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BUYER TIPS 101: "What if I don't get my order?" Options
The_Valiant_One
Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:44:13 AM

Rank: Administration
Groups: CCL Feature Crew, Forum Admin, Guru, Member, Super Seller

Shop at My Store

Joined: 6/7/2007
Posts: 4,828
Points: 127,363
Hey CCL-ers! We have hundreds of transactions through the Comic Collector Live system from different sellers each week. While the majority of them go off without a hitch, there's always the possibility of a transaction going off-track. I've worked with CCL for the last 6 years and have completed thousands of online transactions on both CCL as well as other websites. I'm also a CCL SUPER SELLER. I thought I'd give buyers a little information concerning what to do when an order they place on CCL through PAYPAL doesn't go as planned OR doesn't go at all:

STEP #1) COMMUNICATE WITH THE SELLER: CCL wants buyers and sellers to have excellent communication between them through the purchasing process...before, during and after the sale if necessary. I still get calls every now and then from buyers who make purchases but don't realize we have a messaging system. You can hit the "PM" button on a user's post or profile to take you to direct communication with them. CCL believes successful sellers will communicate with any potential buyer and MUST communicate with committed buyers for CCL orders. Make sure you are referencing your ORDER NUMBER with all correspondence.

STEP #2) KEEP CALM and GIVE IT A LITTLE TIME: Some buyers get antsy when they don't hear back from a seller in a timely fashion...and rightly so. It doesn't give them confidence in their purchase(s) if the seller won't reach out and communicate about a purchase...so please make sure you're responding to messages concerning an order. On the flip side, it's my experience that buyers should wait an ample amount of time before asking that dreaded question "Where's my book?" It's a rule of thumb that I give any seller 10-14 days before I start asking that question. Asking where your book is after 3 days isn't unreasonable, but you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. When buying online, keep reasonable expectations for receiving your item. Make sure you review the store's shipping options before you buy to make sure you haven't chosen a shipping option that gets you your book in 6 weeks just to save a buck.

STEP #3) IF STEPS #1 and #2 FAIL, CONTACT CCL: Let's say you've waited 12 days for your item and you've sent a couple messages to the seller asking where your item is with no response. This is something we need to know about. It could be as simple as the Seller hasn't been checking messages OR something has happened to the Seller. Either way, we need to reach out and find out what's going on. The BEST way to do this is via phone at 615-264-4747 and ask to speak to someone at CCL OR you can e-mail me: steve@golocomedia.com. We will personally reach out to the Seller and ask what's going on. We generally give sellers 24-48 hours to respond back to your messages. If after the 48 hours lapses, you hear nothing...we request you let us know again. Generally, this is as far as almost all problem transactions go. But sometimes, you might need to go further...

STEP #4) FILE A PAYPAL CLAIM: This is the nuclear option you can pull the trigger on before or after we get involved, but once you file a PAYPAL claim, CCL generally doesn't get involved. Now it's strictly burden of proof (like court) as to if you paid for something you did or didn't get. According to PAYPAL, "All claims must be filed within 45 days of the transaction or the claim will be denied." You can find where to start out if this happens to you by clicking here.

STEP #5) KEEP US IN THE LOOP: If you file a PAYPAL claim, while CCL can't really do anything from a service standpoint, we DO want to know what's happening. If Paypal finds in your favor, we need to know this to keep our sellers accountable to any further future problems that arise. SELLERS WHO HAVE PAYPAL CLAIM(S) FILED AGAINST THEM ARE SUBJECT TO CCL SCRUTINY AND DISCIPLINE.




Things To Remember:

- Before taking your complaints to the CCL Forums, please talk to us first. It makes our job more difficult if we have to read a thread before dealing with your situation directly. Making a situation public can work for you or against you.

- BUYERS: Make sure you review each seller's SHIPPING OPTIONS before ordering to ensure you have a reasonable timeframe to go by. SELLERS: Make sure you have communicated clearly an idea of your shipping options. COMMUNICATION IS KEY.

- Don't leave feedback for your purchase until the resolution to the situation.

- CCL cannot give you a refund on an order placed with a seller, however, I have sent out "courtesy variants" as a way of keeping a customer happy and acknowledging the problem. I will begin charging sellers $50 for each "courtesy variant" I have to mail to a buyer on your behalf.


Ok, I'm kidding on the $50 thing...but don't test it ;)


To close, I want to say this: there are going to be problem orders. However, you never hear much about the awesome orders that take place because that's how they SHOULD go. Following these steps can help make resolution a little easier and smoother should a problem arise.

I'm leaving this open for comments and suggestions, but please keep opinions to a minimum. This is a thread designed to HELP not HURT.

lbej
Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013 7:54:07 AM

Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Moderator, Subscriber

Joined: 6/7/2009
Posts: 321
Points: 963
Location: North Carolina
Most misunderstandings between buyers and sellers are just that—misunderstandings—and patient, courteous communication will produce the best outcome for both parties. But the fact remains that there are a handful of dishonest people who try to prey on collectors, and not even strong communities like CCL are immune. Buyers should follow the Valiant One’s above recommendations. However, the nuclear option—a Paypal dispute—isn’t the last recourse for victims of a dishonest seller. If mediation fails and the Paypal window is closed, a victim can file a mail fraud claim with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. If you have paid for items through this website or any other website and the seller did not deliver what you paid for, you may be a victim of mail fraud.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigates claims of mail fraud. The following is the link to the USPIS site:

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/mailfraud/mailfraud.aspx

To save you the click-through, these following four paragraphs are what the front page tells visitors:

U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail is used to further a scheme--whether it originated in the mail, by telephone, or on the Internet. The use of the U.S. Mail is what makes it mail fraud.

If evidence of a postal violation exists, Postal Inspectors may seek prosecutive or administrative action against the violator. However, if money is lost through a fraudulent scheme conducted via the mail, Postal Inspectors lack the authority to ensure you receive a refund and can't require that products, services, or advertisements--on the Internet or elsewhere--be altered.

Postal Inspectors base investigations of mail fraud on the number, pattern, and substance of complaints received from the public. The Postal Inspection Service will carefully review the information you provide. We may share the information with other agencies when there is a possible violation within their jurisdiction.

If you feel you've been victimized in a fraud scheme that involves the U.S. Mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.


That’s the boilerplate—it’s simple, but also subject to interpretation (and misinterpretation). That’s why I’d like to expand on each of the paragraphs—briefly—based on my experience with the process. Please understand that I am not a lawyer and I am not speaking on behalf of the USPS or any other government agency.

Paragraph 1: U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail is used to further a scheme--whether it originated in the mail, by telephone, or on the Internet. The use of the U.S. Mail is what makes it mail fraud.

Con artists rely on the perceived integrity of the U.S. Mail to make their schemes appear more credible to potential victims. They ‘use’ the U.S. Mail as part of the con, and this is the sense in which victims need to understand the word ‘use’. When a con artist convinces his victims to give him money by promising to deliver goods to them through the mail, he’s committing mail fraud, whether he visits a post office or a drop-box or not.

Paragraph 2: If evidence of a postal violation exists, Postal Inspectors may seek prosecutive or administrative action against the violator. However, if money is lost through a fraudulent scheme conducted via the mail, Postal Inspectors lack the authority to ensure you receive a refund and can't require that products, services, or advertisements--on the Internet or elsewhere--be altered.

This is a critical point: the USPS does not guarantee that victims of fraud will recover the money they lost, even if the final result is a criminal conviction. Filing a mail fraud claim is not a continuation of or a substitute for filing a Paypal claim. When you file a Paypal claim, you are opening a civil dispute which will be arbitrated by Paypal under the terms of Paypal’s service agreement. When you file a mail fraud claim, you are reporting a crime. The threat of criminal prosecution may motivate a dishonest seller to make good on a sale, but there is no guarantee of that. Again, a claim of mail fraud should be filed only when the buyer believes that all other options have been exhausted.

Paragraph 3: Postal Inspectors base investigations of mail fraud on the number, pattern, and substance of complaints received from the public. The Postal Inspection Service will carefully review the information you provide. We may share the information with other agencies when there is a possible violation within their jurisdiction.

Buyers should not have the expectation that one claim will trigger a criminal investigation, let alone result in prosecution. This is the era of budget cuts, and the USPS does not have the resources to investigate every reported incident. This is not a reason to sit on your hands if you believe you’re a victim of fraud—in fact, this is precisely why it’s so important to act. The USPS logs fraud claims into a database—I can personally attest to this—so that postal inspectors can identify patterns and accumulate evidence. They won’t launch an investigation unless they have multiple claims against an individual or business.
If a seller defrauds 20 buyers, and each individual victim puts off filing a claim because he knows one claim won’t trigger an investigation, the fraudulent seller wins. Every victim has to do his or her part and file a claim. If the process of filing a mail fraud claim was difficult, it might not be worth the time and effort. Fortunately, it’s not hard at all.

Paragraph 4: If you feel you've been victimized in a fraud scheme that involves the U.S. Mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

This form took me five minutes to fill out, and I received a confirmation email and a claim reference number from the USPS the following day. This is the link:

http://ehome.uspis.gov/fcsexternal/default.aspx

Because the form is designed to cover all of the wide range of mail fraud schemes, there are several fields that don’t apply to a claim resulting from a fraudulent sale of goods. All the information entered must be accurate, of course, but you don’t have to be a lawyer or know exactly how to answer each question to submit a claim. The point is to get information about a fraudulent seller into the USPS database so that he can eventually be brought to justice and further damage to the community can be prevented.

Additional points:
A promise of ‘free shipping’ does nothing to absolve a fraudulent seller of guilt. If an invoice is fraudulent, it makes no difference whether a shipping surcharge is broken out from the cost of the goods purchased or if the shipping charge is included in the cost of the goods purchased (that’s what ‘free shipping’ is). If money was paid and the items paid for were not received, fraud was committed, and a promise of ‘free shipping’ has no legal impact.

The statue of limitations for prosecution of mail fraud is five years. The 45-day Paypal window does not prevent victims from filing a claim of mail fraud.


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