Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last week, felt great, this week.. not so much..... long post about buying online

What I was expecting  - drool drool drool

I just spend $88.50 for 16 gears /cogs, and one of them is damaged. 

Warning, this is a long blog.

Let me start this explanation with a quickie preface.

Some months ago I purchased a 2 lb lot of old clock parts, mainly cogs and gears. When the package arrived, it weight 20.4 oz. As I’m sure you know, each pound = 16 oz. That means the package was missing almost 12 oz. (That’s 36% short!) If the package had been off just an oz or 2, I wouldn’t have said anything.. but almost a third of the value wasn’t there.

What actually arrived..
Now anyone can make a mistake, and I advised the seller, and she quickly made good on it by sending me 2 lbs more. I was extremely pleased with the quick fix and the gears and I found myself checking her site from time to time, looking for more big lot deals. I was completely satisfied and I thought the dealer was happy with the fix also. 

No big deal, right? 

Earlier this month I bought from this vendor again, this time 9 pounds. When the box arrived, it was banged up and seemed.. “light”. I weighted it around 3.5 lbs unopened. Opening the box was a huge disappointment.. it had half a dozen large heavy pieces I can’t possibly use, 16 cogs and a small smattering of other little bits, including broken plastic shards ( from a box?) There was one smallish piece of bubble wrap, and large, dirty, and empty plastic bags.

I admit when the box first came up short, I did think of the earlier event.. and wondered if someone was trying to pull a fast one on me.

I was livid, convo’d the seller, and I admit, I might have been overly strong in my typing. 

I should have taken a deep breath, checked the box more closely and generally used my brain instead of panicking. 

it’s sooo hard to communicate on the net sometimes, because people can read more or less into the words you put down.. you miss all the non verbal cues that modify what is expressed. I asked if another box was coming, maybe she had to split up the lot? Because it was almost 6 lbs short. I didn’t accuse her of shorting me on purpose, but I can see on a reread how that could have come across that way. I admit, to my shame, I was certainly thinking it was possible.

She was very logical & professional in her reply, stated it weighted 9.4lbs on shipment, and maybe there was a hole and things leaked out? She offered to refund my $$ if I shipped it back. I did a mental double take, and went back to the studio to investigate, and discovered the box was in worse shape than I realized. It was all taped back up by the time I got it, but it’s obvious one entire corner of the box had split open at some point, and that the missing items were probably lost in the mail. 

In my defense I’ve gotten boxes from the PO that got mangled in machines there, and they would be taped up.. but the tape was yellow and marked as from the post office. This was fixed with clear tape. Maybe the post office doesn’t use special tape anymore? Maybe who ever fixed it, presumably in the PO, didn’t use the correct “damage” tape? I honestly have no idea. If the damaged tape had been used it would have made my life easier !! 

As it is it makes me sick to think of all those lovely vintage cogs lost , probably ended up swept up and thrown in the garbage.
And what it came in.. the pinched in damaged corner.. how did I miss this the first look I took?
Examining the box corner, it almost looks like it blew out from the inside.. the inside seam separated, it’s not a tear or rip. Priority boxes are made tough, but if one of the bigger pieces wasn’t packed tightly, I could see it rolling around and hitting the box with enough force during shipment to punch the side open. 

However, I’m not a forensic shipping specialist, (wouldn’t that be a kewl job?) so it could a defective box or the PO playing soccer with it, or fill in the blank. I can’t know for sure. 

The only thing I do know for sure is 2/3rds of the boxes contents went bye-bye before it reached my porch-step. And they were the 2/3rd I really wanted.

At this point, I’m completely satisfied that it was a shipping misadventure, so I agreed to ship it back to her for a refund on the lot ( minus shipping) So I folded the old box in the bottom of a new box, added a bunch of bubble wrap to ensure everything was snug and got it in the mail asap.

The box arrived at her location, but it wasn’t dropped off, as I requested signature required. It was waiting for her pick up. After a couple of days, I asked her to get it picked up so I could get my refund.. she responded she was out of town for the week.

Monday I checked with the po as I hadn’t heard anything, and she had rejected the package, and it’s winding it’s self back to me.

OK, trying not to jump the gun again, I asked her what is going on. 

Apparently she’s now decided I’m a thief, and I ripped her off last time and I’m planning on ripping her off again this time. She seems to think the 1st package months ago wasn’t short, I just said it was to get more goodies, and it worked so well last time I’d do it again.

So not only am I a Thief, but I’m a stupid one. 


Could we make that decision before I mailed back the package, costing me another $13.50, because you TOLD ME TO?? 

Could we have had a discussion prior to shipping it back about your concerns? 

 She offered, up front, in her very first response, a refund if I shipped it back. Had she accepted the package (as she should of as she requested it) she would have seen the damaged box.

She feels she has “proof” that I scammed her the first time. My feelings on that? Why didn’t we have this discussion months ago??

 When I told her it was under weight, she immediately offered to make it right, and she did. There wasn’t any couching of terms.. it was a direct and swift “sorry let me make it better” 

When this 2nd box came around.. it wasn’t just listed on her Etsy.. I saw a reserved listing for someone else, asked hey can I get that too? And she made up a box for me. 

Why would she do that if she thought I ripped her off the first time?? 

As for proof, she thinks the tracking id’s of the package will show she mailed in the correct amount.

 I have 3 thoughts on this. 

1st, again, if she had “proof” why didn’t this come up back in December??

 2nd, if she is using postage off the web, she’s entering the weight herself, and the post office won’t care if she “paid” too much postage, they weigh them but only to make sure the PO isn’t cheated. Besides if she sent it priority flat rate last time(and I think she did) so they really don’t care about the weight anyway. 

 3rd, maybe she’s confusing my 1st package that was underweight with the make up package, which was probably around 2 lbs originally promised. ( I really need to dig through my emails, it’s possible I have the tracking id’s somewhere ) 

So now I’m disputing the charges via PayPal. I feel I did everything I was supposed to, and she should refund my money. I mailed back what was left of her package, but she refused it. I am not sure at this point who will “win” ….. 

No actually, no one is a winner in this situation. 

We both loose on this deal… even if I “win” most or all of my original money back via paypal, I’m still left with a very bad taste in my mouth. I don’t like thinking someone thinks so poorly of me. I know it shouldn’t matter but it does. 

I lose a supplier of very neat components that are getting hard to find. 

She loses a good buyer. (OK she might quibble with that.. but honestly she has listings up right now I was contemplating. I also know she’s sort of got a time limit on selling this stuff; I was toying with making an offer on all the “good stuff” remaining, or at least a decent chunk of it. Not going to happen now though, is it?) 

I’m sure (at least in my fair minded moments – I’m only human so not all my moments are fair minded about this right now) she’s a good person, so I bet she’s as stressed out about all of this as I have been. 

And she’s added to her karma debt for her actions in this.

I can actually see her side in this up to a point. 

She doesn’t know me from Adam, and it’s really bad luck to have similar problems twice with the same customer.. so maybe they were “manufactured” problems. (though again, the first package wasn't damaged in shipment, and it was underweight.. but she's doing alot of packages.  it's easy to get confused.  )

I can honestly understand if she had reservations on this whole situation. 

The point is when she refused the package. 

I think that is what bothers me the most. 

 She’s essentially judged me guilty without letting me have my day in court. 

Maybe the box remains wouldn’t have “proven” my innocence if she’s stuck on the thief theory, but surely it counts for something that I sent it back promptly, and didn’t try to “scam” her out of more gears. I guess I won’t ever know. 

 Course the fact I’ve sold and bought on ebay for over 15 years, with perfect feedback, bought and sold on Etsy for 5 years, again with perfect feedback, ought to count for something. I’ve had very few problems with buying and selling online, maybe only 2 times before this situation have I had problems . I’ve never had to dispute a charge with PayPal before either. I’ve never had anyone dispute a sell from me either!

Best case, I’m out $13.50, maybe 26.00 if paypal only refunds the original listing minus shipping. Worse case, I paid $88.50 for 16 gears. 

Either way, I’ve had much better days.  

PS.. as of today I haven't gotten the box back yet either... and the PO hasn't updated the tracking id since it was "refused" on Monday.  Maybe they don't track returns? is it sitting at her PO still, in limbo?  

So it might end up as $88.50 for flat nothing.

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