I have a different situation, and I'm curious what your readers advise. I feel bad about this.
I won an eBay auction for an antique plate and immediately paid $78 for the plate and shipping. The listing said the plate would be shipped Priority and that tracking would be provided. A couple days later, the seller marked the plate as shipped, but there was no tracking number. No big deal - I can be patient for 3 days. :)
Five days later, with no plate, I asked the seller if she could provide the tracking. The seller responded the next day and said her assistant would upload the tracking tomorrow and that the seller had just shipped a bunch of stuff and had been very busy. The next day, there was still no tracking number and no plate. I asked again and waited more than 24 hours, and didn't get a response or number.
On about the ninth day after the item was marked shipped, I opened a request. eBay told me to wait 6 days (maybe because it was a weekend?) before doing anything else. I didn't hear from the seller, and I didn't get the plate.
On the 15th day, eBay refunded my money. I left seller a neg and moved on with my life. I'm not vindictive, but I was truthful.
AFTER I got my money back, seller contacted me, told me she had been searching everywhere and that she thought she mailed the plate to someone else and she had been waiting and hoping it would turn up! I told the seller that that was perfectly understandable - we all make mistakes - if only she told me! She also offered to send me the plate free if it showed up. I told her do NOT send the plate to me, I got my money back and I was fine, and that I simply wished she had just communicated with me.
eBay wouldn't let me change the feedback, so I left a follow-up that said it had been a mistake and that I wished the seller had communicated that. (The seller didn't ask me to do it, but it seemed like the right thing to do.)
Yesterday, the plate showed up at my house!!! The seller spent almost $20 to ship it AFTER I said please don't. I feel very bad about this. Believe it or not, not all buyers want to rip people off, and I don't think I deserve this free plate. But I also told her not to send the plate, and I bought something else with the money from the plate. If I pay her for the plate, then I'm spending money that I don't really have to spend right now.
Should I pay her for the plate or accept it as a gift? If I call eBay, will they ever let me change the feedback? What a pickle. I've been an avid eBay buyer for 14 years, and this is a new one.
Please pardon the length - I know the readers here are sticklers!