Sunday, December 21, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Who’s trying to rip off who in eBay mixup?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 1/24/2014

Dear eBay Queen: I ordered a used Nintendo Wii U from eBay a month ago. The seller gave me the tracking the next day, and I received the package four days later. When I opened it, I found it was not my Wii U, but a World War I Army helmet! I emailed the seller right away and he then shipped me my Wii U.

The item finally arrived, and it did not include all the items that were listed in the description. The seller emailed me back right away, and sent me $30 through PayPal to go buy the item I was missing at my local Game Stop. I went to several Game Stops, and finally found the game that was missing. I turned on the new game, and it didn’t work with the handheld Wii U device. I tried three different games and they worked, but the new game from Game Stop didn’t. I contacted the seller again, and he sent me the following email:

“Nicole, thank you so much for contacting me. Since the other games work with the hand held device and only the Game Stop game doesn’t work, I would return that game to Game Stop. I am sorry for the problems you’ve had with this transaction. I hope that you can return this game to the store and receive a game that works.

“I’ve emailed you a label to send the helmet back, and I have yet to see it’s been mailed. Could you please do that? The buyer for the helmet wants it. Once again I am sorry for the mix up.”

I’ve been doing a little research. The helmet problem has nothing to do with the Wii U problem; by federal law, I’m under no obligation to return or pay for an item that I receive in the mail that I did not order. So I guess this means I don’t have to return the helmet until I am completely satisfied with the WiiU. I’ve been really frustrated, what should I do about it? I was hoping there’s some way I could make some money back. Thanks for any help you can give me. — Nicole, Williamsburg

Dear Nicole: This sounds like a real mess. In a situation like this, I would immediately send this seller’s helmet to him using the label he gave you. I would then take the game into Game Stop, and return or exchange it. Since the item works with every other game, and not the Game Stop game, your problem is not with this seller, but with the game. I am guessing since he sent the helmet to you and the game console and games to the helmet buyer, perhaps what happened is the helmet buyer kept your game. The seller trying to make it right sent you money to buy a new game.

You did not mention opening a case against your seller. For future reference, when you have a problem with your item, you should open an eBay case. In this situation, a Significantly Not As Described (SNAD) dispute should have been opened immediately when you had a problem. State the facts very objectively:

1. The listing stated that it would come with the following games, and one was missing.

2. The seller sent you money to purchase a new game, and the new game does not work with the handheld device.

Since you’ve been emailing the seller and did not open a case, I don’t think that any of these options are viable now.

I also have a couple of concerns: the seller does not seem to be trying to rip you off, but after reading what you wrote me, I question your motives with this transaction. You might not be obligated by federal law to send the item back, but I would hope your conscience would not allow you to keep something that is not yours. You need to be very careful here. Your seller could report you and your emails will be seen through eBay’s messaging. eBay might look at this in the same way that I am seeing this; like you are taking advantage of your seller by wanting to “make money” on this.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 261368915342. You can find all kinds of unique pieces of furniture on eBay. I originally searched “telephone”, and found this switchboard operator chair: “Vintage Western Electric Telephone Switchboard Operator Chair Rattan.” It sold for $157 at

Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen

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