This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Love-hate relationship with eBay
As I posted last week, I listed 5 items on eBay recently. A couple of them sold very quickly and I was very happy.

Now, this morning, I get the e-mail that reminds me why I rarely sell stuff on eBay. The buyer of my DirecTV HIRD-E86 HDTV receiver sends me the "it doesn't work" e-mail. Of course, I know the unit works because I tested it before packing it up. I also included a photo of the unit powering up in my listing.

The buyer claims that DirecTV has already determined it is defective (not sure how they could considering there is no access card to get programming) and that they will replace it for $20. She wants me to refund her $20 without any information about what exactly "doesn't work."

So I am stuck in kind of a pickle. I know for a fact the receiver worked when I shipped it. I also know that the user got a good deal on the item. I paid $500 for it, she got it for $50. Even with an additional $20, $70 for a brand new HDTV receiver from DirecTV is a pretty good deal.

I am now waiting for the buyer to e-mail with details about what isn't working. Hopefully, it is just user error and I don't have to get into a debate with them. It is times like this that eBay's reputation system really screws sellers. If I don't want to get a negative feedback, then I basically have to concede the item is broken.

The only other negative I have for selling items came several years ago when I sold a hard drive. My IBM Deskstar (aka the Deathstar) crapped out, so I had to send it back to IBM and wait weeks for a replacement. In the meantime, I need a new drive, so I bought one.

When the replacement drive arrived from IBM, I listed it on eBay unused. I explained why I was selling it and that it was a replacement drive, etc. etc. I even listed the item AS IS (because there are lots of ways someone can screw up a hard drive install). I priced the item pretty low and it sold quickly.

Once the seller installed the drive, he claimed that it was DOA. He claimed that I had intentionally deceived him and he sent me very nasty e-mails. I explained that I had never used the drive and that's why I sold it AS IS. I did mention that the drive was under warranty and that he could get a brand new one for the price of shipping it back to IBM. He accepted that solution and then proceeded to leave me negative feedback.

This feels very much like the same situation (except in this case, I know that the item works). Even if the item is defective (which it isn't), the buyer is going to get a brand new item for $20 more. Am I being unreasonable in saying "No?"

UPDATE: After getting tons of feedback from friends and co-workers, I decided to stand my ground. Here is what happened.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.