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Buyer requesting partial refund, advice please..

(85 Posts)
WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 09:12:28

Hi, I regularly sell on Ebay but mostly clothes and toys. DP asked me to sell for him a full set of Wade Natwest ceramic pigs. The buyer paid quickly and I packed them very securely and delivered with Myhermes. This was all completed and delivered by Tuesday this week.
This morning I've had a message from the buyer saying that one of the pigs has a break on his front that has been repaired with glue and a crack running right around the back. Neither if these were there when I posted them!
I was cautious when I wrote my listing as I knew that collectors would want to know every mark on them. I scrutinised those pigs to make sure that my listing was accurate! So, basically what the buyer says isn't true. They have asked for (at least!) a partial refund and have said they won't return them. I'm upset about the whole thing to be honest sad
I've never come across this sort of thing before..can anyone advise me please on what is the best thing to do here? Any thoughts appreciated!

lemontwist Sun 16-Feb-14 09:17:43

Sounds like they're trying it on. Ask them to forward detailed photographs.

Its not up to them to decide on refund instead of sending them back. Unfortunately ebay does tend to side with the buyer but I'm sure you could insist on them returning the item rather than issuing a refund

lljkk Sun 16-Feb-14 09:53:19

How much did they sell for and how much of a partial refund do they want?

One problem is that there's no reason why they shouldn't break the pigs in sending them back. Then you've got a very messy situation trying to prove when or how they were broken.

Of course you could refuse, they could open a case & get full refund. Or they might not bother but trash your FB & stars, with unknown repercussions.

Painful & unfair as it is, I would be minded to give a small partial refund and put them on my Blocked Bidders List.

GemmaTeller Sun 16-Feb-14 10:44:55

Ask for photo proof or to send that one back.

A buyer recently sent me a vague email saying part of something I sent her was broken.

I emailed her back in a friendly way asking for more info and a photo of the damage - never heard from her again.....

I would get them to send one back. Are they really going to break and repair it with glue?

I wouldn't give a refund until they were all with me or the one that was broken was.

sebsmummy1 Sun 16-Feb-14 11:00:30

First of all how much of a refund do they want based on the price you sold them for?

You know this is horribly dangerous territory as it could go all sorts of ways.

Personally if I'd made good money on them and they wanted a small refund I might just go along with it just to get the matter sorted and dealt with. If they wanted a stupid refund then of course the first thing to do would be to ask for photos of the affected pig.

If the photos did show damage then I would ask for them to either send the whole set back and give a full refund or send that particularly pig back for a partial refund.

I would also be stipulating that the buyer is responsible for getting the items back to you with no damage and if they are damaged you will not be refunding.

I have no idea how much protection you really have here as eBay is so weighted on the side of the buyer. It sounds to me like they can claim anything and eBay will refund them.

My recent experience was selling a brand new Sophie Giraffe teether to a lady who messaged me a few days later to say the item was not as described and dirty and she wanted a refund. Based on her opening a dispute eBay had already ring fenced the money in my Paypal account to refund to her. I just refunded her, received the item back and am keeping it for (hopefully one day baby no.2). Wasn't worth the hassle over £8.

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 11:52:47

she could be returning her own faulty item

tell her to return for a refund and once you have checked your security markings you will refund in full

most sellers will not entertain a partial refund - return everything for full refund or nothing. I am not sure MyHermes covers you for china does it?

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 13:07:10

Thanks everyone for your replies, there are a lot of suggestions here that I hadn't thought of!
I sold the pigs for £36.00, the one in question is Maxwell and he's not overly rare. I'm watching one out of interest that finishes in a couple of hours and he's at £6.00.
I'm going to ask for photos in a friendly way to start with, hopefully calling their bluff will be the end of it!

specialsubject Sun 16-Feb-14 13:32:43

have you got a photo of it as it was before you sent it?

if so, she can whistle claim from the courier.

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:48:57

the buyer cannot claim from the courier as they didn't have the contract with them. Also a courier won't pay out for an item which has been broken and repaired will they? I would bet the buyer wants a free replacement for her own damaged iem.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 15:13:49

I have photos, both of the set and the individual pigs. The buyer won't be able to claim from the courier either as they won't cover ceramics. I've just heard back and she wanted my personal email address to send over photos?! I've asked her again to send via Ebay messaging. I'll wait and see I'm not obsessively checking ebay, oh no, not me

PoorOldCat Sun 16-Feb-14 15:18:32

Ebay message photos don't work normally. They will either be tiny if they come through at all, or you won't be able to attach them. I have tried a lot recently.

Tell her your email address but you have to write it as in dot com or ebay block it.

DandelionGilver Sun 16-Feb-14 15:25:16

Request her to send it back for a refund, and stipulate that the item(s) MUST be in the same condition as shipped. If she opens a case against you this is what ebay will tell her to do. If she doesn't return it, she won't get a refund. They do not always side with the buyer, if the seller is following ebay rules.

MrCabDriver Sun 16-Feb-14 15:28:59

She could have a broken one at home and this is what she will send a photo of/return!

I would point blank say it is not at all possible that the pig was like that when I packaged it, please return and I will refund as I am not comfortable to partial refund

NorbertDentressangle Sun 16-Feb-14 15:30:53

My suspicious mind is wondering if she already had a broken Maxwell one and is going to claim that that is the one you sent her.

She might then send you the broken one in return for a partial refund and keep the unbroken one you sent.

wightjellybaby Sun 16-Feb-14 15:40:31

Are the photos you took before sending good enough to zoom into the 'effected area' to prove theres no damage if so get their pics to compare then go to ebay tell them whats happening but youll need solid proof for them to side with you unfortunately.
Good luck

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 15:52:17

so tell her to return ALL of the items, tell her once you have checked your security marks you can refund. But they couldn't claim from the courier anyway as the damage she states isn't something which would occur in transit

I have said that she is trying a switch which is why you need to mention security marks. Anyway, return all for a refund or nothing. Clearly buyer wants cheap/free items. No decent seller will refund a penny until an item has been returned.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 16:39:29

I think that asking her to return them all (as shipped) will be my next step although I expect she'll send them back damaged and unsellable sad

I don't see why I should issue her a partial refund, I know my listing was correct. I scrutinised those pigs and know there was no glued bits!
I know that ebay is anonymous and I think it's really sad that some people try and take advantage of that. It hadn't occurred to me that she might be trying to get a free one and/or replacement!

Have you told her you have photos of the pigs from before you sent them? If she know you have evidence that proves she's lying she might drop it.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 16:55:07

No, she doesn't know that I have the close up pictures. The listing only included a group shot and then three individual ones that showed a close up of listed marks.
Hmm, I hadn't thought of that SDTG. I'll be sure to let her know in my next message! grin

Tbh, although it is possible that the pig might have got cracked in transit! the fact that you know she's lying about the glued bit makes it likely that she's lying about the other damage too.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 17:13:23

My thoughts exactly!!

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 18:05:29

eBay will not force you to give a partial refund btw - return in full or nothing is their stance.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 19:37:38

Well, I've seen the photos and it looks like poor Maxwell has had a knock and been glued! It is clearly the same one I sent as there is a distinguishing mark (which I had included in the listing).
I've replied to the buyer with my photos and so that she can see the condition it was originally in when listed and sent. Any subsequent glueing has happened after it left my care!
I really hope this is the end of it, I'm pretty fed up at the thought that someone would break something, fix it and then attempt to charge me for it.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 19:54:18

So the buyer has replied with the following..

"I have tried to resolve this with you in an amicable way and I have done what you have asked of me. However, the fact remains that your item was damaged when it arrived here and these photos are how the product was when unpacked. I am going to return all of the items to you unless you can suggest an acceptable alternative.

Please note that if I return the items I will then have no option but to open a dispute under eBay and PayPal and I will seek a refund for the postage too."

I'm at a loss for what to do! I can't even resell the pig they've broken sad

sebsmummy1 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:04:58

Unfortunately I think you're stuffed.

I think the only way you can deal with it is let it go through the resolution centre using your photos but I suspect the buyer will get a refund.

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:17:11

well they can't have a refund of the return postage at all - only get their original payment back.

Tell them once you relieve them all back you will refund her in full but that she won't be refuded her return postage and that ebay won't make you. They will then probably send it back the cheapest way possible. i.e. not recorded. Then just say you never relieved it back an they will have no proof and therefore you won't have to refund the scammer. ebay will side with you if they don't send it recorded.

relieved = received

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:42:58

or be honest and tell them then need to return special delivery or courier with added insurance to cover against breakages as if they are received broken then you will not be refunding a penny.

sebsmummy1 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:13:05

Oooh I like the idea of a double scam. Do that! Say that her postage is non refundable and hope she sends it big standard post. That would be hilarious.

PoorOldCat Sun 16-Feb-14 21:25:24

I hesitate to say this as I don't want to sound like I am doubting you. But is it possible that he has been repaired and you just didn't notice?

I say this as a seller who often makes mistakes and has to refund part of the price afterwards...not through malice or even carelessness (I think I must write the most long winded listings known to man) but just because sometimes I don't see the wood for the trees.

It's just something I'd consider if it were me...but then you know how carefully you checked them - if you have a close up of this part of him, and can forward her the photo to show it was intact originally, then do that - and it may help your case if she raises a dispute anyway.

Hope that came across right, of course if you think she is making it up then do your utmost to defend. Good luck, horrid situation I know.

PoorOldCat Sun 16-Feb-14 21:29:13

Sorry, just seen you have sent a photo. Have you heard back again? Some cheek to suggest it was broken when it arrived if you have a photo of it undamaged.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 22:20:45

I've not heard anything since the last message, she's seen the original photos and still claims that I didn't describe it properly.
I'm going to go through the resolution centre to try and get it sorted. I like the idea of requesting it's sent with added insurance or I don't issue a refund. My concern here is that they will be sent back in pieces and I'll still have to refund the lot!

PoorOldCat I know what you're trying to say and usually I do everything at 100miles an hour and so may miss things. Not this time though and that's why it's stings grin. The money boxes belong to DP and have been packed in a box and forgotten about stored carefully for years!

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 22:23:57

Has the buyer opened a case? If not, then do nothing. There isn't a case you can open against them for this anyway.

chickydoo Sun 16-Feb-14 22:27:11

I had something similar. Buyer said tracksuit was badly stained etc.
It was pristine when I sent it, worn only once. She said she wanted a refund and I stupidly agreed. She sent back a different tracksuit.
Well it was the same make, same colour & style, but old, smelly and worn, and more to the point not mine.
eBay is just not worth it anymore, too many con artists IMHO.

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 22:34:37

Really LilyBlossom14? I just had a look and you're right. I'll wait and see, but I think it looks very likely that the buyer will open one. I think was looking forward to taking some control!
If when they are returned broken, what happens here? Are Ebay likely to still make me issue a refund?

WheresTheCoffee Sun 16-Feb-14 22:36:20

chickdoo that's awful, I don't know how people have the nerve! What happened in the end? Were you out of pocket for a tracksuit and the sale?

LilyBlossom14 Sun 16-Feb-14 22:54:31

if the buyer gives e bay proof of delivery, or even attempted delivery, then eBay will refund them in full.

sebsmummy1 Mon 17-Feb-14 07:34:28

Wheresthecoffee, have you written this thread on the eBay community boards? If not please do so as they are very helpful and I am sure would offer you the best advice as this must be common place ever since eBay decided to change their policy to protect the buyer.

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 08:04:45

if the buyer returns a different item there is nothing ebay will do - the sellers only recourse is small claims court to recoup their funds, which is unlikely for an item only costing a few pounds.

PoorOldCat Mon 17-Feb-14 08:55:02

Actually I'm wondering if my previous advice was misguided. I don't know the rules about the photo facility but they never used to accept photos as proof of anything. Now you can attach them to messages, perhaps they can use these to determine a case.

Did you/she send the pictures through ebay messages or email?

Also thinking about it you may be best to offer a small partial refund as compensation rather than getting back a load of broken figures.

See if she opens a case first. You could offer to send her a fiver so she can buy her own Maxwell.

sebsmummy1 Mon 17-Feb-14 09:38:02

Once you start offering partial refunds you are accepting the buyer is correct, no? That's my only worry.

PoorOldCat Mon 17-Feb-14 10:32:26

Ebay will force a refund if they return the item tracked, whatever the condition. In a situation where you have no real choice but to accept fault, it's perhaps better to do it in a way that allows you to retain the most money from the transaction.


ebay and legal are on two different planets, it's ridiculous.

chickydoo Mon 17-Feb-14 11:00:13

Where The Coffee
Yes, I lost out. Had to refund for a hideous item that wasn't even mine.
Never ebay again!

Piggybacking (geddit) on this as I am getting IRATE about similar issues. Whenever I had a big clearout there are always a couple of people who try for partial refunds. One lady claimed a maternity dress was a tunic (I wore it! It wasn't!) Paid to get her to go away. Another lady, having inspected a changing table, collected it in person, given positive feedback, and had it for 3 weeks is only now saying there's a glued repair (I didn't, but it was secondhand, so maybe, but I used it for a year and never saw and nor did I when I was listing it). Am not going to rollover again, but maybe this will come back to bite me.

It's just 'normal' companies, if you're asking for a refund, EXPECT YOU TO RETURN THE ITEM. It's not a way of getting something already cheap even cheaper. What's the logic behind the partial refund idea? It seems a license for buyers to take the proverbial.


LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:23:42

did the buyer who collected pay cash or paypal for the table?

WheresTheCoffee Mon 17-Feb-14 16:53:03

PoorOldCat "Ebay will force a refund if they return the item tracked, whatever the condition. In a situation where you have no real choice but to accept fault, it's perhaps better to do it in a way that allows you to retain the most money from the transaction."

^^ This is where my thoughts lie at the moment too, although I've not heard anything back yet since the last message threatening to open a case..fingers crossed that's the end of it!

lily my listing said Paypal only, she asked if she could pay cash on collection, I let it go...So not sure how refunds would work anyway!

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 18:54:53

you must never ever take paypal for a collected item - so she paid cash?

Yes, she paid cash on collection. Why shouldn't you do Paypal for Collections?

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 18:57:58

because they can claim not received and get their money back as you have no tracking proving delivery.

if she paid cash then tough tbh - ebay cannot make you refund, and she inspected it when she collected. So, I would just ignore her if I was you tbh.

That's what I'm hoping.

This whole area seems so biased in the buyer's favour doesn't it. If you pay by Paypal then it's in your interest to request a partial refund because 9/10 the seller will roll over because of their FB score. Can't be right.

I feel a strongly worded letter coming on wink.

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 19:04:13

there isn't anything to hope about - the buyer paid in cash and that is the end of the transaction. What is she asking for?

50% refund. She's raised a case in the resolution centre which we'v batted backwards and forwards and I've said we're at an impasse so best to leave it to eBay. What's the worst that can happen? She's already left good feedback!

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:17:39

she paid cash - so nothing can happen. They can't refund her because she didn't pay by paypal. Escalate it and let eBay sort it out. They will close it and she won't get any money back.

WheresTheCoffee Mon 17-Feb-14 21:43:10

Urgh. So now she's opened a case against me requesting a full refund. I'm sick of how much of my time this is consuming, I want her to go away. Any suggestions? I'd say its likely that she'll break the pigs and then return if I agree to refund them. Am I best to offer a partial refund?

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:47:07

I wouldn't no - just wait and let ebay deal with it.

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:47:28

you did mention security marks didn't you btw?

WheresTheCoffee Mon 17-Feb-14 21:55:40

It's clear from both my photos and the buyers that we're talking about the same pig. I'm concerned that ebay will refund in full anyway and I'll be left with a broken and unsellable set angry

I've not come across someone like this before on Ebay, I can understand why people get so upset when this happens..the seller is powerless!

LilyBlossom14 Mon 17-Feb-14 22:04:57

which is why you need to mention your security marks, in the hope it stops her returning her own broken item and keeping your intact one.

WheresTheCoffee Mon 17-Feb-14 22:19:00

I don't think that will work sadly, there is a manufacturers defect in the paint under the glaze (which I'd listed) which shows up on her photos too so the damaged pig is the one I sent..I just sent it in one piece!

My own mad lady has just sent a demand via Paypal. Which I will ignore. I guess she just guessed my Paypal identity ie my email as it's not come via eBay.

I'm not replying to her anymore on eBay - is there anyway of escalating it directly with eBay? Can't find her address. I would quite like her to go away. She knows where I live! Can't believe she's got this hellbent about a tenner!

WheresTheCoffee Mon 17-Feb-14 22:29:55

It's scary isn't it stinkingbishop when you think about it!
I don't know if there is a way to escalate through Ebay..maybe customer support can help?
I keep hoping mine will go away, but the messages keep coming!

carlywurly Mon 17-Feb-14 22:35:58

I feel your pain. I had this last week. Sold a lovely top which the buyer demanded to return 2 weeks later (strangely she'd messaged me before buying to ask if it could be sent in time for her holiday, once back she wanted to return it confused)

Apparently the fabric mix didn't contain enough of the fabric she wanted. Or something.

Ebay live helpline were brilliant. They also sorted me out when someone wanted a partial refund for a used white coat they overbid for which was.. Surprise.. Used.

If they threaten negative feedback at any point you can get them under the feedback extortion policy. Worth knowing as it saved me a few quid.

This kind of shit is ebay at its worst and it's definitely worse than it used to be.

PoorOldCat Tue 18-Feb-14 07:54:54

I would offer a partial refund yes. Unless she is near enough for you to go and collect the items.

China, glass etc just not worth the bother of an inexperienced packer returning it.

I used to restore antique dolls and so I had a couple of minor incidents - once the eyes I had reset came loose in the post, the buyer panicked and made an almighty fuss - eventually she insisted on bringing the doll back to my house for me to repair.

She was a very bossy older lady and I think the more I tried to explain and offered to pay for her to get someone local to put them back (quite a routine job) the more she wanted her own way.

It's something in the thing about wanting to be heard, wanting 'justice' I think - the genuine scammer is somewhat rarer.

I also had a buyer who won a chair for £10, which I wouldn't let her arrange a courier to collect (as per listing - she ignored that part) and she went on and on and got more and more patronising and demanding, and I just did the resigned, calm, 'look you have 120 feedback, I have over a thousand, so I know the way it works. I'm not going to sell it to you, and I am sure you will leave me negative fb like the other poor sod you negged for the same issue a while back, but the chair is going on the bonfire once I have removed my son's lego from the back of it.'

I never did get a neg after that, or hear from her again.

sebsmummy1 Tue 18-Feb-14 08:14:20

I think it might have gone too far now to offer a partial refund.

Can you pick up the broken pig separately somewhere enabling you to sell the 'set' again in the future?

I like the idea of ringing the eBay live helpline, didn't know such a thing existed!! Might be worth doing it just for therapy.

PoorOldCat Tue 18-Feb-14 08:17:30

Ebay 'help' isn't really help at all. It's totally, totally random as to what they will think you want, and what they will actually do, and who they will back in any given scenario.

My latest contact with them to try and block a weirdo bidder was met with 'sorry you are having some problem with [wrong person entirely]'.

It was utter bollocks. Nearly got my actual buyer struck off. It's like using Mr Tumble as your solicitor.

PoorOldCat Tue 18-Feb-14 08:19:14

Paypal are much more helpful btw.

Saying that when I rang ebay about the issue I got a normal person who sounded sort of English. Just the emailing them with a problem tends to go through to the Fillipines and while they are super courteous, they really don't have a clue.

carly where do you access the live helpline? Am being spectacularly Luddite and can't find it!

PS I think MNers should set up an eBay consultancy...

sebsmummy1 Tue 18-Feb-14 08:35:04

God that sounds like the debacle of Vodafone Customer Services when I wanted to cancel my contract. I spoke to some of the rudest and politest people id ever spoken to yet none of them could fight their way out of a paper bag. They really were collectively the biggest chocolate teapot id ever dealt with. Never again I tell you.

LilyBlossom14 Tue 18-Feb-14 08:41:02

you go to customer support at the top of ebay Stinkingbishop - have you escalated the case yet?

Found it! 0845 355 3229 for anyone else who needs it.

Although they were singularly useless fyi, just parroting from the script 'it's best if you try to resolve things, to avoid a complaint...BUT SHE'S MAD!'s best if you try to resolve things...'

LilyBlossom14 Tue 18-Feb-14 09:08:38

you need to escalate the case Stinkingbishop - the buyer cannot get a refund from you via ebay - after all, there is no actual proof she paid.

sebsmummy1 Tue 18-Feb-14 09:09:40

There was a thread on here about a seller being dragged through court for a return postage fee.

From memory the buyer demanded £15 to return goods, the seller offered £5 (the price is actually cost). It actually went through the no claims court and the buyer won would you believe. It was extraordinary.

sebsmummy1 Tue 18-Feb-14 09:17:42
LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Tue 18-Feb-14 09:57:36

To be fare the buyer may not be trying to scam you, she could well have received the item as she states. Someone could have knocked it in transit and made a hash of fixing it. I would personally give her a partial refund which would allow her to buy a replacement item.

Yes some people will try to scam you but in this case you verify it is your item and it is in a poor condition. I know it didn't leave you like this BUT it's your job to get the item there in good condition.

This is why I will sell anything on eBay, but not ceramics.

LilyBlossom14 Tue 18-Feb-14 10:33:49

so it got broken in transit, the courier opened the parcel, glued it back together and then resealed the package and delivered it to the buyer!?

How do I escalate a case? It's currently sat in the Resolution Centre (she raised the case) waiting for her to respond.

LilyBlossom14 Tue 18-Feb-14 11:38:05

you escalate it in the resolution centre

LilyBlossom14 Tue 18-Feb-14 11:39:19

have you responded to the case? If not, respond and then escalate

I've responded, yes, what do I click to escalate?

LilyBlossom14 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:08:38

the option should be there, if not you may need to wait 8 days - mind you, it doesn't make any difference as they can't refund the buyer as they haven't paid by paypal. What did you say to her when you responded?

You can just ignore it if you want to really.

WheresTheCoffee Thu 20-Feb-14 17:23:32

So, I offered my buyer a partial refund (a fifth of the price she paid) and it was accepted. It's a relief really, I decided better that I get something for them, than to have them returned in bits and still have to refund!

Its a lesson learned though...that's the last time I sell china on sits on hands and resists urge to write her feedback

thanks to all for your advice!

sebsmummy1 Thu 20-Feb-14 17:33:23

Well done Coffee. I think it was the best decision in the circumstances xx

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