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When Sellers Go Bad…

July 28, 2012

I don’t like to use Mr. Frights’ name or the network I’ve built to complain or protest. I don’t like to use it to hurt people. In fact Mr. Frights is and always has been about helping people. But there comes a time when someone does something to ruffle feathers enough that something has to be done about it.

As many people who follow Mr. Frights know, I’m a big collector of horror toys and other such items. I’ve been a collector for the better part of 20 years or so and have built a pretty respectable collection. I’ve bought from Amazon, private online stores, eBay, and so on. I’ve had items show up broken, damaged, dented and not quite what I would consider satisfactory. In every case I follow these procedures:

1. Contact the seller/company who sold the item and/or the shipper. Let them know about the item and the issue with it, then wait to see what they say. In most cases they reply rather quickly saying they are cool to give me a partial or full refund for the item. I even had someone send me the wrong item before and they simply told me to keep it and they sent out the correct item free!

2. I never really had a two because I’ve never had a problem dealing with a seller who sent me something that was unsatisfactory before. While getting something unsatisfactory doesn’t happen often, it does happen. Usually sellers get the idea that reputation is everything and if they want to continue having a good reputation they need to treat people that buy from them with great customer service. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

I recently went out to eBay to purchase a brand new SDCC exclusive Hero from the Sky Ash figure released by NECA. I found the cheapest “Buy Now” option and I lucked out that it had free shipping. The seller didn’t take long to send it out and I got it in a couple days. Very impressed when people do that. But the problem was that I opened the box to find that there was NO PACKING MATERIAL to protect the item. On top of that, the figure in its packaging was sort of stuffed into the shipping box. The top of the item was folded over a little to fit it inside. The shipping box was big enough that it didn’t need to be sat flat or folded into the box. In fact, once I took pictures, I took it out of the box and sat it back in diagonally just fine. No issue with fitting as it was kind of loose in there like that and no issues with closing the box or anything… so I don’t understand why it was put in there that way.

As I said, I took pictures of the item in the box, the box as it showed up, so I have photographic proof of the condition of the shipping box and the item. Keep this in mind.

Inside of the box showing no damage to the box, but the item is folded into the box almost flat on it’s front with a close up of the damage to the item.

I contacted the seller and asked for a partial refund to cover the damage of the item letting him know I had photos I could send. He told me to send them and gave me his email. After sending them I got a nasty response from him, though some of that was because I left him ‘neutral‘ feedback and a comment that there was no packing material in the box and it was packaged improperly causing damage to the item. This is a true statement. The guy turns around and calls me a liar saying “how do I know you didn’t take it out of the box and fold it up in there like that.“.

First off, why would a collector do that? To get a couple bucks off a $45 dollar item? That’s ridiculous and makes no sense.

Then I try to reason with him, telling him there’s no external damage to the shipping box that makes it look like USPS crushed it in any way (since he tried to blame them for the damage). There are some wrinkles on the box, but nothing that would indicate serious damage that would have made the item fold up on its own in the box the way it’s pictured. The shipping box is still sturdy and not weak at all.

He offered to give me $5 dollars back on the condition that I take back or edit my feedback that I left him. Basically asking me to lie and give him good points. That $5 dollars won’t enable him to go back and put packing material in the box or to make sure the thing is put into the box the right way. It wasn’t just set in there, it was tightly packed inside so as that it could not move. If it was crushed, the box would have looked crushed. If it was just sat inside the box, it may have fallen side ways because it fits in loosely. Remember, I took it out and put it in again myself to see if it fit.

Side of box showing no damage indicative of crushing though a wrinkle up the side can be seen.

After some more back and forth and me trying to explain the whole point to him that he just didn’t take precautions to keep the item from being damaged, he replied to my feedback comment basically blaming USPS for the poor shipping and so I replied that I have photos of it and that it was not the fault of USPS. I also opened a case with eBay at this point asking for half my money back. I did this because what I asked for wasn’t good enough for him and all the trouble with fighting me over it is just not okay for a seller to do. You wouldn’t see Target doing that at their guest services and you wouldn’t see the majority of private sellers online doing this (as I mentioned my experience above). I feel at this point half my money is justified, but I would have settled for the $10 dollars I asked for after the initial response he gave me.

Bottom of the box showing no damage

At this point he is still fighting with me over it, completely ignoring the facts. He keeps insisting that he didn’t pack it folded. I even told him to forget that part and pretend he did put it in loosely like it fit normally; pretend that USPS did crush it. He still didn’t put packing material in the box to help protect it, which could have kept this from happening. He keeps glossing over this fact.

Side of box showing slight damage on the bottom, but nothing indicating crushing damage that would case the item to end up in the box the way it was found.

The best thing would have been for him to take responsibility, say “Sorry, how can I fix it.” and then refund some of my money. Instead he’s chosen to fight me on it because I’ve given him bad feedback. Well, what kind of reputation damage do you think is going to happen now that all this has happened? He could have saved himself a lot more trouble by just being customer service minded. I even told him what would happen if he didn’t just work with me on this. I told him I’d open a case, he didn’t listen. I told him I’d escalate to eBay support, he ended up doing that himself. I told him that if he didn’t stop fighting with me and work this out to my satisfaction that I’d tell people publicly about this and let people know who the seller is. That’s where I’m at now.

Side of box showing no damage

If you’re reading this, then he still hasn’t satisfied my issue. He hasn’t issued a refund that reflects my experience with him. I’m not sending the item back, it’s to valuable and to hard to come by. All I want is for a small refund to cover the damage he’s responsible for and now on top of that something to compensate my time and stress dealing with this. I feel half my money is fair. I could be asking for a full refund, but I’m trying to be fair. It’s a 15 – 20 dollar figure that was sold at twice that price. It’s worth it, but when damaged, the value goes down. I’m willing to accept the damage because of the value of the item. What I can’t accept is being treated like this by a seller.

Side of box showing no damage

The odd thing is that as much importance and pride this guy is putting on his reputation as a seller, he doesn’t get that the more he pushes on like this, the more he fights to save face rather than try to appease the customer, the more he’s damaging his reputation and considerably more than it had to be. People get bad feedback all the time. It doesn’t hurt them that badly, unless they keep getting it. It doesn’t happen at all when they do things the right way. The deal is though that you need to roll with the punches which means sometimes you have to bite the bullet. He got neutral feedback because he made a mistake. Take ownership of the mistake, drop the pride and ego, and fix it with the customer so you end up not taking more damage.

In the end I’ll end up with a $45 dollar slightly damaged figure in packaging that eventually will be worth potentially hundreds. Even if I don’t get any money back for it I’m not losing anything. The seller however is losing his reputation. He can’t erase what he’s done, he can’t undo the things he said to me or the stress from it. He wont be able to undo the damage done by himself as a result of his actions and the damage done by my reaction to his handling of this issue.

Top of the box showing no damage indicative of crushing. The only thing hidden here are the addresses. You can see some wrinkles in the cardboard, but that’s all they are.

I hope that he learns a lesson, but odds are with people like this, his ego will be hurt and he’ll harbor some sort of anger at me – flame me on some message boards and get his hoards of online troll minions to harass me. That’s fine with me though because I still got what I wanted and he gets to try to deal with the damage to his reputation as a seller. I almost feel bad for taking things this far, but if this had happened at any other store (online that is) or likely with any other private seller they would have been kissing my ass because of how I’ve been treated – because professional people understand what reputation really means.

I would suggest learning about customer service if you’re going to be a seller or open a store. I’d suggest learning the saying “the customer is always right” even when they are wrong and why they say that. I wasn’t a jerk to the guy, I tried to use logic and fact to press my point, but all I got in return was this guy defending himself and overlooking the important things about my issue.

Sigh… So here it is. The eBay user ID and link to his eBay profile. Buyer Beware!!

absolutvt69 – Isaac B Miller

http://myworld.ebay.com/absolutvt69?ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1181

– Mr. Frights

::ADDENDUM::

I’ve been called out for not showing this picture. I’m not hiding anything and I don’t mind showing it. It just doesn’t show the same detail of the damage to the item so I left it out. What it does show is nothing more than a wrinkle in the box. That same wrinkle is NOT on the outside of the box. Each picture above is a completely different side of the box showing all six sides in their complete and honest condition as I received it. Again, as I said, this box is completely intact and not crushed at all. These wrinkles in the cardboard are nothing more than that. They are not collapsed spots. The box is still fully sturdy. In fact I kept the box and I’ve stored it away for safe keeping.

Picture from alternate side of the box showing the inside is undamaged other than a wrinkle in the box.

I also added the top view of the box in the above post. I’d previously kept it out because I didn’t want to share address info. Again, nothing to hide here. All my cards on the table.

It was also mentioned that I didn’t say anything about the full refund I was offered, but that is in the blog post. Full refund for a return of the item. I don’t want to and never have wanted to return the item. What I did want, was a few bucks back to cover the damage done during shipping because the seller didn’t pack it properly. This is the consensus of many collectors who are familiar with this situation and finally admitted to by the seller. That refund was only offered if I were to change the feedback I’d given. Let me make this perfectly clear… to me that would be making a false statement as my feedback indicated exactly what happened and no amount of refund would change the facts.

I’d really like to thank all the little minions he has for pushing my views way up. You’re making my blog number look awesome!

No one that posts any comments supporting either side is going to get approval for their comments here so leaving them is pointless though entertaining as none of you know what you’re talking about. This is just about putting the facts out there because of how poorly this was handled by this seller. As I said, buyer beware.

 

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One comment

  1. Hey, really like your posts; found you through a word press search on collectibles. Following you now. check out my blog too; its http://www.theglassmall.com



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