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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 72494
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I was wondering if you could help me with advice please. I

Customer Question

Good evening,
I was wondering if you could help me with advice please.
I suspect that the buyer deliberately damaged the item and now is asking for a full refund.
The item was packaged with extreme care and I chose the courier with the good reputation.
I’ve been in touch with the company and asked to investigate and to confirm in what state the package was delivered as to be damaged this badly inside it had to be 1st damaged from outside.
The package was delivered this morning and the buyer reported the damage to me and sent me pictures.
I was absolutely shocked and got it touch with courier company.
I’m still awaiting the response from the company.
I did advise the buyer to return the item and that after I’ve received it I will issue a full refund.
After the email she sent me a pictures of further damage and on this occasion it was drawer liners inside the chest.
I’ve had a good look on pictures and looking on the first picture it is visible that the leg is cut in a half.
This was wooden very sturdy chest of drawers and this could be only achieved if someone used axe.
Also I’ve used the brightness filter to inspect the first picture and it is visible that at this stage only 2 of the legs are broken however when in pictures which was sent an hour later 3 of the legs were damaged.
Also to brake inside drawers liners it can only happen if the pressure has been applied or it has been broken.
It makes me suspect that the buyer deliberately broke the item.
The online selling platforms there is good buyer protection however there is not sufficient seller protection.
I’m not a business and I decorated this item in my spare time using my own moneys for high quality materials.
Please can you kindly advise what are my options to proceed.
Many thanks in advance
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

How did the buyer pay for the item? Please note this is not always an instant service so I may not be able to reply immediately. Rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you the same day. Thanks

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Good morning Ben, thank you kindly for getting back.
The item was advertised on very well known online platform and the payment was made by card. And the moneys first goes to Etsy and after the item is delivered I can only access it.
The delivery was included in the item price and I paid £100 for the premium service from the courier with a good reputation.
Thank you so much for your help.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Thank you. Did you have insurance out with the courier that delivered it?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I did insure the package
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Thank you. Initially, you have a duty to send the item in the condition in which it was advertised. If the item does not arrive int that condition, the buyer has a right to get a refund or repair/replacement. If the damage was caused by the courier in transit, then you have direct rights against them but these will be limited to whatever protection you had with them.

The issue here is that it may appear that the damage was not caused by you or the courier, but potentially by the buyer. If that is the case they would not be entitled to a refund or any other remedy. However, they could potentially take advantage of the buyer protection they get through the site where they purchased the item. That will then depend on the company and if they decide in the buyer’s favour. It could happen even if they were at fault for the damage – remember that the company is not a court of law and they make decisions based on their own rules, not the law.

Should that happen and you are left out of pocket, but strongly believe the damage was caused by the buyer, then you can pursue them directly for compensation for your losses.

If a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can potentially do so by making a court claim. However, as legal action should only be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without the need to involve the courts. It is therefore recommended that the following steps are taken in order to try and resolve this:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time – 14 days is reasonable. They should be advised that if they fail to make contact to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for compensation. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this without the need for legal action. There are numerous templates available online for such letters and a simple search will bring up a list of useful results.

3. If the letter before action is also ignored, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome. There will be a fee payable, which depends on the amount that is claimed. The other side will eventually get a copy of the claim and they will have a limited time to answer it. They could accept it and pay what is owed, they could accept it only in part and defend the rest, or they could outright reject it. They could also completely ignore it, in which case judgment will eventually be entered automatically against them. Also, it is worth noting that the simple act of submitting a claim could show the other side that this is being taken seriously and prompt them to consider negotiating a potential solution to stop the claim progressing further, such as offering full or partial payment of the amount sought in the claim.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you so much Ben-that’s very clear and helpful.
last question - is the evidence / the first picture where with brightness filter it’s visible that the 2 bottom legs were not broken and then in the last picture 3 of the legs are broken and IF the letter of the courier comes back confirming that the package was delivered not damaged as logically to have the damage this bad and if occurred during transportation outer packaging has to be damaged first before it would further damage the item sufficient to claim that the buyer deliberately damaged the item please?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hello, thank you for your further queries, I will be happy to answer these. That is all certainly evidence you can use to your advantage. What you cannot do is force the site which offers the buyer protection to guarantee it will decide the case in your favour because of this evidence. However, if they side with the buyer and you then have to make your own claim against them, it will certainly be evidence you can use to support your claim

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
This is so helpful Ben- thank you so much for all your help and I understand what you mean in regards ***** ***** from the site. I’m still awaiting for the response from the courier and I will proceed once I’ve response.
Thank you so much for all your help and have a lovely weekend.
It’s lovely and sunny here in Southend so it’s a lovely change.
Many thanks and kindest regards,
Inga
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. Enjoy the weekend and all the best