back to article ASA slaps Ebuyer AGAIN - this time for ignoring regulator

Toothless ad regulator the Advertising Standards Authority has put online souk Ebuyer on the naughty step again for using misleading advertising – the seventh complaint upheld against the company roughly three years. However, it seems Ebuyer is so bored of the gummy watchdog it has simply ceased responding to its enquiries. …

  1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    This article needs an Editor

    Who is actually fluent in the English language. It's full of grammar errors.

    1. Stretch

      Re: This article needs an Editor

      Examples? I can only see one.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: This article needs an Editor

      Do you mean grammatical errors ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This article needs an Editor

      I suspect that the writer meant to say "Its full of grammatical errors."

      Could be worse though as in modern day UK pigeon English one might read "No one can spell these days as they've shut all the grammer schools innit?" LOL

      1. Ben Boyle

        Re: This article needs an Editor

        "Pidgin" English

  2. Rono666

    Everything i bought off them has had free delivery, even pen drives for £3.77 next day, sounds like waffle to me

    1. tmTM

      Some stuff does and some stuff does not say free delivery.

      Although I don't know if you put a free delivery item in with the other stuff does it make the entire order free delivery??

      My last order was Free next day delivery (which is now a day late) ho ho ho Yodel.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "My last order was Free next day delivery (which is now a day late) ho ho ho Yodel."

        Yodel said they had stopped accepting new deliveries to clear the Black Friday back log that they have. So hopefully you'll get your package in about February 2015.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          That's Yodel for you.

          I used to use Ebuyer a lot. Last order, for a laptop, was delivered to a random address. Ebuyer refused to refund until the laptop was returned from the mystery address.

          Never again - Scan & Quiet PC for me.

          1. DanDanDan

            "Ebuyer refused to refund until the laptop was returned from the mystery address."

            I know you won't like the suggestion, because it's really not your responsibility to deal with this, but...

            Using a credit card for your next "big" online purchase would save you a lot of hassle over this sort of stuff. It becomes a simple: "Oh, you won't give me a refund? I wonder what my credit card company will think of this.... oh you will give me a refund after all? Oh good".

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "Last order, for a laptop, was delivered to a random address"

            Anyone want to take bets that it was the address of the courier or a close friend?

    2. Brian 59

      I ordered a memory stick at around a fiver with free delivery, they wanted to charge me £8 delivery! This was because according to them I do not stay on the UK mainland, I've an IV17 postcode, they treat all IV postcodes, amongst others, as not on UK mainland. I live 20 miles from Inverness, definitely on the mainland.

      1. Squander Two

        "Mainland UK"

        The whole "mainland UK" thing pisses me off. Not only because I live in Northern Ireland so am often affected by it, but because it's just plain bad English. If you exclude NI, then it's not the bloody UK, is it? It's like saying "We deliver to all of North America (excluding Mexico and Canada)."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The snag with this next day free delivery is that

    The snag with this next day free delivery is that the courier they use for it is Yodel (or at least it has been every time I've tried it; like Amazon, they seem remarkably reluctant to tell you up front who will be used for shipping any given order).

    And even if you understandably don't ever want to use Yodel again (I'm one of many who don't), last time I shopped at eBuyer I couldn't find a way of stopping my order being "upgraded" to next day delivery via Yodel. Even though I was willing to pay for proper next day delivery.

    1. IsJustabloke

      Re: The snag with this next day free delivery is that

      I recently had some correspondence with the MD on their choice of courier....I was willing to pay more for a proper standard next day delivery service as well, his response was that if I paid the extra I could upgrade to "before midday" which was always sent by Royal Mail.... I pointed out to him that I'll be dealing with CCL online in future for *all* my orders because of his choice of courier.

      Also I have no flag for the ASA but they are right Ebuyers delivery claims are bollocks, they always have been.

  4. Anonymous IV

    What's the next level below Toothless Tiger?

    Initially I thought this was the next version of Ubuntu, but the ASA is beyond even that and could thus be described as Utterly Useless.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: What's the next level below Toothless Tiger?

      There is an ultimate sanction. Because the ASA can say you're not fit to advertise without your ads bein pre-screened. Then everyone who's anyone in the advertising industry won't show their ads.

      However they always seem very reluctant to use this power. And I'm not sure how effective it is anymore, as it probably doesn't apply so well online. I don't know if eBuyer do much press/radio/TV advertising.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: What's the next level below Toothless Tiger?

        "Because the ASA can say you're not fit to advertise without your ads bein pre-screened. Then everyone who's anyone in the advertising industry won't show their ads."

        1: The ASA is a trade association, not a regulator.

        2: The ASA can say all they want, they can't control what Ebuyer put on their own web page, nor will they be able to prevent them obtaining banner ads or other online advertising.

        3: Have you ever seen an Ebuyer advert in mainstream media? I for one have not (newspaper adverts are next to useless as a rule anyway)

        4: Leading on from 3, even if Tv/print/radio refused Ebuyer adverts, do you really think it would stop them? They'd proven that nothing happens other than "Stop! And if you don't stop, I'll tell you to Stop! again."

        Trading standards can (and should) step in(*), but Ebuyer's far from the only outfit which is ignoring the ASA and getting away with it. Meantime there are a bunch of recidivist offenders ignoring PhonePayPlus too - that's another trade association calling itself a regulator.(**)

        (*) Given the usual speed of trading standards, that might happen sometime in 2017.

        (**) In PPP's case, after decades of falsely calling themselves a "regulator", they were actually delegated a tiny amount of authority by Ofcom a couple of years ago(***), but the ONLY recourse available if bad guys ignore PPP or refuse to pay their "fines" is for PPP to refer the matter to Ofcom.

        (***) Ofcom stated that all complaints about premium rate lines should go to ICSTIS as it was then, but that's all the delegation they got. Up to that point they had no legal status at all under Ofcom rules.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: What's the next level below Toothless Tiger?

          The ASA is a mechanism to resolve disputes more cheaply than a fraud trial (because misleading advertising is fraud). If eBuyer are ignoring the ASA then they're abandoning their safety net against the directors being prosectuted.

          Next move trading standards or Yorkshire constabulary (fat chance!)

  5. Pete S

    I used to spend a decent amount of money with Ebuyer until a few years ago when I tried to return a faulty HDD. After spending significant time providing evidence that the drive was faulty and less than 6 months old I was refused a replacement.

    No reason was given and a refund was forced on me despite asking for a replacement item. HDD prices had increased since I purchased the drive and despite them being able to get a replacement from the manufacturer they were unwilling to entertain just replacing the faulty goods. All legal apparently, but poor customer service from my perspective.

    I've not purchased from them since, will not again and try to dissuade friends and colleagues.

    1. Squander Two

      You know, giving you a full refund is really not all that bad.

      I had the opposite: got a TV from them that developed a fault and they gave me a full refund. The price of TVs had gone down in the interim, so I was able to get a similar but better replacement plus an extra £50.

  6. Connor

    Woeful customer service

    Ebuyer is a nightmare to deal with, they don't bother getting back to you and when they do they invariably tell you porkie pies (e.g. refunds cannot be given until an item lost by the courier is returned to them) or just fob you off. I try to avoid dealing with them wherever possible and when I have to (sometimes they are the only place that still has an item in stock), I make sure that I have brushed up on consumer law. Novatech on the other hand have excellent customer service and have therefore become my first port of call.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Woeful customer service

      are you sure that they aren't connected to 'dixophone'?

    2. Dr Wadd

      Re: Woeful customer service

      I'm really gutted that Novatech have closed their stores other than the Portsmouth branch. It was very handy to have a bricks-and-mortar computer shop close by that isn't PC World.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Woeful customer service

      Sounds like they need to spend some time at the Small Claims Court. That would focus their minds.

      FTR I only use Ebuyer for pricing info. I've found Scan and Dabs to be considerably more helpful.


    Another unhappy Ebuyer customer here.

    It's their business model.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I believe the customer service address for ebuyer is....

    At least it turned out to be that the last two times I had a faulty product from them.

    Won both cases - won't be buying from them again.

    1. Tapeador
      Thumb Up

      Re: I believe the customer service address for ebuyer is....

      Hahaha excellent :-)

      Just a note for newbies to the small claims process, you have to do a couple of things before going to the moneyclaim process. 1) ask the retailer to fulfil their obligations. 2) if they refuse 1), write to retailer recorded delivery (possibly with just certificate of posting but not sure), informing them that you're going to make a small claim against them, and saying why, unless they fulfil their obligations in a reasonable period e.g. 2 weeks. 3) then you're good to go with moneyclaim/small claim.

      Note though that if your purchase is over £100 and you paid (even a penny of it) by UK credit card, then under s 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1975 the credit card company is jointly liable under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, for the goods (e.g. including their being of reasonable quality and durability considering all factors including the price). In the English language this means if the retailer turns you down, rather than going through moneyclaim, if you want you can just ring up your credit card co and tell them what's happened, and invite them to see you right.

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "staff wearing Xmas jumpers... stood in front of a board rating those that had managed to prevent the most customer returns."

    I was pleased to see that photo as evidence that I'd done my end of the customer experience inititive well. They sent my parcel out, it arrived on time and had in it an extra item. A nice little 8 port powered USB hub. I tried to email them to arrange a return but they didn't want to know. So I kept it.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    So who to use now?

    I've never had a problem with eBuyer - but never needed to use their customer service either.

    I do try and use vendors who play nice so who should I be using instead then?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: So who to use now?

      One should judge customer service by what happens when something has gone wrong.

      I have had great service from Dabs, CCL and Amazon when things have gone wrong.

      Scan seem fine, though I've not had anything go wrong with orders from them so take that with a pinch of salt!

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: So who to use now?

        Another vote for Scan - hard to judge them when it goes wrong as they never seem to fail. They use DPD for delivery, so timed slots.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Ebuyer ought to watch their step

    Or the next time this happens the ASA will tell them not to ignore them in that way again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The ASA ruled the ad should not appear again in its current form"

      Every time.

      *Every time*.

      Has the ASA *ever* done anything other than telling a company that an ad from their campaign which finished six months ago and isn't likely to be used again "should not appear again in its current form"?!

      Chocolate teapot...

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "The ASA ruled the ad should not appear again in its current form"

        "Chocolate teapot..."

        Nope. It's working exactly as designed.

        The design is to provide an illusion of "industry self regulation" in order to prevent government intervention, whilst actually doing as little as possible.

        "Not long after the inception of the ASA the Molony Committee considered but rejected proposals to introduce a system to regulate the advertising industry by statute. The Committee reported that it was satisfied that the industry could be regulated effectively from within by the ASA. A guarded comment within the report, however, warned that the self-regulatory system depended upon the satisfactory working of the ASA and the maintaining of acceptable standards."

  12. GettinSadda

    And another...

    I stopped using eBuyer after they charged me about £10 for "next day delivery" and took 4 days to deliver. They refused to offer a refund of the delivery so have lost me as a customer for ever.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh blast them

    Hello Charles, Edgar here, hope you and the good lady are well, sorry to bother you but one of those quango come lunch clubs I am involved with is having a bit of bother, seems one of their crew they look after is being a bit recalcitrant, not standing to attention questioning orders and such, I wondered if you knew anyone in their local lodge? Could all be a bit messy if the hoi polloi get hold of this and start asking questions like “who gets paid as part of this Standards Authority? if they have none of the later and minimal of the former”, if you see what I mean. I think this Rebuyer or whatever must have shareholders and they must have planning needs, legal and tax advice etc, I'm sure there must be some way we can come to an arrangement what?

  14. Peter G Green

    Never had a problem with Ebuyer and am happy to recommend them

    When DABS were bought (and immediately ruined) by BT in 2006, I turned to Ebuyer as an alternative supplier. I've had a huge number of orders of varying values and had no problem at all with their returns service or customer service department.

    The problem I feel is that people only notice service when it's bad and there will have been problems for some customers. But the "majority" of service from Ebuyer is good or at least satisfactory, at least in my experience. The margins for IT tech suppliers are so lean (and we all benefit from lower prices) so you can't really knock them for trying to limit their returns to the genuine problems.

    I recommend Ebuyer to everyone I know. And no I don't work for them or anything related to that. I just like Ebuyer as a supplier and wanted to balance all the other posters who have had problems...

    PS. DABS have improved of late, which can only be a good thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never had a problem with Ebuyer and am happy to recommend them

      Hardly a recommendation, particularly as you don't work for them - how do you know the "majority" are happy? 51% is a majority.

      Ebuyer refuses to publish failure data on its products, and I don't see it publishing its customer satisfaction levels any time soon.

      Even if they had a level of 95%, that's 5 dissatisfied people in every 100 or 5,000 in in every 100,000 orders. The "majority" may be happy that's a lot of unhappiness and no consolation if you're one of them. (It's suggested that for every person who complains, 10 people don't bother). Providing customer satisfaction is part of the business model, assuming they want to stay in business.

      Bottom line: the customer defines value, not the supplier.

    2. Squander Two

      Re: Never had a problem with Ebuyer and am happy to recommend them

      I've had mixed experience with Ebuyer. I got a cheap big TV from them with a three year guarantee and its headphone port stopped working after a couple of years. They arranged courier pick-up. They no longer stocked the same TV, so credited me a full refund. Meanwhile, the price of TVs had of course come down, so I used the credit to get a better TV and they sent me £50 as well. And of course the three year guarantee on the new TV started afresh. Excellent service there.

      That experience led me to get a small TV with built-in DVD-player from them. The player skips a beat every few minutes, which I find very annoying, especially if music is playing. Ebuyer took it back and looked at it and then sent it back to me again, claiming that it wasn't a fault. Apparently, they regard it as working as designed -- which is shite when you consider you can get a DVD-player from Asda for £17 which works better. So I was quite unimpressed by that. On the other hand, they didn't charge me shipping for taking back a device which they claim is not faulty and then sending it to me again.

      Everything else I've had from them has been fine.

  15. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Ebuyer: bunch of numpties.

    Last year, as a test, I ordered a couple of video cards from Ebuyer on economy delivery.

    5 days after taking my money the order hadn't been dispatched (parts were listed as in stock the entire period), so I cancelled it.

    It took them another 28 days to actually refund.

    First, last and only order. I don't deal with companies which operate like that.

  16. I Like Heckling Silver badge

    Ebuyer - Probably the worst online retailer I've dealt with

    I've used ebuyer before... quite a few times. But out of the 6 times I've purchased from them and with each order normally being in excess of the £100 mark... 50% of those orders have encountered issues... and 100% of the customer service staff have been ignorant, unhelpful and/or downright rude.

    1: The graphics card that turned up was not the one ordered and delivery (which was 2 days late) was refused. Had to fight for a refund which took a further three weeks.

    2: Hard drive that failed after 10 days and which they denied they were responsible for, even had a member of their staff suggest I was trying to fob off an old on them until I offered to send him a pic of the serial numbers that proved it was manufactured just a couple of months earlier (according to the manufacturers website). Tried to tell me I had to go to them for a replacement... until I started quoting the exact parts of the sale and supply of goods act to them and making sure that they knew I was aware of the law and in fact obviously knew more than them.

    3: Monitor that they claimed had been sent and was delayed due to problems with their courier... had not in fact been sent at all and their staff couldn't even get their stories straight giving me three different versions of events in an order that would have been impossible to happen in real life.

    They deactivate peoples accounts out of spite if they complain, they try and report people on forums if they say things against them... So I fully expect their down votes on this comment.

    The true measure of any company is what they do when things go wrong... and ebuyer have failed entirely in that regard. As such I have never spent another penny with them... even if they were cheaper. I would rather spend more with a company I know for a fact gives much better customer service... Like aria, scan... hell even amazon have a top notch customer service dept in my book. ebuyer are a joke outfit and I will gladly point people to their competitors and inform them not to trust ebuyer at all.

  17. King Jack

    A simple guide of a good company is the ease of contact. If you have to jump through hoops to locate a regular phone number (not premium) then shop elsewhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @King Jack - quite agree

      You just made me think of quotemehappy.

      Don't get me started...

  18. dominicr

    I have bought from Ebuyer for over 10 years but they lost me as a customer two months ago when they charged me a restocking fee for returning an item that was misdescribed on their website even though I returned it within 7 days. They said I was a business customer and so not covered by Distance Selling Regs. Possibly true but it's not the way to treat a long-term customer.

    Instead I use Dabs whose service has always been good and are usually cheaper too.

  19. Juan Inamillion

    Quite amazed... see so many negative posts about ebuyer, though admittedly I've never had cause to look for any before now.

    I've used them for probably 90 % of my orders (freelance IT support) over the past 10 years and I can' remember a problem with the company. I think I've had a couple of returns but no problem dealing with them either. In fact I've just had a look and find the last problem was only 1 of 2 items ordered arriving. This was sorted within a week with them apologising and sending out the missing one. That was in Feb 2009...

    As for DABS... My only recent experience (haven't used them for years) was a client ordering 4 4TB WD Enterprise class drives from them. They arrived not terribly well packed with one drive packed quite differently from the others. Within a week 1 failed, within another 2 weeks another failed. Trying to get them replaced has proved a nightmare. I considered the first failure to effectively be DOA but they refused to accept this.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Quite amazed...

      "They arrived not terribly well packed with one drive packed quite differently from the others"

      My policy with hard drive shipments is to shake the box.

      If anything noticeably shifts around inside it, the delivery is refused.

  20. chrisjw37

    It used to be a good retailer, tried it for the first time again in 5 years and they screwed a simple order up.

    Avoiding in future 100%

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