Sunday, December 1, 2013

Part III: Ebay saddle sellers beware! The outcome

Me riding competing last year in my Vinici
See part I IIIV, and V for the whole saga! for background on the saddle debacle with Ebay, Paypal, and a buyer who I will refer to as *DB.

Paypal has decided I have to refund the money to DB.

DB has had my saddle for five weeks now. She claims my saddle, which was ridden in by me and my trainer up until it was sold, was said to be "unrideable" and "defective" due to slits under the flaps.

The slits she is referring to are either:
  1. The slits that came from the manufacturer
  2. Made by them or a fitter they used
I was present at every adjustment done to this saddle, which was flocked every six months since I've owned it, and it was last flocked in August  2013. That's how I know this.

What shape will it be in?
The ruling was made on November 27, and DB has until December 7 to provide a tracking number for the return. If the saddle does not come back in the condition it was sent, I can file a claim. Yippee. But if the saddle is not in the condition I sent it, you can bet that's what I will do. My biggest fear is that the saddle will come back damaged -- and if you think this is unlikely, read the horror stories from other Ebay transactions on the Ebay and Paypal communities.

Me in my saddle
I'm mystified
DB, or rather her boyfriend or SO, is a first-time Ebayer, and she had weak documentation, from what looks to be a sales person at a consignment shop; she did not communicate with me; she waited a month to file a claim. Me, I've been a good Ebay/Paypal citizen since 1999, with no negative feedback in 500 transactions, and my documentation is from the national distributor for the saddle manufacturer, and from a saddle fitter with 25 years experience. I go out of my way to make sure buyers will be happy with their saddle, and if you look at my interactions with potential buyers, you'll see that I tell people when I don't think the saddle is a good match. The notion that I would knowingly sell a defective saddle is what gives this situation emotional aspects.

The decision
Most people I've spoken to are astonished that buyers can claim "defect" after they've had the saddle a month.  Paypal has some policies that explain how this can happen...
  • Paypal does favor the buyer--now that I've read about changes in their policies over the years, e.g., removing the ability to give negative feedback to buyers, I am astonished at the policy of bias. 
  • Paypal does not put a lot of effort or scrutiny into reviewing claims. There is a thread on COTH where a seller actually had a claim reversed because, after hours of phone calls and correspondence, Paypal admitted that the claim reviewers had not reviewed the documentation.
  • Paypal does not look at the respective track records of the parties. My 500 problem-free transactions versus their one, tangled mess of a transaction where they did not follow standard Paypal practice were not counted.
  • Paypal does not honor the Ebay "no returns" policy that you might set on your Ebay post. 
  • Paypal does not let the seller see the documentation provided by the buyer.
  • Paypal does not accept photos as evidence. I suppose with Photoshop, this is understandable, but it makes it next to impossible to assess what is really going on.
Interestingly, another Ebay saddle seller had an experience very, very similar to mine. Read her story here, and think about the hours of time this dispute took.  For those who want the gory details, I will have a Part IV,. By that time, maybe I will have my saddle.


  1. Sorry to hear you're having no luck with someone (of importance) being on YOUR side in this dispute.I bought a lot on eBay over the years and never had any problem--one pottery piece I bought arrived broken and the buyer took it back and refunded my money (I didn't do PayPal). I was very lucky, in retrospect. Fingers crossed for you and for your saddle to be returned in as good a shape as you sent it out. Sounds to me like DB is a scammer--get a saddle (or whatever), use it for awhile then return it and get a refund. Sort of like someone buying a dress, wearing it, then returning it as new.

  2. I'm so sorry to read about your horrible experience! Ebay used to be such a good place to move items...I guess selling big ticket items has always been risky, but still... I just sold an endurance saddle this summer (not quite as much as yours, but well into 4 figures...) and it took forever for the money to clear Ebay... I had to provide a tracking # and all kinds of stuff before they would release the money to me. I was worried that the buyer would change their mind and they would have the saddle and get their money back... I have a good track record, but only a few sales. Scary business indeed.

    I really hope your saddle comes back in the same shape it went out in... :-S

  3. I'm so sorry for your bad experience and hope that everything works out for you in the end. Thank you for sharing this, as I was not aware of PayPal's procedures and protocol in the event of a return. Good luck to you!

  4. I hope everything works out. My experience over the years with issues like this with large companies is that instead of going up through the chain of command, skip that whole business and go straight to the top, i.e. find out the phone number for the corporate office and ask to speak to the CEO. I am not joking. They will ask if the matter is a complaint but I have said the matter is personal - which it is, to me.

    Things get fixed within a matter of hours.

    I discovered a few years ago that Verizon actually has a team of people who handle issues that come from the top - and they are totally different in terms of how they treat you than when you go from customer service up the chain.

    I learned this many many years ago when I was a poor college student who got shafted by the phone company (back when Southern Bell was the only game in town). I worked in the library at Duke so although it was before Google :) I had access to a fabulous reference department. Sometimes you have to dig for the info but it is out there.

    As a psychotherapist I put this to work for me collecting claims that were owed - in one case an insurance company had not paid me for over a year and I had seen many of their clients - i.e. I had already provided the services but wasn't getting paid for it. That company was sued later on for this exact reason - nonpayment of clinicians - but I managed to get a check for the entire year's worth of claims fed-exed to me overnight - b/c I went straight to the top, demanded to speak to the CEO, and when he was pulled out of a meeting to talk to me he was extremely angry but he also realized that if I had gone to him, I was not going to give up. The check came 18 hours later. I'm the only person I know among all my therapist friends who actually got paid by that company. Sad, but true.

  5. I think that many companies are just giving in and calling it a cost of doing business. My auto insurance company, Allstate, paid a fraudulent claim filed against my auto stating that it had been in an accident in a town about 100 miles away from where I work at a time when I was present at work. Even though it is not my money, it is my record and it irks me no end that they paid up.
    It sounds like very simple buyer's remorse. He bought the saddle; she rode in it for a month and decided she didn't like it or that she wanted a different saddle. I am so sorry that you are paying the price. Coughing up $2200 5 weeks later after the money has been spent would be a huge issue for me. I guess I will never sell anything of any value on Ebay.
    I'm sorry that this may cause others to stop selling saddles on Ebay. I have counted on Ebay to get nice tack and clothing for my daughter that I can't afford to buy new.

  6. I've hated Paypal ever since they refunded almost $500 to a buyer in consideration of items that had been personally delivered. The buyer claimed she didn't authorize the 4 separate transactions; And it didn't matter that we had met the buyer in person several times. Not only did we have a copy of the buyer's drivers license, a signed authorization form of our own confirming the buyer's identity and purchase but, we also had correspondence showing the buyer's request for items and the buyer's satisfaction for items. The most recent transaction which was still processing was canceled and the three(3) previous transactions from weeks prior were reversed/refunded.. Paypal didn't even notify me prior to removing the funds from my paypal account and because I didn't have a tracking number proving that the items were delivered and received, there was no recourse for me to get the items back.
    Also, they froze my account and my xhusband's account indefinitely and refused access to money we had in our paypal accounts for 180 days because both my account and the account that my xhusband took control of (which had originally been mine) had been initially created using the same email address. It didn't even matter that he had changed the email address linked to the old account prior to my registration of my new account which (of course) I had registered for using my primary email address For me, I didn't have access to my money for 6 months and was forced to create a new account but for my xhusband who had been buying and selling for several years using ebay and paypal, he lost all his history and good ratings which he had established


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