December 07, 2011

WARNING: Big Change at EBAY: Sellers who misrepresent will be backed up by Ebay.

Today I had an unfortunate experience with EBAY, where I regularly purchase a lot of items for myself as well as others, including everything from coats and clothing, to bags, shoes, shampoo, vintage items, kitchen items, gifts, etc. Actually, this particular experience has been going on for two weeks.

Essentially, a seller, Kathy Don, listed an item, pictured below, as a Size LARGE. She described the coat in the title and the body of the listing as a Size LARGE, and the listing photos show the coat as belted. The seller also points out that the coat doesn't have buttons. So, the only way to close the coat, is with the belt, as photographed.


And let's be honest: people who see a belted coat, knowing that it closes the coat per the listing photos, probably want to close the coat, with that belt. Afterall, coats are purchased for the winter -- to manage cold. A coat that won't close doesn't make much sense.

The problem is, this coat is a Size LARGE, but the BELT is, curiously, a size SMALL.

And therefore, the belt won't actually tie around the coat, when on a LARGE human. The eBay listing photo you see is a mannequin, likely a Size SMALL, and on a small body, the belt will tie.

I asked the seller, Kathy Don, to take it back, as the belted coat was misdescribed, between the photo and the "Size LARGE" listing title and description. She would not, claiming that she already sent the money to someone, that she has cancer, but I could resell it.

Does any of that matter if she misrepresented the coat?

If I relist the coat at eBay as Size LARGE, when the belt won't tie on a Size LARGE person, I too would be committing a "not as described" problem. Or fraud. Because the item doesn't match the listing: consisting of the Title, Photos, plus Description.

So I asked eBay to mediate. EBay came back and said that since I didn't ASK the seller if the belt was Sized LARGE, I'm at fault.


Looking at "">eBay's site on requirements for sellers:

"You're required to:
Provide complete and accurate details.
Specify the condition of the item.
Describe any defects or flaws—this helps avoid problems or buyer dissatisfaction."

Well.. I would say the seller did not accurately describe the item, when they claimed the coat was a LARGE and that it belted. The belt doesn't work because it's a size SMALL. The seller in this case, did not provide complete and accurate details, nor did they specify the condition was that the LARGE coat would not close with the SMALL belt, nor did they describe the fact that the belt was defective, in size SMALL, for a LARGE sized person.

I asked various eBay Reps (they passed me around a lot.. and disconnected the call 3 times saying they would call back if they lost me, but they never did call back) if photos are part of the listing and they said yes, however the one I talked to this morning doesn't think the seller should be held to the photo that shows a belted coat, if the belt isn't mentioned in the words. In fact, the woman at eBay I spoke with this morning said that since the belt isn't mentioned at all in the description, the belt is therefore NOT PART of the listing.

REALLY? I see a belt in the photos. So I asked the eBay rep: So the photos aren't part of what a buyer should consider and count on to buy on eBay? Buyers should ignore photos? She refused to answer.

Apparently asking that items actually look and work as shown in the photos on eBay is asking too much.

But you get the point. Buyers can no longer rely on photos as part of the eBay listing contract.

According to eBay, I HAVE to ASK a seller if parts of the Size LARGE coat are actually not sized LARGE.

Essentially, this represents a HUGE change at eBay, where they are willing to let sellers misrepresent an item, in this case, listing a WHOLE COAT as Size LARGE, when in fact the coat comes with a Size SMALL belt that WILL NOT CLOSE.

Who buys a coat for winter that WON'T CLOSE? Because the belt is misrepresented?

Apparently eBay thinks I'm at fault for not asking: ARE *ALL* PARTS OF THE SIZED LARGE COAT *ACTUALLY* SIZED LARGE?

Apparently, a photo of a belted coat, along with a title and description claiming SIZE LARGE, isn't enough. Apparently, I needed to ask the seller, ARE YOU SURE THE *WHOLE* COAT IS A SIZE LARGE?

So now, I'm facing small claims court with Ebay and Paypay, who received the funds they later paid to the seller.

The lesson for you is, DON'T ASSUME eBay will uphold a listing with words and photos combined.
Don't BUY anything at eBay that doesn't say "no returns accepted" because eBay won't back up buyers who are sold something that is not what the photos and words describe.

EBay has abandoned buyers to unscrupulous sellers like Kathy Don of Boca Raton, Florida who described and photographed a belted-coat, as a size LARGE but in fact it wasn't possible to belt the coat or close it, since the belt was a size SMALL. It's okay if the seller, and eBay disregard the photos and provide whatever they feel like in the way of the item purchased.

Consider yourself warned. I certainly will warn the hundreds of people over the years that i've shown how to use eBay, set up with accounts as buyers, to let them know that buying on eBay is no longer safe for them. It's too dangerous and I no longer recommend doing it.

Posted by Mary Hodder at December 7, 2011 12:00 PM | TrackBack
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