eBay buyer beware

On ebay, you should treat every purchase as a gamble – there is a small chance that you will not receive the items as promised, or possibly not at all. And the protection services from ebay have real limitations.

Case in point: a few months ago, I purchased a discontinued remote control. The price was reasonable, and the seller offered UPS ground shipping for $10. When the remote control arrived via Priority Mail, I complained and asked for a $6 refund in shipping cost. After all, Priority Mail is a lower level of service than UPS Ground, which provides detailed tracking and requires a signature. The seller refused my refund request, so I contacted PayPal and filed a fraud claim. PayPal refused to honor the fraud claim since it involved shipping service, not the actual product.

The feedback mechanism is supposed to help, but it has its limitations. People are afraid to leave negative feedback because people often leave retaliatory feedback. (Both of the negative feedbacks on my ebay account are retaliatory). In this case, I was free to leave negative feedback because the seller already left positive feedback for me, but that is not always possible. And at least it was only a $6 writeoff.

This is pretty commonplace: here’s a good rant describing similar situations.

Another reason why I use ebay mostly for selling, not buying.

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