On September 13, I sold an old watch that belonged to my mother on eBay to someone in Hungary. It was posted the next day. The total cost, including postage with international tracking, was £315.13.

But, my customs forms were lost in transit. The item was then held in Budapest. On October 17, I filled out a second form, which was then emailed to the other person.

Meanwhile, the buyer opened an ‘item not received’ dispute with eBay, which was upheld. The £315.13 was taken from my account on October 21.

Ticked off: A reader was left out of pocket after eBay refunded the buyer of her late mother's watch after its delivery was held up at customs

Tickled off: An eBay refund was issued to the mother of the deceased watch buyer after customs delays caused by her mom’s watch.

This was despite the fact I’d communicated with the buyer and eBay every step of the way. Because the tracking number was readily available, the buyer was able to confirm that the item was located in Hungary.

On November 2, the watch arrived. I spoke to eBay’s appeals team on November 7 and provided the delivery confirmation. 

Appeal was rejected immediately because it’s not permissible to deliver after the case has been closed.

Buyer will not reply.

J. T. address provided.

Tony Hazell replies: This letter should be a warning to every reader thinking of posting items abroad over the Christmas period or selling unwanted gifts in the New Year — and not only via eBay.

There have been a few people having problems getting customs statements and their items becoming stuck in transit after Brexit.

Mail services have warned of problems with delivery due to Europe being in partial lockdown. It could result in late Christmas presents, or even delays when items are purchased online.

Let’s get to your problem: it is eBay’s policy that if an item has not been delivered by the estimated date, the buyer can open an ‘item not received’ case.

Yours has 30 days to make a complaint, and you have to wait for 30.

eBay will intervene in the event that the seller cannot resolve the issue within 3 working days after the buyer opens their case. eBay can offer a full refund or a money-back guarantee.

Although your item arrived a little late, it was still delivered. According to eBay’s rules, an appeal may be filed within thirty days after a case is closed. You must be able show the item was shipped before the case is closed.

eBay has now refunded the money after a second investigation.

A spokesman says: ‘We are sorry to hear about the issues Ms T experienced. Due to the exceptional circumstances of this case, we have decided to restore the funds to her as a gesture of goodwill.’

That’s good, but I have suggested that eBay should review its rigid refund policies to reflect Covid and Brexit issues.

If an item arrives within a reasonable amount of time and is accepted by the sender, the arbitrary deadlines for appeals shouldn’t apply. 

Have your say

Money Mail receives many of your emails and letters every week about our stories. We have compiled some responses in our investigation of new-build properties.

While we were trying to sell our 1920s semidetached home, we viewed several new builds and were amazed at the quality of their construction. 

Also, the gardens were small. I’d never consider paying so much money for a glorified shed.

H. S., Worcester.

All three of our homes were new constructions. Many of the problems you mention are common to new property.

 Make sure you have a good look around before you complete and get a solicitor to send the builder a copy of the snagging list so it’s on record.

J. J., London.

These problems are mainly caused by a lack of supervision and rushed work. 

Poor fitting has caused my bathroom and kitchen floor tiles to crack. It looks almost like a novice built my airing cabinet.

B. S. Hemel Hempstead (Herts).

Being a plumber who works on new builds, I’ve noticed that most things are almost always completed on a limited budget. 

Some of the designs seem to have been drawn up by architects that are better at building garages and sheds than they are houses.

G. M., Barnsley.

I’ll happily stick with my 1940s property, thank you very much. We’ve got large rooms and an enormous garden. 

It’s semi-detached, but I never hear the next-door neighbours. There is no way I’d want a small and soulless new-build.

C. E., Surrey.

An enormous new housing complex has been built close to my house. It was once beautiful farmland. But it would flood whenever it started to rain. 

A new homeowner may be able to get a complimentary pool when they buy a house.

I. F., Liverpool.

For my SSE bill paid, debt collector 

A debt collector has been pestering me for weeks, saying that I owe £259 to SSE for an electricity bill.

I provided proof from my Nationwide account that the bill was paid on the due date and that a refund was issued to me. They have not received proof that I even sent from my Nationwide account. 

Yesterday, another email came demanding payment. I have told them that my husband is having end-of-life care, but they don’t seem concerned.

I’m now with a new supplier; something which could not have happened if I owed money.

N. T., Bexhill-on-Sea, E. Sussex.

Tony Hazell replies:Ovo Energy took over SSE’s consumer division and I reached out to them. You had in fact paid £188 for your gas bill in March, which put your account into credit, resulting in the £88.72 refund you received when you switched in July.

However, the electricity account had an outstanding balance of £234.21 from bills issued in February and April.

When you didn’t pay this, the debt was passed to the collection agency.

Ovo wrote this as a token of his goodwill and investigation.

A spokesman says: ‘We have apologised to Mrs T and can confirm the outstanding balance has been cleared and the account is now closed.’

Ovo, you did a great job.  

  • Ask Tony@dailymail. Ask Tony Money Mail Northcliffe House 2 Derry Street London W8-5TT. Your phone number, address, and a note granting permission for Tony Hazell to contact you must be included. Sorry, we are unable to reply individually. We cannot accept responsibility for original documents, so please do not send them. Daily Mail cannot accept legal responsibility for any answers. 

Affiliate links may appear in some of the links. We may receive a commission if you click them. This helps to fund This Is Money and keeps it free of charge. Articles are not written to sell products. No commercial affiliation can affect our editorial independence.