Basically ebay and the paypal protection does not work for neither you nor the seller if:
- you buy without reading carefully what you buy
- you are drunk when buying
- you read a listing for a $100 camera which was "found in my dad's shed, no idea what it is, it is as is" and you still go ahead and buy it
- you pay $2000 for a Canon 400/2.8 based on a listing with bad english, a stock photo from the Canon website and a feedback of 5 sales from selling $1 stamps
- you buy something that is used and expect it to be like new
- you sell to someone who pays you and then asks you to ship it direct to his young brother in Uzbekistan instead of his registered PayPal address in California
- you want something for nothing
I have sold and bought lots of stuff on ebay, most of the time with no problems. But it not all roses for the sellers either. You get lots of idiotic buyers who give you hassle because they do the things I listed above. Some of my encounters:
-Someone making a fuss that I overcharged £1.50 for P&P based on the value of the stamp. Well padded envelopes don't grow in my back garden and the remaining 50p is because I have to estimate it as I don't go back and forth to the post office weighing, getting a price estimate, going back to list it and then back to the post office to send it.
-I sold 2x512MB sticks to some idiot who claimed the listing said 1GB. The thing is, the title said "1GB 2x512MB" simply to get the search results right. Once you opened the listing and read it you would see in huge letters 2x512MB in the middle of the page and a nice photo showing you 2 memory sticks with one actually having a 512MB sticker on it. But he just clicked buy now without even reading the title in full. I also clearly stated that I will not accept returns if they decide they don't want it or it is incompatible (all the tech specs were listed). Still he tried and I told him to stick it. I think he was actually drunk as he bought it late on Saturday night.
- I refunded one who received a printer smashed in half even thought they chose not to have insured delivery, simply because I didn't want the hassle and didn't want the bad feedback for the £50 I could have kept.
- I also refunded a guy who bought a Bronica lens from me, it arrived and somehow didn't work properly with his camera (even though it worked fine on mine).
- I gave a guy a discount when he got a laptop with a clearly stated bad screen latch, then went to complain the latch doesn't catch and he wants to send it back or maybe I can give him £30 off. Which is clear he just tried to get a discount as he knew the postage costs and hassle would amount to £30 plus I'd then have to sell it again.
-I bought a phone which was listed as blocked. Somehow I read that as sim locked. So it was unusable but it was all my fault so I ate the loss.
In general, if you like the price and looks like it is genuine buy it. If you are the kind of person that worries too much about things then go to a shop. Like that time I went to a shop, bought a used Nikon 35-70/2.8, got home and the front fell off while zooming it. It then took a good hour and to convince them that the lens was crap and that I didn't drop it. Eventually one of the employees dug up the history and found that they actually had it for a few months there and that before going on sale it was sent for "servicing" to a repair shop, which clearly did a botched job. Oh yes, it was back in the shop window a week later.
film_man, your post is really well thought out and I agree completely. This is why I really feel that ebay's model is becoming pretty old, craigslist (for sale anyway) is doing better, even thru ebay owns 25pct of them, not because of ebay, but because of the human mind of thinking of ways of how to rip off their fellow man.
This is happening more and more with banks, corporations, etc.. all the people we use to trust, but when it comes to putting a internet platform between someone that wants to steal (buyer or seller) and an honest person it's over and done with. The crook (or not so honest person) will always prevail. I just happen to see this "trend" growing more and more over the last 10 years.