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Ugh. Looking for advice on ebay purchase that's not quite right

I guess I should be happy that this is only the 2nd time I've ever had an issue with buying something on ebay, but here's the deal. I spent a significant amount of money on an auction for a number of "100% complete" sets. I've started going through them and, so far, 5 out of 6 have at least a couple substitutions.

At first, it was dark gray instead of light gray or black, and I thought it was a random mistake, but then there were 2x2 bricks instead of 2x2 brick corners. And then there were other little substitutions here and there, including a couple megablocks!

The sets are dusty and I'm guessing that they have been sitting built on a shelf for the last 5 years, however, I ONLY bid the amount I did because they were all "100% complete"! I'm totally pissed off right now, but not sure what to do. The seller is not somebody who sells a lot of lego, so I don't think they have the correct pieces lying around in their inventory and it's not like the rarest pieces are the ones missing either. Most missing/subbed pieces are 8-10cent pieces (a couple, so far, are over $1) but I having severe buyers remorse and want to scream.

Returns are accepted but it cost $50 to ship it to me and, according to their auction terms, I'd be responsible for return shipping.

Any advice for me?
Thanks

Comments

  • jockosjunglejockosjungle Member Posts: 701
    Complain and ask for a partial refund?
    TitusLegoFanTexas
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,421
    I would wait until I cooled down a bit. I have the same problem when I get mad enough and want to go to their house and strangle them. After you cool down email the seller and state your case. Ask for a partial refund to replace the missing pieces. If they don't agree, take it to Ebay and see what they will do for you.
    TitusLegoFanTexas
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    edited March 2013
    If it's really just common/inexpensive pieces missing, what I would do is figure out the cost to get the correct pieces and ask the seller to refund you that amount.

    However, if it bugs you enough that you'd just rather return the sets, I'd contact the seller first and see if they'll pay return shipping. If not, you're best option at that point is to open up a case in the resolution center and clearly state what the problem was and what you're wanting (full refund of purchase and shipping both ways - items will be returned).

    EDIT: More or less exactly what @oldtodd33 just said.
    Titus
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I think it depends on the set. If it's a collectible, then you should be really anal, otherwise, not so much maybe. I think you should ask for what you feel is right, but I'm just saying that if it's a true collectible (CC, GG, etc.), then you have more reason to fight.

    What set was it btw?
    Titus
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,028
    It is possible that this seller bought the sets on a garage-sale or something like that, they were told the sets are 100% complete, and they are now trying to turn a profit. They may not have been aware that parts are substituted. (I'm just thinking of this because from your description it seems that the seller didnt' sell much LEGO.)

    In this case, your best option would be to contact the seller, let them know your complaint and either send back the sets at their expense, or ask for a partial refund. Please note that their return policy that you would have to ship back at your expense would only apply if you just changed your mind. If it is the result of the seller's mistake you can certainly ask to ship back at their expense.

    I would add though that if you open up an eBay/Paypal dispute for a not as described item they will make sure you will get your money back, however you will have to ship back the item at your own expense and they will not refund that amount. Only the original cost of the items plus the original shipping you paid. (I recently went thru this myself and it was a rude awakening. It was only a few dollars for shipping, nothing like yours, but I felt it was really unfair as the seller sent a completely wrong item.)

    So, I would say your best bet is to try to work it out with the seller before starting a dispute. Remain polite but firm and state clearly what you want. Also offer them pictures of the substitutions. That usually gets the seller to cooperate right away...(c;
    Titus
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251
    Personally I think you should work out the cost to replace all the parts, let the seller know and ask them for a refund to that amount.

    If you do want a refund putting a case through paypal should force the seller to provide a full refund and pay for the return postage.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,383
    I think these are the same sellers that think that mega-schlock and LEGO are the same as well and that a brick is a brick.
    My guess is they either 'robbed peter to pay paul' to complete sets and did not notice, or care to notice, the color difference.
    I agree with what @Gavin82 said.
    Come up with a list of parts and send it to the guy and try to get a partial refund.
  • TitusTitus Member Posts: 79
    Thanks for all the replies. I think you are all correct. :)

    I've held off contacting them, as of yet, because I know I'm ticked off and I don't want to say what my mouth wants to say at this moment. I'm not convinced the person is an 'evil scammer' because they didn't just remove expensive parts, but I'm also not convinced that they were unaware, because some of the missing and replacement parts are very obvious.

    I'm annoyed that I even have to go through these to sort them out. There are over 5000 pieces total and some of the sets I didn't even want or already had. I figured I'd resell them (no profit, the overall price wasn't a great deal for me) but now I can't even do that because they're not really complete.

    Thanks to @akunthita for the info on the return shipping policies. I've never had to deal with returning something bought on ebay so I was afraid the "buyer pays return shipping" was definitely going to screw me.

    Thanks again everybody. I've only gotten through about 500 of the 5000 pieces so I'm going to look through some more tonight before contacting the seller.
  • VaderXVaderX Member Posts: 220
    I've stopped buying sets off eBay for this exact reason, I would ask for partial refund. If they refuse simply leave negative feedback to warn others, and then open a dispute case.

    Too many people are using eBay as a source of income from garage sale items and it's just not worth the stress and anger of being ripped off.

    My last eBay purchase was for a large bulk lot of "Lego" and when it arrived it was 70% MegaCraps, I contacted seller and got a bs response of "It's all Lego I packed it myself."

    I then opened a case for dispute. eBay helped me out with buyer protection and they paid the return shipping costs.

    The lady was angry with the feedback I left and she had the option to refund the % of the item that was incorrect. I had to open a case to get anywhere with this issue, it was very frustrating.

    The pictures on the item listing was indeed Lego, everything under the top layer was MegaCrap. Clearly done to deceive people.

    Bricklink will be your new best friend :).

    Best of Luck!
    Titus
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited March 2013
    If Bricklink weren't so near-impossible to navigate and use, I would agree with you. Unfortunately, Bricklink is near-impossible to navigate and use.

    Ebay is a perfectly viable option, the key is looking at a person's feedback. There are many ways to analyze feedback, but here's a few:

    * Is the feedback amount significant? (500+ is good)
    * Is their feedback positive? (want positive, of course)
    * Is their feedback as both buyer and seller? (both is a good sign)
    * Is the feedback for tiny things or larger things (larger is better)
    * Is the feedback recent, i.e. a good sampling over the past year or so, and not just someone posting once every six months?

    That's not a complete list, but if you look for those things, you certainly reduce your risk of encountering a problem.

    Another hint is to communicate with them before the sale to help ensure they are legit. Even if you don't have any actual questions, make up a couple of reasonable ones to begin a dialogue with them. Hopefully you'll see responsiveness and professionalism with the answers. If not, warning!

    If you're looking to buy something expensive, such effort is so worth it.
    UKtsumiCrownie
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    edited March 2013
    Bricklink is near-impossible to navigate and use? Gosh. I've never noticed that, I simply go on, locate the stuff, and order.
    RTO
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    I wouldn't call BrickLink 'near-impossible' to navigate and use, but I wouldn't call it user-friendly, either. By this point, it's severely dated (to my knowledge, the interface hasn't been updated at all since '03 or '04).

    To be fair, I use it all the time, but that has little to do with ease of use and more to do with it being the best currently available at what it does.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    You forgot the first rule of buying Lego on eBay: Don't buy Lego on eBay.
    timinchicagoTitus
  • TitusTitus Member Posts: 79
    edited March 2013
    Well, I've sent off a complaint to the seller with a request for partial refund or for complete refund plus return shipping. I included pictures as well but I'm more and more skeptical. I went through a couple more sets and there are really obvious things missing and swapped.

    At this point I'm not optimistic but we will see what happens. I may end up having to file a dispute and pay for return shipping but this guy is definitely getting some crappy feedback from me. His 'all sets are complete and have all accessories' was total bull. I guess I need to look up what is and what is not appropriate language for negative feedback.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,421
    edited March 2013
    ^ Don't use bad language, it always makes YOU look bad too, from an outsiders point of view. Forget your feelings and stick to the facts.
    Titus
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251
    Titus said:

    Well, I've sent off a complaint to the seller with a request for partial refund or for complete refund plus return shipping.

    Don't pay return shipping. I ordered a Green Grocer from ebay, advertised as 100% with instructions but a damaged box. It didn't have a picture on the auction (which I shouldn't have ignored) but the item was particularly cheap so I went for it. Upon receiving it his idea of instructions was a sheet of paper with a link to the PDF instructions on the Lego website. I attempted to build it anyway. After I while, I realised some pieces were missing and many had extremely bad clutch. I probably would have had to replace 40 or so parts.

    Anyway, I emailed him. He offered me a tiny partial refund and refused to budge. I then asked for a full refund and he refused, pointing to his 'no refunds' policy. I then took it up with paypal. I sent them a detailed description of the problem along with a link to the ebay page. They went on to award me a full refund including a signed for return shipping label. I'm unsure if they charged the seller for this, but I didn't need to pay for it regardless.

    As long as you go through the same process (if required) then you may well have the same outcome.
    Titus
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,261
    Titus said:

    Well, I've sent off a complaint to the seller with a request for partial refund or for complete refund plus return shipping. I included pictures as well but I'm more and more skeptical. I went through a couple more sets and there are really obvious things missing and swapped.

    At this point I'm not optimistic but we will see what happens. I may end up having to file a dispute and pay for return shipping but this guy is definitely getting some crappy feedback from me. His 'all sets are complete and have all accessories' was total bull. I guess I need to look up what is and what is not appropriate language for negative feedback.

    If it comes to the point of a PayPal dispute and negative feedback:

    Make sure you're calm before leaving the negative feedback.

    Be respectful, be to the point, explain the problem as if you're attempting to warn other eBay users while also simply stating in very clear words what went wrong.

    If you use poor or crude language, it only reflects bad upon yourself and makes you even look like a poor buyer. Don't forget that people can look through your feedback and see what you left for others. If a seller sees you as perhaps an immature buyer because of feedback you left for others, then this entire problem has just been compounded. Also, it doesn't help other buyers if they see a "rant feedback" and simply choose to ignore it because the person sounds completely off their rocker.

    In any case... It's always the best option to take the high road (keep calm and carry on!) :-)
    AnseltheCatTitus
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950

    I sell old and used sets on eBay, and I'm pretty sure others do as well that are members of this site.
    I do not like people making broad statements about not purchasing sets on eBay implying that everyone is out to scam, many people sell accurately assembled sets and are not looking to scam anyone.

    Well said. I'm no Ebay apologist because they have issues just like every other marketplace, but any consumer and/or seller of Lego that discounts Ebay as a viable place for Lego transactions is shortchanging himself.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,704
    Most, if not all of my EOL sets were bought from Ebay. I first bought used as that was all could afford, but then 'upgraded' to sealed and sold on my used. I made damn well sure all of the parts (including spares) were counted up when I sold.
  • TitusTitus Member Posts: 79
    So I'm curious, particularly as ebay and paypal are owned by the same folks, do I open a dispute via ebay (through their "eBay Buyer Protection") or via PayPal? Also, I paid with my American Express. Amex has always been great with chargebacks but I've never had to do one for an eBay purchase. I'm wondering if I should just go through them. Any thoughts?
    akunthita said:

    I would add though that if you open up an eBay/Paypal dispute for a not as described item they will make sure you will get your money back, however you will have to ship back the item at your own expense and they will not refund that amount. Only the original cost of the items plus the original shipping you paid. (I recently went thru this myself and it was a rude awakening. It was only a few dollars for shipping, nothing like yours, but I felt it was really unfair as the seller sent a completely wrong item.)

    Gavin83 said:

    I then took it up with paypal. I sent them a detailed description of the problem along with a link to the ebay page. They went on to award me a full refund including a signed for return shipping label. I'm unsure if they charged the seller for this, but I didn't need to pay for it regardless.

  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited March 2013
    Here's what I would have done if you haven't already. Not sure what you mean when you wrote that you "sent off a complaint" but here goes.

    1) Communicate with him and state exactly and objectively what I view as the problem, and what I want him to agree to that will make me happy.

    2) Give him time to respond. It's prudent to give him a couple days to do so.

    3) If there is no response, or he doesn't agree to my terms, or I don't agree to a counter-offer, I tell him exactly what I plan on doing (i.e. opening complaint with Ebay, leaving negative feedback)

    4) Open complaint with Ebay

    5) A number of other things based on what happens up to this point
    Titus
  • TitusTitus Member Posts: 79
    Amazingly enough, he's agreed to the partial refund. I told him I wanted a 20% refund and he said okay. Assuming it comes through, I'll believe that he was just a misinformed person trying to clear out his basement and didn't know any better.

    Honestly, I'd rather have all the money back and send back the sets at his expense, but I also don't want to even think about this anymore. I've been losing sleep over it and don't want to worry about it for the next week as the stuff gets shipped back and then what if he claims I didn't return it all blah blah blah. I'm too old for this crap and have better things to get ticked-off about.

    I have had decent luck buying lego on ebay in the past but I'd never spent tons of money on one auction either. It was an impulse buy that I wish I'd never made. Oh well. I'll bricklink the missing pieces over the next 6 months and eventually roll some of the sets back onto ebay.

    Thanks for all the support, folks. When you're in pain, it's nice to know that there are people out there who can sympathize and empathize with the situation and I'm glad I could come here.
    Peace
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Belleville, IllinoisMember Posts: 1,376
    I sell used sets on ebay. I have a disclaimer that if something is missing to let me know and I will get the pieces out. I've had to do it on several occassions. I have had nothing but positive resposes as long as the buyer lets me know.
    Titus
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