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eBay Customer Protection greatly improved in last 5 yrs

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Review by TopamaxSurvivor posted 12-04-2010 08:44 AM 2609 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
eBay Customer Protection greatly improved in last 5 yrs No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I made the mistake of not looking closely enough at an old Stanley 39 plough plane. The title said “Plane” and “wood cutter”. It looked just another old well used plane that would need bit of cleaning up but would make a user. A lot of finish still on it and a little rust. I had seen a lot of them selling for $25-40. The seller had 100% positive feed back, so I didn’t spend a lot of time studying the pictures looking for a scam or what they were trying to pull over on someone. The blade holder was open and the area had a sharp edge at a glance; easily mistaken for a blade if you weren’t looking carefully and specifically to see if it were there.

I wondered why no one bid against me. When it arrived, no blade! Not a $25 -40 plane, a $10 casting; just a handle or a jig. The seller said the listing said as pictured. I said it is misrepresented because a “plane” or “wood cuter” as the title said has to have a blade or cutting edge by definition. Can I sell a knife handle as a knife without a blade?

Customer protection agreed with my first statement. I probably got lucky;-) About 5 years ago, a seller sold me a lens compatible with all Nikon FT-2 cameras. Mine was older without the external connection bracket. I did not know there were newer models without it. For months, the seller said he would send the part, but never did. EBay consumer protection at that time required $50 or $75 to open a case on a $100 lens that I might win or loose.

Caveat Emptor is the best policy. I feel lucky. Look carefully over the pictures for every piece. Just because they have 100% positive doesn’t mean they are really honest. In my brief communications with the seller, I came to believe he knew what he was trying to pull off.

I would give eBay Customer Protection 5 stars instead of 4 if I felt they were acting out of a concern for honesty and ethics on the site. Considering, all my previous dealings with them, I believe they finally had to man the consumer protection division to keep a customer base in this economy.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence




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TopamaxSurvivor

14797 posts in 2342 days



18 comments so far

View Pawky's profile

Pawky

278 posts in 1470 days


#1 posted 12-04-2010 11:05 AM

Sadly ebay has actually gone down hill in my opinion. I’m glad it worked out for you, but they’ll side with the buyer 99% of the time now. This makes it very bad for the seller and one of the reasons (of many) that the quality of sellers has gone down in my opinion. There are less individuals selling now and more ‘companies.’ As a buyer now it is much easier to rip the seller off.

That said, I still buy stuff from ebay, but not sure if I’ll really sell anything/much on there. I’ve spent a good deal of money on ebay though.

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TopamaxSurvivor

14797 posts in 2342 days


#2 posted 12-04-2010 12:09 PM

They should not be swinging from siding with sellers to siding with buyers depending on where the shortages are, but business decisions are not about ethics, they are about dollars; to hell with ethics.

I have only sold 1 camera on there. Mostly I see it as a time saver and convenient. I go in spurts when I am looking for something. IMO, they have never had much for customer service if you have a problem. At times it has nearly impossible to find a way to get through the maze to send an email to get a response.

When I left the negative feedback, they prompted me to file a case. So I thought, what the heck, why not; let’s see if they have changed. At first I thought it was just a server forwarding messages back and forth. Then I got a message saying they told the seller it was a deceptive listing. Then, I got a phone call saying it was taken care of which was unnecessary since I already knew that from their emails.

They can have multitudes of listings, and companies will put them on, but they are worthless if they can’t keep buyers. It doesn’t take too many shaftings to turn all lot of people off on an internet site. It really takes a lot of faith in the honesty of the sellers to buy sight unseen. If I have to scrutinize every listing for “weasel clauses” and “fine print”, I’m done! Ain’t gonna fool with it.

Probably one of the biggest boons to them has been flat rate shipping by USPS. I just bought 67# casting metal that I never would have bought if I had to pay shipping by weight. I would have found a local supplier, paid a higher price and driven over there when I was going that way. Since it was more convenient, I did eBay. After shipping was added, it was still a slightly better deal, but not the bottom line, convenience is the bottom line.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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AaronK

1397 posts in 2131 days


#3 posted 12-04-2010 03:33 PM

i’m with pawky on this.

topmax – just because you feel that you got shafted doesn’t mean that the seller was intentionally dishonest, although it might feel that way. I recently tried to sell a stanley #5 on there, but when it arrived at the buyers, the casting had cracked. is it my fault? should the buyer have bought insurance? it was fine when it left my hands, and packed at least as well as planes that I’ve received in the mail. needless to say, ebay sided with the buyer, even though my pictures clearly showed a non-cracked plane. i think we can all agree that ebay is not the place that it was 10 years ago.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6201 posts in 1467 days


#4 posted 12-04-2010 04:00 PM

I am an avid ebay seller. I sell thousands of items a year on there, and can offer a different perspective on this. I don’t know what the listing said, so I am NOT referring to you, Topamax! But as a seller, I find that one thing is almost always true on ebay… Buyers can’t read, buyers can’t reason, and buyers will NEVER be wrong! Ebay is an auction site, not Walmart. You can’t go to an auction, bid up an item, and then change your mind. Yet buyers try and to that to sellers all the time. And the seller gets screwed because he’s out his time, effort, and in most cases his fees and shipping charges.

Buyers never read the listing. They take a quick glance at the photo, they see what they WANT to see, and they MAYBE skim the listing text. I always put important details (like “blade not included”) in bold print at the top of the listing. And nine times out of ten I’ll get a customer who says it’s my fault that he looked at the listing title and thought I was selling an Airplane instead of a Wood plane for ten bucks and wants me to pay return shipping and give his money back.

And Ebay will almost always side with him. Then, after I take it in the shorts, the jerk will still give me a negative feedback and hit my star ratings. Then Ebay, who requires sellers to keep ungodly high ratings of nearly five stars on every transaction, will raise my fees.

Bottom line is, READ THE LISTING CAREFULLY, and know what you are buying. If he implied that the plane was complete, you have a case. But if he made it clear that it was an old, perhaps incomplete plane and to use the photo as your guide, then it’s not his fault.

Sorry Topomax, I’m not lumping you in with my rant, I’m only referring to my experience with other buyers.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

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StumpyNubs

6201 posts in 1467 days


#5 posted 12-04-2010 04:05 PM

AaronK- I went round and round with buyers over insurance for years. Then I realized that ebay considers insurance as something to cover the seller, not the buyer. Ebay expects you to get that item to the buyer, no matter what. So the seller should insure it, not the buyer.

I know that seems backward. If I rent a car, does the rental place pay the insurance in case I wreck it? No. But that’s ebay…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View rivendale34's profile

rivendale34

12 posts in 1524 days


#6 posted 12-04-2010 05:20 PM

Standard practice in the mail order industry… which Ebay is a part of.

It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure the item arrives as described to the receiver. If something happens in shipping it is the seller’s responsibility (though not necessarily their fault), not the buyer. The seller contracted with the shipper to deliver the item, not the buyer. Why should the buyer have to pay more to get what was advertised? A seller should purchase the insurance to cover themselves. They can make a claim with the shipper should the item be damaged in transit or gets lost.

It is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure the item is received by the seller should it be returned. This is where the buyer would pay for insurance. This is where the buyer contracts with a shipping company to deliver an item.

Now, the charging for insurance by the seller is legal, however most companies/sellers mask the insurance in the original s/h costs. This alleviates the “why should I pay more to ensure you get the product to me as promised?” argument.

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StumpyNubs

6201 posts in 1467 days


#7 posted 12-04-2010 06:13 PM

rivendale- That applies to the mail order industry, but ebay is a different animal. it is an auction not a store. Once you win an item, it’s yours. The seller may package the item and drop it off, but the buyer is the one paying the shipping cost, so who is making the contract? I see your point, but I also see the other side.

Here’s a prime example. I ship items all over the world, and the only way to track an international package through them mail is if I ship it USPS Express Mail. That starts at $30, and the buyer doesn’t want to pay that much. So they decline the express shipping, decline the insurance, and dispite my warnings about how the European postal services lose or steal packages all the time, they say “It’ll be ok!” Then the package never arrives and they blame me. I have to refund their money, including shipping and never get the item back.

So, as the seller, is it my responsibility to pay the extra $30 out of my pocket, plus insurance and take a loss on the sale of a $5 item if that’s the only way to get it to them safely and they’re too cheap to pay the proper shipping?

You may say, don’t sell to them if they won’t pay for the proper service. But the ebay world is a very complicated place, the details of which I won’t go into here. But the fact is the only way to avoid that type of buyer is to block out all of Europe, Africe, and Asia altogether. That’s not fair to all of the millions of good buyers there, and it’s not fair to me as a seller to lose half my customer base just because of the risk of the above happening.

Ebay is a very profitable marketplace if you know the business. But it’s MUCH more complex than what you said above.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View lashing's profile

lashing

109 posts in 1487 days


#8 posted 12-04-2010 06:36 PM

Ebay is a joke. People are treating it like Walmart. It is just an online garage sale. These are people selling everything from junk to good new merch. Why not go to yout local flea market? You walk away with your purchase and thats the end of it. On Ebay people go crasy, dont pay attention and then get remorse and expect a Walmart return desk.

This kind of thing is why I gave up on Ebay long ago. To many scammers and to many of those scammers are the buyers. I wonder how this situation would have went if you were face to face? Both sellers and buyers pull things they’d never do in person where they have to face up to things.

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rivendale34

12 posts in 1524 days


#9 posted 12-04-2010 06:57 PM

“So, as the seller, is it my responsibility to pay the extra $30 out of my pocket, plus insurance and take a loss on the sale of a $5 item if that’s the only way to get it to them safely and they’re too cheap to pay the proper shipping?”

No, the seller should cover themselves and just add it into the s/h cost, there shouldn’t be an option (I may not have communicated that very well). Yes, the customer is then paying for the insurance, but without the “pay extra” option you don’t get a lot of quesitons about it. This also gives the seller recourse (though not necessarily through Ebay).

But this is all besides the point, I’ve never had Ebay treat me unreasonably as a customer or seller…

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 1901 days


#10 posted 12-04-2010 10:29 PM

As much as some sellers charge for shipping on ebay, I’d have to agree that the seller should be the one to ensure the item arrives as delivered. Just put the shoe on the other foot – how pissed would you be if you received a cracked plane in the mail, which was advertised as having no cracks? What if you bought anything from any online retailer and that happened? I know I’d cry foul, as would almost everyone here.

Overall, I’m pretty surprised ebay sided with you on this topamax, cheers to you :)

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View lashing's profile

lashing

109 posts in 1487 days


#11 posted 12-04-2010 10:42 PM

JImi C … thats the point. Ebay is not an online retailer. Its a flea Market. If you want warranties and customer servie dont shop for used/antique items on the internet.

Just my opinion. I wouldnt buy a used plane off Ebay myself. The time it takes to clean up an old plane then discover the crack (which its going to have – thats why it ended in a junk pile) .. you could just buy a new Veritas. Just my view.

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1397 posts in 2131 days


#12 posted 12-05-2010 02:12 AM

there’s a difference between politely asking for a refund and accusing the seller of foul play. I sure would be upset if i received something broken, but i wouldnt immediately accuse the seller of selling me something bogus, nor would i expect to get a refund on shipping. for all i know, the guy could have emptied the package and dropped the plane on the floor of his garage!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14797 posts in 2342 days


#13 posted 12-05-2010 05:14 AM

AaronK I did not think he was intentionally dishonest until he made some comments. One of my biggest faults has always been trusting everyone until they prove themselves not to be trustworthy. That single fault has cost me a few times, but I’d rather be that way that paranoid about everyone all the time.
I seldom buy impulsively. I usually do a bit of research to see what something is going for, what is the new cost, cost of shipping added on, do I really need more “stuff” around here? Will I use it enough to justify the cost and more ”stuff” taking up space?

The bodies like I received are usually start in the $10 and are listed as parts or no blade. The planes usually start in $25 range and sell up to about $40. I admitted I didn’t notice it didn’t have a blade. It was labeled a plane, priced as a plane and the seller had 100% feedback; it must be a plane, why would I question it?

I really can’t say I have enough experience to say whether it has gone downhill, uphill, sideways or changed in favor of either side. I was certainly surprised when they “Cried Foul!” on teh listing ;-)) I can say it has greatly improved since I bought a Nikkormat compatible lens 6 yrs ago that would not work with my Nikkormat.

Jim Hamilton Obviously you are making money or you would not tolerate the eBay policies and customers. What I see in your post is eBay looking for ways to nickel and dime you, raising your fees to generate revenue without having to deliver anything of value. I notice this phenomena starting after the Dot Com Bust. Software companies were in a position of having lost their customer base by Y2K spending dropping off and a general downturn in the economy. They started using procedures and policies to generate revenue without delivering anything of value. I have noticed that spreading to other business sectors as well. Financial services may have been the real inventor of the practice.

These are the same basic issues all business faces. People want laws to protect them from fly-by–night operators and to keep their houses from burning down by electrical work that borders on arson. When they see the cost of compliance with those laws, they look for a “good” deal or want it done on the side.
I have always said an honest business has a very difficult time surviving. There are so many laws and regulations affecting your business, you are probably not aware of all of them; if you are, you most likely can not comply; if you do, you cannot compete with those who don’t know or don’t care.

It is really too bad all honest people are not restricted to dealing with other honest people; the tricky with the tricky and the crooks with the crooks ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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WoodyWoodWrecker

171 posts in 1918 days


#14 posted 12-05-2010 06:24 PM

We use to sell a lot on ebay but don’t any more. I had a friend that sold a camera that didn’t work figuring someone could use it for parts. He stated numerous times in the title and description that it did not work and that it could be used for parts. The buyer complained to ebay about it not working and got his money back. I don’t think that ebay even looked at the auction page. Pawky is right about them siding with the buyer these days. We just won’t sell on ebay any more

-- You always have tomorrow to stop procrastinating.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14797 posts in 2342 days


#15 posted 12-06-2010 02:15 AM

My impression of eBay has always been “0” customer service despite all the BS about their ethics policies. That is why I thought “case people” were probably nothing more than servers forwarding messages. I suppose it wouldn’t take much to write some code to make it look like a person was involved in this when no one was???? Who knows, business is about generating revenue stream with as little effort as possible and technology makes that very easy for some.

After some contact I came to believe that guy thnought he could call it a plane, price it as a plane and get some fool who did not scrutinize the pictures to buy it as a plane wsince he had a “weasel clause” in the fine print. I never wouild have filed the case if eBay hadn’t had a message encourageing it when I left negative feedback.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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