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Many Bricklink seller will work with you to resolve a problem. If you included a bricklink catalog number for both the part you ordered and what they actually sent it may help.
As a seller myself I can promise you the when you are tracking 60,000 plus pieces in your inventory the occasional mistake does happen.
In the mail I sent I noted the two parts down (the one I was expecting and the one I recieved), and really hope that this is just a case of picking up the wrong item to dispatch. I think it may however be a mis-clasification of the part as the seller does not list any stock of the part they sent. Guess that could be harder to rectify.
That said, if the buyer refuses to make it right, I believe there is a dispute process available on BL. Check under the "problem" tab.
As a seller, I am in a similar position to thecleator - I have a relatively large inventory and do make mistakes both with listing inaccurately and sending missing/wrong parts from time to time. I always issue a coupon for 2x the value of the part and then either send the correct piece(s) if I have it or a refund if I don't. A combination of good customer service and a genuine love of the hobby ensure that most problems can be solved satisfactory to both parties.
If it doesn't work out for you, you can register a complaint through the "Problems" tab. I do not believe Bricklink will reimburse you but if a seller (or buyer for that matter) gets 3 complaints against them they get banned from the site. Not as guaranteed as Amazon or eBay but it is what it is.
@graphite I checked the splash and terms pages, nothing about interchangable parts thankfully.
I've never sold lego, but i imagine if i created a store, I would just let the automatic set part-out programing do the work for me, which would probably result in those tiny alternate parts sneaking into my inventory but not being listed, and i'd be none the wiser if the parts looked near identical.
So it looks like I am going through the process again! I have sent a message to the 3rd seller on the list to see if it is the correct part in their inventory before I go down this road a third time!
Glad you got it sorted.
Anyway hopefully solved now.