BUSINESSMAN Mark Clutterbrook has spoken of his anger after he was caught out by a loophole on online auction site eBay.
The 41-year-old sold two bikes on the site, but when the buyer wanted to return them after changing his mind, eBay awarded the buyer both the bikes and the money.
Mr Clutterbrook sold them in July for £212 and the buyer contacted him and arranged a private courier to collect the bikes. But when the buyer said he wanted a refund as they were not as described, a return was set up, with Mr Clutterbrook agreeing to cover the postage under eBay’s returns policy. But nothing arrived.
When Mr Clutterbrook complained to eBay, it awarded the buyer both the bikes and the money, telling Mr Clutterbrook the decision was made as he had not attempted to pick up the bikes within a five-day window.
It said his return postage labels did not cover the cost of returning the bikes.
But he believes the buyer was using a fake address as when the bikes weren’t returned, Mr Clutterbrook went to the address to find the buyer didn’t live there, and no neighbours had heard of him. He contacted the buyer by phone who said he lived in Poland for half the year and the other half on Christmas Island, and the bikes had been sent by the courier to his address in Poland.
Mr Clutterbrook immediately told eBay which set up an investigation, but with no results.
A spokesman for eBay said: ‘Mr Clutterbrook was contacted by eBay and told he had five days to arrange for the collection of the items – in person, or by giving the buyer a full refund for return postage, or by providing a return label suitable for the items’ size and weight.
‘The £2.99 labels he refers to did not cover the items, and so he was not charged for them.
‘Once the five-day period expired, the buyer was refunded. Mr Clutterbrook will now need to work with the buyer to arrange a collection of the bikes.’
Speaking of his disappointment, Mr Clutterbrook said: ‘I run my business through eBay so I have to still use them, but it’s unfair how people are abusing the system.
‘There should be something done.’
Mr Clutterbrook, of Hewitt Road, Fareham, said he has been in contact with two other eBay users who had been involved in similar incidents with the same person.
‘I believe this guy is committing fraud and theft,’ he said.
‘This buyer has found a loophole to fraud people out of their items and money. It’s an absolute joke.’