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eBaying at the Moon

9 - 13 -04

By Kimberly Campbell

Sometimes there is no justice. People can be negligent in their obligations and the good guys have to pay the price with no recourse. A couple months ago, I was looking at eBay for a cell phone faceplate to "dress up" my plain-Jane cell phone. I found one I liked and bought it with the "Buy it now" option. The cost…$2.99. Of course, there is the shipping; add another $5.95. This raised my total to $8.94. In spite of the inflated shipping charges, I chose to look at $8.94 as a deal because I have priced these things at the mall, and depending on how fancy they get, can range from about $20 to $25.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks. My package comes in the mail and I am excited to trade my boring plain-Jane cell phone cover for a nice, new, shiny "chrome red", as the color was called. I opened the box, and there was the beautiful chrome red faceplate I was waiting for. My joy evaporated when I found they had sent a faceplate for the wrong phone model. Uggghhh!!! I immediately emailed the company and explained the error and requested info on how to return the purchase at no expense to me (as it was their mistake), and get the correct one. They emailed the instructions for returning it, but failed to include anything about how I can do it at no expense to myself. Still, I followed their instructions and shipped it back. Add another $3.24 shipping cost.

Fast forward 3 or 4 more weeks. I still have no faceplate and am out $12.18. I wanted to call a customer service number for this company, so I requested and received their number from eBay. Turns out it is a bogus phone number. I tried to find a customer service number for eBay. Nonexistent. Then I went to Square Trade, which is an on-line mediator service used by eBay customers in this kind of situation. I went through all the steps and even explained in great detail what the problem was. After going through all the steps requested, it came time to click the "submit" button. It was ONLY at this point that it said there is a $20 fee for the mediation service and do I want to continue? Excuse me, $20 for a $12.18 item? That would push this “little” $2.99 faceplate purchase to $32.18!!! Of course, I did not click "submit".

I may be wrong, but I thought that when someone takes your money and does not give you the goods in return, that is called STEALING, and is illegal. The way this eBay system is set up, this will end up being one more case of the good guy finishing last and the criminal getting away with the crime.

I should have gone to the mall.


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