TL;DR; Don’t buy from eBay if there is a chance that fake item can be delivered to you!
As you know, we at rtCamp, love Apple products! So when I lost my Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic, I wanted to get a new one by Apple only.
Unfortunately, Apple resellers in Pune did not have any stock for this model. So we decided to give online shopping a try!
We came across many underpriced offers ranging from Rs. 300 to Rs. 1600. Original price is little above Rs. 2000/-. This eBay listing “claimed” to be selling genuine earpods with 1-year of support.
We contacted this seller before purchasing and they assured us that we will get genuine Apple product. We contacted other seller too, but they were honest to admit that they are selling replica/first-copy but not genuine!
We were hesitant to trust underpriced product’s quality but as eBay was in-between decided to give it a try!
But When Product Came…
It turned out to be a duplicate product with fake bill.
Serial number on bill did not match Apple’s warranty check.
Serial number wasn’t present on earbud cable. Genuine one have that. Below is sample image for genuine Apple earbuds!
Below is copy of fake bill by a fake company. Yep, company is fake too. We checked on http://rajtax.gov.in/vatweb/ and it seems there is no company registered with TIN/CST no. 08360102369!
As expected serial number 5T3326317 did not exist in Apple database! Apple’s online warranty check failed for this serial key. Also, we verified with Apple’s customer support on phone with case-ID 679198170 and they (Apple support) confirmed serial key being fake.
We contacted seller, but as expected, this fraud did not reply. We then used eBay claim process and this is where it turned ugly!
During first conference call, first seller told that he has sent a wrong bill and he will send bill with correct serial key. He never sent it. eBay has that call recorded but they will not play it! Then it was agreed that we will check product for quality Apple reseller.
eBay also noted that I will be going to USA and recorded our CTO Radhakrishnan’s number for further followup.
For verification part RSG helped us. They are Apple authorized reseller. Below is their copy of letter.
Now, eBay forwarded this to seller and seller said this letter is fake and he needs warranty check with revenue stamp on Apple Inc’s letterhead! Thank god he did not ask Tim Cook to sign letterhead!
eBay like a dump participant was forcing us to provide anything seller wanted. At one point, eBay even told us that RSG is not registered with eBay and eBay will only accept verification from Apple authrized reseller who is seller on eBay also! Of course, they retracted from this requirement in next escalation.
eBay, not keeping track of first conversation, tried reaching me when I was in USA (I just returned last night and will be posting about my USA experience on weekend). In international roaming, I was not picking call from unknown numbers, plus they used to call me past midnight as per USA local time.
When they couldn’t reach me for very first time, they simply settled claim in sellers favor. I was informed by email which I forwarded to Radhe (Radhakrishnan).
Radhe talked to them and they said they will reopen claim as they did not try alternative number. Radhe reminded eBay and seller in conference call that Rahul is in USA and that eBay was supposed to call him (Radhe). eBay was supposed to call Radhe anyway, because claim was opened by Radhe with his mobile number. At this point seller told that, he will not accept re-opening claim because it’s not his fault if eBay did not contact correct number before closing claim!
eBay called Radhe again and apologized for “mistake”. Deepak Chaurasia from eBay told us that the case will be forwarded to Grievance Officer and we should get reply by tomorrow. This happened on Oct 27! eBay is not replying now. Our eBay claim is not accessible on eBay website!
The claim link – http://eguarantee.ebay.in/eg/ViewClaimHistory?claimId=687122redirects to “Raise a claim” new form! Looks like eBay deleted claim history in order to cover up it’s broken system. But they cannot delete email from my mailbox!
So because of eBay’s broken claim process and pathetic customer service, we lost money and a lot more time! They wasted my 2 hours, Radhe’s 8-10 hours, our office boy’s 2-3 hours. Radhe needed to spend so much time because eBay customer support has to be reminded about case everyday! eBay doesn’t seem to care about customer support at all.
Summary is don’t buy from eBay. I have used Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon’s return policies in past and they did really good with replacing faulty/broken items.
I lost few bucks here but I am glad to know how things can go wrong on eBay. In past, I purchased mobiles from eBay under impression that eBay will cover me if anything goes wrong. Thank god those high volume transactions did not go wrong! eBay is just like a payment gateway.