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eBay refunds Australian jewelery supplier for "fake" gemstones
eBay refunds Australian jewelery supplier for "fake" gemstones


Jeweller wins fight with eBay seller

An Australian jewellery supplier says eBay should clean up its act and rid the popular website of misleading and disreputable jewellery sellers.

Late last year Jeweller reported on the plight of a Sydney-based jewellery supplier who purchased gemstones from a Thailand-based eBay seller only to discover the gems were synthetic when they were delivered.

Having been mislead, Gus Johnson, managing director Surfsands, quickly lodged a complaint with eBay and sought a full refund from PayPal, the third party secure payment facilitator through which he purchased the stones.

He was told it would take 21 days to investigate his complaint. 

The good news for Johnson is that he has received a full refund from PayPal.

What’s more, there was no demand from the eBay seller to have the gemstones returned to Thailand. Not that Johnson plans to use the stones.

Cautionary tale
Johnson admitted he had “more than sneaking suspicion” that the stones would not be as described when he collected them, as his successful bid was well below that which anyone with a knowledge of gem stones would expect to pay.

The product, described as being “3.66 carats, rarest gorgeous colour changed natural alexandrite VVS” was bought on 8 November 2012 for around $80 along with some other stones totalling $155.99.

But when they arrived … “I knew they were all fakes,” Johnson said, “but I wanted to go through the process to see what I would get after a friend of mine spent hundreds of dollars more and only got synthetics, too.”

Johnson said the stones were not even close to what had been described on eBay because the description itself was contradictory. So he contacted PayPal and began immediately the company’s dispute resolution process.

“PayPal advised me to contact the seller directly, which I did,” Johnson said, “but I got no reply. So I went back to PayPal within the agreed timeframe and followed its procedures.

Duraflex Group Australia

“Then, on 21 December, my account was credited the full amount. PayPal did a great job and I’m very happy with the result.”

Disreputable eBay sellers 
But Johnson still has two concerns.

“Obviously, the stones are not worth more than a few dollars because the seller didn’t even request their return,” he said.

“My other complaint is that I am very disappointed that eBay continues to allow these disreputable sellers to continue to use the site.”

Johnson believed that unsuspecting bidders, usually from the general public with no real knowledge of gemstones, were constantly being “tricked” into bidding for what they believe were real bargains.

“Bidders mightn’t know much about the stones but because the bidding starts at such a low amount [Johnson’s stones were listed at a starting price of $8] they get drawn in. When the bidding increases to, say, more than $50, they might think that someone who does know much more than them recognises that this is a bargain, too, and so they continue to escalate the price.”

He said that to his knowledge eBay had made no effort at all to stop the practice. In fact, Johnson said that as soon as one successful auction ended, an identical piece often appeared in the same place ready for the next unsuspecting buyer.

He suggested eBay should employ a suitably qualified person to scan jewellery items listed on its site and weed out the obvious unscrupulous traders.

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