EBay dispute: am I in the wrong here?

Background: three-plus three years ago, I bought a Wacom graphics tablet. I was a poor art student, so I bought a refurbished one from Wacom. It was a serial tablet and I was on an iMac, so I bought a serial-USB port converter. No problem, worked fine. Last year I bought a new computer. Problem: Wacom doesn’t support serial tablets on OSX. After much swearing, I bought a USB tablet off EBay. No problems yet. Just before I moved a few weeks ago, I finally got around to selling my old tablet. Despite making art on a computer, I’m not very computer literate, and this was my first sell on EBay. The ad I placed is here. Some nice person bought it, I shipped it, I’m done with it.

This evening I finally got around to checking the e-mail address that I use for EBay, Paypal, and other online business transactions (it’s my spam dump; I keep a seperate e-mail address for personal use). I was dismayed to find that the buyer feels she’s been scammed and has filed a complaint with Paypal. Paypal has suspended the payment I received until the dispute is resolved. Here is the buyer’s e-mail to me, in full:

I responded with an appology that I didn’t get back to her sooner, and that she’s having problems. I explained that I had only used the tablet as a USB tablet with the adapter, and don’t remember ever having a power cord for it*; that I bought it refurbished from Wacom and used it for three years without problems, so I thought that “used” was a more accurate description when I was writing the ad; and that I no longer have the software CD that came with the tablet, but I understand that driver software can be downloaded for free from Wacom’s website, and included the URL to the driver download page in my ad.

*In addition, the ad states everything that comes with the tablet: pen, mouse, serial-USB port converter, and everything is shown in the picture in the ad. She certainly could have asked about a power cord before she bought it, and I would have told her that none was included.

What are other people’s takes on this? Did I misrepresent the tablet in my ad? Should I offer her a partial refund, or a full refund if she sends it back? She bought this tablet for $150, plus the $20 it cost for professional packaging and shipping. A new tablet of this size (newer model, mostly the same features) costs $450.

Sounds like an overly picky buyer, if you ask me.

Once you buy an item used, in my mind it makes absolutely no difference whether it was refurbished or not. If you advertised it as new, then you’d be at fault.

The power cord issue may be your bad, actually. If you had known it was missing, then it definitely should have been in the listing that it wasn’t going to come with a power cord. The buyer should have asked rather than just assumed it came with, but perhaps you should offer some money back to get a power adapter from Radio Shack, just to avoid negative feedback.

Overall, I’d say you did fine with your auction and I’m guessing this buyer is just hard to please and looking to get some money back.

I’ve been selling assorted stuff on eBay for almost six years and I have a rating of about 1500.

First of all, let me tell you that your auction description is pretty good. You covered most of the important details; I think the buyer is being a little too picky and it’s possible that she didn’t do enough of her own research before placing the bid. I might have emailed you first, asking about a powers upply, or inquiring how it was cosmetically or how long you’d been using it.

But, for future reference, you should go into more detail in your description Be informal, chatty even, but cover all the bases. Optionally, you could even state that you’re selling it as is and won’t accept returns (though that often means you won’t get as high a price for it.)

Here’s how I would have written the auction:

How long had the tablet been for auction before it sold? Did you have a lot of hits, so you’re pretty sure it will sell again? Maybe you can offer to have your buyer send it back and you can relist it with more specifics in the auction description?

Thanks for your feedback. This was my first EBay sell, and I know I could have done a better job with the description. The tablet sold within about 12 hours of my listing it; I know I could sell it again, but I’d rather not go through the hassle.

Yeah, I realize now that I should’ve included that. I just never used it with a power cord, so it didn’t occur to me at the time. I think I will offer her some money back.