Hey all, just heads up. After reading several threads in this forum that discussed purchasing the Mitsubishi HC5000 from Japan for far less than available here via eBay seller home-theater-projection, whom I think several forum members have used successfully (lucky you), I took the plunge, bid on and won one on January 8, 2007. I'd purchased camera equipment this way (gray market; I am/was a professional photograher), with no problems, so I was a little nervous (any product that $$$ on eBay is scary), but not terrified.
Fast forward to now, and I'm out $3,067, don't have a projector and the seller is being, well, to put it bluntly, a total jerk. I don't know exactly what happened, but I didn't get my projector. DHL has investigated, and confirmed this (possible employee theft). Because it's been more than seven days, DHL says they can't change their online records, but this eBay seller has been personally contacted by DHL, and received the original airbill that shows non-delivery. (I also have a copy, that I'd be more than happy to show to anyone who wants to see it.) Still, the seller refuses to even pick up the phone and file an insurance claim with the shipper, which they've already told him they'll honor. (I paid for insurance on the package.)
Here's a sample exchange from this morning (skip to the next ellipse if you don't care) ...
------ Forwarded Message
From: Stephen Barger
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 00:11:44 -0500
To: 'SMW Auction'
Subject: RE: Message from eBay Member Regarding Item #200066167874
You dont [sic] want to lose $3067, but have absolutely no problem stealing it from me, right? What we have is proof. I did ship you the projector, there is proof of that. There is also proof of delivery to your door and a signiture [sic] of S XXX on that delivered shipment. If this was stolen, then the process is for us to file insurance and you get refunded when and if DHL agrees that this is what actually happened. So it is OK for me to be the honest seller and ship you the item, but because of this insane claim that the delivery person stole this projector, you want me to pay for that? Yes, you paid for insurance which means, when and if insurance pays, then you get refunded. You say you will not lose $3067, but are willing to risk that by not following proceedure [sic]. Again, if we win the paypal dispute, are you OK with us not wanting to work with you at all on your insurance claim? I'll ask that again and I would like an answer to this - if we win the paypal dispute, are you OK with us not wanting to work with you at all on your insurance claim? Yes or No?
------ Forwarded Message
From: SMW Auction
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 12:02:03 -0600
To: Stephen Barger
Cc: "XXX XXX (DHL US)"
Subject: Re: Message from eBay Member Regarding Item #200066167874
I have spent a great deal of time and effort dealing with this matter already and, frankly, couldn't be more sick of it. Your belligerent conduct, in my opinion, has begun to border on harassment. I have offered every single bit of contact information I have, and Mr. XXX [DHL service manager] has been generous enough to do the same, and I also have offered to do ANYTHING (dealing with the police, take a polygraph, provide proof that the delivery couldn't have been made etc.). To date, you have yet to provide even a business phone number or address, and absolutely refuse to do the simplest things, including call DHL, or go online to look at a signature.
In my experience, insurance protects the shipper, not the receiver. You would get any insurance reimbursement, not me. The original shipper in Japan, according to Mr. XXX, have been made aware of this item's non-delivery, and have been in contact with [his] office, so feel free to call your distributor to discuss. As for why the web tracking still reflects the incorrect information ... I was told the online information could not be changed after seven days, but that ANYONE in the DHL network can see the changes based solely on the tracking number, so, again, please feel free to contact any DHL employee you wish to confirm this.
Mr. XXX also has said, several times, that they very much want to pursue this matter with the police, as based on times/destinations listed in the driver's log book there was no way he could have been at my house when he says he was. I don't want to accuse anybody of anything, but it does appear that the driver is the one who signed for this package. As for what happened then, your guess is as good as mine. As for how he could have got my name to enter into the record, well, it doesn't take a genius to know that it was WRITTEN ON THE PACKAGE. It's not as if he had to take a wild guess.
You are, supposedly, a business. And no business I know of can operate this way and expect to retain customers. And, yes, if I have to, I will be more than happy to tell my story regarding your conduct in this matter on eBay and other audio-visual forums I am a part of, as well as to the Better Business Bureau and any other consumer protection outlet I can find. Look, I've been an eBay member since 1999, and a Pay Pal member almost as long. Does it logically make any kind of sense that I've been laying in wait for eight years so that I could someday make a claim that I didn't receive a package from you?
I feel I have gone above and beyond to prove to you the truth in this matter, yet you refuse to believe it. Frankly, I'm shocked. I thought once you heard from DHL, this matter would be taken care of promptly. (Heck, I thought you might even go so far as to apologize for your past accusations.)
I deserve either the product I ordered, or a refund. I will go so far as to give you until February 8, 2007one month since I paid youto take care of this. If the matter is not fully resolved, via refund or delivery of the item I paid for (in the condition expected), I will do whatever I have to, up to and including small claims court if need be, to get my money refunded. That is the ONLY acceptable solution. There is really nothing else to say about this matter.
... end of message exchange (personal, identifying info redacted with an "XXX" for internet posting).
As you can probably tell, this has all been ongoing for a while now, but before DHL investigated and found a few things outlike the driver physically couldn't have been where he claimed he was for deliveries at the times entered due to distances between addresses, along with other suspicious activity; needless to say this person has since been let goI mostly understood Mr. Barger's reluctance to take my word that I hadn't received the item. (Though his rudeness and wild accusations were totally uncalled for.) But, now that DHL has contacted him, including trying to get him to participate in a local police investigation, I'm baffled why he still won't help. (All he would have to do is file the darned insurance claim). I have yet to escalate my Pay Pal dispute to a claim (whatever that means, I've never had to do this before), but DHL has said that only the shipper may file an insurance claim, so I have no recourse there. (Yesterday, Mr. Barger was claiming I was getting insurance money from DHL AND disputing the credit card charge with Pay Pal, hence double-dipping, despite the fact DHL had told him the shipper must make the claim and that the SHIPPER will be the one compensated directly. This is the last in a long line of theories that Mr. Barger has floated, and continues to lash out with, about how I'm stealing from him and committing fraud. He's also talked about persecuting meI'm gonna' assume he meant prosecutingfor telling Pay Pal I didn't get the package, which I didn't.)
Checking his feedbackmost tellingly the feedback he leaves for othersMr. Barger has a LOT of delivery problems, and is never wrong about ANYTHING. (A major red flag when it comes to making a purchase, at least in my book.) He also refuses to give out anything more than his name (Stephen Barger), and won't provide a phone number or business address to anyone, including DHL. (So far, anyway.) I'm kicking myself that I failed to double check all this before buying; a really idiotic lapse on my part, obviously.
I feel pretty stupid I'm in this position and just wanted to warn others who might be considering making a purchase from this guy. (Sorry, to anyone still reading, I know I've gone on and on and on.) It's not Mr. Barger's fault if a DHL (ex)employee did take/lose this package, but it's not mine either. And to expect me to pay for something I never received, when HE can make an insurance claim (not me), is beyond ridiculous. (I'm guessing he might not have purchased the insurance after all, though I was charged for it, which is why he's huffing and puffing so hard. But, again, that's only a guess.)
I should have waited and bought from a better source (lesson learned, trust me). And, if I ever get my $3,067 back, I'll still be in the market for a projector (likely the Mits HC5000--I haven't lost faith in that) which, no question, will NOT be from eBay.