Reporting Kurtis Ming
After two and half years of fundraisers and bake sales, seniors at Sun Oak Assisted Living Center in Citrus Heights had finally received their new casino-grade bingo machine.
“This is something that they really worked hard for,” said Donna Houseman, the executive director at Sun Oak.
The base of the machine unwrapped perfectly, but the $1,000 bingo display board was crushed in shipping — smashing the board into pieces.
“It broke my heart to say it’s broke,” Houseman said.
“It just kinda leaves you in limbo,” resident Mary McCafferty said.
When the freight company wouldn’t refund their money, instead only offering $.10/pound, the seniors called Kurtis.
“Which means they’d only give me $28.50 on a $1,000 board,” she said.
Houseman found the board on eBay, but said the private seller asked to be paid outside the auction site, which would keep him from paying eBay any sales fee.
When customers handle transactions outside of eBay, the site doesn’t take its normal cut, but it breaks eBay’s rules.
eBay said if its users break the rules, they can get kicked off the site.
In the process, the seller didn’t give an option to insure it, Houseman said.
The seller, however, said it wasn’t his responsibility to offer insurance; the seniors should have asked for it.
Better Business Bureau of Northeastern California President Gary Almond said once a shipment leaves the seller’s hands, it technically becomes the buyer’s responsibility unless it’s insured.
“If it gets destroyed or what not, and you don’t have it insured, you’re at the behest of the carrier,” he said.
Because the board was paid for outside of eBay, the auction site said it couldn’t help.
Once we explained the situation to Freightquote, the company that arranged the shipping, out of kindness it agreed to refund the seniors the full amount of the board.
Now the seniors bought another one — easier to read — and can finally enjoying what they worked so hard to buy.
“I love going to play bingo,” resident Rheba Sweet said.
“I figured eventually it would be solved,” said McCafferty, “but not so slowly.”