|Fri Jan 21 2011 19:52:12|
Neg or Let Live on eBay? What Would YOU do?
By: David Steiner
I thought a recent transaction of mine as a buyer on eBay might make an interesting case study of seller/buyer sentiment. Here's the background:
On 12/30/10 I made a small purchase on eBay for a replacement part for an electronic device that I owned which had broken. After perusing many listings for this type of item, I noticed that nearly all of them originated in Hong Kong. Since it was a relatively small-ticket item, I decided to give one of the merchants, a PowerSeller with over 200,000 feedback, a shot. This would be my first Asian purchase, and I have to admit that I was curious to see how smoothly a transaction would go when the merchant resided on the other side of the world.
The terms for the auction were PayPal payment only, which I made immediately. The shipping delivery times stated in the listing were 8 to 14 days to USA/ Canada, which would put delivery around January 17th, at the outside, taking into account the New Year's holiday.
On January 19th, having not received the item, I sent the following message to the seller through the eBay message system:
I purchased this item on 12/30/10 and have not received it. Can you tell me if this item has been shipped, as your terms estimate delivery to US within 8-14 days.
The following morning (1/20) I received this reply:
I checked that we have shipped you the item to below address:
Please kindly confirm, if address correct, it should arrive soon.
Please contact us again directly if you still have not received your item after waiting.
We sure will help you to solve the problem.
Thanks and best regards
I responded with this message:
Yes, that is the correct address. Does it typically take 3 weeks to arrive to a US address?
I was hoping that it didn’t come across as snarky, I was simply curious about the typical shipping time from Hong Kong to the US. Since this seller had over 200,000 feedback, I had to assume that the bulk of their customers were satisfied with the shipping times, however we were outside the 8-14 day delivery window.
This morning, I received an email from the merchant through eBay asking me to cancel the transaction.
Reason for cancel transaction request: The seller did not provide a specific reason.
Click the "Respond now" button to accept or decline this cancellation.
If you don't take action by Jan-28-2011, the seller will be able to cancel the purchase without your consent.
There was no message or explanation in the email from the seller. I have to admit that I was a little peeved after reading this, thinking that I had just wasted 3 weeks waiting for a part, and I hadn't gotten confirmation that the item had even been shipped. And then another email arrived from PayPal - a refund for the amount of the transaction:
Message from merchant: Sorry that you have not received the item yet.
We decided to refund you the money first. Hope you would
satisfy with this arrangement and leave us 5-Star positive rating.
And do hope you can contact us if parcel arrive later.
So this is where it sits at the moment. Having been a seller on eBay, I try to put myself in that position as a customer. I've read innumerable forum threads over the last decade relating to transactions where the seller felt that the buyer was trying to put something over on them. I, myself, might even think, "Did this person receive the item, and is now trying to wrangle a refund?"
As a consumer, I appreciate the offer of a refund - no questions asked, however, I'm now back at square one, and have to start the process again - three weeks later - of finding and purchasing another replacement part.
So what type of feedback does this seller deserve? What would you give for DSRs? Is this the type of merchant that you would do business with in the future? I'd be curious to hear both buyers' and sellers' perspectives, particularly those with international trading experience..