Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The eBay experience

I don't use eBay much these days–why bother, when I can bulk buy on Amazon or use free shipping sites?–nonetheless, I do browse it from time to time.

Ebay's primary virtue, to me, is the rarity of the items it sometimes hosts. Case-in-point: Dracula: truth and terror (left), a 1996 CD-ROM featuring the late Raymond T. McNally. Many will recognise him as the co-author of In search of Dracula (1972; 1994). 

I first heard about the CD-ROM in Elizabeth Miller's Dracula: sense & nonsense (2000). She critiqued the accuracy of a statement made in it. So, it's not an essential work–hell, I'm wondering how I'm even going to view it on my computer–but a curio. 

According to Entertainment Weekly's review, the CD-ROM 'features an annotated, searchable version of Bram Stoker's Dracula; several ''real'' vampire biographies, like that of medieval Transylvania's Vlad the Impaler; and an interactive map of vampire myths and happenings.' 

It adds, 'But because these elements aren't interwoven, the CD-ROM remains little more than a coffee-table book, albeit a fascinating one.' Awesome.

Anyway, I purchased the item on 6 December for US $25 (AU $23.71) plus US $1.99 (AU $1.89) shipping. It arrived yesterday. The CD-ROM was safely enclosed in several layers of tight packaging. However, it didn't have a cover. I doublechecked the listing and noticed something I missed toward the end:
We strive to cut costs to be able to offer you the best deal on your discs. We found that we can offer .99 shipping if we ship the disc to you without the original packaging. So we remove the disc from the original case and put it in a protective window sleeve, we then ship it to you in a thick DVD mailer for supreme protection. This auction is for the original disc only. There will be no case included.
Always scrutinise the listing, folks! Nonetheless, I wanted to see if I could still get the cover. I contacted the item's seller–starcds_com–to see if that was possible (18-Dec-12 00:20:52 AEDST):
Good morning,

I got the disc today - and it's fine. I didn't realise till after re-reading your description that I wouldn't be getting the cover with it. But that's my oversight. All good. But can I ask - what happens to its original packaging? Do you still have it or has it been thrown away?
It's always a risk sending follow-up messages like that. You never know how they'll respond. I was ready to report them if they responded with something rude. Instead, I got this (18-Dec-12 01:08):
Hello, there is no telling what happened to the cover but we sure don't still have it. We get so many DVDs in from all places. Some come with covers, some don't, some come in as collections disc only in cases and others have damaged cases. We toss out the bad cases at the time of listing and sell the good cases in "empty DVD case" lots ass all our DVDs are "Disc Only No Case". Thank you for your understanding. I do offer full refunds if you are unhappy with your purchase, simply send it back. You are a great person :) If there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

That was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. I'm love great customer service This guy had it in spades. I was so chuffed, I wrote back with a request (18-Dec-12 04:53:44 AEDST):
That's extremely kind of you! But there'll be no need for a refund. I was just curious. Ok, to be honest - I was hoping on getting it. :P

But that's ok, I understand. You'll get top marks from me. I'm so pleased by your response, do you mind if I share it on my blog?
The response (18-Dec-12 07:43):
Hello, no I don't mind at all. I'm glad you are happy :)
So, I didn't get the cover–but I got a great eBay experience as a trade-off. I'm happy with that! Major props to Myles of StarCDs.com for handling the situation brilliantly. Five stars!

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