Saturday, April 23, 2011

Consumer Warning - Ebay

Hi All,

I just wanted to take a second to post a warning about scams that are happening with Ebay.

Nancy and I have gone up until now without breaking down and purchasing a satellite receiver for our rig despite the fact that it came with an auto tracking dish on top. Up until now we have had no need for any TV beyond what we could get either through the campground cable/sat or for free over the airwaves. Currently however, we are staying in a park with no cable and we can only receive one channel over the air that is in English. Normally, this would be no big deal but we will most likely be here for a little while as we take care of a few things in the area. Since we will be here for a while we decided that we may want some additional entertainment options, so we decided to break down and purchase a satellite receiver.

We researched the options and decided on buying an "owned" Direct TV receiver so that we could utilize a month to month option through Direct TV. Most receivers are "leased" and require a long term contract for service of 24 months or more. If, however, you own your receiver you can call Direct TV and have your card turned on and off month to month. Since we haven't found much need for TV during this adventure until now, a month to month option made the most sense to us.

This is where the Ebay consumer alert part comes in...

Since we needed an "owned" receiver to get the month to month plan we started searching for them on craigslist and Ebay etc. Nancy found a Direct TV receiver, advertised as an "owned" unit, on Ebay for a reasonable price so she put in a bid. Shortly thereafter she "won" the auction and contacted Direct TV to give them the serial number so that we could attain an access card that we could install and activate our month to month service. Upon speaking with Direct TV she found that the equipment she "won" on Ebay, advertised as "owned" equipment was in-fact "leased" equipment and could not legally be sold or consequently purchased by us.

Luckily, we had not yet paid for the equipment, so we informed the seller what we had learned from Direct TV about their item being "leased" and not "owned". The seller denied that the equipment was "leased" and insisted that we pay him for the auction. Just to be sure, we again called Direct TV and asked about the serial number of the equipment the seller insisted was "owned" and not "leased" only to be told again that the equipment was "leased" and could not legally be sold by anyone other than Direct TV.

After a few emails back and forth with the seller, it was obvious they would not listen to reason, and continued to insist that we pay for what essentially would amount to "stolen goods", so we contacted Ebay to ask for their assistance.

After multiple calls to Ebay, their response was essentially "tough luck" and told us that we had to pay for and receive the item before we could even lodge a complaint. Of course this would be their stance! If they did the right thing and looked into the situation and found it to be what we claim prior to the sale they would not make any money off the transaction! So they advised us to go ahead and pay for what we know to be stolen property, receive it, then go through the complaint process with Ebay in the hopes that, at that point, after receiving our money for the stolen property, the seller will refund us his ill-gotten gains out of the goodness of his heart!

It's so sad that ridiculous policies like this are tolerated at billion dollar corporations. To force a consumer to go through with an illegal transaction, rather than to simply cancel or pull the auction, simply so that they can ensure their transaction fee prior to the complaint being "resolved" (not that it ever would be since there is no way the seller would ever refund the money).

The bottom line here is if we do what Ebay wants, the seller of stolen property gets his money... Ebay gets their money... We pay for it all and receive useless stolen property in return.

Nice little deal huh? The criminal makes money, the company who enabled the criminal makes money and the consumer gets the shaft.

This doesn't sound too me like the actions of a company any consumer should want to do business with...

We have also filed a complaint with Direct TV about someone selling their "leased" equpiment on Ebay as "owned" equipment but have yet to hear any results of that complaint.


You all be good!

Have a great day!



  1. Wow - I sure hope you guys get some satisfaction one way or another out of this mess. I can't believe E-Bay doesn't have a better solution in an issue where the other party is selling something they aren't legally able to sell.

  2. Evidently you have the satellite system working. Shut the stupid TV off and continue with the blog! We're "home" in Michigan for awhile and need to hear about your travels. :)

    I hope everything is okay with you and Nancy.

  3. I think I would have told both parties that I was going to contact the FBI/fraud Unit...I think that would have brought about your desired effect...hope you got it worked out...