Know your responsibilities if you sell something on Ebay and it doesn't arrive
I sold a laptop on Ebay and used a company called Parcel Monkey to dispatch it. City Link couriers turned up the next morning to collect the laptop and gave me a consignment number. The tracking process shows the laptop was delivered and signed for.
A few days later the person who bought the laptop informed me that he had not received the item. Now City Link is telling me to take it up with Parcel Monkey even though City Link collected the item. Parcel Monkey is not responding to my queries to speak to the company.
Mr Read was concerned because he knew the buyer could make a claim against him for non-delivery via Ebay. He asked us what his responsibilities were and if we could contact Parcel Monkey on his behalf. With Mr Read’s permission, we gave Parcel Monkey the information it needed to begin its investigation.
Since then, Mr Read has informed us that the buyer has been in contact with him to say the laptop has arrived safely.
However, if the issue had not been sorted out, it would still have been Mr Read’s responsibility as the seller to ensure that the goods were delivered safely. He has effectively sub-contracted this task to Parcel Monkey, which in turn has paid City Link to act as the courier to collect and deliver the laptop.
When Mr Read contacted City Link the company insisted that its driver had a form signed by the recipient as proof of delivery. It also claimed the laptop had been delivered to the correct address. So the question in these circumstances is would the seller’s responsibility to ensure safe delivery have been discharged at this point?
The answer is no. It is always possible that a courier firm delivers a package to the wrong address, where an unscrupulous person signs for and keeps the goods, or that the buyer or courier is not being truthful.
In these circumstances, until these matters can be cleared up, safe delivery would still be the seller’s responsibility. However, the buyer must be able to verify that the signature on the form is not theirs. Both parties need a hard copy of the delivery form to do this.
In this case, Mr Read had a contract with Parcel Monkey because he paid it to arrange a courier so it would have had to supply this information to him. Mr Read in turn must provide this to the buyer for their inspection.
The seller has the legal responsibility to ensure that goods bought are delivered safely. If the buyer can prove a purchase never arrived the seller will have to compensate them. The seller can then make a claim against the courier; in this case although the courier is City Link, Mr Read’s contract was with Parcel Monkey.
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