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Old January 8th, 2014, 03:11 PM   #1
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Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

A transaction problem emerged that cannot be resolved as it falls outside of the templates of the automated systems between the three entities, Ebay, Paypal and Pitney Bowes and the Global Shipping Program.

Trying to gain access to an operator within the three entities who has any ability to deal with the issue has proven impossible thus far. Messages conveyed by indirect means such as feedback have not resulted in a response.

It is really a simple thing to fix. All that is need is for an invoice to be raised by Pitney Bowes for US$27-15, a new request made to me via paypal for me to pay the amount and have a US$99-00 consignment stuck at the Erlanger Depot of Pitney Bowes to move on, assuming that since late November,2013, the item has not been lost or disposed of.

In a last attempt to perhaps raise a red flag somewhere that will gain the attention of the entities concerned and elicit a response, here follows a message :-


To the General Manager of eBay Australia.


Please take notice that as provided by the Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) Act (No. 2) 2010 Act No. 103 of 2010 as amended,

I intend to seek relief for;

failure of the United States business entities, eBay and the entity Pitney Bowes, which together provide service as the Global Shipping Program, to provide any published reasonably convenient route of direct enquiry to enable a matter of delayed shipment to be resolved,

failure of the United States business entity eBay to respond within reasonable time to enquiries routed indirectly via the feedback message service.

This regrettable action may be deferred or discontinued if you or an assigned delegate enquire with me and receive details of the difficulty with a transaction which falls outside of the limited templates of action normally enabled by the automated service.

I undertake to not initiate any action until three weeks has elapsed from the time of submitting this message.

Given that the contended transaction occurred on the 20th of November 2013, I consider that three weeks is a reasonable period in which to generate a response.


Yours sincerely,

Robert Hart.
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Old January 8th, 2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

After pulling an allnighter trying to navigate the obfuscatory process of ebay/paypal customer support, then an international phone call marathon that went from 7-15am local to 9-33am local, the upshot is in a few words that I paraphrase - "too bad mate, stiff bix, 48 days has elapsed and that's your lot cobber".

The system managed to keep me away from the door. So it is back to the bank to have the debit card payment clawed back. Each of the customer service staff I spoke to after the first two failures to get anywhere was read my notice of intention to seek relief in the court as published above and I basically dared each of them cut me off this time round. No one did. I was advised that the sent item detained by Pitney Bowes at Erlanger KY was returned to the vendor on the 13th of December 2013.

Now Pitney Bowes did not disclose that detail to me via email or phone call I made when the relevant number was given to the persons I spoke to. I was given a FedEx tracking number by the ebay customer service person for the return shipment to the vendor. I double checked by two readbacks, the tracking number to make sure it was correct. When I put it into the FedEx tracking search function it came up as invalid, so I think it was bogus and that Ebay won in the end and made me go away.

I am not in a position to assert that the vendor got the goods back and kept the money. All international transactions with vendors, every single one, thus far via bank draft or telegraphic payment has gone without a hitch. I had made many transactions via ebay/paypal wthout a problem and now two which went bad. The stonewall they put up as an apparent deliberate part of their business plan is not acceptable to me.

Accordingly, once my bank has had its chance to throw Paypal around the room, I will be disabling the ability to levy my debit account as it appears there is no readily apparent process available by which to discontinue a paypal account. The same goes for ebay. It may be well hid in the small print somewhere but I am too weary right now to go after it. Sadly my recommendation is, the immediate grat of being able to buy via eBay and convenience of paypal does not outweigh the grief.

My recommendation is use the ebay search function by all means, find the product, find the vendor, examine the vendor's credential and reputation and then trade outside of eBay/paypal. Quite a few legit eBay vendors have other storefronts.
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Old January 8th, 2014, 10:07 PM   #3
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Never had any problems with eBay, Paypal until the introduction of the Global Shipping program with Pitney Bowes. Delays and overcharging issues which seem inpossible to resolve. I now say to the vendor on eBay "I will purchase from you on the proviso that you do not ship through Pitney Bowes." some will oblige other won't so those that do get the business or the business goes elsewhere. That global shipping program was a bad move, makes it easier for the vendor but not with my money.

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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Old January 9th, 2014, 04:31 AM   #4
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

@ Bob -

I'm with Christopher on this - GSP is apparently another poorly implemented ebay "disruptive innovation".

As a buyer and seller, I try to avoid as many "helpful" things they offer as possible... and you MUST follow their "rules", most of which even their CS staff are inconsistent on. Sounds like they let you get past their 45 day "window" for filing - NEVER let that happen, better to file a dispute before the deadline and sort it out in the dispute process

You're on the right track - if you can't contact the vendor (they SHOULD without question refund if the parcel was returned!), then have your bank take any steps they can to recoup your funds. A chargeback should be impossible for them to fight, as clearly there is no delivery confirmation.

And what Christopher says is also wise - if you find a seller with what you want, ask them what it will cost for priority or express (yes, these are NOT cheap anymore) USPS shipping, This will have tracking, and you know you'll get your order. There are apparently many problems with GSP, it's probably best avoided.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 05:24 AM   #5
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

I suspect I'm missing something here? I can't work out what the complaint is? It's like the question is missing and all we have are the answers?
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Old January 9th, 2014, 06:36 AM   #6
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Paul.


In short. I paid, the product stayed.

The product delivery was delayed initially by a vendor error, then by a systemic glitch which required human intervention. Undisclosed to me until today, was that the product was returned to the vendor. The jury is still out whether the return tracking number I was given by ebay was bogus as it comes up as invalid.

There are conflicting questions. Is the system actually at fault? Did Ebay today behave fraudulently by providing the return tracking number to incriminate the vendor to make me go away? Has the vendor behaved fraudulently by receiving the goods back, keeping the cash and keeping mum about it?

I have to check my paypal statements one more time to make sure a refund hasn't been slipped in there quietly to trip me up on the "facts" such as they are.

The eBay system appears to be manipulated as to passively discourage clients from seeking redress in matters which fall outside of an easy fix. Who is really going to waste so much of their productivity time as I have, running down elusive justice on a $99-00 item. Very many will simply will suck it up and go away, count the cost/benefit as acceptable and continue to trade on eBay.

Passive avoidance behaviour in terms of customer support smacks of an enterprise where there are too many suits on the board pulling hefty management fees and too few grubby fingers on the shop floor carrying the weight.

Dismissive and avoidance behaviours are sometimes harbingers of the demise of an enterprise that has been stripped too lean and is in danger of collapse when confronted by a crisis.

Don't get me wrong on this. Ebay has provided me with a mostly fault-free service. One vendor legged me over some time ago and got away. The jury remains out on the current vendor.

For myself, the balance of convenience is beginning to fall very quickly in favour of doing business outside of ebay and soliciting the vendors to match by discount, the bank fees which are normally paid for by the buyer wiring the money versus the vendor swallowing the cost via paypal levies and listing fees of an eBay/PayPal transaction.

The basic lesson to be learned from this is that the moment, however innocent, a transaction appears likely to drift outside of the automated "template", kill the deal, run like a redshank and buy the product from another vendor.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 9th, 2014 at 06:42 AM. Reason: error
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Old January 9th, 2014, 08:20 AM   #7
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Hey Bob,

I know the feeling. I have the same tyranny of distance as you. I have had overall very good experiences with my Ebay purchases. I have not really suffered the GSP yet. The Pitney Bowes group is a business with its fingers in a lot of pies. The are represented in Australia and I think even have an office in Perth, with their geographical information systems (GIS) software called MapInfo.

This whole world wide purchase of gear is a bit of a worry for everyone, and I have spoken with Chris Hurd briefly about this via email, to see if DVinfo can be associated with a few more local sponsors for its benefit and ours. I have no special knowledge of these arrangements or their progress, but perhaps we can give Chris a nudge (nudge).
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Old January 9th, 2014, 11:48 AM   #8
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

A furthur little update on this adventure.


I observed some inconsistencies in the way eBay was displaying information which has apparently hung and had not updated since November 2013. This indicated something was awry somewhere so I girded the loins for battle and began the access campaign again.

The interaction this time could not have been more the polar opposite. There were inmediate on-line means of access which had not emerged before.

I was referred to an operator who was totally on the ball, competent, examined lines of enquiry, noted suggestions, navigated the whole site without difficulty and set certain investigative actions in train.

This event does not have effect on outcomes. Monday will see how that pans out. If all the chopsticks fall in place, the proposed statement of claim posted here will be removed.

Whether or not dictating my proposed statement of claim for relief under Australian law to two different monitor recordings, sending it on two occasions via feedback and publishing it on several web forums had any influence, I do not know.

Whether or not I was flagged as a troublesome old git who needed to be headed off at the pass, I do not know. It is probably a height of conceit for me to believe so.


As for our local vendors, more than a few have cruelled things for themselves by maintaining no local inventory but adopting that dreadful Japanese "just-in-time" service model sans just-in-time, ordering in from offshore from the same sources as one can so do for oneself in a shorter timeframe and with no less quality assurance. When something comes in from Singapore via Perth or Darwin to Sydney then comes back to Perth, something has to be cockeyed somewhere. A repack of the original unopened carton and new wrapper before shipping from Sydney or Brisbane does not for me a pre-delivery service by local dealership constitute. - Don't get me started on the "Australia Tax".

That is the nickname for the practice of outfits like Microsoft and Adobe to geo-block and charge a much higher price for product than could be justified by GST and local costs, especially when the product was being downloaded on line likely from the same servers. That sort of smoke and mirrors trickery falls within the same separate definitions of wilful misleading and unconscionable conduct under Australian law as I suggested relating to Ebay/PayPal/Pitney Bowes. Adobe went the Creative Cloud route around about the time our authorities had a little chat.

My vague recall of Pitney Bowes here was that it was some sort of stationery wholesale outfit but my powers of recollection are not now what they once were. Maybe I am thinking of Boise Cascade.

Like Jumbomall.com which morphed out of Longreach Metals via a succession of iterations including Alan Bond, I guess Pitney Bowes may have evolved with the times it found itself in to pursue middle-manning like Serco and Group4.

Tim. If ever you want to put a Mini35-400 on your JVC HD110 for a task, Steve Rice and myself both still have the JVC kits.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 9th, 2014 at 12:26 PM. Reason: error
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Old January 9th, 2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

@ Bob -

Pitney Bowes used to be electronic cash registers here in the States, IIRC... they now are in electronic payment processing and related activities - they show up at several points in the ebay/PayPal system, usually related to paying for and printing the postage...

It sounds from your description that they are also part of the GSP "system"... I've not understood why ANY seller would want yet another party "handling" any part of the transaction - I far prefer to handle international shipments myself, and use USPS with tracking. Yes, it's expensive, but for many international transactions, you HAVE to have that added security, otherwise things just "disappear".

In some cases it offsets crazy "local policies" that make the local citizenry pay huge prices, others it doesn't. I work with international buyers on a case by case basis, and with the increases in chipping costs, I don't do as many as I used to.

Ebay is a "big corporate entity", they used to claim themselves a "venue" for facilitating the interaction of sellers and buyers... now they micromanage virtually EVERY part of the transaction through policies and "services" like GSP (and insurance that is ALWAYS more expensive than USPS/UPS/FedEx charge!!). Some of the CS is outsourced, so the CS rep you get depends on when you call, and as is well discussed on their discussion boards, you can and often do get a different answer every time you call!

I'd imagine it is worse for international members, but you may want to observe the time you call and try to get a US rep - they aren't perfect either, but tend to be a little better and know the system a bit better.

I can tell you that you let the 45 day window pass, NEVER let that happen, shoot first (file a dispute before that time is up) and ask questions while protected by that part of the system. You can ALWAYS cancel or close the dispute if things resolve, but if you don't have it opened before the 45 day window closes, you're possibly out of luck unless you can have a bank or card do a chargeback/reversal. IF you use the dispute system they have in place, you should NEVER lose. This is just for future reference.

I still suggest you contact the vendor directly (presuming they are still selling on ebay, use the messaging system) - if they got the item back, they should refund and take up the issue with ebay about their GSP system, which again is highly likely to be a flawed mess... my experience with ebays' "brilliant" ideas is most are highly flawed and detrimental to both buyer and seller at least initially when rolled out. Sometimes they get the bugs out eventually, but they now run OTF (on the fly or as I call it "OH, That's F'd") programming, so something is ALWAYS broken anymore. It's not really fun for sellers, and most vendors should be sympathetic to your plight if you can make contact with them!
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Old January 9th, 2014, 03:38 PM   #10
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Bob - I feel your pain. And frankly, I wouldn't bother to delete your post unless some lawyer starts to make life miserable. We need to hear what problems others have gone through in order to make "business decisions" when we buy things on-line.

Not too long ago I had a, shall we say, "experience" ...., with buying replacement batteries for our old cell phones (handys in Europe, don't know what they call 'em "down under"). The Motorola batteries from Motorola were somewhere around $50 each, then (on Amazon or eBay) there were cheap batteries (described as "exact replacement") for just a few bucks with not very good user review comments and others selling up to around, say, $25, described as "OEM" with pictures of the packaging looking exactly like the OEM packaging.

Rather than take a chance with an "aftermarket" battery I bit the bullet and went with the OEM version for ~ $25 and paid with PayPal. When the package arrived (ordered two batteries) they were in "generic" packaging, not the OEM packaging. Okay, .... So I contacted PayPal and sent them a copy of my screen print (this is the VERY IMPORTANT PART) then a few hours later the PayPal guy called me back and said my charge has been canceled, or words to that effect, and I didn't even have to return them.

As it turned out, the batteries wouldn't hold a charge and, in fact, were actually worse than our really old batteries we were trying to replace.

The message I would like to pass along is, if you have any concerns at all about the seller, take screen prints or save the web page(s). Put all the files into a folder for future reference until everything is "said and done" and everything is as it should be.

With regard to multinational companies, the CEOs work off of salaries and bonuses, generally tied to the stock price. Investors want to see a return on their investment, read: "Maximize profit". In a way you're lucky that Australia has laws to help you out. Here, we probably have to sue them in some court a couple thousand miles away and in a certain manner that would cost a fortune to seek "being made whole" again.

Take screen shots, save those emails and web pages. Document phone calls.

If that isn't enough, then there are the Chinese counterfeit and grey-market goods out there. Not to mention the fly-by-night crooked resellers.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 10:05 PM   #11
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

John.


Thanks for your observation. Yes the 45 days timed out, however this was due to the system blocking me from taking the action.

It was one of the points of my case that I put to eBay customer service. They kept trying to assert the template of rote answers.

I have a folder of screen grabs which I was reading from but it was a merry dance that went on from 7-15am local to 9-33am local with two abandonments by means of the "I'll transfer you to the right person to help you" device. How the scrfeen grabs would hold up in a court is moot. As with all computer imaging, it can be subsequently manipulated.

As for statutory protections in Australia. I understand, maybe wrongly, that they mirror your own, It would cost an arm and a leg to duke it out in a court. I doubt any court would injunct this big outfit's eBay AU operation over a US$99-00 battery plate. More likely it would instead dismiss a vexatious litigation argument but find in favour of a natural justice argument that cites the injury to be suffered by other Australian buyers and sellers.

Even more likely, both parties would get a metaphorical smack over the ears and be ordered to mediation.

There have been a few landmark cases of US corporate bullies trying it on against tadpoles and coming off second-best in Australian courts. The little Aussie battler is a powerful symbol here and gains popular support against bulldozer tactics.

There's nothing quite like witnessing the eyes open wide and the sudden scramble by the troops on the other side of the bar table when the lone little self-representing litigant happens to get a lucky hit in and the case is no longer the pushover it was thought to be.


The battery set. That sounds like "re-furbished" new not "new" new. There was an urban legend a while back that some players in Beloved Chairman's homeland were taking apart junked battery packs, metering cells to select the good ones, re-packing them in new shrink and sending "new" pigs to market.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 9th, 2014 at 10:26 PM. Reason: error
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Old January 9th, 2014, 11:09 PM   #12
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Bob,

Remember "It's the vibe." So sit back and "check out the serenity"!

(For all the non-Aussies, quotes from 'The Castle')
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Old January 9th, 2014, 11:38 PM   #13
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Bob -

AHHH, I see, they wouldn't let you OPEN a case because of the way the seller set up the shipping time? That would be one of those "loopholes" in the wonderful system they have designed to be foolproof (and it isn't... as you've discovered). I would focus on THAT little nugget and express your lack of confidence in their "buyer protection" - they tend to be quite protective of that program, and you might be allowed to open a case past the 45 days. Some exceptions have been rumored to have been granted.

And you can try to open a PAYPAL dispute rather than an eBay one, perhaps with a little more flexibility - worth exploring anyway, and they might be sympathetic to the time out on an ebay dispute effectively preventing you from protecting yourself. PayPal might be interested in protecting their reputation as a "safe" payment method. If not, have the bank do a chargeback if at all possible, those are typically granted in a wronged buyers favor.

I'm guessing that the seller is not responding to you at all? Usually that's the place to get things resolved, but sometimes you get a stinker. And having an overly long ship time quoted is a red flag to me.


As far as worrying about what you've put up here, I can tell you there's FAR worse every day on their own forum discussion boards, it's spit in the ocean to them. But the proverbial squeaky wheel sometimes gets the correct results, with persistence. They can pay you that $100 and never miss it, they'll just raise seller fees some more!

Then again I was just on the phone with PP, and even the manager I reached was complaining about some of their recent "customer unfriendly" changes... Because of one I'm trying to get "fixed", that they used to be able to resolve but now can't, I just asked two sellers to cancel high ticket purchases as I don't trust PP to handle things competently at the moment... the current issues are a "strike 3" for me, but there's not a good alternative! SO I will adjust my buying practices accordingly and use PP begrudgingly until I see they figure out they shot their own toes off!



As far as buying batteries and memory on ebay... the ONLY thing I can say is "buyer beware" (more correctly DO NOT DO IT!!!) - the odds of getting a fake, knockoff, or counterfeit are quite possibly as high as 99% in some categories! Most anything in those categories at a cheap price from HK/China is 150% risky by the time you add the grief of sorting it out when you get a fake!

That isn't to say you can't find some great Chinese sellers and some product you won't find elsewhere, and of course cheap prices... but you have to learn what is safe, and how to sort out the sketchy sellers!! That is tricky business! A good rule is not to EVER buy a battery or memory card/stick/USB device from HK/China sellers!

Hang in there, I'll only say that ebay isn't what it used to be, and it's a darn shame!
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Old January 10th, 2014, 04:39 AM   #14
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Dave.


Ebay and paypal closed ranks on the 45day limit extension. I harped on about ex-gratia payments, exceptional circumstance being likely to be in part of the corporate rules, that whether things happen or not reflects the will to make them happen.

I moved the discussion to discretionary decisions further up the food chain and requested somebody higher up but they would not budge on that one and quoted non-specifically some US law that mandates the 45 days with no exception.

The vendor, except for the initial error which set the whole thing off, seems also a victim in this according to all the info I have been able to glean. I gave him five positive stars in each feedback category.

Chances are the return of goods disclosure very late in the piece was a device to make me satisfied and go away. I was applying some therapeutic stress over the phone at the time, not rage but the measured menace of the patient man making promises of legal consequences.

The tracking number may have been good and incorrectly read to me or bogus. In separate enquiry with Pitney Bowes no one coughed to the item being sent back and the vendor claims to have received no paperwork as well.

Ebay are now feedback-surveying the CSO who made that disclosure, so I have taken another opportunity to have a go at their system in the questionnaire rather than take down the messenger.

I have been fairly benign with the vendor, telegraphed my punches and only lodged a negative feedback when paypal dispute locked me out before the expiration but the clock was ticking. The vendor had sent the goods very quickly and all other aspects were good.

I defined the fault being eBay/Paypal's systemic problem in the feedback field and they restored his feedback score by converting the negative into a grey neutral after he got onto them.

The vendor responded to me, was quite cross and had a go at me for not paying for the onward shipping and not using the dispute process - seemed to have ignored the previous info from me that the system would not let me do it.

My last response was a little less friendly as a result, along the lines of grow up, stop blaming and it being on him for not running his business properly and getting it wrong in the first place by not maintaining his paypal account info ( wrong email ).

He is really going to be vexed when the much more savvy CSO I ended up with last time, opens among other things, an investigation into possible internal opportunistic fraud/theft in the Pitney Bowes camp. She or a delegate may examine him a little more closely to make sure he is in the clear before she throwing the internal staff around the room.

She sounded like ex-cop or retired investigator, very assured, knew her stuff, navigated eBay quickly, mentally fast on her feet. Then again she might just be a retired soccer mum. It might go all quiet but might also get interesting again soon.

I take no pleasure in this but my lot have not been fond of being taken down by sharks either. My auntie who ran a shop, used to read the hatched, matched and despatched column in the paper and without fail, years later lodge a debtor claim on the estate of anyone deceased who had done them down for an amount that did not justify the expense of debtor's recovery action.

My grandfather closed his longstanding bank account simply because the bank manager was cheeky enough to ask him if he really knew what was in it. As a great War vet, he hated banks who were then perceived correctly or not as having been complicit in the prosecution of that war.

So I guess its in the genes. I have carried on a bit long with this one. time to let it rest in peace.


Tim.

Aaah "The Castle" and Section 70 of the then Trade Practices Act. - Lawyers sometimes reference "the vibe" among themselves in jest after some less competent advocate makes a hash of things. "The Dish" was also a sweet film of Sitch and the others.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 10th, 2014 at 04:46 AM. Reason: error
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Old January 10th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #15
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Re: Unresolvable Ebay, Pitney Bowes, Paypal GSP hiccup.

Someone noted a year or so ago here on this forum, Ebay has made sellers' life a lot harder... translation: buyer experience has improved a lot at least for us here in the States. That's good news since most of us are buyers. Sorry to hear it does not work the same way for international buyers.

As a general rule, when dealing with customer service, do not assume whatever they tell you is their internal policy. CSRs have quite a bit of room to make their own decisions. For example I was trying to change an international plane ticket to a different date a while back and the first two CSRs told me it can't be done. I persisted, called the third time - lo and behold, this third person said: no problem... ticket changed in three minutes.

So keep persevering; I know it's frustrating, but in the end I am sure it will be solved in your favor.

Good luck!
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