Buying Safely on eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 14, 2006

I had a very uncharacteristic experience on eBay recently, as I wrote recently here. For the first time in literally hundreds of transactions on eBay, I was stiffed. One of eBay’s biggest sellers, Glacier Bay DVD, ran into still-mysterious problems and apparently didn’t send merchandise that hundreds or even thousands of customers paid for.

That said, I’m pretty satisfied now, because I just got a check from buySAFE, the company that offers bonding to online merchants—including Glacier Bay. Essentially, it’s a reimbursement for what I paid. Although eBay’s feedback system has worked amazingly well, at least for me, clearly it didn’t work in this particular case, and I’m sure others like it. I had never paid much attention to that buySAFE seal, but you can bet I will on future auctions.

The one quibble I would have is the rather short time given to log a request for reimbursement. As one commenter in my previous post noted, it took awhile for eBay to realize what was up with Glacier Bay, so it’s quite possible a lot of people didn’t file within the 30-day period following the close of a transaction. I barely made it myself, because I took eBay’s advice to be patient about logging complaints, and because shipments by Media Mail often can take up to two weeks to arrive. A ripoff is still a ripoff after 30 days, so a lengthier filing period seems reasonable.

Reader Comments

Joe Philipson

February 14, 2006 6:31 PM

Yes! I too purchased a cell phone off eBay and the Seller kept saying that it would ship the next day, then it was shipped, however the tracking number didn't work. All in all after all the correspondence and then I started seeing Negative on the sellers feedback. People warning that it was a scam and they never received their product. By that time the seller stopped replying to my e-mails and my 30 day period was up. Ebay also asked me to be patient but my patience cost me $150. I filed with eBay and the FBI but never heard from either again. Never wait more than 30 days for a product!

Mary Branscombe

February 16, 2006 2:34 PM

It's easy to get caught as a seller when the buyer claims problems at home and you want to be understanding and then you realise they've strung you along just enough to slip past the 30 day period and eBay won't even refund the listing and sale fee they've taken when you've never received a penny. It's a business that works well when it works and lets buyers and sellers down when there's a problem.

William Hendricks

February 18, 2006 11:58 AM

ALL ways if possible pay by paypal with a credit card.. even if everything checks out but you dont recieve your widget, file with paypal before the 30 days are up, you can allways drop it.

Otherwise pay with a US Postal Money order, they are traceable, mail it either Priority or buy Delivery Confirmation.

charlie

July 26, 2006 11:48 PM

I haven't been hurt by ebay in fact right now they are trying to help me w/a problem. I was the winning bid for 3 things in China and couldn't get the price for shipping until I'd paid w/PayPal once paid was told shipping was over $265-the items total of $20. I nearly got sick. But having made a deal, I paid for the deal. Needless to say I'm off the bidding war's for a long time.

DEB RITCHIE

September 15, 2006 10:08 AM

IN JULY, I BOUGHT ALOT OF VINTAGE PURSES OFF OF EBAY FROM WOMAN WHO STATED THAT THEY HAD HARDLY BEEN USED. SHE STATED THAT HER MOTHER PICKED THEM UP ON BUSINESS TRIPS TO PARIS. SHE STATED THAT HER MOTHER CARRIED THEM TO OPERAS, ETC.

I WON THE AUCTION AND PAID FOR THEM THROUGH THE PAYPAL SYSTEM. AFTER THE PAYMENT WAS RECIEVED THE WOMAN NOTIFIED ME BY EMAIL THAT SHE HAD SEEN A STAIN ON THE PINK CLUTCH PURSE AND RAN IT THROUGH THE WASSHING MACHINE ON GENTLE CYCLE AND RUINED IT. SHE REFUNDED ME $5.00.

WHEN I RECIEVED THE PURSES, THEY WHERE ALL JUNK EXCEPT FOR ONE. THE COST TO REPAIR AND CLEAN UP WOULD BE MORE THAN I PAID FOR THE PURSES.
I TRIED TO OPEN UP A CLAIM BUT THE SYSTEM WOULD NOT LET ME DO SO.

FINALLY, I CONTACTED A CUSTOMER SERVICE REP AT PAYPAL AND TOLD THEM WHAT HAD HAPPENED. SHE HAD TO MANUALLY FILE THE CLAIM BECAUSE WHEN THE WOMAN REFUNDED ME THE $5.OO, THE SYSTEM WOULD NOT LET ME OPEN A CLAIM BECAUSE IT SHOWED A REFUND ALREADY GIVEN.

WITH THE CLAIM OPENED THEY CONTACTED THE SELLER, I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT SHE STATED, THEN THEY ASKED ME TO GET SOMEONE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE PURSES AND GIVE THEM A REPORT.

I HAD A PRIVATE COLLECTOR COME TO MY HOME ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND. SHE USED MY COMPUTER TO TYPE UP THE REPORT, SENT IT TO HER EMAIL ADDRESS AND THE WHEN SHE GOT HOME, SHE PRINTED IT AND THAN FAXED IT TO PAYPAL.

WHEN PAYPAL GOT THE FAX, IT HAD THE YAHOO LOGO AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE, WITH HER LETTERHEAD BELOW. THEY THROW OUT THE CALIM BECAUSE OF THE YAHOO AT THE TOP OF THE PAPER.

I THOUGHT THAT AS A JOKE, SO I AM OUT $80.00 SOMETHING DOLLARS BECAUSE OF THAT!!!!!!!!!! I WAS IN SHOCK. I PERSON SELLS YOU JUNK ON EBAY, PAYPAY IS SUPPOSED TO HELP YOU AND THEY USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO THROW OUT THE CLAIM.

I USED BUY ON EBAY TO RESELL ON EBAY. I HAVE 3 GRANDCHILDREN AT HOME AND CAN NOT AFFORD A BABYSITTER FOR 3 CHILDREN TO WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME, SO EBAY ALLOWS ME TO BE A STAY AT HOME GRANDMA. I NO LONGER SHOP ON EBAY TO RESELL ON EBAY BECAUSE OF THIS EXPERIENCE, I PACK UP THE KIDS AND WE GO TO THE STORES AND SHOP NOW.

I GUESS IT TAKES A LOSS TO LEARN THE SYSTEM DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK!!!
DEB


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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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