When does seller's responsibility end?

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but a search could not find it.
I sold a Naim DAC (mentioning this because Naim is notoriously reliable) to someone on November 26, shipped on November 27, 2012.
Did not hear anything one way or another until December 19, when seller emailed to say one USB input would not work with his ipod. Well the input worked for me when I had it. I asked him to be sure he was doing everything correctly, including checking for bad cable. I am not sure the input really does not work.
No word again until December 25, when he asked if I would pay for repair. I answered no, because I felt the time period had been too long and my responsibility was over.
Now he has initiated a dispute/claim against me on Paypal. They have put my account in the negative for the amount of DAC until they resolve it.
Sorry for the long post, I just wonder if there is a consensus on how long a seller should be responsible for "sold" gear. I say a week, maximum.
What say ye?
I think the seller took way too long to notify you. He should checked out the unit thoroughly within the first 2 days and reported any concerns asap. After that your off the hook so to speak.
Just my 2 cents. I'm sure others will have a different point of view.
When you asked the buyer for the name and phone number of the established repair facility who 1) evaluated the Naim unit, and 2) identified
both the problem and it's cost to repair... what did the buyer say?
I would say a couple of days from when it showed as being received. If UPS/ FedEx (whomever you used to ship it) has the number of days listed that you are allowed to report hidden damage, then I would say it should be based on that less a day so the seller has time to file a claim. If it truly isn't working now, but was when you shipped it, then it possibly got dropped or somehow mishandled during transit. It would not be fair to the seller to have to eat the cost of repairs when the seller would have missed a chance to file a claim against the shipper. I'm sure there are a dozen more scenarios for why it isn't working now, but this is what popped into my head.
Hopefully, in your case, it is as simple as him not doing something correctly.
Kinda agree with Pdsecl. Just to be Devil's Advcate, suppose your Buyer submitted positive feedback and later surfaced his complaint. Seems to me that a good best practice is that the terms of all sales should be that Buyer must raise any complaints within "n" days of receipt or else the problem is on Buyer. Thanks for the post. I'll keep this in mind next time I sell something.
2 dates are important here;

1. the date the DAC arrived to its destination.
2. the date the buyer layed hands on the DAC to test it.

All The Best.
Once an item is received undamaged, the recipient should be given a reasonable length of time, i.e., 3-4 days to ensure proper functioning. He should then submit feedback indicating his satisfaction with the transaction, at which point the seller should no longer be responsible. We are buying and selling used equipment at a substantial discount over new prices. Now, many of us of us go well beyond this standard, but it should never be expected that we do so.
I attempt to do everything possible to accurately represent the equipment I am selling both in terms of condition but also in making sure the equipment will meet their needs and expectations. I think that avoids a lot of unhappy buyers and buyers remorse type situations.
+1 Brownsfan
I had a fellow email me about a month after he received the pair of speakers I sold him asking what was going to be done about the damaged speakers. I asked him why he waited so long to say anything. I also told him that FedEx would probably tell him that he should have been a little quicker to say something also. How are we supposed to know whether the damages were made during transit or through poor handling when he was moving them yesterday? Just a lack of common sense.

I recently purchased a preamp which I immediately hooked up to put through the functions, and found it to be faulty. I emailed the seller who gave me the option of a full refund, or to send it to the manufacturer to be repaired, with him covering shipping both ways, and the repair cost. I opted for the latter and am anxiously awaiting its return.
A most excellent seller.
I feel a week would suffice to examine a piece of equipment, unless the buyer was going to be out of town and let me know.
I agree with most of the replies here, though this subject has been brought up before. If I recall correctly, the previous thread sided mostly with the buyer. Many said they thought at least a couple of weeks was approriate, since many are busy and it takes them time to try out the new toys.

I don't really agree with that, I feel the buyer has to put some effort into the transaction as well, and has an obligation to test the gear and to contact the seller with any issues within a reasonable time with any issue. I think a week is more than enough time for any issue to be raised.

I once had a buyer contact me 6 weeks after delivery with an issue, because he did not set it up until then (says he). I mean 6 weeks??? At what point do these buyers understand that they are buying used equipment from hobbyists and not new equipment from dealers???
And how, exactly, does PayPal propose to determine if the USB input is faulty? Are they going to send out an "audio expert" to inspect the unit and determine if the input is faulty? Of course not.

I absolutely will NOT conduct any more transactions where PayPal is the method used for payment. I say this because PayPal boned me last year when I purchased (via FleaBay) a brand new Seiko watch from a Singapore-based seller.

My postman, when he made the delivery to me, said "What did you buy, an orchid?" because of the return addresss and the fact that the box was so very light. I was immediately suspicious and asked him to standby while I opened the package. And inside the package was a Seiko watch box and NO watch - surprise, surprise!! And, BTW, the package was *very* well sealed, there is NO way that it was opened in transit and then re-sealed

I offered the postman an ice cold lemonade and asked him to stick around for 5 minutes while I drew up a document stating the facts and had him sign it. Luckily for me, my next door neighbor, who happened to be at home at the time and is also a Notary, notarized the statement within minutes of my opening the package.

I then contacted the seller and told him of the problem. The seller vehemently denied my claim and called me a liar. Within 24 hours, I had also contacted PayPal and told them my story and also offered to send them a copy of the signed, notarized statement.

PayPal refused to accept the statement as proof of my claim and told me that I had to go down to the local police station to file a police report AND to the Post Office to get the Post Master to make out a sworn statement. It would have taken me at least half a day to do so, hardly worth the time and effort for a $125 watch. Why they required me to jump thru these hoops instead of accepting the notarized statment I already had is still a mystery to me.

I never did get the watch nor a refund. Since then, I have stopped doing business with FleaBay and PayPal entirely. However, over the course of the next few weeks, I *was* able to run-up my PayPal and FleaBay bills enough to cover the amount I was taken for.

I then shut down my PayPal and FleaBay accounts and also closed down the bank account I used for these transactions and left them holding the bag. Naturally, they badgered me for several months, demanding payment. And, of course, I ignored their demands and told them to go pound sand. An eye for an eye, so to speak...

Additionally, it would appear that PayPal and FleaBay are running what is essentially an illegal operation and I feel no guilt whatsoever for having done what I did.

It still amazes me that the US Govt. has not gone after PayPal and FleaBay for their criminal activities. And why do I say that they are criminals? Simple, open your wallet and look at ANY dollar bill of any denomination - it CLEARLY states on the left side of the bill: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"

The fact that FleaBay requires that ALL tansactions be conducted using PayPal as the only form of payment is CLEARLY illegal. If every FleaBay user would simply stop conducting business with them for just one week, they would be out of business within 8 days...

It doesn't much matter how long we Audiogoners think the trial period should be
after the buyer receives the item. If you use paypal you have to go by their rules.
The buyer has 45 days to file a complaint.
It still amazes me that the US Govt. has not gone after PayPal and FleaBay for their criminal activities. And why do I say that they are criminals? Simple, open your wallet and look at ANY dollar bill of any denomination - it CLEARLY states on the left side of the bill: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"

The fact that FleaBay requires that ALL tansactions be conducted using PayPal as the only form of payment is CLEARLY illegal.

It's very easy to think irrationally when you are angry.
Thanks to all.
Sgordon1 that is exactly the problem. Nothing has been diagnosed, nor has any cost of repair been put forth. It is all based on his word to Paypal.
I believe if the USB isn't working it is due to user error.
This might be an individual decision, after a month, I would take care of my customer and pay for repairs. A situation similar to yours happened to me several years ago. I ended up loosing a few hundred dollars but suffered no heart ache and the buyer was very happy.
To validate the buyer's argument, why not ask the buyer to send you his Ipod so you can check it out for yourself... ... ... fair is fair.
RW. you need to have a CC tied to your account then have the CC company issue a chargeback. They make the final decision that way, not paypal. Muzikat, if you sold it on ebay, the buyer has 45 days to file a claim. What a way to imply warranty when actually there was none. Unfortunately, you must state selling as is somewhere in your ad.
I would take the DAC back, with the buyer paying the return shipping, and refund his payment less any costs incurred for ebay and paypal.

You can resell it. I would indicate no returns in my next ad.
No returns will not help. The buyer simply has to state to his CC company not as described and have them issue a chargeback. You must state selling as is somewhere in your ad.
IMO as soon as item is delivered and confirmed to be in working order. I would say 24-48 hours or so after delivered.
Refund the money BUT Ask him to return the unit FedEx at his expense and never deal with him again.
12-28-12: Muzikat
Thanks to all.
Sgordon1 that is exactly the problem. Nothing has been diagnosed, nor has any cost of repair been put forth. It is all based on his word to Paypal.
I believe if the USB isn't working it is due to user error.

Too early to know or worry what PayPal will do.

I hope you saved all your emails between you and the buyer from day one to the present. Day one being the first time the buyer first inquired about buying the DAC from you.

I suggest you send a copy of all emails along with the original ad you ran for the DAC to Paypal.

Also in your reply to PayPal state when you shipped out the DAC the unit worked fine.

If I were you I would say you nor PayPal have any proof that there is a problem with the DAC..... The problem could be user error....

The only sure way to find out if there is a problem with the DAC is for the buyer to have the DAC checked out by a qualified service tech.
(From my limited experience with PayPal the buyer eats the shipping cost, if any.)

More than likely PayPal will agree and require the buyer to have the DAC checked out.

PayPal will more than likely require the buyer to provide proof the buyer has the DAC checked out by a qualified service Tech. They will not just take the buyer's word. The buyer will have to provide documentation with an official business typed letterhead.

When corresponding with PayPal choose your words carefully.
You will catch more flies with honey than with vinigar.

Good luck.
+1 Jea48.
I am not endorsing PayPal, but I have several hundred (if not more) transactions with them, almost all positive. And with the few problems I have had on PayPal, I feel that the PayPal team acted fairly and timely. Making forst contact with them is a little problematic, but once an complaint is filed they are pretty good about following up. A couple of wods of advise:
1- Have all of your documentation in order regarding what you shipped or received. You DO have documentation, right?
2- Never get angry or upset with the PayPal agent, either in word or writing. They deal with angry people all day, and I assume that they just write off the jerks.

PayPal makes and receives payment via several methods, including bank cards. In the U.S. most bank cards require a no questions asked 30-day return, some are 60-days. In Europe and Asia 45 days is quite common. So while 2-7 days may seem reasonable for several of the posters above, it's not reasonable according to PayPal Ts & Cs and may not be legal. If you don't like it, don't play in PayPal's sandbox.

Rlwainwright - re: the situation with the watch. I'm just curious - did you happen to check the shipping weight of the package? It seems that it would be obvious whether the watch or an empty box was actually shipped. That would indicate whether this was a PayPal or USPS claim issue.
The moment it ships, fully insured, packed and boxed with the original materials. Avoid paypal in future transactions, not only are their fees outrageous but they offer not protection for the seller from a dishonest buyer. Seller beware.
Note to self: Don't buy anything from Buconero117.
Never buy anything without a CC or some type of recource. If the seller won't budge, leave them stuck with the item. There will always be another you can buy.
A few years ago I sold a Phono Cartridge here on Audiogon . The Buyer took 2 weeks after receiving it to mount and use the Cartridge . He reported that one of the mounting holes was damaged and filed a report with Audiogon . Audiogon took my side and thought the Buyer took to long to test it . I had paid with a Postal MO .

That said , Paypal is a different matter . They always side with the Buyer .

Good luck !!
I shipped a Ref 5 to a buyer here on Audiogon. A few months later as we were emailing about our respective systems, he mentioned for the first time that, when he unpacked the unit, he noticed that the perspex top plate had cracked around the screw that holds it in place and asked if I would consider replacing it --about $125 from ARC. I had a good feeling about the buyer based upon our discussions. Too late to make claim with fedex. I replaced it anyway. I believe that we should all operate with an assumption of trust about a buyer unless his rating says otherwise. I think the buyer should be made happy unless he is a jerk, a thief or his claim seems fishy based on the seller's state of knowledge. That being said, under the same circumstance, if the defect was obvious as this one was and the cost of the request was disproportionately high relative to the price at which the item was sold, then that might have caused me to suspect that the buyer broke it and I might have responded differently. In other words---fishy.
I think Brownsfan's comments cover things pretty well.
I would add, we all bear some risk when trading (both buying and selling) used goods. That is one reason I state in my ads for more expensive items that I will not trade with those having multiple negative feedback, and request conversation from those with no feedback or with one negative feedback. I think a person's experience and history in buying and selling shine a light on how they may respond when things don't work out perfectly, such as with the USB port. Just because someone has cash doesn't mean I have to trade with them.
As the seller, I would look at two solutions;
1. The buyer pay to ship the unit to an authorized Naim repair facility who can then evaluate it and report back as to whether there is in fact a problem and what repair costs will be. If there is not a problem then you are done. If there is a problem, seller should pay for repairs and shipping so the buyer has a functioning unit.
2. Buyer returns unit for a full refund.
I agree it has taken too long but if you accept PayPal for payment then you are stuck with their rules. These are the risks of trading in used gear. Fortunately, most of those we trade with here are honest and rational about things.
BTW, I failed to mention that the buyer in this case had one negative feedback. I overlooked this when offer was accepted. This is a quote from feedback:

"bad buyer, Accepted the deal and did not pay as promised,after one week waiting, just left a message to notice her financial emergency, and caused me a big loss for the listed item. Do not make the deal with this person."

So I guess it is my fault selling to this person in the first place.
Will have to see how it plays out.
I will definitely state in my future ads the time limit for returns.
BTW, I am not a dealer, just an enthusiast.
Muzikat, why didn't the buyer go through Audiogon's resolution center? They waited how long and went right to paypal?? Have you been in touch with any staff members? This is extremely fishy behavior on the buyers part for sure.

I have never had an issue here where it could not be resolved quickly. Only recently did I have a problem with a DIY speaker builder but it didn't go through A'gon unfortunetly.
That said , Paypal is a different matter . They always side with the Buyer .

Not true. I speak from experience as a seller.

I agree, almost think it is buyer's remorse. Too late for anything but wait for Paypal. I suspect they are asking buyer for an authorized estimate repair.
The bad thing is my Paypal account is virtually frozen til resolved. If I want to buy anything through them, I must first bring my nregative account to zero by depositing $2000, then the amount of any purchase.
Tpreaves is correct. I purchased "electronic" media from a seller and was sent the wrong thing. Paypal stated that they do not cover anything electronic. This has happened to me 2 times with Paypal. So if you purchase a download (hi-rez file, anything PDF, etc) be VERY Careful!

PS. The seller never sent me my correct item and Paypal told me to read the fine print on their site.
IMO once it has been in the buyers possession for a week, and they have not contacted me with any issues, I feel like the statute of limitations has passed.

That said, I've never been in such a situation thankfully, but if a buyer was not satisfied with the item, I would tell him to ship it back to me, fully insured, using all of the original packaging materials, for a refund. If I paid the original shipping, I would subtract that from the refund of course.

If the item was damaged in transit, it's the receiver's responsibility to either refuse to accept it from the carrier, or file a damage claim with the carrier. Most carriers explicitly say not to ship it back to the sender in the event of a damage claim, because they want to inspect the packaging and the damage, so the onus is on the buyer to bring it to a UPS or Fedex or USPS center to follow through with that.
This is a decission on how you want to conduct your business. You are listed as a private user, but your current feedback is 1743. This sounds more like a commercial user than private. So, do you want satisfied customers or are you only interested in extracting every dollar possible?
I am not a dealer. That was stated in previous post.
I have never made money on Audiogon transactions. I just like to try a lot of
different gear. Obsessive perhaps, but believe me, I am a private user.
I probably should consider becoming a dealer. My friends tell me this all the
time. :)
Anyone still following this thread; here is the update. Paypal ruled in his favor, I received the DAC back. As I suspected it works perfectly. However, it is missing a DIN cable, and the plastic inner wrapping is missing. Also the manual is torn.
I called Paypal and re-opened against him to try and get my cable back.
Nice. I like using Paypal, but this makes me seriously reconsider them.
Sounds like the weasel was just trying to shake you down on the price. Good luck with PayPal.
I wish you the best of luck, but did you sign for the returned item? Paypal won't do anything about stripped parts. That happened to me once and I even had the Police come to my house to make a police report. Hopefully it'll never happen again, but if it does, send the unit back to your local post office and open it in front of wittnesses while taking pictures. The unit I had returned was missing the PC, manual, and demagnetizer. It worked fine and I sold it for more money to someone else and it still works fine. Unfortunately for the guy that did something similar to me left me his work phone and address and I got him fired after months of hassling them via pay phone and mail with the help of some friends. He to this day still hasn't figured it out. I don't know why people are allowed to get away with these things, but I'll bet his Credit card co not paypal made the decision. The guy that tried to cheat me was even suspended by ebay for too many negatives, but it didn't help me much. You'll just have to replace the parts and resell the DAC and hope you don't lose too much. Best of luck. If the unit is still working as you say, you did your part.
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What happened, were you lucky with PayPal ?

I agree with rlwainwright and many others here.
eBay/PayPal nearly always take buyer´s side, even when buyer is evidently a liar.
I speak of a recent experience with a scam artist on eBay, with a help of eBay this buyer actually caused freezing my account with 2000 euros in it.
Practically they can freeze a buyer´s account as well without a reason and notion whenever they want. They can hold your funds/money for 180 days.
Beyond insulting. It´s a neverending nightmare.

1) Nowadays PayPal practically almost always takes buyer´s side, whatever the case. How stoopid is that ??
2) Freezing seller´s and buyer´s PayPal account without a notion and for whatever reason that suit for them is ridiculous and actually criminal because it prevents you, as a seller or a buyer doing your business and thus simply harms your normal living, if you ask me.

These prove that PayPal´s policy is dishonest, at least and has nothing to do with fairness not to say common reason and constructive spirit in business.
One month should be max and i never use paypal as they stink big time!!
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I would say the seller's responsibility ends when after plugging it in/setting it up it works as described.  To be generous I would give the buyer 1 day assurance that all is well.  It is the buyer's responsibility to immediately check it out upon arrival.
"....I would say the seller’s responsibility ends when after plugging it in/setting it up it works as described. To be generous I would give the buyer 1 day assurance that all is well. It is the buyer’s responsibility to immediately check it out upon arrival..."

+1 ....full stop.

OP fact circumstance as described with an intervening month until Buyer’s sudden wailing started sounds more IMO as either
(a) buyer’s regret,  or
(b) buyer f****ed it up after he played with a month.

so ..... sayonara and tuff noogies to Buyer and no further seller responsibility(ies) ....full stop.
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After 4 week´s correspondence with eBay and after 4 reports on buyer´s inappropriate behauviour eBay finally ended the case for my favor. Every time I replied them I referred to my ad and the photos in it. They had nothing to hold on. One can´t con an honest man.
Yes, eBay really LOOKED at my ad again and said it wasn´t my fault and my money was released. Buyer was accusing that I hide marks/imperfections on the item. Even most of the biggest marks/scratches are actually visible in my ad. Of course it wasn´t my fault, I knew exactly what I had been doing all the time, buyer just tried to cheat and crab money from me but failed. In fact, he had earlier before sale´s end suggested that I could pay half of shipping that would be very expensive for a 45 kilos parcel and the actual cost was still unknown. At this point I went suspicious but agreed to pay half, as a gently gesture. Funny, he never thanked me about this...

After sale buyer made several basic mistakes, not accepting return, demanding "extra services after sale" and "Misused the programme to claim an item was not as described". In frustration when he obviously realized that eBay won´t play the game he had planned he had left a negative feedback. His biggest mistake was "leaving an inappropriate feedback" when case was still open/unsolved. Furthermore, eBay removed that negative feedback right after.

Great, there´s still common sense left but they held my funds for four weeks. That was really bad because I really have no other funds at the moment. I told them that my economy is seriously harmed.

I learned my lesson. I immediately withdrew my money to my bank account and never will sell anything expensive there. And won´t be PainPal´s fool anymore. What a bloody waste of time.