eBay / paypal - Buyer Assurance

I have had a disappointing experience with eBay’s internal dispute resolution service.

On the morning of 4 August, I bought a $11.99 USB-C extension cable from a seller who claimed the item was located in Sydney and it would be delivered by 9 - 11 August. On 5 August (the Saturday), the seller marked the item as sent and gave a tracking reference. This tracking reference showed on the Australia Post website as shipping information received - i.e. the label had been created but the parcel had not yet been scanned at any of its mail centres. That seemed fair enough. This status did not change for the whole of the next week so I became concerned when the item had not been scanned through a mail centre by Thursday 10 August. There was no chance it would arrive on time. I wrote to the seller who told me it was in transit. I asked for details of when it had actually been put in the mail. The seller did not reply so I opened an eBay case on 12 August seeking a refund for non-delivery as the item was overdue. In my request, I advised eBay and the seller that I needed the cable so I would have to buy one at a higher price locally - i.e. in a real store where I paid $15 plus drive there and back and pay $2 for parking in the street etc etc (poor retail shopfronts with high rents and customers having to pay for parking).

The resolution process is that eBay gives the seller 7 days to respond before it will look at the case. So the item was already overdue but I had to wait 7 days (to 19 August) before eBay would look at it. The seller kept telling me to be patient even though I’d already told them that I had to buy the item elsewhere and I no longer wanted it. The seller told me the item had been delayed in customs. On 20 August, I escalated it to eBay to look into it and they said they would respond within 48 hours. On 21 August, the item arrived - 10 days after the promised delivery date and it had been sent from China using a service that Australia Post supports being a bulk courier delivery from overseas to the nearest distribution centre from where it charges a much lower fee than you and I can get for posting a parcel. The tracking showed that this item miraculously appeared at the Sunshine West mail centre on the morning it was due to be delivered. It was left on my front verandah and I saw it when I got home.

On 22 August, eBay rejected my refund case because their system showed the item had been delivered and my claim was for non-delivery. It seems no one at eBay read the notes or considered that the description of the item was false and the delivery was very late and I would have been entitled to a claim for a return of the item at the seller’s expense because it was incorrectly described. My negative feedback was also removed.

I couldn’t open a return case because a previous case had been closed on the same item.

So now I have a cable I don’t want and the crooked seller has my money. Honest Chinese sellers had the same item for delivery by 19 August for $5.99 but I went for the crook as I needed it more quickly.

Bad eBay.


Thanks for sharing your experience @gds and sorry to hear about the trouble. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of eBay removing negative feedback, which is a real concern considering the marketplace is designed around those same user ratings.

This is from the eBay Money Back Policy Guarantee Policy

Item not received
A buyer can report in My eBay that they didn’t receive an item once the latest estimated delivery date has passed, and for 30 days after the latest estimated delivery date.

The seller has 3 full business days from the report date to respond to the buyer or offer a solution. If the seller does not respond or offer a solution, the buyer can ask us to step in and help.

If the buyer doesn’t ask us to step in within 30 days of reporting that they didn’t receive an item, the request closes automatically.

I suspect that since only 8 days (4 to the 12 August 2017) since the report was lodged after alleged posting by the seller, eBay would be making decisions in relation to its policy. That being it was within the 30 day window after the estimated delivery date.

With the final arrival date also within this 30 days, it would also not satisfy their policy requirements for money back.

What is at issue is the seller claiming that the item was posted from Australia which was not the case. This is what any feedback should have contained to warn others that the seller is in fact an onward seller from an overseas retailer/distributor. Maybe the feedback should be neutral (if the cable was as described), with a negative comment about the origin of the goods.

Was the cable you received as that described by the seller on eBay (ignoring that it was not posted from where it was outlined on their site)? If it was and it worked, it could be assumed that it wouldn’t also meet their policy for Money Back . The policy states that only items which are significantly different to that described qualify for money back. While the item is posted from China, it wouldn’t impact on the cables description/functionality. It is also possible that a similar cable bought from a real Australian online seller (and posted from Australia) could have sold exactly the same cable…as there are numerous cable manufacturers in China that make named/known and/or un-named brands.

Also, why don’t you want the cable, is it because you feel duped into paying more for a cable from China that you would have if you hadn’t bought it directly from a Chinese seller? This would not be ground for money back as it would be similar to buying a cable from one store in Australia and then finding out a similar/same cable was cheaper at a competitor’s store.

Just in relation to Australia Post, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many Australians would lately have been receiving that post at significantly longer durations that have occurred in the past. We had a recent experience were we signed up two family members free to the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program at the same time (well one immediately after the other and about 5 minutes apart). The first membership letter and card arrived after 4 days while the other took just over 2 weeks. I am lost to how this could occur unless we missed the time that Qantas sends post between applications submitted. I would have expected them to arrive in the same mail (or at least one day after another), but not about 7 business days apart.

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Thank you for your detailed reply. The location of the item as being in Sydney and with a delivery date of 9 to 11 August 2017 was the reason I bought it from them. I needed it for the Monday 14 August so I bought it 10 days earlier from a local seller.

When it didn’t arrive, I bought a replacement at a store in Melbourne on the Saturday (12 August) so I could check it worked ready for my presentation.

I don’t need two cables.

The misdescription is the location and delivery window. Both were false. It wasn’t a “force majeure” event as they well knew the item was not in Australia and would never be delivered when promised. They can’t blame Aussie Post as it delivered the item within 24 hours of it arriving in their Sunshine West Mail facility which deals with international goods after customs clearance. That is the first time the very small parcel was scanned.

I would never risk buying an item from an overseas seller if it is needed for a real purpose on a particular date.

I haven’t opened the parcel so I cannot tell you if it is the same quality as the replacement I bought but the photos look identical to what I got. It is a very basic cable - USB-C male to USB-C female so it can extend an existing USB-C male to male cable that wasn’t long enough to reach from my computer on a stand to the projector input box on the wall.

I regard the location of the item and the location of the seller and the applicability and enforceability of the Australian Consumer Law as key factors in any decision to pay a premium to buy a product. It may only be $11.99 but I don’t want a product I no longer need and which I only bought because I was lied to.

The included delivery is part of the product - so the seller is responsible for any loss or damage or delay. These are not risks the buyer can control and the seller has built those costs in.

People should advertise honestly and not lie about very basic things such as delivery times. Things go wrong from time to time outside their control but a good seller will wear those costs without complaint.

I’m only a personal user of eBay but I sent someone a slightly pre-loved pair of snow shoes that took a day longer to arrive than the two day Melbourne to Melbourne service standard so they weren’t there for the weekend trip to Mt Bulla. I readily offered a full refund including the cost of postage. The buyer could see that the delay was due to postal service issues so they said not to give a refund as they still wanted the shoes. I refunded the full cost of the postage anyway out of goodwill.


Hi @gds
I don’t disagree with the risks and limitations of buying online, some of which you have experienced. Another is the trend for .com.au websites not to be Australian as one may think but in fact an overseas company running the domain to increase their geographic customer base. There have been several posts in the past about this as well.

Just in relation to delivery times displayed by eBay, these are estimated delivery times and not guaranteed times for receipt of the item. I have found them as a guide and some items (locally and internationally) have arrived faster and significantly slower than that estimated.

I have found that from my own experiences, that if I need something urgently, I don’t buy it online as there are too many risks associated with getting the exact product I am after in the time frame I need it. There is also the risk of the wrong or faulty item being sent meaning that further delays for replacement occur.

Just in relation to your own snow shoes example, I expect the buyer purchased the shoes based on the estimated delivery time shown on the eBay website. As such, you would have been in your rights not to refund the postage should you have chosen not to do so…doing so you have accepted the liability of something outside your control which I would be very reluctant to do. It could also be argued that the snow shoe buyer should have planned the purchase of the snow shoes earlier to ensure that they were available before the trip to Mt Bulla.

As I outlined above, in the past the Australia Post time for delivery were quite reliable (1-2 days within same city, 2-3 days between capital cities, up to 5 days for rural/regional areas). Such are no longer applicable as it can take 7-10 days for a birthday card to arrive within the same city. If one pays for a premium service, such times can be better quantified and guess it is something Australia Post would want it’s customer to use as they are more costly (and have higher profit margins).

As the cable is yours and you don’t need it, maybe sell it on eBay or Gumtree to recover some of your costs.

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I want to warn all consumers ok that im sure i nearly got scammed or i would call it a case of fraud ok on eBay. But i told bay and i kept in contact with eBay several times therefore i was entitled to a full refund of what i had purchased. Initially when purchasing the product the seller on eBay had said that my order has been sent when in fact it had not been sent, I also contacted australia post to check and i found out that all the seller had done was submit paperwork. the denied it every time i asked them why it had not been sent and they kept saying just keep waiting. I waited like they told me then i released this is enough time so i contacted eBay. I put in a dispute with the seller through eBay which gave the seller a total of 4 days to reply back. the seller did not reply back to ebay i then told ebay as i was given a full refund.Im just letting everybody out there be aware ok of shoddy or fake/scammers businesses which no ones aware of until it actually happens ok. i was more annoyed how the seller took my money but never sent the item.


I’m just about to claim (again) with eBay. I use eBay quite a lot, and only rarely have delivery issues. I’ve ordered a small item from Germany that is now a week overdue. The tracking number directs to the DHL Germany website, and it states that no information is available for that consignment. The seller has almost 100% positive feedback based on tens of thousands of ratings, so I’m giving them a chance to respond before making my claim for non-delivery.


Could it be DHL Germany has bought rights to use the AusPost tracking system?!!!


Speak of the devil ! As soon as I posted here, the package arrived. Nothing on the package to indicate that it was ever handled by DHL, only Deutsche Post…

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I put a warning up ok about one dodgy or fraudulent seller on ebay ok just be very careful buying things online as i recently had a dispute i put forward i had my money refunded but just make sure you check that they have actually sent the item ok. as i found out the item had not been sent to me. its a good idea to follow the tracking numbers etc and then you know if it has been sent as i did and also australia post verified that the item had not been posted.?


From Wiki…‘The Deutsche Post is the successor to the German mail authority Deutsche Bundespost, which was privatized in 1995 and became a fully independent company in 2000. DHL Express is a wholly owned subsidiary.’

DHL is Deutsche Post.

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Thanks @phb ! It never occurred to me to check. It’s a shame their tracking numbers don’t always work.

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Just finished speaking via chat to an eBay rep after receiving what looks to be a pirated copy of a DVD. It all looked fine until we stuck it in the player and the widescreen movie was obviously burned as a 4:3 aspect ratio movie, so it had huge black borders not only at the top and bottom of the picture, but also on each side of the picture as it was a letter-boxed 4:3 image being watched on a widescreen TV. Pretty sure Disney does a better job with their legitimate products and you don’t actually need to sit up close to the TV and squint at the small picture in the middle of the screen to see whats going on. We have many DVDs in region 1, 2 and 4 which all work perfectly on our multi-region player. This particular DVD is the only exception.

So the seller agreed to a refund and told eBay that they would send me a reply paid return label, which is eBay policy for returns where the seller is at fault. Only problem was, instead of organising a label through eBay, they sent me a message with their return address and told me they’d pay me back for the price of standard postage (to the USA).

After many messages it was pretty obvious that they were avoiding my requests for the postage paid return label and were happy to just keep asking me to tell them what the issue was with the DVD over and over.

I ended up getting onto a live chat with eBay who tell me that I don’t need to return the item because the postage costs would be horrific (Item was originally $19 AUD with free postage from the USA) and that they have now escalated the matter to automatically pay me my refund on the 25th if the seller hasn’t already done so.

Not the first time I’ve dealt with dodgy merchandise on eBay, but so far the buyer protection has worked every time. You just have to make sure you don’t do anything that will make the eBay computers think the issue is resolved when it isn’t. Always go for the live eBay chat if you have an issue that’s not being resolved automatically. Works for me anyway. They listen to the problems which the automated system doesn’t always allow for. As far as the system was concerned I now had a return label and I had 30 days to send the thing back or lose the dispute case, which is probably what the seller was hoping for.


Wow. That was more difficult than usual, but I finally got my buyer assurance refund… well… they say it will take another 7 days to process, but after all the hoops I had to jump through on this one, I’ll take what I can get.

On the 30th I still hadn’t been given my refund (see previous post for details up to this point), so I spoke to someone at eBay (again) and was told that the previous person should not have said I’d get my refund automatically on the 25th… Apparently there was a Statuary Declaration I needed to sign to say that I had either destroyed the suspected pirated DVD, or had it confiscated by the Authorities.

An hour later an e-mail arrived that gave me a link to a Statuary Declaration document to printout, along with instructions on how to submit a signed version of it after I’d had it signed by a Justice of the Peace to prove that I was the person who had initially signed the thing. The e-mail also gave me a deadline of 5 days from the date it was sent to me to get this all done, which was just as well considering the easiest way to get a JP to sign it would be to visit the Service Tasmania Shop in Hobart on the following Thursday, which is when they have one available every week (and on Fridays).

So Thursday arrived, I hopped on a bus into town and had Mr JP witness me signing it and verifying my ID. I was only three days into my five day deadline, so I waited until after dinner to scan the thing into my computer so I could then send it back to eBay via the upload link that they had provided.

After the document had been scanned I had a quick look at my e-mails before going through the motions of sending the thing back to them… Oh look. It’s another letter from eBay, this time stating that my case has now been closed and I’ve been denied a refund because I hadn’t sent them my signed document yet, even though I still had two days left to do so going by the deadline that they themselves had set for me.

At least I was given the option to appeal, which I did, explaining that I had the document scanned and ready to return, after having to go out of my way to get a JP to fill out half of it, and that I was now about to send it to them via the upload link they’d given me, two days before the deadline they’d also given me. I then used the upload link to upload the document.

The next morning I had another e-mail, which said they were putting the case on hold for three days to give me extra time to upload the document, which had already been uploaded the night before. I replied by telling them, again, that the document was already in their possession, via the upload link they had given me.

On Friday afternoon I finally received an e-mail to say that they had reversed their decision and that my buyer protection refund had now been approved. So now I just have to wait for eBay to process it, which may not be until next Friday. What a lot of mucking about for a $16 refund!!! I’m half expecting further delays while the seller, who agreed to the refund in the first place, goes through his own appeals process. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens between now and next Friday and hope for the best.


Will wonders never cease? I got my refund… think I need to sit down for a bit after all that.


Heheh Glad it all worked out after all that extra effort you had to put in. Nice when it works well.


So I ordered another copy of the DVD from Fishpond and ended up with another pirated copy. Fishpond simply said to throw it away and gave me a refund on the spot. They also asked for photos so they could investigate the seller. There was no need to sign any stat dec’s or wait for the seller to organise a return postage label. So much simpler than eBay.


Better sit down for this one. I tried one more time from a different supplier and actually got a legal copy… Wah???


I thought I would share with you and the members of Choice my recent unsavoury experience with buying on Ebay and paying by Paypal and their supposed Customer Protection policies. Having been an Ebay member for over 15 years I thought they protected the buyers from shonky overseas sellers.

  1. I bought a USB power pack to re charge my cordless blue tooth headphones for $23.00
  2. It was advertised to do exactly that and was advertised as being in Sydney, indeed it was posted from Sydney.
  3. The item, despite its claim did not work on recharging Bluetooth devices.
  4. After many emails with the seller who was actually located in China, he asked for a video of the problem, which I sent him and advised me it was only for mobile phones, and yet his advertisement clearly stated it was for Bluetooth devices.
  5. I then lodged a PayPal claim for the cost of the purchase and was told to return it to China, why I bought it from Sydney? In any event, I did post it back to the address Ebay/Paypal told me to in China at a cost of $12.00, more than 50% of the purchase cost.
  6. I took a photo of the parcel with name and address clearly visible and a photo of the postage receipt which I sent the seller and Ebay/Paypal.
  7. Ebay/PayPal have refused to refund both the cost of the item and the postage costs and now I don’t have the power pack either.
  8. Ebay/Paypal claim I did not send the tracking number and the postage receipt was not affixed to the parcel. Australia post advised me that tracking to China was not available and they took the parcel from me and they affixed the postage receipt label at the post office
  9. In hindsight, I should have taken a photograph of the parcel at the post office, once they had affixed the postage label.
  10. Ebay/Paypal kept on asking me for the parcel photo and a copy of the receipt, which I sent numerous times to them.

Anyway, so much for their protection policies as I have lost out on the goods, the cost of same and the return postage cost.

I hope you print this to warn members that if returning goods for whatever reason, make sure they photograph everything and make sure they get a tracking number or some other proof, which difficult with China, with what Australia post advised me.


Hi Nickolas,

eBay are very insistent about tracking returns.
After confirming that the item was returned to the seller, we will refund the full cost of the item and original postage to the buyer. If the seller hasn’t facilitated the return – for example by providing a return postage label – we will also refund any reasonable return postage costs. When the buyer arranges delivery or picks up the item, we may not refund the cost of original postage or pickup.

In this instance, did you query eBay about having to return the item to China, even though it was shipped from Sydney ? eBay would refund the cost of shipping with tracking, but you might have to use a courier and not Australia Post.

Sellers in China have access to very cheap postage rates to Australia, but as you say, the item was posted from Sydney. I would have expected the seller to provide a local return address or a paid shipping label to return to China.