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Help with a Half.com dispute

Old 10-25-02, 08:47 AM
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Help with a Half.com dispute

I sent a DVD boxed set to a buyer in VA (from CA) August 12. Due to the contact information I sent via postcard, I exchanged emails with him when he was notified by the post office to pick up a package which, when he went to pick it up, they couldn’t find.

[NoLonger]Half.com has advised me that they are deducting my commission and shipping reimbursement on the sale:
This is a note to let you know that we have debited your account for the item "Godzilla - 5 Rampaging Movies", transaction #243525719536 that we had recently contacted you about. In light of the fact that no tracking information was supplied on this package, we have regretfully had to debit your account pursuant to our policy on this issue.

If a buyer does not receive an item and the seller cannot provide proof of delivery from the shipping carrier, Half.com reserves the right to withhold payment or charge the sellers credit card account (or debit your bank account) to recover for the loss of the item purchased.

We have refunded the buyer for this item, and debited the sale from your account. In the future, please be sure to use a trackable method such as delivery confirmation on your orders to avoid potential loss.

Thanks for your understanding.
I’ve looked all through the [NoLonger]Half.com policies and can find only this regarding the issue (emphasis added where appropriate):

Seller Account Balance Adjustments

As outlined in our User Agreement, Half.com reserves the right to make adjustments to your seller account balance in the event of a member dispute, fraud or a lack in seller performance.

Adjustments to your credit card.

You authorize Half to withhold payment or charge your credit card accounts (or debit your bank account) for any amount you owe us if (a) a sale is cancelled [sic] for any reason; (b) an adjustment is made pursuant to our Buyer Protection Policy; (c) we reasonably believe that you have committed fraud or another illegal act or omission during any buying or selling activity; or (d) you otherwise owe us a specific amount. If any of those things happen, we may also deduct from any amount we owe you, the amount you owe us.

I’m guessing the “Buyer Protection Policy” is where I’m gonna get screwed.

I’ve been fortunate, I guess. Out of over 600 sales, this is the third time something has been lose. But this is the first time they’ve issued a credit on my account because of it.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been snotty with my response. (It was the 2nd time they contacted me about this. The poor buyer has been waiting over a month since he first filed the report.)

I’m screwed, yes?
Old 10-25-02, 09:19 AM
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It would seem to me that if the post office contacted him to let him know the package was there to be picked up, they accept responsibility for it. Proof of delivery was provided when the post office sent confirmation of their receipt. If they the couldn't find it after letting the buyer know they got it in the first place, your responsibility for it was over.
Old 10-25-02, 09:22 AM
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But unfortunately, the little slip from the post office doesn't have your address on it, so you can't prove that the package the buyer was going to receive was yours. I think you're screwed here; that's why you should just file the post office receipt in each case.
Old 10-25-02, 10:52 AM
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huzefa, true that.

Yes, I keep all of the receipts. They show the zip code the package is going to.

Unfortunately, there is no actual proof of mailing, although I bet it would work in a small claims case.

I was going to send a scan of the receipt, but they are not allowed to open any attachments. I learned this when I sent them a list of Babylon 5 tapes that they don't have in their catalog.

They advise to use some kind of tracking method, but the shiping allowance only just barely covers postage.

I've had a coupla tapes lost in the past and not been dinged. Maybe they're pissed because I was critical of their piss-poor customer service?
Old 10-25-02, 10:55 AM
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Originally posted by Wizdar
huzefa, true that.

Yes, I keep all of the receipts. They show the zip code the package is going to.

Unfortunately, there is no actual proof of mailing, although I bet it would work in a small claims case.

I was going to send a scan of the receipt, but they are not allowed to open any attachments. I learned this when I sent them a list of Babylon 5 tapes that they don't have in their catalog.

They advise to use some kind of tracking method, but the shiping allowance only just barely covers postage.

I've had a coupla tapes lost in the past and not been dinged. Maybe they're pissed because I was critical of their piss-poor customer service?
Also, if you do have the receipt (and you know it is the right one), keep badgering half.com until they ask you to show it somehow. Maybe there might be a fax # or something you can fax it to. Last resort is disputing it with your credit card company. Sick Visa on them.
Old 10-25-02, 10:59 AM
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Ha ha. Screwed once again. My account is direct deposit. Plus, I've got sales that haven't been paid yet, so they have just deducted from what they owe me.

But, yah, I plan on being a pain in their collective asses. It won't be the first time.
Old 10-28-02, 09:19 AM
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Well, here's the latest:

Hello,

This is a note to let you know that we have debited your account for the item "Godzilla - 5 Rampaging Movies", transaction #243525719536 that we had recently contacted you about. In light of the fact that no tracking information was supplied on this package, we have regretfully had to debit your account pursuant to our policy on this issue.

If a buyer does not receive an item and the seller cannot provide proof of delivery from the shipping carrier, Half.com reserves the right to withhold payment or charge the sellers credit card account (or debit your bank account) to recover for the loss of the item purchased.

We have refunded the buyer for this item, and debited the sale from your account. In the future, please be sure to use a trackable method such as delivery confirmation on your orders to avoid potential loss.

Thanks for your understanding.

Ashby - Half.com Trust & Safety Team


Understanding, my a$$! I can't seem to find anything in the membership agreement that allows them to do this. If I misrepresented the item, that's one thing. But there is nothing requiring "tracking information" (which, BTW, doesn't exist for USPS Media Mail), and no recourse for them for items lost in the mail.

Oh well.
Old 10-28-02, 09:44 AM
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granted, it does suck, but here's another link about it:
http://half.ebay.com/help/index.cfm?...tion=fulfill#1
under Packaging.
The Buyer Protection Policy at http://half.ebay.com/help/index.cfm?...on=guarantee_p
is somewhat vague, but i guess i can see how it could be interpreted as you state above.
it does sound like the PO definitely has some fault in there, but unfortunately, with no shipping proof, the responsibility on record is most likely upon the seller.
However: I saw another thread here about a purchase from one of the DVD websites, which item never arrived. The buyer complained and was sent a replacement item. How is that different from this situation, except that the role of buyer/seller is reversed?
I also deal on Half.com, and usually ship Media Mail, unless it's one dvd, where I upgrade to 1st class, but I have been lucky and never had anything untoward occur. Not to say it can't; maybe I should check into the return receipt/proof of delivery in the future, just in case.
Old 10-28-02, 10:53 AM
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The buyer protection policy was there in case a product is misrepresented, specifically with regards to the condition of the item (like new, very good, etc.). It’s been reworded (since the last time I looked) to even eliminate that problem, if I’m reading it correctly. Right now it is so vague as to be of no use whatsoever.

I also think that limits of one report/month, three/lifetime are likely illegal, but that’s another issue entirely.

There is no such thing as “tracking service” in USPS Media Mail, as I mentioned above. The closest thing is Delivery Confirmation, which is almost useless unless the package is actually delivered (which, in this case, it wasn’t).

[NoLonger]Half.com shipping reimbursement for videos is $1.89. The minimum postage for Media Mail is $1.42, and Delivery Confirmation adds 55¢. Return receipt etc. adds even more to the shipping costs.

Fact of the matter is, I’ve had a coupla items lost in the mail in the past, and they didn’t dock me for them. They’re just being dicks because I was less than polite with their second inquiry, which was a full month after the first. Meaning the poor guy had to wait yet another month for his refund.
Old 10-28-02, 11:37 AM
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Moving to Store Forum.
Old 10-28-02, 02:04 PM
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If you've had stuff lost in the mail in the past [I assume with you as seller], what has happened to the item/order/buyer/money? Did the buyer get his money back?
In this case, is that what happened? You mentioned being 'docked,' but just to make sure I understand, they took back the money that they had previously given to you, from the buyer's purchase?
So basically:
Buyer: his money back.
Half.com: shipping reimbursement back.
You: money debited from your account [that was previously added due to this sale] net result = $0.00
And of course a Godzilla tromping around somewhere in a post office.
If that's the case, I don't want to to sound like a jerk, but I don't see what the issue is--a buyer bought something through Half.com; s/he never recieved it. Half.com has a rep to protect, and a business to run; they refund the buyer's money, taking it away from whom they just gave it to [you]. I know, or assume, you're honest, and certainly had no intent to defraud anyone, but just looking at the facts, this could be defined as that: he sent money, you said you sent a package, he didn't receive it. Assuming that he waited a reasonable amount of time for shipment, that could be technically defined as 'fraud.' The thing with the PO and their notice of delivery to the buyer, however, definitely does add a twist to it...I'm not sure if that's a legally defensible twist, though.
Re: the Buyer's Protection Policy; it still includes the misgrading of items, but also adds this one: "Item was never received - An item that should have arrived has not. " Ultimately the only pieces of proof that can affect that are either 1. the word of the buyer and/or 2. a return receipt/delivery confirmation. Thinking about it that way, I'm actually surprised we haven't heard of more cases where the buyer violates the policy, ie, says he didn't receive the item when he did.
Old 10-28-02, 04:18 PM
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The issue is, it’s happened to me in the past (as a seller). And they’ve “absorbed” the cost. That is, the buyer gets their money back, and I’m not left holding the bag (no "credit" applied to my account).

I don’t totally disagree with there you’re coming from. However, let me pose a counterpoint: suppose I did have a “tracking number,” which seems to be the main point of their contention? By all accounts, the buyer would get their money back, and [NoLonger]Half.com would “absorb” the loss, as they have done in the past.
Old 10-28-02, 05:59 PM
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How come you didn't ask the clerk at the US Post Office for a receipt when you mail the boxset via media mail? I think a receipt would clearly show that you have mailed the item. I always ask the clerk at the Post Office for a receipt when I mail anything. I kept those receipts until I hear from the other guy that the item has been received before I throw away the receipt. It seems to work for me so far.

Last edited by mookiemeister; 10-28-02 at 06:03 PM.
Old 10-28-02, 06:06 PM
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Did you insure it? If I sell something over $50 I insure it just in case. That way if something like this happens you'll eventually get your money back from the PO.

Yes, it costs $2.20 more, but in the long run it's worth it just to be safe. I just sold a DVD box set on half yesterday for $71 and it cost me $4.59 to ship Mediamail+Delivery Confirm+Insurance. So I make a little less money but everybody's covered.
Old 10-28-02, 06:29 PM
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Originally posted by mookiemeister
How come you didn't ask the clerk at the US Post Office for a receipt when you mail the boxset via media mail?
Originally posted by Wizdar
Yes, I keep all of the receipts.
I sent a scan of the receipt. However, they are not allowed to open attachments, so they say.
Old 10-28-02, 06:47 PM
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Originally posted by Wizdar
I sent a scan of the receipt. However, they are not allowed to open attachments, so they say.
Sorry if I'm a bit thick, but still I don't quiet understand what's going on. You have the receipt and you can show half.com that you mailed the item. So it's not your problem that the item didn't get to the buyer, right? Isn't it the carrier's problem in this case?
Old 10-28-02, 06:58 PM
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No, you're not thick.

If it's not insured, it's not the Post Office's problem.

The problem is that [NoLonger]Half.com has deducted my payment for the sale because I don't have a tracking number.
Old 10-28-02, 07:48 PM
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Half.com clearly states that this is their policy and you should insure your stuff.

It's a crapshoot if you don't. By not insuring you risk taking a bigger loss. I don't insure everything, but I think over $50 is a reasonable consideration.

I once sold an unopened DVD to a guy who claimed it was damaged when he received it. He asked me for another one. Being that I only had that one I gave him his money back without asking him to return it. I figured if he was asking me for a new one he was being legit.

Everyone takes a loss once in a while. The customer is always right (or should be), and you have to remember Half.com is just the middleman. You are the seller, and ultimately responsible.

At least that's the way I do business.

BTW, Huzefa, if you "Sick Visa on them" they'll cancel your account. It states this in their seller policy.

Last edited by Eric F; 10-28-02 at 07:56 PM.
Old 10-28-02, 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by Eric F
Half.com clearly states that this is their policy and you should insure your stuff.
Another swing and a miss. It has nothing to do with insurance. And their policy is not only unclear, it is contradictory.

I guess nobody want's to answer the key question: if I had a "tracking number" there would be no problem. What's wrong with this picture? Here's a hint: tracking numbers do not exist for Media Mail, as stated at least once already.

Oh, well. Never mind.
Old 10-28-02, 10:31 PM
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Insured and trackable shipping is very important to make certain that a seller is protected from loss. The use of insured shipping methods also helps protect all Half.com members from fraud. Sellers should direct buyers to return damaged items to them so that the seller may file an insurance claim with the shipping carrier. If Half.com must refund a buyer in the case of a damaged or lost package (in accordance with the Buyer Protection Policy), the amount of the sale will be deducted from the seller's account balance. If the account balance is not sufficient to cover this deduction, a seller's checking account or credit card may be charged for the amount of the sale. Half.com will not reimburse sellers for loss resulting from damaged or missing packages.
I don't know, it looks pretty clear to me.

This is about insurance. Half.com says to do this. If you don't you take that risk (like most of us do). The customer will win every time at Half as long as they haven't used up their "Buyer Protection" quota. As a buyer as well as a seller I like this policy.

People are just trying to help. You don't seem to really want any, just to beef. This is a good place to do it, but don't expect any solutions and don't expect everyone to agree with you.
Old 10-30-02, 02:29 PM
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if I had a "tracking number"

The slip actually says Delivery Confirmation on it.
That has a tracking number.

I had a package that the buyer said did not show up
earlier in the year. All my sales have a USPS delivery slip.
Aka delivery confirmation 20 digit green/white slip.
By the way the way most of items are shipped media mail,
unless expedited is desired.
Once I provided them with the delivery/tracking slip #. They left
me alone. But I do not sell very much over there anymore.
Just a few box sets every so often,
Only scampal's customer service is worse then half.com. IMO

As to the comment about insurance. Wizdar's email asked for
delivery confirmation, Nothing about insurance in the email
from half.com. So forget about insurance for the moment.
If you look at the green/white tracking slip. It says Delivery
Confirmation right on it. So if he used the delivery confirmation
slip, I believe he would have no problem.

Why insure anything when they want proof of delivery.
The delivery confirmation slips shows that.
And they even asked for that in the email to him.

Insurance is strongly recommended. Not required.
Old 10-30-02, 05:46 PM
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As was mentioned, delivery confirmation means nothing. Unless you have a signed receipt from the customer there is no way to prove they received anything, and even then they can claim damage.

What's said by Half.com in that statement is essentially, if the customer makes a complaint, they're going to issue a refund. So the only way to protect yourself is to insure and file a claim with the carrier.


Mandatory? No. Good idea? On high priced items, yes.
Old 10-30-02, 08:48 PM
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I was answering wizdars question would he have been
in a better position. And he would have.

As for sellers protection. half.com asked for delivery
confirmation from him. NOTHING about insurance.
And after talking with a couple of sellers today.

If a half.com seller uses Delivery Confirmation from the
USPS. They should not have any charges levied against
them. Which was what the original email to wizdar stated.

I do not know why anyone would waste money on
insurance, when half.com wants the delivery confirmation.
Now if they change policy and require it.
Then thats a different story.
Old 10-30-02, 09:27 PM
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You seem to misunderstand me. I know they don't require insurance, nobody does. It's just to cover yourself. Reread that quote I took right from Half.com's site. It says everything you need to know about their policy.

Why waste money on it? So you have some sort of recourse if something like this happens. You have no recourse with Half.com. They are only the broker. They do nothing else, and they will not refund the seller the money in a dispute, only the buyer.

If you understand that going in, you know the risks of doing business on Half.com. Just as with everything else in life, there are many risks. Insurance is an investment that you usually don't need, but is there when do. You just have to decide when it's worth paying for.

Last edited by Eric F; 10-30-02 at 09:29 PM.
Old 10-30-02, 10:41 PM
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Originally posted by Eric F
Reread that quote I took right from Half.com's site. It says everything you need to know about their policy.
I'd appreciate a link to the page where you found it. I can't find it in the Members Agreement, which, as I'm sure you're aware, has many cross-connecting links.

Thanks.

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