Ebay's money back guarantee didn't deliver

The sofa and chair I bought were so shabby I sent them right back, but I can only get a refund on one

I won an auction on eBay to buy a settee and matching armchair in November 2013. I immediately paid the seller £2,390 via PayPal. This consisted of £1,600 for the settee and £790 for the armchair, which were both listed as separate items.

When they arrived in a van (from Harrogate) I could see immediately, just by looking through the van’s door, that they were of very poor quality and did not fit the beautiful description or the flattering photographs on the listings at all; they looked like something you’d find in a skip. I asked the driver to take the items back to the seller. After unsuccessfully demanding £260 for delivery, he eventually drove away, taking the goods – which had never been taken out of the van – with him.

I immediately told eBay everything that had happened. It said I had done the right thing, and it opened a dispute between myself and the seller.

Shortly afterwards, eBay sent me a refund – but for the armchair only. Ever since, I have been trying to get back the other £1,600. But after about 30 phone calls and emails between myself and eBay, nothing has happened.

I understand that the seller threatened to withdraw his trade from eBay if he lost this case against me, but surely it should be the other way round? This experience has made me very stressed, and I feel very let down. I feel I’ve been defrauded of £1,600, and that eBay is unwilling to rectify it. IS, Greenwich, London

According to its website, eBay’s “money back guarantee” covers more than 99% of listings when you pay with PayPal. The promise – fundamental to its operation – is that buyers are entitled to a full refund if the item they bought turns out not to be “as described”. Some listings are excluded – namely vehicles, property, businesses for sale, and digitally delivered goods or services – but furniture is very much included. On the face of it, your claim should have been straightforward.

On that basis, we asked eBay/PayPal to explain why it had not refunded you the considerable sum of £1,600. Happily, it has now decided that it should have repaid you in full when the original dispute occurred.

However, it has declined to say why your original claim was refused, except that “it was an error on our part and has not upheld the high customer service standards that we adhere to”.

In the meantime, you are delighted to be able to put the matter behind you, especially as you almost gave up hope of seeing the £1,600 again.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number

Miles Brignall

The GuardianTramp

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