I still suffer from the recurrent problem of sellers not disclosing faults in the pens that they offer for sale, but eBay has finally begun to see sense. Sellers may say that they will take no returns but eBay now adds the rider that sellers may be forced to accept returns if their items are not as described. That’s a major victory, and I think that I, probably along with many other buyers, can take some credit for that.
My biggest gripe has always been that I ended up out of pocket to the tune of the cost of sending defective items back to sellers. When sometimes there are two or three “not as described” items in a week and they have to be returned by a signed for service, this is not an insignificant cost. I had taken, in my boilerplate claim to sellers, to adding the phrase, “I will require a full refund including return postage as there is no reason why I should be out of pocket over an item that was not correctly described.” EBay seems to have taken some note of that as well. Whereas at one time they made it clear that sellers would not be responsible for postage costs for returned items, that has now disappeared and in one or two instances eBay administrators have actually made a refund of postage to me themselves!
This does reduce my loss over these defective items but it does not address the problem of the time wasted in making and pursuing claims. Some sellers make it as difficult as they can for the buyer to be compensated, arguing about the facts of the case and using time-wasting tactics in the hope of wearing the buyer out. Though with great reluctance, I have taken to giving negative feedback to sellers who have not been cooperative. I’m not sure that this does anything to address the issue and I believe it remains a gaping hole in eBay’s feedback system. Perhaps there should be a penalty for inaccurate listing. In many cases, I have no doubt that the deficient listing is unintentional, but even there a penalty would encourage greater attention to the condition of the item they wish to sell. In many other instances the damage is so blatantly obvious that there can be no doubt that the seller has taken a chance in full knowledge and in the hope that a buyer will accept the item despite its defects.
A penalty which formed part of the feedback report and was visible to all would be likely to have a beneficial effect in reducing the number of defective items offered for sale. Either that, or we hang, draw and quarter them and place their heads on a pike as a warning to the rest.