On this series of blog posts over the coming week I’m going to be talking about the support channels of the bigger online platforms and how well or badly they have done through my own personal experience. I’m covering the likes of ebay (this article), Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, airbnb and booking.com. The focus will be from the perspective of selling or buying services from the platform in question.
Here’s a spoiler for you: they mostly suck. I’ve had dealings with these online platforms for a very long time, in some cases over a decade. A recurring theme appears to be a lack of investment in customer support – it’s either deliberately limited or hard to get a hold of in the first place.
This article will be on ebay, touching Parcel2Go (a courier price aggregator) and finally Hermes (a courier company).
Here’s how the story goes
As a seller, I sold an old tablet on ebay for parts or not working. It was an Android tablet that kept restarting itself. The winning purchaser promptly provided payment for the tablet. The very next day I went to my usual go-to parcel company, Parcel2Go to get a good deal on a parcel delivery service. I chose Hermes since their drop-off was around the corner from my work and sent the parcel off.
What followed was a completely disproportionate and somewhat infurating response from the buyer. Read on..
You’ll never guess what happened next
Here’s the transcript:
Buyer Message 1: “Are u taking the piss there’ is a empty box been sent to me we’res the tablet I payed u for ?”
Buyer Message 2: “U need to refund my money back as this box u sent me is empty I know what your game is u are a thief”
My message response: Was the box completely empty?
Your accusations are very inappropriate at this stage.
Buyer Message 3: “U prick u did this on perpous low life bastard money hungry son of a bitch”
And on it went. So the buyer (according to him anyway), received a package that was opened and empty. And he presumed I would, wait for it, go through the hassle of sending him an empty parcel!?
What did I do?
By this stage I:
- Raised case with Parcel2Go. Note there is no support phone line or email address. There is a webchat which is obscured, however on google investigations discovered it to be here: https://www.parcel2go.com/help-centre/livechat By the way, they take 7-14 working days to respond to these queries.
- Raised a case with Hermes. Again no support phone line, or a web chat that works (the counter which tells you how long to wait for keeps on resetting itself).
- Called out to ebay, in three different ways, the abuse I was receiving from this ebay member.
- Registered this tablet as stolen with the CheckMEND database and obtained a criminal reference number for the theft with the police
While trying to resolve the matter, I was receiving a continual stream of abuse by the buyer in question! I reported the user’s abuse language with ebay in three different ways (through the feedback channel, through a webchat, and through a ‘case’) but clearly nothing occurred because there was no change. He also left me negative feedback despite my continually chasing. I asked ebay to step in and deal with him but got no response.
The buyer strikes back!
Before I heard back from the Parcel2Go or Hermes regarding the investigation, the user raised a case with ebay:
- The case was opened on 22-Oct-18 12:36.
- The case was promptly closed on 22-Oct-18 12:48
So it appears it took ebay a little less than 15 minutes and the resolution? They determined the buyer was entitled to a full refund. So not only do I have to pay the buyer the amount I supposedly sold the tablet for, but I also have to incur the Paypal and seller fees too! Objectively you could say I fulfilled all the expectations one could have as a seller, and yet I’m £100 out of pocket..
- I can conclude ebay doesn’t make any effort in addressing rude and abusive behaviour. I called it out three times and nothing appears to have happened, no actions or next steps were committed to.
- If you’re selling on ebay, you’re best off buying postage from ebay directly – there is an option for you to do this. Ensure there’s insurance for the full price of the winning bid. If it’s a value higher than £20, then make sure you get packaging that is new and will be blatantly obvious if someone has tampered with it. This also means the tracking is in the purchase history and you don’t have to do any chasing when things go wrong. Another side note here is that ebay will rule in your favour, but that’s the topic of a later blog post.
- Positive feedback doesn’t always reveal the true story.
- Don’t use a parcel company or provider that has no quick method of speaking to a human. This includes Parcel2Go and Hermes1
Lastly, for reference, I have no reason to withhold this buyer’s ebay profile, it’s: moshabba75_2013. He appears to earn his living buying old tablets and supposedly refurbishing them. If you’re on the lookout for buying a used tablet from this ebay user, bear in mind the kind of person you’re dealing with. If you’re selling a used tablet, I’d block the user if you want piece of mind.
Next article? I set my magnifying glass on Facebook Marketplace.
1Parcel2go still haven’t got back to me, 9 working days on. Hermes’ response to my request for them to open an investigation into a tampered package was a message 4 days later along the lines of ‘Your package appears to have been delivered. Let us know if we can help in any way’. When I repeated my request for an investigation into the tampered package delivered the response 3 days later on was ‘We will arrange a sweep of the depot to find your parcel’. Hooo boy..