A few months ago, I bid for and won three table lamps. I paid a total of £54 for them. When they arrived, although the packaging was intact, I did notice that it seemed a bit makeshift and flimsy. Still, I reasoned, the lamps are metal so they should be ok. Wrrronnnnnggg. The first little lamp was all bent and higgledy-piggledy and had lost it's headband, the second little lamp's head was squashed in and the third little lamp had part of it's brain missing. So, out of these three 'perfect' (which the seller still insists they were) lamps, not one was useable.
I immediately contacted the seller 'msbilling' informing her of the condition of the lamps. She insisted they were ok when she posted them and that means they must have got damaged in transit. She said she would send me the proof of postage and I could claim from the royal mail. You can imagine how I felt - uphill load of aggro or what? I said 'I've got a better idea, I'll send the lamps back and you can claim damages.' Surprise, surprise, she was having none of it. Why should she? She had my money sitting pretty in her bank account and I had three broken lamps. Who was gonna make a fuss out of the two of us? She duly sent me proof of postage and as far as she was concerned that was that.
I tried to explain to her that as the packaging was fully intact, what case did I have for claiming compensation? The damage was due to her flimsy internal packaging and also the way she had positioned the lamps - heavy base to much weaker top. I knew it was futile trying to claim. The other thing is - because the packaging was intact, the pieces were obviously missing prior to packaging.
So, my son managed to straighten the one lamp although it was still missing the ring that holds the shade in place. I used a pair of pliers and managed to unsquash the top of one lamp enough to get a bulb in. The third lamp had one of the two connector pins in the top missing and there was no way I could conjure up one of those. The upshot of all this is that I ended up paying out an extra £15 to a lighting shop to get the lamp fixed. I tried to claim the money back off the seller but by this time she was studiously ignoring my emails - I wonder why?
So, proof of postage isn't the be all and end all of a seller's responsibility. It certainly shouldn't have been in this case. This seller washed her hands of the whole thing once she'd sent me the proof of postage and yet the lamps being damaged was down to her poor packaging and the missing pieces were down to her being economical with the truth. I felt completely hard done by with this one because I ended up forking out £70 altogether for three second-hand lamps, had a load of aggro and effort getting them into a useable condition and ended up with negative feedback accusing me of being a difficult buyer. The only other negative feedback I've got is from Mr Dodgy Bed Seller (see my guide Caveat Emptor) . That fecking idiot accused me of having high standards. Silly me, he advertised a new bed and I expected a new bed and not a few bits of old ropey multi-coloured wood without enough fittings to fit them together. I lost seventy quid on that transaction too.
When ebay works well, it can be absolutely brilliant but when it doesn't it can be one hundred percent wall to wall aggro.
PROOF OF POSTAGE NOT END OF SELLER'S RESPONSIBILITY
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17 December 2007
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