dealing with Ebay seller about problem
March 19, 2013 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Bought Ebay lot of 5 books -- one was water-damaged. What recompense should I ask for?

So I got what looked like a good deal on 5 graphic novels -- $32.77 + $12.90 shipping for 5 books described as being in excellent condition. Individually, used copies in good condition go for about $22 for 2 of them, and about $8 for the rest. Trouble is, after shipping the seller emailed "Oh, by the way, I only just noticed that [one of the $22 ones] has some water damage. Let me know if that's a problem."

So, yeah, it has enough water damage to make it un-resellable (something I often do with graphic novels I'm done with), and as a bonus, the other $22 one and one of the others have creased covers, definitely worse than excellent condition.

The seller has acknowledged the problem and is asking me to suggest something; I'm not sure what's fair here, so I'm asking you all for help. What should I ask for?
posted by Zed to Work & Money (15 answers total)
 
Ask for a $13 dollar refund. (The cost of each book, split equally is $6.50. $6.50 x 2 = $13)

Provided you get the refund, leave positive feedback. Make a note that books were not in condition stated but seller worked with you to find a solution.
posted by royalsong at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know why you wouldn't ask for at least a $15.67 refund - the difference between the price you paid and the $30 they are worth assuming the value you listed includes shipping cost. I think that overstating the condition of books online is a pernicious problem that sellers deliberately do because they know they'll get away with it.

For what it's worth, whenever I receive an overstated quality book (this generally happens for me with notes in textbooks, which quality guidelines are very unambiguous about), I insist on a fully paid refund with return shipping. A partial refund just encourages sellers to overstate their quality because they either get paid more than the book is worth if you don't complain or what the book is worth if you do complain, which is a net gain for them.
posted by saeculorum at 10:40 AM on March 19, 2013


I'd leave neutral feedback, not positive. Part of selling on ebay is accurately listing your goods.

You should ask for a refund of however much you would have paid had you known up front what the condition of the goods were. If you honestly would not have bought them at all, ask for a full refund and work from there.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2013


It seems like you have a good feel for the market, so you could ask for the difference between what you'd have been able to resell the books for if they were in the described condition and what you will actually be able to resell them for in the condition received.

It sounds like you thought you were getting $68 worth of books but you only got, let's say $31 (assuming you can resell the two books with creased covers for $11 and $4 respectively, half of the excellent condition price). So you would be looking at a full refund. You aren't going to get that without sending the books back.

IIWY I would probably ask for a couple bucks to make up the difference between the $31 you got and the $33 you paid, plus a little more to cover eBay and Paypal seller fees so that you still break even when you resell the books.
posted by payoto at 10:44 AM on March 19, 2013


I would ask for a full refund, including shipping. Offer to send them back if the seller pays return shipping. The seller may decline.

eBay sellers need to be accurate in their descriptions and post clear pictures. This seller might be learning this the hard way; that's not really your problem.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2013


Also, I buy and sell on ebay regularly.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:00 AM on March 19, 2013


Emailed you after shipping? That's dishonest and they should have contacted you before shipping. I think they're lying about not realizing the condition of the books. Definitely do not give them positive feedback. This is probably something they pull on people all the time.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:02 AM on March 19, 2013


And I'm with insectosaurus on the money aspect.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:04 AM on March 19, 2013


Emailed you after shipping? That's dishonest and they should have contacted you before shipping.

It is possible that the seller printed a shipping label and only noticed the book's condition when packing the books for shipping. Printing a label through Paypal triggers an instant shipment confirmation email to the buyer, even if the seller doesn't intend to ship right away.
posted by payoto at 11:27 AM on March 19, 2013


The water damage isn't obvious from any view of the outside of the book except the bottom edge. I believe the seller could have listed the books unaware of it, and could have not noticed until wrapping the books for shipment (after printing the shipping label), just as the seller claims.
posted by Zed at 12:24 PM on March 19, 2013


I don't think it matters when the seller noticed the damage. The books are not as described; thus, you get a full refund if you want one. If the seller wants to avoid this kind of problem, he should inspect items very carefully or sell in person instead.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:37 PM on March 19, 2013


Get a full refund. Return the product. Don't deal with partial anything.
posted by bensherman at 3:15 PM on March 19, 2013


Thank you all for your advice. I've asked for a full refund and offered to ship the books back for the cost of shipping.
posted by Zed at 3:25 PM on March 19, 2013


FYI, I totally wouldn't ask for a full refund - I would ask for about 1/3-2/3 refund around what you would be willing to pay for them in their current condition.

Also a frequent buyer and seller on ebay.
posted by arnicae at 5:29 PM on March 19, 2013


I would just ask for ten bucks. Nice round number. Makes it easy, seems fair to me.
posted by Slinga at 8:07 PM on March 19, 2013


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