If your vendor tells you to phone before bidding...

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If a listing asks you to phone before bidding for any reason, carriage or whatever, be wary.  I just did that with clarityvisuals and got talked into paying direct instead of through eBay.  Obviously the guy was dishonestly cheating eBay of their fees, and I should have walked away, but I fell for his conviction and talk that he was already paying eBay a fortune each month, and the fact he has a high feedback rating. 
 
However I realised, too late, that feedback only relates to transactions that go through eBay, and a vendor can get up to anything in transactions outside eBay.  Because eBay fees are quite significant there is always the temptation for traders to cheat and try to use the listing as a free advert.  The temptation is all the stronger of course if the item is a bit dodgy!
 
So the TV arrived and far from being 'manufacturer refurbished' as claimed it had a huge glaring screen fault and no 3-d glasses.  The box had a flap cut in it though which the serial number label had been removed and the adhesive cleaned off so you couldn’t see it had ever been there.  The vendor denied there was any fault, and of course I'd lost my eBay Buyer Protection.
 
Luckily there is a limited company involved so I was able to invoke the Sale of Goods Act, and so by notifying him, and getting a reply, that I ‘Rejected’ the item under the Act I would have been able to take him to court, and using the Money Claim Online service it would have been fairly easy to get my money back I think.  Still, that kind of thing is always stressing,
 
After threatening the legal action I had a vague offer of sending it back for repair by his 'technical team', with me paying the shipping, then no further response.  He would not give me a receipt, so who knows where the TV had come from.
 
Luckily Samsung have stepped up and repaired the TV under warranty anyway, no thanks to clarityvisuals.
 
So the lesson is never ever deal outside eBay.  If a vendor is dishonest with eBay they are dishonest, and you lose a lot of protection.  In fact now if anyone suggests I deal outside eBay I will always drop the purchase and report them.
 
I feel bad that I ever cooperated in scamming eBay out of its fees, but I have learned my lesson:
 
Walk away.
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