Radio-Mart was high bidder on a Heathkit HR-1680 I sold on Ebay. I went to some trouble to fully test the radio before listing on Ebay and I gave a detailed description of its operation, noting scratchiness of the volume potentiometer at 1 o'clock...etc. The radio was working very well when I sent it to Radio-Mart.
After having the radio for 2 weeks Martyn demanded his money back claiming that the radio was significantly not as described, it was blowing fuses he said. By then I had read eHam postings regarding Radio-Mart, and I didn't trust him.
I replied that the radio was clearly listed "AS-IS" and that the "no returns" policy was clearly noted as well.
Radio-mart replied, outside the Ebay system, as follows: "Ok here we go, I tried the nice approach first...Can’t say I didn’t try to be nice".
Within moments I received a dispute notification from PayPal. PayPal removed the funds from my account to hold them until the dispute could be resolved.
Moments later I received negative feedback from Radio-Mart: BEWARE AVOID THIS SELLER, Arrived Dead Blowing Fuses, Seller Refused Refund. That is the first negative feedback I received as a seller in nine years of casual Ebay selling.
After spending hours on the phone with both Ebay and PayPal, a few things became clear:
(a) Saying "AS-IS" and having a "NO REFUND" policy doesn't matter to Ebay or PayPal. According to what I was told, if the buyer claims "Significantly not as Described", the buyer will virtually always win the dispute. I could fight all I wished, Radio-mart was going to get a refund in the end, according to both Ebay and PayPal.
(b) My only option was to begin the refund process. Once proof of the return was confirmed via UPS tracking, the funds would be released back to Martyn.
My concern, which proved legitimate, had to do with what might be returned to me!
Since we had reached resolution (a return with subsequent refund) I sent Radio-mart an official request to revise the harsh negative feedback I received. Martyn replied as follows (via direct e-mail, outside of Ebay):
"I would reconsider revising my feedback when you also cover my cost for the return shipping."
Now the terms of the agreement with PayPal was that the buyer cover the cost of return shipping. Radio-Mart was using the negative feedback as leverage to get the return shipping out of me. For only $15, Radio-Mart might consider revising the feedback. When I told Pay Pal about this...they said I should report it to Ebay. Well more hours on the phone...
After making my way to the appropriate Ebay department, the representative said it sounded like feedback extortion to him, and asked me to send the email with the header. Now it gets interesting...
When I scanned the header I saw this:
That caught my attention because I control the dceexpress.com domain. There are only 3 email addresses associated with that domain, and I can assure you that firstname.lastname@example.org
is not one of them. I don't know what is going on with this...but it certainly appears suspicious to me. Why was Martyn setting this return path with this domain...which has nothing to do with him? Is this legal? Would Ebay take this into consideration in trying to discern who is the good guy and who is the bad guy in this dispute?
Ebay's response? They found no evidence of feedback extortion in the email. They would not remove the nasty feedback which was being used as leverage to extort return shipping fees from me. I could not believe that Ebay and PayPal were standing with Radio-Mart on virtually every issue.
I called Ebay again. How can somebody say, "Send me money and I will reconsider the negative feedback" and that NOT be against their feedback policy? I started asking for everyone's supervisor and finally got someone to resubmit the complaint. I resent everything.
A few days later...Ebay sent email:
"Rest assured, we thoroughly reviewed your report and took appropriate action. Our actions may include issuing a warning, temporary suspension, or indefinite suspension."
I don't believe there has been a suspension of any kind. Radio-Mart still has lots of listings. I guess a warning is what he got. How many warnings does this guy get?
The radio did come back. The Aud/Reg board is cooked. I'm not certain that its the same board that was in the radio when I sold it.
It is possible that the jostling of shipment damaged something...which caused a fuse to blow...then Martyn put in an over-rated fuse which did more damage. But I really do wonder if its the same board at all. At the very least Radio-Mart should have NEVER put in an over-rated fuse.
I spent at least 6 highly aggravating hours on the telephone dealing with this mess. Ebay did consent to refund my final value fees, after more calls. To date, Ebay still refuses to remove the negative feedback from Martyn, even though they issued a warning to him about feedback extortion . Go figure.
I sure wish I had blocked Radio-Mart as a BUYER. I certainly have now.