james debate
james debate

Monday 31 March 2008

While this is the first time I have seen fit to write an article like this, I know that it is one many can relate to. Generally, most people who deal with the auction website eBay will at some point or another have a bad experience, encountering a scammer or dodgy user or dealing with inept and ineffective customer support. This month I have had the pleasure of witnessing all of these things at once. So now, for your amusement, and as a warning of sorts, I will detail this bizarre and really rather depressing tale.

It all started in mid February, when myself and a friend who shall remain nameless decided we wanted to go see REM, the band, playing at the Royal Albert Hall, an awesome sounding prospect. This friend already knew my password for eBay and went ahead and bought the tickets without waiting for my confirmation that the date was a good one. I exchanged a quick email or two with the seller to see if he would mind cancelling the transaction. However, he refused and said that as the cash had already gone through there was 'nothing he could do' and suggested that I sell them on. I decided this would be acceptable and waited patiently for the tickets to arrive.

Flashforward a month and a half and the tickets have not arrived. It turns out the seller went and sold them to someone else, keeping my money in the process. When he did not respond to my emails I left him some rather negative feedback stating, quite simply, that I never received the tickets, I also opened a dispute with paypal to try and get my money back.
At this point I went skiing in Switzerland for a week, during which time I didn't go on eBay, as I saw no reason to. How wrong I was. During this interim the seller retaliated by posting a very negative, completely untrue feedback saying that he refunded me my money and that I was a 'waste of eBay time and space'. On top of this, he filed a 'payment not received' claim with eBay, who proceeded to strike my account and remove the feedback I had left him, without a shred of evidence, or clearly, without even checking their own records to see that I had in fact paid. Pure idiocy, part 1.

Upon realising this, I quickly appealed my strike, asked ebay to remove his feedback and reinstate mine, sending paypal records and emails he had sent me to show that I had paid, he hadn't refunded me, and he hadn't sent me the item I paid for. EBay refused to remove his comment, somehow deeming that whereas my fair, warranted and truthful comment was in violation for feedback poilcy (due to the completely bogus unpaid item strike, i fail to see the connection), his completely false, untrue (as he admitted in an email i forwarded them) feedback was not. Pure idiocy, part 2.

After waiting several days to hear back on any of the other things I asked them about, they eventually responded by saying that in order to remove the strike for which they had absolutely no proof, I did actually need hard proof, and paypal records wouldn't cut it. I had to wait until I got home, print out the paypal records and wait several more days until they reached the eBay offices (I have yet to hear back from them on this to this day). Pure idiocy, part 3.

Normally 3 strikes is enough, but on that same day they also replied with regards to the item not being received and my refund. The basic gist of their email was that they would not take any action against the seller and they would not pressure him to refund my money. Their general attitude was 'let paypal handle it'. Need I even say it?

Fortunately Paypal aren't useless and very quickly I had my full refund from the seller. However eBay did do one thing right at least, they sent me a customer service satisfaction survey, where I gave them the biggest torching I have ever given to anything. A happy ending :)

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