The problem with buying online is getting hold of the right person to talk to when things go wrong.
Some companies do not bother with phone numbers or addresses and rely instead on just emails, which can be readily ignored. This was the case for Ann Di Marco, who is having a battle royale with a small trader she found on eBay.
"I bought a built-to-order PC from eBay on 27 October from a Charles Peter who was trading as Easy Computers.
"When it arrived it wasn't built to the specifications I had asked and paid for.
"Windows XP was not installed, the Nvidia graphics card was 32MB not 64MB, and the front USB ports were not operational," she said.
Not having a phone number for Mr Peter, Mrs Di Marco emailed him and he agreed to pick up the PC at his expense and make the corrections.
He was as good as his word and she got the PC back about three weeks later. Much to her joy it also came with an extra parcel.
"I was so excited as this was a new TFT monitor," she said. "I thought it was compensation for the problems with the PC, but when I plugged everything together the new PC wouldn't work.
"I emailed Mr Peter and explained how grateful I was to have been given the monitor but said that the PC was still not working.
"I even asked if he had a technical helpline so that I could get advice on what was wrong with the PC."
Mrs Di Marco duly received an email from Mr Peter, demanding the return of the monitor as it had been sent to her in error but making no mention of her queries about the PC.
Subsequent correspondence continued along similar lines for a few days and then ended.
She wrote to me hoping that I would have better luck in contacting Mr Peter.
"What can I do? My old PC has stopped working so I can't email Mr Peter. It's nearly two months since I bought this PC and will now have to get my old PC repaired," Mrs Di Marco wrote.
"I really just want to start again and get a full refund and buy a new system."
I explained that the monitor would have to be returned. But I could see from copies of email correspondence with Mr Peter that the problem with her PC was being ignored.
I emailed Mr Peter asking him to get in contact with me. I gave him my phone number and also asked if he would mind giving me his phone number so that he would not have to pay for the call.
The first email I received from Mr Peter totally ignored my request for an interview.
However, he was quick to tell me that he was taking legal action, even involving the police, to secure the return of his monitor.
As an afterthought he mentioned that if there was a problem with the PC, Mrs Di Marco could return it.
This pistols at dawn approach was doing nothing to resolve the situation.
If Mr Peter would not talk to me as an independent third party, maybe he would talk to Mrs Di Marco.
I emailed him again. I explained that Mrs Di Marco was quite willing to return the monitor but that this situation needed the personal touch, since she was unable to email him. So, would he please phone her so that they could arrange a mutually convenient time for a courier to pick up the monitor.
I also pointed out that it made sense to pick up the PC so that it could be examined.
With Mrs Di Marco's permission I included her telephone number, and Mr Peter emailed me agreeing that this approach seemed sensible.
Five days later, as we were going to press, Mr Peter had yet to make contact with Mrs Di Marco.
I hope Mr Peter will get in touch with Mrs Di Marco - and soon. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the delay.
But I have told her that if it continues she should contact Trading Standards.
Buying from online auctions involves an awful lot of trust and cases such as this do little to build it unless the parties involved are willing to talk to each other to resolve any issues.
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