Be wary of 'private' sellers with high numbers

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eBay is undoubtedly a very fine place to grab a bargain and to find a home for items in your house that are no longer of use to you.

I have been buying and selling on eBay since 2003 and am very grateful to say that I have had very few problems. Indeed I couldn't be happier with all of the trades I have made. Which is why I find it so disappointing to find myself in the position that I am currently in.

It started with the purchase of a Maclaren Twin Techno (a double buggy pushchair for our little boy and impending new arrival!). The advert was very smart with lots of pictures (not hosted on eBay but a third party site). This made me a little bit wary because if it later turned out that the pictures were fake then the seller could easily remove them and eBay would have no control. Effectively the crucial parts of the listing would disappear. The third party hosting site does not allow you to copy or download the pictures so they can't be used later as evidence. Luckily however there is an easy way around this - use Firefox - which will block the Javascript which prevents the download!!

The item was listed as "Maclaren Twin Techno Pushchair Double Buggy Charcoal + New Raincover". When the item was delivered I found out the "New Raincover" was not a Maclaren raincover but a very cheap 'universal' fit one. Now the alarm bells were ringing and I contacted the seller to ask that they replace it with a Maclaren one as per their listing. This is what I said:

Dear my.sanity-my.light,

I have received the rain cover this morning however it is not a Maclaran rain cover, instead it is a cheap low quality item that does not fit the pushchair. Please see this 2* review on Amazon

Your sales description is for a "Maclaren Twin Techno Pushchair Double Buggy Charcoal + New Raincover". If you had intended to supply another brand of rain cover you should make that clear.

The Maclaren item is available here and receives a 5* review.

I would like to ask that you either supply a Maclaren item or refund the purchase price (£20) so I can buy one myself.

Kind regards


Several messages went back and forth during which I gave the seller further opportunities to resolve the problem, all of which were declined. Finally I asked that I return the item for a full refund with the return shipping costs be covered by the seller. This is their response:


The item is not faulty or mis-described it is a 'New Raincover' as described. Nowhere does it state the new item is original. Therefore no I will not refund your return postage sorry. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm wrong :o)

As you will shortly find eBay will instruct you to return the item complete and in its original condition at your own cost. They CANNOT force me to pay return postage and there is nothing in UK Law to say I should as a private seller. I am very well aware of my selling rights and responsibilities, my stars and feedback speak for themselves and any negatives left by you will be obvious as what they are.

Please do open a dispute, it won't count against my account as I will immediately resolve it by asking you to return for a full refund. It'll count against yours though as buyer disputes are logged too.

I would point out again the pushchair AND raincover need to be returned in their original condition, full insured. They are your responsibility until received here. No refund will be forthcoming for damaged or incomplete items.

- my.sanity-my.light

This person has sold 76 items in the last 30 days and 371 so far this year. This makes them a **very** prolific private seller. No wonder they are so well versed about eBay procedures and UK private selling law!!

Moral of this story. If someone has a lot of items for sale, they probably aren't what they are pretending to be. There is a very real chance that they are part of a shill ring or the item you are buying isn't the seller's but one that is being resold.

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