eBayer Beware - Gift Shopping on eBay riddled with shipping challenges

I've been trying to post more positive messages, but I promised eBay I would share my experiences.

Yesterday, I won an item for my grandma on eBay. After winning, I used the eBay iPhone application to checkout. As I do, I'm not given the opportunity to change the shipping address. Apparently, one must change one's shipping address before winning an item, or it will be shipped to the default shipping address. ...and if you're keen enough to realize that you haven't been given the opportunity to have the item shipped to your preferred destination after checking out, eBay makes it difficult to find the contact information for your seller, adding extra hassle and delay in resolving the issue.

Here's the chat transcript. Please pardon the formatting - the eBay chat system didn't let me retrieve the chat transcript in any nicely-formatted format.

16:30:55 Customerjaraco
Initial Question/Comment: Bidding/Buying
16:31:00 SystemSystem
Thank you for contacting eBay Live Help!
16:31:00 SystemSystem
Please hold for the next available Live Help Agent.
16:31:55 SystemSystem
We appreciate your patience. Please continue to hold for the next available representative.
16:32:55 SystemSystem
We apologize for the wait. Please continue to hold while we connect you to an agent. You should be connected soon.
16:33:35 SystemSystem
Mel M. has joined this session!
16:33:35 SystemSystem
Connected with Mel M.
16:33:39 AgentMel M.
Hello, thanks for waiting and welcome to eBay Live Help! My name is Mel. How may I help you? We are currently experiencing an unusual high chat volume. We thank you for holding and we are sorry for the inconvenience.
16:33:52 Customerjaraco
Hi Mel. I bought an item on eBay and checked out using the eBay app for the iPhone.
16:34:12 Customerjaraco
When I paid, I don't think I was given the opportunity to select another shipping address (or if I did, it was hidden).
16:34:33 Customerjaraco
After a night's sleep, I realized that the incorrect address was on the shipment.
16:34:53 Customerjaraco
So I attempted to contact the seller... but I only received a generic response 8 hours later saying the item was shipped.
16:35:12 AgentMel M.
I understand you would like to edit that shipping address, right?
16:35:34 Customerjaraco
I'm really frustrated that I think now the item is going to be shipped to my home instead of to my grandma.
16:36:00 AgentMel M.
May I have the item number please so I can check?
16:36:11 Customerjaraco
16:36:46 AgentMel M.
Thank you. I'd be happy to look into this for you and do you have an additional question I can check as well?
16:37:20 Customerjaraco
No. just that.
16:38:56 AgentMel M.
May I have your current shipping address please?
16:40:13 Customerjaraco
Albuquerque, NM 87105
16:40:22 Customerjaraco
That's the address i want it shipped to.
16:40:42 Customerjaraco
The address that was on the payment receipt is
Washington, DC 20009
16:41:16 AgentMel M.
Indeed that **HOME** address is the one showing in the order details page.
16:43:06 AgentMel M.
The item is not showing as shipped yet. I'd suggest to call the seller. I'll show you how to get his phone number.
16:43:40 Customerjaraco
Yes please.
16:43:51 AgentMel M.
It's easy to request for your seller's phone number. Here's how:

1. Click "Advanced Search" at the top of the eBay.com homepage.
16:44:06 AgentMel M.
2. Click the "Find Contact Information" link on the left side of the Advanced Search page.
16:45:06 AgentMel M.
3. Enter the seller's User ID and the item number.
16:45:36 Customerjaraco
alright. I did that.
16:45:45 Customerjaraco
It says it's sending me an e-mail.
16:46:46 AgentMel M.
Please check your email and the phone number will be there.
16:47:43 Customerjaraco
aah. great. Thanks.
16:47:50 Customerjaraco
I'll give her a call. I hope there's a way to stop the shipment.
16:48:21 AgentMel M.
He hasn't printed shipping label yet so most probably it's not yet shipped.
16:48:23 Customerjaraco
In the meantime, is there any way I can simulate paying for another item, so I can determine where I went wrong paying for this item?
16:50:52 AgentMel M.
Let me check your shipping address on file if it's current.
16:51:15 Customerjaraco
I just called and the package has been shipped.
16:51:31 Customerjaraco
Perhaps she didn't print the shipping label through eBay.
16:51:41 Customerjaraco
In any case, it's already gone to the post office and has a tracking number.
16:51:58 Customerjaraco
Unfortunately, the post office won't let me do anything with the package until I receive it, so I'll have to pay to ship it again to my grandma.
16:52:31 Customerjaraco
I'm really frustrated that by checking out on my iPhone, I don't remember seeing any place to set the shipping address before completing the transaction.
16:53:33 Customerjaraco
What's even more frustrating is that I tried to find the best contact information for the shipper this morning, but all I found was the e-mail address. I didn't know I could call the shipper.
16:53:56 AgentMel M.
I understand where you're coming from but since your shipping address on file is **HOME** Washington DC, that's what was reflected on the order details.
16:54:29 Customerjaraco
Exactly. That's where I would normally have things shipped, but for this order in particular, I wanted to have it shipped to my Grandma in NM.
16:55:43 AgentMel M.
Before purchasing an item, check the shipping address on file if that matches the address you want an item be shipped. If not, you need to change it prior to purchasing the item.
16:56:21 Customerjaraco
Do you mean it needs to be changed before winning an item or before making payment.
16:56:23 Customerjaraco
16:56:48 AgentMel M.
16:57:01 Customerjaraco
My concern is that i checked out using the eBay app on the iPhone, and i don't think I was given the opportunity to change the shipping address while making the payment.
16:57:19 Customerjaraco
If I was given that opportunity, it wasn't obvious how.
16:57:49 AgentMel M.
You need to change the shipping address prior to bidding on the item.
16:57:59 Customerjaraco
That doesn't make sense.
16:58:18 Customerjaraco
What if I'm bidding on two items that need to go different places? I've never had to change my shipping address prior to bidding.
16:58:24 AgentMel M.
Once you win it, regardless if you're using a desktop or ebay mobile, changing the address won't be an option anymore.
16:58:45 Customerjaraco
That's a horrible system.
16:59:04 AgentMel M.
You need to contact the seller immediately to let them know that it should be shipped on anther address as it will show the address on file.
16:59:19 Customerjaraco
It's too late - I don't think you're reading my messages.
16:59:35 Customerjaraco
I contacted the seller and the item has already been dropped off at the post office and the post office is closed.
16:59:45 AgentMel M.
I am understanding it.
17:00:10 AgentMel M.
For that shipped item, it can't be stopped anymore but if this happens again, that's what I am referring to.
17:01:14 Customerjaraco
I'm really disappointed with eBay.
17:01:47 AgentMel M.
I'm sorry to hear about the frustration that this matter caused you. But this is how the bidding and buying works.
17:02:02 Customerjaraco
1) I couldn't change the shipping address on checkout. (2) I couldn't easily contact the seller after I realized that the wrong shipping address was used.
17:02:30 Customerjaraco
These are both things that eBay could have facilitated, but didn't. This results in me having the hassle and expense of having to re-ship the item.
17:03:11 AgentMel M.
Contacting the seller is easy but the seller should immediately read the email you sent.
17:03:42 Customerjaraco
The seller prepared the shipment last night, but did not read e-mail all day today.
17:06:04 Customerjaraco
So you're saying the seller is required to check e-mail before finalizing shipment? Are you saying that this situation was caused because the seller didn't read e-mail?
17:07:06 AgentMel M.
The seller is encouraged to check emails but we don't have control on when they will check their emails.
17:07:41 Customerjaraco
Right. So if eBay had given me the choice to select a shipping address or if eBay hadn't made it so difficult to find the seller's phone number, this situation could have been avoided.
17:08:04 Customerjaraco
For that reason, I would like eBay to refund my shipping charges (as a courtesy for me having to re-ship the item myself).
17:11:18 AgentMel M.
We do not give credits for this kind of situation.
17:11:43 AgentMel M.
As a buyer, you updating shipping address is a must if you want an item to be shipped to the right address.
17:13:05 Customerjaraco
Very well. Thanks for the hassle. I'll be sure to warn others about the dangers of buying through eBay. eBayer beware.
17:13:12 Customerjaraco
17:14:34 AgentMel M.
You're very welcome. It's been a real pleasure chatting with you today and I am glad to explain this issue on a wrong shipping address. We value your business and have a great night.
17:14:34 AgentMel M.
Thanks for using eBay Live Help! To close this chat window, go ahead and click on the "Exit" button whenever you're ready.
17:14:39 SystemSystem
Mel M. has left this session!
17:14:39 SystemSystem
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Written on November 29, 2010