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Advice on dealing with a difficult buyer who's demanding a refund?

I've sold an internet router on eBay and the buyer claims it's not working (more detail below). I've tried to resolve the issues / help support them but they're flat-out refusing any help or tech support. I don't accept returns but feel that eBay will force me to accept it. Any advice? 

The internet router has a special firmware on it that is experimental/opensource called OpenWRT. This software isn't meant as a production-ready / critical use device. Buyer claims they're an expert in using OpenWRT and one of the ethernet ports doesn't work on the back of the router. It's quite possible that it's a bug in the software. But without them sharing any of the configuration files I can't test that this is the case or not.

I've asked the buyer to please tell me what they've tried to do to test / confirm that the ethernet port doesn't work. And to provide me with the config files from the router so I can try and troubleshoot it with them.

Their response is 'I don't want to have to troubleshoot anything', 'I just wanted it to work', 'I'm not messing about now it's packed up ready to send back to you.'. Flat refusing any help / cooperation. 

I think their expectations of the OpenWRT firmware is completely misaligned.

The buyer has requested the return as faulty, so I would have to pay for the return postage. This feels unfair given the buyer's lack of cooperation to assess if it is faulty or not. 

With past experience, I have found eBay always side with the Buyer no-matter what. 

Any advice would be welcomed. 
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Replies

  • KxMxKxMx Forumite
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    It is unfair, but I don't think you'd get far with eBay on this one, better to just accept the return and pay for the postage. Refund the buyer, block them and move on. 
  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Ambassador
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    If there's a case open then you have no choice but to accept the return and arrange for ebay to send a label to buyer.

    You can try appealing once you get the item back and buyer has bene refunded, but how successful you will be will rest entirely on what your item specifics, and to a lesser extent your description stated. 

    If you don't accept the return and issue a label then buyer will be refunded anyway and will be told not to return the item, which leaves you having to chase round sending your own courier or such like to get it.
    ’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]
    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • Clive_WoodyClive_Woody Forumite
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    I don't accept returns but feel that eBay will force me to accept it. Any advice? . 
    I often see this stated on eBay, but my understanding was that Distance Selling regulations legally entitle the buyer to return the goods (at their cost if not faulty). Sellers stating that they do not accept returns is irrelevant.
    "We act as though comfort and luxury are the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about” – Albert Einstein
  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Ambassador
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    I don't accept returns but feel that eBay will force me to accept it. Any advice? . 
    I often see this stated on eBay, but my understanding was that Distance Selling regulations legally entitle the buyer to return the goods (at their cost if not faulty). Sellers stating that they do not accept returns is irrelevant.
    Ebay allow private sellers to opt for no returns unless faulty. 

    However, that does then force buyers to hit a seller with a SNAD return - even if they change their mind. Personally, I leave returns enabled on my private listings- that way if buyer changes their mind they pay for their own return- and most won't bother. 
    ’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]
    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • steviebabessteviebabes Forumite
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    I think the only way you would get away with this is if you had put the item condition as faulty for spares only. If an item only has a very minor fault it's always best to list as faulty.
  • juliushibertjuliushibert Forumite
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    Thanks for the advice. Helped to clear up a few things and know what options I have. 

    I'm not against buyers wanting to return an item if it's genuinely faulty. However, to the best of my knowledge the item wasn't faulty when I was using it and before I shipped it. 

    The buyer's refusal of my help to try and provide tech support. Plus their refusal of my request for proof the item is faulty seems to imply that they have changed their mind rather, didn't understand the product they were buying or similar. Alas.  
  • lookstraightaheadlookstraightahead Forumite
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    How much are you losing and is the hassle worth it? 
  • edited 19 November at 2:12PM
    vacheronvacheron Forumite
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    edited 19 November at 2:12PM
    Playing devils advocate I can understand the postion of the buyer. I have flashed routers with WRT software myself, but as you state "this may just be a bug in the software" it could still mean that you have sent a router with a port that doesn't work, but due to firmware, not hardware. 

    Regardless of this however, if you sold an "x" port router and one port doesn't work, I would just accept the return, test it when I got it back, and then re-sell it.

    Asking the buyer to provide you with more and more diagnostic information could be construed by them as you "stringing them along" and just wouldn't be worth the potential negative feedback in my opinion. 
     
    • The rich buy assets.
    • The poor only have expenses.
    • The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.
    Robert T. Kiyosaki
  • Buster_DanogBuster_Danog Forumite
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    If I bought something that didn't work I would want a refund. I am not a fan of troubleshooting devices and I would not want a seller insisting I did so before I could return it.
  • edited 20 November at 11:28AM
    IftiBashirIftiBashir Forumite
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    edited 20 November at 11:28AM
    This is unfortunately how eBay works. Stating you do not accept refund means absolutely nothing at all. 

    As an example. I sold a smartphone gimbal made by DJI - a reputable company. Brand new sealed etc. 
    Buyer purchased, and then opened a case stating it the activtrack doesn't work properly (which is reliant on his smartphone as well as the gimbal since it uses a smartphone app).
    I had to pay for the return etc. 

    Received it back, tried it myself, and it works 100% perfect - not a single issue. 

    All eBay say is to report the buyer who is misusing returns. This doesn't help me at all. Im left out of pocket, and now have a used item rather then the original brand new sealed item. 

    eBay doesn't care. This isn't the first time it's happened to me. Several items in fact. Buyers always misuse the returns and use the service as a 'try before you buy', leaving sellers like me out of pocket each time. But unfortunately, eBay have the monopoly so we're kinda stuck, unless you can find a local sale somewhere. 

    I'm at the point now where I don't try to troubleshoot or provide any help at all. It's just not worth the hassle. If the buyer has decided they want their money back, there's nothing you can do to change that. They know they have eBay on their side. 
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