I'm seeking opinions on an eBay dispute.

They sold something they claimed to be a camera. It is not a camera. Maybe it used to be a camera, but it isn’t any more. Complain loudly to eBay.

I wouldn’t. No matter how much ArchitectChore paid, he still based his decision to purchase on a lie in the product description.

You could also dispute the charge with the credit card you used on Paypal, if any. If you used a existing balance, you might be stuck.

I’m with the buyer on this. My interpretation of the listing means it should at least power up.

Any way you look at it, it is going to be a hassle.

Act quickly or the time allowed for filing with eBay will run out!

It’s useless to file a dispute with eBay. But do file a dispute with Paypal, an eBay subsidiary. However, make sure that you watch the time and around 15 days before your last day to file a dispute with your CC company you do that, too- if Paypal hasn’t already credited you.

Apparently, I need to wait 10 days after the auction ended (will be April 12) to report an ‘item significantly not as described’ on eBay. This isn’t the case with PayPal, so I filed a dispute through them. It required me to send a(nother) message to the seller ::sigh::, so I re-stated my complaints. If the seller doesn’t resolve the issue on their own, then the ‘dispute’ can escalate to a ‘claim’ if I choose.

I would like to add that I did not use a credit card. I transferred the balance to PayPal directly from my bank account. In fact, I’ve never used a credit card.

The opinions among Dopers regarding this situation seem to vary significantly, so I’m not sure what to expect. We will just have to wait and find out.

I appreciate all of you taking your time to post and give input.

I just wanted to update this thread with good news. Also, I changed my SDMB username in the meantime. I apologize for any confusion.

Those of you who posted after I provided the verbatim exchange between me and the seller (see post #9) generally agreed (and I thank all of you for that) that I was entitled to my money back. Paypal agreed and instructed me to mail the camera and accessories back to the seller via a package w/ tracking number and signature confirmation. The seller received the package today, and Paypal sent an email stating: “We have concluded our investigation into your case and have decided in your
favor.” The amount owed to me will be processed within a few days.

The attempt at communication through PayPal went as follows:

From Buyer (me): on 4/7/2007 08:29 PDT

I am sending this message via PayPal’s resolution center to take a step further in trying to resolve our dispute. I realize that we have already exchanged 8 messages through eBay’s message service. Again, the camera arrived not as described. To again quote relevant text in the auction listing: ‘Items are inspected for obvious damage and defects, and electrical/electronic goods are powered on to make sure they are functional.’ The screen is definitely cracked. The transparent cover over the screen is intact, but the damage is visible even though the camera is not powered on. The damage is not evident in your photographs. Also, the camera does not power on. When the switch is moved to the ‘on’ position, the camera makes a clicking sound for a few seconds, the display screen turns white, and then the camera turns itself off eventhough the switch remains in the ‘on’ position. If I move the switch to ‘off’ and then to ‘on’ again the same thing happens. I test the baterry with a voltmeter and it still holds some charge, but I ordered I new one anyway in case it makes a different. None of the local retailers here carry a Maxell DC3470 lithium ion battery pack. To quote the auction listing again: “Returns are happily accepted if item is not as described in the auction listing. [We] must be notified prior to return, and returns must be made within five (5) days of receipt of the item. The item must be in the same condition as when it was shipped from [us] and in the original box. The item must be returned with appropriate insurance coverage, and a tracking number must be provided for proof of return. Original shipping charges are not refundable and the buyer is responsible for return shipping cost. Refunds are processed by the Friday following receipt of the returned item.” So far in our correspondence, you have refused to consider accepting a return on the item despite the obvious discrepancies between the item description and the item itself.

From Seller: on 4/7/2007 09:07 PDT

Hello, We do apologize that you appear to be unhappy with this item, but let me help you clear this issue up. Under the condition tab in the description it clearly states that this item has NOT been tested and could have potential issues, not in original packaging, sold as-is, and any KNOWN omissions are listed above. We are not electronics experts and the item was sold as-is because we cannot guarantee anything. Also under FAQ there is a special section toward sold as-is item. The item is not eligible for returns or exchanges. It clearly states the item was UNTESTED and not powered on. It is the responsibility of the buyer to read everything in the listing and to understand it before bidding. If the buyer needs something cleared up then all questions should be asked prior to bidding. All the information is the listing. Untested and sold as-is with no refunds or exchanges. Thanks! Thanks!

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 06:27 PDT

Also, I spoke with one of my associates who answered questions for me on Friday and she stated that you said that a replacement battery was needed because the item will not power on. We do not accept returns for sold as-is items and that is in the listing. Thanks!

From Buyer: on 4/9/2007 09:24 PDT

The proper choice for you as a seller would be to let me return this item for refund, then re-list without ambiguity. Leave out the portion that states: “Items are inspected for obvious damage and defects, and electrical/electronic goods are powered on to make sure they are functional.” This is very straightforward. You have so far failed to even acknowledge this text and it’s proper implications in your auction.

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 12:56 PDT

We do not accept returns on sold -as is items and that is included in the What is sold as-is section under FAQ. Obvious damage is scratches, marks, scuffs, etc. And it also says any KNOWN. Under conditions it is clearly states that the item was sold “UNTESTED” and Sold AS-IS. As for the return policy, that is for everything BUT sold as-is items. If you would have read the listing then you would know that. Again, it is your responsibility as a buyer to read and understand the listing before bidding. If anything seemed too be unclear then you should have contacted us prior to you bidding. As for Items are inspected for obvious damage and defects, and electrical/electronic goods are powered on to make sure they are functional, are for items that have been tested and this item was untested. So what sense does it make for you to assume the item was inspected when the item was listed as untested? The item was sold as-is with no refunds and we are sticking to it. We will not pay for your mistake.

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 12:57 PDT

Why did you not mention the battery?

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 12:59 PDT

Why did you not mention the battery?

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 13:00 PDT

Why did you not mention the battery?

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 13:00 PDT

Why did you not mention the battery?

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 13:01 PDT

Why did you not mention the battery?

From Seller: on 4/9/2007 13:18 PDT

Hello, Under the description it clearly states Condition: * Opened, not in original packaging * Untested, potential issues * Sold as is! * May be missing parts - any known omissions are listed above The item was not tested and we made no promises that the item may not have issues. The reason why the item was sold as-is is because we are not electronic experts and are not able to identify any current or future problems. The buyer did not read the return policy for sold as-is items because if he did we would not have this problem. It clearly states that items sold as-is are “Not” refundable. There was no obvious known damage to the product because it was untested. If the item was tested then it would state that in the listing instead of untested. It was not powered on and the buyer assumes the risk for any functional problems, and these items CANNOT be returned. Everything is in the listing. If he chose not to read the listing in its entirety then that is his problem and not ours. We do not refund buyers who chose not to read the whole listing and understand it. Hopefully you will make the right decision because all the information is there is black and white. Thanks!

At this point, the seller escalated the ‘dispute’ to a ‘claim’ (they beat me to it) which seemed odd to me. My whole purpose of sending them a message through PayPal was to get this situation to ‘claim’ status so that PayPal representatives could intervene and review the case. I knew I was taking a risk when I bought this camera, but I was rightfully not expecting receive a camera that had obviously been dropped (hence the cracked display screen) or at least subjected to a heavy dynamic force of some type. I’m an engineer by trade and have some experience fixing electronics. Had I known about the obvious external damage to the camera, then I wouldn’t have bid as high as I did.

I’ll keep my commentary clean since this thread isn’t in The Pit. It seems the seller and those employed by him/her are extremely stupid and/or barely literate. I did ‘mention the battery’ in several of my messages including the very first one (see post #9). Did they read much of what I wrote? Does this exchange remind anyone else of Idiocracy?

I did use an existing balance. Should I not do this anymore and use a credit card instead? The existing balance transfer seemed to not have any negative consequence in my case, but what about other scenerios?

Anyway, thanks again Dopers!

I would suggest adding a couple of very concise comments to the dispute dialogue. Just say something like
“The item listing DID state that ‘as-is’ electronic items ARE tested before sale”.

I think the dispute should be resolved in your favour, but there’s a significant risk that the sheer volume of verbiage coming from the seller might confuse a PayPal operative. Keep on reiterating the fact that the listing stated the item was tested before sale.

BTW It looks like most of the negs and neutrals for your seller relate to this kind of problem (bash his seller ID into the negative feedback tool at toolhaus.org).

Congrats on getting this settled in your favor.

If you don’t mind, I’ve got an eBay question that this thread reminded me of. From the listing you quoted:

I’ve bought a few things on eBay, never sold anything. Now, as a buyer, once I’ve won an auction, sent payment to the seller, and had thay payment confirmed, isn’t my side of the transaction over? Now, I don’t have the item yet, so I can’t leave any feedback about whether the seller met his obligations under the auction, but shouldn’t the seller be able to leave feedback for me at this point? Why does it seem to be incumbent on the buyer to leave positive feedback before the seller will?

Some (mostly buyers) say yes, some (mostly sellers) say no. For the most part, I’m a seller, I consider it appropriate to leave feedback when the whole transaction is complete. This hasn’t yet happened at the point where the buyer has paid.

Suppose, for example, the buyer falsely claims the item was damaged, or starts being a complete dick about delivery times that were explicitly stated in the listing, or inherent to the delivery mode chosen by him, or starts making unreasonable demands about compensation for an item damaged in transit, or that doesn’t quite meet his expectations in some way.
There are any number of unsatisfactory things that can happen after the buyer pays, but before the transaction is complete.

I leave feedback when I’m sure the transaction is complete - this is signalled to me by the buyer either leaving feedback, or contacting me to say they’ve received the items and all is well. And I enclose a note in every package I send, offering them these options. I’m happy to leave feedback first, and leave positive feedback in return for a deserved neg, but only when I’m certain it’s all over.

Conversely (and far more common than the above mentioned potential horrors), there might be a very pleasant exchange of emails after the buyer has received the item, or something like that - if I’ve already left feedback, I can’t comment on good communication or pleasant attitude, etc.

After the ‘dispute’ became a ‘claim,’ I was no longer able to add to the dialogue through PayPal. I could email or send a message to the seller through eBay but it’s not worth the effort since they were not willing to read much of what I typed already. I got my money back, and I don’t have to deal with them any more.

The case was already resolved in my favor, and that’s the reason I updated this thread. See post #27.

It’s great you got the money back. The seller sounds like the usually shody goods salesman.

  1. They said all items tested, and yet they make a note of this item not tested in contradiction to their cover claim that they tested everything…

  2. I think they saw the visable crack and decide to not test it, because they new it likely was unusable. They then added a note that It wasn’t tested and sold it anyway, trying to rip off a sucker.

  3. I would watch their auctions to see if they put the thing up for sale again, and report it to Ebay unless they made it plain the camera was totaly unfunctional.

Sorry, I missed that. Congrats on getting it sorted. Have you left feedback yet?

I’m interested to know how the legal position would tend to play out if this had been a high street retail sale or other ordinary commercial transaction. In cases where the vendor’s terms and conditions of sale are self-contradictory, but do not violate the consumer’s statutory rights either way, is there any standard way of resolving them? Or would it have to go to court to be decided?

While Mangetout raises some good points about waiting until the transaction is really finished, I, as a seller, tend to leave feedback as soon as the item is paid for. AFAIC, once the buyer has paid, his or her part of the deal is done. Now the ball’s in my court. So I leave feedback. And while I appreciate good feedback left promptly, I don’t email customers who don’t leave feedback, either (as I’ve had some sellers do to me. Don’t get me wrong, I always leave feedback for sellers, but my husband’s bought a couple of things through my account, and not left feedback).

However, I don’t leave feedback for sellers until the item has been received by me, and inspected. And I don’t ship or leave feedback before payment is received. Slow payers make me nuts!

In the USA retailers can put up signs that say absolutely no returns, but if the product doesn’t function you can take it back for a refund or exchange. You may have to take it to court if the owner is a prick, but they’ll lose. They claimed it was also visualy checked for defects, so I think the cracked LCD is another failure to sell merchandise as discribed and is misleading. The photo in the auction didn’t have a crack. I believe this would have resolved the same way in the courts.

I used to leave feedback as soon as payment was received, but that was before the ‘mark as dispatched’ feature was available, so leaving feedback was a handy way to keep track of who had paid and who hadn’t. Of course it’s entirely your own choice, norinew, but I just don’t think it’s true to say that a buyer’s part of the deal is done once they’ve paid - the buyer’s contractual obligation may be more or less complete, but dealing on eBay includes a bit more subtlety than that.

If you leave feedback on payment, all you can ever really comment on is what happened up to that point (which in most cases amounts to “the buyer paid quite quickly”). If you wait until the end, you can comment on the whole transaction - which might still only be “the buyer paid quite quickly”, or it might be a significantly different in either direction.

Have you never experienced transactions where the completion of the transaction would have meant leaving different feedback than at the time of payment?

And yes, they’re the absolute pits! I seem to get NPBs in little clusters - what makes it really annoying is that you know they’re not going to pay, but you daren’t relist the item until you’ve gone through the whole non-payment process.