eBay Horror Stories

“Bad Bentley” and other eBay Horror Stories

...Cautionary Tales of Woe and Disillusionment on eBay

In February of 2005 I purchased a Franklin Mint 1955 Bentley from what appeared to be a reputable dealer on eBay (his feedback score was very high). The car was listed as Mint In Box. As is my habit, I requested that the car be double-boxed with lots of padding—especially on the bottom. That’s how I pack them and I’ve never had one arrived damaged. The Seller assured me that he had sold many porcelain dolls and other fragile items, and that he would pack it well.


Unfortunately, he did not specialize in diecasts, but rather sold mainly dolls and women’s clothing items. I have since learned not to buy from dealers like this if I can avoid it, because they often don’t know the product well enough to describe it accurately. Anyway, when the car arrived, I saw immediately the shipping box was too small. Opening the parcel revealed that what little padding was used, was placed on TOP of the model—nothing on the bottom. I was now fully prepared to see a model with broken pieces, scuffs, or parts fallen off.


I carefully removed it from its box, and began my white glove inspection. I noted several flaws, but nothing worse than the hood hinge being loose—probably just poor quality control at Franklin Mint I thought. I had done my homework before buying, and knew this model had well-known fit and finish shortcomings, so I wasn’t expecting it to be anywhere near perfect. After checking the exterior, I began checking each operating part—steering, hood, trunk, doors, etc. To my amazement, when I got to the right front door it wouldn’t budge. I tugged as much as I dared, but fear of damaging the car made me take special measures. I held the car in place firmly with a polishing cloth, and tried to push the door open from the inside. It was stuck solid.


The seller refused responsibility. He said: “as far as I know the mint made it that way,” and admitted he had tried to open the door for picture taking, but couldn’t get it open. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what we call a major defect. Not disclosing it is misrepresentation, and any other seller would have immediately offered a refund, but not this one. We emailed each other back and forth a few times, and finally he agreed to accept a return for a partial refund. I had paid $125 plus a $10 shipping charge, and he wanted me to accept a refund of $110 and no shipping charges. That was a $25 cost to me for his deceit, plus I had to pay return shipping for another $10 out of pocket.


Rather than get stuck with this car, I accepted the proposal, but asked that he process my refund through the original PayPal transaction so he could get back the PayPal fees, and also apply to eBay for an uncompleted transaction refund that I would be happy to corroborate. In doing so, I asked that he then refund all the fees he recovered. Well, out of the $35 of my out-of-pocket expenses, he sent me back another $7. I couldn’t believe it, so I wrote to him and asked where the rest of my money was. He replied that he got the car back damaged, and accused me of pulling off the grille, breaking the hood, and any number of ridiculous statements. He used this to justify keeping my money, and further told me that I was lucky he had accepted the return and given me a partial refund, considering what I had done to the car. Unbelievable!


This dealer knew when he sold me the car that it had problems, so when I paid immediately he didn’t leave positive feedback—he was waiting to see whether I would complain, and he wanted leverage. I call this feedback blackmail, and often a seller will withhold feedback so that in the event you leave negative feedback for him he can retaliate—whether you deserve it or not. I was not about to jeopardize the 100% positive feedback rating I had worked so hard to earn, so I did not leave feedback for him, and haven’t to this day. It bothers me that people can get away with this sort of thing, but this dealer had already demonstrated his willingness to lie and make up fantastic stories about me, so I wasn’t about to chance it. It’s a shame, because he really deserved the negative feedback, and I may decide to give it to him one day, but for now protecting my own reputation is more important to me.


Then there was one dealer who sold me a car advertised as “New” that came in a dirty, beat-up, moldy box; plus, it had a broken roof (a detachable part on this model). At his request, I sent him back the broken roof, and he sent me a replacement one, but that was in poor condition too. Finally he agreed to take back the whole car, but he kept the initial shipping charges, and the return charges for both the first roof and the whole car. Not as bad as the Bentley experience, but another instance where I got burned.