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Ebay buyer wants to return an item to me after 100 Days - They are quoting UK consumer rights

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Hi,

Looking for a little advice. I sold an item on eBay, I'm registered as a business seller. The buyer is claiming a fault with the item and requesting a full refund, however it been 100 days since the purchase. This is of course outside of all the seller and buyer protection that eBay offer, I would in this case also lose the eBay fees for the original purchase as these could not recouped.

I do agree that the fault 'may' have been present at the time of sale as I cannot prove this either but I also cannot be 100% sure that the buyer is genuine. I have tried to be amicable and advised that I was reluctant to get into a habit of resolving disputes outside of eBays policies as all protection has vanished. I did offer to contribute 50% of the cost to repair the item so it is fully functional, at least then the buyer would have the comfort of the item being repaired and providing years of service.

The buyer has rejected my initial offer and still demands a full refund and is now quoting UK consumer rights being on their side. Not quite sure how to handle this, I want to to the right thing but I also don't want to expose myself to risk either, I also cannot be sure that the item is returned in the condition it was sold...All advice appreciated.

Kind regards

Comments

  • Miser1964
    Miser1964 Posts: 283 Forumite
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    edited 18 June 2023 at 6:40PM
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    >I'm registered as a business seller...I do agree that the fault 'may' have been present at the time of sale<

    IMHO you should provide the buyer with a return label and refund on receipt or provide a replacement. As you're trading as a business, the obligations of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 apply unless you pointed out faults at time of sale. You can write off the costs against tax on your business.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
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    Generally speaking there's no time limit for a buyer to claim under their consumer rights, within the first 6 months it is taken the goods did not conform on the day of delivery unless demonstrated otherwise.

    Goods need to conform in terms of durability meaning an underlying issue, such as a poor quality component, would have been present at the time of delivery but simply didn't manifest until a later time. 

    After 30 days the buyer is entitled to a repair or replacement, if that doesn't occur they can seek a price reduction and keep the goods or exercise the final right to reject for a full (if less than 6 months from delivery) refund. 

    How much was the item OP? 
    In the game of chess you can never let your adversary see your pieces
  • Pambarhop
    Pambarhop Posts: 5 Forumite
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    Thanks Guys,

    To add a little more context, the item is a film camera, value of £170.00. Its clearly not a large amount but was more hesitant around the trust factor and operating outside the eBay guidelines. I always provide no quibble returns and refunds within these rules as they protect my exposure to any potential risk of fraud etc. This is an exception and as such it has made me a little hesitant due to exposure of additional risk. 

    @Miser1964 - My gut feel is to do what you suggest as it also feels like to right thing to do, but I also don't to taken for a ride either. Are they any other suggestions for risk mitigation, not necessarily for this but any future exceptions that may occur?

    Thanks again
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,431 Forumite
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    You probably do already - but if you point out any niggles the item has before the sale then consumer rights don't apply to returns for that specific defect.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • se2020
    se2020 Posts: 418 Forumite
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    Tell the buyer to send it back.
    Have a look at it when it is returned.
    If it has broken/gone faulty then either repair/replace or refund. 
    I would also refund the buyers return postage if that's the case.

    If it's not faulty or has been damaged by the buyer then offer to return it to them for the extra cost of postage or the repair costs plus return postage.

    They don't have a right to a "no reason/no longer required" return but they do if it's genuinely faulty.

  • tightauldgit
    tightauldgit Posts: 2,628 Forumite
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    If you are a business seller then you do have to comply with consumer rights regardless of Ebay's policies so the buyer is right in that respect. 

    Since it's less than 6 months from the sale the presumption is with the buyer - it would be up to you to show that the fault was caused by the user if you want to reject the claim. 

    The buyer is entitled to a repair or a replacement, not necessarily a full refund but it may be easier to simply refund them. 

    In this case I would ask them to return the item and have a look at it. Check its the same one that you sent and the fault - if you think it's a cheap enough fix then you have the option to fix it and return it to them. Otherwise you can refund them in full. If there's obvious signs of it being abused or damaged by the user then you probably have grounds to reject the claim and return the item to them as is. 

    I don't think Ebay will intervene if it's outside their time windows but the buyer could look to their payment method to claim back the money and that will be passed on to you by Ebay. Or else they could seek court action. 

    Ebay's terms do not excuse you from honouring the Consumer Rights Act though so you can't use them as a get out. 
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
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    Pambarhop said:

    To add a little more context, the item is a film camera, value of £170.00. 
    Hello OP

    If I were you I'd give the buyer very specific instructions on how to package the item and book a Royal Mail Special Delivery label with a collection.

    I'd opt for the postie to bring the label (so the buyer can't alter it).

    Once it arrives back inspect the item, if you agree there is a fault then of course refund them, although eBay only offer cover for 30 days I'm pretty sure buyers can open returns for longer than that. A refund via eBay is best if that's still possible (if you made a separate payment as a refund the buyer could open a chargeback with their bank on the eBay payment and end up with 2 refunds, very slim odds of course). Also you'd hopefully get your fees back with an eBay refund.

    If you feel there isn't anything wrong with the item or the customer damaged it you can either document why you think that (photos) and explain to the buyer and return it to them or you could write it off and resell the item in the condition it's in to recover some of the loss.

    These situations are always difficult but it's best to look at them objectively and weigh up the headache of arguing with the buyer vs the actual loss.

    Some interesting reading 

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6449942/do-i-have-any-chance-of-defending-this-claim/p1

    and

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6453844/lack-of-protection-with-all-ebay-trades/p1

    In a way it would be best if the buyer returns and you find out it is faulty, that way although you'd suffer the loss it would mean the buyer was being honest and everything played out as required :) 
    In the game of chess you can never let your adversary see your pieces
  • Pambarhop
    Pambarhop Posts: 5 Forumite
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    Hi All,

    Many thanks for the very informative an reassuring responses and advice, very much appreciated. Customer service is very important to me and I feel the right thing to do is to provide a returns label and on inspection if everything is fine then I'll provide a full refund. The issue described by the buyer is not something I can prove was not there at the time of sale either. If the shoe was on the other foot I suspect I would be requesting the same or similar, there are also some 'lessons learned in here too which is always a bonus.

    Kind regards

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