Dear Lifehacker, Earlier this year I bought a sofa that I found through eBay, but I was silly enough to ring the number that was on the site to ask a question. The salesman offered me a reduced delivery fee if I ordered through him there and then rather than through eBay, which I did. I was given a slip for a 12-month warranty and now the sofa has developed issues.
I contacted the seller and while he is still selling the sofa on eBay — the same name, the same number, even the same sofa — he is telling me that the supplier went bankrupt, another company has brought it, my warranty may be useless and that he is only a salesman. I think it's fishy: What can I do? Thanks, Couch Potato
Old furniture picture from Shutterstock
Dear Couch Potato,
It's rarely a good idea to complete an eBay transaction privately, no matter what incentives the seller throws at you. There are plenty of horror stories of people getting scammed out of thousands of dollars after agreeing to finalise payment outside of eBay. If you want eBay's buyer protections, stick with buying through eBay.
That said, under Australian consumer law, a seller can't disclaim responsibility no matter what changes have happened at the supplier's end — it's not unreasonable to expect that a sofa would last for 12 months regardless of what the warranty says.
Your first course of action should be to firmly point out your consumer rights which are protected by law and ask for a repair or replacement. If that doesn't produce a result, you can then follow up with your state consumer protection agency.
You can find out more about Australian consumer protection laws at the Australia.gov website — maybe sending the seller a few links in regards to potential penalties will galvanize them into action.
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