The joys of selling stuff online

A few months ago I decided to splurge and buy a pair of nVidia 8800GTX video cards for my main computer at home. I’ve got dual-mon running there, and had been running dual 7900GTX video cards, but the 8800 cards have DX10 support, so I decided to upgrade.
 
I ordered the cards from Amazon.com (of course) and they arrived, no problem. Unfortunately, when I went to install the two cards in my machine, I discovered that my power supply didn’t have enough juice to power both cards. Ultimately, I had to settle with a single 8800 card in my main system.
 
Unfortunately my older "backup" machine didn’t have enough power for a single 8800… so I was suddenly left with a brand new, box-opened but never used 8800 GTX video card on my hands. These cards run about $500 new. They’re the latest thing, and if you’re a gamer or system builder, they’re a hot commodity.
 
First I tried to sell the card through local connections, but nobody I knew wanted to buy the card.
 
Ultimately, I decided to give Amazon.com’s ZShops a try. Basically, you can sell anything you want there. It’s not like eBay, where people bid, it’s just a way to sell used stuff.
 
I posted my ad for my basically brand-new video card and waited to see what happened. I posted it just under retail (it was new after all, came in the original box with all cables/documents/drivers and basically all I’d done was unseal the box).
 
The first few days, nothing. A week went buy, nothing. I had actually forgotten about the listing until I received an email. Someone in Indonesia wanted to buy my card. My ad said domestic (US) shipping only, but would I consider shipping to them anyway? I asked for their postal code so I could figure out shipping rates, and they sent it to me. About a day later, I got another email from someone else in Indonesia who wanted the same thing. I asked them for their postal code. Same code.
 
Ok, I’m no idiot, I smelled a scam, no thanks, no sale, goodbye.
 
And there went the only person/people who seemed interested in my card.
 
At this point, I figured I’d be ‘stuck’ with this card forever, but fortunately I got another interested party a few days later. This time, they were in New York. They seemed legit. Happy to buy my card.
 
I got the automatic "the buyer has submitted the $$ so please ship the merchandise" email, which was good enough for me. I emailed the buyer (whom I’ll refer to as "Bob") to let them know I got the email, I packed up the card, and shipped it off that afternoon. UPS requires a receiver’s signature on goods worth over a few hundred (which this card certainly was), which turned out to be a good thing.
 
Off the card went. Strangely, UPS’s tracking site didn’t show any movement for a few days. It shipped 5-day deliver, but still, it bugged me. I sent Bob some email "hey it’s shipped, here’s the tracking #." No response. No response for a few days until they write back "hey the package doesn’t appear to be moving, what’s going on?" I had no idea. I thought it was weird too.
 
But then suddenly, on day 5, their tracking system suddenly reports that it’s not only on its way, but delievered, and signed for. Signed for by someone not named "Bob," but that didn’t bother me. I’ve had other people sign for stuff at my house.
 
Anyway, all’s well. I got my $$ (minus Amazon’s fee), and Bob got his video card.
 
About a month passes.
 
Then I get an email from Amazon that Bob is challenging the purchase. AAARGH!!
 
I have to provide proof of shipping. Proof of delivery. My return policy(?). Any documentation about the exchange. And if I don’t respond with this info within a week, Amazon is taking the money back.
 
At first I thought Bob was trying to screw me over. "Ha! Now I have your card, and I get my money back too!"
 
I sent all the info I had (basically, it appears that having the tracking # may have been enough since it shows ship date, delivery, amount of good shipped, and who signed for it) off to Amazon’s claim department. "I didn’t think I had a return policy" I told them.
 
At first I was pissed. Bob just tried to take me for a sucker.
 
But a little while later, it dawned on me: this wasn’t Bob vs. Me. This was credit card theft. The ~month it took for Bob to challenge the purchase meant that someone noticed on their credit card bill an unauthorized purchase, and contacted the company about it. The CC company contacted Amazon. Amazon contacted me.
 
So I guess, ultimately, the party who loses is the credit card company. The "real" Bob gets their $$ back. I keep my money. Amazon keeps their fee. Only the CC is out of the $$ (unless they can find out who did it, which maybe they can, since there was a deliver address and a signature on the shipment).
 
Unfortunately I’m sure I’ll never find out.
 
And I’ll probably never use ZShops again. Too much risk unfortunately.
 
BTW the 8800GTX that I kept is working great.
And, I have the other 7900GTX available if anyone wants to buy it from me 🙂
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