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And now for something different - being screwed by a buyer

plexus

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I really wanted to make some lasers that take into account gaps that I have experienced myself with laser builds. so I set out to build some real quality 3W 9mm 445s using sinner's nice copper head hosts. I put considerable time into them, hand machining copper heat sinks for the build. I put them up for sale for my cost plus a nominal amount extra for the labour involved.

We all know the issues and risks with buying/selling lasers especially between countries. I am in canada. I wanted to facilitate as smooth and easy going a transaction as possible, so both me and the buyers can rest assured. I offered tracking, insurance and the option to ship in 2 boxes instead of one. Depending on what the buyer wants to spend on shipping, they can choose the options. Either way, and before payment is made, I point out explicitly that I can not be held responsible for the shipment once it leaves my hands. The reason for this is customs - I have no control over customs.

I sold 3 of these lasers. the 2nd and 3rd went to the same person. after getting the laser they told me their friend wanted one too. so the same guy made his shipping choice (no tracking, no insurance, 2 boxes - just like the first one i sent him) and I shipped it off. granted I shipped it a little later than I planned to because of a mix up on my end, but it went out 2 weeks after he paid. I shipped to the address he provided.

The packages have been in the mail for 3 weeks now, which is not really enough time to conclude they are lost. However, the buyer opened a paypal dispute.

Now, here I am trying to accommodate the toppsy turvy world of buying and selling laser pointers using the experience I have learned myself as a buyer on here. Did I make a mistake by offering these options to the buyer? I didn't want to demand paypal as a gift because its against various policies. I also thought I did what I needed to in order to cover myself while trying to make the transaction smooth for the buyer.

I am really upset and disappointed that even though the buyer said they accepted all the risks based on their own choices (I can share the emails if you want) they opened a dispute anyway. And now I am likely going to have to lose this money. In some ways I feel like I was scammed. Did the buyer use paypal's rules against me by asking me to ship to a different address? Did the buyer know that even though they agreed to the risks they knew they could open a dispute anyway? Did the buyer know that without tracking and insurance and everything else, they could get the laser and still open a dispute and get their money back?

For those of you that have been through this, any advice? The value is $310US.
 



rhd

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The only advice to offer here is not very helpful to you after the fact I'm afraid -

Don't ever ship something without tracking and insurance. That's your protection. If you don't opt for tracking, then you're toast as a seller, regardless of what the buyer may claim to agree to in emails, messages, etc.

This is not a new issue. This problem has come up many times LPF. At this stage, everyone should be clear that everything needs a tracking number.

Very sorry for your loss :(

Who is the member who bought your items?
 

STI24

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Unfortunately, rhd pretty much summed it up.

Hopefully, that package has been at a snails pace this whole time and it arrives ending the PayPal dispute.

Good luck to you.
 

ARG

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Sigurthr

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Yup, as I learned the hard way, simple tracking and delivery confirmation is not enough to win the case, it has to be registered with signature required.

These days I just demand a gift payment if it is something over about $50 or easily damaged.
 
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starlight

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How is PayPal going to decide if there is NO proof of where the package is? and how can you be sure the buyer didn't get it and still file a claim. Tracking is everything!!
 

rhd

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This may be a situation where it's worth identifying the buyer by name. (Edit: I just mean by forum nickname)

I had the same thing happen years ago with a buyer named "Electron", and it wasn't until posting about it that we figured out he had a pattern, and had done the same to others.
 
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firelaser

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this is my situation with a scammer on ebay.. i won and you can see the reasons i believe why .
http://laserpointerforums.com/f57/ebay-scam-83819-3.html

my situation is different than yours but id say one thing to do is try calling paypal about the issue, you can often be more convincing on the phone..
show them all the email exchanges.. a simple inconstancy can be vital. i did not get it .. the box was smashed.. wait what box? ect

always use tracking... the post man says he left it.. then it was left... if it was signed for.. it was officially confirmed .. these 2 are a win.


This may be a situation where it's worth identifying the buyer by name. (Edit: I just mean by forum nickname)

I had the same thing happen years ago with a buyer named "Electron", and it wasn't until posting about it that we figured out he had a pattern, and had done the same to others.
why not the real names of the buyers and even their address? is there a privacy law against that? if not i feel that it is much harder for him to scam here again, making a new name is easy.. a name and address require at least some more effort
 
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grainde

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why not the real names of the buyers and even their address? is there a privacy law against that? if not i feel that it is much harder for him to scam here again, making a new name is easy.. a name and address require at least some more effort
If you want you can send the name and address to me and I can add him to the scammers thread in the vets section. That way people can PM a vet to check if they are unsure of a buyer. :beer:
 

plexus

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Thanks for all your help. I am reading the protection guidelines. there are two things that stand out in terms of what transactions paypal will protect for the buyer. two of the criteria that will result in no protection are "custom made items" and "items that violate paypal or ebay policies". this would include a 3W laser pointer that I built for the buyer.

Would it be in my best interest to point out to ebay that the item is custom made and also a laser over 5mW? I would risk my account being "banned" but I understand that if I sign an agreement with paypal they would re-instate my account, if that were to happen.

thoughts?
 

Sigurthr

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Point out that it is a custom made piece of optoelectronic hardware. Don't say it's a laser, I've heard of people losing their PP accounts, but never being able to reopen them.

That I know of though, the description of the item has to be in the sale notes, not something added on after the fact during dispute process.

When I was taking non-gift payments from non-vets I would put down that they were "terahertz optoelectronic amplifiers", which always worked well.
 

Rifter

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When I was taking non-gift payments from non-vets I would put down that they were "terahertz optoelectronic amplifiers", which always worked well.
I would do this.

I would also never ship anything worth over $50 without tracking.
 

Sigurthr

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Tracking alone is meaningless to PayPal. Remember that. It has to be REGISTERED MAIL.
 

Rifter

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Tracking alone is meaningless to PayPal. Remember that. It has to be REGISTERED MAIL.
seriously? registered is usually way more expensive.... One more reason to add to the list of why I hate paypal I guess.
 

Sigurthr

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Yep, tracking doesn't prove that the item was delivered to someone, only that it was delivered to some place, and that isn't good enough for paypal. They don't actually look to see that the town/address/name matches up to your story. They look to see shipping method and if it isn't Registered or UPS signature or equivalent they side in the buyer's favor. I got bitten for a bit over a half grand once this way.

Another thing PP doesn't protect against is a buyer who swaps out a part or damages a part in a nonobvious or visual way. I was repairing, restoring, and reselling woodwind instruments about five years ago and I had one customer who didn't clean the fipple (part of a flute/recorder/whistle) correctly and deformed the edge, ruining the instrument. Because it wasn't visible without a micrometer PP sided with the buyer and forced my hand into a refund/return. I got the item back but it was a total loss. I tossed it in the fire the next day. That was the last time I sold something on eBay, actually.

That's a big reason why I prefer to deal on the forums here. You can easily see the kind of customer who is trying to buy from you and easily refuse the purchase. It is very hard to tell a good buyer from a bad one on eBay.
 




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