I bought a second hand laptop for my daughter to use.

It came poorly packaged (laptop wasn’t secured in a box larger than itself so was jostling about in the box all the way through transit), and it was wrapped in a single thin layer of bin liner, and it stank. Really stank of cigarette smoke. My home is not smoke free. My husband smokes regularly. But nothing in my non-smoking household stank as much as this item.

So I went on a forum to ask if I should leave neutral feedback. Got a couple of crazy, angry people (who said they apparently got done by some previous unscrupulous buyers on Ebay, which made them stop selling) who were extremely insulting to me and sarcastic. Making out like I’m some kind of monster for even thinking of leaving neutral feedback. Let alone a negative. They were pushing for me to leave a positive. Excuse me? WTF??

Their reasoning was that if I didn’t ask the buyer before hand about the smoke free issue, and if the buyer didn’t mention smoke free, then I don’t have a leg to stand on regarding this. I’m sorry. My personal opinion – as an Ebay seller myself – is that if you are an ethical, decent seller, you would ALWAYS disclose the status of your household in terms of whether it is smoke-free/smoking, pet-free/pets. And you know what? In all these years of using Ebay (I have been an Ebayer since 2004) I have sold many items including kids’ clothes, baby slings, shoes, bags, books, etc. I have sold many items. I always send by recorded delivery so I have proof of sending (so buyers cannot say they haven’t received). And I always package my items in brand new and suitable packaging. And I always communicate with my buyers promptly. And I always send them a message to let them know when the item is sent and to thank them for their purchase. Although recently I noticed Ebay does this for you automatically when a buyer wins your auction and pays for it.

In all these years I have *never* ever received a complaint from my buyers and only once had a request for a return and full refund because she bought a used Boden dress off me but it was “too worn” for her liking. Fair enough. I let her return it and refunded her promptly without any trouble.

I just don’t understand some aggrieved Ebayers or ex-Ebayers who say this and that about how unfair buyers are towards them, etc. I’m sorry but in my experience, if you do things right and be totally truthful, and allow for the occasional mistake or rogue buyer (whom I’ve never encountered, once again), there should never be a case for a buyer wanting to leave a negative or neutral for you.

You meet a lot of these angry Ebayers or ex-Ebayers on chatrooms and stuff sometimes. I’ve gotten called “stupid”, “petty”, and insinuated that I was mean etc. for being upset about this laptop I received. And got other people backing up these people and when I said they were being very hateful, was told I was being oversensitive or mad. Some of these very personal attacks I reported for abuse and the comments got removed by mods. This just proved my point that these posters were being unnecessarily nasty to me – so the others who said I was being oversensitive and mad for thinking they were being nasty could just shut up about it now. Apart from that, I have gotten no joy in posting my question about this.

Seems to me like a conflict of interest when an angry Ebay seller/ex-Ebay seller (with a chip on their shoulder about previous unscrupulous buyers) tells me “No, don’t leave neutrals or negs. Positives please.”

Yeah right.

Anyway, I have contested my seller about this. The smelly laptop case was a valid mode of contention. I asked for a £10 partial refund to cover the cost of buying a new laptop case, and he offered a £5 refund instead. I disagreed with it and he then offered a to give me a full refund if I would send it back to him in working order and I must pay for return postage myself. I said how is that right? To leave me out of pocket with return postage, plus now I am expected to package the laptop nicely for you so I won’t be liable for damaged goods? I said he leaves me with no choice but to escalate my claim to Ebay and possibly leave a neg. So could he please rethink his decision.

He then replied that Ebay will side with him for sure because he has offered a full refund upon return of the item in working condition. There is nothing I can do about that, he said.

So I stuck to my guns and said well, if you give me a partial refund of £10 to cover the cost of a new laptop case, I will say nothing more about this.

And he did.

But I am not entirely happy about this. Because you know, a new laptop case for this model of laptop costs at least £13.99 brand new. So whichever way you think about it, I am still out of pocket really.  But less out of pocket than if I had returned the laptop back to him for a full refund minus return postage. As the item weighed a ton and would cost nearly £10 to send back.

All trouble that could have been avoided if sellers were more honest about their household in their listing in the first place.

So for Ebay really, it’s buyer beware.