2WTK Call For Action Talks Rules For Buying Cars on Ebay

6:26 PM, Dec 9, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, NC -- You may have your own driving style, but we all are held to the same driving rules-- speed limits, rights of way. The rules are there to keep us safe. In much the same way, eBay has some rules in place to protect you when you buy and sell vehicles on its site. One eBay buyer contacted Call for Action, hoping his story about breaking the rules will protect you.

"I would describe it as being nothing more than scrap metal which I was charged full price for by the seller," says Scott Hermann.

He's describing the second van that he got from a seller on eBay. The first one lost power while Scott was driving south on I-95 just a few hours after he bought it. Scott says, "All the lights come on and the vehicle completely dies on me and it's a little bit of a frightening situation. Luckily nobody else was next to me in either of the lanes, and I was able to get the car off to the side of the road."

Scott says this 2nd van has mechanical issues too. And get this - the seller said van #2 is a 2005 with one owner. But paperwork shows it's a 2004 with two owners.

eBay offers its free Vehicle Purchase Protection program known as the VPP. But Scott's purchase isn't protected because he broke the rules when he agreed to take van #2. An eBay customer service rep told Scott -

  • First he needed written permission from the VPP administrator to return van #1.
  • Second, eBay said the swap was done between Scott and the seller so van #2 was not purchased on eBay and therefore not covered by VPP.

Scott's only recourse - going back to the seller to try to get his $4700 back. "This man and this business have attempted to essentially disappear off the map." 

So a couple of lessons here:

  • Follow the rules of the program.
  •  But also follow the best practices for buying a used car. Have it inspected before you buy it. Scott could have at least van #2 because the seller drove it down here.
  • Get the VIN number and run a Carfax report before the swap. If Scott had, he would've seen that is was 2004 instead of a 2005.

We're going to give Scott's case to our sister Call for Action station in DC to see if they can help Scott get his money back. 


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