The Great Jaguar Debacle

by Dave

As many of you know, I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time: the Fender Jaguar bass. About a month ago, I bought a vintage effects pedal on Craigslist for quite cheap and recently sold it on eBay for a ridiculous amount of money. I felt quite confident that I could sell the pedal with enough of a profit to pay for the new bass, so I started browsing eBay. I found a Jaguar that looked good and put in a low-ball bid, which ended up being successful. I paid for the bass after getting home from work the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

NO CONTACT

I sent a couple emails to the guy about when he planned on shipping it, but didn’t hear from him until the following Tuesday. He said I’d have the bass by Friday, but didn’t give me a tracking number (the auction listed UPS as the shipper, so I was expecting a tracking number). I emailed a couple of times throughout the week, but heard nothing. Friday came and went with no bass at my door. I started to think I’d been taken for a ride. I kept emailing the seller, hoping to get any kind of info on the bass, but still heard nothing.

The next Tuesday the bass finally arrived (still without any word from the seller) and I was very excited that I wasn’t out a bunch of cash. Upon inspecting the bass, however, my excitement was squashed. The condition of the bass had been grossly exaggerated in the listing. The bass had a big chip in the bottom that was noted in the auction, but was stated to otherwise be in “excellent” condition. I was fine with the chip since it was clearly noted, but there were other problems.

  • Most of the hardware, including the frets and pickguard screws, were badly corroded.
  • The jack plate was visibly bent, as if someone had pushed down on the cable while it was plugged into the bass.
  • The tone knob cut a lot of volume.
  • There were small splotches of something (maybe paint) in a couple places.
  • There were a lot of small nicks, dents and scrapes that were not mentioned.

That’s a lot of problems for a bass supposedly in excellent condition.

THE CONFRONTATION

Needless to say, I was less than pleased. I emailed the seller, informing him of the problems I had found. True to form, I didn’t hear from him. I then went to PayPal and started a dispute. PayPal is not involved at that point; it’s merely an official forum for buyers and sellers to voice their concerns (and have a written record, should things become more serious). I said that I’d still be willing to consider the transaction a success if he’d be willing to knock down the price to compensate for the condition of the bass. The seller declined my request for a partial refund, stating that he had accurately listed the bass.

Next came one of the most hilarious parts of this whole ordeal: a statement supposedly from the seller’s father. Here is what he posted:

This is his father and the guitar was in good shape. Seth is a good Christian man and I feel you are trying to exploit him. I will pay you $75 as a good will gesture for your “pain’. After that, we take it up a notch and ask for a paypal arbitrator. Judging by out feedback for selling items correctly, I am sure they will judge in our favor. Your call.

He then offered me the refund for $75, but, before I could act on it, he took the refund offer back and escalated the dispute to a claim (saying I was trying to extort money from him). It’s at this point that PayPal gets involved.

I was especially aggravated by his last comments posted to the dispute log right before he escalated it to a claim. He theorized that I had a case of buyer’s remorse because he read on this very blog that I had been out of work for awhile and that Megan is pregnant, leading him to believe I had bought something more expensive than I could afford. First, I wouldn’t buy something I can’t afford. Second, he left out the fact that while I missed work I was getting sick pay, not just sitting at home going into debt. Third, who stalks people via their blogs? I wouldn’t think a “good Christian man” would take the time to peruse our blog looking for ammunition to use against us. What a nut.

He finished his statement by touting his good feedback rating (99% positive, compared to my 100%) and saying that, if I were found to be in the wrong, he would like me sanctioned on eBay. The most frustrating thing was, once the dispute became a claim, I could no longer add to the dispute log to rebut his comments.

VINDICATION

Fortunately, PayPal decided in my favor a day or two later and determined that I was entitled to a full refund. The only loss for me was that I had to pay for the return shipping, which isn’t such a big deal since I get a nice discount on shipping through FedEx. The bass arrived back at the seller’s house late this week and I should be receiving my refund early next week.

This is the first really bad experience I’ve ever had on eBay in the nine years that I’ve been buying and selling. I’ve had other minor problems, but nothing that couldn’t be worked out. Hopefully this doesn’t happen again. I wouldn’t wish this kind of drama on anyone.

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