I’ve been on E-Bay for some time. My “About Me” page says I started sometime in 2001, but it’s been much longer. I discovered the site in early ’98 I believe but probably became serious enough about in ’01. I’ve been on both ends of the deal countless times being a huge video game fanatic. That 3,500 game collection always seems to need one more new addition. Oh, and all those doubles I keep buying need to be sold as well.
Of course, not everything can go smoothly. Sometimes bidders won’t pay, I forget to pay (yeah, I did it once), and then other times absolutely EVERYTHING goes wrong. This is the saga of one month of my E-Bay dealings, easily the worst I’ve ever experienced. I will not use names or ID’s since the stories tell themselves just fine without them. Besides, after how some of the deals have went, I very well may get sued for mentioning them.
Idiot seller #1: I’ve been looking for a cheap baseball game for the PS One. I never liked the Triple Play series so I decide to go for Bases Loaded ’96, the first baseball game on the console. I’ve always enjoyed the series since it’s days on the NES all the way through to this final game in the series, this version here on the Playstation system.
So, there is only one listed on E-bay. The opening bid is a meager $.50 and the game is complete with box and instructions. His shipping is on the high side, $4.50, but this is a “long box” Playsation game. These are bulkier and bigger so the cost is OK as far as I’m concerned. He also states that he will never combine shipping and that insurance is required on everything he sells. Ok, fine, he’s a jerk as far as the combining shipping is concerned but I’m only buying one game.
The auction ends at the starting bid price of $.50. I pay immediately through Paypal. After a few days, the game arrives….in a plain manila envelope with no additional packing material. It’s a miracle it made it to my home unscathed. Even worse, he sends it “Media Mail” which cost him a meager $1.08 (or something close to this). Then, as if it this wasn’t bad enough, he never insured it. He requires it, yet he doesn’t provide the service.
I E-mail him with all of my concerns. He is quick to reply with something like “all terms in auction are final. i pay people to package, tape, head to the post office and other things.” Ok, this guy isn’t an English major, but I can live with that. So, I whip up another E-mail demanding my insurance money ($1.05) back since it was uninsured. I also tell him that if he actually pays for people to drop a game into a plain manila envelope without any material, he has a very poor business model. Am I being picky? Sure. Note that for $4.50 he could have went to any US Postal Service location, get free, sturdy, Priority Mail boxes and slapped the game inside of that. It would have come much quicker and would have cost around the stated shipping price in the auction (and this is how I assumed it was coming).
The E-mail comes back to me. He blocked my E-mail address. Well, I wasn’t done complaining and this is no way to deal with a paying customer. I head over to E-Bay and use the “Ask seller a question” function. I add a note to my returned E-mail telling him how his customer service is and send it off. I also report him to E-Bay and request a refund from Paypal. He gives me a negative feedback the next day claiming I file false complaints against him. I of course return the favor. Also note I was not the only one to complain about his shipping practices or insurance. In fact, he has over 70 negatives on the same subject. Sadly, the complaints I filed through Paypal were denied, but I really didn’t expect them to go through. I never received a response from E-Bay.
Idiot #2: This guy only becomes an idiot towards the end. I purchase a Neo Geo AES cart called “Dunk Dream.” It’s a fairly valuable cart and I end up winning it for $50. He obviously did not know what he had since his description stated many erroneous facts about the game. It’s probably why I got it so cheap. So the game comes well packed and costs very near to his asking price for shipping. I’m happy.
Happy, that is, until the game entered my console. It’s not actually Dunk Dream. The box says Dunk Dream, the cart has a sticker for Dunk Dream, but the actual insides of the cart have been switched. It plays Nam ’75 (a much less desirable game) instead of the basketball game I so wanted. I’ve run into this problem before with some Genesis carts, but never on the Neo Geo.
Now, I know it’s not this guy’s fault. He really had no idea what he had. I send him a very polite E-mail stating the situation and try my best to explain what exactly the problem is. He replies in a timely manner and says to send it back for a full refund. Great! I wrap it back up and slap a delivery confirmation sticker on it so I can track it. The game arrived at his location almost 2 weeks ago and I have not heard a word. I’ve sent him 2 E-mails and the only response I got was “I’ll get the game tomorrow” and that was about a week and a half ago. For a $50+ refund, this is ridiculous.
Idiot #3: Me. Yeah, me. I screwed up. I’m an E-Bay idiot. I win an Amiga CD game “Fightin’ Spirit” from E-Bay for about $20. It’s in the UK as most games for the console are. I pay, of course, immediately through Paypal. The game gets here within reasonable time. I tear open the packaging, pop it into the console, and start playing. Everything works great.
I head over to the site and leave him positive feedback. Later in the day, I come to find out the game is a CD-R. A copy. A burned, illegal copy. I’m furious. I had never actually seen an Amiga CD game before so it didn’t hit me immediately. I noticed the “CD-R” imprint on the inner ring of the disc. I send him an extremely nasty E-mail. I got taken on this one and wasn’t going to stand for it.
He E-mails me back in a few days with “All of that companies games are like that.” Ok, yeah, sure they are. Well, to be perfectly honest, he was right. I did some research, and sure enough, he was telling the truth. I felt terrible but just couldn’t bring myself to apologize. I didn’t think I had a chance to make ammends and just let it go. Thankfully, he left me a positive and the deal went ok. I’m sure I’ll get around to writing something to him, but I feel terrible right now (you should have seen the E-mail I sent).
To my credit, his auction is extremely deceiving making it even harder to believe. You would think he would save himself the agony and state something about the games origins in the description. Also, his feedback was private and was only about 95% with 30 or so negatives.
Idiot #4: I agree to sell an Atari Jaguar system for my friend. In return, I got a few new games to add to my collection. Fast forward to the final day of the auction. With just over an hour left to go, the current high bidder sends me an E-mail along the lines of “I’ve spent too much this week and can’t pay. Can you cancel my bid?”
Simply put, no, I won’t cancel your bid. It’s not my fault nor is it my responsibility to do this. Since he is new to E-bay (his feedback rating is a meager 2) I tell him to look under help and learn how to retract your bid. He replies quickly and says “Just sell it to the second high bidder.” No, it doesn’t work this way. I begin to get frustrated and replay to tell him that if he ends up being the high bidder, it is his responsibility to pay. Either cancel your bid or pay the price. His quick reply is “I can’t cancel my bid. The auction only has one hour to go. It won’t let me.”
Yeah, NOW it has a hour to go. It didn’t twenty minutes ago when you started all of this. I E-mail him again and basically repeat what I said before. You have to pay; it’s really that simple. I don’t hear from him until auction end. He sends me a note saying that if shipping isn’t $15-$20 (shipping would be determined based on location and weight of the package) he can pay, but only if I give him a total that night. It was 9:30 PM, I was tired, and I simply did not care at this point. I told him that I couldn’t get a shipping quote without his address and was not about to do all of the work required that night. I would get everything together Monday and get back to him once I had his address. He quickly E-mailed me his address. I send him a shipping quote and have yet to hear from him yet in any form.
So, that’s a bad month for an E-Bayer. A REAL bad month. In fact, I’d say it was the worst month I’ve ever had on the site. Nearly every transaction went wrong in some way for me and the struggle has continued into the new month. Will it ever end? Probably not. There’s too much stuff on E-Bay to pass up. These are of course nightmare transactions and there are millions of good ones everyday. I just happen to get all the nasty ones.
Originally posted at Breaking Windows.