About

I'm an Aussie who moved to Ottawa, Canada in 2008. I'm always having a moan about something. This is where I moan and whinge about things. Enjoy.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Fucking eBay


A few months ago I found some LTE modems in the e-waste bin at work, they're a model we don't (didn't ever?) sell/use at work. They had the antennas removed from them, since they are the same antennas that can be used with the model that we actually did sell. There were also no power supplies.

I finally got around to listing them on ebay a while later. I had 8 of them, and I ran a fixed price auction accepting offers. Here's the listing:


As you can see, I clearly listed "Does not include anything other than the unit. Does not include the power supply (requires 12V 1A supply with a small barrel connector). Does not include antennas (uses RP-SMA connection)."

I sold the first 7 of them, no issues whatsoever. Each one was carefully boxed up and shipped out the same or next day. All 7 buyers gave me positive feedback. One buyer wanted his for use in Guatemala, so we had some back and forth discussion regarding the radio band compatibility, and I preinstalled OpenWRT for him, including installing the web UI module for configuring the LTE module, so it was ready to go out of the box. He was very happy.

Then I sold the 8th one, apparently to someone who cannot read.

A couple of days after shipping it out, I get an email from eBay..

"The buyer requested a return because there’s something wrong with the item. Please accept this request and provide a return shipping label as soon as possible.

If you don't resolve this request by Nov 08, 2019, you may be required to issue a refund without the item being returned to you."


WTF. 

Buyer claims "The item arrived with neither antennas nor supplier. it is not a usable item".

Uhh. I responded "The ad clearly states that those are not included."

I figured this would be the end of it. How wrong I was, and how fucking retarded eBay is.

The buyer did not respond, until 6 days later, it has been escalated to eBay.

mmbbaadd has asked us to step in and help to review the case on D-Link DWR-921 4G 3G LTE wifi Router 4-Port unlocked. The case ID is 5213102547

We'll review the case, including any messages that you and the seller sent through eBay. We'll get back to you within 48 hours.

You can view the details of this case in the Resolution Center.




I click through to view the details of the case, and it claims

"The seller refuses to admit that he sold a device with missing parts and in a non operational condition. I did not get any return instruction nor refund.
Reason for escalation: I can't work things out with the seller"


At this point, eBay very helpfully gives you no way to respond to this. I looked all over the place for support contact details, or a way to reply to the message, but there is nothing. They have done a good job on engineering things so you have no way to contact them.

I ranted on twitter at them:

@eBay Why is it so difficult to contact support? I wanted to escalate an issue immediately, but are required to wait days. Then because the customer escalated first, I get no chance to respond to their false claims? [including the URL of where I was already ranting about this on Facebag].


Eventually they responded to me:

(1/2) When a request is opened, there's a 3 business day grace period for both parties to work on a resolution. If one isn't made, then either party can ask us to step in. We'll evaluate the communication/documentation each party provides and take appropriate action.

(2/2) Please know, the action we take is the same no matter which party asks us to step in. If you don’t agree with our decision, you’re welcome to appeal the case decision> https://ebay.to/2Qe9NEA within 30 days of the case being closed. ~Kate


While I waited for this reply, I got another message from eBay:

Your case was placed on hold temporarily. We will get back to you with an update by Nov 16, 2019.

We have asked for more information from your customer to confirm the condition of the item received. If any additional information is needed from you we will request it through an email.

Ok, I think that this means they are going to be investigating this properly. They are asking the buyer to confirm that they received the unit only, as the listing says that is all that is included. Wrong.

This was the next message:

I am contacting you about the return request (5130592192) filed for D-Link DWR-921 4G 3G LTE wifi  (254254038904) by "mmbbaadd".

I've reviewed the details of the request and found that the best resolution is to ask the buyer to return the item to you for a full refund. Because the item was not as described, we're asking you to pay for the return postage.

I've placed the request on hold for 4 days to give you time to arrange the return postage with the buyer. Please note that if you don't resolve the issue by November 16,2019,we'll issue the buyer a full refund on your behalf without requiring the item to be returned


What the actual fuck eBay?

I replied to the email, expecting it to bounce as coming from an undeliverable email, but surprisingly was accepted. This was my reply:

The item I listed and sold (including 7 times previously with positive feedback) in the description clearly and specifically defines "does not include antennas or power supply". I have included a screenshot.

Customer opened a case to return the item, because it "doesn't include antennas or power supply".

The item the customer received is exactly as it was listed and described. It is unfortunate that the customer failed to read the description of the item.

The screenshots I included:

Ok, so hopefully they will review that, and realise that I clearly stated that the antennas and power supply are not included, and then it will get sorted. Wrong.

The next reply:

Thank you for your response about the D-Link DWR-921 4G 3G LTE wifi Router(254254038904). I understand that you disagree with the buyers return reason because you've been accurate with your listing. I here to assist you.

I can see that you specifically states in the listing that antennas are not included. However, your photos shows, that the antennas are included Every seller is required to post the items original photos/condition.With this, the buyer is eligible to return the item.

I suggest that you provide means of return so that you can get the item back before issuing a refund.

I trust that I was able to assist you today. Thank you and have a great day!




"Have a great day!" Yeah. I'll get right on that. You know what would make my day great? If I didn't have to continue arguing with you about this crap, and you just solved this properly.

OK, let's try this again.

Hi Shanna,

Thank you for your response to my email, addressing my concerns that I have with this transaction. I have been an eBay buyer and seller for 20 years, completing I don't know how many transactions perfectly in that time. Having a 100% positive feedback rating, and being able to resolve the couple of minor issues I've had previously directly with buyers or sellers without having to ask for assistance from eBay are things that I pride myself on.

I do understand the customer's frustration, and disappointment, that they have received less than they were expecting, however what they received is exactly what was described in the listing. I have previously sold 7 of this item, via this listing, and none of those other buyers had any issues, and all of them gave me positive feedback for all of those transactions.

I did not have physical access to the items I was selling as I was not in the same location at the time I created the listing, so I was unable to take and use my own photos, which I would normally do, and instead I used the manufacturer's images from their website. I recognise that two of three images in the listing show the non included antennas. This is why I stressed in the short, concise, and clear description of the item that they are not included.

The second image shows the item/device exactly as the customer received it, with no antennas attached. In no way was I attempting to be misleading with the images in the listing.

All that aside, the "missing" antennas, which the buyer is disputing, are optional. They are not at all required for the item which the buyer received to be functional. It works without them. I say this based on the fact that I work for a service provider with thousands of customers using these devices, across many sites, many of which do not even have the optional antennas installed.

This is why I disagree with their statement of "The seller refuses to admit that he sold a device with missing parts and in a non operational condition. I did not get any return instruction nor refund."

The device is perfectly operational. It was tested by me to make sure of that before I shipped it to the buyer, because I don't want unhappy eBay customers, and I know you don't either.

The only part the buyer can possibly claim is "missing", for the item to be fully operational, is a compatible power supply/adapter. There's no power adapter shown in any of the images in the listing, and the description also specifically says there is not one included. This adapter is any 12v 1A supply, which is also specified on the device itself. Most people have a junk drawer or box containing power adapters so they can provide this themselves, or they are buying one to replace a failed unit (which would mean they also had the antennas), which I presume the other purchasers of this listing did.

Alternatively, perhaps the other buyers did not have a compatible power supply, so they bought one, probably off eBay, like this item for example, for $5: https://www.ebay.ca/itm/12V-2A-3-5mm-Power-Supply-Adapter-for-D-Link-DIR-655-DIR-825-855-Wireless-Router/382815657700?hash=item5921975ee4:g:i5wAAOSw8KRceV9z

I would like to find a resolution to this issue which the buyer, eBay/you, and myself find acceptable. To that end, I am willing to provide a partial refund so that the the buyer can obtain a compatible power supply if they don't have one, and even the optional antennas, which I see also available on your site for around $2.

Please let me know how we would like to proceed resolving this. You can call me on [redacted] if that is preferable to corresponding via email.

Regards,
Simon

A while later I get a reply..


Thank you for getting back to eBay about the D-Link Router 4-Port. I understand that you would like to know how to proceed with this return since you were able to describe the item correctly. Rest assured that I’m here to help you on what you’ll need to do next to resolve your concern.
Simon, I really do appreciate the effort that you have exerted just to resolve the issue. At this time, we have placed the case on a temporary hold to allow time for you to arrange return shipping for your buyer, or provide a resolution such as partial refund. If you fail to do this, the claim will be closed and a refund will be issued to your buyer without requiring the item to be returned. Obviously, we don't want to go this route so we encourage that you work with your buyer through this return.

I want you to know that I find it truly amazing that you haven't received any defect for any of the 5 transactions you've had within the last 12 months. I'm particularly impressed that you promptly responded with your buyer's return request as it shows how much committed you are in providing excellent service. Kindly continue to communicate with them. I assure you that you will have our unending support in your selling endeavors.

I am glad that I was able to help you on how you’ll proceed with this return, and I wish you all the best in your future eBay transactions.



First of all, if I described the item correctly, why are we proceeding with a return at all?!

Second of all, what kind of shitty sellers does eBay have that managing all of 5 transactions in a year without one defect is "truly amazing"? Not to mention the fact that I have done closer to 20 transactions in the last year, all with no defects. Ridiculous.

I replied:

I attempted to contact the customer to offer a partial refund, however when I view the case, my only option is to issue a full refund.

How do I go about contacting the buyer and offering him a $20 refund, so that he can spend $7 to buy the power supply and optionally the antennas, in a manner that if he accepts will allow the case to be closed properly?

Reply:

Thanks for reaching us back regarding the "Router 4-Port" (254254038904) sold to "mmbbaadd". I learned that you would like to contact the buyer and offer a $20.00 refund. I appreciate how you have been professional and cordial with every intention to work things out with your buyer. Your selling practice is impressive as shown by your constant communication. Please know that the professionalism you’ve exerted in handling this concern is indeed commendable. Allow me to help you further also allow me to provide steps on how to send monkey through PayPal.

I provided you the link on how you can contact the buyer and offer a $20.00 refund, just click this link I provided and you will be redirected to the page where you can send the buyer a message: https://www.ebay.ca/contact/sendmsg?item_id=254254038904&recipient=mmbbaadd&message_type_id=14

Once the buyer agreed to accept the refund amount $20.00, simply follow the steps below on how to send money. You can use PayPal to send money to anyone with an email address, even if they don't have a PayPal account set up. (They'll need to open one to get the money, though.)


Then it falls off into canned response land..


So contacting eBay support has now pretty much become a waste of time.

I messaged the buyer and made the offer directly:

Hi Arie,

I have been corresponding with eBay trying to find a resolution to our issue. The suggested resolution is for me to give you a partial refund for the item.

Even though my listing states that the antennas and power supply are not included, eBay says that you may have mistakenly thought that the antennas were included, as they are shown in 2 of the images in the listing. I used D-Link's images from their product page, as I didn't have the devices to hand to take my own photos of for the listing.

The antennas are optional, they are not required for the device to be functional. My company has thousands of these devices deployed, and many do not have the antennas installed, and they work fine. The antennas actually make very little difference to the signal strength.

The only part required for the device to be perfectly usable is the power supply, which is not shown in the images in the listing, and the description also states that it is not included.

However, I would like for us to come to an arrangement that we both find acceptable. If I had a power supply and the antennas for these units, then I would just send them to you. Unfortunately I don't, I borrowed the power supply and antennas from a different model in order to test the devices as working before I shipped them out.

The device needs any power supply rated for 12V at 1A to work, with a 3.5mm x 1.35mm plug to fit, and any antennas with RP-SMA connectors will fit and are compatible. Looking on eBay, I see that a compatible power supply can be purchased for $5, eg item number 382815657700, or they can be found on Amazon or NewEgg etc for less than $10, and the antennas for $2, eg item number 312206376838.

As a result, I would like to offer you a refund of $20, to cover the cost of the power supply and antennas which were not included, so that you can purchase them both for $10 or so, with the other $10 because I am sorry for your inconvenience.

If this is acceptable I will send it immediately.

The buyer gives me this lovely response:

It is unacceptable! I cannot use this router without  neither the antennas nor the power supply. 
If I that the supplied is without the ante as and without the power supply I would not buy.
As a matter of fact the picture of the router in your advertising  clearly shows the antennas. For me it is very astonishing that eBay considers it as my mistake.
It was your misleading. 


Hmm, I consider that to be more than reasonable, and it is an offer that I would accept if I had not read a listing properly, and bought something erroneously, consider I would then end up with what I thought I was buying, and paying less for it than I originally did..

Frustrated, I responded again:

I am sorry that you did not read the listing properly and you purchased something other than you were expecting. The listing explicitly states that the power supply and antennas are not included.

I previously sold 7 of these to other people and they all gave me positive feedback as they received exactly what the listing described.

I am offering to refund you $20 so that you can spend $10 and buy the power supply and antennas that you incorrectly thought were included.

At that point you will have exactly what you thought you were buying. Can you please tell me why you don't find this to be an acceptable resolution?

Another lovely reply:

It is unacceptable. You were missliding and you still avoid getting me the refund. You offer arrived too late well after I had to seek and buy another solusion. 
Ebay please step in and help me to get my money back. 

 another 


You know what? Fuck this. I am done.

eBay has been completely worthless in supporting me as a seller. I have been more than reasonable, considering the buyer is not entitled to a return as far as I am concerned. Also all this squabbling is over $7 worth of non included parts, and that is only if you include the $5 power supply which explicitly says is not included, and is not pictured, so at best the buyer can argue for the $2 antennas he doesn't even need not being included. I have already offered the buyer 10x this as compensation, but he is being unreasonable.

I reply to him:

If you look at the listing, you will see that the description clearly says "Does not include anything other than the unit. Does not include the power supply (requires 12V 1A supply with a small barrel connector). Does not include antennas (uses RP-SMA connection)."

I do not appreciate you claiming that I am being misleading when I clearly stated that the power supply and antennas were not included. It is not my fault that you did not read the listing properly. The same listing that 7 other people bought and had no issues with. If you claim it is because the pictures show antennas, which is why you thought they were included.. well the pictures don't show the power supply, so you have no reason to think that is included.

I have been more than reasonable in offering you a partial refund to buy the parts that you incorrectly thought were included. It is not my fault if you bought something else before trying to resolve this, when all you had to do was spend $5 to buy a power supply. If you had done so and then told me that is what you had to do then I would have been reasonable and refunded you for the power supply, and/or the antennas, as I have already offered.

You made no attempt to resolve this after I responded to you when you first contacted me, and instead waited to escalate it to eBay.

I am really tired of this, so you know what? Put the unit back in the box, and mail it back to me. When I receive it and find that it is in the same condition as I sent it to you, I will give you a full refund. I will then sell it again to someone else who will have read the listing and will receive exactly what they bought, and be happy like the other 7 people I sold units to.

I await your reply.


He responds:

Showing the picture of the product with the antennas when you sell it without is misleading. All the rest is confusing. I request the full refund. Please send the prepaid return authorization.
EBay please step in. The seller sold me a product that is different from its advertized picture is misleading and I feel absolutely cheated.

Again, continuing to squabble about antennas that he doesn't need, which he could buy off eBay for $2, which I have already offered him a $20 refund to do.

I try again.

I told you in my previous message that I will give you a full refund, when I receive the item back and know that it is in the same condition as it was when I sent to it you, so that I can sell it again. Even after I offer you the refund to cover for your mistake, it's still not good enough?

If I pay for shipping back, how do I know you're even going to send it back? If you don't, then I end up nearly $200 out of pocket, and all because it didn't include $2 worth of antennas that you don't even need, which it clearly said in the listing are not included?

All of your messages and responses have been unreasonable when I have been trying to resolve this, and now it seems that you are attempting to scam me. I've had enough.

His response:

Send me the authorization with the prepaid return. 
It was not my mistake and that’s why I asked eBay to step in to resolve it. It does not look that you understand the damage you made and the seriousness of misleading the customer the way you did.


I try again with eBay support.

I contacted the seller [oops buyer] this morning and told him that I have had enough of this, and if he ships me back the modem I will give him a full refund.

He has just replied, not accepting this and continuing to argue and claim that I misled him. I am really frustrated because of the buyer being so unreasonable about $2 worth of antennas that are not even necessary not being included, and when the listing clearly said they were not.

At this point I feel he is being so unreasonable that if I was to prepay for the shipping, that he would not even ship it back, and then I would be left $180 out of pocket, and with no device to resell to try to get any of my money back. I now feel like the buyer is trying to scam me.

All of his messages and responses to me have been unreasonable when I have been trying to resolve this, making multiple offers of partial and full refunds, and he continues to argue. This is ridiculous.

Apparently this case is going to end tomorrow if there is no resolution and then I will get just get screwed out of both the item and the money, so I am requesting that you either extend the case and/or make a decision as to whether I will the money for the item or not, because he is just going to continue to be unreasonable, and not going to agree to any resolution.

The irrelevant reply:

Thanks for getting back to us, reading from your email I do understand that you don't believe that the buyer will return the item if ever you will send money. I'm here to assist since you have until tomorrow to facilitate the return.

Simon, I can guarantee you that once you pay for the return shipping cost and buyer failed to ship the item back we will closed the case in your favor and no refund will be give to your buyer. So I best suggest that you send money thru PayPal and ask for the buyer's PayPal email address.

I trust I was able to give you assurance that once the buyer failed to ship the item back you win the case.

I try to explain yet again.

My preference is to not pay for the shipping, as I do not believe that I should even have to accept the return.

I have been trying to compromise with the buyer, as he made a mistake by not reading the listing where I very clearly stated that the antennas are not included. These are optional antennas, not at all required, and he could have spent $2 to purchase if he wanted them. I told him that I would have sent them to him at my expense, if I had any to send. 

He continues to argue with me, continuously falsely claiming that I was misleading, which I take exception to, and refusing to accept any of the offers I make, including partial refunds to more than cover him purchasing the optional antennas, and even a full refund if he ships the item back to me at his expense, which I feel I am being very generous with, when as far as I am concerned it is not my fault that he didn't read the listing properly. 

This was not an issue for any of the 7 other buyers who all received exactly what they were buying based on the listing, and gave me positive feedback. 

My hope is that you will agree with me, and tell the buyer that it is unfortunate that they failed to read the listing properly, and that they are not entitled to return the item, as they received exactly what was described in the listing. 

If this is not the case, then my next offer is for the buyer to pay to return the item at his expense, as it was his error, and I will refund the item and original shipping cost. I think this is more than reasonable. 

I should not end up being penalised because of the buyer's mistake. Between the shipping cost I will end up being out of pocket, and the seller's fees I have had to pay, I will end up making pretty much no money, and if you close this case and refund the buyer then I will be out for my item worth $100, which would make me wonder why I should continue to sell things on ebay at all. 

I have been using ebay for 20 years and always had a 100% positive rating, so I find it very frustrating and disappointing to even have to go through this process when my listing could not have been made any clearer as to what the item did and did not include. 

To reiterate, I would like it if you could review the listing, and see where I specifically stated that antennas are not included, and consider that the buyer is requesting a refund because the antennas are not included, to which it should be obvious that the buyer is not entitled to a return or a refund. 

Here we go again with useless responses:

Thanks for getting back to us in regard to the case 5213102547. I fully understand that you listed the item that is does not come with antennas but the buyer insist on returning the item because they do not get the antenna. I know it would be a big lost for you if you will refund the buyer without getting the item back and I do not want that to happen. Let me clarify the situation and give you some option to consider.

Simon, for an update, the case hold will be released on November 16, and we need you to make an action because if you don't you will lose both money and the item. That is why my teammates are encouraging you to facilitate the return.

This is my simple suggestion, you can ask the buyer to accept a partial refund for them to buy their own antennas if it is just $2. We cannot require the buyer to return the item on their own cost because they opened a valid return. I checked the listing and see that on the description it says that the antennas are not included but on the pictures it clearly includes the antennas. Maybe that it the reason why the buyer claims that it was misleading.

I would like to highlight how accepting returns and providing immediate solution to your buyer will benefit you as a seller:

•         This won't count as a "case closed without seller resolution" towards your seller performance standards.
•         PayPal funds for the sale, which were placed on hold when the return was opened, will be released and applied to the refund.
•         Your eBay and PayPal fees will be automatically credited to your account when you issue a refund.
•         You may receive better Feedback and detailed seller ratings as a reflection of your professional behavior.
•         If you offer free returns, regardless of the reason for returning the item, you become eligible for free return protection and can issue less-than-full refunds if the item is returned damaged or with missing pieces.

I trust my communication was clear and I was able to explain the things you can do next.
Simon, your time and understanding for this process is highly commendable. Thanks for choosing eBay!

I'm really pissed off with this now.

Hello Abby,

If you review the message I sent, or any of my previous messages you will see that I have already offered the buyer a $20 refund for him to buy the $2 antennas which he does not even need. He refused this. This is one of the reasons why he is being unreasonable.

This case handling has been very disappointing. As I feel that you are not going to come to the correct conclusion, especially when an item I described correctly has been accepted as a valid return request, which it is not, and I am going to end up getting ripped off for my $100 item by the dishonest buyer, I give up.

I asked him to tell me his PayPal email address so I could send him the money for the shipping to return my item. He did not respond. Just like he did not respond to me after our initial contact, and instead waited and then escalated the case instead of trying to resolve it. Another reason he is being unreasonable. I believe he is now just wasting time so that the case will expire, you will refund him the money which you have already taken from me, and he will get to keep my item. This is theft.

A previous agent told me to use a returns dashboard to refund the shipping, but there is no such thing that I can see, and the only option I have available in the case view is to issue him a refund. I have now done this, as I want to ensure that I will be able to get my item back by responding before the case expires, so that I can sell it again to another buyer who is not dishonest and will try to scam me, and attempt to recover some of the money I will lose from having to pay the shipping on an invalid return request.

How is eBay going to make sure that I will get my item back? If the buyer does not send it back to me then I will be out of pocket for $280, as I will have no money and no item. This is unacceptable. I find it insulting that that is the situation eBay has put me in, considering that I have had a 100% positive feedback rating for the 20 years I have been using eBay, and never had any buyer make any claims against me before.

Between this whole utterly ridiculous process, by far the worst experience I have ever had in my 20 years of using eBay, the fact I have paid almost $100 in seller fees in the last 3 months alone, and it seems that eBay is now being complicit and assisting in my being ripped off for $280.. why would I choose to continue selling things on eBay?
And now I am evidently in robot responder canned response land.

Thank you for contacting eBay about the Claim#5213102547. I appreciate that you did your best to issue the refund to the buyer to settle the issue and asked them for their PayPal email address but the buyer is unresponsive. I am here to help you with this.

Simon, I really feel you because I am a seller as well, I did the same thing as well when I encounter the same situation. This is what I did when I encounter that, I contacted the buyer through eBay messages during weekends because most of the time they are busy during weekdays. I was able to get a respond during that time and sent them a return shipping cost for them to return the item. Kindly give your buyer a benefit of the doubt that they are busy so they were not able to respond to you.

As you can see, before you issue the refund, we have asked you to provide a return label or return shipping cost. The reason for this is because we always want you to be successful as a seller on eBay, so as part of an effort to build trust and engagement with potential buyers, sellers are required to pay for return shipping any time an item is not as described. Being in the selling business, online selling in particular is really tough especially if our customers complain about the item we sold them.

Paying for return shipping is a sign of good customer service. Buyers tend to go back and shop more from seller's who offer returns and pay for return shipping.

As part of our safety measure to protect our sellers, we will continue to run detection systems in the background that identify buyers who abuse the system and take action to deter them from filing returns.

I would like to highlight how accepting returns and providing immediate solution to your buyer will benefit you as a seller:

•         This would not count as a ""case closed without seller resolution"" towards your seller performance standards.
•         PayPal funds for the sale, which were placed on hold when the return was opened, will be released and applied to the refund.
•         Your eBay and PayPal fees will be automatically credited to your account when you issue a refund.
•         You may receive better Feedback and detailed seller ratings as a reflection of your professional behavior.
•         If you offer free returns, regardless of the reason for returning the item, you become eligible for free return protection and can issue less-than-full refunds if the item is returned damaged or with missing pieces.

I trust I've explained why we take this approach. Our experience is that a better returns experience for buyers will ultimately drive more sales for you as a seller.

Thank you for choosing eBay and have a great day!

Sincerely,
Maria N.

eBay Customer Support

Oh FFS. I have already said multiple times that there was no option to provide a return label. The only option the case gave me was to refund the buyer.

And what about the earlier agent who acknowledged that I had described my item correctly? That alone should have invalidated the whole claim and all of this crap.

I message the buyer and request his paypal email address so I can send the shipping cost (more money I will likely lose) so he can return the item. There is no reply.

At this point it's after 11PM and the case is going to expire, so eBay is going to refund the buyer, and just screw me. The only option I have in the case view is to offer a refund, so this is what I do. Now the buyer has the money, and the item, and I am out $40 shipping.

I email support again:

I am beginning to think that these are just all canned responses and there's actually no human reading any of these messages, as the responses are repetitive and not answering my questions. 

How is ebay going to make sure that the buyer returns my item? 

The case time limit forced me to issue the refund as I had no other options. There was no option for me to send only the return shipping cost, either through ebay nor PayPal, as the buyer will not respond to give me his PayPal email address. 

I get this back:

Good day!

Thank you for getting back to us. I understand that you have refunded the buyer even though you have not received the item yet. My name is Desiree and allow me explain how the return process works here in eBay.

When a buyer opens a return request, the seller has 3 business days to respond and provide a resolution to the buyer. If you are not able to work things out with your trading partner, after the third business day, either of you can ask eBay to step in and help.

After asking eBay to step in and help, the most likely scenario is that the seller will be instructed to facilitate the return within 4 days. If you tried to facilitate the return by sending a return label, we will notify the buyer to use the return label provided to return the item. The refund will not be issued until the item is delivered to the seller's return address.

In your situation, you opted to facilitate the return by asking the buyer for their PayPal email address. For this, if the buyer did not respond within the hold period that we have provided, then we will either provide an additional time for the buyer to respond or will notify them to return the item at their cost.

I apologize that you felt that you had no other choice but to refund the buyer due to the hold that was placed on the case. However, this hold period was for you to try and facilitate the return. If they have not responded by the end of the period, we will not hold you at fault for this and the buyer will not get their money back until you received the item.

We will only initiate the refund if you fully did not try to provide any means of return even if we have instructed you and the buyer has provided the necessary information to do so.

Since this case is already closed due to the voluntary refund that you have processed, we can only advise you to continue contacting the buyer to make arrangements for the return of the item. We will not be able to step in on this case since it is already closed.

I hope that you will be able to work things out with the buyer and that you will get your item back soon.

Thank you for choosing eBay and I wish you luck on your future transactions.

Sincerely,

Desiree D.
eBay Customer Support

Oh FFS. I give up. Can nobody read any more? How many times do I have to tell them the same things, including the fact that their case gave me no option to only refund the shipping, and the only option they gave me was to give a full refund?

The next day the buyer responds to my request for his paypal email address so I can send the funds for him to return my item, with:

Isn’t the return authorization and shipment slip down through eBay?

OYG. I am so done with this. I reply:

As the case had been escalated there was no option for me to do that. The only option I had was to issue a refund.

The eBay support agents told me to ask you for your PayPal email address so I can send you the shipping cost so that you can return the item.

He finally responds and gives me his email address. I use the USPS website and calculate that it will cost $17.25 USD to send it back via the cheapest method. Sending this to the buyer via PayPal costs me $27 CAD once the exchange rate is done and PayPal puts their BS fees on top.

So right now, I have no item, no payment, I have paid $40 to mail the item to San Diego, and have sent the buyer another $30 to send it back, which eBay will do nothing about if he does not, leaving me $70 out of pocket plus the $100 value of the item.

If I manage to get it back, and sell it again to someone who can read, and get the $100 for it, then it's down to $30, and then I have to pay eBay 10% of however much it sells for, including the shipping, which in this case was $14, so now I'm down to making $16, if the buyer returns the item, and I can sell it again.

What a great experience eBay! Have a great day!

Holy fuck. Just when I thought this was over, buyer responds..

eBay requires to send the return product insured. Please add the insurance fee to the shipping cost. Please specify the amount you want it to be insured. Also please specify the name of the recipient.

Sigh. I reply.

There is only insurance required when eBay is holding the funds. I have already released them to you, so now you just need to return the item. This is already costing me $70 in shipping so I am not interested in paying even more money to get my item back. I am also not interested in paying PayPal more fees to transfer you more money.

Please send it to me via First-Class Package International Service for $17.25 as I sent you this morning.

And the recipient's name is my name, which is on all of these messages, and my seller name, ie Simon Quigley.

So now we wait for next item of bullshit.

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