Ebay won't help seller over missing iPad

Ebay has refunded buyer who claimed iPad never arrived – even though seller has proof of postage

I won an iPad in a design competition and decided to sell it to raise funds for my wedding, and we did so on 30 June using eBay.

We dispatched the item to the buyer using special delivery, insured to the value of £500, and the receipt we were given by Royal Mail shows the weight of the item as 1.491kg. However, the buyer opened a case against us stating that we had sent him an empty box.

Royal Mail said that it would investigate if the packaging was sent back for examination. At first the buyer was fine with this; then after a variety of excuses he said he would only comply if we gave him a full refund. This we were reluctant to do before Royal Mail had had a chance to investigate.

Ebay asked us to send proof of identity, proof of address and proof of postage. This we duly did, but the next day we heard from eBay that it had given the buyer a full refund because he had been to the police and obtained a crime report (he hadn't, he had been to Action Fraud and got a reference number, which anyone can do without supporting evidence).

In total we have requested 13 times via email for the buyer to send the packaging back and eBay and Royal Mail have made direct requests, which he has ignored. We appealed against eBay's ruling in his favour and this has been rejected, because the buyer has an Action Fraud number.

I called the buyer myself to try to reason with him and he told me that he is a business that buys and sells iPads, whereas in our original correspondence he said he bought the iPad for his brother's birthday.

We have provided eBay with everything it has asked us for, whereas it seems the buyer has provided nothing but an Action Fraud number. The £362 was supposed to pay for my wedding dress and is now gone. VC, Colchester, Essex

Despite eBay's reassuring FAQ's on seller protection it would seem that not the slightest effort was made to investigate your case properly. Nor do my attempts to stir it into action have any effect. Five weeks after I raise your issues it responds lamely that sellers should use a tracked, insured delivery service (you did) and that the buyer had provided "evidence" in the form of a police report (he hadn't).

The fact that your proof of postage shows that the parcel weighed considerably more than an empty box, and that the buyer has refused to cooperate in the dispute resolution process, appears irrelevant to eBay.

When I point this out there's a sudden last-minute change of heart. 'It is clear we did not live up to our usual high standards,' says the same spokesman.

He explains awaiting third-party investigations from delivery companies would take too long, but that if you submit a police report about your loss eBay will bear the cost of the fiasco.

If you need help email Anna Tims at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Please note that Anna cannot respond to letters individually.


Anna Tims

The GuardianTramp

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