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Do Sellers Have To Refund If An Item is Lost or Stolen?

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Know your rights as a Buyer & Seller!

Far too many sellers are putting "terms" on their auctions like this (copied off an auction I looked at recently):

"I do not offer refunds on any item"

"I can not be held responsible for any item that is lost or stolen in transit"

Let me just point out - as a seller you ARE responsible for items which may be lost, stolen or broken in transit. Once a buyer has bought from you it is your responisbility as a seller to get the goods to the buyer in the condition advertised. If it is a concern for you, you will need to ensure you send it recorded (needing to be signed upon delivery) and add an insurance cost against loss or damage.

If an item does become lost the buyer should be refunded immediately and the seller should start a claim with the courier / postal service. The seller arranged the delivery so the contract with the courier / postal service is with the seller. So many sellers seem to think that once its left their hands its no longer their responsibility!

Just because you put "I can not be held responsible" doesnt make it so at all and if paid for with paypal and it doesnt arrive or arrives damaged the buyer is within every right to put in a paypal claim against you and claim their money back from your account. I've sold items that have got lost and have had to refund the buyer and since I didnt send them recorded I have to accept the fact that they may well have been lost.

Sellers:

If you are concerned you should:
  • Protect yourself by sending each parcel recorded delivery so it has to be signed for upon delivery (you can send a copy of the tracking number to the buyer through paypal by opening the transaction and selecting "add tracking information". This will also assisit paypal should a claim be raised against you).
  • Only send to a Paypal confirmed address - otherwise you will not be able to get seller protection from paypal - if the address is not confirmed (as the buyer may be new or not carried out address confirmation) email the buyer to get them to confirm their address by email
  • If not sending recorded ask the post office for a "Proof of Posting" this is free and will help you claim if lost.
  • Keep your proof of posting / tracking details safe - you may need to prove you actually sent the item
  • Package all your items well using bubble wrap and boxes as according to the item - its better to pack an item well than it arrive damaged and you having to refund it
  • Add Insurance against loss or damage for valuable or fragile items
It may seem I'm getting at sellers - I'm not - I sell alot on eBay myself. I have also had claims raised against me for items lost in the post and Ive had to accept that if I didnt send it recorded or by another trackable method then its me out of pocket and me that needs to take it up with the post office / courier. Follow the steps above and you shouldnt have any problems in the future.

Buyers:

  • Pay by Paypal to get protection (check the auction states buyer protection which means the seller has confirmed their details with paypal)
  • Ignore the drivel "terms" that are listed on the auctions
  • Communicate with the seller regarding delivery
  • Make sure your address is confirmed with paypal - if not - log into your paypal account and complete the approval process
  • Dont just leave negative feedback if you have a problem - contact the seller first
  • If an item is lost or broken upon arrival and the seller wont refund you - start a paypal dispute and claim the money back as soon as possible
  • Dont ever lie about NOT receiving an item when you have - as soon as a claim is put into the post office this is forwarded to the local branch and the your postman will be questioned. With the statement from your postman acknowledging it was delivered you can be charged with THEIFT or FRAUD from the seller.

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