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Hymie | 20:44 Mon 06th Jul 2020 | Shopping
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I sold an item on ebay in early March of this year, sent via their Global Shipping Program to the buyer in Spain.

Recently the buyer contacted me to advise that due to the Covid-19 lockdown they were unable to collect the item from the Post Office, and as a result the item was returned.
I have not received the returned item or any notification to the effect that the item is being returned.

I suspect that since ebay’s buyer protection time limit has expired, the buyer cannot raise this issue with ebay. But it is unfair that the buyer may have lost out through no fault of their own.
Does anyone know how to contact ebay in relation to such a situation above (and ask where the item is) – all the contact options I can find relate to buying/selling within their set time limits. Ultimately there is an option on ebay to ask them to call you, but the contact method is listed as temporarily unavailable.

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Hmmm....I may be a nasty suspicious person but to me this stinks.
If the buyer was not allowed out of their home, then why would the parcel have been left at the post office for collection. ?As far as I know the Spanish Postal service still delivered to houses. Four months to contact a seller about non delivery? What is the status of the parcel on your ebay account? Does it say 'parcel delivered'? Advise the buyer that they should apply to the Spanish postal service for compensation due to non delivery and leave it there. Ebay will do nothing.
do nothing unless the item comes back.
First off, if the buyer was duly notified to collect the item from his near/nearest post office then the postal authorities have done their bit and they cannot be expected to discuss any consequences other than that the item was returned as per their procedure. However, I would question whether the item ever went to a post office. If, through Royal Mail, you send to abroad a parcel or anything needing to be signed for then it will almost certainly not reach the/any postal service outside the UK. Royal Mail hand such items to a courier company before they leave the UK - they exit the UK in the hands of GLS. GLS is, I think, wholly owned by Royal Mail and they often do not attempt to deliver if there is no telephone number available (e.g. written on the parcel) for liaising with the recipient. They cannot deliver to non-physical addresses or anywhere not in the urban format - in particular they cannot deliver to P.O. Boxes and they have no dealings with any post office except with Royal Mail as the ones who hand the items to them. Before I twigged to this I had things returned under the heading "Attempted delivery failed" and not supposedly just attempted once but twice, although that is a straight forward fabrication. Now I either ensure a well defined physical/street address (no rural locations) or else have the item intercepted at the GLS depot (GLS are typically very difficult to contact) - local phone number always written on the outside. If the item went by (any) courier anyway (i.e. by deliberate design) then it is still possible that delivery was never attempted and the recipient was not notified.
have you looked through the GDS FAQs on ebay website? I looked and it looks to me as if you don't need to do anything
Incidentally, this Royal Mail practice is, if I am correct, in breech of one of the oldest international agreements/conventions in existence, the 146 year old Universal Postal Union: Thou shalt deliver the mail entrusted to you. This is to be done by passing mail to other UPU signatories for onward transmission (GLS is not a signatory but simply a commercial delivery business like any other). Even during wars the protocols were observed but no longer by Royal Mail/the UK.
Question Author
I’m pretty sure there can be no come back on me for the item not being delivered.

If the buyer is being genuine, then how do I go about assisting in finding it – it might be back at ebay’s GSP location.

The buyer has supplied the item number (as listed on ebay), if I was able to contact ebay I could notify them of the problem and they could check whether it has been returned. Due to the passing of time, searching for the item brings up nothing.

I don’t even know if such a shipment was returned to ebay’s GSP depot, whether they would return it to me.
From the faqs it looks to me like they would have given you a message if returned. I have never used the gds service though
It all smells of them trying to scam you out of your payment. Hpw did they pay? If it was PayPal, they could've easily contacted PayPal to get the refund.

Do nothing is my advice.
Hymie this STINKS of spam. Do nothing.
This is from the Royal Mail site,

https://business.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/520/~/help-tracking-items-posted-to-another-country-from-the-uk

"What happens after my item's left the UK?

For certain European destinations, we use a Royal Mail Group Limited company called GLS. You can use GLS to track International Tracked & Signed items sent to the following countries:

Austria (for International Tracked and International Tracked & Signed), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia

For other destinations, once your item has left the UK we hand it over to the relevant country's postal authority. They deliver it on our behalf and let us know some of the details of your item's journey.

For some destinations you may be able to see more detailed tracking on that postal authority's website**. Below are links to the most popular destinations:
Australia  
France  
Germany  
Republic of Ireland  
Spain  
United States of America  

Alternatively visit the Universal Postal Union to see if the country you've posted to has a tracking website where you can obtain more information.

**Please note extra tracking information is not guaranteed or a part of the service you've purchased. It's offered over and above the service requirements and we cannot guarantee its accuracy."

GLS would not have been involved since the address is in Spain.
maybe, but I don't think anyone read that it went via eBay's international service
If the buyer was trying to scam you he would have contacted you sooner as it is far too late for him to claim his money back from PayPal or eBay.
09.14, "GLS would not have been involved since the address is in Spain." That is not a supportable assumption because it has happened to me there and in Portugal - see this to establish that GLS is in Spain and I know Royal Mail use them https://www.gls-spain.es/en/

Contacting Royal Mail would be futile since you (OP) did not deal with Royal Mail but if eBay's system put it into the hands of Royal Mail then eBay would be the ones to interact with Royal Mail, not you.

My understanding is that there is no suggestion that the buyer is trying to claim from the seller, only that the seller is attempting to help the buyer to get his/her item.
Hymie do you have actual proof of posting the item? If so then you’ve done your bit so do nothing.
You say you used The Global Shipping Programme .. That's it, that is all you have to do. Assuming you sent it tracked to the GSP, there is no come back on you.
Think about it, you dont even know the address it went to in Spain. You put a reference number on the packege and sent it to a UK address.. which is the Global Shipping Programme. They apply the buyers address and the new freight label.
As long as you did your bit .. the problem becomes ebay's once they receive it.
Advise the buyer to contact ebay. The parcel is somewhere between the GSP in the UK and the Spanish Postal System.
Hymie, are you worried that the buyer is trying to place responsibility on you ? That is not how I understand your description so I can't understand why people are advising you not to worry and just turn/run away. The other thing is that I see nothing other than the buyer's mention of the post office in your description that states you know the item to have been delivered as far as the Spanish postal system. What do you know regarding eBay's GSP forwarding of the parcel - do they say it went by Royal Mail, in which case that almost certainly means GLS out of the UK and not the Spanish postal system at any stage. If they did not send it by Royal Mail then that also almost certainly means it never went into the Spanish postal system, that would only happen if it was carried out of the UK and after that paid for into a foreign postal system (highly unlikely).
Commence a complaint, if the item shows up you can always cancel it.
I think the contacting well over time is part of the scam...the scammer knows that ebay won't take action so they spin a sad tale to the seller.
Question Author
Thanks for all your replies – I will contact the buyer suggesting they contact ebay over the issue, as there is nothing I can do with the item not having been returned.

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