I bought a battery on eBay in September 2019, with a 5 year warranty. When it stopped charging, the seller simply wouldn’t respond to me. When I reported this to eBay, they said they would not look at anything outside their 30 day money back period, and would not give me any means of contacting the seller outside what I had already done through their messaging facility.
Their only advice was to contact the manufacturer (in China!!). The lesson here seems to be that a warranty offered by an eBay seller is not worth the paper it is written on, and don’t go looking to eBay for assistance.
Hi @DennisC, welcome to the community.
eBay is an advertising platform which sellers can use to sell both old and new items. Other platforms such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are the same. These platforms are not the same as retail store or seller under the Australian Consumer Law.
These platforms aren’t responsible for providing a warranty, but the seller who places the item for sale. Notwitstanding this, these platforms do offer buyer protections should the item not arrive, is different to advertised, is broken/doesn’t work on arrival etc. These protections are not a warranty but a way to try and bring trustworthiness to their platforms. They also use this information to manage sellers…and hopefully the fraudulent ones are banned/blocked when there is repeat evidence that a seller is such.
The other challenge is buying online on these platforms, the consumer rights and laws which apply ar those which exist in the country where the seller is based. In your case China. This is one thing to be wary of when making any purchase online as it is a high risk, and the rights one enjoys in Australia through the Australian Consumer Law may not apply. The ACCC has more information on this:
Depending on the time between the purchase and the product failure, as well as the method of payment, it may be possible get get refund back through the payment provider.
Did you look at the seller’s rating before proceeding.
I have bought numerous items through eBay over the past 20 years and have never had a problem, but I always make sure that the seller has completed many transactions and has a high satisfaction rating.
I just received a text message from Auspost this morning advising a parcel will be delivered today.
It will be the new bottom cover and the new screen surround for our Sony laptop which I bought from a seller in China on 15.11.2020, who advised delivery would be between 01.12.2020 and 25.01.2020.
Here is their rating on eBay.
4218 stars. 98.9% Positive feedback.
Have you posted negative feedback against this seller. It may motivate them to resolve your problem. If nothing else, it will forewarn others.
You could also post the seller’s details in this topic for further comment and so as to forewarn other readers.
Thanks for your reply. The seller has a good rating (98.9% positive). They are called thiss17815, and predictably, in China. I contacted the manufacturer web site and they referred me back to the seller. It’s not worth raising an econsumer complaint but clearly eBay seller warranties are useless unless an issue can be raised within their 30 day money back period or PayPal’s buyer protection period.
I can’t find the seller under “thiss17815” on eBay. Could you copy and paste their name off their eBay listing?
Have you provided some negative feedback?
Can’t provide negative feedback as the transaction was too long ago.
eBay/PayPal provides a buyer protection and not a product warranty. With its buyer protection, it is limited and possibly based on the time for the product to be delivered and the buyer ensures it was the bought product in working condition on receipt.
More information can be found here…
In a lot of respects, eBay works like an electronic newspaper/trading post where sellers can advertise their products for others to buy. eBay connects the buyer and seller (like a newspaper advertisement providing contact details of the advertiser/seller). eBay goes a step further by offering buyer protection to try and weed fraudulent sellers from its marketplace…that being fraudulent sellers can be blocked on the platform. This is possibly why the fraudsters seem to have moved to platforms like Gumtree anf FB marketplace.
Yes, understand that. Their seller agreement says this on warranty: “Activity that doesn’t follow eBay policy could result in a range of actions including for example: administratively ending or cancelling listings, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering seller rating, buying or selling restrictions, and account suspension. All fees paid or payable in relation to listings or accounts on which we take any action will not be refunded or otherwise credited to your account.”
My complaint to eBay may result in something like this happening, but you will forgive my scepticism given that the seller has over 7,000 transactions and 1550 listings, which would result in significant fees to eBay!
Unusual to get an eBay seller with so high a star rating and high percentage of positive feedback letting buyers down but their negative ratings are very unflattering.
Looks like if everything goes smoothly, then well and good, otherwise it is “so sad, too bad”.
Did you pay with PayPal? If so, raise a dispute with PayPal.
I understand from what you have posted that the seller has met their obligations with respect to eBay seller policies. The product you bought arrived, it was as advertised and it worked on arrival. It was sometime after the product failed…which is a warranty issue with the seller and not a breach of eBay seller policies. If failure occurred with 30 days, then one could dispute the product met eBay’s policy of being in good condition on arrival (item was broken or faulty). You have indicated that the fault occurred outside this 30 day window which means it can only be a warranty claim with the seller.
Warranty issues need to be taken up with the seller directly. As the seller is based overseas, the consumer rights which exist in the sellers country apply. Being a foreign seller, it is usually near impossible to get any warranty support as one’s rights may not be as that in Australia or even exist to any extent. This, as outlined above, is a significant risk when buying from foreign sellers online. Such risks need to be understood when using the internet for foreign purchases. It isnt eBay’s fault that the seller appears to have met their selling policies and the seller has failed to respond to a warranty claim (if such warranty exists).
There’s actually more to eBay’s warranty policy than that. It can be found here: https://www.ebay.com.au/help/policies/listing-policies/warranty-policy?id=4245&st=12&pos=1&query=Warranty%20policy&intent=Warranty%20policy&context=DEFAULT_BUYER
Can’t say I agree that the seller has complied with the policy though, on a full reading of it.
There is nothing that the seller did not comply. The information relates to compliance with the Australian Consumer Law. As the seller is based in China, the Chinese consumer law applies and not the ACL. The ACCC makes this clear by stating that:
If you buy from an online seller based overseas, you should be aware that you may experience practical difficulties in obtaining a remedy from them.
If your seller is based overseas and writing to them doesn’t resolve your problem, try asking the consumer protection agency in their country if it can help.
The ACCC or Australian Offices of Fair Trading can’t assist in any warranty issues as a seller based in China is outside their jurisdiction. It is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation.
As outlined above, the seller met their obligations with eBay (within the 30 day buyer protection period) and eBay is not responsible for resolving warranty issues. The issue lies with the seller. If the seller choses not to honour any warranty indicated at the time of sale, you can try taking it up with the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation. If you do, let us know how you get on.
I paid with PayPal but as the transaction was15 months ago, their 6 month Buyer Protection period has lapsed.
Thanks for the suggestion though.
IMO a seller rating of < 99% positive is bad and I don’t deal with them.
That said, a 5 year warranty on a battery has either to be marketing fluff or highly qualified. Batteries are consumables and also capable of being abused.
Further reading from the ACCC site states that your rights under ACL are indeed in place, but it is the practical difficulty in getting a remedy that applies and why they suggest possibly contacting the Overseas Consumer protection agency may be more useful.
From Buying online | ACCC (worth reading if anyone is contemplating buying from overseas)
“All your usual consumer rights apply when you shop with an Australian online business. Those rights may also apply when you buy from an overseas online business although you might find it difficult to get a repair, replacement or refund because the business is not based in Australia”
The use of “may” largely refers to what are termed parallel/grey/direct imports as they are not intended for sale here or may not be entitled to be sold here by the seller…
And a great synopsis.
*Sage advice to a consumer in these circumstances may well be that they should cut their losses and not pursue the matter and take heed of the lessons learnt by Voltaire. He apparently claimed that ‘I was never ruined but twice; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one’.
The article explains all.
The paper/article was written in 2013, in 2016 the ACCC won a case against Valve which is purely US based. Valve sought leave to appeal but was denied (they sought in part on the basis that they did not have a presence here).
From the ACCC on the matter:
"As a result of the High Court’s refusal of special leave, the Full Federal Court’s decision that Valve is bound by the ACL in its dealings with Australian customers, despite being based overseas, is the final decision on this issue.
“This important precedent confirms the ACCC’s view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws. If customers buy a product online that is faulty, they are entitled to the same right to a repair, replacement or refund as if they’d walked in to a store,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said."
I agree the usefulness of the ACL in the case referred to by @DennisC is next to none but the point was made about ACL " the Chinese consumer law applies and not the ACL", and the 2016 case made it clear it does apply to OS transactions bought from OS based companies.
It may technically be the case, but practicably it won’t assist when something goes wrong. Australian Law can’t be imposed on a private individual in another sovereign country. If there was bilateral arrangements in place where Australia could exercise some sort of legal power, then it is remotely possible. Otherwise, it is a dream and hope.
The challenge with eBay is made more difficult as the advertise local products on their international platforms possibly without the consent of the seller. While a seller can restrict where a product can be sold, I expect that many don’t exercise this choice when listing products.
As I agreed the outcome of appealing to the ACL in these matters is useless or very near to that.
eBay sells it’s “Australian” presence as a feature, but they say they are only a facilitator of transactions. I don’t know if or when the ACCC may decide to test if indeed they are just a facilitator or a shop. If the Courts decide they are a shop then ACL will require them to act as one ie Repair, Refund or Replace instead of this currently hazy status. Then eBay will need to up their dealings with their suppliers. Let us hope that the ACCC decides to mount such a case and test the water.