Monday, December 22, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Is society to blame for this eBay user’s ignorance?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 1/17/2014

Dear eBay Queen: I received a crazy email from a buyer, and I need to know what to do. I feel like everything I might say to this person might be a little too snarky.

“How can you offer something for sale three times the amount you paid for it? I see the Toys R Us sticker on it and I know that they were sold at Toys R Us for $64.99. It is really sad that a little girl like mine didn’t get this for Christmas. This toy is nowhere to be found due to everyone buying them up and putting them on here and Amazon at ridiculous prices that people like me cannot afford. I spoke to the manufacture of the toy, Just Play Products, and she was the one who informed me this was happening. So sad, and now the kids suffer.

“I told my daughter we would find this toy for her after Christmas, it’s after Christmas and we still can’t afford this toy!“

I’m not sure how to respond to this in a kind way. It is distressing to me that an apparent adult has zero understanding of the most basic aspects of economics. Things like supply and demand, and don’t buy stuff if you can’t afford it. 

I’ve had people write me to ask why a book was so expensive when it sold for a dollar in the 1970s. I responded: “Sir, can you buy a Pontiac GTO that sold for $3,000 then for that price now?” No, you wouldn’t expect to. Prices and value are not stable. Fortunately for me, these people don’t buy it and then complain. 

We must do a better job of teaching basic economics in our schools. The mortgage crisis might not have happened if people had been more aware that no, you cannot have a quarter-million dollar house if you are making $35,000 a year. What should I do? Do you think she wants me to send her the toy for free, or a reduced price? — Vic

Dear Vic: The first thing that comes to mind is an old Rolling Stones song; “You can’t always get what you want.” Without getting into what’s wrong with society, I would just chalk this up to an odd customer experience. You did not say if this buyer actually purchased something from you, or if she was just writing out of the blue. If she did not purchase from you, I would block her immediately on eBay. 

When it comes to responding to buyers who are really not playing with a full deck, I have found to err on the side of kindness, rather than slapping them upside the head with reality. Here’s probably how I would respond to your buyer:

“I am very sorry you are unable to afford this item right now. The price I have marked is the price this item is going for on the second-hand market.

Usually after the Christmas has passed, this toy will be widely available for $64.99 or perhaps even lower. I wish I could sell it to you for a lower price then I have marked, but I am unable to do that at this time. Once again, I am sorry this item is out of your reach right now. I hope that you’ll be able to get one for your child soon.”

I’m sure you know this now, but you should always take your price tags, stickers off your products. If I don’t want to take a clothing tag off, but I don’t want the price to show, I cut the price off the tag.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 181301229648. The Leap Pad Ultra was a hot toy this Christmas. Weren’t able to get one? Look on eBay! On Jan. 14, I found several, ending anywhere from $108 brand new to $79.98 open box return. Check out this “Leap Frog LeapPad Ultra 7-inch Kids Learning Tablet Green 8GB Rechargable Battery.” It sold for $79.98 at

Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen

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