Caveat Venditor, eBay sellers! A Holiday Warning

Do you sell saddles or other high-value items through eBay, PayPal, or both? Then you need to read this scary cautionary tale from Stacey Kimmel-Smith.

From Stacey’s Behind the Bit blog:

This is is a warning to folks who sell expensive, delicate items — like saddles — on Ebay 

I am in the midst of a dispute regarding an eBay transaction, on a saddle I sold in October. After 10 years of successful transactions on Ebay, I’m learning a hard lesson. At the moment, it seems like sellers are not well protected on eBay.

Would you send your saddle out on a 45-day trial to a stranger? Me neither. And I didn’t understand that this is a possibility with an Ebay sale…

Saddle junkie and wheeler-dealer

Most of you know I’m a saddle junkie, and I buy and sell a lot of them on eBay. I have 500 transactions in eBay, probably 15 or so were saddles in various price ranges — I have a 100% satisfaction rate. I post detailed photos, I answer questions, I measure, I try to be honest about whether I think a saddle will work based on what prospective buyers tell me. I do not take returns, though. Or at least, I didn’t think I did.

I have three saddles  — and that is too much money tied up in saddles — so I put one up for sale. The saddle was in perfect condition. I took over a dozen photos and fielded many questions and requests from potential buyers.

What just happened?

Usually, buyers ask a ton of questions before making an offer. But in early October, a new eBay buyer, with no transactions, just clicked Buy It Now and bought it, no questions asked. I had a bad feeling — was this a scam? It’s hard to imagine someone shelling out $2,200 without asking any questions. But they paid, so I sold the saddle and shipped it.

Stacey in her saddle


Almost a month passed with no word from the buyer and then… Stacey learned a lesson in “buyer beware” the hard way. Read the rest of her eBay Chronicles on her blog: part I (above), IIIII, IV and V.

Here are some lessons learned from this blogger’s experience…

  • Paypal buyers have 45 days to file a claim on an item they purchased.
  • There is no seller protection from a buyer claiming SNAD (significantly not as described). The burden of proof is on the seller.
  • Photos are not allowed as evidence in a claim.
  • Selling an item on Ebay with “no returns” will make it more likely that the buyer wins any dispute they file.
  • The track record of the buyer and seller are not considered when evaluating a claim. In a dispute, don’t expect your good sales history to carry weight.

In short, Ebay and PayPal’s claims process is buyer-friendly — for the seller, not so much.

Thanks for sharing your story, Stacey. Safe shopping!

Stacey Kimmel-Smith is one of Horse Nation’s favorite writer/riders and the author of blog Behind the Bit.Untitled


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