This complaint is in regard to BargainLand, an Ebay retailer that is scamming thousands of people, including myself.

I have completed 150 different transactions between 5/7/05 and 6/21/05 by bidding on auctions this seller has on Ebay, spending a total of $2700. Half of the items I received were not as described, broken, ripped, not received or otherwise worthless and I am still awaiting (in vain) for refund/replacement.

This vendor is a liquidator, and they do warn buyers that the products they sell can come from many different venues: they could be customer returns, manufacture rejects or simply overstock merchandise.
They came up with a “star system” in which they are supposed to rate their merchandise between 1 and 5 stars, 1 being the lowest and 5 the best condition.

From reading customer feedback on Ebay I have learned that anything below 3 is pretty much junk, which is why all the items I purchased had rating of 4 (“like new”) or 5 stars (“in manufacture box”). Still, many of these items (50% to be exact) were definitely not as described. They describe their auctions “as is”, yet they fail to warn the customer about merchandise defects, defending themselves by saying that with over 10,000 auctions daily they can’t possibly test the merchandise accurately. Well then, I asked myself, what is the point of even giving a star rating if it’s not accurate?
Another deceiving tactic they use is to post a picture of the item from the manufacture’s professional photographer, but then selling an item in much worse condition than the one pictured.

The merchandise rating greatly determine how high the bids are going to be. If someone KNOWINGLY bids on a 2 star rating, they should know they’re taking a very high risk of receiving junk. However, when the merchandise has been described as “like new” and then is received completely smashed, one does not expect that, and certainly wouldn’t have bid so high.

This brings me to my next comment which is they claim insurance is optional and they’re not responsible for shipping damage, yet the insurance is not available upon check out unless the merchandise total (without the shipping) is more that $100. I would say 90% of their transactions are below that amount because they start at $.99, and therefore insurance is simply not offered. Trying to contact the seller to add this option is impossible, since they don’t answer their phone nor do they respond to e-mail (again, they justify that by saying “we sell 10,000 items per day, we don’t have time for customer service).
Several of the items I received (breakable Christmas ornaments) where carelessly thrown loose in a cardboard box without any kind of bubble paper, and were of course received broken in several pieces.
It occurred to me when I attempted to glue some of the pieces together that the broken pieces were not in the package. This indicates that the items where already broken when they left the warehouse, but sold “like new” or “in original manufacture box”. This had been confirmed by many other people, who have had similar experiences.

The shipping carriers they use alternate between DHL, UPS and FEDEX, probably to spread the amount of shipping claims on each individual carrier. Surprisingly the carriers haven’t figured out the scam, or maybe they just don’t care since they get so much business from BargainLand (who also has smaller facilities in Boca Raton, FL and Jackson Mississippi, and Germany).

It is obvious that BargainLand is an advantageous business to both Ebay and Paypal, which are normally known for standing behind their customers, but in the case of BargainLand they can’t/won’t help.

For example, for packages that are only partially received (meaning only some of the items arrived but not all that were paid for), neither Ebay nor Paypal won’t issue a partial refund, because some of the items were received.
Ebay protects up to $200 but the claim fee is $25. As a result thousands of transaction go unclaimed. It doesn’t matter that I cumulatively spent $2700, because every single transaction is considered individually.
I was therefore only able to claim but a few, and ripped off out of many.

As I mentioned earlier, contacting this merchant about a problem will result in either being ignored or receiving a non-human automated response. Under their “refund policies” posted on their site, in the event the customer receives a “damaged” or “wrong” item, the customer is supposed to contact BargainLand for a RMA number. If the package is just sent back to them without a RMA number, they’re entitled to charge a 30% restocking fee.
However, to receive such required RMA number is impossible, since this vendor has very bad communication or rather lack there of.

I have been requesting a RMA number in several emails, but they never responded. It is obviously more lucrative for them not to give a RMA number.

Of all the problems I have had with BargainLand, I am particularly livid about some 40 gold necklaces I purchased. I should mention here that their shipping is among the slowest ever seen (it can literally take months for the merchandise to arrive, when it does arrive at all!). One would expect to receive the merchandise much faster, considering their shipping charges are outrageous (ex. $8.95 for a DVD, or $30 for a package that measures 10 x 6 x 3 with a weight of 1 lb -rounded up-).
So with the shipping being so slow, it took a long time for the first necklaces order I placed to reach me. When the package arrived and I opened it, I noticed the necklaces were not marked, like gold is supposed to be. So I took them to a jeweler to verify the authenticity, and I was informed the necklaces were gold plated at best, but definitely not gold.

When I contacted the seller about it, after many automated responses, finally a human (who didn’t sign the e-mail with any specific name) read my comments and responded that in the description of the necklaces there were never karats nor weight indicated, and that it was meant to say gold COLOR. He/she also added that bidding starts at $1.
Too bad, that’s not what their auction says, it just said GOLD. On the negative feedback left by other members, I later realized many people had the same problem.
As a buyer on Ebay I can only rely on a picture, and entrust that the company is advertising what they say they are. There’s no need to be a jeweler to know that gold is supposed to be marked. I find it very hard to believe the person entering information in the Ebay auction description could have not know that.

My rebuttal to their last e-mail was that I didn’t pay $1, in fact I paid between $15 and $41 (average was $35 for each set of 5 gold-plated necklaces), and I kept complaining about how the description was not as described.
After many more e-mails someone wrote back that I could apply “bargain bucks” to my next purchase, but didn’t specify in what amount and how to go about doing so. I didn’t trust somebody without a name (never did this person told me who I was dealing with) stating something so vague, and besides I do not want to buy anymore junk from this company, I just want my money back and send back their junk jewelry.

As of today 6/26/05 the problem with the necklaces has not been solved. I also never received 3 items from 5/16, 5/17, and 6/4, which they charged me for.
As mentioned above, Paypal and Ebay don’t help because partial shipment, and BargainLand doesn’t respond to emails nor phone calls.

Some of the automated responses I’ve got included messages such as “will have warehouse manager look into it” or “replacement is on its way”. That was one month ago, and they never wrote back ever since.

It is a good thing I always made these purchases with a credit card, and will attempt next to contact my c/c company. I can only feel for all those other customers who paid by check or money order, as they will never get their money nor merchandise back.

Someone really ought to put a stop to this fraudulent seller. They are guilty of:
· Misrepresenting merchandise by posting picture of different item than the one sold
· Lying to the customer by failing to state items has a problem or is damaged
· Shipping out broken items and blame it on the shipping carrier
· Charging outrageous shipping costs (often times more than the merchandise itself) to avoid sales taxes as well as Ebay commissions (strictly against Ebay rule)
· Not offering shipping insurance unless item costs more than $100
· Careless packaging
· Refusing to offer refund/replacement
· Leaving negative feedback on Ebay whenever ripped-off customers leave negative for them (regardless if customer is right). In this regards there have been instances in which BargainLand was able to “zero” someone’s feedback score, meaning for example a person had a feedback score of 200, they will reduce that number to zero.
· Denying receiving e-mails from customers about problems with merchandise, even when such communication takes place though Ebay claims, in which each party is given 7 days to respond, and responses are monitored
· Leaving positive feedback for themselves to minimize the negative and maintain a positive feedback of 88%, still very low for Ebay standards.

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