I wanted to buy a few things from a rather unknown online merchant in the States that had decent prices. Because it wasn’t one of the larger, more well-known merchants I was a bit hesitant, but after a rather lengthy e-mail exchange I figured the guy was pretty good / trustworthy. Besides, I have always had good luck paying by credit card.
So I paid the **** $2k and waited the few days that he promised it would be for him to ship my stuff. Three days passed and when I tried e-mailing him to see if he had shipped there was no response. I tried calling and got voice mail hell. Not a very good sign.
Two days later, the guy finally responds and apologizes profusely and my anxiety level drops considerably. He says he is all ready to ship and will call FedEx to pick it up the next day. The next day arrives and he calls me with a sob story. I’m pissed, but really work at restraining myself because the guy has my $2,000. Finally he agrees that he’ll just refund my money to my credit card.
Three days pass and no refund, so I send him an e-mail to which there is no response. Calling him gets me voice mail hell again. My anxiety level is pretty much up to assassination levels. Finally the following evening the guy calls with another sob story. He has the money to refund me, but his mortgage payment is due. He’s willing, he says, to miss his mortgage payment to do the right thing and refund my money. Perceptive as I am, I sense something is just not right and I resist the urge to verbally smack the ******* upside the head because, of course, he’s got my money.
So I ask him how long it will take him to come up with another $2k if I were to agree to let him pay his mortgage. He says a week. Ok, I say, then pay your mortgage. Make sure you have a roof over your family’s head and pay me next week. Of course, I’m not very happy about this, but I pretend to be because I figure I’m walking on egg shells and the guy could easily get all high fallutin and just tell me to go to hell — without my $$$.
A week goes buy and, of course, no $$. Another two days and the guy starts this **** about he can’t pay me and he hopes that some day in the very distant future he’ll get the money to pay me. I’m pissed and I tell him I’ll get my money out of him — or his surviving next of kin — one way or another. He laughs.
So I start thinking of what recourse I have. Yes, I can sue him, get a judgment and slap a lien on his West Virginia tool shed of a house. Or I can invest some more $$ and have the scumbag whacked — a very comfortable and, I admit, attractive idea. In the end, however, I take the route that won’t get me 20+ years in prison.
I call Shanghai-Pudong Development Bank and talk to my credit card department account manager. I write up a brief description of the issue, copies of my communications with the merchant to include details of the transaction and PuFa files a credit card chargeback on my behalf and I am given a provisional credit of $2k. I know from experience that it can take up to 180 days — or more — for the credit card chargeback process to run its course, but WTF.
45 days post chargeback, PuFa tells me the merchant has contested the chargeback and states that a) I paid him for a service and not for merchandise and that b) the purchase of merchandise was a totally different $2k deal and that he had already completed. So, I’m thinking if Craigslist is a good place to find a hitman.
I tell PuFa to go ahead and re-submit the chargeback for MasterCard arbitration and I give them additional documentation to support my claim and to refute merchant’s lies. Fortunately, I use my work notebook PC and I have bullet-proof backup in full compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. Ain’t nothing that doesn’t get saved and filed.
Meanwhile, the dickwad’s bank has his account frozen for the full $2k in case they lose the chargeback. Since MasterCard arbitration imposes a $500 fee on the losing party, they also freeze his account for an additional $500 plus related additional fees. Late this afternoon I get a call from my account representative stating that the chargeback was accepted by the merchant’s credit card processor and I have been given a permanent credit of $2,000. It appears that the merchant decided he wasn’t going to risk losing an additional $500 knowing that MasterCard almost always finds in the cardholder’s favor.
Now my only concerns are how to get revenge on that piece of **** even though I have gotten my money back.
Moral of the story: If you shop anywhere — especially online — and you do not pay with a credit card, you are a dumb **** and deserve to get FITA.