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Sat Nov 26 2011 15:15:10

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

By: Ina Steiner

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The story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

A seller listed an empty cologne bottle on eBay with the following title: "Ralph Lauren Polo 4 oz Cologne Bottle and listed it as Ralph Lauren Polo 4oz Men's Eau de Toilette in category: "Health & Beauty > Fragrances > Men."

In the description, the seller wrote, "Selling a used Ralph Lauren Polo BOTTLE ONLY. Just the bottle no cologne. I figured someone may want the bottle."

A buyer purchases the bottle and then complains that the seller sent him an empty bottle.

Did the seller adequately describe the item, or is the buyer right to complain that he received an empty bottle? Let us know what you think, and what you think eBay should do in a situation like this.




Comments (90) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: asd

Sat Nov 26 15:25:38 2011

In cases like that i write empty in the title and "bottle only" in big on the picture.

No one reads the descriptions. Including myself a seller

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: JaimeG

Sat Nov 26 15:34:41 2011

It's sad it has come to this. Can't anyone write a simple description, like an ad and be confident that people will actually use their brain and read four sentences, or have we, as a society become to brain lazy to even bother doing THAT?? It's best to put something important like that into the title just because you have to idiot proof it and cover your own behind. However, I don't think sellers should be held accountable for people that decide not to take the time to read a description.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: pattonm

Sat Nov 26 15:39:43 2011

Empty should have been in the title.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: Cowbell
Web Site

Sat Nov 26 15:51:54 2011

The seller could have put "empty" in the title, but it probably wouldn't have helped. We sold a promotional record with "promo" in the title, item specifics, and description. The buyer was surprised to receive a promo, and left us a neutral.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Nov 26 15:56:59 2011

While I agree the word empty should have appeared in the title (for enhanced seller protection), it's about time ebay admitted they've cultivated and are now fertilizing the semi literate buyers and refuse refunds when buyers don't read descriptions.

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of the expensive return paradigm ebay has created.

There was no fraud here. JNo bait and switch.

Teach these lazy, nearly illiterate buyers a lesson by denying refunds and removing case from sellers' records.

Of course, they won't behave responsibly because they're so fearful that one criminal or illiterate buyer might shop somewhere else.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: efweber This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 26 15:58:40 2011

In my opinion the mistake the seller made was listing it in the fragrances category. The title is also misleading. Having said that, I would hope eBay would let the buyer return the item and cancel the sale. The seller should pay for the return shipping.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: why

Sat Nov 26 16:03:08 2011

If you've gotten to the point where your willing to sell an empty bottle of cologne you might want to re-evaluate your ability as a seller.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: John

Sat Nov 26 16:10:43 2011

The definition for the word Description is:....
a statement, picture in words, or account that describes; descriptive  representation.

eBay should remove any negative or natural comment the buyer gave the seller.

Anyone, buyer or seller alike who does not read a description is an uneducated consumer or retailer by my definition.  

I look at every picture carefully, and read every word in a description. I also check FB

If I have a question I ask first. I do not buy until I am satisfied with everything.

After this I give the retailer my business.

End of story.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: Robyn
Web Site

Sat Nov 26 16:15:45 2011

While the seller *could* have done more to stress that it was an empty bottle (such as putting it in the title and in bold within the listing), the buyer had access to the information prior to purchase.

Seller could be gracious and return the selling price less shipping with no additional effort needed from the buyer, but it shouldn't be required.

Seller's return policy should be enforced if push comes to shove (but I personally think seller should not require the physical return of the empty bottle.)

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: autoparts

Sat Nov 26 16:17:24 2011

"Empty should have been in the title."
That logic is flawed. I sell used auto parts and sometimes there is not enough room to list the model years that the part will fit in the title. When that is the case THAT piece of info goes into the description and I can't tell you how many careless and unthinking buyers do not bother to read what years the item will fit when they SHOULD.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: Win
Web Site

Sat Nov 26 16:55:13 2011

I'd split the difference, so to speak. No refund, but let the buyer leave the seller a Neg.

Yes, the title *should* have said ''Empty'' and the item might have been better off if listed in a different category, but neither of those should be required parts of a valid listing.

(Ina, you need a few more quotation marks to fully clarify the listing+category.)

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: dan

Sat Nov 26 16:56:38 2011

When you have an uneducated public, no amount of ebay policy can fix it

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: anyone out there

Sat Nov 26 17:24:39 2011

The buyers on Ebay don't know how to read much less comprehend what they think they read.

Fleecebay will do nothing for the seller. Fleecebay doesn't care. All they want to do is get their FVF.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sat Nov 26 17:45:01 2011

Now imagine that the buyer saw the listing on his/her mobile device.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: Msfrugalady
Web Site

Sat Nov 26 18:11:16 2011

I think that I would have also used the word EMPTY & USED in the Listing-Title.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: Mimi51

Sat Nov 26 18:44:03 2011

There shouldn't even be a question on this one.  The buyer didn't read the seller's description and e-Bay shouldn't even consider a refund- end of story.  The buyer has a responsibility (a hard word for e-Bay buyers) to know what he's buying.  Have a question?  Ask BEFORE you buy, AFTER you read the description!  The seller described the bottle correctly as empty.  Want a refund?  Return the product at your own expense!

Ina, please post the outcome of the case.  Would love to know.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: OhForPetesSake

Sat Nov 26 18:52:01 2011

I had a case similar to this with and empty box for coins. Buyer complained to Fleecebay and Fleecebay said tough luck to the buyer.

Buyer turned around and filed a SNAD with Pigpay. Pigpay ruled in favor of the buyer.

Doesn't matter what you do, if there is a problem the seller will lose every time.

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: Tracy

Sat Nov 26 19:22:32 2011

If people are buying on eBay using their cell phone then chances are they are not reading the whole description. The seller should have put Empty Bottle in Title

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: OnTheFence
Web Site

Sat Nov 26 20:24:24 2011

I have to agree with those that say that "empty" should have been in the title.

My first ever purchase on eBay was for something I thought was a real bargain (I can't remember what it was).

After paying, I realised that I was simply being given information as to how I could obtain the item at a discounted price and was duly sent the link! (This fact was buried in the small print of the description.)

Needless to say, I felt a bit duped....

eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle   eBay Dispute - The Case of the Empty Cologne Bottle

by: JB

Sat Nov 26 21:01:29 2011

Ask eBay what the description window is designed for -vs- the listing window. Both  serve a different purpose and may or may not help with the sale of the item. One is to describe an item, the other is designed for information retrieval for the operation of search visibility. As I understand it.

Description and Descriptors are not entirely the same. That is why there is a description window, and buyers should read it instead of assuming the title page is all they need to purchase an item.

Ina's post is rather simple and small in text describing the problem. I find it rather ludicrous a buyer is unable to read the description of the item they are purchasing, when most descriptions are similar in length and in some cases even smaller. It is a no brainer.

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