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Customer broke the product and managed to get full refund

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Dave0108, May 27, 2019.

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  1. Dave0108

    Dave0108 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    52 1
    Hi Forum,

    I am currently dealing with a customer on eBay who purchased a product. Three weeks later admitted that he broke it by mishandling it and asked if we sell spare parts for it. I explained that we do not sell spare parts. He asked if he can return it for a refund as it is of "poor quality". I said we only accept returns on items that are returned in same original new condition. He then proceeded to open an ebay case claiming its fake.

    eBay in their wisdom decided the case in customers favour and told me since they do not have any facility to verify our supplier documentation and commercial invoices they automatically decide all cases of authenticity in buyers favour.

    I really want to do something about this situation.

    My initial thoughts are to raise a small claims court case against this buyer for the amount owed.

    Also what amount should I claim? eBay sale value or wholesale purchase value?

    Do you think I will be wasting my time or should I do it?

    p.s. The wholesale purchase price of said item is £200. It was sold on ebay for £425.
     
    Posted: May 27, 2019 By: Dave0108 Member since: Oct 16, 2015
    #1
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    25,449 3,108
    Rather than all that, worth looking at the product and if it can be damaged that much by buyers seeing if can prevent that happening in future.

    Ebay will probably have followed their policies regarding the product - is it really worth the hassle doing a claim from the buyer?
    By the way, your warranty applies?
     
    Posted: May 27, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #2
  3. Dave0108

    Dave0108 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    52 1
    To give you more context the product is high end designer eyewear. I have it in writing where buyer said he was running and the sunglasses fell down and he stepped on it and crushed it. I have sold over 6000 similarly priced products and this is the first time it happened.

    The only warranty from manufacturer covers regular wear and usage. Dropping them and stepping on them is ofcourse not covered. I am just not happy to lose £200 due to buyer clearly exploiting the ebay resolution system.
     
    Posted: May 27, 2019 By: Dave0108 Member since: Oct 16, 2015
    #3
  4. MBE2017

    MBE2017 UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,961 713
    If you have proof he damaged it through carelessness, then I think you can go the small claims court route if you feel a reasonable judge would rule in your favour.

    You could save the cost by writing to them stating since you have evidence he damaged it through mishandling it, you are giving him two weeks notice, and set out your case, charges you would be looking for etc.

    No guarantee you will win, mishandling could lead to a lot of questions, such as how good the instructions were etc. Only the OP can decide the level of blame involved in his opinion. Bear in mind though, courts tend to err on the consumers side if in any doubt, the client might request the proceedings be moved to his area and so on. You might prefer to talk to smallclaims assistance, a member on the forum for his advice.

    Edit, just seen your post above a min before mine, with such proof in writing I would do the above.
     
    Posted: May 27, 2019 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
    #4
  5. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    25,449 3,108
    Is the product suitable for running with?
    Have stepped on my glasses multiple times - generally not being able to see where they went before foot comes down... must need to wear glasses... :)

    The buyer clearly exploited the ebay resolution system -= because they would have got nowhere with you? Would have been able to try paypal if ebay had ruled in your favour.
     
    Posted: May 27, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #5
  6. ImranR

    ImranR UKBF Contributor Free Member

    92 8
    Not worth the agro. It will cost you circa £80 to submit a claim. Your biggest barrier might be deciphering the chain of contracts between you, eBay, PayPal and the buyer.

    At best, you will be awarded the original sale price less your fees.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: ImranR Member since: Nov 8, 2018
    #6
  7. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,536 542
    Reminds me of when I bought a phone from Amazon and put the wrong size SIM card in it. There was no way that card was going to come out without damaging the phone.

    Fully admitted all fault but they processed it as a regular return and refund regardless.

    Since you say it's a one-time incident, probably best put it down to experience?
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
    #7
  8. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    996 258
    How much time is it going to take you to do all the court stuff and - assuming the other side choose to fight it - then go through the whole rigmarole of defence and counter defence before the wasted time of going to two hearings if it goes all the way.... and that lot is probably going to take at least four if not six months.
    ASSUMING the judgement goes in your favour you then have to ASSUME the other side will pay up without a struggle..... The County Court route is not a simple application for payment.

    As others say, take the hit, and treat it as a consequence of dealing through a Big Brother money making machine where you have to play by someone else's rules.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Socio South West Member since: Mar 24, 2013
    #8
  9. Root 66 Woodshop

    Root 66 Woodshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,137 1,388
    This is one reason I detest selling on Ebay... they always go in favour of the buyer, no matter what the issue... it's unfair trading against the seller.

    Did the customer contact you via Ebay? if so, then they'll have access to the full conversation, if not then you're pretty much stuffed they're bias towards the customer experience... and it's wrong.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Root 66 Woodshop Member since: Nov 22, 2011
    #9
  10. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    25,449 3,108
    Yes, except when they go in favour of the seller.
    Which I have to admit is the vast majority of the decisions they have done on my accounts in almost 20 years.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #10
  11. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,536 542
    Selling directly involves many hurdles such as visibility, ease of transaction and trust. Ebay are biased towards the buyer and that's one big reason why running an arbitrage on sunglasses business is feasible in this day and age.

    OP can go it alone and see how it pans out though...
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
    #11
  12. Financial-Modeller

    Financial-Modeller UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    873 325
    @Dave0108 you have been successfully selling via eBay for a while and are aware that eBay disputes usually favour the buyer.

    When your customer asked whether you can provide spare parts, couldn't you have dismantled another pair and sent the customer the part he needed, retaining the rest of the parts as spares for next time a customer requests parts?

    You mention 6000 sales. One failure in 6000 seems enviable, and £200 lost in context of £1.35m gross margin is insignificant.

    Avoid the aggravation of court action and potential bad PR resulting frm it, don't waste more of your time (or ours) and concentrate on your next 6000 sales.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Financial-Modeller Member since: Jul 3, 2012
    #12
  13. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,875 896
    Welcome to the reality of online selling, especially on Ebay.

    You just have to take cases like this on the chin and move on. It is part of the cost of selling online, where the law is stacked massively in favour of the consumer - and should be.

    Fighting each case is emotionally draining. Hitting the refund button and moving on means that by this time tomorrow you will have made a few more sales.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
    #13
  14. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,826 1,077
    Ask them to make payment to you otherwise you will be starting legal proceedings.
    Letter before action stating a brief overview of the facts (Which includes him admitting to dropping and standing on the item) and that you will be suing for the cost of the item plus costs (court costs, interest at the statutory 8% and postage...for the Letter before action), you may not get all of those, but no harm in trying.

    Once the letter before action has been ignored for 14 days, file it with small claims.

    My experience is that people pay once the court papers go through their letterbox.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #14
  15. Root 66 Woodshop

    Root 66 Woodshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,137 1,388
    Fact of the matter is that the customer has admitted he had broken the product... he is obviously a knob who has no morals for doing what he's done...

    Whether their are spares available or not it doesn't matter... he's had a full refund on a product he's broken...
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Root 66 Woodshop Member since: Nov 22, 2011
    #15
  16. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    25,449 3,108
    Oh so we have to factor in customer morals now?
    That could be a tad hard, a few billion morals to take into account every year....
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #16
  17. Root 66 Woodshop

    Root 66 Woodshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,137 1,388
    So you'd be happy to accept something back that someone had broken, happily admitted too and then sucker punched you into being forced into giving a refund without no issue by ebay/paypal ...

    It's not about a seller factoring in a customer's morals... I just don't see why some folk think it's OK to tell someone to just accept it, there's nothing you can do without giving some helpful advice...

    I personally don't sell on Ebay because of this issue that Ebay creates... it's an online shop at the end of the day... that same customer would never dream of walking into a B&M shop, admitting fault and then expect a full refund... they wouldn't have the balls.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Root 66 Woodshop Member since: Nov 22, 2011
    #17
  18. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    25,449 3,108
    We do have a returns policy, yes. As do other online sellers.

    So you class him as no morals but do not factor his morals into selling.... OK....

    Pity you don't sell online. Its better than selling offline in some ways - never have people breaking / nicking things in front of you.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #18
  19. Financial-Modeller

    Financial-Modeller UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    873 325
    Whilst I completely agree with the sentiment and view the the return of an item that the customer broke and expecting a refund as utterly revolting, its a cost of using the channel.

    Successful eBay sellers do everything that they can to mitigate the chances of returns and price their return costs and refunds into the purchase price. In commercial terms its not complicated.

    Also, in the OP's specific example, the customer initially asked to buy replacement parts, which seemed like the best outcome at that point, but the OP didn't supply them.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Financial-Modeller Member since: Jul 3, 2012
    #19
  20. Root 66 Woodshop

    Root 66 Woodshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,137 1,388
    In the 10 years that I've been working here, and the 10+ years in retail and wholesale, I've never had anyone break or nick anything (apart from an attempted theft where kids were nicking products while the parents stood and watched, but that was stopped easily ;) )... we've had folk try it on, and we've taken them to task for that in a professional manner...

    in this case, the OP was asked if he provided spare parts and he said he didn't, nothing wrong with that... that's not an issue that he has, that issue still lies with the customer... i.e. crap I've broken them, I need to deal with it... instead, he's took the mick and the OP suffers for it...

    To be honest, it's irrelevant as to what the margins are, he's running a business, buying and selling a product... do you think his supplier would offer him a free pair because he was honest enough to admit that he'd broken them upon receiving them? doubt it TBH.
     
    Posted: May 28, 2019 By: Root 66 Woodshop Member since: Nov 22, 2011
    #20
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