Dodgy Dealings?

by John

Case 1.

I decided to purchase a new lathe chuck, a 6 jaw, 160mm diameter, Chinese “Sanou”. I had watched Stefan Gotteswinter’s review of these, and based on his expert assessment, made an Ebay purchase. I found 2 Australian suppliers, and chose the cheapest one. All straight forward so far. Money paid using Paypal. A few days later, a call from the vendor, “very sorry, no stock remaining”. “But you have stock listed on your site”. “Very sorry, all gone, do you want me to order more from China.” Oh well. No real rush. “OK, yes I will wait”. But then the first hint that maybe all was not as it appeared…. “Ignore the tracking number. I will contact you when it has arrived”. Hmm. That is strange. But I waited. And waited. Eventually, 6 weeks after the initial order, I requested a refund.

I had another call from the vendor. “Very sorry, there was a problem with the Chinese supplier. The prices of shipping have increased, and the Chinese supplier used the container space for another customer who had paid the higher cost, so your chuck in my shipment was not sent”. “And the cost of the chucks is higher”. Yes, we know that prices of everything are rising. But why did it require my request for a refund to elicit this rather convoluted and slightly unbelievable explanation. And why was I originally requested to not check the tracking number? And why did it take 6 weeks to be notified of all of this?

Anyway, I did receive my refund. But what if I had not followed up on the non delivery?

Case 2.

Another Ebay purchase. This time for a battery powered screw gun for sheet plaster, because SWMBO has asked me to hang the plaster in one of her project house renovations “and will save a lot of money if we do it ourselves.” Now, hanging plaster is not a favourite activity of mine. In fact it is on my list of activities for which I would always employ a tradesman. But “happy wife = happy life”. So I agreed, but used the occasion to purchase another tool. Yes, I do have a disease.

So, another Ebay purchase, Australian supplier of a good German brand which I always use for battery tools. Not cheap, but reliable, and my one and only complaint to the manufacturer (Metabo), many years ago, resulted in immediate and generous restitution. Order placed, Paypal payment. Within a few hours I received a receipt, and a tracking number for postage from interstate. Now that was quick postage! Very impressed. Or was that too quick?

3 weeks later, it still had not arrived. Postage services in Australia have been very variable lately. Sometimes items arrive in a day or two. Some turn up months later. Some never turn up. I checked the tracking number, and it appeared that the package had been received at the interstate postal depot. But no record since then.

So I contacted the vendor. Return message. “it appears that your package has gone missing.” “very sorry etc etc.” Immediate refund. So immediate, that I had to wonder. I was expecting the vendor to ask me to wait patiently a bit longer, to which request I would have agreed. Why the immediate refund?

Meanwhile I have gone cold on the idea of hanging plaster. I have not told SWMBO of this change of heart, and she does not read these posts. Or does she? I will get an answer to that question very soon I suspect.

There are so many scams about these days. Like most people, I seem to get at least one scam email per day, which I just delete immediately. I NEVER click on email attachments, unless I am certain of the sender’s identity and purpose, but even then I check first. And I NEVER buy anything advertised on Facebook, having been scammed twice there, with NO COMPENSATION from Facebook for running fake advertisements.

Both of the above cases happened in the past month. Case 1, where there was a tracking number supplied, but obviously no article actually posted, has made me very suspicious about tracking numbers providing proof of postage. Case 2 could be a genuine postage loss, but if my suspicion about tracking numbers is correct, then maybe it was a scam too.

Have any readers had similar experiences?