/ buyer asking for refund on popular online auction site

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Camm on 26 Mar 2014
I sold a watch online and exactly 4 weeks later the buyer has messaged asking for a refund because there is water droplets on the inside of the glass.

The watch was brand new and in perfect working order never worn. The buyer has opened a case. We're not talking a cheap watch, so I'm a little hesitant on giving a refund when I sent the watch out in perfect working order.

On the listing it stays that I accept returns for 14 days, I did not put this it must be a ebay thing. Common sense tells me that I do not have to give a refund however does anyone have any knowledge on this?

I don't know what the buyer has done with the the watch, I'm a private seller, this was a unwanted gift that I bought for someone, I'd had the watch for a few months in the box and that's it.
Urban5teve - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

You have the right to ask for the goods to be returned to you for investigation pending a refund. If the goods have been tampered with and you can prove this you can return the goods and not issue a refund.

ex0 - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

Tell em to FO.

Not sure why you needed to post to get advice on this!
Frank the Husky - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101: Four weeks later? No chance. Too late, this is not going anywhere for the buyer! Point out the facts and say you're sorry. I'm sure they'll leave bad feedback, but you can reply pointing out that if there were water droplets, perhaps they should have mentioned this immediately.

itsThere on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

Ask for a photo, is there any way to check the watch you get back was the watch you sent.
Martin not maisie on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

People lie. It's a shocker.

A few years ago, we sold a washing machine in the local newspaper. Old, but in working order. Forty quid.

A woman phoned up, got the address, turned up and bought it.

Later the same day, she phoned up quite irate, saying that it didn't work and she wanted her money back. I politely acquiesced, apologising profusely. She went on a bit, to be honest, but I continued to apologise and sure enough, when they brought it back, it was dead as a doornail.

Couple of days later, down the pub, I related the tale. Oh, said one of my mates, they've nicked the PCB. I'd not actually heard of one of these before, but he said that it was a known scam, so the same night I slid the lid off the machine - and sure enough, the Printed Circuit Board which makes the machine work was missing. They'd essentially taken it away, stolen the damn thing for their own machine and then brought it back for a refund. I had no contact number, nothing.

True story. Turned me into the man I am today.

Are you absolutely sure the buyer is trying to give you your own watch back, or might it be the one he bought previously, changed the battery on (voiding the warranty) and then swapped out for yours? It happens, you know.

Terms and conditions of sale protect BOTH sides. There's only so much you can / have to promise on a private sale.

Geoboy - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Perfect answer.

Would be tempting to say as ex0 put it, but probably best to send a quick polite message. You might avoid -ve feedback. Don't let them send it back to you.

4weeks! What a joker.

Good luck
Martin W on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to Geoboy: > 4weeks! What a joker.

4 weeks is within the 30 days that eBay normally allows for a buyer to raise a case:

The seller would be taking quite a risk to ignore to buyer's complaint completely, or to respond too negatively. It's not just bad feedback that they risk, but - since the buyer appears to be following eBay's resolution process - there's a strong chance that eBay would rule in the buyer's favour if they are called upon to adjudicate between the two parties. If the transaction was completed through PayPal then eBay can refund the buyer and take the money back from the seller's PayPal account without the seller's agreement, and without requiring the buyer to return the goods.

I think UrbanSteve's advice on this is sound: ask for the buyer to return the goods for inspection. (Obviously it helps if you have a record of the item's serial number or such like, so that you can be sure that the item they send you is the same one you sent to them.) Make sure all correspondence with the buyer is done though your eBay account (ie do not reply directly from your personal e-mail account) so that eBay have direct access to all communications in the event that the buyer raises a case.
Geoboy - on 26 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin W:

Fair point. Obviously the buyer is within the time-frame for opening a case. However, to raise a case after 4 weeks regarding something that could be observed immediately on receipt of the item seems highly suspicious; I would not want to receive that item back if I was 100% sure it was in perfect condition when dispatched.

Perhaps a safe alternative would be to ask for photographs to prove the damage and compare these to the photographs listed. Assuming the item was sent with insurance, worst case scenario is the seller has a big dispute which the buyer wins, paypal refund the buyer on the seller's receipt of the watch, and the seller finally claims against the courier for 'damaging' the watch (then sell the watch again for spares).
Camm on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

Cheers all,the reason I asked was beccuse when I first joined ebay it was a very different animal. Their polices change all the time!
I have posted a response, my paypal account is currently in the red as they hold the money untill the case is closed.

I really wish ebay/paypal would crash and burn or a few good competitors come along.
wilkie14c - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

The ebay/paypal monster is a shit and they will rule in the buyers favour and steamroller you, right or wrong. Knowing this there are many buyers who'll take advantage of this, i.e buy themselves a nice watch to go on holiday with and get their money back when they get home.
nniff - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

Is it a properly waterproof watch? Water resistant or low end waterproofness doesn't mean you can go swimming in it.

Even if it is, maybe they've decided that they don't want it and so pulled the crown out to let a little water in.

If it's new, then surely it's covered by the manufacturer's warranty
Petekitso - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

4 weeks is the exact deadline to claim a refund if, and I appreciate that may be a big if, the watch is faulty. They have six months to ask for a replacement - this is all under the distance selling regulations.

If you do get it back, you may have parallel rights against wherever you bought it from depending on whether you bought it in person or online etc
Ffion Blethyn - on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to danrock101:

I may be wrong but I think the distance selling regs only apply to 'buy it now' sales on eBay, not to auctions. Might be worth a bit of research.
Sorry to muddy the waters more.
ByEek on 27 Mar 2014
In reply to maisie:

Wow! You live and learn. I have a washing machine and fridge that need to be sold. I will watch my back on the basis of your bad experience.

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