RetroRocketShop:

An example case of how sellers should not behave on eBay . . .

See Final Status

See also:  One Year Later


Circa August 22, 2005, I heard about an interesting article from a Starlog magazine with War of the World on the cover.   I wasn't sure which one that was, but I knew that it had left the shelves weeks before.  I tried various means of acquiring it online without success, and frankly wasn't even perfectly certain which issue it was.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The next day, it finally dawned on me that eBay would be worth a look.  Lo, and behold, there was one vendor online selling last month's issue, and even showing a photo of the magazine cover.  

Not only did I love the fact that they had the magazine with photo, but I thought their name, RetroRocketShop, was also cool.  Their feedback rating looked okay.   And, having never experienced a major problem with eBay people before, I was hardly concerned about what I was about to do.

This, of course, was a mistake.

And so on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 at 11:17a PDT,  I 'won' the eBay "Buy Now!" auction.  Included in the eBay e-mail was the following:

Item Name:            Starlog magazine #337 sci-fi War of the Worlds
Quantity:             1
Sale price:           $6.99
Subtotal:             US $6.99
Shipping&handling:
UPS Ground:           US $6.99
UPS 2nd Day Air:      US $14.99
Insurance:            (not offered)
Sales Tax:            (none)
Though I wouldn't normally do so, I was in a hurry to get the item and thus, when I paid for it moments after agreeing to the purchase, I selected the 2nd Day Air option, meaning that a magazine selling for seven bucks was going to cost me twenty-two.  So, at 11:28a PDT, I received the following via e-mail from eBay:
This email confirms that you, dfive42, have paid 
memorymerchantaz@yahoo.com $21.98 USD using PayPal.
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
-----------------------------------
Payment Details
-----------------------------------
 
 
Purchased From: retrorocketshop
 
Item #: 6551359060
Item Title: Starlog magazine #337 sci-fi War of the Worlds
Item URL: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6551359060
Quantity: 1
Price: $6.99 USD
Subtotal: $6.99 USD
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
Shipping & Handling via UPS 2nd Day Air to [censored] $14.99 USD
(includes any seller handling fees)
 
Shipping Insurance(not offered):--
 
Total:$21.98 USD
Note: 
 
 
 
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------

Pleased, I decided to leave a little advance thank-you note to RetroRocketShop:

Item: Starlog magazine #337 sci-fi War of the Worlds (6551359060)
This message was sent after the listing closed.
dfive42 is the winner.
---------------------------------------
Hello.  I just wanted to thank you for having Starlog #337 
available, and with the cover photo shown on the e-Bay ad.  
I'd heard a rumor about a Lucas quote in that issue that I 
needed to see, but naturally the issue isn't available in 
stores around here anymore.  So, thanks again, and I can't 
wait to receive it.  

And indeed, I anticipated a quick arrival.   After all, when one orders 2nd Day Air, one would naturally expect that the item would be shipped out quickly.   Oh, sure, I'd seen their eBay shipping policy page wherein they gave themselves 24 - 48 hours, but who would reasonably expect them to take all 48 hours to ship out a 2nd Day Air package?  There would be no point in offering 2nd Day Air if UPS Ground, which generally takes about three days in my experience, could get it there just as quick in the event they shipped within 24 hours.  And, per the page, I knew that they shipped UPS daily:

We are a business open from 11 to 6 Pacific Time Monday through 
Saturday [...]

We ship in the US by UPS every day [...] Domestic packages sent 
by UPS are processed and shipped within 24 to 48 hours of payment, 
store hours and weekends permitting.
Damaged items will be reimbursed through UPS/USPS insurance

Since I'd made the order right after they opened on the 23rd, I figured that the best-case scenario (same-day shipment and 2nd Day Air) would have me receiving the package by the end of the day on Thursday, August 25, with arrival most likely (i.e. they wait a whole day to ship but get it out 2nd Day Air) on Friday, August 26.

And so I waited.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

With no package having arrived, I was thinking that it would probably arrive the next day.   But, whereas I've always given or received e-mails to indicate when a package shipped, it occurred to me that I'd received none from RetroRocketShop.

Indeed, I'd received no communication at all.

So, at about 3:45p Pacific Daylight Time (RetroRocketShop local time), I called to see when the package had shipped.   The fellow I spoke to could provide no information, claiming a computer problem, but he was able to give me the tracking number . . . though it wasn't working on the UPS site.

"At least", I thought, "it has shipped".

I thus revised my thinking . . . the item had shipped no later than Thursday, and probably Wednesday unless they were just slacking around there, so I should get it Friday (the next day) or, worst-case, Monday.

And so I waited.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It was late that afternoon my time, and still no package.   I decided to make use of the tracking number and see what I could pull up.  All the tracking info says is that the billing information has been received, but there's no information about where the item is.   However, I do discover a few things.   For starters, the date of the shipment appears to be the 25th, meaning it had just finally shipped right before I called the day before.   And if that weren't enough, imagine my surprise when I see UPS report that the package was shipped via UPS Ground!

Now I was officially pissed.  Not only were they slacking on getting things out in a timely manner, but they'd also decided to ship via a lesser method despite the fact that I'd paid for faster shipping.

And thus, I fired off this e-mail at about 3:30p PDT:

Hello,
 
I called yesterday at 03:45p your time regarding this item.  I 
ordered it 08-23-05 and it was paid for by 11:28a your time.
The item was to be shipped via UPS 2nd Day Air.  I found your 
off-eBay reference to taking 24 to 48 hours to ship things,
but given the request for 2nd Day Air I never assumed you'd 
actually take the full 48 hours.  However, per UPS tracking, 
you did:
 
Shipped or Billed on: Aug 25
Tracking Number: [removed]
Service Type: GROUND
 
 . . . and note the service type.  2nd Day Air does not equal 
UPS Ground.  So, an item I ordered Tuesday, paid extra for 
fast shipping on, and (best-case) could've received Thursday 
but should've received today will, in fact, not arrive until 
Tuesday.  2nd Day Air does not equal one week.
 
Had this transaction gone smoothly, you'd have received a 
top-level link on my sci-fi website which has received 25,000 
visitors this month.  That is still a possibility, depending 
on how this issue is resolved.

There was no response until the next day.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday afternoon, I receive a response from RetroRocketShop.  Call it "terse", "curt", or just "short" with a dash of "completely unconcerned", the response simply read:

we received no request for 2nd day.

I was about to fire off a rapid reply, but decided to stop and look more deeply at the feedback record of RetroRocketShop.   After all, it had looked okay before, when I noticed that it was mostly positive.  It turned out, though, that they were just resting on past laurels . . . the more recent you got, the worse it was.

The pattern to their feedback was pretty clear.   They were not just screwing up with increasing frequency, but when they screw up they would blame the customer, heaping increasingly great hostility on them for daring to call RetroRocketShop on their errors.

never received item. Seller wouldn't respond. Had to file complaint ..SAD.. :(
		Buyer   fellhose666 ( 592) 		 Sep-19-05 03:58		5988724450
 	
 	
never received. no response to dispute made via eBay. i'm very unhappy :(
		Buyer   rock_shogun ( 33) 		 Sep-19-05 03:41		6548001465

I paid promptly, then had to file complaint to get item. Delivered 24 days late!
		Buyer   joetheatre1 ( 23) 		 Sep-17-05 17:12		6424097954
Reply by retrorocketshop: We sent second item. You probably have 2 now. Rude.		
Follow-up by joetheatre1: How retaliatory. You KNOW 1st shipment never made: Track# 1ZR8W6630341759796.
Be careful - they do not list what is wrong with the product.
		Buyer   darthjolley ( 39) 		 Sep-17-05 12:45		5997364575
Reply by retrorocketshop: No. You do not know how to read. Auction is clear.	
Follow-up by darthjolley: Seller is a LIAR !! AVOID THIS ONE !! DONT TRUST THEM!!
Almost 30 since close of auction, No reply to emails,calls, or phone messages.
		Buyer   fuku411 ( 40) 		 Sep-17-05 08:04		6555302314
Reply by retrorocketshop: We can not reply if not here. Plus you can not add. 30 days is lie.
i ordered a sesshomaru fig. Aug.25 and still havent recieved it
		Buyer   sheilasart7 ( 3 ) 		 Sep-10-05 14:35		5994178036
Reply by retrorocketshop: UPS TRACK# 1Z R8W 663 03 4044 243 2 . Have patience. You fool. No e-mail
Follow-up by sheilasart7: never responded to numerous e-mails and I want refund if not delivered by monday
He has not sent the figure, and he has never answered to my emails.
		Buyer   trinithymac ( 22) 		 Sep-08-05 21:33		5217844532
My item was not sent to me after sending themoney
		Buyer   darkwind825 ( 10) 		 Sep-03-05 17:10		5980613390
Paid but never received item. Seller wouldn't respond. Had to file complaint.
		Buyer   *alacrity* ( 104) 		 Aug-28-05 16:13		5218561760
Reply by retrorocketshop: What a jerk. Item lost in shipping. We refunded.
Seller sent wrong item and didnt respond to any of my emails
		Buyer   deco567 ( 122) 		 Aug-26-05 13:31		5986301807
Reply by retrorocketshop: No e-mails received. If wrong item received you could have contacted us to fix
made double payment, no response to five emails.
		Buyer   reynolds12b ( 10) 		 Aug-19-05 08:40		5988732570
Reply by retrorocketshop: How Convenient. You ignore our replies to you and paypal. Bad ebayer
Follow-up by reynolds12b: Tool Bag donít cry!! I've contacted BBB and my lawyer. I'll get my money. JA!!!
look at his other feedback never his fault! payment sent and he giv item strike
		Buyer   mrfingers1987(private)		 Aug-07-05 00:34		5224779705
Reply by retrorocketshop: refused to pay & leaves negative when we do unpaid item. Payment not sent. Liar
sent payment next day. you took 4 weeks to send with no email reply liar
		Buyer   ghosta13 ( 3 ) 		 Jul-28-05 20:07		5209741915
Reply by retrorocketshop: Foolish new ebayer ignores e-mail and lies to make himself look good
sent a fake tracking number. do not call me bad names as you usually do
		Buyer   catscatscatslove ( 195) 		 Jul-23-05 11:46		5978139213
Reply by retrorocketshop: You liar! How dare you say such slanderous things. Tracking is 100% real	
Follow-up by catscatscatslove: i have noticed you call customers bad names, those who leave neg feedbacks

slow delivery, no reply to 5 emails and box damaged! Very poor seller!
		Buyer   crombie74 ( 340) 		 Jul-22-05 11:15		5975499986
Reply by retrorocketshop: foolish people like you that ignore our e-mail and complain are worst ebayers

What reasonable proprietor calls someone rude and claims they are a liar when the person has to file a complaint just to get something shipped properly?

What reasonable proprietor tells a person "Have patience.  You fool." when they have failed to ship an item in a timely manner?

What reasonable proprietor complains that a customer should've contacted the shop when the shop never would respond?

What reasonable proprietor calls their frequently-unhappy customers names so often that people feel the need to say "do not call me bad names as you usually do"?   (And still the customer gets called a liar anyway . . . )

What reasonable proprietor calls a person a jerk when that customer had to file a complaint because RetroRocketShop wouldn't respond about an item they claim to have known was supposedly lost in shipping?

What reasonable proprietor gives the excuse "we can not reply if not here" when the fact that they weren't there and were at some convention is the problem?   Maybe they should've stopped selling if they were going to cut out of town for four weeks . . . or perhaps they should've actually contacted their customers to let them know.

Of course, they'd rather just claim to have e-mailed and then call people bad, foolish, lying, slanderous eBayers for failing to read the e-mails they didn't send.

So, recognizing that I was dealing with the eBay equivalent of an irrational illogical hate machine like Wong or Poe, I sent the following:

Hello,
 
Below, I note the statement that you received no request for UPS 
2nd Day Air.  A simple review of the auction reveals that the object 
was priced at $6.99.  The stated charge for UPS Ground was also $6.99.  
Therefore, had I wanted the item shipped via UPS Ground, I would 
logically have paid $13.98.  The record shows that I paid $21.98.  This, 
not coincidentally, is the price of the item plus the stated price of 
UPS 2nd Day Air, $14.99.  The amount I paid for insurance was zero.  
What sort of shipping would be assumed from such an incident?
 
Further, in my thank-you e-mail written after the purchase on the 23rd 
(which, you might notice, was much nicer in tone), I mentioned that I 
couldn't wait to receive the item.  Given that I had selected and paid 
for the fastest shipping you offered, doesn't that comment make more 
sense?  After all, there's no suggestion in your shipping policies that 
you require some additional direct statement that 2nd Day Air is desired.
 
In short, math and logic are on my side, here, and the transparently-absurd 
reply offered below [i.e. the "no request" I quoted, not reproduced here] is 
unsatisfactory.
 
What you *should* do at this point is refund my shipping altogether, at 
which point I would leave positive feedback noting that errors were 
corrected properly (though there would be no link from my website).   
Given the mounting number of negative feedbacks you've gotten lately, 
this might help you out.
 
However, I realize you're trying to run a business here.   So, I will 
accept a refund of the shipping overcharge, at which point I will leave 
either neutral feedback or none at all . . . we can discuss that.
 
If, for some peculiar reason, you wish to choose neither of the above 
options . . . well, let's choose one and avoid escalation, shall we?
 
Thank you,

I never received a reply to this.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The next day, it occurred to me that the hurricane I'd been watching so carefully for the past couple of days, a hurricane which appeared to be on its way to destroy New Orleans and give a sound whack to the area where I live, would add insult to injury by producing a further delay in my shipment, especially if it were headed here via The Big Easy.

Naturally, it then also occurs to me that had RetroRocketShop not failed to ship my package promptly and failed to ship my package correctly, I'd have had it for two or three days at this point.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina wrecks New Orleans and also causes profound damage to my city with 90+mph winds and gusts to 125mph.  The package is forgotten for quite awhile, as you might imagine, in favor of thoughts about things like acquiring additional food and water . . .  I had not anticipated such a complete reversal of civilization.

Early September 2005

As the clean-up process begins and continues, I see an acquaintance of mine from UPS.   He mentions that they're back in action finally, but that they have an enormous backlog of shipments.   It occurs to me later that this would include residential shipments like mine, and so I think nothing further about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I ask the UPS acquaintance how business is doing.  I've noted that packages are shipping in standard timeframes now, so in theory everything is caught up.   I'm told that things are almost back to normal, and that they've even caught up with the residential deliveries.

Friday, September 23, 2005

At this point, it's been a full month since the order was made.  I still have no reply from RetroRocketShop regarding my e-mail, and no indication that they've refunded any of the shipping charges that they'd clearly screwed up.   I send an e-mail which quotes my earlier e-mail that had gone ignored, and appends to it the following:

I have received no reply to this.   More importantly, I have received no
package.  I can only assume that your delay in shipping mixed with your
failure to ship in the specified manner resulted in my package being
destroyed.
 
[removed] is the tracking number.  Please confirm its
status, since all I've ever seen is the message "billing information
received" . . . as far as I know it never even left your shop.
 
Assuming it is lost, I recommend you either (a) refund my purchase or (b)
send a second copy of the magazine.
 
Please reply.
 
Thank you.

 I get no response.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I decide that I'm going to call them.  When I do, I get an answering machine message stating that due to high volume, they are no longer answering their phone.

And thus we come to the origin of this page, a complaint being filed with eBay today, and negative feedback being left for the terrible eBay sellers known as RetroRocketShop.


Updates:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I decided to hold off on the formal PayPal complaint yesterday, leaving only the eBay complaint and thereby giving RetroRocketShop a bit of another chance.   I figured they would rather see my negative feedback withdrawn than have this page visible to all, and of course they did have that e-mail to reply to.

Meanwhile, I received "fan mail" from someone else screwed by RetroRocketShop:

Because of RetroRocket shop my old ebay account was cut off. I was 
as civil as possible and they constantly sent me very rude emails. 
I am amazed as how rude a seller this company is and more so how 
they still remain on ebay after about 200 complaints. I congratulate 
you on your webpage and  would like to thank you for displaying my 
negative feedback on the webpage. I complained to ebay about them 
but did not receive a reply from ebay.  This is probably because 
they make so much money for Ebay they don't care for one disgruntled 
customers views but if we can convince enough disgruntled customers 
of RetoRocketShop to make formal complaints then maybe some proper 
action may be undertaken but anyway thanks for that webpage it was 
an inspiration
 
Kindest Regards

I replied thusly:

It was my pleasure.  The thing most people don't get about me is 
that I'm an old-fashioned gentleman, which means that I'm extremely 
kind and polite, ever so slowly escalating until that final line is 
crossed.  After that it's war, at which point I'm a cast-iron S.O.B.  
:)
 
Take care.

Afterward, I decided to check and see if RetroRocketShop had bothered to respond to my feedback.   In fact they haven't, but they did leave negative feedback for me:

Bady experience. Harassing. Leaves negative that contains ebay violation
	Seller:	retrorocketshop(6403) 	Sep-25-05 03:46	6551359060

Ah, yes, the dreaded "bady experience".   I presume they refer to a bad experience, in which case I'm glad I could oblige them . . . this page, which they evidently feel constitutes an eBay violation . . . is a bad experience for them because it completely trounces any claim that they might wish to make.  

Of course, I find it terribly amusing that they couldn't be bothered to respond to my e-mails seeking a peaceful resolution, but they did trouble themselves to retaliate against negative feedback!

As for me, this is my first negative eBay experience (and, coincidentally, my first negative feedback), all of which came about because the seller can't bother to act like a reasonable proprietor.

I was particularly amused by the claim that I was "harassing" them.  I gave them my money and thanked them for the pleasure, at which point they dawdled before sending me my merchandise via a cheaper method than I paid for, intending to keep the remainder.    Had they not dawdled, instead getting it out the door fast enough for it to arrive in a similar timeframe, I might never have even noticed that they'd screwed me on the shipping.

One wonders how many others they've done this to, others who might not've noticed just as I might not have.

In any case, after giving them money and a thank-you note, I called them after hearing nothing from them, then e-mailed in a pretty polite manner when I discovered that they'd screwed up, then e-mailed in a somewhat harsher manner when they tried to dismiss me.   They never replied. 

Finally, a month later, I e-mailed them again, receiving no reply, and tried to call them, at which point I learned that they no longer take calls.  

So, after one month featuring two phone calls and three e-mails, I'm a harasser because (gasp!) I expect to receive what I paid for.

Puh-lease.

I've responded to their feedback with the following:

Seller is dishonest. Left above only due to my negative feedback and complaint.

So, I lodged a protest via PayPal.   I had the option of labelling the seller's behavior, and thus the first line of my complaint deals with that:

Uncooperative is only partially accurate, but I couldn't put "No response" 
because they did reply once, if even only to dismiss me.

I purchased a simple magazine with shipping as the 2nd Day Air option, for 
a total of 21.98 (6.99 + 14.99 shipping 2nd Day, as opposed to 6.99 UPS 
Ground).  Seller received full payment.  Seller did not ship item for 48 
hours, and then finally shipped it UPS Ground the day I called them.  
Responded to my first e-mail about resolving the overcharging of the 
shipping error by claiming only that no request for 2nd Day was received.  
They never responded to my reply, or my next e-mail a full month later, 
and a second call a month after the purchase reached an answering machine 
wherein they state that they are no longer taking calls.  I left negative 
feedback after trying to reach them a month after the purchase, seller 
left retaliatory feedback claiming I was "harassing".  So, they completely 
dismissed even the point about their shipping error, and now that they've 
clearly lost or never bothered to send the package they're trying to rip 
me off even more.   

Additional narrative, quotes of the e-mails, and color commentary can be 
found at http://www.st-v-sw.net/Zretro.html

I just want either (a) the magazine or (b) a refund.  

In truth I'd prefer the magazine, and will happily let them keep the 6.99 
pricetag for it if they will ship another via UPS Ground and refund me 
the 14.99 I paid in shipping for 2nd Day Air.  If the first magazine was 
sent at all, then the UPS insurance they claim to use should refund them 
for it, and thus they'd recover their cost for the first magazine and 
the UPS Ground shipping they erroneously used.   

I do not feel that I've ever asked too much of them, except that I've 
asked them to be honest, reasonable proprietors during my five contact 
attempts over the past month.  But, then, that expectation seems to 
have been a bit much for them.

To my mind, I'm being pretty reasonable here.   I mean, yeah, I'm maintaining a quite thorough and quite public account of their crappiness with quite a bit of color commentary as the days drag on (such as today's use of the phrase "their crappiness"), but the simple fact is that these guys are acting like crappy little scumbags, and I'm more than happy to call them to the carpet for it.

But, it isn't like I'm demanding a refund, additional money for pain and suffering, and their firstborn child or anything.  I'm not trying to shut them down altogether.   I just want the magazine at the purchase price or else the money I paid for it.   Is that really so much to ask that they feel they have to try to make me out to be the badguy?

Update:

In checking to see if anything new had happened, I discovered that RetroRocketShop has left feedback for 675 people today, including me and some other negative feedback respondents.   Evidently they haven't troubled themselves to keep caught up on that for awhile.

Among some of the more psychologically-interesting feedback they've left for others lately:

Item shipped. Not accepted & sent back. Then leaves negative
		Buyer   jalabscom ( 256) 		 Sep-09-05 11:08	
Reply by jalabscom: UPS never received the item. Seller lied to 5 others buyers. Stay away!
Follow-up by retrorocketshop: jalabscom Has anger issues. Harasses us. rude. slanderous. AVOID at all cost!	
Left feedback that was the opposite of contact in call/e-mail. twofaced
		Buyer   ajmconsulting ( 36) 		 Sep-10-05 11:53
Reply by ajmconsulting: At least I was KIND enough to leave neutral FB. No way that no item is a + deal!
Worthless impatient newbie. Item in transit & leaves negative. Get real. AVOID
		Buyer   sheilasart7 ( 3 ) 		 Sep-10-05 16:55		5994178036		
Reply by sheilasart7: sent tracking# AFTER neg. never responded to many contact attempts, get a life.
Follow-up by retrorocketshop: You sir are an idiot. Item sent on time. You are angry for no reason. Total fool
Rude. Harassing. Lied. We sent 2 items then leaves negative. Do not trust.
		Buyer   joetheatre1 ( 25) 		 Sep-17-05 17:41		6424097954		
Reply by joetheatre1: Retaliatory. I was always courteous. 2 items were NOT sent and you know it.
Follow-up by retrorocketshop: Liar. You were harassing. we had 2 now we have zero. Avoid this new ebayer.
 	
Does not read clear descriptions in auctions. Gets whiny. Avoid
		Buyer   darthjolley ( 41) 		 Sep-17-05 17:46		5997364575		
Reply by darthjolley: Seller is a LIAR! Payment sent in 6 hours! HE IS DISHONEST ABOUT ITEMS!	
Follow-up by retrorocketshop: Loser is Collector freak. Stated as MIB/MOC not MIMB/ MOMC. Crybaby
Poor communication. Not good experience
		Seller   retrorocketshop ( 6405) 		 Sep-25-05 05:51		5233446122		
Reply by lucy13kb: Seller is dishonest, doesn't reply to emails. Will not do business with again!
Follow-up by retrorocketshop: We are not dishonest. We are gladyou are not a customer anymore. Unrealistic

Let's hear it for respecting the customer, eh?   I particularly love the fact that RetroRocketShop, a dealer in geeky collectibles, has the audacity to call anyone a "loser" and "collector freak".   I also love how they claim "poor communication" against someone (wow at the irony), not to mention even more examples of their hostile name-calling.

Talk about anger issues!

Monday, September 26, 2005

I awoke to find more "fan mail":

At the risk of sounding prone to hyperbole, you are my hero!  A hearty 
BRAVO on creating the page at  st-v-sw.net/Zretro.html  -- what a 
considerable effort on your part, and well worth it if it helps anyone 
steer clear of that horrible seller.  Before buying my item, I looked 
closely at the negative feedback, but assumed [hoped?] they were truly 
examples of people who were prone to complaining for no reason.  
Imagine my surprise when, after repeated pleasant e-mails [like you, 
I'm a gentleman], I found myself squarely in the same boat as the others.  
To eBay and PayPal's credit, they were very quick to act on my complaints, 
and it succeeded in forcing Retro to do the right thing -- but it was 
galling for them to lie about having supposedly sent me two items when 
they knew the first UPS tracking number was bogus [e.g. had been generated 
but never actually shipped].  I've filed another complaint with eBay to 
have their erroneous feedback deleted; no official response yet.  Take care!

Interestingly, the above contains the second reference I've seen to fake UPS tracking numbers being generated by RetroRocketShop.   I presume these would show as "Billing Information Received" like mine, but with no further indication whatsoever.

I replied:

Oh, it was my pleasure.  I'm not sure what's wrong with these people . . . 
it looks like they behave just fine sometimes, but when they screw up 
(as they've been doing with increasing frequency) they sure don't want 
to own up to it.   I think they need a vacation.

Of course, my notations about increasing frequency led me to perform some actual calculations instead of the ballpark estimates I'd been using (just go to the main page of the site, you'll see why this was an inevitability).   Suffice it to say that RetroRocketShop's account is seven years old, but in the past year they've received half-again as many feedback responses as were received in the previous six.   Of course, this need not imply a sudden growth . . . a steady growing trend would account for it, but in any case we've established that they're busy.   And, in the past year they've received 60% of all of their negative feedback, meaning that their level of business is unsustainable . . . they're ticking off customers so often they're going to end up hitting a business wall, as it were, and the hostility they show toward customers . . . presumably stress-related . . . won't help either..    Better to slow down a bit.

In any case, almost 11% of their feedback in the past month has been negative or neutral, which is a profoundly high crap-margin compared to their overall scores.

While pondering that, I received an e-mail from PayPal:

We are currently in the process of investigating your complaint.
 
Transaction Date: Aug 23, 2005
Transaction Amount: -$21.98 USD
[seller info removed]
 
The seller has provided the following information in response to your
complaint, indicating that the item was shipped. 
 
Tracking Company: UPS
Tracking Number: [removed]
 
If your complaint has been resolved, please cancel it by clicking on the
link below:

Of course, I couldn't help but notice that the tracking number provided was quite different than the one given before.  When the tracking info became available via UPS, it said this:

Shipped or Billed on:  Sep 26, 2005
 
Service Type:          2ND DAY AIR
Package Weight:        1.00 Lb
 
UPS has received shipper's billing information electronically.  
Billing information received does not indicate shipment pickup 
or drop-off.  Please contact the shipper for more details.

So, they're finally sending it 2nd Day Air some 34 days after I bought it with that option.   (Or at least, they're finally giving me a tracking number that says 2nd Day Air . . . giving the tracking number thing, I'll believe it when I see it.)

However, I've received no indication that any sort of refund has been given.   Assuming they've really sent it this time, are they expecting me to let them keep the shipping fee for 2nd Day Air when they've only managed to get it out 34 days late?

Obviously, I didn't click the link to cancel the complaint.  Not only will I have to have the magazine in-hand, but I'll also be expecting some sort of refund on the shipping charges.   As I said in the complaint to start with:

I just want either (a) the magazine or (b) a refund.  

In truth I'd prefer the magazine, and will happily let them keep the 6.99 
pricetag for it if they will ship another via UPS Ground and refund me 
the 14.99 I paid in shipping for 2nd Day Air.  If the first magazine was 
sent at all, then the UPS insurance they claim to use should refund them 
for it, and thus they'd recover their cost for the first magazine and 
the UPS Ground shipping they erroneously used.   

 . . . and entertainingly, by shipping it 2nd Day Air this time they've managed to once again not do what I said.   But I'm not complaining about that . . . I just don't think it's reasonable to pay shipping for an item that took 34+ days to get to me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I think I finally understand what was meant by the person who said that RetroRocketShop left a "fake tracking number".   It's the same as the guy who said that they never shipped his item because it always just read "Billing Information Received".   That's what mine said the first time around, too.   So, they simply never shipped it the first time around.   I guess that's one way to make a buck.

In any case, the new tracking number they left as a response to the complaint is valid, and instead of "Billing Information Received" the track data says:

Status:                In Transit -
                       Rescheduled
Rescheduled Delivery:  Sep 29, 2005

Shipped or Billed on:  Sep 26, 2005
 
Service Type:          2ND DAY AIR
Package Weight:        1.00 Lb
 
Your package is in the UPS system and has a rescheduled delivery date 
of Sep 29, 2005.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Another high-five, this time through my website feedback system:

Hi there.
Congratulations on this page. I really hope you have some luck in resolving 
your problems with RetroRocketShop. I recently also fell for them. Paid 1 
day after auction end, and waited... and waited some more for my items to 
arrive. OK - I am based in the UK, shipping can sometimes take quite a 
while.  But after a month I was worried about an item that I paid 'Priority' 
Shipping for. Usually I am a friendly person, and when I started sending 
emails, the first answer was 'we'll have a look'. Then nothing for a week. 
Takes them quite long to have a look. So I emailed again... and again. I 
paid for the auction on August the 6th, and got my items on September 
28th, after threatening a week earlier to file a claim. I didn't even get 
an answer to that email. My items were sent Sep. 23rd, and on the dispute 
reply - I finally also got a tracking number, and a note saying due to my 
multiple emails my address was automatically set to Spam. I guess I was 
lucky, in the end they left positive feedback, and my items are here. 
'Priority' Shipping just takes 6 weeks with them.

Heh . . . sounds about right.

As for the package that's headed this way . . . well, I don't know what this package heading toward my town contains, nor do I know for certain that it's even coming to this address.  And until it gets here, I'm not taking anything for granted.   Nonetheless, I can report that it was picked up, sent to Louisville, KY, and has departed Louisville on its way here, so in theory it should still arrive tomorrow. 

But as noted, I don't think it's reasonable to pay 14.99 for 2nd Day Air when the item isn't sent until a month later, so the PayPal complaint will be allowed to continue unless and until I see a refund of the shipping amount.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

So help me, I got the package.   There wasn't even any anthrax in it.   I immediately started enjoying the magazine I should've enjoyed over a month prior.

Really, since the magazine was so much more useful to me than I had dared imagine, I was almost tempted to drop the case.   However, then it occurred to me that had they not screwed up, I'd have known how much more useful it was a whole frickin' month sooner.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I never got around to updating this page.   I'd think about it, then forget, and so on.  But it was pretty obvious what was going on, and of course the "Current Status" section contained a pretty decent explanation:

As of the update time above, RetroRocketShop has, over one month late, finally shipped a package to my city which is due tomorrow.  They even managed to ship it using 2nd Day Air as originally requested, unlike the last time they claimed to have shipped something.   However, since there was never any UPS tracking info other than the fact that a tracking number had been generated, I don't know if they ever shipped anything or not.

I do not know what this package heading toward my town contains, nor do I know for certain that it's even coming to this address.  And until it gets here, I'm not taking anything for granted.

Assuming it even contains what I ordered, though, I'm still disturbed that there has been no apparent shipping refund.  Neither UPS Ground nor the UPS 2nd Day Air I selected and paid for involve five weeks of transit time.

As such, I intend to move forward with the complaint.

The PayPal person would undoubtedly discover that the item had not shipped until September 26, and so I felt pretty good in that I'd get the proper shipping difference back, if not my shipping costs altogether.  

I was therefore kinda miffed to have received the following today:

PayPal has concluded our investigation of your Buyer Complaint.
Transaction Date: Aug 23, 2005
Transaction Amount: -$21.98 USD
Transaction ID: 7NT46784C0133361P
Case Number: PP-107-814-656
Seller's Name: maryann mulac
Seller's Email: memorymerchantaz@yahoo.com
In response to your complaint, the seller has provided proof of shipment
indicating that the item was shipped to you. Therefore, we cannot reverse
this transaction or issue a refund. We encourage you to continue to work
directly with the seller to amicably resolve this dispute.

Either there's some technicality which says that once they've shipped something (even a frickin' month late and only because of the complaint) no more can be done . . . which RetroRocket would know better than I, given their history of repeated PayPal litigation . . . or else the PayPal investigator was on smack and either didn't know what was going on or just didn't care.

At least I have the magazine . . . but after the war to get it, for PayPal to have no sense of justice is rather disconcerting.   Caveat emptor, when it comes to eBay . . . sellers can be dicks and get away with it.


One Year Later (give or take)

I'd been looking for some stuff in stores for awhile to no avail, and once again eBay finally dawned on me as the place to look.   While on eBay, though, I checked my feedback and saw the old RetroRocketShop comment, and ended up looking at this page again.   I then checked their feedback to see how they'd been doing.

More of the same, it seems.

As of this writing (01-13-07), they've had 2038 positive feedback comments in the past year, with 93 neutral and 137 negative.  That's a total of  2268, with less than 90% positive.  Also noteworthy is that their total negative feedback count according to eBay is 327, meaning that almost half of those have occurred in the past year.

I'm also amused at the fact that many of the positive feedbacks are from people who are simply too polite to leave a negative when they've been poorly treated.  Taking a look at some from just the past three weeks:

Great product, fast delivery but no communication whatsoever.
		Buyer insert_name_here86( 21) 			Dec-27-06 14:24 		6560256490

slow delivery but great product
		Buyer larry6787( 141) 				Dec-27-06 09:28 		330049088508

Seller does not communicate well, positive because item rcv'd as ordered.
		Buyer mattyp92981( 6 ) 				Dec-19-06 13:30 		330054431653

Great seller, slow communication and shipping due to business trips
		Buyer sasmysquatch( 6 ) 			Dec-19-06 00:21 		330046201233 

Great product, shipping was slow but I got it in time for x-mas so cool!!
		Buyer xprettywastex( 35) 			Dec-18-06 20:58 		330051328810

Slow in arriving but very well packaged & nice item, just as shown and described
		Buyer chapmanm2gs2( 5 ) 			Dec-13-06 08:41 		330049070396 

snail mail but very happy with item
		Buyer naboomom1( 721) 				Dec-12-06 23:03 		330051329800 

packed well. took a bit to get here but just in time. thanks!
		Buyer mph1528( 374) 				Dec-12-06 18:38 		330052840579 

Very great item! Worth the waiting ! Very good seller! A+++
		Buyer hollow12321( 19) 				Dec-12-06 14:02 		6602328111

ITEM AS DESCRIBED-TOOK ONE MONTH TO DELIVER ITEM AND 2 EMAILS!-THANK YOU
		Buyer mysdesigns( 48) 				Dec-11-06 19:31 		330045403246

The shipping was slow, but I did get the item.
		Buyer milan_chowfa( 223) 			Dec-08-06 06:41 		330039909781

slow shipment, but great product~~~ thanks
		Buyer chokoreetome( 30) 			Dec-08-06 05:22 		330043833622

finally got the book..have a nice day =)
		Buyer same454( 24) 				Dec-07-06 21:05 		6026766441

Hesitate to give positive,just glad its finally here, communication would help
		Buyer ssage1( 78) 				Dec-07-06 14:33 		330041359891

took too long time to get the package. but... finally everything is OK!
		Buyer 2pott2( 18) 				Dec-05-06 06:45 		330042964952

Remember, these are the positive feedbacks!   That's 15 out of the 66 they've had in the past month.   If we counted those as neutral, added them to the 9 neutrals they received, and also factored in the 11 negatives, we'd have a total of 86 feedback comments, with 51 (59.3%) positive, 24 (27.9%) neutral, and 11 (12.8%) negative. 

Do you really want to do business with people who are unable to ship and communicate satisfactorily to over 40% of their customers?

After all, I keep getting mail about this page from others who RetroRocketShop has screwed. For instance:

Letism (e-mail redacted) on Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 12:20:37
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Comment: Hi there,
 
Thank you, thank you, for your RetroRocketShop page! Thanks to you, I am now convinced that I have been duped from them 
too. 
It's early days yet, (just two weeks into my experience with them) but I have been sent an Unpaid Item Notification 
(which eBay closed off themselves, acknowledging I paid them), despite the fact that I have received receipt from PayPal 
that my payment has been cleared and sent through to them...(dated the day after the auction ended too).
I have yet to hear from them after sending them two emails requesting information, so I noted their negative feedback 
more closely than I did before. And I am sad to say that I've also fallen for their trap. Searching for them through 
Google I stumbled upon your webpage, and was relieved in the sense that now I know I'm not alone in my experience... It 
seems like it's a common experience for too many disgruntled customers. Your webpage has helped me to decide on my next 
course of action and that is, to follow through my polite "threats" to them, and file a complaint to eBay and Paypal. 
They seem to only act on them so, I might as well get what paid for, and request a refund... ^^;
Keep this page up so that it helps others steer clear of their shady business practices! 
 
Thanks again and Kind regards,
Letism
And, not long after:
Keith Olson (e-mail redacted) on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 07:15:30
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Comment: Well, they caught me too.  A year after your experience they are still up to their old tricks.  I'm amazed at how 
much negative feedback and disputes they can get and not be shutdown by ebay.  Unfortunately, I was too slow in reacting 
and two months had passed before I realized I was missing my order from them, so no magazine or refund or any recourse for 
me.
 
Thanks for your interesting log of your experience with them.

The nicest way to put it would be to say that RetroRocketShop needs some improvements to their throughput processes, along with some tweaks to their communication habits.

A more accurate way of putting it would be to say that RetroRocketShop is a den of liars who need a severe attitude adjustment, which may be the only way to get them to stop insulting their customers with their lies, false claims of shipping, and general chicanery.

In any case, my second favorite exchange in their recent feedback list, though, was their vengeful attempt to call someone who'd left negative feedback illiterate . . . someone who happened to be a university professor of English!

Why was that the second favorite? Because the follow-up comment below is just priceless:

No package in two months, and no response to my inquiries. Very poor ebayer.
		Buyer kolson( 493)					Oct-31-06 09:27			6602329823		

	Reply by retrorocketshop: Idiot was offered refund but did not reply. We were waiting for communication
 									Oct-31-06 10:10		
 									
	Follow-up by kolson: Nice language. Too bad you aren't as quick w/ shipping as you are with insults.
 									Oct-31-06 19:04