…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
I bought a webcam for someone off ebay a month ago, it was supposed to be brand new but it arrived in what appeared to be an ex-display box with torn security tags – pretty tatty really. The webcam looked unused and since I had the same webcam myself and the box was still pristine I simply passed the webcam on in that box instead, while I dealt with the ebay seller.
It might sound pretty petty, to kick up too much of a fuss over the state of packaging, but packaging affects a product’s value (it can be a substantial part of the cost in some cases) – if I had bought the item unboxed then I would have expected to have paid less. In fact, when opening the dispute I looked at such items on ebay as fuel for my case.
The seller dragged his heels – he asked me to send the item back, but that was going to cost similar to what I was asking for by way of a partial refund. I pointed this out and he reluctantly agreed: “The refund will be in your Paypal account soon.”
Soon didn’t happen, so I sent a polite reminder. I had had to do this when one of my earlier messages went un-replied.
Two weeks passed, so I escalated the claim. I stated the fact that the seller had agreed to a partial refund and that this hadn’t materialised.
I think there was a notice saying that the case would be dealt with within 24 hours. The ebay/paypal team must have been having a quiet morning… my claim was processed within about 30 minutes. But I didn’t receive a partial refund, no, instead I received a full refund. I LOL’d.
I can only imagine the seller was trying to fob me off – maybe I’d drop the case, he thought. I’m too patient for that. He lost more than he should have really, but perhaps he has dealt with other buyers in a similar fashion and the ebay/paypal team could see this. Who knows.
I think the key thing when dealing with these situations is to be calm and clear – clear in your own mind about your rights, and clear in your messages about how you would like things to be handled (being able to white in proper English as you are taught to do in school will surely help here). This doesn’t mean pushy or demanding – no one likes to be backed into a corner or told what to do (we’re all adults here). I have heard about arguments erupting between buyers and sellers on ebay – sometimes with pretty foul language being thrown about. I have read some pretty silly feedback which really show both sides in a poor light, it also looks very unprofessional, and is very surprising to see among some of the big e-tailers – when they resort to this kind of behaviour it just highlights to me how tight their margins are on their sales (really you’d expect them to just take some not-so-good customer dealings quietly on the chin).
One thing that I have noticed, that often seems to be missing from transactions that haven’t worked out well, on ebay or dealing with retailers direct through their website (compared to face-to-face), is a lack of apology. And perhaps this case was no different – Paypal’s e-mail informing me of my refund was clear and courteous, I agree, it stated the facts as I had done, but there was no “We’re sorry you felt the need to open a claim and in you having to escalate that claim… we’re continually trying to make ebay and Paypal better so this happens less…” blah blah blah. Perhaps I’m asking too much. Sometimes I think that in this big corporate world we live in, there is a fear of a further claim if anyone admits guilt – which is what can be read between the lines of an apology. In our less human world, what are we really guilty of? Of being human?