Seller takes eBay to court over disputed buyer claim

No primary category set

This will be a familiar story to anyone who has sold on eBay. You send the goods, the buyer disputes that the items are as desribed and puts in a claim to eBay. eBay rule in the buyer’s favour and requires a refund be supplied. The seller doesn’t get the goods back.

That’s exactly what happened to Vishal Vora. He sold an iPhone and the buyer claimed that he had only sent the box. eBay pursued him for the money, first by deducting funds from PayPal and then through a debt collection service. Needless to say, Mr Vora has never seen his phone again.

But not only did Vora not take it lying down, he’s forced eBay to back track on its decision. He went to the Small Claims Court to get the money back from eBay. They settled. Now he is pursuing them for compensation for the time he has had to spend on the case.

You can read the full story in the Observer from Sunday, but it once again makes for irritating if familiar reading. Vora quite clearly sent the phone and eBay quite clearly boobed in the first instance on this case.

As we’ve written before, eBay needs to urgently redouble efforts and address these problems with poor customer support, ongoing fraudster buyers and a totally inflexible approach to evidence and reasonable argument.

33 Responses

  1. Could not agree more, well put Dan.

    One thing that especially irks; open cases will (or at least appear to be) generally be found in the buyer’s favour if the tracking number is not from a ‘mainstream’ courier. That means one of the few popular household name carrier with an open site with public tracking. These are not the (excellent) carriers that specialise – or even touch – ‘ugly’ items or white goods. (tuffnells, XDP, Nightfrieght, TNT even).

    With a recent item not rec’d case for a very large PLC who’s eBay shop I manage, I was curtly and rather patronizingly told by our Top Rated Support, to quote, “next time ask your client to use a mainstream company where the tracking is available to the public so we can verify it”.

  2. this guy needs a medal we love him ,every online seller should support this fella , donate towards his efforts , worship at his feet,
    and well done the observer and Tamebay for highlighting this

  3. Ebay will have the final word. I’m guessing the seller was not a business and was an occasional seller. We live in a world where package contents do go missing in transit. I know. It’s happened to me! The retailer simply sent the goods out again. In this case who has actually won here?

  4. A buyer has not received a phone and has had his money back. Why is this unreasonable and why do ebay have a bad attitude?

    The seller leaves ebay with a debt. ebay only lost the case because they presumably considered that it was not worth their time and money defending. Is there absolutely any evidence of buyer fraud? The seller should surely be claiming compensation against Royal Mail? Why has’t he? Did he not use special delivery or an insured service as recommended by ebay?

    What is the story here? Help me please somebody.

  5. The litigant as a buyer has spent £20000 on ebay over the last 10 years. What if he had received an empty box one day? He would be the beneficiary of ebay’s protection scheme. Instead of thinking of the benefits as a buyer he cannot accept what has happened and goes into mad dog mode. Yet he has saved ££££’s with his ebay purchases. isn’t it a bit silly?

  6. I fully agree with the bloke taking ebay to court. The policy is junk and wholly unfair. I hope ebay get told how to act fairly by a judge making a legal precendent for other to follow if they choose and they don’t decide to settle out of court.

  7. ebay policy is not junk and legally correct. Sale of goods act seller responsible right up until point of the goods being in the sellers hands and the seller being satisfied. If parcel signed for and package opened later seller still responsible until buyer is satisfied. At no point can seller say to buyer to claim from the postal company for loss. It is the duty of the seller to do this:-

    I’m guessing the only reason ebay dropped the case/defence was they did not want to be seen to be setting legal precidents. The seller may be a private seller and not a business. ebay probably don’t want two sets of terms and condition in connection with their protection policies. They want to apply the terms as they stand for both business sellers and private sellers. It may have had knock on worldwide implications for ebay’s business.

    Anybody who says ebays terms are unfair has to be a private seller.

  8. you can quote any rule or policy you wish, it does not alter the fact
    its simply unjust and unfair that all a buyer needs to do is claim the package was empty to gain a refund

  9. What would you suggest then to make things fair? That the buyer has to submit a police report and pass this report number onto ebay before the refund is made?

  10. possibly !
    its a complicated problem that needs thoughtand legislation ,or ebay and online sellers are wide open to fraud,
    tracked, signed for , security seals etc are all for nought if all that needs to be said is EMPTY,
    and another thought I just wonder what ebay would say if we claimed the next return from a buyer was empty? ,
    I dare bet we would still have to refund

  11. all any buyer needs to do, for any item, is say the box is empty, whether it is or not. eBay will give them all the money back without even asking if they might be mistaken. whether you have tracking info, images, weights and measures, whether you actually filmed yourself taking the item and handing it to them in person and show the video to eBay, eBay will still take your money and give it to anyone capable of typing the lie “i received an empty box”. no questions asked, no appeal given (okay you can press the appeal button, it wont do any good).

    how is this a fair policy?

    also for any tea-leafs reading, eBay wont insist you send back anything with any measure of broken glass. i know from experience all you have to do is take an image of a 1mm wide piece of broken glass (dont worry about it being from the same item you ordered, they dont care or even ask), tell them you’re not posting the item back, and they’ll let you keep the item and give you all your money. think how many plasma TV’s you could pick up before anyone noticed!

  12. Just had a scam done where the buyer made out “item not as received” no probs..just send back for in the 14 days of receving for a full refund..where she had bought 2 hairpieces…so said all the boxes were ripped…so I thought strange as I had put them inside a bigger box so they didnt get squashed in transit..however you have to give the benefit of the doubt…I received them back and signed for them for her to put no hairpieces in but the 2 empty boxes…she ignored my messages in the resolution centre…so i took it on myself to message parcel2go who comfirmed my weight of the bigger box and the 2 empty boxes….she then escalated it to a claim today ignoring the fact i said she had sent back empty boxes…I then forwarded all evidence of the weight on my scales with the empty boxes as well as the screen shot conversation with parcels2go to confirm the weight i had….i also got in touch with action fraud online and got myself a CRN….ebay made a decision which went in favour of the buyer despite all my evidence…i have constantl;y been on the phone to them regarding all of this to back my claims up…so i appealed it and rang them to make an instant decision as not prepared to wait..within 5 mins i got a refund from eBay and the appealed turned…however she has 2 hairpieces and a full refund…think something needs to be done if you have sufficient evidence to support the case.

  13. I couldnt agree more Sue, Ebay keeps banging on about the site being a fair place to trade for both Buyers and Sellers so COME ON EBAY make it fair!
    If you happily believe a buyer when they claim “empty box” then you surely also have to believe sellers when they claim the same for returned items…..or are you saying sellers are liars but but buyers are not?!!!

  14. ebay will do something when it hits their bottom line, until then its suck it and see for the plebs

  15. i have just sold something on amazon and it clearly states

    “Please remember that you are responsible for the item until it reaches the buyer at the address provided in your seller account.”.

    i presume other online selling formats to be the same, under consumer law.

  16. I have had this happen to me too. No dice from ebay, and what’s more would not remove the numerous negs associated with the case.
    It truly soured how I felt about ebay and have since started to branch out in to other directions.

    Customer services also left me feeling so small.

  17. on two occasions i have had the same sort of thing happen to me sold a phone in one instance the buyer said it was very used not as per description i provided paypal the ID number of the phone and i asked the seller to send paypal the picture of that number i did explain i can find out where the phone was registered last from the number the buyer dropped the case. on both occasions with phones we got paid and yet a set of handle was ordered £27.50 3 weeks later buyer said someone used his card, paypal case opened i had a signed deliver the address as registered in ebay the signature looked as it was the buyers name and yet i lost my money. we have had hundreds of cases over the years in ebay we have never had a ruling in our favour we sell about 400 items per week and now i am looking at our own website as it seems ebay is making easier for people to rip the sellers of not all cases are fraudulent but you soon get a feel for those who may be don’t sell DVDs is my advice as folk rip or watch them and return them or say they arrived broke happened so many times that i refuse to sell DVDs


eBay Appoints Amy Bannerman as its in-house Pre-Loved Style Director

Step inside eBay’s Love Island shared wardrobe

eBay's fourth annual Recommerce Report

eBay’s fourth annual Recommerce Report

Wahaaj Shabbir - From sneakerhead to Head of Sneakers at eBay UK

Wahaaj Shabbir – From sneakerhead to Head of Sneakers at eBay UK

eBay UK returns as Love Island sponsor to promote pre-loved fashion

eBay UK returns as Love Island sponsor to promote pre-loved fashion

eBay Roadshow Belfast - 13th June

eBay Roadshow Belfast – 13th June

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars