Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fighting with shady eBay sellers


I'm disappointed Amazon is not yet offering an International version of Kindle DX. I'm disappointed Plastic Logic is not delivering a product, just the name (QUE) is not enough to me. So I decided to get a U.S. Kindle DX and, as Amazon is not selling it overseas I thought eBay was a good place to get one.

After a few days I saw that, from time to time, some sellers offered refurbished units. I read good comments on Mobileread.com and Lectoreselectronicos.com about refurbished units (i.e. look brand new, 18% off) for $399 so I was sold.

I bought one DX from a seller named iRebates after contacting with a previous buyer who have had a good experience and was based in Spain too. That seller had a good reputation with more than three thousand successful transactions. It all looked ok. So I shelled out the dough and sat down and waited. And then waited a bit more and essentially nothing else happened. Three days later I asked the seller about my shipment. I was told it had not happened yet.

After more than one week without news from the seller I emailed him. Nothing happened. So a few days later I emailed again. Same result.

By that time seller still had listed items on eBay and feedback was coming in. However the amount of negative feedback started to show a steep increment. Things were looking really bad and still no news from the seller. Time to file a PayPal dispute.

When you file a PayPal dispute, PayPal contacts the seller/buyer to set the record straight. Later, if you're unhappy you can escalate the dispute to a claim. This time however, I was only allowed to file a claim (I guess something was already going on regarding this particular seller and PayPal).

Next day I've got a message from PayPal stating my money was refunded. Good, at least I'm not burned. However, I was left unharmed but without my Kindle. By then, iRebates had no more products listed for sale on eBay.

Things can always get worse, so next day I received an automated message from eBay stating that the seller had filed an Unpaid item case against me (actually it seems he did this with many customers). Two eBay customer representatives later I learned they could do nothing to help me at the moment. Though I was told to respond I never found out what I could do to respond. I think it is a loophole in eBay system what allows a seller who received payment to file such a claim.

Maybe the seller was trying to frighten customers with an eventual Unpaid item strike if they left negative feedback. However negative feedback was the only possible outcome of this shopping experience.

So I thought it was time to disturb some of my friends in the states asking them to forward a package from Amazon to Spain. But what if there is any problem.

Eventually I settled with a company doing the forwarding work. I reviewed both MyUS.com and Shipito.com and I used the latter. Now I now Amazon's partner seller has already shipped my DX to my address in California. Hopefully I 'll get it home in a few more days.

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