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Thread: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

  1. #1

    Default WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    I recently bought a tenor sax on ebay (the make and model aren't really that relevant for purposes of this discussion) that I believed was not as described and, after the seller gave me the option to return it for a full refund, I sent it back and awaited a refund that unfortunately did not come--at least not right away and not without a "fight." But in a way the whole thing was my fault as an experienced ebayer who let my guard down just once--but of course once is enough to get bilked out of hundreds or thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money. So I've decided to share the experience with the hope that it will prevent others from making the same mistakes I did.

    But here's what happened: After receiving and trying to play the horn I emailed the seller to let him know it did not play easily in the low register and that it appeared to have leaks and not be in the good playing condition that he had described (he had said in the listing that it had just been fully repadded and adjusted--turned out later the "just" was extended to it having been done about 4 months ago with significant playing time since then).

    But in response he offered two options: 1) To work with me as far as a partial refund based on an estimate from my tech to put it in playing condition; 2) To return the horn for a full refund.

    I decided to take Option 2. However, because his feedback was 100 percent with around 500 transactions--and other details that made him look like a nice guy--I didn't file a Paypal Claim in advance of shipping the horn back but just made sure to get delivery confirmation on the shipment. Also, I don't like filing claims because it has an odd way of pissing off sellers when you do it, you know, even if it is proper protocol. But as we shall see, this was a near-fatal judgment call on my part.

    Well, after it was delivered--silence for a good 24 hours and no refund. I file a claim with Paypal and escalate it immediately. Still nothing. I call Paypal--they tell me that I should've filed the claim in advance of returning the item, and that I needed Signature Confirmation on the shipment (in this case USPS Priority Mail) since sold for over $200 on ebay. Well, been using ebay for 10 years and I've never heard of this until now (must be fairly new).

    Also Paypal is no longer accepting emails as evidence due to people faking them (that IS a new policy) so the email from him that was my ace in the hole saying I could return was worthless.

    Fortunately, the second time I called Paypal the agent just happened to be a sax player himself whom I immediately connected with. Long story short--though he couldn't accept the emails-- with the deliv. confirmation and the fact the seller had already relisted the horn, he decided to make an exception and decide it in my favor right on the spot.

    But I was VERY lucky since normally if you don't get sig. confirm. on a return you are SOL. And the sickening part was that this long-time ebay seller appeared to know this judging from the silence and no refund. And if the Paypal agent would not have intervened on my behalf all the seller had to do was wait out the clock, it would have gone his way, and he would've gotten to keep the horn and my money.

    But the same night the agent did this, and notification emails were sent, I get this sudden nasty message from the seller saying I was a con and a thief (funny, since at that point he still had my horn AND my money). But I think he knew at that point that it was game over.

    Basically because of the sig. confirm. rule, he still could've won but now he was going to have to respond to Paypal directly with an answer as to whether he'd received it instead of waiting for the clock to wind down. And I guess he decided it was not in his best interest to lie (I was already considering legal options) because he never responded by the 3-day deadline and it was automatically decided in my favor with an extraction of funds from his account.

    But that was four days after he received the horn. So based on that there is no doubt in my mind that he would have kept the horn and the money if it had gone his way.

    But here we have some valuable lessons about using Paypal/eBay: 1) Never trust an ebay seller that you don't know personally, even if he has 10,000 transactions and 100 percent feedback--because they know how to work the system and so can potentially use it against you and to their advantage; 2) Always use the proper Paypal protocol for returns, which means filing a Not-As-Described Claim in advance of shipping and getting Signature and deliv. confirmation.

  2. #2
    SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2013
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Link to auction or the Ebay members name please, so we know never to do business with them.

    - Saxaholic

  3. #3
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    I've never filed a claim after the seller was notified and said he would accept the return. If the seller told me he would issue a refund I would have given him a few days to refund the money. He might have had to transfer some funds into his account for your refund. I think he got upset because you called Paypal and he was ready to send the refund. How do you know when he received it if you didn't have a confirmation? Being both a buyer and I seller, it's my opinion that you over reacted and assumed he was dishonest. When a customer complains that an item he received is not as advertised ebay always sides with the customer. A seller will rarely risk his 100% positive rating because he knows this. If I told a customer that he could return an item and the customer filed a claim I would get pissed. It sounds like you panicked because you didn't have a confirmation.

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    3. Never assume an Ebay horn from a private seller will be in playing condition no matter what they say otherwise.

  5. #5

    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    I recently sold a The Martin Tenor to someone in the NL through ebay, since I had started a new acct and had a number of high dollar saxes up for auction paypal calls me,
    so we chatted and I confirmed that I was indeed the person who was posting the horns and that it wasn't a scam. In the course of speaking to the paypal rep he told me
    I would need signature confirmation in order to be covered under thepaypal seller protection, however the buyer only wanted to pay for global priority shipping and as
    such does not offer signature confirmation(s/c), only global express offers s/c and the buyer did not want to pay it which was reasonable it was double the cost.
    In the end the buyer received the horn and left me positive feedback which freed up the funds, otherwise since I do not have a 100 positive feedback
    rating I would have had to wait 20 days from end of auction to receive the funds. It is assuredly a knife's edge world doing business through these venues these days, oh for the good old days .
    I am considering setting up my own market acct which would allow me to take credit cards directly and not have to deal with paypal, which can be a good
    and bad thing.

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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saxaholic View Post
    Link to auction or the Ebay members name please, so we know never to do business with them.

    - Saxaholic
    Shouldn't we hear the other side before we ruin someones reputation because of a nervous buyer. He did issue the refund and he has 100% positive feedback. There could be two sides to this dispute. The buyer is always right? Why settle for his name? Let's publish his address, telephone number and post pictures of his family.

  7. #7
    SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2013
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Regardless of the situation, you should never respond with an email calling someone a "con and a thief." That puts up red flags everywhere, and I personally will make sure not to do business with that seller. Here's a simple fact: The seller RELISTED the horn without notifying Swingtone of it's receipt nor of a pending refund. I don't care WHAT the circumstances are regarding the refund...if you can relist the item, you can email someone saying "Hey, got the horn back, refund forthcoming."

    In addition, a link to the auction and/or seller name will allow everyone to see the auction listing, thus validating Swingtone's claims. If he proves unwilling to provide one, then everything is left to speculation and he could be making the whole thing up.

    Killing two birds with one stone. People like myself will have the name of the seller and avoid them in the future, and Swingtone validates his claims.

    - Saxaholic

  8. #8

    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by martinm5862 View Post
    Shouldn't we hear the other side before we ruin someones reputation because of a nervous buyer. He did issue the refund and he has 100% positive feedback. There could be two sides to this dispute. The buyer is always right? Why settle for his name? Let's publish his address, telephone number and post pictures of his family.
    No, the seller did not issue a refund. Paypal had to extract it from his account four days after USPS delivery confirmation confirmed that the horn had been delivered back to his address (remember, the whole problem ensued because I didn't have signature confirmation). I don't know about you--but if I were the seller in this situation, I would make sure to refund the buyer SAME day. Call me a nervous buyer if you will, but yeah, I DO sweat bullets when you know a seller has the horn you shipped back and your money, is not responding to your emails or phone calls and most importantly...not issuing the refund (yeah, I did not include every little detail in the original story).

    And sorry--just because you might be "mad" that a buyer filed a claim against you gives you no right to not refund that buyer's money within 24 hours of receiving the returned item. And again, it was 4 days, not 24 hours, and it would probably have been NEVER if Paypal hadn't stepped in and forcibly removed the funds from his account.

    To be honest with you, I have not decided yet if I want to share the seller's info since who knows if he has an account on here? He does sell a fair number of saxes and accessories from what I can tell. But everything I've written has been true, and regardless it's a lesson that can apply to any return. And that's another thing you may not understand completely, Martin--if this shows anything it shows that you HAVE to file a claim before making the return. That's what Paypal requires in order for you to receive full protection. In addition, that is when they inform you of the procedures to follow when making the return. For example, one of those steps is getting Signature Confirmation on the delivery--something that Paypal requires for Buyer Protection on all items that sold for over $200.

    Again, that was what I was trying to convey here--that I made the mistake of being too nice by not filing the Not as Described claim before the return, which is what I should have done. But like I said I will never make that mistake again and neither should you.

  9. #9

    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by martinm5862 View Post
    I've never filed a claim after the seller was notified and said he would accept the return. If the seller told me he would issue a refund I would have given him a few days to refund the money. He might have had to transfer some funds into his account for your refund. I think he got upset because you called Paypal and he was ready to send the refund. How do you know when he received it if you didn't have a confirmation? Being both a buyer and I seller, it's my opinion that you over reacted and assumed he was dishonest. When a customer complains that an item he received is not as advertised ebay always sides with the customer. A seller will rarely risk his 100% positive rating because he knows this. If I told a customer that he could return an item and the customer filed a claim I would get pissed. It sounds like you panicked because you didn't have a confirmation.
    First, if you read my full report you would know I had delivery confirmation. Second, once I filed the claim (and he knew about it since he filed at least one response/retort to it) he should have issued the refund asap instead of letting the 3-day window allowed for the seller's response to expire and allowing Paypal to extract funds from his account.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saxaholic View Post
    Regardless of the situation, you should never respond with an email calling someone a "con and a thief." That puts up red flags everywhere, and I personally will make sure not to do business with that seller. Here's a simple fact: The seller RELISTED the horn without notifying Swingtone of it's receipt nor of a pending refund. I don't care WHAT the circumstances are regarding the refund...if you can relist the item, you can email someone saying "Hey, got the horn back, refund forthcoming."

    In addition, a link to the auction and/or seller name will allow everyone to see the auction listing, thus validating Swingtone's claims. If he proves unwilling to provide one, then everything is left to speculation and he could be making the whole thing up.

    Killing two birds with one stone. People like myself will have the name of the seller and avoid them in the future, and Swingtone validates his claims.

    - Saxaholic
    Hay, I agree, but let's verify. As a seller, I always issue a refund as soon as i receive a return but there could be a situation where I couldn't get to my computer for a day or so, stuff happens. If I read the original post correctly this was only $200 transaction. Hardly worth a dispute for a top rated seller with thousands of sales completed. I don't believe anyone is not telling the truth but misunderstandings can cause these situations to escalate. The seller of course should not have let this escalate because in the end the customer is always right.

  11. #11

    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by martinm5862 View Post
    Hay, I agree, but let's verify. As a seller, I always issue a refund as soon as i receive a return but there could be a situation where I couldn't get to my computer for a day or so, stuff happens. If I read the original post correctly this was only $200 transaction. Hardly worth a dispute for a top rated seller with thousands of sales completed. I don't believe anyone is not telling the truth but misunderstandings can cause these situations to escalate. The seller of course should not have let this escalate because in the end the customer is always right.
    Sorry, but it doesn't seem like you're reading my posts thoroughly. This wasn't a situation in which the seller was away for a day because he responded with a retort to the claim on the same day I filed it. So even after knowing about it, and receiving the sax, he let's 3 days go by without issuing the refund until finally Paypal had to step in and do it. To me that looks like a case of a seller who has made a choice not to refund the buyer.

    And lastly, the purchase price of the sax was $600--the $200 is the amount at which Paypal requires Signature Confirmation on returns.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by martinm5862 View Post
    Hay, I agree, but let's verify. As a seller, I always issue a refund as soon as i receive a return but there could be a situation where I couldn't get to my computer for a day or so, stuff happens. If I read the original post correctly this was only $200 transaction. Hardly worth a dispute for a top rated seller with thousands of sales completed. I don't believe anyone is not telling the truth but misunderstandings can cause these situations to escalate. The seller of course should not have let this escalate because in the end the customer is always right.
    Understood. However...the horn was RELISTED ON EBAY BEFORE the buyer got his money back. I don't care what else happened...if he had access to his computer, he had the ability to send a courteous email explaining the delay. Instead, he responded with a nasty email. I don't care if you'd get "pissed" about a guy opening a claim early. As a responsible seller, you explain the delay of communication in a polite and prompt matter. You don't send nasty emails to customers.

    Swingtone, if you don't feel comfortable posting the name publicly, I'd appreciate if you could PM it to me, so I know to avoid this person in the future.

    - Saxaholic

  13. #13
    SOTW Administrator SAXISMYAXE's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    This is worth reading if you participate on Ebay, therefore I've made this a sticky.
    Mike S.
    SOTW Administrator/Staff

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    Forum Contributor 2009 al9672's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    On a related note also worth a read - English guy got fined for shill bidding
    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/tec...0421-szqp.html

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Quote Originally Posted by al9672 View Post
    On a related note also worth a read - English guy got fined for shill bidding...
    The regular practioners of this art have their associates do the shill bidding. It's a bit tougher to catch with Ebay's bidder privacy policy.

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    Forum Contributor 2009 jimmytamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Swingtone, we are still waiting for that ebay seller's name...lol
    ...just another saxes player...
    Selmer Mark VI alto + Jody Jazz DV 6
    Selmer Serie II soprano + Jody Jazz DV 6*

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    Forum Contributor 2011 tenor71363's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Thanks for giving folks a heads up regarding the signature confirmation.

  18. #18
    2011 SOTW Contributor fusion1's Avatar
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    Default Re: WARNING: If you buy horns on eBay with Paypal you MUST read this!

    Does anyone know who this ebay seller was? Don't tell me it's that Rodney fellow I hear used to be a member here that people here don't have a very high opinion of, is it?

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