There probably isn’t a person alive today that hasn’t heard of eBay at least once, and it has become a cultural icon that no other auction site has been able to rival in fame or notoriety. As with any type of auction site found on the Internet, we all can’t help but wonder what are our options for protection and recourse when an auction doesn’t go as it should. Most sellers are a real pleasure to deal with, but some can be unscrupulous and lie about the condition of an item.
What does eBay do to keep you safe? Well it all starts with the auction itself. A few years ago, when someone was competing against you bidding on an item, you were able to see their username and contact the individual. Fortunately, all of this has changed in order to protect your privacy and to cut down on the amount of threats issued by competing bidders. As a result, when you place your bid, all watchers can see are a few letters with stars in between as well as the number of auctions you’ve previously bid on.
Since your privacy is safe, you can at least rest assured that you can bid without fear of getting angry messages. In July of 2015, eBay officially broke its ties with PayPal and they have been registered as separate companies in order to ensure there is no conflict of interest. However, when paying for your auctions, PayPal is still the primary choice of payment accepted through which you can send an e-check, direct deposit or pay with debit or credit cards.
eBay has put in place a buyer protection program which basically tries to help buyers resolve issues they have directly with sellers. Usually, eBay will only intervene on behalf of a customer if the case is escalated and no reasonable resolution can be achieved by working with the seller. In most cases, buyers will need to return the unsatisfactory item in its original condition to the buyers, but as a new rule, eBay now forces sellers to pay for the return shipping if the item is not “as described”.
Once the item is received by the seller, eBay refunds the purchase price as well as the shipping costs to the buyer. There are rare cases where eBay doesn’t require the return of the item and a refund will be issued in any case.
Before taking advantage of the program, there are a couple of things that you will need to do. As a first step, you’re always asked to directly contact the seller to try and reach a reasonable resolution. If no resolution is reached, you will need to contact eBay within 45 days of receiving the item, open a case, and communicate with the seller throughout the protection claim process. As a last step, eBay will most likely ask you to return the item, but as was mentioned, if it wasn’t as described, sellers will have to pay for the shipping costs.