eBay nightmare of my own making

Today I decided to sit down and unravel a tale of woe over one of my auctions and found it was an even bigger mess than I thought.

Way back in November, I managed to sell a book at the second attempt.  a Terry Brooks hard-back called “Antrax”, in the – Jerle Shannara series. The buyer was an American stationed at Minot AirForce base in North Dakota, home of the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Space Wing. Interestingly Google Earth doesn’t label the airstrip but roads like Bomber Boulevard show that this isn’t a civilian establishment. But I digress.

After an exchange of email and receipt of cheque, I post off the parcel in December and move on to other things (like planning for Christmas). I didn’t hear anything from the buyer for a while and on January 4th I sent him an email to see if the parcel had arrived OK. No reply.

By mid-February, assuming that he would have let me know if he had not received the book by now, I left feedback “Hope the book arrived OK – enjoy the read.” The buyer noticed this and woke up, replying view eBay “we never received the book.” So, after about 10 weeks since I posted the parcel, I find it never arrived. Obviously after this long it is now near-impossible for me to get the post offices to check if they have seen the parcel – if it hasn’t been delivered or returned to sender then I’m sure it’s gone for good.

I spent the last week or two wondering what I’m going to reply – do I offer a refund when it’s not really my fault? I bought the book myself on eBay back in August for over £4.00 and made a loss on the re-sale so there’s no profit margin to use.

Checking through Paypal and my bank account I see that neither received any US$ from the buyer last year – searching around for Post Office receipts so I could find the exact date I posted the parcel I found a bank paying-in book containing a US$ cheque ready to deposit … but no posting receipt. To add to the happy feeling, I discovered a £2.40 cheque dated from July for another (UK) eBay sale so that’s over 6 months old and will no doubt get rejected, stamped as “Out of date”.

So, no available proof of postage and a cheque I haven’t cashed. No wonder he didn’t complain – the money never left his bank account. Sigh. What to do…

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