EBay Buyer Protection, False Advertising
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I purchased a pre-owned Nic + Zoe cardigan on 08/17/2013 for $24.99 on eBay, plus $11 shipping and handling. eBay advertised that this item was covered under their buyer protection program; therefore, I felt safe making the purchase if it failed to meet the description. In addition, the item was described as in "pristine" condition, which implies that it would be in its original state, or free of stains, odorless, and the material not decaying. When I received the item somewhere between Aug 20th and the 22nd, and opened the shipment, I immediately noticed that the cardigan had a strange smell; moreover, it smelled as though the seller had doused it with a menâs cologne to cover up something else, maybe cigarette smoke. I had tried to contact the seller twice before to ask for a feedback rating before the item was received, had not received a rating or an e-mail, therefore, I decided not to attempt to contact the seller again directlyâI just gave her a negative rating, stating poor communication and that the cardigan smells bad. I hoped that if I let it air out for a week or so and soaked it in Woolite for a few hours, the smell would dissipate. Unfortunately, it did not; it smelled just as bad as it did when it arrived.
Upon opening the case with eBay, the seller stated she had never received correspondence from me, did not know there was a problem with the transaction, and further stated that she thought it was suspect that I was opening a case so long after the cardigan arrived, implying I was trying to steal it or something. I opened the case within eBayâs buyer protection; therefore, opening it up a couple weeks after its receipt is irrelevant to the case file due to it being within the allotted time frame for dispute. I informed the seller that I attempted to contact her twice for feedback, but that I had also left negative feedback on the purchase, and I was concerned that she did not even check her feedback as a seller. You would think that would be a responsible thing to do as a small business owner, since positive word of mouth and written feedback would generate more sales. So I went to where I left the feedback on her eBay page (adesignercloset), and come to find out, she posted a reply to it on 08/27/2013, not long after I had posted feedback; therefore, she was completely aware of the problem that I had with the transaction. Her response to my feedback was that she thought my comments were funny, implied that I was giving her a derogatory rating because she did not leave me feedback (which was not the case) and stated in writing that other sellers should "beware" of me. I was appalled to say the least, especially since I gave the cardigan the benefit of the doubt, hoping if I aired it out and washed it, the smell would dissipate.
After opening the case with eBay, I received a denial of my claim, specifically stating the reason for the decline was that the sellerâs description was correct; therefore, my claim did not fall under eBayâs policy. The seller stated it was in pristine condition, and it was not; therefore, the description is inaccurate and does fall under their buyer protection plan. Pristine condition implicitly implies that it is in its original condition, which would mean that the cardigan would be free of smells )e.g. foul, cigarette, cologne, etc). I filed an appeal, advised them I had filed a complaint with the BBB of San Jose, planned to file a complaint with the Attorney Generalâs Office, and would file a dispute with American Express if my appeal was turned down as well.
This isn't the first problem I've had with eBay. Although I've been buying from them for years, I've had two problems in the last year: one with Half.com, their subsidiary; and now with eBay directly. They tried to get out of the Half.com claim as well when the item was not as described. eBay doesn't seem like they typically abide by their protection plan, which is obviously misleading advertising; only when one files complaints with the BBB of San Jose and the Attorney General's office does anything get done (besides filing a dispute with your credit card company). In addition, I just received an e-mail from eBay stating the feedback I provided on the seller's item has been removed, specifically because they ruled in the seller's favor. This doesn't seem to fairly represent a seller's histories, specifically since they are removing valid feedback which would determine whether or not a future customer wants to do business with the seller. Moreover, it is baiting customers to buy from sellers on eBay that have poorer ratings than reflected, and if the buyer has to file their own complaint in the future or retain legal counsel, they have no track record of the feedback that eBay has willfully removed to protect their and their seller's interests. Furthermore, there is no track record for the BBB of San Jose or the Attorney General of California to refer to if they need to detect a pattern of behavior. Removal of ratings is a poor business practice to say the least, and it looks highly deceptive. No wonder eBay's stock has been sinking like an anchor over the past few years.
If you are having the same problems with eBay, please file your own BBB of San Jose and Attorney General of California report. They both have online complaint systems. eBay's corporate address is: 2065 Hamilton Ave, San Joe, CA 95125, and their phone number is 800-322-9266 (you'll need this information when you file complaints).