Friday, March 12, 2010

A "Likely Story" from an EBay Seller

I purchased something on EBay on the 3rd of the month and got a USPS tracking number back right away. I was thinking I should probably see the package on about the 9th. However, on about the 10th, the info reported on the USPS tracking web site from the tracking number I was given still said:

    The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on {-month-} 4, 20xx to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later.

So, I was getting a little worried that I was being scammed (which, despite EBay's efforts to fight it, is still WAY too common on EBay), so I sent a message to the seller on the 10th to ask if the item had actually shipped yet. The reply I got was as follows:

Note: The names, etc. below are redacted (edits in [brackets]) for now, just in case it isn't that of which it reeks.

    I would first like to apologize for your purchase being delayed.
    ...My name is [---------] ...I am part owner...and I have been out of town along with [----] the other owner since [the] 1st.
    ...Our Shipping Manager of 4 months....has been printing orders off Pay pal to make them look as if they are being shipped.... but in fact as we found out late last night, when we returned.. They have not been shipped.
    ...We have basically been robbed blind by someone we had trusted.
    ...No orders have shipped out since [the] 2nd.
    ..He has stole everything we had in stock and new shipments that have come in. In all we have been robbed of over 2700 [item-1] and almost 3000 [item-2].
    ...where as we have had Him arrested this morning...He refuses to tell the Police where the merchandise is.
    ...We have another shipment coming in on the 12Th....along with other dealers who are selling us some items to help to cover shipments that have already been paid for...and we have called in extra help to assist us with getting all orders shipped out [the 12th].
    ..I am very sorry for any loss of business this may have caused many of our dealers...and to any of our regular customers who where just buying these for personal use.
    ...Please feel Free to call me if you have any questions at [000-000-0000]
    ..please leave a message if you get voice mail due to high call volume I will be expecting.
    ..I will call everyone back.
    ...again...There is no way to explain how embarrassing this is to us as a company and I can only Hope that you will understand that we are working hard to process each and every order to make sure we get every ones items shipped out in a timely manner.
    ...please, as stated above...if you have any questions ..please call me.

    - [-----------]

I'm posting this in case this seller's excuse for not shipping something is habitual, and so that if someone else gets a similar story from this seller, they might find this, outside of EBay, as an indication that they're being jerked around by the same seller. Other feedback comments from buyers for this seller are nearly all positive and contain many reports of immediate shipping, but curiously, there is no gap in the dates of those feedback items as you might expect if nothing had shipped for a week. Perhaps the seller was actually robbed by his shipping guy, and perhaps the timing of my purchase was just that precisely bad. However, it seems very fishy to me that the seller happened to have suffered this misfortune exactly one day prior to my purchase, and then happened to return home and discover it on exactly the day I decided to inquire. If there were a way to ask EBay to take a look at past communications sent from this seller, I wouldn't be surprised at all if I learned that a nearly identical set of circumstances happened to have been described by this seller in the past, to other buyers, as an excuse for non-shipped items.

I finally received the items I purchased on the 17th but I remain suspicious that the story I got was just a stall tactic. If anyone finds this and has been told a similar tale, send me a message with names. If they match, I'll confirm.

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