The Ballad Of Bunter

   
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@ColinTheMathmo

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In late May it was becoming increasingly clear that Rachel's laptop was increasingly eccentric. A replacement would be needed, and while it wasn't yet urgent, we felt we should do something before it became so. And so the hunt began.

We asked for advice and thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, and Mastodon, to make sure we didn't overlook something important, and an online search turned up what appeared to be a machine that hit the sweet spot in that tussle between performance and cost.

 
Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz
- 32GB RAM 512GB SSD
- Windows 10

Price: £699.99
Rachel creates videos of her embroidery, and they need editing, so we thought 32GB RAM would be advisable. That tends to push the price "over the hump", so a refurbished machine seemed unavoidable. This one looked good.

On June 7 Rachel asked for confirmation of the ports and interfaces and received a prompt reply. Everything looked good.

The purchase

So Rachel went ahead, ordered, and paid on the 8th.

Purchase Details
Description:
  • Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
  • - i7-6600 2.6GHz
  • - 32GB RAM 512GB SSD
  • - Windows 10 [16GB RAM 512SSD]
  • Total: £749.99 GBP
  • Payment: £749.99 GBP
Here's the confirmation from PayPal:

Now, there are a couple of things about this that we admit passed us by at the time, but which are worth noting.

Firstly, it's an extra 50 pounds, and we now wonder what that was for. After all, the listing stated 32GB and 512 SSD, but this was now some time ago, and no doubt it seemed reasonable. For some reason.

But the second thing is that even though the listing is for 32GB, and the description says 32GB, it later says 16GB.

We didn't notice that. After all, the listing was for a 32GB machine, the description was of a 32GB machine ... we didn't look further.

The problem ...

So when the machine was delivered and Rachel started to set it up, it came as something of a surprise to see it come up as 16BG.

So what to do.

Rachel contacted the vendor, and they said:

  • The memory is a drop-down option that you need to select.
  • The 32GB option would be 849.99

In the subsequent "conversation" Rachel pointed out that the listing explicitly says 32GB, and the vendor said:

  • The reason this is being shown is
    as the titles do not dynamically
    changed based on the spec option
    selected.

So the listing says 32GB, the listing says 699 pounds, and we get a 16GB machine for 749 pounds.

Is this "bait'n'switch" ?? Is it a "Dark Pattern" ??

At this stage we no longer cared, and told them we wanted a refund.

The resolution ...

Fair play to them at this point, there was no fuss, they sent a courier, collected the machine, and said they would issue a refund.

The machine was collected on June 12th at about 11:30, but by June 17th we hadn't heard anything, so Rachel Wright sent a prompting message, and by return we were told that it had been procesed that morning and the refund was on the way. Was it pure coincidence that the refund arrived about 20 minutes after the question was asked? Who can say.

The upshot ...

In the meantime we found another machine.

OK, so it's 16GB, but it's a very similar specification, and:

  • It's new;
  • It's cheaper.

All's well that ends well.


The emails ... summarised.

I can't say I recommend it, but in case you're interested, here is a summary of the emails. For brevity I've removed most of the instances of "hi", "Good Morning", "Best regards", and so forth.

But you may just want to skip to the comments section.

Date RMW Vendor Courier Paypal
Refurbished ...
i7, 32GB,
512GB SSD,
699.99
2020/06/07 What ports?
2020/06/08 (spec provided)
2020/06/08 On its way
2020/06/08 Receipt
2020/06/09 On its way
2020/06/10 TODAY
2020/06/10 Only 16 GB
2020/06/10 That's what
you ordered
2020/06/10 Listing says 32 GB
2020/06/10 You need
to pick the
drop-down
2020/06/10 (screen-shot)
2020/06/10 Correct item
sent
2020/06/10 Receipt says 32 GB
2020/06/10 Title doesn't
change, not
our problem
2020/06/10 Delivered
2020/06/10
2020/06/11 Bait'n'switch,
will return
for refund
2020/06/11 OK, will
send courier
2020/06/11 Tomorrow?
2020/06/11 Booked for
tomorrow
2020/06/11 Receipt?
2020/06/11 Will be provided
2020/06/11 Will confirm
2020/06/11 OK
2020/06/12 Collected
2020/06/12 Refund
when
processed
(pause)
2020/06/17 Any news?
2020/06/17 Processed this
morning, refund
on its way

 
Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz
- 32GB RAM 512GB SSD
- Windows 10

Price: £699.99

=======================
On 2020/06/07 @ 21:40 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Hi,
Could you tell me whether the laptop has USB3,
HDMI, and SD reader?  Wifi and Ethernet?

=======================
On 2020/06/08 @ 11:20 :
=======================

Vendor to RMW:

Good Morning,
Here is the list of ports on this machine;
(snip)

=======================
On 2020/06/08 @ 11:40 :
=======================

Delivery company:

Expected: Wed, 10 Jun - Thu, 11 Jun.
Look out for an update with the
delivery confirmation.

Your order is confirmed.
We'll let you know when it's on the way.

Order summary

Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz
- 32GB RAM 512GB...

SKU: SPEC: 16GB RAM 512SSD
Total: £749.99

=======================
On 2020/06/08 @ 11:40 :
=======================

PayPal:

8 Jun 2020 11:32:08 BST
You sent a payment of £749.99 GBP to ...

Purchase Details

Description:
Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz
- 32GB RAM 512GB SSD
- Windows 10 [16GB RAM 512SSD]
Total: £749.99 GBP
Payment: £749.99 GBP

=======================
On 2020/06/09 @ 16:40 :
=======================

Delivery company:

Expected: Wed, 10 Jun - Thu, 11 Jun

Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz
- 32GB RAM 512GB...
SKU: SPEC: 16GB RAM 512SSD
Total: £749.99

=======================
On 2020/06/10 @ 07:40 :
=======================

Delivery company:

We'll deliver your parcel
TODAY 10th June 2020
between 10:31-11:31

=======================
On 2020/06/10 @ 12:00 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 10-Jun-20 11:46:13 BST
Subject: a question about item ...
ending on 04-Jul-20 12:42:43 BST
- Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz - 32GB RAM 512GB SSD
- Windows 10

Hi
The laptop has arrived, but it has 16gb RAM,
not the 32gb I thought I was getting, and
paid an extra £50 for.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Vendor to RMW:

Hi there,
The option selected was in fact the 16GB 512GB SSD
at £749.99. The 32GB 512GB SSD version if you select
that spec from the drop down is £849.99.
Thank you.

=======================
On 2020/06/10 @ 12:20 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 10-Jun-20 11:56:23 BST

Hi
At least one of the emails - visible to me in the
eBay app - quoted 32gb.  I'm sure you can understand
why I feel rather confused. I'm not even sure whether
to feel hard-done-to or not.

Vendor to RMW:

Hello,
The ad title is of the 32GB RAM which is where the
possibility of confusion may have came from.  We
decided to offer the 16GB or 32GB with the other
hard drive options too so the spec suitable could
be selected and the price is reflected when done
so on the advert.
Thank you.

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 10-Jun-20 12:00:35 BST

See screen shot

Vendor to RMW:

Please see our email just sent to you. The spec
needs to be selected in order to checkout therefore
we have sent what was ordered and selected from the
drop down menu. Sorry there is nothing we can do
to help further on this as the correct item has
been sent.
Kind Regards,

=======================
On 2020/06/10 @ 12:40 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 10-Jun-20 12:17:20 BST

Here's the receipt I have from PayPal. It seems clear.
I would like to settle this amicably, I have been
confused and distressed by the conflicting emails
I have received since I placed the order. Please let
me know how we can proceed.

Vendor to RMW:

The reason this is being shown is as the titles do
not dynamically changed based on the spec option
selected. We can offer a partial refund of £15 for
the confusion caused but we can not do anymore as
the correct item has been sent according to the
option selected on the advert.
Kind Regards,

=======================
On 2020/06/10 @ 14:40 :
=======================

Delivery company:

Dropped off at 10-Jun 14:32 BST

Refurbished HP Zbook G3 15.6"
- i7-6600 2.6GHz
- 32GB RAM 512GB SSD
- Windows 10

Total: £749.99

=======================
On 2020/06/11 @ 15:20 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 11-Jun-20 12:14:16 BST

Thank you for your message.  The whole experience
still feels like a bait-&-switch. I would prefer to
return the laptop and receive a full refund. Your
shipping note promises a free returns label. Perhaps
you would like to tell me how to proceed?
with best wishes

Vendor to RMW:

Hello,
We can have our courier collect the item if this
is more suitable this saves you having to go to a
drop off point? We just need to know a day where
someone will be in at the property between 9 and 5.
Also please confirm your address and we will book
the collection on the given day,
thank you.

=======================
On 2020/06/11 @ 16:40 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 11-Jun-20 16:18:49 BST

Can you do tomorrow? If not, then Saturday?
Thank you.

Vendor to RMW:

This has been booked for tomorrow, thank you.

=======================
On 2020/06/11 @ 17:00 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 11-Jun-20 16:26:34 BST

Ok. How will the driver identify themselves?
Will they provide a receipt?

Vendor to RMW:

The collecting driver will have their own
label and will provide a receipt, thank you.

=======================
On 2020/06/11 @ 17:00 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Ok. Will let you know when it has been collected.

Vendor to RMW:

Okay thank you, we will update when here and refunded.

=======================
On 2020/06/12 @ 12:20 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 12-Jun-20 11:28:27 BST

Parcel collected.

Vendor to RMW:

Thank you for letting us know, we will refund once here.
Kind Regards,

=======================
On 2020/06/17 @ 09:40 :
=======================

RMW to vendor:

Sent date: 16-Jun-20 21:59:59 BST

Have you received the returned laptop yet?
It was collected last week.

Vendor to RMW:

Good Morning,
We have processed the item this morning. A refund
has been sent and this should be with you very soon,
thank you.

=======================
On 2020/06/17 @ 09:40 :
=======================

service@paypal.co.uk

.......... issued a £749.99 GBP refund


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