Invoking eBay Buyer Protection? Don't Use Multiple Accounts

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea for De to purchase a diamond ring over eBay. But the site does have protections for buyers, and is notorious for siding with buyers in the case of a dispute. Just not in his case. Even though he got to deal with one of the rarest of beasts: an actual eBay employee over the phone, asking questions about the item using one eBay account and then using another to make the purchase was too much for eBay to understand.

I recently purchased a diamond ring through eBay. The description wasn’t clear so I had my girlfriend use her eBay account to contact the seller about the item and was promised the diamond was an “E” color by the seller. I then purchased the item with my account after learning this information.

After receiving the item, I discovered that it was an “L” color stone at best. I had it appraised locally and confirmed what I suspected. I contacted the seller and they responded that it was my fault for misreading the description even though I copied and pasted the seller’s actual response to my girlfriend regarding the stone color. The seller denied telling anyone about the “E” color of the stone and then went on to fully disclose that their description meant it was an “L” color.

I then opened up a case with eBay which ended in with them siding with the seller. They closed the case within an hour of opening the case which I felt was very unfair. I then appealed the case and waited for a response only to discover they sided with the seller again. Throughout this 2 week process, eBay never once contacted me to explain to me why they didn’t reconsider my case. They didn’t contact me at all. I initiated contact with eBay every time to explain the situation. I called 5-6 times with the promise that I would receive a phone call within 24-72 hours and never got a response. They originally notified me when the case was opened and then closed but nothing else after that.

My appeal was denied without any phone call or notification of any kind. I had to log in to check myself. Throughout the process, everyone I spoke to at eBay was friendly and understanding. The reps even stated that the case should have been handled with more research and care. They were able to find the actual messages in their eBay messaging system and verify what I said was true. However, I was never able to reach the case manager whenever I called. He was either off or in a meeting. The other reps said they would have my case manager call me within 24 hours, but he never did. I waited 2 weeks for a response from my case manager and was constantly told to expect a call back and never received it.

I finally called to speak to a supervisor and he was able to tell me that eBay will not take any forwarded emails or messages from me as proof for consideration in any of their cases. I was insulted by this because the reps I spoke to were able to find the actual message within their message system and yet it is considered invalid because it could be a fake. The supervisor told me that anything forwarded to them cannot be used because it could be fraudulent which I found confusing because they were able to actually find the message using their systems. I did not forward them any outside message or email, it was just in my girlfriend’s eBay account.

Not once did any of the customer service reps tell me about this clause in our conversations. I understand that I am at fault for not having the correspondence between the seller and myself through my account, but I don’t feel their current evaluation program is fair if they can find the actual message within the own system and claim it cannot be submitted as evidence. I was told that the case representative would be “coached” to do a better job by their resolution center “leader.”

I asked for a grievances hotline or mailing address for grievances and was told that there is no such thing. There is also no one else above the resolution center that I could appeal to or speak to. Once their decision has been made, there is nothing else a buyer can do. I am writing this to you in the hopes that you can provide any form of assistance and to warn others about the flaws and loopholes in the eBay buyer protection program.

eBay speaks highly of their ability to help the consumer but I feel cheated in the way my case was handled and the justification for their decision.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.