You pay VAT so small claims court your friend
Title says what I think on how you can deal with Ebay issues.
The court system would of allowed the Ebay employee to make a sworn statement before a judge - call affidavit(sic) iirc.
Also a video link via videoconferencing would be doable as all courts have at least a ISDN link enabling a Videoconferencing link afaik.
The date would of been set, so if the ebay employee wants to blantantly risk the wrath of the courts, then he did the right thing.
Most Judges I've seen and dealt with are very down to earth bottom line - take no shit types. Think pensioners in supermarkets - they know what they want, they know how to get it and how it should be done - mess with any of that and they will not hesitate to tell you and put you in your place.
So why oh why did this Judge not get the employee back on the plane at least - my faith in judges is wondering here as we expect British judges to be arragant to the truth and fact that he didn't makes more news than had he got the plane turned around.
Should of tried the case in France - then he would be guilty until proved innocent. though personaly I so prefer (as would alot of Judges) the Scottish system of Innocent/guilty and the extra verdict of not-proven for when the Jury would be on the fence and a default not guilty would prevail.
Can have a burglar come to court and have 3 previous cases against him but if he had 50/50 evidence yet you suspected he was guilty in the UK he would go free yet in Scotland he would get a not-proven.
Anyhow - Ebay transactions pay VAT and as such whilst alot of people moan and complain that fact gives you alot more rights than you thought. I see a future in online transaction legal companies soon. Least get them away from silly patent land perhaps and prove more valuable to the world community as a whole.
But bottom line:
1) you paid VAT
2) Ebay brokered the transaction
3) Ebay has UK based office
boils down to take Ebay to court and let them waste there time and stress on catching the crooks. Maybe then they will take it as seriously as they subscribe too.