This guide has one simple purpose - to prevent you from making the same mistake that I did when dealing with the American registered eBay user "penniesandmore". This is a genuine story about how a top rated seller managed to abuse the system in his favour.
A few months ago I won an auction for a jar of old coins ($4000), here is the item description: "OLD US COIN COLLECTION SET GOLD SILVER BULLION LOT SALE". The full text included a ratio in weight of silver bullion coins to the total weight as well as a few gold coins being present.
The seller stated that due to weight, the item had to be shipped in five separate boxes. I asked for all to be insured and recorded which apparently was done (no proof ever received).
The seller took more than a week from cleared payment to ship the item which was surprising considering I read that the seller has a track record for shipping items quickly.
A week after that, 2 out of the 5 boxes arrived at my address. I waited until a week after the maximum delivery time for the other boxes to arrive but they didn't. Here's the interesting part: I asked for the tracking numbers of all five boxes to check what had happened to them but only one number was provided (for a box that had been delivered). I received so many excuses from the seller such as being on a business trip, incompetent staff unable to retrieve the numbers etc. Little did I know that the seller was trying to buy time for the 45-day period to expire within which I could raise a case against him.
When I mentioned that I would open a case the seller responded quickly and promised a full refund while allowing me to keep what had been delivered for compensation. I reluctantly agreed, knowing that it was just to buy my silence but the seller wanted a week before giving the refund. I don't know why I agreed but I did, thinking there may be a shred of truth in this farcical adventure. After a week I opened the case - with 1 day to spare until I had lost my money forever.
I knew that eBay would rule in my favour eventually which wasn't helped by the seller's blatant non-cooperation in the case - he would simply keep repeating the fact that all items were shipped and delivered as promised, providing the same tracking number for one box as proof while in an earlier message to me, he stated that there were five boxes. I found it ridiculous to think that such a story would ever hold.
Eventually eBay closed the case in my favour and said I should send the coins I had back to the seller for a full refund. I felt hard done by as the seller had promised something that wasn't delivered and I had to pay out of my own pocket to send the coins back to the states
The story doesn't end there though! The return address I had is a PO box, and no international shippers would deliver to a post box in the US for customs reasons so eBay have now given the seller 3 days to provide an alternative address or I will get a refund. Where will the refund come from? I doubt it will be from the seller's account. It looks like whatever happens, this "penniesandmore" will get away with this obvious and malicious act.
My closing words of advice would be to not buy anything from overseas if you can get it in your own country. Even top rated sellers with thousands of positive feedbacks may still be money hungry heartless businesses men with an eye for opportunities. I doubt there were ever any gold coins in the lot and there were only a handful of silver coins in over thousands of pennies - much less than was advertised.
The simple fact of this case is that eBay ruled in my favour. This seller is dishonest. PLEASE DO NOT BUY FROM HIM.