Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ebay, USPS and the Cast Iron Popover Pan

Marash Girl will share a lesson she learned on the last day of the year, (not until now because it's a downer for the first day of the year.)  Though she never buys anything on Ebay, Marash Girl was charmed by the idea of  making popovers in a cast iron popover pan (see blogs on popovers). Unavailable in the new marketplace, on October 26, Marash Girl went to Ebay,  found the perfect cast iron popover pan, and ordered it, paying for it through Paypal.  The popover pan she ordered never did arrive (of course, or she probably wouldn't be writing this blog!)  What did arrive was a beautiful antique cast iron popover pan ordered by Marash Boy and presented to her for her birthday.  (How did he know?)

Marash Girl happily experimented with her newly acquired antique  popover pan, wondering when the one she ordered through Ebay would arrive.  It never did.  She wrote to the seller (via Ebay) and the seller replied:
I was checking with the USPS regarding your shipment. My brother works as a district manager in M. . . for the USPS. He was kind enough to check on it for me, thank goodness as I shipped it without confirmation. The package was discovered with damage to the top of the packaging including the label. I gave the shipping info to my brother so that they can send it on its way to you asap. You should have your item on Monday or Tues of this coming week.

Understood.  Still no pan.  When notified, the seller kindly offered to return Marash Girl's shipping fees.  (The shipping had been free.) Still no pan.  When notified yet again, the seller wrote on Dec. 4,
I feel so bad about this whole order!! I apologize for the delay in getting back to you, my mother just passed away after a lengthy illness and i have been out of town for a few days. My brother told me that the item was accidentally shipped back to me. When I returned home there it was sitting on my front step. I am re-shipping to you via priority Mail tomorrow morning. Please accept my sincere apology about this mess! 

Marash Girl did not want to be unkind to the seller, and patiently awaited the arrival of the antique popover pan she had purchased. Weeks passed.  Finally, on the last day of the year, Marash Girl decided it was time to conclude all business that had been left unresolved.  Deciding to file a claim for unreceived merchandise on Ebay, she learned (folks who purchase on Ebay take note) that the buyer has up to 45 days, and no longer, to file a claim for unreceived merchandise through Ebay.  After that, the buyer has no recourse through Ebay.  Yikes. "Vaht to do?"  Ebay's consumer advisor suggested calling the credit card company that supported that Paypal account that paid for the item and asking them to place a holdback on the payment that was made.  The Ebay rep also provided the name, city, state and phone # of the seller (though not the address), information that would be required when contacting (which she recommended I do), a partnership between Ebay and the US government to protect consumers against fraud.

That seemed a bit far to take things.  So Marash Girl, on that last day of the year, made a telephone call to the phone number provided by Ebay and left a message regarding the possibility of contacting  Several hours later, a very irate seller returned that call stating that she had done as requested, she had refunded the $29.95 through Paypal, and hadn't Marash Girl checked her Paypal account?  Had Paypal not notified her?  After all, she  opined, the seller couldn't be held accountable when Marash Girl had not taken the responsibility to check her Paypal account . . . Correct!  Marash Girl, feeling a bit unnerved and perhaps irresponsible, returned to her computer to check her Paypal account yet again.  It took awhile, because she was looking for earlier payments she may have missed, but as she reached 12/31/11, there it was -- a refund payment that had been made an hour before the seller's irate telephone call.

Marash Girl is not sure what the lesson is to be learned here.  There are many, I suppose.  What lesson have you learned from this very minor, and hopefully once in a lifetime  episode in the life of Marash Girl?


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