It was one of those moments that a collector dreams about...........
I was browsing through eBay late one Sunday evening when I stumbled across a listing that said :
'INFOCOM " SUSPENDED " COMPUTER GAME 1983 5.25'
I clicked on the listing and noted the "Buy It Now" price of $5.00. Oh well, I thought, this won't be up to much.
Imagine my surprise when the following picture greeted me :
That's right, a genuine Suspended mask for only $5.00.................
I couldn't hit the keys fast enough! A couple of clicks of the mouse and it was mine! OR SO I THOUGHT.......
What followed annoys me and has soured for me the whole eBay experience. I've made many friends through trades on eBay, met people like Chris Forman, TomMage and Marco Thorek who have gone out of their way to be helpful and it's all been ruined by one person. He trades under the name retiredcouple.
Let me give you a clue as to the timescales of all this :
11th Feb : Auction ends with Buy It Now
11th Feb : I e-mail buyer
11th Feb : Seller e-mails back - (All going great so far isn't it!)
15th Feb : Seller mails me and tells me that the shipping cost is $34 and not to worry about it. Alarm bells start ringing....I've bought a lot of games from the US & Canada and I know that the cost of shipping is at most $13 for a game of this size and weight. Do you think that possibly another buyer from e-bay has mailed him and said "Don't sell it to that guy, I'll give you 50 bucks for it?"
15th Feb : I reply saying "No problem, happy to pay". After all $39 for a Suspended Mask? Bargain!
18th Feb : I've heard nothing, so another e-mail goes off. A reply comes back saying "My husbands away at the moment, I'm just answering e-mails for him". Funny that she'd be listing auctions that day as well......
25th February : I drop them an e-mail saying "Is everything OK, and are you still selling me this game?"
27th February : Success. I get an address to send the money to. They want cash of course... What else did I expect
28th February : Money goes off to Canada by International Recorded Delivery...I'm taking no chances on this one!
7th March : Heard nothing, so I drop them a mail....Well, bugger me, if the money has only arrived (e-mail confirming this!!). retiredcouple confirms that game is going out in the post tomorrow (average shipping time from Canada is usually 5 working days)
26th March : Getting a bit worried, as game hasn't arrived. Drop them an e-mail asking after the games whereabouts and also for the shipping reference? Surely they must have got a shipping reference for $34???? No bloody reply.
3rd April : Sent an e-mail asking them for the shipping reference. No reply.
17th April : Get fed up waiting for a reply and leave negative feedback. Well, F**k me if an e-mail doesn't arrive from retiredcouple saying "
So did it finally get there?
Please note the incredible grasp of spelling and communication are his, not mine...
Reply back saying no and can I have the shipping reference? No reply.
20th April : E-mail from retiredcouple saying
"Damn! I looked at my feedback after I sent you the e-mail and you hit me with a Negative!"
Well, what did you expect? A hearty thanks for stiffing me?
27th April : Another e-mail from that wonderful conversationalist retiredcouple "why did you leave me a negative!"
28th April : My reply -
I am sorry that it came to me leaving negative feedback for you. In over 200 ebay transactions, I have never felt the need to until now! I feel that I have been patient, and I do recall you saying that your job took you away at a moments notice. However, I e-mailed you on the following dates :
26th March 2001
3rd April 2001
and did not receive a reply until 19th April by which time I had just posted the negative feedback. As I said earlier, I have never been compelled to leave negative feedback until now.
I have also asked on 3 separate occasions for the shipping reference so that I can ask the postal services to trace my parcel. If you would provide this for me, we can sort this confusion out. I feel sure that for a postal charge of $34 you must have got a shipping reference!
If you could also confirm the date on which you posted the item, it would be appreciated. I'll then e-mail the Postal services with both items of information so that they can begin the search.
3rd May : An e-mail from retiredcouple
"Well the thing finally came back but I have already put your $40 in the mail, part of the label got peeled off somehow making it hard to read and determine where to deliver it. Oh well"
So let's get this straight. The label with my address came off and was unreadable, but yours was ok. And it all happened in the last couple of days. BULLSHIT. Complete and total Bullshit. You're lying.
3rd May : I reply saying "That's fine. I'll send you the $40 back again as soon as it arrives."
4th May : A reply from retiredcouple
"No, that is OK, let's just forget this one, I don't have time to even answer e-mails lately"
4th May : I reply back :
"I don't want to forget it. I won the auction, I paid your price and I've already sent the money again this morning.
You are bound by the ebay contract to sell me the item. Would there be any particular reason that you don't want to sell me the item?"
5th May : At last, the truth! An e-mail from retiredcouple
"Yeah, the reason is I am really ticked off about the Negative!"
8th May : After seeking advice from an experienced ebay Infocom Collector (I'll let you work out who it was....), I file a complaint with Square Trade. They're sort of the arbitration service of the Auction World. Let's see where this gets me.....
11th May : He's back. And he's not happy.
"I am afraid that until you update the Square Trade complaint with some sort of statement of "money has been refunded" I will not reply to it nor will I re-ship this package. If you want to work this out then I suggest that you update the complaint to reflect that I did refund your money.
11th May : Hoping that I might still get my hands on the package, I try to update the Square Trade complaint EVEN THOUGH THIS CHEAT HAD NOT SENT BACK THE MONEY. No joy, they won't let me update the file until retiredcouple has replied. I send the following e-mail to the seller :
"As you can see, I'm trying to update the case file, but cannot until you have responded. I'm anxious to settle this matter (as I'm sure that you are) and look forward to hearing from you."
14th May : He can smell more money on the horizon. Check out his reply :
"I don't understand, all you have to do is put a comment underneath the comment I put on there, something saying that you did in fact receive a refund. As it looks right now I am a person who just took your money.
Please update it, btw, did you send the $ for the game?"
15th May : I learn something new about ebay feedback. I'm apologetic!
I owe you an apology. I've just spent a while going through the ebay feedback forum, and found that I can add a follow-up comment, but cannot
retract the original. I'm happy to do this, but wonder if you would prefer that we wait for the Square Trade process to finish so that I can have the
Sorry for the misunderstanding!"
15th May : A response. It's looking hopeful (or so I thought!)
"well as it stands I look like a crook who just took your money! I would really appreciate an update to that. All this over a $5 item, I would have preferred to just give it away to you rather than this hassle"
17th May : Another reply to the same e-mail
"Did you send the $40? Are you going to update the feedback to reflect the truth that you were refunded?
Should I just re-list it and forget about it?
18th May : I reply :
"Sorry for the delay in replying - been away for work for a couple of days..
I'm going to update the comment today (although I haven't actually received the $40 yet). The money went out earlier this week, so should be with you sometime next week allowing for international postage delays.
Have you replied to the Square Trade message?
Please don't re-list the item. I'm sure we can sort this out."
23rd May: His response
I have not yet seen an update on the comment on eBay.
Are you sure you still want to buy it, let me know because I am having a garage sale this weekend and I might just put it with that stuff. The shipping is kind of high and perhaps you have changed your mind.
Let me know"
Let me get this straight. I've been e-mailing him for months and sending him money and now I've changed my mind? Tosser.
24th May: Now I'm getting pissed off......I drop him an e-mail
"Please do not add the game to your garage sale!
Don't worry, I've not changed my mind. Has the second lot of money not arrived yet? It was sent Royal Mail International Recorded (certificate number RR 8926 2488 5GB) so should be with you any day now. I'll give the post office a ring today to see where it's got to!
I haven't left the comment yet, as the $40 that you have sent me hasn't arrived yet. Can you let me know when you posted it?
Did you respond to the Square Trade e-mail?"
25th May : Having confirmed with the British Post Office that the second lot of $40 had arrived in Toronto, I inform him of such and get this response. Does his response seem strange to you?
"Well, I don't think it is fair to bother sending this game since the least you could have done was post an update stating that we were working it out.
Can you please post some sort of update comment to reflect that we are working on it.
P.S. You sent the payment already?"
Have I sent the payment? Have I sent the payment? Read the bloody e-mails you cheating bastard! (Sorry for the profanity, but I'm getting angry just thinking about this now!)
25th May: I send the following e-mail :
"I'll leave a comment in the next ten minutes. Yes, the payment was sent last week by International Recorded Delivery (certificate number RR 8926 2488 5GB). Should be with you soon.
Hope the update will help." (Some bloody hope).
11 minutes later, I send him an e-mail confirming that a positive comment has been left.........THIS WAS MY BIGGEST MISTAKE.
It all goes quiet..............for a long time.....!
4th June : Having not heard anything for a while , I send the following :
"I haven't from you in a while. I was going to check with the PO if they payment had arrived yet. Has it?"
14th June : My worst fears are confirmed. The postman arrives early in the morning and has a item from Canada that we have to sign for....only it's not a box containing my auction win, it's my letter being returned. Addressee refused.
I send him an e-mail asking why. I get the following highly intelligent response. I swear that text below is exactly as per the e-mail.
"aah sold at the garagesle i got no time no more got arthritis and cant go on the compueter so much anymore, good luck there are probaly lots out there for 5 bucks for a cheap game you can play"
I now know that all is lost. So with nothing to lose, I ask him where my $40 is. No response
3rd July: I e-mail him again, asking where my original $40 is. He responds with "you didn't get it? ok, I will send it"
I haven't heard anything since.
The moral of the story is if you see an eBay auction by retiredcouple - Steer well clear. He cheated me. And if he doesn't like this web page about him.....well, tough. He can post his complaints to me. With his snail-mail posting ability, I'd never hear a thing.........
UPDATE 17th May 2002 - I see that they've changed their user ID on ebay to 'FormerGIJoe'. Be warned, I've been contacted by another ebay bidder who's been conned by them!!!
This many people have read my tale of woe since August 28th 2001.