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I am hundreds out of pocket after an eBay dispute. What can I do?


I sold three brand new, boxed SNES mini consoles on eBay to a buyer who then wanted me to send him £30 because the boxes they arrived in were ‘damaged’.

When I asked for evidence of damage, the buyer declined and he asked for £10 instead. The buyer got eBay involved, who forced a full refund from my Paypal account.

The buyer has never returned the items but, bizarrely, did use my return postage label to send me a dead weight.

I reported the buyer, but he is still active on eBay and also won a money claims judgment against the buyer in county court. I would like eBay to compensate me. Can you help? T.H., via email

Going once, going twice: An eBay dispute has ended with a user hundreds out of pocket

Going once, going twice: An eBay dispute has ended with a user hundreds out of pocket

Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: This whole situation has certainly been a frustrating and costly experience for you as it has been raging on for a year now.

No doubt at this point you simply wish to lay down the gavel and bid the dispute be done with but unfortunately the argument continues.

You initially sold three new Nintendo SNES mini consoles to a buyer on eBay for £328.54 with eBay taking a seller fee of £42.32 in January 2020. The buyer paid and you received the funds immediately. 

After sending the devices, you thought nothing of it, until the buyer told you the packaging had come damaged. Despite this, the consoles were fine, he said, so you were unsure of the issue.

You asked for proof but the buyer could not provide any, refusing to send a photo of the supposedly damaged boxes. He initially wanted £30 and then reduced this to £10.

You refused, sensing some sort of scam, and after many back and forth messages on eBay between the two of you, the buyer took his issue to eBay.

Ebay raised a return process so the buyer would have to give back the consoles. You  were worried the buyer would damage the goods on purpose or not return them at all, so rejected this.

However, eBay had already refunded the buyer in full from your PayPal account, therefore, you assumed this meant the buyer would be instructed to return the items. He was not and did not.

You asked eBay, who told you to send him a prepaid returns label and instructed him to return the items.

To date he has not, and has since messaged through eBay many times to refuse payment.

You reported the seller to eBay and appealed the decision but say nothing has happened.

To frustrate you further, when you began the claim against the buyer, he used your prepaid postage label to send you a dead weight.

No explanation was given for this bizarre turn of events and it may well have been done in an attempt to stop you continuing with your complaint.  

Therefore, you decided to take the matter to County Court and won an order for the amount of £418.54 – £328.54 for the amount you sold the items for, and which was subsequently taken from you again, and £90 for court fees.

However, unfortunately, there are few enforcement options available. 

The most effective is to pay for court officers to go to the defendants address and retrieve the money or goods to the value of what you are owed – but the claim needs to be £500 or more so this option isn’t available.

Essentially, whilst this has left you with a moral victory, you are still no closing to getting your money returned.  

The consoles you sent arrived in good condition but the buyer says the boxes were damaged

The consoles you sent arrived in good condition but the buyer says the boxes were damaged

You also conducted some digging on the buyer and found you are not the first person the buyer has done this to on eBay.

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Additionally, you found the buyer’s Amazon seller page, where he appears to be reselling the items he has fraudulently obtained via eBay.

You have left this in the hands of eBay but so far, there has been no more progress.

I contacted them to understand what is happening with your transaction – and why the buyer would still be allowed to be active on eBay.

GRACE ON THE CASE 

Welcome to our new weekly column, where This is Money consumer expert Grace Gausden tackles reader problems and shines the light on companies doing both good and bad.

Want her to investigate a problem, or do you want to praise a firm for going that extra mile? Get in touch:

grace.gausden@thisismoney.co.uk

An eBay spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry Mr H has had this experience with a buyer. We are not able to enforce a court judgment, but as a courtesy gesture we have refunded the selling fees Mr H incurred. 

‘We are investigating the buyer’s account, and will fully cooperate with any police investigation.’

It said it no longer has control of the funds and so cannot assist there but it would refund the selling fees of £42.32.

However, you declined this offer as you believe it is ‘meagre’ and you wish to continue your complaint separately.

eBay did also recommend you go through the official Government process for enforcing a judgment and asking the court to collect payment.

It added it will always investigate any suspicious behaviour and take action on a user’s account as necessary. 

While you are still battling on to reclaim your funds, you have assured me you shall never be using the online bidding platform again.

One customer is still struggling to get a refund from Vueling airlines after a cancelled trip

One customer is still struggling to get a refund from Vueling airlines after a cancelled trip

Hit and miss: This week’s naughty and nice list

Each week, I look at some of the companies that have fallen short of expected standards as well as those that have gone that extra mile for customers.

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Miss: Many people have been struggling with getting refunds from their travel firms, including Helen, who had a flight booked to Barcelona through Vueling airlines.

She was due to depart on 21 October, returning on 26 October, for £98, with her choir group.

Another member of the choir booked the flights but they were cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Whilst many of the other members have received a refund, she still hasn’t, with someone from Vueling telling her falsely at one point that she had accepted a credit refund.

I contacted Vueling to ask why other members of the group had received a refund and Helen hadn’t.

It said there had been an error made which has now been rectified and Helen should be able to receive the cash refund within the next few days.

It’s just a shame that Vueling wasn’t singing from the same hymn sheet in the first place.   

Hit: In positive news, a reader, Steve, said he would like to give feedback on AfterShokz‘s customer service.

He said: ‘I have had various sport headphones over the years but with safety a concern while running in a busy city, I settled on AfterShokz headphones.

‘When they suddenly stopped working 11 months later I thought I would try to contact the company and see what they could do.

‘A few emails later and I received a brand new pair through the post. I could not be happier with their communications and ownership for their product and will certainly be recommending them and buying their brand again.’ 

Sounds brilliant.  

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