Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Update: Ebay, part V: Let the seller beware

 For background see parts I, II, and III, and IV of the Ebay Chronicles...

 Update: another expert
I'm sending the saddle to the only saddler on the East Coast that can open up the saddle without voiding the warranty -- in Connecticut. I'm afraid the buyer tried to widen the saddle, and there might be tree damage. We will know soon.

The history of the claim and documentation, in gory detail
As part of the dispute process, each party is asked to provide proof of their respective claims.

Paypal would not provide me a copy (!) of the buyer documentation, but I browbeat the Paypal rep into reading it to me and describing it. There were two docs...
  • The first document came from a NJ warehouse-type tack sales and consignment shop -- one that does not employ a saddle fitter. It stated that there were slits in the side under the stirrup bar that could cause the wool stuffing to fall out. The document was hard to read, hand-written, and  unsigned. They referred to my saddle as a County saddle -- not the correct manufacturer. It supported the view that the saddle was defective, and I don't think the Paypal folks "got it" that the person who wrote it was likely a salesperson, and not a saddle fitter. 
  • The buyer also had a letter from a woman who lives in NY -- no credentials -- saying that she has a BC Vinici that does not look like mine. Wow. Powerful! Paypal did not consider this document b/c it was not on letterhead.
My documentation
I provided three main documents:
  • One from Trumbull Mountain Saddlery, the distributor for Black Country. The co-owner, a saddle fitter,  typed up a description of the slits, confirmed they appear around where the buyer indicates they are, and confirms they are part of the saddle's design. Images of the slits on a brand new saddle were attached (I don't think Paypal accepts images). They signed it, provided their saddle fitting credentials, and provided an 800 number for additional questions. I can't thank Trumbull Mountain enough for providing this documentation, they had no reason to go to the trouble, other than being nice people.
  • One from my regular saddle fitter, who's been in the business for twenty-five years, stating pretty much the same thing and adding that he worked on the saddle new, and stated that it was in its original condition as late as August 2013. Thanks also to my saddle fitter.
  • I sent a document stating  my concern about their lack of communication and the length of time that elapsed from the receipt of the saddle to their complaint, twenty-five days. I shared that I felt this might be a case of buyer's remorse due in part by failure to ask reasonable and common questions about the saddle prior to purchase. I also expressed concern that they may have had the saddle modified or adjusted and been unhappy with the outcome.

Hard lessons learned
In short, Paypal has many of the controls over your money that a bank does, with none of the regulatory protections or accountabilities to their clients. As bad as my experience was, I go onto the Ebay and Paypal sites to read situations far more dramatic, and willfully scammy, than mine.

If you get in this situation, here are a few tips, per Paypal reps...
  • Documentation is discarded if it is not on company letterhead.
  • Paypal will be more likely to rule in the buyer's favor if you state you do not accept returns.
  • Photos are not used/allowed in the claims process.
  • Once damage is ruled upon, you can't escalate the claim or appeal on that damage.
  • Other tips for BUYERS are informative for sellers to know, see here.
More updates later. Thanks for listening.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I caught this story from Horsenation and have to say, it is an eye full. Rarely have I bought from eBay (never sold). I had two bad experiences as a buyer the turned me pretty much off the process. Paypal is even worse and I try to not use them in any way.

    I am curious, since it sounds like you got the short end of this, can you not sure the buyer in small claims and recoup some loss of value. I would think that the court has more room for discovery and evidence.

    Quite a story. Take care,



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