Way back in mid-February, a girl in the portlandcraft community posted to say that she had 15 skeins of yarn that she didn't want anymore, and wanted to sell or trade them. I told her I had nothing to trade but would buy them from her for $30, which she agreed to, and I sent her a check. (She lives in Eugene, by the way.)
Two weeks later, when I hadn't received the yarn, I commented on her post in PortlandCraft asking what was going on, and she assured me it was coming. When it didn't come in the next couple of weeks, I commented on the post yet again, but this time didn't receive any response.
So I emailed her. Two weeks or so after that (late March), she wrote back finally to tell me that she had just gone through a divorce and a move, and she was so busy she wasn't able to get the yarn out in the mail. Although she had managed to get to the bank and cash the check 3 days before she wrote to me. She assured me she would send them out the next day, and apologized. Of course, they didn't come, so a couple of days later I emailed her again to tell her that if I didn't hear from her on March 31st, I would "explore other options." In the meantime, I researched her a little more to figure out what her new address was, and I found a ton of other information about her (like her ex husband's name and her parents' names and where they worked and all sorts of things that I had no use for). I also added her to my AIM list to try to talk to her that way.
On the 31st, I went home from work for lunch and noticed that she was on AIM, so I asked if I could talk to her, and she talked back to me. She told me she'd broken her ankle and couldn't drive, and kept saying "what do you want me to do about it??" like it was my fault or something. She said she'd call some friends and see if any of them could take the yarn to the post office for her, and if they couldn't she'd send them out the following Monday at the latest.
Well, the first week of April came and went, and of course I got nothing. So I emailed her yet again and said "if I don't hear from you on X day (I forget which day I wrote), I'm going to report you to the USPS mail fraud center and the Internet fraud center. And if they can't help me, then I'm going to ask the courts to help me." Of course, on the last possible day she emailed me to say "I haven't heard from you so I assume you got the yarn my friend sent out on Tuesday (which incidentally was the day after she said she was going to be able to mail the yarn herself)." Of course I hadn't, so I emailed her back and told her that I hadn't, but that I'd look for it and that I would fill out a mail loss/rifling form from the post office if I didn't see it by the 20th (which was the mandatory wait time that the USPS regulates), but since I didn't trust her I would still be filling out the forms for the mail/internet fraud, and if that didn't work I would sue her for the $30 plus court costs. (I even set up a PayPal account just for her, because she had offered to PayPal me the money on March 31st and I told her she couldn't because I didn't have an account. Then I started thinking that it was probably a good idea for me to give her every opportunity I could to give me my money back, because if I didn't the small claims judge wouldn't like it.)
Meanwhile, I'd been printing out every email and LJ and AIM conversation we'd had, just in case I DID have to take her to court, and I also thought a ton about whether I SHOULD take her to court. After all, it's just $30, and that's a lot of work for just $30. But I decided that it wasn't that I necessarily wanted my money back most of all, it was that I wanted it to not happen to anyone else - I knew of at least one other person who didn't get what she bought from this lady, and I was pretty sure this person wasn't going to do anything about it. So I kind of felt that it was the principle of the thing, and if nobody else was going to do it I should. I was also worried about the fact that she said her friend sent the yarn (and therefore she didn't really have control over how it was sent, etc). I didn't want that to be her case, and have the judge actually think that it was a decent case.
So fast-forward until today - when I got an email from PayPal saying that she had sent me my $30 back!! It was SO nice to be able to let go of all the small claims thoughts, and not be worried that I'd have to give her my new address to complicate things.
Now I'm just really curious about what the hell was going through her head during the last three months. Did she really intend to just take my money and run? Did she start to feel bad? Or did she plan on sending me the yarn but then lost it in the move? I wish she'd tell me, I'm interested! :D