EBay Complaint - EBay buyer protection does not exist
I have read many of the complaints against eBay, eBay customer service, and the eBay resolution center and I have to agree that it is seriously broken.
I have to preface my narrative with the information that I am a long time eBay user and online buyer. I have purchased 4 boats, marine electronics, boat seats, all kinds of things on eBay. I have had few issues and find most sellers are honest straightforward and try to accurately describe their products.
I purchased a marine radar from a consignment shop in Texas paying for shipping to Michigan. The radar was not described as having any damage, and the photos of the radar did not disclose any damage.
Upon receipt I discovered that the radar dome had numerous cracks around the mounting bolt nut plates, cracks in the top of the radom indicating that it had been dropped or stuck with something, and scrapes all over the top like it had been stored on a concrete floor upside down in a garage and pushed around on its top. The radar screen was inoperative. As a matter of fact both fuses in it, the primary one and the backup replacement fuse were blown indicating an internal short.
The consignment shop did have a disclaimer in their listing that stated they did not have the ability to determine the functionality of any of their items, and they would provide a refund if the item was returned. To their credit they did promptly refund my payment, minus shipping. Between shipping to Michigan and shipping back it cost me over $130 dollars.
When I received the item I took pictures of the cracks to the radome showing the damage. I contacted the seller opening a dialog requesting that my shipping be returned as his listing did not indicate any physical damage to the unit. I can sympathize that he may not have had the ability to evaluate the electronics, but the information and/or pictures about the cracks and damage would have have been a red flag to any buyer that the unit likely had been abused and did not function. His response was that I took the risk, he would not return my shipping expense or pay for the return shipping.
Upon contacting eBay resolution center it took a month to be reviewed, and then it was little more than a rubber stamp. DENIED. Although I contacted them three times asking how I could send photographs of the damage prior to resolution I did not get a response until after they had made their decision. Their response was "I'm sorry, we do not accept any photographs in resolving a claim other than the ones in the sellers listing as you may have digitally altered them"
I am grateful that I am only out $130 dollars considering the size and type of purchases I have made on eBay in the past. It could have been much worse. This particular seller either intentionally hid the damage the way his listing photos were taken, but more likely was just lazy and did not make any effort to accurately describe the item. Either way, it opened my eyes to the risks of using eBay, and the false sense of protection that the eBay customer protection polity provides.
I have by the way bought 2 other marine radars from Second Wave consignments in Washington State along with other items and been very pleased with the purchases. In other words it takes only one bad apple to sour your outlook.
I have since found that I often can use Craig's list and a search engine like Site Mash to find what I am looking for closer to home where I can either pick up the item or enter into a long term buying / selling relationship with a vendor. My use of eBay will be much more selective in the future.
eBay resolution for me this time.... two thumbs down. eBay in general one thumb up... with caution and reservations.