eBay buyer complaint on BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox Live

money backWe’ve all seen this graphic all over eBay. It’s a scheme I like and it’s exactly the sort of thing that inspires buyer confidence. And we’re all in favour of that.

But a caller on Moneybox Live yesterday on Radio 4 showed how even a reasonably diligent buyer, trading with a business seller with a decent track record, can come a cropper with eBay seemingly washing their hands of the case. Check out the BBC audio at 1m 45 or so. (UK residents only.)

In short, a buyer has bought some speakers for a tidy sum that don’t work. He paid by PayPal, collected them himself and they turn out to be faulty. After communications with eBay customer support in Ireland it seems that there is no help they can offer the buyer and they have stopped responding to his emails.

What’s not clear is whether the seller has said he is willing to take the speakers back and issue a refund. And there may be other things we don’t know. And, of course, we don’t know who the seller is (except that it was a business seller with decent feedback). And there seems to be a quibble about the costs of returning the speakers too.

Now, personally I wouldn’t have spent such a sum on untested goods. But this buyer has and also collected the purchase in person which appears to be the rub. This eBay page though doesn’t say explicitly that collected goods are not covered (although it is implied). Also, on the more detailed page it doesn’t make that all that explicitly clear either.

Cases like this are rarely clear cut, and there may be stuff we don’t know, but even so I’m not sure eBay have done their money back guarantee justice in this case.

But most of all, the worst bit is, that eBay here is cast in a poor light as both a marketplace and an organisation. The buyer is now in a position where he is going to the Financial Ombudsman on the advice of the experts on the panel for some sort of recourse. And that seems fairly ludicrous.

What do you make of it?