Sunday, August 2, 2020

Timeline for CORE returns and other transaction obligations

This is yet another post prompted by experience with an eBay buyer, which resulted in a negative feedback, which to us is unjustified, but to the customer is fully justified.

We just got the following negative feedback:

"(-) Beware of the core return timeline. Will not work with you if you are late. "

We answer here because eBay gives 80 characters to answer and that is not enough for our answer.

For the protocol, here is our short answer:

1) Yes, beware of the core return timeline and all other terms of the offer, just as you should expect and demand vendors to beware and cover for their own responsibilities under the same listing!

2) No, it is not true we will not work with buyers. It is apparently blunt to assume (let alone pronounce!) single experience as a corporate policy, but more importantly we DID try to work with this buyer, just not to their liking.
Which is often the case when you eat your cake and still want it all.

Those are the details in case anyone cares:

We sell some boards with the offer to buy the old defective dud that is to be supposedly replaced by our board.

Nothing new under the Sun, it's actually fairly standard practice in the business.

Of course in order for such a business model to work there has to be a finite timeline for customers sending the old dud back and of course there has to be additional conditions, at least if we want reasonable chance for actually being able to re-condition and put the returned board back in the field.

For example boards that have been physically damaged or  have sustained water or fire damage.
The later being somewhat hard to define as sometimes components burn, but it's not actually any big issue.

But, simply put, if we are careful not to just waste money on boards we can't practically use for anything we have to define some criteria they need to pass and some time frame we have to get them by.

The reasons for the time frame are more simple to explain - first, nobody will want to be indefinitely liable as liabilities may mount and crush you when you least expect and second and actually more important, if a board is not listed and sold it loses its money-making power, i.e. if we lose a board to advertise we lose revenue stream!
As such, every board that is not returned to us reasonably fast has to be replaced and we go and buy a replacement on the open market - usually for much more than what we would have paid for the old dud, but with hope to continue the recondition-sell-buy-recondition-sell cycle, which would pay it off.

Clearly not a rocket science and we do not pretend that it is.

So we got this exchange earlier today (all messages are copied verbatim):

I recently replaced my power board you sent me and it worked out great. I was going to send you the core but we forgot it at our weekend home. will you still accept it beyond the 14 days ? Also this is what the backside looked like when I removed it. I want you to see this before I return it to make sure that you accept it. Not sure if that was the source of my problem or if someone tried to fix it before me. Let me know where to go from here. Thank You

Coppell TV Repair LLC:
We may pay you $30 instead of $60 if you return the board to here.
Or if we didn't notice the delay - though we usually do - then we may pay you full credit.
I do not see anything unusual on the pictures, but missing the deadline simply makes us go out and spend about the same amount on any board - working or not, usually working and expensive - so that we have boards in circulation....this is our bloodline and we have to keep it fresh.

For $30. Not worth my time or shipping costs. I guess thanks for nothing. Will make note in my feedback

Coppell TV Repair LLC:

We are not putting a price on your time or shipping costs , you are.

We put terms determined by our costs of running business and - by your own admission - you are the one that broke the rules, not us.

We have done everything we said we will do and we answered all your questions honestly and fairly.

"Thanks for nothing" is quite out of place here.

Terrible answer

At that point we got the negative feedback quoted above.

It is easy to see why customer is upset. They made a simple human mistake. They did not try to cheat and asked perfectly valid question. They expected perfectly valid forgiveness of mistake.

The question is whether they are granted the right of forgiveness and if not then are they in their right to blame it on us by leaving negative feedback.
I mean morally, not practically or legally.

My position is that customer is not king and every business transaction is among equals.
As such, each party should be held equally responsible to the terms of the transaction.
Forgiveness is optional on each end and not necessarily possible at all times and its lack does not necessarily affect the business qualities of either side - it takes more than that to judge.

For example, what if we turn the table and imagine the not so uncommon situation in which the vendor is in default, say by having the product fail during warranty period.
What if vendor says "listen, I really did give you 90 days warranty and it did fail on the 60th, but I am short of people and parts now, so how about you give me some slack and let the warranty down to 60 days?
If you do we won't be having the problem we have now, would we?"

This is blown out of proportion, of course, but there are other, more realistic examples.

Seller may be out of products and may ask the client "Would you mind if I delay shipping by a week?".

The first vendor with 10 years on their back not having ever done that to throw the first stone at me.
(of course eventually vendors just stop asking; they just delay the order for a week or until customer calls..but that's another story)

So would the vendor be right to accuse the customer in bad relations if customer says "no, give me the money back, I'll move elsewhere"?

Of course not!

Well I dare claim from a standpoint of a business agreement this is exactly the same!

Buyer defaulted, was aware of it and asked if the agreement would still work.
Seller said no, not in this form, but it would in another.
Buyer got upset at seller.

I understand perfectly that if the business' prime objective was financial success, widespread approval leading to word of mouth referrals etc. then it should do everything in its power to keep customers happy, including taking their losses...sometimes.

I just refuse to accept that cash is king and we should turn blind eye to mistakes people do and cover for them. I believe that while possibly boosting the business' popularity, this results in customers becoming spoiled and irresponsible and inevitably leads to corruption.
My arguments and proofs are all around.

This view of mine results in occasional clashes with buyers and occasional negative feedbacks indeed.
It is the price that I and the companies I run pay for putting something above financial success.

It allows me to sleep better believing I do my job in keeping this world sane.

The question remains...while it is clear why customer had negative it right for that experience to be reflected on the seller?

If yes - for whatever reason -  then where do you draw the line?

If you believe the seller had to give up what the customer wanted ( to keep him happy and/or to avoid negative feedback) then what is the most basic thing sellers should not do to keep clients?

- Bobby

Friday, March 20, 2020

eBay removes repair kit listings containing "Not coming up" description in title

So today we, like probably others, have found out eBay has killed a number of our listings due to breaking eBay's Search Manipulation Policy.

The listings were for DIY repair kits that people use to resolve particular problems in failed electronic boards, namely (giving offending titles as they were listed on eBay; the links will point to our own website where eBay luckily does not have power yet):




Electronic boards are complicated creations and while at a high level one can say they either work or do not work and therefore should either be replaced or not, at a lower level things get way more complicated.

A failed / defective board may cause all kinds of unusual behavior in the appliance, e.g. endless restarting (aka power cycling), totally dead, trying to start, but failing (failing to start), dark or ghost image, inverse colors, excessive heat, whining noise etc. etc.

All those are different descriptions for (usually) different failures.

There is no ONE failure and there is no ONE description and, unless you are ShopJimmy, which used to advertise in their repair kits that they contain "all the parts needed to solve the problems with your board" (or something to that tune and which was so far fetched it was definitely flat out misleading and wrong), there is no one repair kit that solves a failure.

When creating listing titles we try to include the description of the problem or problems the kit addresses; this is based at our own first hand experience doing repairs and is integral part of the kit's description (which is also why it is contained in the description).
We often point to videos in our YouTube channel showing the particular failures.

Unlike most other vendors we also include information of the particular parts included in the repair kits so that people can test them and have actual factual information to decide if they need that kit or not.

The "Not Coming Up" is the opposite of search manipulation; it is the selection narrower and belongs where it is.

eBay would be better off spending their efforts ensuring customers who buy repair services ship the items to be repaired in a timely fashion and NOT penalizing vendors for customers not doing so.

In fact, eBay is better off making sure customers who buy repair services are AWARE they buy repair services in the first place.

A good first step would be to stop calling repair services "Items" and promising delivery date for them when clearly it can't be set without knowing how long customers will take to send their item to be repaired.

Another MUST DO item in eBay's todo list should be forcing buyers to actually read and agree with vendor's specific description of the listing; requirement may be optional so that it doesn't sharply kill the sweet revenue made by eBay, but it doesn't change the fact that, especially in the mobile versions, the listing description is flat out hidden and people often go by picture alone.
Where vendors- surprise, suprise! - are not allowed to use text.
So how do you show "REPAIR SERVICE" in a picture?

With its latest effort eBay is demonstrating the type of good intentions that lead to hell.

Monday, September 23, 2019

itzaloc760 rebuttal: "Was sent a different model number Eeprom"

This is one of those claim rebuttal posts made as a result of disagreement with a customer.

As I have said before whoever said customer was always right was caring more about their money than actual facts.

We don't mind people believing the Sun is raising because of them as long as it doesn't come in the way of our own business.

The conflict is most often illustrated by Indian people calling our phone and asking what will it cost to replace a bad capacitor on their TV and when we ask them which capacitor they saying it doesn't really matter since it's a less than a dollar capacitor and we sure will know which one.

Call me racial if you want, but for whatever reason it is mostly Indian folks we have such conversation with - not all and not only, but definitely most.

Anyway, I digress...this is about a customer who bought an EEPROM containing the firmware for Vizio E420VO TV as advertised here:

According to eBay's own revision history this listing has been up since about 2016 and has made about 14 sales by the time of the development of this story.

So buyer itzaloc760 purchases and gets sent one of those and the following communication develops (nothing was edited):


The EEPROM is not the same one that my TV has, your description says it supposed to be for a Vizio E420VO for it to be compatible. The EEPROM on my TV is a MX2510GL6445EM2I the EEPROM I received from you is M2I12G5B212600. I have added pictures of the board my TV has and that's what your description for the Eeprom your selling supposed to work for. And no I didn't try it out I already order another one from a different seller.


(attached are following two pictures) 


 Coppell TV Repair LLC:


First, neither of your pictures show the EEPROM with the firmware for this TV.

One picture shows tuner box next to which there is some device, but I don't think it's an EEPROM and it most certainly isn't the board's firmware EEPROM.

The other picture shows the TCON processor (TCON is embedded on the main board on this model) and the TCON does have its own EEPROM with its own firmware, which, however is specific for the panel of the TV used and NOT for the model itself and it's not what typically fails and what we advertise.

Second, there are many different and compatible EEPROM models out there so it is not abnormal to receive a device that has different markings than the one on the board.
The same EEPROM can be and often is manufactured by different vendors and LG uses different ICs in their board too; and further, often times we as a service shop use one memory device which has larger capacity and can serve 10 different models - some with 32K eeproms, other with 64K EEPROMs and yet others with 128K EEPROMs.
OEMs use different devices because they order in hundreds of thousands and to them it makes a difference.
To us , price wise it is the same if we get 100 pcs of one or the other and if we can get away with using the larger IC for all cases then we go for it.

Lastly, M2I12G5B212600 is not a valid part number.
Give me a good picture of it and I'll tell you what it is.
Until then, go for the label printed on the PCB next to the device and make sure it's U18.


Coppell TV Repair LLC (second message):

Simply put. the message I want to convey is you are not talking to an eBay vendor reselling anything they can lay their hand on.

You are talking to someone who works all day long - Saturday evening included - reverse engineering and fixing boards.

it's kind like designing electronics, only harder....believe it or not.

Challenge me technically with any electronics question you may have and let's see if I can level.

And I dare tell you the EEPROM we advertise and send is the right one.

At least from the pictures it doesn't seem like you are looking at the right place.

On the board in the below listing (the first that I pulled on eBay, do not know who it is from) the EEPROM is near the lower right corner of the white rectangle marked on the PCB around the main processor:

This is just a guess from looking at the board; it looks like it (8 pins) and it is close to the processor - that is what an EEPROM should be.

(update after publishing: oddly enough, the item in the above listing has already been sold at the time of publishing this rebuttal, which means within 1 day of the conversation developing; for reference purposes, below is a copy of the picture it contained.)









Keep the money as a donation I'm not gonna argue with you, I just lost my mom and I don't have time for any of this that's why I just ordered the right one with the same part numbers, and I'll send you the picture of the U18 Eeprom of my board cause you sound like I don't know what I'm doing. And I don't want anything in return so don't reply back. You know what Eepron you send me so compare both. The pictures I send you first where for reference only so you can see the model number of the board my TV has but yiu where looking for the Eeprom well I send you the picture also.


Coppell TV Repair LLC:

Not arguing here...I was trying to help.

Sorry if I had misunderstood you...I thought you were giving us those two pictures as examples of where you look for the eeprom.

Also sorry for your loss, but again I have no intent to argue.

Apology accepted, so I send you the pictures of my board numbers and the Eeprom my board has, I don't think I have to send you a picture of the Eeprom you send me so you can compare the part numbers. And I don't want anything in return take it as a donation from a well known buyer here in Ebay.


The next thing happening was itzaloc760 leaving us negative feedback on eBay:



 Negative feedback rating   Was sent a different model number Eeprom


We still maintain that the proper EEPROM was sent and that the buyer was simply incompetent, upset and - to me it is obvious - confused.


Is it possible that we have sent incorrect EEPROM? Yes, it is. 


What is more likely - for us to have made that mistake or for a buyer who can't take off properly an EEPROM number to have taken the wrong one out or to have soldered it incorrectly or to have misdiagnosed the problem?


To us the answer is if not certain, then certainly very far away from the finite statement "was sent a different model number Eeprom".

You take your side.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Facts and figures about misusing CORE return requirements - MMABU

We had a fairly uncommon case today.

Like many others in the business we offer certain serviced boards for sale with a CORE option, i.e. option to give cash back for the old dud provided it comes physically good and without traces of tampering.

This allows us to service it and put it back for sale, thus closing the revenue cycle.

The most common problems with this practice are:
1) Buyers may decide not to return anything;
2) They may return something that is broken or tampered with;
3) Returned board may meet stated criteria (not tampered, not broken, returned timely), but for one reason or another we may fail to service and put back in use (e.g. if we can't figure what went wrong with it or if very specific part has failed that we can't find etc.).

Any of those breaks our revenue cycle and we have to source a board - sometimes working one, which costs much more than what we'd earn on the first one of two repairs combined - that we can sell again and hope customer returns the old one for credit per our offering.

So far so good.

Today we had a situation we haven't had in quite some time, if ever: the return was not tampered with, it has failed electrically all right and is probably repairable...but is different version of the board.

Case in point is about DPS-167DP used in Vizio E550i-B2 and DPS-146EP used in Vizio E480i-B2.

So a buyer returned DPS-146EP in place of ordered and sent E550i-B2.

We contacted him and talked about it, resulting in case being opened on Paypal, which we elevated for resolution and a negative feedback being left on eBay stating

"Dishonest seller, refused to honor replacement refund, insulted me instead".

Now if anyone knows me from previous posts or otherwise they should already know I like facts.

So here is the verbatim message exchange that occurred on eBay...decide for yourself who is dishonest and who insults who:

Message 1. Coppell TV Repair LLC to MMABU:

Just finished inspecting the board you returned to us for $45 credit.

I am afraid we have a problem with it.

The board we sent you was DPS-167DP and the board you returned to us is DPS-146EP.

The difference is explained in the listings we have for both boards and is an important one since DPS-146EP can not substitute DPS-167DP, but the opposite is possible.

Can you possibly shed some light on how come we get a board from a different TV model?

Message 2: MMABU to CTVR

I searched based on my model and ordered the indicated power supply. I received it. I removed my existing power supply and sent back the one that was in there to you for core refund. The one you sent works in my tv. I'm happy. I'll be completely happy when you reimburse me for my core charge as promised.

By the way, as far as I could tell both boards looked identical, and it seems obvious the component that was damaged on my board was the component that was repaired on the one you sent to me.

Message 3. Coppell TV Repair LLC to MMBAU

Glad you were happy with the board you received, but unfortunately we are not happy with the board we received.

This is not an accusation in any way, this is statement of a fact, the cause of which is that, as stated, the two boards *are* different.

The fact that they may look identical to you is irrelevant as it is subjective and ultimately we are the pros and not you.

We delivered a board DPS-167DP for Vizio E550i-B2 as advertised and as explained in additional details in the listing.

We got back board DPS-146EP, which is not an equivalent trade since we can't sell it to the next person with E550i-B2 as they may very correctly point out that it is not the same board; more importantly, DPS-146EP lacks connector CN201 by design whole E550i-B2 has it and most importantly the two can deliver different power to the LED driver.

Which is why Delta has the separation in the first place.

Do you want to restore status quo and you return our board to here for full credit and we return yours back to you untouched?

We do not want to profit from this and we are ready to do what it takes to ensure you this is neither bait and switch nor picking up on a customer.

It is apparent to us that the situation is not one a customer enjoys, but then again we have not done anything wrong to be on the receiving end.

To you this transaction so far results in a working TV.

To us it results in interruption of business cycle where we sell, receive back, repair and sell again.

We need DPS-167DP that we can sell to the next customer and we did not get one back.

Either you will need to return ours or we will need to buy one.

Does that make sense?

Message 4. MMBAU to Coppell TV Repair LLC

I followed all your rules. I returned the board that was in my tv that was in your ad as being a replacement board.

You know full well you will resell the board I sent you and make money off it. You're using some technicality to take advantage of me.

Furthermore, you're also directing customers to your private, non-eBay site offering cheaper discounts and trying to direct e-commerce off eBay to private transactions, presumably where you can take advantage of more customers with less recourse.

Refund my core fee as promised or I'll be filing a formal complaint and leaving negative feedback.

I will also be posting much information publicly warning people about your dishonest and disreputable service.


Message 5. Coppell TV Repair LLC TO MMBAU

It is unfortunate that you see crime and bad intents so easily and in conflict with common sense.

There are so many indications of why this is not a cheap shot at your money - from the fact that there were so many satisfied customers before you through the fact that we never asked anything from you to our offer to give you full refund to restore status quo.

Yet you accused us and threatened us.

It's sad really.

Have it your way.

We elevated the case you opened on PayPal so they decide.

We'll abide by their decision, whatever it might be.

Again we were discussing a problem and never made neither accusation nor a demand - we merely stated facts.

Message 6. Coppell TV Repair LLC to MMBAU

Took me a while...but I found illustration of why DPS-146EP can not be used to substitute DPS-167DP.

The attached picture 00134-03.jpg shows M550i-B2 as identified by the label.

If you zoom the picture you will see the number on the board there marked - DPS-167DP.

Attached picture 00129-03.jpg, on the other hand, shows E480i-B2 using DPS-146EP.

The two boards look similar, as you properly note, but they are different, as I also properly pointed out.

If you look closer you will find one extra connector on the 55'' power board. It is closer to the largest connector that goes to the power.

We do not want to tell you what was in your TV; we wanted to know how come we received board that was not the same as the one we sent.

This is not done to go after your money - case has been filed and PayPal will decide the outcome.

I am giving you hard facts showing that you incorrectly accused and penalized (by means of negative review) someone who discovered, stated and explained a problem.

Feel right if you won't hurt us, nor will your negative review.

Do whatever you want, just know you are doing harm to someone who does not deserve it..and luckily will not be affected by it.

And here's screenshots of the transcribed eBay communication...if you want more refer to eBay, this serves as our permission to give that communication thread to anyone who requests it, including judges, AGs, just everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tracing delayed/lost USPS packages is a waste of time

I write this post for all those customer whose packages are being delayed and they get back to us demanding to know why that is and asking us to get on the phone with USPS and figure it out.

It won't happen.

It can't happen.

And here is a proof:

As you can see we've placed a search/trace request for some package back in July 2018.
Since then about once every month we receive one of the above messages, ensuring us that "every effort is being made to locate" it.

We have long forgotten what this is about, of course. We settled it with the buyer one way or another - honestly do not even remember how, but most of the time it would be in buyer's favor, although there are times when we may fight against that if, for example, our listing advises against using First Class and buyer still insists on the cheaper and less reliable, thus giving up their rights to object issues caused by USPS.

So long story short, if we've sent you here it is because we want you to know how an average package tracing ends up when filed up with USPS.

You can't move them. You can't impress them.

It'll be easier to explain to average American why Trump's certain personal traits are devastating for the political moral in the country (while others may be beneficial - it is definitely not all black and white picture).

So sorry folks, and please do not take it personal if USPS has delayed or lost your package or if you're an avid Trump supporter.

We do not have the slightest meaning to be attacking anyone, but facts speak for themselves - USPS sends useless messages for long obsolete search and Trump keeps instilling unethical behavior as a norm in the society.

USPS also delivers lots of packages every day at a price better than any other carrier I know of.
And Trump has some very spot on views on certain political and economical aspects, such Germany can't be treated as if it's post WW2 times and China can't be treated as if it's developing country anymore.

Which is again to say it's not just black and white and we're not simply anti-USPS or anti-Trump.

But where they lack  they lack and it isn't up to us - or you for that matter - to change them at will.

For good or bad it simply doesn't work that way.

Friday, October 26, 2018

We are so good we ship orders before customers place them

A customer called today asking why his 2-day USPS Priority shipping has not arrived yet.

While researching the issue I came across the below details from their order.

This is not a doctored image.

It is a screenshot from Paypal's website order details.

As you can see, according to PayPal we've shipped an order that was placed on October 23rd on October 22nd.

Yes, we are that good :-)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Celebrating 10,000 happy customers on record

We reached a 10,000 positive reviews on eBay milestone today:

We have many more than, of course, just like anyone on eBay where feedback ratio varies anywhere between 1:3 to 1:20 depending on your niche market, follow-up procedures, volume and what not.

We also have seen companies come after us and reach that milestone way faster than us.
And that's OK.

We also have those (at the moment) 1.5% bad reviews of people who thought we were scammers, rip-offs etc - I've covered a few of those in previous topics already.

Yet 10,000 public, independent positive reviews from all over the world, accumulated in the course of 10 or so years of operation are a clear vote of confidence and confirmation that we are getting something right.

To us it is more than that, though.

It is a proof that the world is still reasonable and sane, with people facing and resolving problems through communication and mutual work and not blames.

Thanks to everyone who was part of that process!