How to Ask eBay to Step in When You Have an Issue with a Seller?

I purchased a wireless router on Ebay, but its can reach less than 10% of speed its advertised. I want to return it but the postage is $18.90. I asked seller to pay for it but seller always come back with offer to partially refund and I can keep router or they asked me to do this and that which I have done, but there is no improvement in speed. This has been going on for nearly a month now.

I know the only way to ask Ebay to step in is "find the item in your Purchase History, Select See return details, Select Ask eBay to step in". But there is no "ask ebay to step in" after I select "see return details".

It seems really hard to ask Ebay to step in. What is your experience? Do you know any other way to contact Ebay? I am wondering if I should avoid Ebay in the future.

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  • +7

    I hope you know that a wireless router will be bottlenecked by your internet connection speed. If you're not testing it between two local devices then you're doing it wrong.

    • And people forget if it is 100mb/s or 1gb/s transfer rate that it is "combined" transfer rate, not "per connection".

    • yes I used the same sim card on the wireless router and on my phone as well to test the speed

      • What speed do you get on your phone vs the router?

        • +1

          wireless router speed 1.84mbps download and 1.33mbps upload speed and another time 2.31mbps download 7.54mbps at the same time my phone use the same sim card the speed is 55.7mbps and 37.7mbps.

          • @jowu15: Are you testing both from the same spot. These 3G/4G routers performance vary significantly depending on where they're placed.
            What's the signal strength as detecting on the router?
            Might be a good idea to link the listing for the router too

            • +1

              @FireRunner: yes I was in the same spot and a few mins apart

              • +1

                @jowu15: link to the product?
                Could probably tell if it's a garbage product just from the listing

                  • +2

                    @jowu15: Doesn't look a quality product.
                    So what stage are you in the return process? Have you opened a return case and if so what reason did you put for wanting the return?

                    • @FireRunner: I opened a return request at the start of the month and I just ticked "does not fit" I do not remember other choice I had

                      • +1

                        @jowu15: Hmmm, that might be counted as a change of mind by the buyer rather than a faulty/not as described .
                        I would probably have a chat with an eBay rep to see what options you have. eBay returns help page and there should be an option to "chat with us" to get to a rep

                        • @FireRunner: Thanks. Yes I thought they might think it’s only me change of mind. I’ll try to contact them

          • +5

            @jowu15: Did you check what frequency bands the route supported before buying it? Some 4G modem routers are optimised for different companies mobile network bands.

            Alternatively did you consider that perhaps the mobile provider is limiting the speed through the modem? Some companies don't like you using phone plans in modems and they can de-prioritize your service.

            Either way this is not the sellers fault. Your failure to check compatibility should not cost them money when they provided the product they said they would. Be thankful you got anything at all from them because they don't owe it to you.

            • @stirlo: I have not got any money back from them yet. This is a dongle and I have another one and speed is ok. So long I can view web page I am not very fussed about speed. This dongle has difficulties to open a page

              • +4

                @jowu15: Seller doesn't specify the bands and looks like it's a global import. It's probably made for China and doesn't support Band 28 which causes it to be slow. Good luck getting the refund. Next time only buy products where the technical specifications are shown.

          • @jowu15: In my experience FTIW…… when your upload speed exceeds your download speed their is something on your network sup'ing up the data…… check per connection…… and the wifi 4/5G modems are no where near as good as your phone in my experience unless you buy a good one…..

      • It likely doesn't support the bands you need for your carrier.

        I've had excellent success with one of these:

    • +1

      Not the mention that advertised speed is theoretical speed rather than actual speed and that there are so many factors influencing your connection speed. OP can you give us a bit more details on your internet connection speed and your router model? Also your setup. How far away are you using the router etc. We are not saying you are 100% wrong but in short, a 600MPS router =/= 600 MPS in real usage.

      • wireless router speed 1.84mbps download and 1.33mbps upload speed and another time 2.31mbps download 7.54mbps at the same time my phone use the same sim card the speed is 55.7mbps and 37.7mbps.

        • +1

          In that case, it is most likely a bad router as in low quality. Normally, you could submit an INAD claim and argue that the router is falsely advertised. The seller sort of must accept the return. eBay will almost always side with the buyer :)

          • @RobBoss: Thanks I'll google it I have never heard about it

      • the wireless router is a dongle and I put the sim card in and I was sit right next to it when I tested it

  • +4

    Speeds advertised are always UP TO, and will heavily dependant on any interference as well as other network variables.

    • +1

      yes but this is less than 10% of advertised speed and its really really slow and signal drop off from time to time

  • (edit: turns out OP is using a 4G LTE modem)

    What is the router you purchased and are you using 5ghz or 2.4ghz Wifi? Performance can vary greatly depending on the band you choose, 2.4ghz Wifi is prone to interference but has better range, while 5ghz Wifi has worse range but usually provides better speeds.

    There are also two ways you can get a paid return

    • thanks but I did not use paypal and I do not have Ebay plus

  • Paypal will refund the return shipping costs assuming you used Paypal:

  • +3

    Dongle most likely doesn't have appropriate 3g/4g bands. Not sellers problem if so.

    • Yeah these things have pretty basic band compatibility. Best to buy those Optus/Telstra ones at Officeworks etc.

    • You can report the item if its not suitable for Australian use. However I suspect there are probably a dozen sellers selling the same thing.

  • You click "Decline" on the partial refund offered. eBay will then give a date to can request they step in. Come back on that day and click the link.

  • proof that the item is faulty?

    • I have photos of speed test result

      • i think you've missed my point.

        the modem is 1 link in the chain. You havent actually proved that it's faulty.

        Just fyi if you return this, i doubt anything similar will be 10% better

  • Force all devices to use 802.11n.

  • +1

    If the item does not operate as described, then open a return through eBay for a "not as described" or "faulty/broken" item.
    The SELLER will be required to pay for all return postage costs if they approve the return, though with a $30 item they will more than likely just decide to give you a full refund and you keep the item.

  • Looking at the ebay image, the unit is made for China Unicom. What carrier are you using? If telstra, it only supports band 3 4G and no 3G. Check what band your phone is using for the test. You might have access to more bands if Vodafone or optus but still not ideal.

    I don't think it is not as described as it didn't state the supported bands. Do you have the specs of the unit showing the supported bands?

  • Woolworths uses telstra so you can only access to one 4G band 3.

    Amaysim uses Optus. This should work a bit better as both carriers support band 40. But again depends on the specifications of the unit.

  • comparing download speed to your phone doesn't make sense as they are two separate devices.

    You're phone is likely to be a high CAT LTE device and capable of more carrier aggregation and having access to more bands.

    The dongle you have doesn't even list what CAT LTE it is or what the compatible bands it uses. Based on speeds it's most likely a CAT 4 device, who knows if the bands on it coming from China are the same bands the telcos are using in Australia.

    Video explaining carrier aggregation.

    my phone is a CAT 21 device and i probably only see max 10% of the capable 1400/300.

    So your dongle seems to be working within parameters.

    • Thanks. Its say "support LTE cat4 and download speeds up to 150mbps; support wifi 2.4 GHz/5 Ghz "

      • Says speeds "up to 150mbs" - does not say it guarantees 150mbs.
        If you were to only get 10mbs then the listing is still lawful in the eyes of eBay

  • +1

    It looks like a H80 LTE modem. Other ebay listings show it only supports B1/B3 LTE.

    It's not faulty. It's just not designed for Australian market.

    • Yes they asked me if my sim card support B1, B3, I checked it did

      • +2

        The dongle isn't faulty. You just bought one that is poorly compatible with Telstra (and other aus networks. Easy mistake to make.

        It's stupid they sell these in Aus, as everyone else will have the same problrm as you.

        The seller knows exactly the problem, but isn't telling you.

        eBay will side with you for a return, even though there is nothing wrong with it. As they don't understand the band issues.

      • This is correct. But the bottleneck here is actually the mobile tower closest to you struggling to cope with the demand on B1/B3. To get higher speeds, you need something that also supports band 28 and band 7.

        • More likely the tower with those bands are yonks away. Or its moved to 3g as there is no 4g that router accepts.

  • +1

    I'd say it's a case of item not as described/false advertising looking at the listing
    Classic dodgy aliexpress level antics.

    go for it.

  • "Ask eBay to step in" will only appear after 7 days from the return/dispute request was opened.

    • I open the request about three weeks ago

      • What request did you open?

        Have you try contact eBay and ask?

        One thing I forgot to tell you, do not send the item back unless eBay provide you a shipping label. Sending item back to non eBay registered address will make you lose the case.

        • Thanks for the info. I will keep it in mind. I have not sent it because postage cost $18.90.

          • @jowu15: As i already mentioned, if you selected "not as described" or "faulty/broken/not working" when opening your case, the seller will be responsible for return postage costs, once you escalate the case further to eBay, and at that point, is often where a seller who sold you a lower value item like this will just decide to refund your payment in full instead of stuffing around with a return that they will have to pay postage for.

  • Stick it back on eBay for sale.
    As they say - there is one born every minute

    • Thanks

  • The modem probably doesn't cover the right Bands for the network you are using - for example, Voda does B1,B3 and B5 where as Optus and Telstra do B28 (among others). If it accepts an external antenna you could also try that too

    Once you've sorted the return; if you already have a router or if you only need to connect one device you could also consider a cheap android phone and hotspot from it or plug it into your router via USB. Did this while waiting for NBN to connect us

    I've also successfully used 4G modems from Coles for ~$70 which I was able to unlock online for around $12 - these are generally good brands such as ZTE and Huawei but labeled as Telstra/Optus brand and perform pretty well (again confirm they suppot the same bands as the network you plan on using)

    • Thanks I am thinking of buying one from Coles. I bought this one for someone else who keeps forgetting how to turn on hotspot on a phone.

  • You simply lodge a dispute as "Item Not as Described".

    If you paid via PayPal, you can lodge the complaint with them.

    Send back item WITH proof of doing so.

    BUT… do you think it could be your environment - nothing to do with modem?

    • hi I am in Melbourne CBD and I put the same sim card in my phone, the speed is many times faster.

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