I guess my definition of "perfect working condition" must be different.
July 31, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Ebay Help: My phone died and I bought a used one from ebay. The seller listed it as "perfect working condition". Well, it's not. Ebay resolution was no help and now I'm stuck with a phone that barely functions.

The phone is an HTC Evo 4g. It is touch screen only.

When I first got it, I thought maybe I was just getting used to the touch screen. My previous phone was a Samsung Epic 4G which has a slide out keyboard. But after about a week, I realized there were large dead spots that change from day to day. There is something very wrong with this device. You can see these dead areas when using a full screen painting app. They go the length of the phone and are about a 1/4" wide. Sometimes there are two, sometimes one. And the very far left of the screen (or top if in landscape) never works, so I can't ever get P or zero or pick up the shovel in Plants vs Zombies.

The seller contacted me about the same time I noticed this and I told them what was up.

They of course denied any such thing.

I have tried to deal with it and downloaded some various keyboard aps but none fix it. Even swype doesn't work because of the dead areas - it doesn't see that you are swiping over those letters. I can't text without having to go back and forth between landscape and portrait so that I can get all the letters I need. (For example, in portrait, I can't use hit S, P, or zero, but in landscape I can get S but not N .)

Browsing on the web is fun - the screen jumps around when I try to scroll, zooming in and out seemingly at random because I guess the dead spots must make it seems I'm pinching to zoom when I'm really just moving my thumb up and down.

The seller refused any returns or refunds.

I opened a case with Ebay resolution. They denied it saying the device met the description and that I just didn't want the device anymore (??!!!).

I appealed saying that the device is unusable without costly repair. From what I can tell from some forums, it seems like a bad digitizer.

They just now denied that as well. saying they are "sorry you had a problem with your purchase".

I don't understand. How is describing something as "perfect working condition" that is not in perfect working condition not grounds for a refund? I offered to send it back provided I got a refund. It's not like I want to keep this defective thing.

Is there anything else I can do? Or am I just out this money for a phone that barely works? Is there some higher authority at Ebay?

Bonus: What do I do now? I need to get another phone, but I am completely freaked out that I will be out more money because of a similar issue. I can't afford to get a phone off of contract.Selling it won't get me enough to buy a new one because I wouldn't advertise it as perfect - I'd be lucky to get $25 for it.
posted by sio42 to Shopping (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you try PayPal resolution?: https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/security/buyer-protection-resolution
posted by Bushmiller at 8:31 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

yep - they are owned by ebay so it just tells me i've already had a resolution for this transaction and go ask ebay about it.
posted by sio42 at 8:36 AM on July 31, 2012

did you pay paypal via a credit card? Charge it back.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

i used paypal and it says the transaction was via debit. my bank's debit/visa card thing is my payment method.
posted by sio42 at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2012

Have you tried a hard reset of the phone? Longshot, but could help if it's merely a calibration issue.
posted by inigo2 at 8:55 AM on July 31, 2012

i've tried everything. it's not a calibration issue.

i've had several android phones and am familiar with troubleshooting.
i was all XDA and other forums looking for answers.

that's where i discovered the digitizer is most likely the issue. that is a repair i will not attempt myself.

not trying to threadsit but these all seemed like questions that would help other posters with their answers.
posted by sio42 at 8:58 AM on July 31, 2012

How long ago was the transaction? Have you spoken to your bank about possibly reversing the charge?

Make sure you leave a negative feedback for the seller and note that the phone was broken. If you can't get a refund, you might as well warn other people away from making a purchase from them.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:58 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

the payment was made on july 1.

will a bank do that even if it's not a real credit card? do i send him back the device? how does that work?
posted by sio42 at 9:02 AM on July 31, 2012

Yes, your bank will probably allow a chargeback if you used a debit card. Spouse & I have had to do this with our debit cards a couple times over the years. You get the same protections with a Visa/MC debit as credit card. Call your bank, they will probably need you to come in and fill out a form in person and your bank is the only place that can answer questions on how specifics would work in your case.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 9:05 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

just got off the phone with the credit union.

because paypal ran it as a debit even tho i have the card listed as a credit card, there's nothing i can do. the rep even had a long convo with her supervisor about it because she felt bad for me.

paypal and in fact any company can run your credit as a debit without telling you.

also, even if it had gone through the credit side, they can only open a dispute if i had returned the item to the seller. and even that is not a guarantee. so i would have been out of the money and out of the phone (which while not very functional does at least make calls).

so it looks like i'm screwed.

but thanks for everyone's answers. i would not have thought to call the credit union about it.
posted by sio42 at 9:30 AM on July 31, 2012

Welcome to buying electronics on eBay. It is full of crap like this all the time.

Radio Shack has the EVO Shift for $30 new.
posted by k8t at 9:34 AM on July 31, 2012

I suspect your only recourse is to continue to escalate with eBay. Good luck.
posted by misterbrandt at 9:40 AM on July 31, 2012

Can you take the phone into a repair place, the kind with a physical address, and get a diagnosis and estimate to repair in writing? Then submit that document to eBay Resolution and see if that helps them understand that the phone is not in perfect working condition.
posted by jamaro at 9:47 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Complaint to BBR. They will take it up. Also if you want based on the facts, you could file a suite in small claims court.
posted by pakora1 at 9:55 AM on July 31, 2012

$30 evo shift - i'm going to assume that's with a contract or for a no-contract phone. i'm in a contract til march. (2 yr contract) if it's not, do you have a link? i couldn't find it on the site.

i've already gone thru the appeals process with ebay. unless there is a way to contact them directly outside of the resolution stuff. i guess i could contact ebay and ask if a written documentation of the damage would be helpful but they have already said twice they won't do anything.

the only place that will give do physical repairs in my area is at least an hour away and they are so backed up i'd have to leave my phone there for a few days, which i can't do. (i had tried to get my old phone fixed before it completely died and this was the situation then and that was just to get someone to look at it. something about only certain places are authorized to do physical repairs in certain markets. the guy at the sprint place was as nice as could be and wanted to help, but couldn't do anything.)
posted by sio42 at 10:08 AM on July 31, 2012

Have you tried calling eBay? It's hard to find a phone # for them but once you find the page that it's on, it's pretty easy to get through to them. They give you a PIN # to enter when you call, so they know who you are.

Sort of on topic, how much feedback do you have, how long have you been a member, and do you ever sell on the site?

Just wondering because I've been there since '99, have several hundred feedback, and have sold a lot, and when I've had buying disputes they pretty much invariably rule in my favor, including forcibly refunding my money and letting me keep the item a few times. I always assumed their rulings were slightly affected by how much of a revenue stream someone was.

The one thing I do know is that once the dispute resolution is considered closed, they will not reopen it.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:26 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Er, also, sometimes people are just jerks.

I returned an Android G1 after the return period and after having already given the seller positive feedback. I told him I didn't like it and it was too slow, but oh well I'd just sell it on down the road, and he sent me a prepaid shipping label and refunded my money.

Also had a bike freewheel break a few months after buying it and the seller sent me another one for free when I informed him about it.

Sounds like you were dealing with a jerk.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:28 AM on July 31, 2012

Chargeback via your bank is the way to go.
posted by essexjan at 10:31 AM on July 31, 2012

i only have 5 transactions on ebay ever, 100% rating.

he has 47, like a 97% rating.
posted by sio42 at 10:41 AM on July 31, 2012

You have to file a dispute with PayPal first. You can escalate the dispute to a PayPal claim within 20 days of opening the dispute.

Read this carefully: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=xpt/CaseManagement/customerservice/EducationIdentifyIssue
posted by Bushmiller at 10:50 AM on July 31, 2012

(I work for eBay - though not in the Trust and Safety department that handles disputes between buyers and sellers.)

You may be covered under the eBay Buyer Protection Program.

To open a case:

1. Go the Resolution Center.

2. Under "I bought an item", select "I received an item that does not match the seller's description". Click the Continue button.

3. Select the item you purchased. Click the Continue button.

If you have difficulty, you can call:

1. In the top right corner of any eBay page, click on "Customer Support".

2. Click the "Contact eBay" tab.

3. Move your cursor over Selling. Then click on "Listing items". [Even though this is not an accurate description of your concern, it will get you to a page where you can get a phone number.]

5. On the right side of the page, click on "Call Us". You'll be shown the phone number and a time-limited PIN you'll be asked to enter when you call.

You'll probably get an outsourcer in India. Good luck with them.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:56 AM on July 31, 2012 [6 favorites]

i already filed with Ebay, they denied, i appealed, they denied.

i tried to go thru paypal, they said i had already had a resolution on this case via ebay and gave me a link to Ebay.

i'll try calling the number later tho. thanks for that info. do you have any idea if having documentation from a repair place would help at all?
posted by sio42 at 11:01 AM on July 31, 2012

Login into paypal and then visit this page https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/helpscr?cmd=_help&t=escalateTab

Get a pass code number to talk to a person. Tell them the item you purchased is not working as described. Tell them it is broken. Ask them how to escalate. Your purchase is guaranteed with PayPal protection. Do it now.
posted by Bushmiller at 11:10 AM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]

do you have any idea if having documentation from a repair place would help at all?

Unless your appeal was denied to insufficient documentation, that probably won't make a difference. If you call, see if you can get connected to a supervisor in the Trust and Safety department. That's probably your only chance for eBay restitution at this point.

Leave the seller negative feedback. A straightforward comment will hurt them more with other customers than venting would.

Sorry the deal went sour for you.
posted by Egg Shen at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2012

I'd go to Radio Shack and see what they have. I bought a phone outright there and I had to renew my contract but whatevs.
posted by k8t at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2012

Three Indian reps and one American rep later , I got a full refund.

THANK YOU both for telling me to call.

Everyone was very nice all down the line. The last rep said the claim and appeal were denied because it seemed like it started having problems after I got it and I need to test everything right away right away ASAP when I get it. She said as a one time courtesy they eBay would refund me. I thanked and said they can probably tell from history I don't do much on eBay. She kinda laughed and said that was why they were doing the refund as a courtesy but that it would never happen again.

Whew!!! I'll look into getting the screen fixed with the refund.

eBay lesson learned. Test early and often.
posted by sio42 at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]

To be clear, for some reason I don't have to return the phone.

I told the rep I was wary of returning the phone to the seller because I was afraid he would say it was broken upon receipt of the return and wouldn't refund me.

She said it was at this point between me and eBay, so I don't have to return the phone.
posted by sio42 at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2012

« Older Facebook therapy for the soul   |   Background Checks Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.