Some things you need to know about Ebay and Dell – and ethics

I have had almost all good experiences with both ebay and Dell up until the last few weeks. However, I was recently scammed on ebay – and along the way, I learned some critical things:

Ebay “buyer protection”:
Have you ever read the fine print of what this says? It means that if you sell something… ANYthing, the seller has to warrantee it for 90 DAYS, according to the ebay seller terms. In my case, I sold a laptop – the buyer confirmed everything was fine, and we left each other positive feedback. Then, about a month later, he dropped it and the screen stopped working – he filed a Buyer Protection claim against me of “Item not as described”.

I immediately referenced my ebay auction that explicitly said no refunds/no returns. Next, I referenced the positive feedback and ebay message from the buyer saying he received it and it was working fine. He also left me positive feedback. I didn’t think much of this, because I was clearly in-the-right. I accurately described the item, the buyer confirmed that and was happy. That is, ethically, as a private person, where my responsibility ends.

Now, Ebay immediately puts a hold on your PayPal account for  the amount of the auction! Then, ebay reviewed the case on the next day and made a ruling. They ruled on behalf of the buyer, believe it not! As it turns out, ebay said that I HAD to refund the guys money and take back the now-broken laptop! What????!? True story.

What about seller protections, you ask? Well, there aren’t really many – and they certainly aren’t taken anywhere near as serious as buyer claims. I submitted a claim against the buyer because he didn’t send me back everything and I STILL haven’t heard from ebay.

Bottom line for me? I’m done selling on ebay. I believe that when you buy something used, when you take possession, it’s yours. The seller no longer has any responsibility – ethically. I have been on the other side of this COUNTLESS times, and I would never expect a private person to warrantee something that I bought used from them. If they described it accurately and if I took delivery without incident – that is the end of their responsibility. There is inherent risk in buying something used – that is the trade-off you accept for not paying full-price for something new. I have/would NEVER expect a private seller to warrantee something I bought 90 DAYS after a sale – and I’m offended that I was forced to do something I would never do to someone else.

I think the buyer was in the wrong and abused an unfair policy of ebay. I also think ebay is in the wrong for having such a rule. If anything, a seller should be able to opt-in or opt-out of this 90-day warrantee.

But meanwhile, since ebay’s ethics and mine don’t align – I won’t ever sell through them again, it’s simply not right.

I was thinking of using Amazon. Do you have any recommendations on where to sell used stuff (electronics, books, etc) – aside from ebay? Leave a comment below please or shoot me an e-mail!

Also – whether you do or don’t agree with this policy, it certainly wasn’t obvious to me – so FYI in case you weren’t aware, and if you sell things on ebay!

Dell “warrantee”:
I learned another important lesson in the past couple of weeks. Imagine you buy a used Dell computer. Something goes wrong with it. You call Dell support, you find out it’s still under warrantee. You MUST know the contact details of who the original person is who bought the computer from Dell, or they won’t honor the warrantee and they won’t do any paid service on it either.

Today, I decided to not let this go, I went up 5 levels of escalation on the Customer Care line and got the same answer from every person. I cannot switch the “ownership” into my name without knowing that original owner either. For this particular computer, I bought it on ebay a couple of years ago, so it’s literally impossible for me track down who that person was (and hopefully they also didn’t buy it used)

When I pressed them as to why, they explained that this is to protect the original Dell customer. What if I stole the laptop or somehow possess it without the knowledge of the original owner. I replied “I see. If you are truly worried about your Customers well being, please call them right now and let them know someone is claiming ownership of their laptop – and see what they say!? They might tell you they no longer own the computer!” – Dell of course said “No sir, we don’t call our Customers about things like that.”

It was very clear to me that Dell couldn’t care less about the “security and well-being” of their Customers – they simply use this as an excuse to not honor their warrantee. To put this more bluntly, if you own a Dell computer and if you don’t know who the original owner is – you will never, ever be able to get warrantee work done, get service, or get part information about that computer. I spent quite a bit of time researching this and ultimately on the phone for while to confirm. Imagine how many Dell computers are for sale on ebay at any given time? Unless those buyers gather that original-buyer information at purchase-time – imagine how many warrantees that Dell gets to get out of!?

By the way, if you DO know the original owner details, you can submit this form to transfer the ownership into your name. If the details don’t match though, they will deny the transfer.

Again, this comes down to ethics. In the first example, I don’t expect a private person to warrantee a used item. However, Dell (a company) CHOSE to explicitly warrantee their product, and incorporates that into the cost of the computer. However, they use this little technique to get out of having to honor the warrantee that part of the cost of the computer.

What ever happened to ethics in our society? In college, I had two mandatory ethics classes I needed to take. I would assume that most everyone had to too, right? It’s just very frustrating.

My bottom line here, after 2 days of going back and forth with Dell – and after buying many, many, many computers, and recommending Dell to many people – I’m done. I will never buy a new or used Dell again – and I will actively encourage people not to buy Dell either. I hope the money they “saved” by not honoring that warrantee made up for all the future sales and sales lead I would’ve given them.

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Posted in Computers and Internet, General, Infrastructure, Uncategorized

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