Like many others, Kelly MacDonald, 27, a Saugus stay-at-home motherof two boys has shopped on eBay for years. But shopping online for an evening gown has never been this complicated for her.
Though she wasn’t planning on buying a dress online, she saw one on eBay that she simply deemed “breathtaking.” She took note that the international seller had 100 percent positive feedback on this custom made, $175 dollar gowns that could be finished in 6 weeks. Under the assumption of PayPal buyer protection, Kelly placed an order and sent payment for the dress, which arrived two months later. Much to MacDonald’s surprise, the dress was not what she was expecting. The photograph of the dress Kelly would receive was opposite of the dress she did receive.
“It was just huge,” MacDonald said. “The waistline was too high — way above my belly button, so I looked like a dumpling in that dress. The color was different and so were the beads (colorful instead of silver ones). The craftsmanship was so poor; the beads were falling off before I even put it on."
After emailing the seller immediately, her negative comments were well received and the seller requested that she send the dress back, and he would make her a new one. He was only willing to comply if she did not give him negative feedback. After one week passed, the seller notified Kelly of the receipt of the dress and that his dressmaker would make her a new one.
But the buyer seems to have found a “feedback loophole.” The window of opportunity to write feedback is only two months after the purchase of your product. Coincidentally for the seller, Kelly had passed this two month mark. After the seller ignored three messages from Kelly, she finally filed a dispute with PayPal.
According to PayPal, disputes are an opportunity for "resolution of any transaction problems promptly and easily." While in retrospect, such simplicity would be nice, yet for most customers, and especially Kelly, the resolution process was the furthest from easy.
As stated by PayPal, when a customer opens a dispute with them, it is the customer’s chance to: "1. Communicate directly with the buyer to resolve the issue amicably, 2. provide prompt customer service that can gain you repeat business, and 3. avoid the possibility of a dispute escalating to a claim or chargeback."
None of these promises are fulfilled, she said. PayPal tracked the package online, and there was only a note about the package arriving to China. No notification of delivery. When PayPal contacted the seller on the issue, he stated that he never received the package in the first place. When MacDonald realized that the seller had been lying to PayPal, she called USPS and filled a claim with them as well. A long 7 weeks later, she received a letter confirming that the Chinese postal service delivered the package.
Feeling confident that she would finally get her money back, Kelly faxed the letter from USPS over to PayPal. PayPal replied stating that they are unable to track the package online and therefore they do not have clarification on whether or not the package was actually delivered. No proof, no refund. According to PayPal, their policy states that they can only accept online delivery statements, which means that if the statement does not show up on USPS.com, then as far as PayPal is concerned, the package was not delivered.
According to the USPS International Inquiry Department, foreign countries are not required to scan registered mail packages at the delivery and most countries, including China, don’t do so.
Do ample research before sending your money over the wire, and especially be cautious when dealing with other countries and their shipping policies that are most likely to be different than those of the US.