How I Sent A Stranger A Free PS3, Thanks To Amazon

Peter didn’t set out to send a stranger in a different state the gift of a 100% free PlayStation 3 this holiday season, but thanks to the policies of the Amazon Marketplace, that’s what he did. His customer had a problem with the console, and filed an A-Z Guarantee claim with Amazon, since it didn’t work. Except after Peter helped her with the problem and it was working again, she stopped communicating with him, didn’t close the claim, and promptly received a refund for the full purchase price without having to return the item.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a high-volume Amazon consumer, but I have only used Amazon as a seller very rarely. But as a consumer, I think Amazon can do no wrong.

But Amazon’s seller policies are terrible.

My story: I sold a used PS3 on Amazon. I had sold most stuff on eBay, but having recently sold an iPad on Amazon very quickly and painlessly, figured I’d give Amazon another chance.

A woman named [redacted], purchased it. I packed it carefully, put in a few extras (games I no longer played), and shipped it the day after she bought it.

A few days after she received it, she contacted me to tell me the PS3 was turning on but not outputting a signal. She immediately filed an A-to-Z claim against me. I walked her through the issue, which was basically that the PS3 had to be reset to switch from HDMI mode to component cables (a well-documented issue). I informed her that she was welcome to return the unit for a refund if she wanted, but she would have to return the unit. However, once she figured out how to solve her problem, she ceased responding to me, and maintained her A-to-Z claim.

Amazon immediately refunded her the cost of the PS3. When I demanded that she ship it back to me, Amazon said I had missed my window of opportunity to ask her to send the unit back. Despite my best efforts at talking to Amazon “seller support,” they let [the customer] keep a brand new PS3 for free, while leaving me high and dry.

I will never sell on Amazon again. eBay, by contrast, requires buyers who report a defective or counterfeit item to at least place the item in the return mail before issuing a refund. I have no idea why Amazon would allow a thief like “[redacted]” to file a claim, sit on it, and then keep the allegedly defective unit, even though I offered to pay for shipping and handling back to me.