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Corvette Side Pipe ebay/PayPal Saga

By Mike Manley

After being an eBay buyer for several yrs. with 100% feedback I decided one day to sell an item that had been stored in my attic for around 40 yrs. The item was a set of corvette side pipe covers that I had bought in 1965 for a Corvette that I owned at that time.  I had bought them new from a Chevrolet dealer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.   I never got around to putting them on the car. Although they were 40 year old they had never been used. They had a few scratches from being moved around. I took close-up pictures (20x zoom) of the scratches.

I found my way to eBay’s seller page and proceeded to spare no cost with all the eBay options and enter the item for sale. Because I wanted the item to have maximum exposure I opted to sell on Sun. night at 7p.m. Pacific Time. This meant that I had a wait of almost a week before the auction started a 7-day advertising cycle that would end on Sunday evening.  I must have spent 20 hours perfecting my description & pictures before the item was posted.  I didn’t want to be accused of misrepresentation.  I went to great lengths to accurately describe the item.   I spent at least 1 hour a night cutting and pasting my message and auction page to every corvette owners around the world that I could find.

The item sold as well as I had hoped with numerous bidders and a final price of around a thousand dollars. After the auction I wrote the winning bidder and congratulated him. I had an empty feeling about the seller because of his lack of email response, but he did pay by PayPal the next day and I began preparations for shipping. I had an employee who was a carpenter and we spent a half a day building a wooden crate to ensure safe shipping. Because it was my first item on eBay to sell I wanted it to be right and not have problems.  Well guess what? Did I ever have problems!

It took about a week for the item to reach New Jersey from Oklahoma and every day I would track the shipping.  The day the item reached the buyer I received an email from him saying that the item was obviously used and he demanded his money back. I could not believe what I was reading.  I called the guy and said you have got to be kidding me.
He said no he wanted to return the item. Being my first item ever sold on eBay and my commitment to “no unhappy campers” I told him that I would take the item back if he would pay the shipping and the eBay/PayPal charges and insurance for the item.

After thinking about the matter I was devastated. I had spent hours taking pictures, writing and rewriting the description, trying to accurately describe the item, emailing hundreds of people only to be told that the buyer wanted to return the item. I didn’t hear another word from the guy and had about decided that the guy had come around to deciding to keep the item.  NOT SO. Sometime around 2-3 weeks later I get a knock on the door.  Guess who?  UPS Man. Hello I have returned your box.   If I had only refused delivery I would have been sooo much better off (I think). I know this story is long, but I want you viewers who have been interested enough in my story to read this far to know the journey I went through just to get to the part of my story where eBay/PayPal (no support team) comes into play and the problems began. A few days later I receive a notice of a dispute filed by the buyer wanting a full refund including all shipping. (Around $50.00 each way).

Well the time line grows long here with attempt after attempt to reach a live person to explain the terms under which I agreed to return the item. Canned response being the only response I could ever receive from eBay/PayPal.

The short of the story is that PayPal eventually refunded the full amount to the buyer including shipping and apparently I am being stuck with all shipping and eBay/PayPal charges along with the fact that the item was not insured when it was returned and did have a small dent on one of the pipes (which I failed to notice at that time the item was returned).

I had long since taken the money out of my confirmed PayPal account and spent it.  After being notified that I had a negative balance in my PayPal account I called my bank and credit card co. and advised them not to honor anything from PayPal/eBay, but just received my credit card bill yesterday and had the eBay charges on it.

I disputed the item with my credit card company, but am wondering what is coming next and from whom. I have notified my bank and credit card companies not to accept debits from eBay/PayPal, but suspect that eventually I will be stuck with the whole enchilada.  I cannot even close my PayPal account because of the negative balance.  I did send them today a “Cease and Desist” notice by certified mail to not attempt to debit any of my accounts, but don’t know if they will
honor it.

PayPal is really misleading you when they tell you that you need to be a confirmed PayPal member.  It scares me to death to think that they have my checking account number.  They lost a good customer when they lost me and I will be one of their biggest adversaries. EBay reminds me of the computer “Hal” in the movie 2001 Space Odyssey.  You would have to have seen the movie to appreciate the similarities (the computer took over command of the space ship).  Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

Posted: May 7, 2012 at 6:28 am

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