELLAR rep on eBay. I've taken back items that were broken in transit (even though I clearly state that it is the buyers responsibility once it has shipped) and refunded their money just to help people....and then dealt with the USPS/UPS insurance issues myself but I've still gotten a few bad deals on feedback. My one negative feedback was when I sold a VHS tape to someone, shipped it and they did not get it. I felt bad and I had a 100% positive rating at the time, which I did not want to ruin...... and I had another copy (that's why I sold the first one).....so I mailed the second copy and the person still claimed not to get it......so what did I do.....I was out 2 copies of this VHS and I refunded their money.....yet they still left me negative feedback....even though I was cooperative and in communication with them the entire time. Some people complain about anything. I cannot stand when people will not respond to your e-mails after you've sent them money. I've had that happen 4 times now.....2 times I got the items and 2 times I haven't. Do other buyers a service and leave them negative feedback about their lack of communication.......b/c that is something that I would want to know before buying from them myself.
     
  4. r6girl thread starter Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #4
    i usually have the same practice about bidding on items where shipping costs are defined up front, but lapsed on this particular auction. although that wasn't the whole issue with this seller, i think i'm going to make it a rule going forward!

    i am leaning toward returning the speakers to him. i think i'll try to contact him before then, though.

    thanks for your thoughts!

    marianne
     
  5. r6girl thread starter Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #5
    i'm definitely going to leave negative feedback. i'm just hoping that this guy won't turn around and leave the same for me even though i didn't do anything wrong. but i have very little faith these days in people doing the right thing... :(

    that sucks about your vhs tape auction - that was good of you to make up for it, but too bad the buyer was still ungrateful.

    yeah, i think i'm going to have to bite the bullet here and risk getting negative feedback. taking 1 month to ship an item (when the auction stated it would be shipped within 72 hours of receipt of payment) and not responding to any emails whatsoever is simply not acceptable.

    thanks for your thoughts!

    marianne
     
  6. EminenceGrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    #6
    It was a big mistake to send any payment without having any contact with the seller. It would have been far better to have attempted to contact the seller a couple times, and then notify eBay if you were unable to reach them and see about having your bid cancelled/retracted/etc. As it stands, you left yourself wide open to fraud.

    Since it would seem that the seller did eventually ship the item, you should simply accept it. If you don't need the speakers anymore, then just re-sell them on eBay and get your money back that way. If you refuse to accept the package, there is no guarantee you can get your money back - after all, the seller did ship the item, even if it was late. If you refuse the shipment, that isn't the seller's problem anymore.

    You should leave the seller negative feedback about the lack of communication, without question. More importantly however, you should take this as a lesson not to send any kind of payment without contact from the seller! It is far easier to deal with eBay about negative feedback from a seller who you weren't able to contact, than it is to deal with a fraud investigation to get your money back.
     
  7. r6girl thread starter Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #7
    how was it a big mistake to send payment without any contact from the seller? i send payment for all items i win immediately after the end of the auction, without waiting for an email or invoice from the seller. winning the auction means i agree to pay for the item. i paid, as per the contract i entered into by bidding in the auction, per ebay's rules.

    the seller was in the wrong for not supplying me with the shipping amount. and then for not shipping the item within the 72 hours of receipt of payment as promised in his auction. the seller was in the wrong for not responding to any of my subsequent inquiries, and for having invalid contact information on file with ebay. he is at fault, not me.

    i've learned to be very wary of sellers with little feedback (though this bothers me having been in this same place myself recently), and to not bid on items where shipping costs are not fully disclosed up front. of course, i will never buy from this seller again, and will leave him negative feedback. i will continue to send payment immediately after i win an auction because that is how ebay works (and how i make sure i get positive feedback as a buyer - who would give me good feedback if i delayed on sending payment?). for the items i auction, i expect the winners to send me payment without me having to contact them to "remind" them to pay for something they knowingly made a choice to bid on and therefore agreed to buy if they had the highest bid. does ebay work differently where you live? :rolleyes:

    marianne
     
  8. EminenceGrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    #8
    It was a mistake, exactly because of the experience you had. It's risky (and unnecessary) to blindly send off payment without either having contacted the seller, or having had contact from the seller. eBay used to do a better job of making this clear, but apparently they don't do such a good job anymore. Fraud is rampant on eBay these days, and this is a really simple way to protect yourself. It's also a very simple way to verify that you have the correct information for the seller, and they have your correct information. It also rules out any kind of e-mail or other problems problems that might prevent the two parties from contacting each other, BEFORE any money or goods exchange hands.

    I've had my account on eBay for about 5 years, and I have NEVER had a problem with bad feedback simply because I contacted the seller to verify the price, shipping costs, etc. A couple of hours or even a day or more delay in sending payment after the end of an auction is really not that big a deal, in my experience, and has never caused anyone to leave bad feedback for me. In other words, with the eBay I've used for the past 5 years, immediately sending payment at the end of the auction (without contact) has NOT been "how eBay works". :rolleyes: Every e-mail I've ever received from eBay after an auction has contained the line "The buyer and seller should contact each other within three business days to complete the sale." which implies to me that some kind of e-mail or phone exchange should take place, BEFORE any exchange of goods. It's been about 50/50 as to whether I've contacted the seller first, or I've contacted them but regardless, it's just a good idea to have had some contact. Minor problems are then corrected before they become major ones. Particularly when dealing with individuals, things come up in life that may get in the way of them dealing with a finished eBay auction right away - a simple e-mail is usually enough to clear things up. Sometimes people simply have unexpected trouble with their e-mail or computer and may not know right away there is a problem - again, a simple e-mail is a good start, and shows you made a good faith effort to contact them if you need to show that later, should a larger problem arise.

    I'm not trying to rag on you here or anything, I'm just trying to point out a simple, effective, and accepted way of preventing these problems in the future. Yes, in your case the seller did a number of things wrong, but one simple step on your part could have saved you a large amount of headache. It only takes 2 minutes to send an e-mail, and that one step 1) Ensures that the buyer and seller are able to contact each other (ruling out any 'techincal difficulties' or other problems) and 2) Protects both the seller and buyer from fraud. That's why you contact the seller/buyer before exchanging funds - not to remind them that they entered into a contract by bidding (they already get that from eBay), but to ensure good communication. No reputable seller or buyer will leave negative feedback simply because you took a little extra time to verify their information. I would certainly be very leary of any seller who expected me to pay them without having had some kind of personal exchange by e-mail or telephone.
     
  9. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a

    leftbanke7

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    West Valley City, Utah
    #9
    eBay has gotten horrible over the years. My mom is a huge eBayer and when she first started, all was simple. But now, she has to put a 47 page dissertation on all of her auctions just to be sure she has covered her 6. I used to buy stuff from eBay all the time but now I only do it if I can not find what I am looking for anywhere else. I suppose most things are like that though. All is well until scumbags figure out how to buck the system.
     
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #10
    Never remit payment without an invoice or a stated shipping price in the auction. What would keep the guy from charging you $50 for shipping? Nothing.

    Now you have learned an important lesson to take advantage of eBay's feedback ratings. They are their to help both parties involved in an auction transaction. The fact he had one nuetral in two transactions would make me think twice. In fact, I rarely buy from sellers with less than 10 feedbacks at a rating of 100%.

    The buyer protection policy from eBay and PayPal will eventually get you your money back, but from now on you may want to scale back your "I always pay immediately" policy and try to contact the seller before auctions end to make sure they aren't fraudulent.
     
  11. r6girl thread starter Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #11
    actually, i did send him an e-mail after the close of the auction requesting the full amount due. he did not respond, but i at least wanted to live up to my "end of the deal" by submitting payment under the contract i entered into by bidding on his auction.

    also, i'd verify that it wasn't a fraud even BEFORE i bid on an auction - if i were worried about excessive negative feedback or a high-priced item not typically sold by the seller, etc. i think checking for fraud after you've already bid (and won) wouldn't be the most logical thing to do.

    thanks to all for the advice. i may indeed scale back on my "pay immediately after winning" practice just based on this experience. but i must say that i have never had anyone who has won one of my auctions contact me to verify anything before paying. i suppose if someone did, it wouldn't necessarily bother me as long as they paid promptly (within the terms stated in my auction) following my response to them.

    anyway, this looks like it may work out. i sent yet another email to the seller last night with a proposal to resolve the whole situation. he replied quickly (a complete surprise to me) and apologized and explained the delay. i have to say that, so far, it sounds like he will work through this in an "honorable" way. i will keep my fingers crossed on that! lessons learned on both ends, definitely.

    marianne

    edited for spelling boo-boos...
     
  12. wowser macrumors 6502a

    wowser

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Location:
    Inglaterra, Europa
    #12
    eBays seems a lot safer in th UK (apart from the illegal gun trading )
     
  13. EminenceGrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    #13
    I just wanted to clarify here that I hadn't meant to imply that contacting the seller after the auction was the only thing to do to prevent being defrauded. Obviously there are some things you can do (which you've mentioned) before bidding to greatly reduce that likelyhood. It's just that the scammers are continually getting more sophisticated, stealing accounts and whatnot, and contact with the seller/buyer is an added security measure that can indicate anything fishy going on (last minute changes (address, etc.)) - and give you added time to act. Unfortunately, the influx of scammers is ruining the whole eBay thing for everyone. eBay isn't exactly renowned for its response to scammers in many cases either. :(

    Sounds as though your situation will have a relatively happy ending though, which is good. There are many good people on eBay to deal with - it's just getting harder to sort through the bad ones. Good luck! :)
     
  14. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    Apr 26, 2003
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    Wakayama, Japan

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