3
April
2006

eBay Resolution

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a problem I had with an eBay seller and asked for advice. I wanted to let you know how it went.

The short story is that I ordered some Wallace and Gromit knitting patterns from a UK seller and instead of receiving the original patterns, I received photocopies. I asked you all for advice and it was overwhelmingly “report to eBay, demand refund, leave honest feedback”. Thank you for listening and all your advice. Here’s what happened….

First, I e-mailed the seller and explained that the listing didn’t state they were photocopies and that I would not have purchased them had I known. I asked to either be sent the originals or to be given a refund. At the same time, I had a friend report the seller to eBay for selling photocopies of copyrighted materials (so that I could claim that I hadn’t reported if things got sticky before I got my resolution). I didn’t receive a response for several days. So I sent another message and included a deadline.

The day after the deadline passed, I went through the eBay/PayPal process of filing a dispute. One day later, the seller gave me a full refund and asked that I cancel the PayPal dispute. I eventually did. And then I mailed the photocopies back on Saturday. They didn’t ask, but I wanted to make sure I covered my bases. So, with the different exchange rates at the time of the refund and the return postage, I was out about $7 for the whole thing. But most importantly, the seller was out the full amount, so I’m pleased with it.

Unfortunately, I note that the seller is still listing the copied patterns on eBay. They are now listed as copies. But it seems that eBay isn’t interested in protecting the copyright by pulling the auctions. There are actually several sellers currently selling photocopies of Wallace and Gromit patterns. I have reported them all. eBay hasn’t pulled a single auction. Which is very different than the response I see when the Barenaked Ladies fan community reports illegal music and video copies of Barenaked Ladies recordings being sold. Those get pulled almost immediately. Is it that music copies have a sexier legal lobby? Or is it that the music fans protest en masse?

What’s next?

  • I need to leave feedback for the seller. I’m going to be as explicit as I can in 80 characters, but I’m still not sure whether to leave a “neutral” or “negative” rating. I did get a refund in the end. I guess my fear is a reciprocal negative feedback rating from the seller. Which is a silly reason, but I don’t have any recourse even though I’m in the right.
  • I need to collect the real patterns. I’ve won auctions for 3 of them already. There are 3 more. I missed winning out on a couple of them because of poor timing on my part. But I’m sure if I’m persistent, I should get the others soon.
  • I want to take a stand for copyright. It seems that one complaint to eBay about auctions for illegal copies doesn’t make a difference. But maybe more will. If you have a few minutes and are so motivated, please do a little reporting for these auctions. If you e-mail me or leave a comment with your e-mail address, I’ll send you a list of the auction numbers that I know are currently selling illegal scans and photocopies of Wallace and Gromit patterns. It’s not much, but maybe eBay will start paying attention. Thanks!