When I first started grad school, I went nuts on what was then the trendy new toy... online auction sites. eBay, uBid, Amazon Auctions (RIP). I loved them all. And I used them all for the same purpose... to rebuild my Atari 2600 gaming system.
When my brother and I were kids, we were stupid. We wanted the 8-bit Nintendo system that everyone else had. My parents said that if we wanted it, we would have to sell the systems we had at the time which included an Atari 2600 (original woodgrain jobber, mind you; it was the first and I can't quite recall if that was the four-pin or six-pin unit) and the Atari 7800 with about 100-150 games between the two units. We were happy to just to keep up with the Joneses. We got our Nintendo and played the hell out of it. We upgraded from there as well to Super Nintendo (me) and Sega Genesis and Sega CD (my brother). Anything beyond that point has been self funded, at least on my part.
However, when I looked back on that decision (hindsight is 20/20, after all), I regretted selling my Atari. Yes, you could play computer emulator versions, but they sucked by comparison. It just wasn't the same unless you had the original Atari box and the chewed-to-hell (our controllers were, at least) single button black joysticks that everyone can readily identify as Atari. So I started rebuilding my system. I purchased a new system from eBay and started buying individual or combo packs of games from all three auction sites. I never had a problem with any transactions. I just sent in my money order and my toys came back.
After this Atari frenzy, I stopped using online auctions altogether. Amazon Auctions closed down and they are now Amazon Marketplace (which I use for other things; but it's not a bidding system, just resale). uBid still exists, but they apparently don't hold the clout that eBay does as I've not heard much of anything about their site in recent years. I also stopped using eBay primarily because I just never really cared to keep up on auctions. But also because most sellers migrated to the PayPal system for payment. I don't like PayPal. I kept reading horror stories about how PayPal was constantly being hacked so I stayed away. I do use other forms of online payment quite often, but I've never read about them being hacked.
However, many sellers now offer multiple payment options including my preferred method... money order. Also, PayPal now offers a version of their system that allows for "one-off" purchases so you don't need an account. With this in mind, I went on the auction hunt again.
This past April, I finally participated in an eBay auction for a Cubs home jersey with Mark Grace's name and number on the back. I wanted to get it for Katie as a surprise gift. She's a Grace junkie and I thought it would be a nice surprise.
April 27, 2005
I win the auction. I am stoked.
I contact the seller and go through all other steps to make sure everything happens smoothly. So far, so good. I send in the money order with a signature confirmation request.
May 3, 2005
I receive the signed signature confirmation slip via USPS. Everything is still going according to plan.
May 13, 2005
I receive e-mail confirmation from the seller that they received the money order, although they refer to it as a "check." This is probably just an error on their part. The difference being that money orders are guaranteed as they are paid for in cash so there is no wait time for it to clear, unlike with a check. Items paid for with check are usually delayed to allow for the check to be cashed and cleared. I write back informing him that I used a money order and that a delay should not occur as they "have the cash."
June 1, 2005
They reply to a shipping status request of mine by saying that they need the exact item # (which I gave them in my request e-mail), plus my "EXACT name and address sent with payment." So I sent all that back to them immediately after getting the e-mail from them.
June 14, 2005
They finally reply to me and my badgering by telling me that "we will have to replace it." They no longer have the white, pinstriped jersey as I had ordered. They did, however, have two gray ones with Grace's number and name and in the same size. I really wanted to get the white one for Katie, but this isn't that bad. So I accept the offer.
July 4, 2005
I receive another e-mail saying they have no more Grace jerseys at all in any size or color. They ask if I want any other jersey from their "extensive collection." I say no. All I wanted and all I'm willing to pay for is the Grace jersey. So I request a refund.
July 5, 2005
Suddenly, they manage to find a size large Grace jersey. Gee, where did that pop up from? I say no. Large is going to be too big. The medium was already kinda big on her, but the small was just not right. So medium would have been the best. I decline and say I still want a refund.
July 10, 2005
They say that their computerized inventory of Cubs memorabilia was wrong and proceed to blame it on their "American made computer." Yeah, we all know American computer manufacturers have it out for the Cubs. Again, they ask if I would like another jersey. Again, I say no and request a refund.
August 1, 2005
After not receiving anything via e-mail or USPS for three weeks, I give them my final ultimatum... send me my refund with shipping confirmation (I don't care how they manage that one, but I want it anyway) by Wednesday, August 3, 2005 (the confirmation by that date, not necessarily the actual money order), or I would lodge a formal complaint with eBay. I had already been copying a couple of generic eBay e-mail accounts with most of my e-mails at this point.
August 4, 2005
Nothing was received by the end of the day yesterday, so I went in to file my complaint with eBay today only to discover that their "item not received" complaint system only works within 60 days of the close of the auction. Fucksticks! Or, as my brother would say, "Christ on a bike!" I have no idea what it means, but it makes me laugh.
I can't even leave negative feedback for the seller because it's been so long.
I send a complaint e-mail to eBay, instead, regarding the item and how I think it is still eBay's responsibility to make sure that this conflict is resolved to my satisfaction. I also point out how this is my first purchase through their system in over six years and that it has not proven to be a very open-armed welcome back. I argue that I was giving the seller the benefit of the doubt and a chance to make things right and that's why I waited so long. I also point out that I now feel as though they were simply baiting me along until I was past the 60 day complaint time. Having sold as much as they have, they would know the policies better than someone like me, who has made one purchase in six years. Bend over, Kevin!
Now, I'm simply awaiting a response from eBay. I didn't really spend a lot of money, but it's more the principle of the whole affair. I either want what I ordered or my money back. It's that simple.
Oh, and for the record, the seller goes by highnoonsports or mootown. So don't buy anything from them. You've been warned.