This week I had my first bad experience with ordering a product through eBay. I ordered a "refurbished" N600 Netgear Router from dailysteals EBAYCOM at a considerably cheaper price than a new one. When it arrived, I called my friend Tom Wieseler who has a lot of computer tech savvy, to help me set it up; mainly because as a "refurbished" item, it did not include a set up CD, which made it's comprehension beyond mine.
Tom graciously gave up his week day evening and met me at the office. within a half hour, he had it set up and I was receiving the internet not only to my iMac, but to my Mac Notebook Pro and to my el cheapo Google tablet. However the internet signal would stay operative for one to two minutes and then freeze and not allow us to go further.
Thinking that perhaps he may have configured something wrong, Ttom went through the entire set up procedure again, making some minor adjustments, and again, the signal became operative to my laptop and tablet, but only for that minute or two before freezing up again!
At this point, we called Tom's son, Gabe, to see if he could come over to help us trouble shoot, which he graciously did. The two of them went through all the protocols together. By now I was mumbling aloud that I was certain that it was the router itself that was causing the problem, for some unknown reason. But the Wieseler boys continued to work at it, got it running a third time, and BAM! It froze yet again.
Now I was "fit to be tied" and thoroughly certain that it was a faulty router. After messing with it a while longer, they agreed with me and theorized that the folks at dailysteals had probably only tested it for about 30 seconds to see if it was functioning and then packed it as ready to ship.
I immediately contacted dailysteals through eBay's mail system and the next morning received permission to return the router. I was told to follow the instructions set up by eBay's returns department, so I clicked on that URL, and found out that because I had purchased it through PayPal's "Bill Me Later" system, I was considered a "guest" and could not use the standard easy course of returning the router for a refund. I, instead was told to go to my PayPal site and open a dispute with dailysteals that would then be settled by PayPal.
This I did, then e mailed dailysteals, asking for an RMA number (return authorization), which they supplied me with the following day, along with instructions to await a pre-paid address label from them. When I had purchased the router, the small print stipulated that if the item was to be returned, I would have to pay for the shipping myself. This being the case, why, then, would they be sending me a pre-paid label? I again wrote to them and asked if I had to wait for that label and couldn't I just mail it out yet that day.
It was then that by return mail they said I could do that, but if I did, I would have to pay for the shipping. I wrote back that I would, then, await the label, which arrived the next day. I affixed it to the re-packaged router, and took it to the postal substation at Festival Foods.
When I arrived there, they were busy with customers paying for their packages to be shipped, so knowing that my package was already paid for, complete with a tracking number they had provided, I simply deposited the package in the bin and left.
The next four or five days, I kept going to the PayPal resolution center to find my "dispute" but it was never there. Finally I called and spoke with a PayPal representative with a very heavy and difficult to understand accent, more than likely in India. I explained that I could not find the dispute listed. the representative asked me for the tracking number. I explained that I had not copied it down as it was already on the package and I didn't think I would need it. Did I, he asked, have a copy of the shipping label still in my "sent" or "junk" mailboxes. I told him that I did not because I dump my "junk" e mails and "sent" e mails regularly after about three days.
In that case, the agent said, he didn't think there was anything that PayPal could do about opening a dispute. Most disheartening.
So I e mailed dailysteals and explained that I needed the tracking number from the pre-paid label they had sent me. The next work day, I received an answer which totally ignored my request for a tracking number but said that the funds ($34.99) were being held by PayPal and that I needed to close the case.
Again I went to the resolution center, thinking that since PayPal is putting a hold on the money, the case will appear on the site. Wrong again.
I again contacted PayPal, spoke with another equally difficult to understand rep - explained the entire situation AGAIN; she asked me if I had kept a receipt from the postal substation. I told her that I did not as I had just dropped it off. Sensing the frustration in my voice, she assured me that she would do everything she could over the weekend to obtain the tracking number from the seller.
Then yesterday I got another e mail from yet a different person named Caprice, at dailysteals, telling me that she was in charge of settling this case and that she had, indeed, received the package.
So once again, I contacted PayPal and read that e mail to yet another operator. This time I had finally reached a woman (Faye) who knew what she was doing. Faye told me to stay on the line, that she was going to contact the seller by phone, and that we would settle the matter in a conference call. Once we got Caprice on the phone, it was all settled in less than five minutes, and I was assured that my account would be accredited with the $34.99.
So I would like to impart the knowledge that I gained from this grueling experience to anyone of you that buys items through eBay and/or PayPal.
1.) Don't buy the item through "Bill Me Later" unless you are absolutely certain that this is something that you have to get now because you really need it or it is on sale at such a bargain price and you are so short of cash that you will need the delay time to get the money together. To have to return something as a "guest" makes your transaction twice as difficult.
2.) Even if the seller sends you a pre-paid return label, always, ALWAYS get two things from the postal station when you ship it: the exact tracking number and a receipt.
3.) Do not dump any of the correspondence that may occur between you and the seller and be certain that if you do get a pre-paid mailing label, print out duplicate copies and store the one you don't use in a file folder in a safe place.
You are never too old to learn. And obviously you can teach an old dog new tricks!