I purchased an item on eBay for a gift. The listing didn’t say how it was shipping but it was a book coming from the US so I was assuming Media Mail. It was unlikely it would arrive before Christmas (though possible, based on my own Media Mail items) but that was OK because I really only needed it by a full month after the date I ordered it by and if it was there before Christmas, that much the better, I could give the gift early.

Seller had a few negative feedbacks but most of them were left within days of the purchase price on media items so I chalked it up to impatient buyers combined with Media Mail. Even if the seller took a day to mail it, I was still leaving a full month for delivery so the situation should be fine.

A few days before Christmas, I email the seller asking when the item shipped and what the tracking was simply because I was curious how close it was. No reply. A few days after New Years I emailed again, just asking for a status report: date it was shipped and tracking number if they had it. I was trying to cut the seller some slack that they were away for the holidays and missed my first email. Still no reply. Many days pass.

It’s now really close to the time I needed the item by. I’ve still yet to be told the item has even shipped, let alone get tracking. I am a huge slack cutter but this is too much for even me, so I file a claim with eBay for non-delivery which I have never, in just shy of 14 years buying and selling, done before. In the claim, where eBay asks if I want a refund or the item, I say that I want the item. I promise in my note to close the case as soon as I get a valid tracking number so I know its on its way. I’m not out to be a jerk here, I really just want to force the seller into replying.

A week passes and still no reply from the seller. I give it a few extra days and then finally I escalate the claim to eBay. (I want to note right here, for sellers who worry about this kind of stuff, that they gave the seller a whole week in a pre-claim state to reply and make things right before they even let me continue to the next step and open a claim. I know people complain that eBay is always finding in favor of the buyer but, from the other side, I was a little annoyed I had to wait so long on the seller before being able to escalate, so it seemed very pro-seller to me as a buyer.) Anyway, once the claim is escalated, eBay gives me my money back very quickly and I turn around and buy the item from another seller.

But… I feel dirty. I feel like I’m “that guy.” “Stupid buyers, always being unreasonable and impatient and filing claims and leaving negative feedback on us poor defenseless sellers!” “They are evil scamming jerks, every one of them, right guys?” “Us poor sellers are just trying to earn a buck and we get persecuted by those awful buyers!” I’m sure somewhere that seller is saying all that and worse about me because I see many sellers saying that kind of stuff about their buyers.

I guess its silly to feel like I’m betraying the brotherhood of sellers by filing the claim, but a part of me feels like we’re all supposed to stick together. I’m not sorry I got my money back, that’s for sure, but I can’t help but wonder if I should have cut the seller even more slack because I was a seller myself.

What do you think?

OK, I wrote this post a while ago and scheduled it to post in the future because I have a strict “Don’t talk about real examples unless at least a month has passed” policy around here but there was an update to this story after I wrote the post above that I just have to share.

After I filed the claim and wrote the post above I gave the seller a bit more time to see if he/she would make things right. Nothing. So I left negative feedback which, at this point, seemed like the right thing to do. (All my wavering above applies to my decision to leave negative feedback on another seller as well but I felt like it was necessary.) Feedback was polite, truthful and not inflammatory in any way.

About a day or so after I leave feedback I get this email:

I am very sorry for my lack of communication about this order. As soon as I realized I could not find the item I was going to e-mail you to see if you wanted me to look for another one but I forgot. I hope you will consider revising your feedback as I intended to communicate about the order. Thank you for your consideration.

Polite? Yes, very. But… he/she has had many emails at this point from me, eBay, and the claim and still only was finally moved to email me when I left feedback? He/she knew there was no item to send me but didn’t think to give me a refund? It’s been over a month of email reminders from various parties to ship this item or at least email the buyer. That’s some pretty powerful senility there.

But the real kicker is that the seller wants me to revise or remove my feedback because he/she “intended” and “was going to” communicate with me?

I don’t know, guys, is it me?