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Arguing with Private Seller on Chrono24 - advice wanted

  1. watchguynyc

    watchguynyc Jun 19, 2019

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    Hi everyone,


    I’m hoping for some advice from anybody who has an idea on how I should proceed with a situation I’m in.


    I recently purchased a vintage watch from a Private Seller on Chrono24 using the escrow service. The way this works is that my money is put in escrow during the sale and only released to the seller when I click “release” after receiving the watch. I can only be refunded if the seller and I both click “accept” to a settlement offer. Chrono24 has told me that they will never rule in favor of either party so the money will theoretically remain in escrow forever unless I come to a solution with the seller.


    The watch was advertised as NOS (so I paid a premium) and I had it taken to a watchmaker who determined it was definitely not NOS (scratched hands, significant water damage internally, damaged case) and that the pictures were intentionally misleading. He even took pictures so I could use as proof for my return.


    The seller quickly became very aggressive and hostile, refusing to accept a return (it’s in another country and I offered to pay for the return shipping) and telling me my watchmaker was trying to defraud me or was working with me to defraud him (the seller). I tried to point out as kindly as possible that I would not release the funds so he would be without either watch or cash if he did not accept the return. He replied that I was bullying him and that he would stop replying because he would rather have nothing.


    It has now been more than 6 weeks with the watch sitting in my safe and my money sitting in escrow. The German mediations manager (Chrono24 is based in Germany) has only been responding once every 1-2 weeks and I have called the US customer support team more than 15 times over this timespan but all they can do is email the German mediations manager. They have told me that he has sent many messages to the seller that haven’t been returned.


    My question is how do I go forward from here? It’s a lot of money that I desperately want back and it seems impossible that what they are telling me (they can’t rule in favor of either party) is true. In theory, somebody could send a piece of fruit in a box and advertise it as a Rolex, and whoever was unlucky enough to buy it would have their money stuck in escrow forever.


    Is there a way to escalate this within Chrono24 or is there any workaround for the policy? Would it be helpful to think about hiring a lawyer or talking to my credit card company or PayPal about the fraud?


    Thank you for any and all help, I’m losing my mind over here!
     
    Edited Jun 19, 2019
    DaveK and phamti like this.
  2. dputydwg1

    dputydwg1 Jun 19, 2019

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    Sorry to hear this and I wish i could help you.
     
  3. Joe_A

    Joe_A Jun 19, 2019

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    I cannot provide help based on personal experience, but I can make a couple of observations and a suggestion or two.

    Even if the seller were to ask you now to return the watch for possible refund, if he is a disreputable or dishonest fellow as you suspect, then he can claim that the watch you sent back is not in the same condition as the watch he sent to you and so the dispute can be prolonged without you getting your money back. What to do?

    Here is where Chrono24 can and should earn their commission.

    They, as a neutral party wishing to preserve reputation, should select a watchmaker independent of your choice and they should require that the seller and you accept their selection. If the seller and the buyer can agree upon a third-party watchmaker/arbiter under a Chrono24 umbrella, then perhaps the dispute may be settled.

    This hypothetical third party can be in the U.S. or in Germany, but Chrono24 should be encouraged to take the lead in solving the dispute, otherwise . . . what good are they?
     
    Edited Jun 19, 2019
    Zdzislaw, DaveK, blubarb and 6 others like this.
  4. rcs914

    rcs914 Jun 19, 2019

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    How about some pictures too? Maybe we can help you feel better about the watch? I mean maybe not too, but still - pics never hurt ;-)
     
    DaveK and Joe_A like this.
  5. Larry S

    Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Jun 19, 2019

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    Let’s see some pictures. Let’s see the original add. You bought a used watch. NOS is a bullshit term anyway. Most of us factor in a a service when we buy. Perhaps you are being unreasonable, perhaps you are not and the seller is a nut job. Your story just confirms my fear of dealing with strangers either on e bay or C24.
     
    Zdzislaw, DaveK, blubarb and 8 others like this.
  6. chadpowe11

    chadpowe11 Jun 19, 2019

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    I would contact my credit card company and inform them of the situation. Then get a charge back.
     
    tikkathree likes this.
  7. CJpickup57

    CJpickup57 Jun 19, 2019

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    Going by the facts you have provided, I would contact PayPal and the credit card company you used. Paypal first to see what they say and then move to the credit card company and see what they say. Be truthful and only state facts that you have evidence to back up those facts. All those calls will be recorded to use for you or against you. I'm sorry to hear about this and I hope it works out in the end.
     
    Zdzislaw, DaveK and tikkathree like this.
  8. calalum

    calalum Jun 19, 2019

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    Is the seller an active seller? If so, it may help (at least it may help others) to identify them.
     
    Snowman likes this.
  9. JanV

    JanV Jun 19, 2019

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    Sorry to hear about your situation, not nice at all.

    If you could share a bit more in detail what’s happened, i strongly believe you could get some legal help from some members here also. There are a few members with legal background and collecting here.

    In the meantime I would like to share a different way of thought here than maybe expected. The watch you bought, as we don’t yet know anything about it, was it a vintage watch, let’s say older than 30 years?

    If so, could you post some pictures of the watch you received here for members to share their opinions on it.

    Why i’m saying this is just that i’we bought many NOS watches but they are not always in such a NOS condition one could expect.

    Many times this is because the watch may have been sitting at a shop for decades and every time the watch would have been taken in or out from the counter it may have got som dents and scratches, even fallen on the floor a few times?

    Or getting scratches on the caseback from trying to open it whilst all the rubber gaskets have turned into glue, or even worst case that the watch would have been sitting in the shop window for a decade thus burning the dial / hands by the sun. A watch like this could have received one or two services also in its life that could have left some marks on it also.

    So i have been a bit cautious when anyone mentions NOS to me on older watches as even in NOS condition, these watches have seen some life after all.

    Or then once in a while your lucky and the watch has been in a safe locked away for 40 - 50 years, but this doesn’t happen so often.

    But if the sale has been communicated with wrong or misleading words, then again pictures agains the sales description should do the job for the chrono24 guys?

    With maybe some help from members here. :)
     
    Zdzislaw and DaveK like this.
  10. watchguynyc

    watchguynyc Jun 19, 2019

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    Thank you for all of the responses so quickly. I’ll post the pictures I have once I get home from work tonight next to the original wording from the ad. I will see if I have received the sellers email address at any point but the “Private Seller” function on Chrono24 keeps details pretty slim if my memory serves.

    I’m going to try contacting PayPal and my credit card company as some others have suggested.
     
    Zdzislaw and JanV like this.
  11. jsducote

    jsducote Jun 19, 2019

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    Seller seems poised to walk away, suggesting that he knows he sold a basket of fruit. Credit card and/or PPal recourse may be the only option left.
     
  12. Larry S

    Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Jun 19, 2019

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    Basket of rotten fruit.
     
    pkaye6, DaveK and Uniqez like this.
  13. Dan S

    Dan S Jun 19, 2019

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    Assuming we are hearing the whole story here, the seller seems to be acting strangely. What's the big deal to accept a return, especially since he obviously knows the watch is not truly NOS? At the moment, the OP has a watch (although not one that he is happy with), but the seller has nothing.

    If the seller is an OF member, I'm sure we'd welcome him to present his side of the story. Perhaps the OP can invite him to participate.
     
    Zdzislaw, DaveK, blubarb and 2 others like this.
  14. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jun 19, 2019

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    Website:

    Anyway, how did you pay? Banktransfer or paypal/credit? If last, call them first and see what happens.

    If they dont or cant help, write a email or letter to chrono that if they dont refund you, you will start a civil case against them and refer to their own term and conditions when using escrow. They need to say if a watch was according description. A third independent party could be adressed.

    But it will be legally interesting if chrono does nothing. Is chrono based in Germany? You could call a German lawyer who specializes in consumer law. He also can write one letter to chrono. Is probably not expensive. Let see what happens.

    If it comes to court... well. Then it will be expensive. But maybe in german civil law the other party could be ordered to pay the legal costs.

    I think chrono could be adressed in Germany because their headquarter is over there.

    Hope this helps.
     
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    Zdzislaw and Lotus_Eater8815 like this.
  15. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jun 19, 2019

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  16. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jun 19, 2019

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    But if I take a look at the terms and conditions I see a couple of legal problems for you...
     
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  17. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jun 19, 2019

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    Here's the jurisdiction
     
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  18. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jun 19, 2019

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    Anyway, if PayPal or creditcard can not help, call a german consumer attorney. Maybe in Germany there's a lower legal entry then court like arbitrage consumer organisations...

    Good luck!
     
    Zdzislaw and watchguynyc like this.
  19. watchknut

    watchknut New watch + Instagram + wife = dumbass Jun 19, 2019

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    I don't do international deals (unless with friends or friends of friends)

    I don't use Chrono24

    I don't trust anyone who says NOS unless its clearly NOS and the pictures prove it.

    Sorry this happens, but in the future, deal with collectors in the US or trusted people you know in your network. It makes life so much easier.
     
  20. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jun 19, 2019

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