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GeorgeR

eBay returns policy loophole?

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I recently got burned by a high volume seller on eBay to the tune of 255 quid who's using a loop hole with eBay returns policy.

 

I ordered a Set Top Box from a UK company on eBay and paid via a CC on Paypal. The STB appeared reconditioned, was sold as new, and had a couple of major faults. Spoke to the company asking for a full refund. The company asked me to return the STB using their pre-paid postage. Which I did (I know I should have sent the STB using my own tracking. Live and learn :). A couple of weeks later and no communication from the company I opened an eBay dispute. eBay forced the company to respond. The company said that they would issue a full refund once I return the STB and that I should dispatch it using my own postage tracking. 30 days later and eBay sided with the company stating that I didn't have permission to return the STB and had no proof that the company had received it. Once eBay rejects a dispute, eBay and Paypal will no longer listen to appeals.

 

I spoke to the Royal Mail who claimed to have no way of tracking individual items using pre-paid first class business mail, only the total amount. Given that I have no proof that the STB was dispatched there's no way I can raise this with my CC company or start a small claims court case.

 

My question is this. Having gone through this sellers neutral and negative feedback on eBay it's clear the above scenario has happened to a good few other buyers. No doubt getting my money back is not an option? But I would like to highlight this companies actions to Trading Standards or another body? There's evidence in their feedback month on month that the following is taking place, is any of this grounds for prosecution under distance selling regulations or other UK consumer law?

 

* selling reconditioned goods as new.

* asking sellers to return items using their pre-paid postage then claiming the goods did not arrive.

* refusing to refund consumers that paid for return postage themselves.

* providing a phone number and email address that is ignored.

 

I posted on eBay's forum highlighting the loophole. They deleted it on the grounds that it encouraged others to break their TOS. eBay's disputes team: 'Seller is not breaking TOS.' eBay's community team: 'The loophole clearly breaks TOS'. As a last throw of the dice I sent a long email to eBay asking them to apologise for the way we were treated and asking them to look into the loophole. They claim to respond within 48 hours. That was 2 weeks ago.

 

As I say this is effecting 20-30 people a month on eBay and they're the ones that are able to leave feedback, eBay's feedback period expires after 45 days. The seller draws out the dispute process so there may well be many more that are effected. I wasn't able to leave feedback.

 

 

Thanks for your help

Edited by GeorgeR

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I take it no one on the forum has responded cause you're all too busy setting up new eBay accounts to take advantage of this loophole?!

 

;)

 

Does anyone have any advice or is a public forum not an appropriate place for this discussion, ie. it should be handled by the police or trading standards?

 

Thanks

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