12 On Your Side: Woman regrets buying cheap cell phone from China online

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / October 16, 2013

AUGUSTA,GA (WRDW)
"The screen has shifted, the volume does not work," says Shenita Smith. Just weeks after she bought an unlocked cell phone online for $60. She says it is already falling apart.

"The lens fell out of the camera and the phone does not work anymore," says Smith. It is not the only surprise Smith found with her new phone. "The phone is in American and Chinese. I'm not Chinese. That means I can send you a text message in American and it will come to your phone in Chinese," says Smith.

She eventually figured out how to change the settings, then contacted eBay. "eBay did not tell me the phone was from China," says Smith.

And it is not required to. The seller is though and on its website it does say phones ship from Shenzhen, China. eBay does offer a filter button to opt out of buying directly from international companies.

In Smith's case while the seller does offer refunds and exchanges, it does not pay return shipping fees. "International mailing of the phone is $145, that's more than I paid for the phone," says Smith.

He says her last resort was to contact the seller on her own but she says no one called her back. It is the last time she says she will shop online. "Go to the flea market and buy a phone from out there because it's just, I don't think I will ever do this again. I don't think I will ever order anything off line again," says Smith.

eBay is not responsible for an individual sellers return policy. So when shopping online you will want to carefully read the company's refund and returns policy.

Also you want to avoid buying directly from overseas because of the return shipping costs and be sure to read the sellers policies clearly.