Problems buying bad goods on eBay Germany

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I purchased a wardrobe on eBay that was delivered to me by the seller this week. I paid cash on delivery. It came wrapped in plastic and I did not have an opportunity to inspect the wardrobe.

 

Right now it's sitting in the hallway of the apartment as we don't the infestation to spread.

 

What I did not realise is that it is infested with woodworm, there are ongoing sawdust deposits as I write.

 

This was not stated on the auction.

 

I wrote to the seller, who has stopped speaking her perfect English and told me no guarantee as it's private to private. 'Dies ist ein Privatverkauf und schliesst jegliche Reklamation und Rückgabe aus.'

 

When I think about what happened, wrapping it in plastic, saying she had to sit with her children in the car and generally avoiding giving us the opportunity to inspect the wardrobe I believe she sold it knowing it has this problem. There are hundreds of holes and it is very apparent.

 

But we must have a right to recourse as we have been sold an item which is not what it was described to be, private or not.

 

We have her contact details.

 

Do we have any rights?

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Absolutely. A private seller can refuse to warranty a product, which is what she did. However, that doesn't mean the product doesn't have to be as described. A subtle difference that is lost on a lot of ebay sellers, unfortunately. So yes, you're in the right. Question is, how to get your money back? I'd file a claim with ebay first and see what happens, but if that turns out to be fruitless you may have to lawyer up.

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If she knew that there was a problem with the wardrobe and deliberately didn't tell you, you can demand your money back on the grounds of fraudulent misrepresentation (Arglistige Täuschung, §123 BGB), even if the sale was private toprivate with no warranty.

But good luck proving that.

 

You will likely need to employ a lawyer and sue her. I wonder if it is worth it.

 

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer)

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@bal00: Thank you, I have opened a dispute. The dispute process on eBay has changed somewhat recently and it now involves sending an email to eBay or phoning them.

 

@flawed: Thank you as well. How much do you think a lawyer would cost for this sort of job? Is there any other legal articles I can quote. I am sure she thinks we are stupid foreigners who can be fobbed off with her spiel.

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I'm not a lawyer, (although I play one on TV) but the things that should be considered are 1) When purchasing wood products, you should always ask for the certificate of treatment for worms. 2) What you invested vs what a lawyer will cost you. Now you have to deal with how to get rid of this infested piece of shit. But on a positive side, pull them little buggers out and take a fishing trip. Good luck.

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You can argue your case with the seller and ebay until your blue in the face, it most likely won't get you anywhere.

A private Auction on ebay comes with No guarantee (Unless otherwise stated). So why don't you save yourself the

time and hassle and go down to your local Baumart and but some woodworm killer and a paint brush.. All you woodworm

problems will be sorted out in 24hrs.

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The major question here is how much did it cost you?

 

If it is more than you can afford to lose then more fool you for buying with no security.

 

Sounds a bit harsh I know but thats life.

As DN says it is a bit of second (at least) hand wood so just buy some anti woodworm treatment for 20 euros or so and remember to ask the right questions next time.

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What price range are you talking about - a couple of hundred Euro, or thousands?

Is the wardrobe modern or antique?

What was the precise wording of the description?

Was any remark made about the condition either by you or the seller? If yes, was there an adult witness to the conversation?

Did any action of the seller prevent you from inspecting the item when delivered?

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Response to Heathclyffe:

The wardrobe was 500 euros.

It is "Jugenstill" antique

The description was vague, just saying the color,working locks et.c but did not state any problems. I assumed there were no problems to be stated.

THe seller did prevent me from inspecting the items delivery. She went to sit in the car as the wardrobe was being brought. It was wrapped in plastic so I could not see anything. They rushed through it very quickly and acted like they were in one big hurry as they needed to go. I was very naieve as I thought they would be more honest.

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Tell her that you have legal insurance and that you are planning on suing her. Maybe she'll make a deal to pay for your de-worming agent.

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Response to Heathclyffe:

The wardrobe was 500 euros.

It is "Jugenstill" antique

The description was vague, just saying the color,working locks et.c but did not state any problems. I assumed there were no problems to be stated.

THe seller did prevent me from inspecting the items delivery. She went to sit in the car as the wardrobe was being brought. It was wrapped in plastic so I could not see anything. They rushed through it very quickly and acted like they were in one big hurry as they needed to go. I was very naieve as I thought they would be more honest.

Fortunately for me, I've not [yet] had a problem with eBay, so I cannot comment on their cooperation. But 500 Euro? If you don’t have legal insurance, is it worth taking on a solicitor/lawyer? Just the initial consultation can cost something like 75 Euros or more, and then possibly a pre-payment based on the estimated total costs.

 

*As I see it, possible arguments against the seller:

- The written description gave some direct or indirect, false or misleading information.

- Normally visible damage was deliberately concealed in the photograph(s)

- Damage was deliberately concealed and was only discovered following detailed (i.e. not to be expected on the doorstep) examination

- The seller deliberately prevented you from viewing the item (but this is a very weak excuse as you voluntarily paid upon receipt without previously viewing - for whatever reason)

 

*And possible arguments against you:

- The object is antique, i.e. old. It could be said that such furniture is more likely to suffer woodworm or other damage, and that it is reasonable to expect a prospective buyer to be aware of this and to check.

- The price difference span between that paid and the actual value is so large, that in comparison the potential costs for repair are insignificant and therefore acceptable (no particular irregularity here, but perhaps a supporting argument).

- You mention “them”. Could it be that the seller had a witness who could back up her statement that you had adequate time to inspect the item, in fact that you did so and were quite satisfied, evidenced by the fact that you paid without question or complaint?

 

If attempts via eBay are unsuccessful, you could enquire at your local citizen’s advice office (Verbraucherzentrale). They offer legal advice, usually for less than elsewhere. Otherwise, perhaps the seller would take it back for a bit less, say 400-450 Euros?

 

*Any information contained in this post is intended as a suggestion only. It should not be relied upon. Make your own enquiries and seek qualified legal advice. No liability accepted!

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... If attempts via eBay are unsuccessful, you could enquire at your local citizen’s advice office (Verbraucherzentrale). They offer legal advice, usually for less than elsewhere ...

The Verbraucherzentrale is indeed cheaper than elsewhere, but I found it ultimately useless. About 4 years ago I sought legal advice on a completely different matter. I think I paid my local Verbraucherzentrale 30 euros for 25 minutes with their Rechtsanwältin who listened politely, read my description of the dispute and told me that in her opinion I would be justified in making a claim. Her advice was to go to a lawyer and warned me that even if my case were strong and my chosen lawyer well experienced in the relevant field of law, I might very well lose and be lumbered with heavy legal costs (facts I knew already).

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At the very least, you must give her a negative Bewertung, (it may be the only thing you can do) by the way what was her score? did you read any of her previous buyer comments? finally you should have legal insurance in Germany, it cost around 16-25 Euro a month depending on what you want covered, I wouldn't persue the matter legaly without insurance because even if you win you must pay for your lawyer (based on my 2 wins in german courts)

Most Germans I know would sue, they always do, or at the very least an Anzeiger at the local Polizei. I hope this seller gets what she deserves. good luck.

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If you still want to keep the wardrobe and just want to get rid of the worms, put it

in big plastic bag and fill the bag with nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

(I have access to this gases in my company and used this method for a wooden bird I bought in Africa)

After some weeks the little beasts should be dead.

(also museums use this method)

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Or instead of trying to buy large quantities of dangerous gasses (Prob. Not even possible without a license)

Just goto the local hardware store, and pay the 15 Eur for a can of woodworm killer.. Much easier and safer

than screwing with nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

 

If the OP doesn't have legal Insurance now, then it wouldn't cover this issue. Even if they sigen up for it on Monday

there is usually a 3-6 month waiting period before it can be used. It can also not be used for any prev. or ongoing

actions that startted before the Insurance contract was signed.

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If the OP doesn't have legal Insurance now, then it wouldn't cover this issue. Even if they sigen up for it on Monday

there is usually a 3-6 month waiting period before it can be used.

 

finally you should have legal insurance in Germany, (based on my 2 wins in german courts)

That's what I meant, if she doesn't already have legal insurance then it's too late,

(lesson learnt) my point is if you choose to live here then it is a good idea to have legal insurance as every german I know has. Have you ever wonderded why there are so many lawyers here?

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bigkiwi, were your court cases labor cases? As far as i know, these are the only kind of cases when you have to pay your own lawyer even if you win.

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Hi Flawed,

 

I have to pay for winning the Sorge Recht for both of my sons, or should I say defending my right to hold on to my 50% of the Sorge Recht as my ex-wife challanged this, the other I paid was for a false Lohnfendung she tried to action allthough I had allways paid my child maintenance, oh and a 3rd case I won was against an ex employer of mine. So I would say the latter was labour.

I pay for all of these simultainiously via Prozesskosthelfe, which means the bills are spread out over four years (as alot of my left over cash is on child maintenance)

I have tried to talk to the Amtsgericht about this, but they insist I must pay the lawyers fees despite winning, it is allready in the thousands and the costs for the divorce is yet to come, yep it's shite here.

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Ok.. so this is the closest topic that I can find....

 

I purchased some wooden stairs for a fair price on Ebay...   cheap.. but fair...

 

I sent message to the seller asking about dimensions and the replied..    

 

So, I bid and won...   that was on Wednesday.. 

 

Since then, I havenet heard from the seller..  Have contacted ebay who gave me the registered address of the seller..

 

So, I have 2 questions... Although my spoken German is pretty darned good.. I dont read it too well..

 

1..so could one of you lovelies find me the part in ebay T+Cs that says one the auction is won, the sale is legally binding...

 

2 Is there anyone in the mannheim/Heidelberg area who would be willing to pop down to the address I have been given and ring on a doorbell or atleast see if the name is on a letter box.. ?

 

Love you all to bits!!   B)  

 

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