I feel your pain. I've had several occasions when I've lost money on eBay and also where Paypal was unable to resolve my issues. Probably the biggest problem I have faced is when I pre-ordered sevearl NASCAR diecast cars...each one valued at over $50. I, too, thought that the seller would be honest because of his high feedback rating and high sales volume. However, when the diecast cars were finally released by the manufacturer and I still had not received them, I became very worried. I e-mailed the eBay seller several times with no reponse back. I filed a complaint with both eBay and Paypal, but because they have a 90 day policy, I wasn't eligible to file a resolution. The seller had closed their eBay account and I was about to give in.
Being out several hundred dollars made me upset, so I decided to do some research on the seller and my options. Like you, I had the sellers phone number. I was able to get on the internet and do a phone trace and get his address. I was also able to go back and look at the sellers previous sales and noted that he had occasionally posted a mailing address. Since he did charge state taxes, I figured that he must be registered with his local state as a business. This particular seller was from Wisconsin.
Most states have an States Attorney Generals Office. I went to the Wisconsin Attornery Generals Office website where I was able to file a complaint against the seller. I was lucky to find out that the seller had opened a new account on eBay. I e-mailed the seller one last time, telling him that I had filed a suit with the State's Attorney General Office for non-shipment of my pre-ordered diecast cars. Well, you would not believe how quickly I had my diecast cars and a refund for what he did not have that I had pre-ordered from him. The threat of legal action was enough to make this guy come clean. (His excuse was that he was in the middle of a messy divorce and thus not able to fulfill his backlog of pre-orders.)
My advice to you and contact your states attorney generals office and also the attorney generals office in the sellers home state. You might be able to file out forms on line to file a formal complaint. (I'm assuming that the seller of your iPod is from the USA.) There are strict laws concerning internet sales and scams. The threat of a law suit from a states attorney general was enough to make my seller want to co-operate with me. I would try and find out the sellers address because that can often be of help. Also check the sellers past sales to see if they might have listed a mailing address or business address. The more information you can provide the attorney generals office, the better the chances they can help.
I was able to see one guy I dealt with on eBay who did not send me my item be prosecuted in court. Apparently this guy had a major scam going on and in this case, the State of Minnesota finally caught the guy and my eBay and Paypal records helped put the guy in jail.
That would bring me to my final suggestion...try to make a paper trail of every transaction you make with eBay and Paypal. Hang on to those papers because they may come in handy someday down the road.
It's always a good idea to get the sellers phone number as well as address. Generally, I've had good luck with Paypal. They have resolved many of my cases successfully. Most states have laws concerning internet sales. If you're using the US Post Office, you may also have legal options with them as well. And if all else fails, contacting a local lawyer might be a good option. They can often provide advice as to how you can follow up and take further legal action. Contacting your local attorney generals office is a good place to start to see what legal grounds you have at your disposal.
Pastor Paul Tjostem
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