eBay Buyer Protection to the rescue!

ebayWhen someone does the ‘right thing,’ don’t you just want to tell others about it? I do.

Best laid plans

Last week, I made a large purchase on eBay. Typically, if I find a good price, I’ll go with the ‘Buy It Now’ feature, which is what I did for some expensive software. I would’ve saved a big chunk of dough going this route, rather than buying the software from a retail source.

‘Caveat Emptor’ – Let the buyer beware

I’m trying to protect this sellers identity, so I won’t reveal what the product was nor the seller, but I did basic research on the seller before the purchase. Everything looked fine. It was obvious that this seller does a lot of business on eBay and in the past year, they had only one negative complaint, but something like 300 positive comments.

The transaction went down without a hitch and I got the software. The first red flag was that the license keys were handwritten, not the actual labels. Also, what I received was slightly different than what was advertised (minor red flag).

When I plugged in the provided license keys during the install process, it was rejected. Uh-oh. BIG red flag.

I called Apple support to see if there was something I was missing or doing wrong, but I wasn’t too excited at this point. Sure enough, when I provided the license key to the support tech, he informed me that it was a deactivated key and had been shared across the internet. NOT good.


I immediately sent a message to the seller and within 24 hours, I also opened a case with ‘eBay Buyer Protection.’ Technically, they really want you to work these things out between seller/buyer, but due to the high cost of this purchase and the potential fraud, I was VERY eager to get this resolved quickly. I’m glad I escalated.

The seller was surprised to hear of this news and emailed me a new license key. A quick call to Apple support confirmed what I was beginning to think…yes, the license key might be valid today, but there is no guarantee that it won’t be sold or distributed like the other one, which might get it deactivated.

To increase my anxiety, the seller was now starting to balk at offering a refund. Now I was really glad I opened the case with eBay Buyer Protection.


Within 48 hours of opening the case, eBay Buyer Protection decided in my favor. They gave me a pre-paid shipping label and when the item was received back by the seller, my PayPal account was instantly credited for the cost of the purchase and all shipping.

Folks, THAT is how you retain customers. Swift response, and (though I am biased here) a solid judgment.

Finally, to be fair, it’s very possible that the seller was unaware that those license keys were no good when listing the software. Oftentimes, people who do a lot of business on eBay turn things around and might not take as much care as they ought to, however, it’s reassuring to know that if things go askew, eBay is willing to step up to the plate and take action.

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Author:Craig Berry

Craig Berry is a Catholic web developer and musician.
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