Ebay Needs “Seller’s Protection”

I think I am done with Ebay for good now. Two horrible experiences over the last week have me walking away with a nasty taste for Ebay now, not to mention the fact that the fees are much higher than they used to be when I would sell and item here and there.

Horrible Ebay Experience #1

Back in January, I was headed out to cover CES. To ensure that I had a good data connection, I went out and purchased an AT&T Hotspot, the Elevate 4G. I only planned to use it for CES and then sell it or keep it for future shows. I purchased it for full retail to avoid a contract so I paid $249 + $96, which included $50 for 5GB of data, taxes, and fees. I could easily pull the cheap trick of buying it and then returning it within 30 days, but I think that practice is quite rude. I would rather take the loss and do it the honorable way. I used the hotspot for a week at CES and got back to town and canceled the service and account a couple weeks later, still within 30 days mind you. Still, I wasn’t planning stick AT&T with it. Instead, I put it up on Ebay for $150 or best offer. I got a $100 offer and countered with $115. The buyer agreed and paid promptly. Aside from losing about $250 on the deal because I am too nice, everything was going good at this point.

The photo above is the image I used in the auction. After snapping that photo, I packaged the box and set it aside until it sold. I put the auction online and the deal I mentioned above was made later that same day. Like I said, the buyer paid promptly and I headed to the Post Office the next day. I packaged it with bubble wrap inside a box slightly larger than the factory packaging.  The device was actually still active and service was still on in the Ebay photo above. I called to cancel the morning I mailed it out. I sent it out at a cost that was more than what I charged for shipping and I included tracking.

A couple of days after the buyer received the Elevate 4G, I got the following message through Ebay:

AT&T says that I need the old number associated with device to switch over. Can you please provide otherwise I’ll have to send back. Thanks.

That didn’t sound quite right so replied and asked him to call me. He called and explained to me that AT&T said he needed to old number to activate service. I explained that he didn’t need it. I let him know that this device was purchased at full retail to avoid contracts.

He went on to explain that he bought it to replace a hotspot that he had been using that died on him. He wanted this one to avoid a contract himself. He explained that he had tried popping his current simm card in the Elevate 4G and it didn’t work. I asked him if it was a 4G or 3G hotspot he had before. It was a 3G and he need to go to a store to get a new simm card that supports 4G. He also told me he tried calling AT&T to get them to move his service to the simm card I left in it. Well, that simm is deactivated for good when you cancel service so that wasn’t going to work. He went on to say that he ended up going to the store to get a simm card and that’s when he told them that he needed the number. I sensed some evil right there. I told him to hang tight and that I would call him back after I checked with a friend. I hung up and called my local AT&T store and explained the scenario with the assistant manager. He agreed with me that something didn’t seem right and that what I told him he needed to do was correct.

I called the guy back and the story changed some. He said that the AT&T store told him that he needed to go to the warranty repair center and there just happened to be one in his town. He said he’d go there and call me back. To this point, I didn’t know it was broken. I wondered why the warranty repair center, but it didn’t register yet. We hung up and he headed to this center apparently.

He called me a couple hours later and told me that the Elevate 4G wouldn’t read a simm card and that this warranty repair center said there was water inside the device, voiding the warranty. He went on to tell me that they told him that, since it changed ownership, it wouldn’t be under warranty anyway. I am calling BS at this point. In the two days that it took the USPS to get this to the buyer, there was no rain on the radar. There wasn’t in Tuscaloosa for sure and all our weather goes northeast towards this guys location. Typically, our weather makes it to his area 16-18 hours later. Yes, this guy was just a couple states over and up. My point is, unless this buyer dropped it into a toilet, no way it should have any water in it.

Let’s pretend there was a major rain storm and the package did take on a little water, or even a lot, the device sits in the tray above. You see that little hole? Yes. Water wouldn’t stand in that tray, it would fall into the bottom. Spoiler Alert: When I received the device back today, the was no sign of water in or on the box or contents.

After he told me what this warranty repair center told him, I asked him if I could call him back. I called the local store again and let the assistant manager know the scenario. He said that he felt like the buyer might have gone into the store to activate service and decided to take on a contract and buy it for 1/2 of what he paid for mine. I don’t know that, nor did the manager, but something happened at that store. I asked AT&T if there was anything I could do and he told me that since I was no longer a customer that there was nothing he could do. He looked up my purchase date for a possible return that I wasn’t a fan of doing and I was now 3 days out of the window of opportunity. Now I am stuck. I asked if he’d be willing to let me bring it in to check out to make sure it was broken. Perhaps the buyer was lying and nothing was wrong at all. He agreed.

Reluctantly, I called the buyer back and told him I’d refund his money. I was fairly sure that something in all this was definitely not on the up and up.

A week later, the device arrived and I refunded his money.

I open the package to see what I can see. The 1st thing I noticed was that the cable was missing. I opened the back cover to check out this water damage, removed the battery and what did I see?

What in the hell? How did this go from mythical water inside the unit to the simm card holder ripped off the circuit card?  He didn’t mention this. I don’t think water or vibration or even a drop from 2 a two story building is going to rip the simm card holder off of the circuit board. Did he want to make sure it was broken?

So now, I am out $350 and I don’t have ANYTHING to show for it.

Horrible Ebay Experience #2

The 1st story was too long and too many words that my head hurts so I am going to make this one quick and simple.

  1. Dude buys $200 sports card for $140 via best offer
  2. I send invoice
  3. 1 day later, I send another invoice
  4. 1 more day later, I send another invoice
  5. Yet another day later, I send a message to buyer asking what the payment arrangements he planned. I had been used to getting payments within a day or two of the auction closing. Instant payment is most common.
  6. No answer to any of this correspondence.
  7. An option became available to me to report auction as non-payment to get my sales fees back. That fee was ten dollars and some change.
  8. After that, I decided to sell this card and 73 other cards in one big sale (LOT), which included 2-3 other cards that sold and payment was never received on. I listed that lot here too.
  9. That lot lasted a day and a half before I got a good offer that I liked, I accepted the offer.
  10. The buyer of the lot paid immediately yesterday.
  11. I shipped out this morning
  12. While on Ebay adding shipping number to the listing for the buyer to track, I got a notice from Ebay in my email. The buyer of the card finally paid after 7 days and no contact.
  13. I refunded the payment and sent another message to the original buyer explaining that he dropped the ball and missed out.
I will probably take some sort of penalty from Ebay and receive negative feedback, but I am not too concerned at this point. The fees, the hassle with asshat buyers, and the money I am out after having to refund the money for the hotspot have me thinking that Ebay isn’t for me.

Oh well!

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