We are often asked why it is that we don’t simply sell on eBay, rather than bothering to maintain our own website, The article here reproduced, published recently in The Guardian newspaper, illustrates our stance with perfect clarity, pointing up as it does the sort of difficulty all too often encountered when a small business crosses swords with a large corporate entity such as eBay. In this case, only after the frustrated Seller sought the assistance of the Guardian’s Consumer Affairs Department was the matter brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
From The Guardian ~ 23 March 2020 ~ With due acknowledgement ~
eBay protects its buyers – but what about sellers?
The auction site ignored photographs and evidence and a seller lost a £249 router
“In February I sold a network router on eBay for £249. The UK-based buyer paid via PayPal and I promptly sent out the parcel by courier, with compensation cover if it failed to arrive. Shortly afterwards, the buyer raised a return request stating the courier had left the parcel outside in the rain all day and it was water-damaged. I requested additional information and photos, but nothing arrived. However, the courier, DPD, sent me photos taken by its driver of a note saying “Please leave parcel in car”, and a photo of the parcel they had left in the car. I passed this on to the buyer, but this didn’t stop him filing a claim to eBay, which immediately sided with him. It has insisted I refund him the £249. I have sent eBay the photos and made the point that the buyer had been caught providing false information, and that they were protecting a fraudulent buyer. The company has ignored this and I’ve lost my router and £249. I feel very badly treated and, as a result, I am not going to sell on eBay again. It is less about the money and more about the stress of dealing with dishonest people. This whole episode has really upset me.”
This is a massive problem with eBay ~ as we have previously highlighted ~ and in short, the seller protections designed to stop this happening often do not work. In cases like this, eBay invariably sides with the buyer ~ even in the face of clear evidence like yours. Fraudsters know this and use it to their advantage. Given the circumstances, we asked eBay to take a second look, and happily it has now agreed that you were treated badly. It seems the buyer had done this several times, and for this reason, the account has now been suspended. You get to keep the £249 and eBay will also refund you almost £25 in fees paid as a gesture of goodwill. It says cases like yours are very rare. The problem is that it is very difficult for sellers to protect themselves. Many are now insisting on pick-up in person, with cash paid on collection ~ which is arguably the only way to go if you are selling something valuable via the site.
All credit to The Guardian for achieving a just outcome in this particular case. However, anecdotal evidence within the Trade would suggest that such cases are in fact anything but rare, and therefore, until such time as this problem is resolved, we would argue that the risk to Sellers that this represents makes eBay a sales channel best avoided ~