Earlier this afternoon I got an eBay message from a guy I'd sold a DVD to. He said that the movie was not as described and that wanted his money back. He further elaborated that the item had arrived broken. My crystal ball apparently needs some tuning up. Maybe I should've stated in the item description that the post office was expected to damage this item in transit??
I responded that I'd be happy to refund his money upon receipt of the damaged item. Standard refund situation. This shouldn't be that big of a deal.
This is where it got weird.
He responded back saying how unreasonable it was that I expected him to ship it back, costing him even more money. (He only paid $1.99 + $3 shipping. That's actually $4 more than I paid for the DVD myself, but don't tell him that.) He said he's kicking himself for trusting me in the first place since I have such a low feedback rating. (Yes, 100% positive feedback is pretty low, don't you think?)
Not that I don't believe his story. Don't get me wrong. DVDs get damaged in the mail all the time... anyone who uses Netflix can attest to this. But the point is... any time you want a refund from anyone anywhere, online or not, you should expect that they'll want their item back first. This isn't rocket science.
Trying to be upright and professional about this, I repeated merely that I was more than willing to give him a refund but that it was standard practice to expect him to return the item - any store or business would expect the same.
He basically went ballistic at this point, saying how rude it was that I refused to resolve this issue and that he felt it was his duty to give me poor feedback to warn other buyers of how I do business.
Okay... what part of "full refund" did he not understand? Did he really expect me to let him keep both the DVD and the money? For all I know, he's just trying to get a free item.
I reminded him that this was a perfectly reasonably return policy and that him trying to scam me out of both the product and the money was actually illegal. I assured him that I realized he'd probably not meant it that way and was probably just frustrated, repeating that I was happy to give him a full refund upon receipt of the damaged DVD.
He then launched into a diatribe about how he should've just went to Walmart (where they charge $20 for the same movie - I just checked). He said he couldn't believe what an irresponsible seller I was being and what a hassle this all was.
Sigh... why does this feel like I'm arguing with a 12-year-old?
Luckily one of my Twitter friends sent me a message right then suggesting that I ask him to email me a photo of the damaged item. That way he could prove the item was damaged but also wouldn't have to be "bothered" to return it. Brilliant!
I messaged him the idea, which he surprisingly liked! He then said that he only had a cell phone for a camera and wasn't sure how to email a photo. He said I was probably smarter than he was, so asked if maybe I could explain it to him?
I gave him my email address and said he could probably text the photo to my email, depending on his cell plan. (I didn't feel comfortable giving him my phone number). An hour and a half later, I got another eBay message from him asking if I'd received the photo yet. I hadn't.
At this point though, I figured I should give him the benefit of the doubt, since he seemed to be clearly attempting to give me proof (as opposed to scamming me out of a DVD). I told him that I'd make an exception in this case and give him a refund, but that he should realize a standard refund policy in any store, online or not, was to return the item first.
***** UPDATE *****
Hopefully I made the right decision. I just went now went over to his feedback account and saw that he's only been a member for a month and has already purchased about 20 DVDs. Maybe he is trying to scam me?? Sigh... It's only $5, but still, I hope he really is an honest citizen just frustrated at receiving a broken item.
He is now on my "blocked buyer" list. What an annoying situation...