How can I salvage a bad sell on eBay?
August 18, 2010 3:47 AM Subscribe
My first sale on eBay was a new and unused mobile phone. Turns out that (unknown to me) it wasn’t new and has been used before. This is starting to turn into a bit of a disaster for an eBay virgin and threatens to tar me with a poor sellers rating. Can seasoned eBay’ers please give me some advice!
I sold a mobile phone I had lying around the house on eBay. It had been opened, but I’d never turned it on and was given to me by my boss as a present over a year ago. As such, I marked it as “New, unused” and indicated in the description that it had only been opened once to check the contents (which my boss had done and I repeated prior to putting it up for sale). After some heated bidding, it went for a pretty reasonable price. I received the PayPal payment from the winning bidder and posted it off to them. All seemed fine.
Unfortunately the bidder (lets call him “Bob”) emailed me to tell me that although he’d received the phone, the item definitely wasn’t “New, unused” as he’d turned it on and it contained text messages and contacts. I never turned on the phone before I sold it because (a) I never needed to and (b) I was under the impression it had never been used so I didn’t need to turn it on. In hindsight, that was probably a stupid thing to think, but I am where I am. At a guess, my boss turned on the phone, used it for a short period of time, turned it off and gave it to me.
I don’t really have any reason not to trust Bob. He has an excellent rating, his email was perfectly polite and he asked for a replacement. I responded apologising, saying that I thought it was new, had never turned it on myself and that he could return it for a full refund if he wanted. That was yesterday and I’m waiting for his response.
Assuming that he decides to return the phone, I’m not really sure what my next steps should be. Because I’m a new seller, Paypal are holding the money until they get positive confirmation from the buyer.
PayPal indicate that his money will be released on 25th August but I don’t know how true that is because it’s highly unlikely he’ll give me a positive review. I’m not sure whether he should retract his payment or whether I can persuade him to let it clear before I return him the money. Given that he thinks I’ve just tried to pull a fast one, I am under no illusion that he probably trusts me very little.
I have no idea how I can refund him without having to pony up my own money and hope that PayPal clear the money he's sent me. This is compounded by the fact that if he leaves me a negative rating, I'm not sure whether I'll ever see the money from PayPal.
Talking of ratings, I'm assuming that it is highly likely he'll leave me negative feedback because he thought he was buying something new and unused. Which not only means that it's unclear whether PayPal will release my money but also means that my selling history (of 1 item) will have a 100% negative score. Hardly a ringing endorsement of me when I come to sell other stuff.
Given that the money is still being held by PayPal and won’t be released until late next week, that I need to refund Bob whilst persuading him not to assume I’m pulling a fast one and that I really need to avoid him giving me a bad rating for my first ever transaction – what can I do and what can I ask him to do to make the best of a pretty bad situation?