Any recourse for Amazon.com "used" seller rip-off?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Vince Maskeeper, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    My mom, who is of course beyond the age which allows a person to be internet saavy, decided to purchase a somewhat rare CD for my Girlfriend for x-mas.

    She found it on "amazon"- although not really realizing that amazon does that half bullshit where they are just brokering a sale for a 3rd party. She placed the order- and nothing arrived.

    The seller sent a flippant email claiming that it was likely lost in the mail and that she was SOL. An email to amazon resulted in a form letter that basically said that they have zero responsibility for sales that they have generated through their site (despite collecting payment).

    Is there any recourse for this type of thing? It's extremely frustrating to see how easily a person can be scammed, even when using a "reputable" retailer like Amazon. Folks wonder why so many regualr people fear conducting business on the net-- when things like this happen everyday...

    On a side note, I'm also endlessly frustrated by the attitude of sellers who think their commitment to the sale ends when the item is dropped in the mailbox. The truth is that the buyer is committed to providing payment- and the seller is then committed to supplying the item. Issues of shipping loss are absolutely the problem of the seller-- as any problems related to payment arrival are the responsibility of the buyer.

    Ugh.

    Vince
     
  2. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Hmm. When did your mom place the order, and what kind of shipping was agreed on? Not too long ago, I ordered a used cd that should've been shipped first class (and the seller "agreed" to ship within two days of the order) but it didn't arrive until almost two weeks after I placed the order. Perhaps the seller is slow and hasn't even shipped it yet; some people sell so many things that it might be hard for them to keep track of everything (disorganized one man operation), so the seller might be talking out of his ass and doesn't want to admit that while he will ship the cd eventually, he has so many orders that it'll take some time before it is shipped. Who knows, it might even be the same seller I dealt with. If you can't reveal his nickname/identity here, let me know over PM.
     
  3. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Dispute the charge with the credit card company. Let Amazon deal with them.
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  5. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Amazon refused to fix this?? That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. They have guarantees on this used merchandise bit. As someone who routinely sells used books on Amazon, I was told upfront that if I don't ship a book, the money will be taken from me and refunded to the buyer.
    When you buy used on Amazon, you are SUPPOSED to be fully protected. I recommend two things:
    1. Call or email Amazon and give them hell. Threaten to take this all over the Internet and remind them that they are illegally breaking their guarantee:
     
  6. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Exactly. Much the same way if the buyer's payment was "lost in the mail"- the seller is not expected to just send the item anyway. The problem being that the usual order of operations dictates the buyer pays first- so the reverse situation is rarely seen. But- I still think anyone with an ounce of logic would see that reverse concept (buyer payment disappears in the mail so seller is SOL on getting paid) as laughable...

    I often try to explain to people that the decision on the carrier was THEIRS, and had they decided to hire their drunk Uncle Charlie to deliver my package-- this too would have nothing to do with me. I went round and round with some asshole over a broke LD player years ago-- and he refused to understand that just because UPS refused to pay his insurance claim, that didn't mean our business was settled. He eventually stopped replying to my emails- but I still keep track of where he lives...

    Anyway- Mom s monitoring this thread- so any advice you guys have on specifically how to dispute the charge with Amazon or the CC company would be appreciated. Has anyone here had a similar problem buying or selling used on Amazon? Is there any official channels?

    -Vince
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I would take Amazon up on their buyer protection (above). If that fails, I'd dispute the charge with the CC company. If you buy something and never receive it, you will usually get a refund. It is the seller's responsibility to prove that he shipped it and that it was received by you. If he can't do that, you'll be refunded.

    Just be sure to keep any correspondence with the seller! You may need it for your claim.
     
  9. John Spencer

    John Spencer Supporting Actor

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    Vince, ask the shipper for a tracking number. If they cannot provide you with one, then they cannot prove they have shipped the item. When they cannot provide you with a tracking number, then you can contact Amazon and have all the bullets in your gun. I've had this happen before, and when they couldn't "find" the tracking number, they had no leg to stand on, and had to refund my money or face criminal fraud charges. This was on Ebay, but it should work the same for Amazon.
     
  10. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    It's very easy to jump on the "poor buyer" bandwagon here and demonize the seller. And, while I feel sorry for Vance's situation, this isn't an open/shut case by any means. First, we can look at it from the seller's perspective. How does he/she know that you never got the CD? You claim you never got it but the seller cannot confirm that. Clearly, the seller isn't handling the situation as best he could but he also might be going out of his way not to directly accuse the buyer of fraud.
    ...which leads us to the issue of carrier choice and tracking. Was tracking and insurance included in the transaction? Was it an additional option that wasn't selected? Was it specifically excluded? What were the terms of the transaction? These are all important factors that will help determine the outcome of the dispute. The cost of tracking on something as small as a CD might double shipping costs, for example.
    The problems you are facing are the reason why buyers shop at large stores instead of smaller ones. The large stores provide better customer support and protection to the consumer. But they can also afford to absorb all of the fraudulent transactions that come with these more open policies.
    For the record, I do not accept liability for lost and damaged shipments. I transfer this liability to the shipping carrier and minimize it with insurance and tracking selections. In the 100+ transactions I've conducted via eBay and other online forums, three transactions have gone wrong. Two of these cases were refunded by the shipping carrier after an initial claim denial. The last was not.
    However, I am not sure that the claim that remained denied could not have been resolved, in the end, had the buyer not been so aggressive in his desire for a refund. In his zeal to accuse me of fraud, he also disclosed his suspicions to the shipping carrier which only served to further justify their denial of his claim. Moreover, I could no longer help him with his claim because of the legal accusations he made against me (any attempt to further help him thus might have hurt me in court). I was forced to refer all of his communications to my lawyer and, in the end, no one was happy.
    Also, in both cases where I had a claim successfully processed by a shipping carrier, they had no problem whatsoever in working with the recipient of the damaged/lost shipment and refunding him the claim amount (not me as the shipper). If they tell you otherwise, they are just stonewalling you. Only deal directly with the claims department.
    In conclusion, I'm sorry for those transactions that go bad online. However, it's important to remember that disputes are two-sided and each side has competing interests. It's not always the seller at fault nor is it always the buyer.
    Happy holidays! [​IMG]
     
  11. Greg Kolinski

    Greg Kolinski Second Unit

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    WOW, thanks Don,that kinda put this kinda thing in a new light for me.I failed to see it as a :two way street".Just because Vince is an honest upright guy,doenst mean that ther are not thousands of people claiming to not recieve stuff,wanting the product AND their money back[​IMG] This is why I still have difficulty on most internet person to person sales.I am about to put a pretty rare old car up for sale over the net,and Im rather leary,seeing how little I actuallly know about this type of business dealings.[​IMG]
     
  12. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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  13. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    One big problem with tracking is where you are shipping from. In Canada, the only way to get a tracking number (which isn't available online, nor does it give you delivery confirmation) is to register the package at a cost of $9 plus postage, so to ship 1 CD to Europe is $15.

    Most buyers (especially those looking for really cheap product on ebay) would balk at the idea of spending that kind of money to ship a CD/small item, but it is the only way the seller can make sure the package was actually received, although that requires putting a trace on the item should it be declared missing.
     
  14. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  15. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Tell it like it is, Ryan!

    I absolutely refuse to do business with anybody who does not use a carrier with a tracking system and/or does not insure the item. Of course I tend to buy things that are several hundred dollars, but I've still demanded it on lesser items. In fact, I've yet to come across a seller that didn't want to use a tracking number, I imagine for the very reasons Ryan outlined above.

    I've had problems with UPS (who hasn't?) and have always been told the seller is the one that has to file a claim. I mean, afterall, they're the ones that entered into the agreement with UPS, not me.

    Now, I will say that if the buyer has an option to save money on shipping and not have tracking and/or insurance, then the fault would be with the buyer. It shouldn't be the seller's responsibility if the buyer was a cheapskate and opted not to protect himself.

    In any case, this isn't Ebay we're talking about, it's Amazon. Amazon appears to protect its buyers much better than Ebay so I would first file a complaint with Amazon. And as also has been suggested, talk to the CC company if you don't get a resolution through Amazon. Somebody's gonna eat the cost and it's not gonna be Mom.
     
  16. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    This isn't a debate over ethics and certainly not something that should denigrate into personal attacks. This issue revolves around the terms of a business transaction. Fraud losses incurred by online retailers (including eBay) will total close to $500 million this holiday season. This dwarfs by a wide margin any consumer-incurred fraud liabilities.

    This doesn't make it right, of course. However, it reveals why online retailers -- especially the small ones that can't afford to take these kind of hits -- need to take a proactive approach with respect to potentially fraudulent activities.

    How do they do this? By defining the terms of their transactions in advance. So, if the seller said insurance and tracking would be extra, and the buyer chose not to pay for these options, then it is the buyer's fault. If the seller said insurance and tracking were included, then it would be the seller's fault.

    I'm not discussing Vince specifically here. I'm trying to dispute this notion of "poor buyer" syndrome. The truth of the matter is that buyers defraud sellers much more than the reverse.
     
  17. Colin-H

    Colin-H Second Unit

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    I got screwed by a seller on a CDRW drive that FedEx left outside my DORM building. Idiots. FedEx Ground's claims process requires that you have the some documentation provided by the shipper. The company I ordered the item from was NO help after repeated e-mails, phone calls, etc. I finally gave up, which is what they were hoping for, I bet. I made the mistake of paying with my check card instead of my credit card with buyer protection, so they already had the money and I was screwed.
     
  18. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Vince,
    Is it safe for you to post the CD title?
    That is if your Girlfriend does not monitor this site?
    Just maybe someone here has a copy that could help fill your mothers order. I would be more then happy to check in my cd collection, If I did not have it, I would be happy to pitch in to find her a new CD.
    I know this is not what you asked of this thread,
    This is the holiday season, This kind of behavior should never take place.
    The internet community is a better place then what this one and a few other sellers make it.
     
  19. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Who cares if there was tracking or not. I dont feel its even relevant here.

     

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