eBay is openly telling buyers it’s OK to buy a used car then go after the seller for a partial refund if the vehicle does not meet their expectations.  This is opening the door to serious buyer fraud.

ebay feedback extortionThe buyer came in person and inspected the car, went with the seller to DMV and got his tags, and drove it home. At that point it was his car. And if it broke in half he owned both halves, as we say in the car business.

After the purchase, and after he drove the car home, he decided to work the seller for money back after the fact. When someone buys an automobile they pay an agreed upon price and take delivery of that vehicle.  Bidding on eBay is agreeing to pay what you bid, or agreed to pay on a buy now listing. Buyer comes and inspects the car, pays for it, and drives it home, It’s just that simple!

On October 03 2009, we blogged about a seller that was being held hostage for $250 on an old 1983 Renault LeCar that was sold for $1175.00.

But if you read the below letter by eBay’s Dean Of Education, Jim “Griff” Griffith, eBay has decided to rewrite the buying procedure on their site. According to Griff and eBay Safe Harbor who supposedly thoroughly investigated this situation, the buyer felt the vehicle was not worth what he paid for it, and a partial refund of $250 would ease his redress over the purchase price, and eBay agrees with the buyer.

In this case, Trust and Safety, after careful and lengthy review, determined that this was not feedback extortion. The intent of the buyer asking for a partial refund (which in and of itself does not constitute feedback extortion) was to redress what he believed to be a misrepresentation of the vehicle’s condition.

Letter To Seller From Uncle Griff RE Feedback Extortion On $1175 Car.
Letter To Seller From Uncle Griff AKA Uncle Grief RE Feedback Extortion On $1175 Car.

Nobody held a gun to this guys head and forced him to hand over the money! He looked the car over, and decided to purchase it for the agreed upon price. At this time It was his car – plain and simple, and at this point was sold to him AS-IS with any and all faults it may or may not have had. Also being a used car 23 years old it could break down at any time, but got it’s new owner back home, also in Ohio.

All this over an old $1175 Used Car! But can you imagine a later model car that someone buys long distance and has shipped home? Buyer takes the car to a franchised dealer for a safety inspection, the service writer who is on commission tries to sell $2k worth of “Suggested Maintenance Service” to the buyer. Buyer calls seller and want’s him to cough up that two grand or he will leave the seller negative feedback, and nail all his DSR stars with ones!

Seller is screwed – possibly a high feedback seller of other items – eBay agrees with the buyer and tells the buyer if the seller don’t pay go ahead and leave him a negative feedback! Who in their right mind will want to sell their family sedan on eBay Motors with this one sided policy in place?

Well Griff like you said at the last eBay Live, “we need buyers, if we don’t have buyers we will be out of business”. By spring of 2010 you will probably be overheard saying, “we need sellers, I don’t understand with all these buyers, why nobody wants to sell here”. Better think about what is happening to this marketplace.