“I have to return some videotapes” Surburban Psychos Part 1: The eBay Seller who Wouldn’t)

Friday nights should be peaceful times to lie belly down on the carpet and pretend to be looking for the green bits of the jigsaw puzzle the rest of the house is working on and briefly watch some TV before conking out.

For me brief TV watching these days means watching Snog Marry Avoid on the sofa one arm holding up a glass of wine, the other my head until I fall asleep to escape my guilty conscience.

This Friday I am multi-tasking by drinking wine, watching the foregoing and plundering eBay for a weekend purchase or two.

I need some work shoes. By work shoes, I mean plain black pumps, as nondescript and as classic as possible without making me feel like a door to door missionary.

I see and bid for these with very little time to go on the auction clock.

This seller has a feedback rating of 16 and it was a last minute bid. There is no time to check what people are saying about her or vice versa. I bid $15.99 max as is my habit when doing last minute bids.

Sometime on Saturday evening I notice that I have won the auction. I check the Listing to make sure that the seller doesn’t prefer Bank Deposit over PayPal for purchases under $10.  Nothing is said about payment on the page so I select PayPal, go through the usual umpteen screens before payment is confirmed. Then I forgot about it until I get the following email from the seller:

Hello Caveat Calcei,
Thank you foor payment and congratulations for such a cheap buy. Are you in the City CBD at all this week for me to give you the shoes?
0410 xxx xxx

Strange – I think to myself, forgetting the Free Postage bit. Well, I could always do with a trip to the city and it saves postage for the seller.

So I reply:

Hi P

Yes – I was a bit taken aback that I wasn’t bidding against a cast of 100s (well at least 10 people) as is usually the case.
I work in [insert here suburb which is miles away from the City] but can possibly travel to the CBD on Thursday around lunchtime-ish. Which station are you closest to?

Sunday nights should be peaceful times when there are candles burning on table, music on the iDevice and perhaps a bit more brief TV watching before I head off for crisp clean new sheets and hopes of getting more than 6 hours sleep.

In the circumstances it was probably not the best idea to watch Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Aileen Wuornos

To escape the feeling that steel cockroaches are crawling all over me I check my email.
The shoe seller has sent me this message directly to my Hotmail address.
Hi Caveat Calcei,
Thursday will be fine. I am nearest to Wynyard station. How about 1pm?
I wish you paid me in cash because I now pay a fee on Paypal. Too late now though.
My mobile is 0411 xxx xxx. What is your mobile number?
I have no idea why she decided to pick up my email address from Hotmail and contact me privately. Normally sellers contact me through the eBay Message Centre. Now I am starting to feel uncomfortable. Call me old fashioned but giving out my phone number to someone I don’t know who has my address is not on my list of safe, sane activities.
I reply:
Hi P_____

I did check your listing before paying as I would rather pay by bank deposit with the sale price is so low. I hate PayPal’s fees too.
Make sure that you put down that you accept bank deposits in future! Not every eBayer does and I have been told off a number of times by sellers for offering payment by bank deposit 😉
Best wishes
Caveat Calcei  
Now you know of course that it is all going to go to belly up in a bathful of week old chicken jelly and giblets don’t you?
Let me just put down the rest of the email correspondence and let you digest the next few emails:


I did not want bank deposit. Kind of preferred cash only. I may have mentioned it in the ad. Too late now, that’s in the past.

Is 1pm on Thursday near Wynyard good for you? What is your mobile number?



You can’t do cash on eBay unfortunately P___ – it’s against the rules. Gumtree will let you do that. Can I text you on Thursday morning?  

Many thanks
Caveat Calcei

Yes you can do “cash on delivery” if the Seller chooses that. The physical option to do that is on Ebay when setting up the sale of an item. Anyway, as last said, that is in the past.

Is there a reason you have not supplied your mobile number since I gave you mine? I would like to know the number that will be calling me.

About this time the army of steel cockroaches have been joined by the cold and overwhelming feeling that I should start checking my windows and doors. The only time I have ever felt like this before was when I was in a off licence in Glasgow minding my own business when two guys turned up to rob the place with axes.

Funnily enough for an online marketplace eBay doesn’t have a Psychotic Seller alert button. Nor does PayPal. I clicked on the PayPal Dispute Resolution Centre anyway. The only Dispute Resolution option that was anywhere close  (The Item Not Received Dispute Option).  Not being one to be sleekit about things I thought that I would put down for the record why P made me feel so uncomfortable.

Dear P_______

I am very uncomfortable about the way that you have chosen to contact me about the sale. The normal channel would be by eBay email not by direct email.

Also, the listing provides that you offer Free Postage. In fact, you have only given me the option to pick up from you at Wynyward Station. There are safety issues in doing that make me feel extremely uncomfortable particularly as you are also insisting on getting my mobile phone number as well.

Finally, I appreciate that there are fees involved in PayPal transactions. If you want to avoid these, you are probably best to avoid selling on eBay in future.

On the balance I’d prefer if you refund the purchase price. Then you can sell to someone else, elsewhere.

Kind regards

Caveat Calcei

The email above is one that sent before I went to bed. Probably not one of my better ideas since I slept pretty badly.

While I was sleeping the following emails were delivered.

To PayPal:

Hello Caveat Calcei,

You bought this Item on Friday night and it is now Sunday night. It was physically impossible for Australia Post to send you the item by today as it is a weekend so your classification of dispute is not categorised in the manner which it pertains to.

I accept you feel particular about how you use Ebay, but it is not your place to advise me on what to do or where to sell.

To keep this matter focussed on the sale only, I will refund your money of $8 to you and consider this matter closed.



This to my personal email:

Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 11:05 PM

Hello Caveat Calci,

You have opened a dispute with ebay/Paypal saying I have not sent you the goods. Given that you bought them on Friday evening and it is Sunday evening there is no way you could have received them by post so your dispute will not work.

You have not asked me to mail you the product and you have now made it impossible for me to take the $8 from Paypal (the dispute you raised caused this to halt the payment).

Please stop this Ebay/Paypal complaint so that you can receive the shoes. Ebay rules clearly state that the seller is to be paid before they send the product.

This email is going to be shared with Ebay/Paypal and any necessary legal and statutory authorities regarding this matter if asked/required by me.

If you no longer want the shoes, then please say so if that is what this is all about.

Then this morning:

Please see I went through dispute resolution. Please have your $8 back and consider the matter closed. 

Remembering Aileen Wuornos’ dead fish eyes I thought that the best response was a simple:

Thank you.


Reckon I should stock up on some more metal heels?

4 thoughts on ““I have to return some videotapes” Surburban Psychos Part 1: The eBay Seller who Wouldn’t)

  1. The shoes were beautiful, but what you had to “face” to get them… and then even worse, NOT to get them… it’s unbelievable! There are people this way, for sure. I think you did it right, of course. She was being intrusive. An Ebay purchase, she couldn’t ask cash payment or your mobile number. Not very professional, I think. As I said, I agree with you, I think you “reacted” in a professional and polite way.
    Reading the mail was like watching a thriller! Glad you are not in that anymre!

    • Now and again online as in real life there are odd people. What disturbed me was the insistence on cash, on the great deal I’d got etc. We’ve all sold things for 99c and done so with a smile, a flourish and an eye on 100% feedback.

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