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Author Topic: Would you buy from this seller?  (Read 682 times)

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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Would you buy from this seller?
« on: August 17, 2021, 01:14:19 AM »
So, I won an auction a few weeks ago. The item sold for about half of what it usually goes for, and shipping was under $5, when typically this item is at least $12 to ship within my country. I paid within a few hours of the auction's end.

For 4 days, there was no action from the seller. No notification of it having been shipped, no message, no acknowledgment that I had paid. Finally, on a Tuesday (auction ended on the previous Friday), I receive a message saying that they are unable to ship my item, due to a family emergency and they would be out of state; they would perhaps relist the item in the future. No talk of a refund yet.

I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the low selling price combined with their 4-day lapse in communication really raised my suspicion-hackles, and I wondered if perhaps they didn't get as much as they had hoped, and thought they'd try relisting it later to see if they could get more. They had 100% feedback, so I hadn't batted an eye at bidding when I did, but upon closer inspection after the fact, I realized that they only have ONE feedback, and that transaction seems to have gone well.

I replied, saying I would be willing to wait for the item, and they took 2 more days to respond, saying that they didn't know how long their family member would be unstable, and they finally refunded my money. I started to reply with a request that if and when they decided to relist, would they mind giving me the opportunity to buy the item first at the price I originally won it for, but then decided to just let it go; if they genuinely had a family member in the hospital, I didn't want to bring more grief upon them by badgering them about something trivial.

Well, now the item has been relisted. The starting bid is higher than the starting bid it had before, but is not higher than what I won it for. There are no bids on it yet, actually. The shipping has been raised to a more accurate-sounding $12. There is now a new 'make offer' option, but it's a 'best offer starting bid' auction, so if I made an offer, it would have to be higher than the current bid.

I thought about making an offer for the same amount I originally won the item for (obviously I'd have to eat it on the shipping; a snarky part of me wanted to make the offer less the $7 shipping difference, but I didn't want to jeopardize my chances of getting the item over a piddly 7 bucks...obviously their original quoted amount was a mistake...hopefully that's not what the refunded transaction was all about!). If they reject my offer, then I guess I'll know they are just wanting more money...why they don't just put a reserve on it, I don't know...but if they only have one feedback, maybe they are new to Ebay and don't know that's an option.

I was about to do just that...and then on a whim, I poked around a bit more and decided to check out the one transaction they did have. I noticed that the shipping location was from Florida on that one, yet it was Connecticut on the current auction. I looked back at the first auction for that item (the one I 'won'), and it was also listed as Connecticut. The auction for the positive-feedback transaction only took place 4 weeks ago (one week prior to my 'winning' their other auction). Does something sound not right about this whole thing?

Would you trust this seller? The 2 different ship-from locations just seems really strange to me. I'm genuinely curious to know whether they were telling the truth about why they wouldn't ship my item or not, and making an offer would answer that, but I don't think my wanting an answer is worth getting screwed over if they pull another stunt and don't refund my money this time.

Fyi, I haven't left feedback on the original transaction yet...it does give me the option to, despite it being refunded.

Offline tailrustedtealeaf

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2021, 01:46:23 AM »
I feel like I would feel protected enough by eBay in this case as they didn't actually ship anything out before, but if you don't feel comfortable, it is definitely worth waiting a little bit longer to see if something else pops up. :) If they only have one or two things listed they may just not sell very frequently, but if they have a lot listed I'd be a bit more wary.

If they had tried to ship or put in a fake tracking number I would be less willing. But since you had received a message (without your input, yes?) it feels more just like someone casually selling to me.
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2021, 03:39:16 AM »
I feel like I would feel protected enough by eBay in this case as they didn't actually ship anything out before, but if you don't feel comfortable, it is definitely worth waiting a little bit longer to see if something else pops up. :) If they only have one or two things listed they may just not sell very frequently, but if they have a lot listed I'd be a bit more wary.

If they had tried to ship or put in a fake tracking number I would be less willing. But since you had received a message (without your input, yes?) it feels more just like someone casually selling to me.

They didn't have anything else listed until I checked a little bit ago, and they have one other new item listed now. I hope it is a case of them being inexperienced, versus being a serial account-maker every time something goes awry with one of their accounts. You are right about Ebay's protections...I do feel fairly confident that given the record of my past transaction (or non-transaction, however you look at it!) I don't think I could end up being hurt in the end, but that's why I seek the experienced opinions of everyone on here.

Offline Carrehz

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2021, 02:41:26 PM »
Hmmm... I think personally in this case, I'd let it go and look for a different seller, I've been burned by cases like this in the past. On the other hand, it could just be a new seller that's still learning how eBay works, like you said.

If I wanted it badly enough I might take a chance and trust in eBay's protection for if anything went awry, but I definitely wouldn't bother with them outside of eBay.
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2021, 06:16:51 PM »
Hmmm... I think personally in this case, I'd let it go and look for a different seller, I've been burned by cases like this in the past. On the other hand, it could just be a new seller that's still learning how eBay works, like you said.

If I wanted it badly enough I might take a chance and trust in eBay's protection for if anything went awry, but I definitely wouldn't bother with them outside of eBay.

Looks like I don't have a choice, anyway...I tried to put the bid in this morning (for the same amount I won it for the last time), and it wouldn't let me! I got a warning message that I have been 'restricted from bidding on this item'. I'm kind of baffled...there was no bad interaction between the seller and myself. I'm guessing they didn't want to be called out on their shady behavior when they were forced to either accept the bid or basically admit that they were just trying to get more money for it.

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2021, 06:54:21 PM »
I guess that answers it, but is very weird. :( Makes me lean towards maybe they wanted to get a higher winning price.
A shame, I was ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. :P
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Offline Carrehz

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2021, 06:59:25 PM »
Darn - I was thinking maybe I was being a bit harsh on them, too.
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Offline Taffeta

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2021, 10:34:44 PM »
Sounds a really weird situation tbh. I don't know why they blocked you, but it does solve your problem.

On the two locations, all I can think of is when I was at uni, I was living in two places, essentially, and while I did most all my pony trading from home, sometimes I posted stuff out in London. It's not impossible for someone to have two addresses at the same time, even though it seems a bit strange.

But them blocking you solves your dilemma about what to do. So yeah. Time to move on. Whatever their reasons, it's probably better to let it go.
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Offline Snapdragon

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2021, 08:21:43 PM »
Yeah, right up until you were blocked, I would have said it just sounds like an inexperienced seller... they could still be inexperienced of course, but they might have interpreted 'hey please adhere to the contract we entered in your first auction, I am willing to wait' as 'I'm a big meanie who's bullying you for no reason!' :P

I don't know if the general populace realizes that eBay isn't a money factory, where they toss up their old garbage and people bid it up in a frenzy. It sounds like they thought they listed a 'hidden treasure' and it didn't go as high as they wanted; whether the family emergency is real or not, I can't speculate. It could just as easily been that they didn't realize shipping was wrong, and when they went to calculate shipping for you, they realized they didn't want to lose money on shipping. It could be that, with the shipping error, they'd be taking an entire loss on the item, which I can understand if they're someone inexperienced who doesn't have any other items to help soak up the loss. What's better in that situation is to say 'hey, I messed up on shipping, it's actually a lot more and I'd be taking a loss on this' and figure it out, not the blocking.

That said, I have seen some buyers being like, 'well they should just eat the loss then, it's their fault!', which is true, but it's also something that doesn't really ring true for very casual sellers. Someone selling their castoffs would just as happily take the negative and make a new account in that case. I wish they could have communicated that to you, if that were the case, instead of what they did.

In the case of feedback, I'd be tempted to just be honest; neg them for not selling the item to you as agreed and relisting it for more money. But I also feel like, is that going to get you your item? Can you message them again from the old messages you have, and ask them why they blocked you? Maybe they'll try to play it off as a 'genuine error' and you can get unblocked! It really comes down to how desperate you are for an item, IMO; I've had things where I took a hit on shipping, because I was just so desperate for the item. But if it's something you'll see come up again, then you can proceed the bad feedback route. All just IMO, I hope some of my rambling helps you! :P
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Would you buy from this seller?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2021, 03:08:40 AM »
@TRTL: me too. I'm always a fan of giving people the benefit of the doubt when I can.

@Carrehz: I was worried I was being harsh too; that was why I deleted the last message I almost sent them...it wasn't exactly harsh/rude/mean, or even terse, it just had the undertone of laying on the guilt when I re-read it to myself, and that wasn't the impression I wanted to leave.

@Taffeta: I actually have 2 locations I use for 'ship to' on Ebay as well; I often order things for my mother, as she is trying to complete sets of vintage Fisher Price toys from our childhood (she has the same sense of things being Not Right when pieces are missing that I have), and this project is right up my alley, plus she is way less tech-savvy than I am (which is saying a lot!) and doesn't know how to use the internet to find these things. She lives an hour away, but in another state, so this could look potentially strange to a seller/buyer who does some investigative research on my account! So I'm sure there's a good reason for this person to do this, but given the strange nature of the transaction combined with the low feedback, you can see why it went on my radar. The seller stated going out of state for the family emergency, but the timing didn't match up, as the location change happened before the auction I won was listed, and it just set off my sense of 'something is Not Right'. Just me being way too extra in my overthinking things, as my husband would put it. :)

@Snapdragon: Thank you for your detailed response, it gave me a lot to think about. I'm going to go back through the back and forth messages to see if I said something that set them off; really, our exchanges were fairly simple and polite on both ends, I thought...I started to reply to the last and then deleted it because I felt like it was tinged with something that...wasn't neutral, and since I didn't want to jeopardize my chance of getting the item should they relist it, I decided to err on the side of kindness and didn't send it. Maybe they were expecting a response, and by not getting one after that, who knows, maybe they were offended.

As far as the shipping goes, if they would have just been honest and said something, I would have understood and paid the difference. I was halfway expecting a message like that, since I know exactly how much this item costs to ship, and would have known they were telling the truth if they said they needed more to ship it, especially once I saw that they looked like they were new to Ebay (presumably). The route they have opted to take (blocking bids, possibly lying about a family member in the hospital to end the transaction) is not gaining my empathy at this point, though.

That said, the mistake on shipping is excusable to me, and I don't see it as a 'that's not my problem' issue so much (although I would have eaten it had it been my mistake), but the fact that the item didn't bid up as high as they had hoped is not. I do feel like they are under contract to sell the item for the price the auction ended for, just as I am under obligation to pay for it. I didn't state any of this to the seller, but I do feel this way. I am also irritated by the fact that they waited 4 DAYS before I received any contact from them; had I waited 4 days to pay, believe me, I would have been slapped with a non-paying bidder claim before you could say the word 'deadbeat'.

As far as sending them a message, I was actually able to contact them today. I played it friendly and cheerful and 'oh hey, you told me you'd be relisting this, so I tried to bid and it's giving me this error message! Can you help me?' So they apparently blocked my ability to bid, but not my ability to contact them, which surprised me. I did this this morning, and I haven't heard back from them, and I'm guessing I won't,  but I need to know in the back of my head that I tried everything I could.I will likely be leaving negative feedback if I don't hear from them in the next 24 hours or so, but I want to give them every chance to make it right first.

 

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