Buying Safely on eBay

Rob Hof

I had a very uncharacteristic experience on eBay recently, as I wrote recently here. For the first time in literally hundreds of transactions on eBay, I was stiffed. One of eBay's biggest sellers, Glacier Bay DVD, ran into still-mysterious problems and apparently didn't send merchandise that hundreds or even thousands of customers paid for.

That said, I'm pretty satisfied now, because I just got a check from buySAFE, the company that offers bonding to online merchants--including Glacier Bay. Essentially, it's a reimbursement for what I paid. Although eBay's feedback system has worked amazingly well, at least for me, clearly it didn't work in this particular case, and I'm sure others like it. I had never paid much attention to that buySAFE seal, but you can bet I will on future auctions.

The one quibble I would have is the rather short time given to log a request for reimbursement. As one commenter in my previous post noted, it took awhile for eBay to realize what was up with Glacier Bay, so it's quite possible a lot of people didn't file within the 30-day period following the close of a transaction. I barely made it myself, because I took eBay's advice to be patient about logging complaints, and because shipments by Media Mail often can take up to two weeks to arrive. A ripoff is still a ripoff after 30 days, so a lengthier filing period seems reasonable.

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