davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I was lurking with my browser on an ebay page earlier, waiting to bid on an item at the last minute, when a Windows mail message popped up at the bottom of the screen - eBay warning there'd been unauthorised access to my account*, so they'd blocked it, reset my password and refunded any charges, plus disconnected my paypal account.

After I'd peeled myself off the ceiling given the untimely coincidence, I checked and yep, I was locked out of my account. Fortunately eBay has resetting your password well automated, so I was able to reset it and log back in again, just in time to see the item I wanted go for a third more than I was prepared to pay - I'm not too upset at losing it, there was a bunch of stuff I already have in the package, and the item I actually wanted, a set of out-of-print wargames rules, will eventually get an ebook version, so I'd restricted my bid to what that will go for when eventually realeased.

I still haven't forgiven eBay for the wheelchair fiasco, but praise where praise is due, they got it right here.

OTOH I may just leave Paypal disconnected for a while (and I'll be paying close attention to my next Paypal statement).

* Definitely not a false-positive misidentification of me, I hadn't done anything yet.


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Normally I use my desktop for eBaying, but that's out of action at the moment (fairly certain it's a dud on-off switch, but you have to dismantle the entire PC to get at the connector, and I've got a horrid feeling it's proprietary), so when I went to bid on a bargain earlier (£400+ worth of wheelchair cushion that eventually went for £62) I used my laptop, which promptly froze as Kaspersky tried to open up a safe browser window in Firefox. And of course the sale expired before I had time to troubleshoot it as I was trying to drop in a literally last minute high bid.

On further poking, Kaspersky seems completly unable to open a safe browser window for eBay. and I'm not certain if it can manage for anything else either. I've got a very plain vanilla Win 10 setup, and I'm pretty certain I've gotten in on the laptop in the past, so it looks like Kaspersky and Mozilla are back to playing silly buggers with each other, where each new version of Firefox screws up Kaspersky's interface until they can play catch up. There is a solution, I've dug into Kaspersky's settings and turned it off for eBay, but what's the point of browser companies urging us to have working security software if your browser then stops the security software from working?

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
"Thanks for contacting us about your case for the following item:

Quickie Gpv Mobility Wheelchair

We've reviewed your concerns and have reversed the outcome of the case. Within 48 hours, payment will be credited to the PayPal account you used for the original purchase."


It took about 20 minutes on the phone to a very pleasant Irish lass on Tuesday night to convince eBay they were wrong, Almost as soon as she looked at the email trail she noted "Someone's made a right mess of this," though it was going back and forth between her and another team over IM and it wasn't clear how much authority she had.

At one point she said "We've decided not to allow your appeal because we did tell you to return the wheelchair". I then got a little more assertive and pointed out they still hadn't answered the original request I'd made to them, and seeing as it was a request for a reasonable adjustment under EA2010 they're obliged to answer.

I was stunned by a comment "Hang on, they're still typing, they must have seen something else" - if I hadn't hung onto the phone and kept arguing would they even have told me that? But she then said "You know what, this has gone back and forth a ridiculous number of times, I'm allowing the appeal."

Paypal have now confirmed the refund, so that's finally settled.

Thanks to [personal profile] legionseagle for some useful advice which may have added to eBay-girl's sense of "Oh, god, this is going to go on for hours and I want to get home".

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
eBay's response to last nights email was 'You need to lodge an appeal and provide documentation'. (3AM response, clearly a non-UK call centre).

I'm going to sit down this afternoon and go through each email, logging date, time and what it told me to do, I'm going to quote Equality Act 2010 and the Consumer Contracts Regs at them (thanks for the link [personal profile] legionseagle !), and I'm going to CC Medway Trading Standards on the email.

If I'm feeling particularly vindictive I may CC my MP and the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which is currently investigating the digital economy.

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

Latest email to eBay:

 Please note that this item was not returned because the eBay Resolutions Team were engaged in responding to my contention that the item should be picked up from my home address as a Reasonable Adjustment under the Equality Act 2010 given my physical inability to deliver the item to the Post Office as a wheelchair user. I have yet to have an answer to this. Naturally I have not posted the item as I am still waiting for eBay to respond as to whether they were willing to pick up the item and was told the issue was on hold pending this. Even were eBay to decide they would not pick up the item it is only reasonable that  the clock on the return be stopped between raising the complaint and the resolution in order that I then be given the chance to attempt to make some arrangement for return. Instead I am informed that as the item has not been returned no refund will now be issued.

Additionally I was informed by the Resolution Team, email dated 9th March, that my complaint was on hold to the 12th and I need take no action. Naturally I presumed that the clock on the return was stopped by this email. Note that this email was accompanied by a set of questions that were utterly nonsensical and a statement that a further email would be forthcoming in relation to them. No such email was received, nor could I respond to the email of the 9th to point out the inconsistencies, apparently due to the Hold status. On the 12th a further email was received, extending the Hold to the 16th, again I was told that no action was needed on my part. Then suddenly I am told that the claim has been resolved and that no refund will be issued as I have not returned the item.

But for the Hold status I would have escalated the complaint myself. Further, the Hold status has prevented me from outlining to eBay the inconsistencies and utterly nonsensical nature of the communications I have been recieving.

Ultimately I have not returned the item because eBay have been telling me since the 9th that the issue was on hold and I need do nothing until a decision was reached. I have done precisely what eBay have asked me to do and have now been told that no refund will be issued as a result of my following your instructions.

Unless eBay either a) reopen the case and answer the original question regarding provision of a reasonable adjustment (a matter they are legally required to respond to in writing under UK law, see the Equality Act 2010), or b) reset the clock on the return to give me at least the 5 days that the complaint was on hold to attempt to arrange a return, then I will have no alternative than to place the issue in the hands of Trading Standards.


David Gillon

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Sample of recent communications wrt returning the incorrectly advertised wheelchair:

Twitter "

@WTBDavidG trying to resolve this for you. I suggest that you continue to work w/ us by responding to the email we sent you. "

As a friend who saw the tweet commented, that sounds awfully like a veiled threat - it was in response to one where I said they had me on the point of contacting Trading Standards. As for responding to the email, I've asked for clarification of which one. {Crickets}

By email:

Hello dwgillon,

Your case was placed on hold temporarily. We will get back to you with an update by 12 Mar, 2016.
Customer support comments:
We need you to provide us with documentation from a qualified 3rd party showing the current condition of the item and any potential repair costs. You can provide this proof by responding to the email sent with further information.2

Problem 1) no email with further information. Problem 2) is this asking me to provide information, saying they will provide an update, or both? I'm an author and I can't tell. I design complex work processes and I can't tell. Problem 3) The requested information is ridiculous, the chair is the wrong size, you can't repair it to the right size, it's like asking for a quote to repair a Landrover into a Range Rover. Problem 4) who is "a qualified third party". Problem 5) whatever information they want, I can't provide, because this message doesn't have a reply option! Out of about 10 messages, this and one other turned up in my eBay inbox only, all other messages were echoed to my own email as well, so naturally I was watching that. Which meant though that message was sent on the 9th I didn't see it til late on the 10th. The other message, also sent on the 9th, says send the chair by the 11th or lose the refund, so is contradicted by this one. As I'm travelling tomorrow there is even less possibility of me posting the chair than there already was.
Further email because eBay Customer Services doesn't have a clue WTF they're doing:

Hello David,


We are getting in touch from eBay Customer Service about the wheelchair (item blah) that you purchased from “*****”. I understand you have already posted the item back and provided us tracking information. Allow me to explain why we’re contacting you.


Upon checking on your account, I can see here that you provided a tracking number (blah) to your seller regarding this item, and we commend you for doing so. As it is important that we have tracking information so we can verify the status of the delivery. Allow me to clarify things for your benefit but first, I have provided in this email the details of the tracking information:


Tracking number: blah

Tracking courier: https://www.royalmail.com/track-your-item

Tracking Result: That item number isn't recognised


We now are currently investigating the case filed for the above complaint and in order for us to make the appropriate resolution, please reply to this email within the next 3 days, attaching a copy of your postal receipt that contains the delivery address. All documents sent to eBay must comply with these guidelines:




I assure you that once we have verified that the item is delivered to your buyer’s address, we will go ahead and close the case in your favour."

Dear eBay, you can't track the parcel because I haven't posted it because you haven't gotten back to me about my not physically being able to take it to the Post Office to post it.

Email in response:


Hello David,


Thank you for writing back to eBay Customer Service about the item Quickie Gpv Mobility Wheelchair you purchased (item blah) that you wish to return. Im sorry to know your situation as you cannot able to return the item. I can imagine how difficult it is for you with your condition. Please know that we truly value the business that you bring to eBay. Let me assist you with this.

Upon review, I can see that you provided tracking number. I am sorry to know if there was a misunderstanding with the return issue. We have seen in your case details that you printed shipping label on 28
th of February 2016 and provided tracking number. This is the reason why we asked you to provide proof of postage as the tracking number has no result upon tracking it online.


To clarify this, it seemed that the item has not yet posted as you mentioned that you cannot able to bring it to the post office due to your condition. Im sorry to know that. Therefore, I suggest that you ask for assistance from your family or friends. You may call them if they are not near your location. It is very important that the item will be returned for your refund."

Seriously, WTF, let's patronise the hell out of the customer because he is disabled and clearly incapable of realising he can call his family to come running from the other end of the country to post it for him? Incidentally no, they can't. And let's 'clarify' what he told us by repeating it as though he didn't know it? This response was timestamped 3AM UK time, so clearly comes from a call centre elsewhere, which may explain some of the language. Doubly frustrating, it ignores everything I've raised with them.

I'm utterly seething, and if they decide to rule out the refund because I haven't posted it on the 11th, when they also have it on hold til the 12th, and didn't get back to me until the 9th, and still haven't reached a decision on having Royal Mail pick it up, I'll be incandescent. I'm away from home from first thing in the morning until late Sunday, I fully expect to be on the phone to Trading Standards on Monday morning.

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

Wrapped up the eBay chair last night (bubblewrap and clingfilm), and damn-near killed myself just getting it from the lounge to the hall (having necessarily bubble-wrapped and clingfilmed the wheels in place). My god, that's an awkward package - only practical grip was to pick it up by the footplate and dangle it in front of me. God knows how eBay expect me to get it to the Post Office, my facetious 'balanced on my head' actually looks like the most practical method available!

I filled in the eBay Customer Service feedback form immediately afterwards. I snarked.

Current situation with eBay and picking up the return is the US eBay twitter team have prevailed on the UK side to look into it again. UK eBay's initial response was 'didn't the vendor say they would pick it up in message X', to which my reply was "message X actually says 'OMG you're three hours drive away, I can't do that'" and I'm waiting for a response.

I was explaining this to friends at lunch today and remarked "the only people I could ask are sitting round this table" - one works in London, one isn't really close enough to ask favours of, and in any case spends a lot of time babysitting his grandchild in London when he isn't haring all over the South East ringing bells, one is even less able to carry it than I am, and her husband said "I can do it if you need me to, but it'll have to be this week". It'll have to be 'this week' because next week is when he has his bone-marrow transplant, which is precisely why I'm not asking him under any circumstances!

And it's depressing going back to the old chair, it's so inefficient and uncomfortable and clunky in comparison to the eBay one, even though that was the wrong size :(

And what is it about wheelchairs that terrifies pedestrians? I was wheeling back to the car, someone came out of a doorway a good six feet in front of me, saw me, flinched two feet sideways and said "Sorry!" before giving me a wide berth! I was parked a little further out than usual and the two friends who were heading back that way actually decided to follow me back to the car after I'd said goodbye even though it's off their direct route home. Aw, sweet!

(Edited because apparently my spelling now sucks!)

davidgillon: Dina Meyer as Oracle, sitting a manual chair in front of a clock face (Wheelchair)
So last night I found out that there had been a breakdown in communication and the wheelchair vendor had in fact paid for return postage a week ago.

But that just showed up another issue, eBay expect me to take it to the Post Office.

It's a wheelchair, it's large, it's bulky, once it's wrapped it won't even roll.

I'm a wheelchair user.

How do they expect me to get it there? Balanced on my head?


I was particularly unhappy with the eBay phone operator's ''But who looks after you? Who gets your groceries?' Seriously?

Equally unimpressed by 'Put me through to your complaints department." "We don't have one" (Yet then gave me an address at the end of the conversation).

*grumble* *mutters darkly*



davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Friday, I didn't see it til late Saturday, the chair vendor agreed to a return, and said they would drive over to pick it up rather than paying for return mail, they also sent a bunch of details I'd requested on their other chair for sale on ebay in the hope I would buy that instead and offered to bring it over for me to look at.

Unfortunately the details actually confirmed (as I expected) that it's unusable for me as it stands, and even if I could eventually replace the back (which is the problem),  I 've concluded there's no point getting a long-term spare chair that might not suit whatever back I do end up getting on the theoretical long term main chair, especially when its current back is unusable. So I emailed back on Sunday afternoon with a few details of the best route to get to me, that I wouldn't be able to confirm which days I'll be around until Monday evening, and told them there was no point bringing the other chair for me to look at (basically to ensure my enthusiasm didn't get the chance to override my sense, but also to be fair to them as they had been quick to accept it was their mistake and a return was necessary).

Sunday evening I got a return email saying "Whoa, I just realised that's too far to drive"  and "We'll have to do return by mail, but I can't afford the postage right now, it'll be a few weeks."


They have confirmed they're accepting a return in the ebay system, and say that the money is now locked up with ebay rather than with them, but I can't get at it 'til the whole return process goes through. I think they're probably being genuine (it's a 3 hour drive each way), but it's slightly eyebrow-raising that the offer to drive over disappeared the instant the potential of me buying the other chair disappeared off the table (slight tactical error there, clearly). If they take long enough I may have to escalate the ebay problem resolution process just to cover myself. I need to check the effective dates on that.

On the more positive side of things I've finally found my draft letter to Wheelvhair Services from last year - guess the one file that didn't get transferred off the old laptop, and I'll be updating that to try and get a proper assessment, and hopefully a better chair, from them.  I gave my GP the heads-up I was doing that on Friday. A plus-side of the whole ebay chair fiasco is I can now claim in the letter to have been able to 'borrow' a rigid framed chair for several weeks, and that even when it doesn't fit to the point of being painful it's a far better chair for me than the clown chair they dumped on my doorstep.



davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Well, good news, the GPV vendor says 'whoops' and of course they'll accept a return. I'm not sure they appreciate yet that they're picking up the cost of the return, but we'll see.

They claim the other GPV they're selling is genuinely 16", and am I interested? Now I reckon the GPV was close to being what I'm looking for as a short term main chair, long term spare, the only issues were not fitting in it (bit of a killer that) and needing to tune the tippiness. So I'm potentially interested (and it does seem to be in slightly better nick than the current one). I need to check a few things - I want a picture with a ruler against it for one! But unlike the 14" it's a folding high back and forward folding, rather than backward folding as on the clown chair. Because I have issues with the width of a standard back throwing my shoulders out I've mostly been using the clown chair with the back folded (also keeps handles away from overly helpful strangers), but clearly that's not workable with a back that folds forward onto the seat. Long term aim is to get a chair with a good Jay back (which costs more than I paid for this chair) which is narrrow enough not to interfere, plus properly supportive (I've tried  Kaberett's so I know this for sure), but this promotes that from long term aspirational to short term need to look into it now.

So I've got a question. How much effort is it to replace a wheelchair back with a rigid one (I'm going to go see if I can hunt up a GPV manual online in a minute). And are there any decent rigid backs on the market for less than the £450+ a Jay back will cost me? (Because sticking a £450 or £550 back on a £200 chair doesn't strike me as necessarily entirely sensible).

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
So I know the new chair is too narrow, but I thought I should take it out and give it a whirl to see how it rides over the places I normally go in order to get some idea of what I can expect from a rigid-framed chair.

Test 0: Get it in the Damned Car
With the wheels off it is just fractionally too wide to fit in the boot space of my car (Toyota Yaris - original model, so size of the current Aygo, not current Yaris), which admittedly is somewhat of a token. With two thirds of the back seat down I can fit it in facing front to rear, with the wheels on, with all of the back seat down, it will fit crossways, which is probably the best option for not blocking the rear view

Test 1: The Cobbles of Death

I needed to get my hair cut, so I parked in my usual spot behind Rochester cathedral and headed into town, the first c200m is pretty much exclusively brick paved road, frequently cut with cobbles (they had the 'brilliant' idea of using cobbles to mark where they've found evidence of the Roman walls, and I'm using the road because the pavement is worse, 'antique' stone slabs with lots of nooks and crannies to catch castors, where it isn't too narrow, or up a 12" kerb). In the clown chair the vibration from the brickwork isn't quite unbearable, but it's definitely getting there, in the GPV the road is almost a non-issue, just a slight rumble, the cobbles were possibly more awkward than usual, but that was partly down to the over-tippiness of the chair in it's current set-up, which is trying to wheelie any chance it gets. The ideal approach is probably to wheelie over the cobbles, but the current tippiness is just too unstable for me to be confident doing that. I did have to stop after about 50m and yank my jacket up above the waist, it was constantly being rubbed by the wheels otherwise.

The 200m along the highstreet was annoying, there's enough ornamental slabs and cobbles set into it that you're often catching one caster only and being yanked to the right. OTOH I didn't notice the camber of the pavement this time, which is usually yanking me constantly to the left. Overall, likely a definite improvement once the tippiness is fixed.

So I got my hair cut and headed back. Given the cobbles I decided to head up the other side of the road to the cathedral (which I normally do anyway, I only took the Cathedral side to test it out). That's slightly complicated by the (cobbled) entrance to a pub car park and the side road up to the castle, which does have kerb cuts. The car park entrance turned out to be a nuisance, it needed a slight wheelie to get over the lip back onto the pavement and the cobbles and slope were making it more complicated, plus tippiness, so I grabbed the brick pillar at the side to yank myself up, and the chair flicked around 90 degrees, with one set of wheels on the path, the other on the cobbles. I had to be rescued by a passing pedestrian. 5m later I hit the kerb cut onto the sideroad. Going down is no problem, it works against the tippiness. Going up is more of an issue, it exaggerates the tippiness, the only way to handle it was lean right forward and inch up, which bemused the passing traffic. I was getting noticeably tired by this point, back is slightly uphill and the constantly working against the tippiness was wearing. Given the issue with slopes I went a slightly different route back to the car. That does have one perfectly level section, and it was an absolute delight.

Test 2: PC World
I wanted to look around PC World to see what they had in the way of electric razors (I need to replace the foils and cutters on my existing one and the cost of that isn't much different to a cheap new one). So I parked up, and headed up to the rather long ramp up to the entrance. Tippiness again. I was rather amused by the contrast between the thoroughly Cha'am-accented 'Need a hand, mate?' from the guy behind me, and the Arabic (I think) he was using to his family. Again, on flat surfaces, it's absolutely ideal. OTOH PC World seem to have stopped stocking razors. Bah!

Test 3: Asda
 I needed to do some shopping, so I got the chair out, stuffed my carrier bags between my knees and headed down to where they keep the wheelchair-adapted trolleys. *Headdesk* the GPV is too narrow, just, to engage with the connecting bars. I grabbed a few things I needed using a basket on my knee, and again, flat and smooth is great, but I'm gong to have to go back with the clown chair, which does work with the trolleys, to get the bulky stuff, and wheeling back to the car, slightly uphill, while trying to keep two carriers on my knees was, ahem, interesting.

Household access note:

The path up to my front door has two steps and the kerb at the edge of the drive (plus the typical lipped front door you get from double glazing companies). Getting the GPV down them was a pain. With more practise I might be able to wheelie it, but I went out with crutches and pushing the chair (awkward as it's low-backed and doesn't have push handles). Pushing it forwards probably explains why the paint on the footbar is completely missing, with the castors set towards the rear of their position range the footbar hits first if you just let it roll, tipping it is slightly better. Coming home I had a look at trying to wheelie up the kerb, but chickened out and pushed it in. I really should look at getting the path replaced with a ramp and a kerb cut, but I need to check the building regs on slope and rise height. it may be just too high to do in a straight run.

And once in the house I went pretty much straight to bed and slept for six hours (which was more to do with not sleeping well last night than anything else).

All the signs are there that a rigid framed chair will be massively better for me. Transport will be slightly more of a nuisance (unless I manage to get an L-shaped frame that can sit on the passenger seat with the wheels off). The GPV, though, is just too narrow. I could tolerate it for a couple of hours as I did today, longer I don't know, I'll experiment tomorrow. But the catching on clothes just emphasizes it isn't practical to keep it. And equally several issues I might have tolerated if it was as-advertised - solid treadless tyres on the main wheels, front castors needing new tyres/castors imminently - just add to the not this one feel. I'll open an issue with Ebay's resolution system saying 'not as advertised' in the morning. Postage was £50, so after refunding me and paying for return postage, they're going to be £100 out of pocket on a £200 item. If they offered me £100 off I might consider keeping it as a temporary chair I can use until I lay my hands on something better. Most of the issues with handling are the tippiness, which just needs the axle shifting. I don't have the torque wrenches needed, but I suspect my next door neighbour will have, and if I'm willing to wait a few weeks until my next trip to Durham, I'm absolutely certain my brother-in-law will either have them himself or will be able to borrow them from one of his friends in the garage trade.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I now have my new chair. For how long remains to be seen.

It was advertised as 16" wide across the seat, it's actually 14". my spare 15" cushion will just fit, but there's very little clearance between me and the wheels (OTOH it does make it a hell of a lot easier to get through the doors in the house, the clown chair only just fits through the door into the living room).

The rest of it is as mostly as expected, the frame need some touching up, and the upholstery is a little shabby., but that  was clear from the pictures.

Front castors are fairly well worn, rear tires turn out to be treadless solids, which is a bit of an unpleasant surprise, but not actually contradicting anything in the ebay ad.

Handling knocks the clown chair into a cocked hat, though if anything it's too tippy, the castors leave the ground (but only just) almost every time I push. The anti-tips are staying exactly where they are (i.e. down and in use) for now.

The plan is to spend as much of today as possible in it to see whether its tolerable or not, I'll head out in it later to run some errands and evaluate it outside, but I didn't get  a great deal of sleep so I'm going to have to go and take a nap before anything else.

It's never simple, is it?


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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