Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Blog Swarm

Apparently, after having a very bad experience with their customer service, someone managed to get satisfaction from Dell by writing about it on his blog, and, thanks to his readers, it created a Blog Swarm.

So that’s what this post is. A Blog Swarm. All by itself. It isn't directed at a big company and it won’t make any difference to anything, but I don't care: I like the word. My target is someone who has given me a lot of aggro recently; someone called on eBay.

Four weeks ago I put a camera lens up for sale, since I couldn’t envisage a time when I might go back to using my big SLR again, after enjoying the user-friendliness of my tiny digital camera. The lens was coveted by several people and, a week later, achieved a good price. Unfortunately, my ‘buyer’ (ha!) placed his bid at a time when all the stars were against me (my pussycat fell ill that very night) and turned out to be someone with bad feedback, from whom I would never have bought anything, but to whom, somehow, I had to sell my lovely lens. When the auction ended the next day, I had other things on my mind, but I vaguely sensed there might be a problem.

I was right: the High Bidder never answered my several emails requesting payment. I gave him plenty of time and he finally sent me a cheque. A cheque I couldn’t cash: not only was my name misspelt (although it was correct on the envelope that contained it) but it was dated 2003! I pointed it out and waited another week and then filed an Unpaid Item dispute. He assured eBay and me that he would be sending another cheque. Nothing happened, of course. When I sent him a scan of his cheque he asked for my details again, and again said he would be sending a cheque straight away. Still nothing, so I put a stop to the nonsense yesterday.

In the meantime I lost all my other potential buyers. I can’t offer the lens to the second highest bidder: he has acquired a similar lens from another seller. And, I’ve checked, so has everyone else.

Yes, I get a refund of my eBay fees; yes, I get the right to relist the item, but the so-called buyer, who is a trader and who probably was drunk that night and placed a bid on my lens for the fun of it, with no intention of ever paying for it, just gets a strike, which doesn’t affect his rating in any way. He could even leave a negative feedback for me, if he was so inclined (g-d forbid!). That’s not right.

Now, here’s something else that’s not right. I want to leave that man a negative feedback, but I won’t, because if I do he might retaliate and leave me one too, and with my very few transactions it would make my rating drop drastically and no one would ever want to deal with me. I wonder how many other buyers/sellers are in the same position. I’m beginning to think that lots of those ratings are false and therefore a lot more eBayers cannot be trusted.

Until then everyone I'd encountered on eBay had been very friendly and a joy to deal with. It’s people like him who give eBay a bad name.

Slap! Buzz buzz buzz!

Update: Guess what! I received a cheque this morning. It's dated last Wednesday (the day he asked for my details again) but was posted yesterday after I closed the dispute. Perhaps he thought he could say he'd paid before the deadline (which was the day before yesterday). I wonder if the cheque would bounce if I tried to cash it? I wonder if he would claim the lens had never arrived or was faulty or got broken in the post if the cheque didn't bounce and I sent it to him. It's also quite likely that he wrote the cheque and waited for me to close the dispute before sending it so he could imagine my dismay at receiving a cheque I couldn't cash – again. It doesn't matter now because I relisted the item yesterday and I've already got a bidder.

Up-update: This guy is unbelievable! He's now opened an Item Not Received dispute against me. He claims that he paid for the item the day after the end of the auction (10th March), when the cheque I received was dated (apart from bearing the wrong year and the wrong name) 16th March! Enough already!

Up-up-update: A Happy Ending at last! I've now sold the lens (for much less, but who cares) to someone else: a very nice guy, who paid me straight away and who's delighted with his purchase. Phew! No news from the first 'buyer' (he's had four negatives in the meantime; he's been a very bad boy).

Up-up-up-update (16 May): Ah, spoke too soon. He left me a negative feedback yesterday, claiming I ran off with two cheques of his. As expected, my rating has dropped to 90% in one fell swoop. Feeling murderous towards him and towards eBay, which has been no help at all.


  1. PLEASE leave him a negative!

    Retaliation be damned - if you don't tell the truth about his disgusting behavior, then you are contributing to the problem.

    I'm really sorry you had to go through this - and at such a hard time, too. And I understand your desire to avoid a blot on your own reputation...but, J, ask yourself - what would Robespierre do? ;>)

    I'm only sorry la guillotine isn't an option!

  2. I can't, D! I know I should, for everyone else's sake, but I can't let him ruin my credit on eBay so soon (I'm such a newbie).

    Robespierre would have guillotined me for it. :-(

  3. Generally a negative can be postscripted as it were. you have the right to reply and can say he was being a (I'm trying to find a refined and civilised word that means unclean part of the body/self pleasurer/product of unmarried parents) nuisance. So slam the troublemaker and if there is retaliation do a 'yeah, but, you smell'. Ebayers will understand you were in the right. I'm sure.

    I've been on at my other half to negative the woman he bought my trying valentine present from. Six washes later it still reeks of cigarettes. We're not talking a minor aroma here, and I'm an aggresive laundress. No luck so far, for fear of retaliation.

    I am Robespierre, and I'm sharpening the blade, not that I wish to pressure you in any way, my dear.

  4. this is exactly the sort of behaviour that puts me off using ebay

    i bought a child's coat for a few pounds and when it (finally) arrived (after lots of emails and claims that it was returned to sender etc.), it stank - as if it had been in a damp garage for months

    i considered leaving negative feedback but, like you, fear retaliative negative feedback

    so i wrote off a few quid and hesitate from using ebay now - prefer to sell and buy things from people i have got to know on a number of websites/messageboards where i hang out

    anyway, hope you get another good price for it from a kosher buyer

  5. JvS, I know I could comment on any negative that man might leave for me but I don't think anyone would bother to read my blah blah and everyone always thinks there's no smoke without fire, etc., so I'm afraid I can't do it.

    I'm sorry about your bad experience. I hope it'll be the only one.

    UC, I'm sorry you had the same aggro. Perhaps we all have to go through it once. I've exorcized it, I think, but buying something very small (a glass nail file - brilliant, actually) in the meantime. That was a great transaction that has restored my faith in eBay.

    So far so good, UC. Fingers crossed. Thanks.

  6. Hi Bela,

    Your post came up when I googled for this guy. Is his eBay or Paypal email address active or is he using some other email address for communication? I'm trying to get in touch with him :(


  7. Hi, Anon, you sound as if you're having problems with him yourself. As far as I know, his email address is active: he just never answers his emails.


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