Saturday, January 05, 2013

eBay fail: Art Deco bronze statue failed delivery from Spain

Back in March 2012, I purchased on ebay a bronze statue - it was the Roman goddess Diana, walking her greyhound - it took two months to arrive in Melbourne but the wait was worth it.

It was fantastic. I've always had a thing for well made objects. But this one was really superb. Everything about it was excellent. The female figure was in a gorgeous natural pose - I just love the way she leans back as she attempts to restrain the dog.

Her body figure is classic feminine - her proportions are simply divine.

And her face was good looking as well. Usually the faces of bronze statues are - to put it mildly - ugly.

The face on this one was however lovely to look at. .

I liked it so much that I decided to purchase another one. And it all went downhill from there.

I have never encountered a serious problem with an eBay sellers. They are usually honest, reliable and I've only once used the Paypal dispute to get my money back. In that instance, it was a local seller with a very high rating who suddenly defaulted on all his settlements for some reason.

A couple of times, I even had sellers sending me the wrong item - and I, in honesty, told them about the error - and had it mailed back to them or settled amicably.

So it is unfortunate that I have encountered a really bad eBay seller over a transaction involving a sizable sum of money - AUD $411.

The seller is known as antiquity001. And used the email:
Usuario de eBay: antiquity001
and also uses the name "Victor Manuel Aruguas Nsue" -
I bought this statue in March, however it took over 2 months to arrive in Melbourne. At that time, I checked on the parcel arrival nearly every week. And the seller reassured that it would come as the mail from Spain is notoriously slow, esp. from large heavy packages. Eventually it arrived and I was overjoyed by the quality and sheer beauty of the statue. So I decided to buy another one.

I bought it using the eBay/Paypal system. Initially, the seller just want to avoid ebay - but I wanted the protection that ebay extended to its customers + a photographic point of reference instead of a paypal invoice with a word "bronze statue".

The seller gave me a tracking number as before. I assumed everything would go like the last transaction. And frankly I wasn't worried when I didn't receive the parcel after the 1st month. The 2nd month rolled by but my mum was sick at that time - suspected stroke. I finally contacted the seller after the 70th day and got an immediate reply back to the effect of  "you should have received the parcel by now. What's your address again? Let me check."

I supplied my address and then ... nada... total silence from the seller. No apology. No excuse. Nothing.

I contacted ebay/Paypal and my bank but they were not interested in helping or taking any action because the transaction was over 45 days old (ebay/paypal statue of limitations), and over 70 days for the bank.

What I should have done was to contact the seller about it after 20 days and make an official complaint to eBay and Paypal on the 30th day, despite any protestations from the seller. That way I would have quite likely have got my money back.

Through my own private investigation I have deduced that the seller may have made a mistake in sending the item to another purchaser living in Australia at that time. There were two or three other buyers in Australia purchasing items from the seller and a shipping error may have occurred.

Anyway, extremely disappointed. I am trying now to contact the Spanish police to lodge an official report now.

But again I could have saved myself a whole lot of headache if I had simply put in a complaint to eBay and Paypal when the item did not arrive after the 30th day.

Sidenote - one other thing that made it hard for ebay to help was that the seller corresponded with me directly using email rather than through the eBay messaging system. That way, it was impossible for ebay to track our conversations. So in future, always use the ebay messaging system for correspondence.

So eventually ebay and Paypal refused to help. But because I used my credit card to pay for it - my bank Westpac said that they would look into it. Strangely however they decided to ask for my documentation only after I told them I was going overseas and would be uncontactable. And then sent me a letter telling me they couldn't do a thing about it because I didn't send them the documents or sign a particular form. However they did tell me to complain to the banking ombudsman about this. Which I did. And after about 2 or 3 weeks I got a call from Westpac telling me they would refund me the full amount if I terminated the complaint to the ombudsman. Today.

WOW!!!! I signed the waiver and I got the full refund within the week. Thank God for Australian Consumer Protection Laws.

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