A couple of weeks ago I was the winning bidder on an eBay auction for a mountain bike, because we wire heads need to get out, and I wanted a better solution than walking or driving to work.

Now, I’ve been wary of being schemed on eBay. It’s apparent that some individuals do not act in full faith when selling their goods. Some even don’t intend on actually paying the right amount when buying. But I placed my trust in the company and my ability to discern, against the warnings of my wife, who said I should just go buy a new bike down at the local dealer.

Unfortunately, my experience this time around has not gone so well. At this point, I am hoping that I do not get completely ripped off. However, PayPal and eBay’s policies are not too promising, from first glance.

Here’s the timeline so far:
Jul 27, 2006: I won the bid and sent off my payment via PayPal.

Jul 29, 2006 11:45 AM: The seller contacted me via email and told me that he would “be emailing you the conformation # later tonight.”

Jul 29, 2006 8:57 PM: I responded, “Great!” and told him how excited I was.

Jul 31, 2006 1:58 PM: I wrote a follow-up email asking for information on the tracking number, which hadn’t arrived yet.

Aug 2, 2006 1:49 PM: I inquired again about whether the bike had been shipped yet.

Aug 2, 2006 4:02 PM: Seller responded by apologizing for the delay. He provided me with a UPS shipping number and wrote that he was going to throw in a large helmet.

At this point, I checked the UPS tracking number and saw that the billing information had been received, but that the item had not yet been picked up.

Aug 3, 2006 1:25 PM: I replied thanking him for the info. Have I mentioned I have a large head?

Aug 6, 2006 3:01 PM: With the tracking number still in UPS’s system and the bike not yet shipped, I wrote again. This time, I mentioned that UPS was showing that the item had not yet been shipped and I wrote that I would like to know when he intended to ship the item.

Aug 7, 2006 7:03 PM: Growing ever more impatient, I wrote again, explaining that I was looking forward to riding bike the coming weekend.

Aug 8, 2006 8:31 AM: In a fourth consecutive email I wrote that if he was having problems, I understood, but that I was concerned.

Aug 9, 2006 10:28 AM: Completely frustrated, I wrote today that if the seller wanted to keep the bike, I would be happy with my money back, but that if neither the bike nor the money was sent by today, I would contact eBay and PayPal.

Then, this afternoon, I used eBay’s site to request the seller’s information. His cell phone was listed. I called him and said that I wanted to resolve the issue.