Ok, thought I would share this as although the "ordeal" is not over it's perhaps noteworthy for the rest of the Geekzone members. Im sure someone will point out how dumb I was and I already know that so please keep the comments pleasant or share your own experiences.
A couple of months ago the wifes mobile phone gets stolen while in Auckland on holiday. I tell her to look for one at the Vodafone online store she settles on a Sony Ericcson but the account "subsidy" sucks so she looks around on Ebay as we have a bit of $$$ in our PayPal account.
She finds another Sony which looks nice, has been sold by VF NZ before and is a reasonable price. So we used "Buy it now" to get it. The phone eventually arrives (from China...yeah yeah I know - Mistake #1) and wife complains it looks somewhat suspect. Never had a problem with stuff off Ebay before (even electronics from China).
Took it into a VF store and they said the phone is legit but its a 3rd party case - OK I will buy that, wife still not happy.
So under the Ebay buyers policy I can return it if not satisified. So I opened a PayPal dispute and was asked to return the phone to the seller.
So I send it back airmail (no track and trace) as DHL was as much as half the phone (Mistake #2). Rememeber that Paypal dont refund the return shipping cost.
I think to myself airmail should be alright as even if it doesnt get there NZ Post assures me I have "insurance" on the parcel (Mistake #3).
So I wait a couple of weeks (10 business days). Phone hasnt arrived.
Escalate the dispute with Paypal and they insist on a tracking number. Had to eventually phone them in the USA only to be told I shouldve used DHL. Dispute is eventually declined as the parcel still hasnt arrived, there is no way to reopen a dispute - so much for PayPal buyer protection.
So I wait a couple more weeks. Phone hasnt arrived.
I log a claim with NZ Post online. NZ Post say they've had a "look" and cant find it. They ask me to fill out a bunch of paper forms (I assumed this would be straight forward!) and must include all receipts etc. Done!
Wait a couple more weeks. Get another letter from NZ Post, now they need a letter from the other party stating the parcel never arrived.
So Ive done that and am waiting for the letter.
Overall this has been dragging on for around 4 months...
Lessons to be learnt;
1) Be careful buying stuff off Ebay
2) If you have to return stuff use DHL (only option for tracked parcels overseas)
3) Dont assume you will be refunded by PayPal protection
4) Keep all your receipts for posting things (even locally)
5) Keep your receipts for the value of the product posted (NZ Post wanted this as proof)
6) Make sure you can get a letetr from the other party if needed
7) Dont assume you will get your insurance from NZ Post
Im sure there will be lots of commentary.
Thanks for listening