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Buying & Selling Thru Ebay & Other Auctions/buying defective products through EBay



If we purchase an item through Ebay and it is defective.  Is the seller obligated to pay for the return shipping although their ad says they allow returns but the buyer has to pay the return shipping?

Isn't it illegal to sell defective products in the first place?  Shouldn't the seller inspect their items before shipping?


The simple answer is no.  And Yes.  

The problem is that when dealing with Ebay, you are most often dealing with a 'kitchen table' seller.  This is a person selling items he owns, out of his house and is not a professional company. Therefore, he is not under the same 'customer service' attitude that you are used to when dealing with 'brick and mortar' type stores. Taking the time to check ALL a sellers feedback may keep you from problems like this later.

Now, that said, most sellers will take a return of a defective item so long as it meets certain criteria. If there is a return policy, it will be stated in the auction listing. Electronic items may have only a 30 day return, clothing may not be returnable due to sizing, etc.  Check the ad carefully and see if it may also say "No Returns."  Ebay will side by the seller if a return policy is stated in the auction.  

As to who pays what, if you were dealing with a seller who is honest, and wants to please you, he will pay for return shipping, however this is NOT a RULE.  (This is another reason to research  your seller by checking ALL his feedback.) Many 'kitchen table' sellers look at shipping as being out of their hands. The shipping went to UPS not to them, so why should they return it?  Why should they pay for return shipping?  I'm not agreeing with this stance, only pointing out how some sellers feel.  When it all comes down to it, you are at the mercy of the sellers policy AS STATED IN THE AUCTION.  

The reason I put that in caps, is that if there is NO policy stated, then Ebay/Paypal will usually side with YOU when dealing with defective merchandise.  Open a dispute with BOTH Ebay and Paypal asking for a full refund.  

Lastly, though it is not ILLEGAL to sell something defective, there are many laws in place protecting consumers and providing for specific remedies for a variety of product defects. Statutory remedies are often provided for defects which merely render the product unusable (and hence cause economic injury) but do not cause physical injury or damage to other property.  It's best to check the laws locally to be sure.  

Also along this line, let me point out that Ebay sides with California laws as they are a California company.  Check the laws there too.  Lastly, consider the amount of money you may need to spend to get a refund and consider the time, too.  A lot of unscrupulous ebay sellers know this and will sell bad merchandise knowing you won't spend the time or money to take them to court. It's just not cost effective.  

In the long run, it may be just that you chalk it up to a lesson learned.  But, again, open a dispute with Paypal - when dealing with defective merchandise, they tend to side with the BUYER. Track the dispute and don't allow it to be closed without some action.  

I hope this has helped.  

Buying & Selling Thru Ebay & Other Auctions

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I`ve been involved with Ebay practically since it`s inception. I`ve spent a lot of free time in helping people find the answer to problems as well as selling techniques on the Ebay system. I`m more than comfortable with the Ebay system, it`s rules and policies and the why`s and wherefores of it`s day to day operation and the operations of both a seller and buyer.


Been a consistent seller on Ebay since 1997 and have been regarded as a 'source' for information on Ebay itself.
In addition, I have owned my own business and assisted with eBay businesses for the last 12 years.


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