What to Do When You are Unhappy with an eBay Purchase

By Marsha Collier

The vast majority of eBay transactions go without a hitch. You buy, you send your payment, you get the item, you check it out, you’re happy. If that’s the case — a happy result for your transaction — skip this and go leave some positive feedback for the seller!

On the other hand, if you’re not happy with the item you receive, the seller may have some ‘splaining to do. Message (through eBay messages) or call the seller immediately and politely ask for an explanation if the item isn’t as described. Some indications of a foul-up are pretty obvious:

  • The item’s color, shape, or size doesn’t match the description.
  • The item is scratched, broken, or dented in ways that don’t match the description (the description said the doll was new, but the box is tattered and the doll has seen more than its share of action).
  • You purchased a set of candlesticks and received a vase instead.

A snag in the transaction is annoying, but don’t go nuclear immediately. Contact the seller and see whether you can work things out. Keep the conversation civilized. The majority of sellers want a clean track record and good feedback, so they’ll respond to your concerns and make things right. Assume the best about the seller’s honesty, unless you have a real reason to suspect foul play.

Remember, you take some risks whenever you buy something that you can’t touch. If the item has a slight problem that you can live with and you paid a small price, leave it alone and don’t go to the trouble of leaving negative feedback about an otherwise-pleasant, honest eBay seller.

Of course, while there are certainly things you deserve from a seller, you’re the one who has to live with the item. If you and the seller can’t reach a compromise, and you really think you deserve a refund, ask for one.

If the item arrives at your home pretty well pulverized, call the seller to alert him or her about the problem. Give the seller all the details needed to make an insurance claim (if the insurance was purchased by the seller).

With any luck, you and the seller can work things out. If not, file a claim with eBay’s Money Back Guarantee to get your money back.