Thursday, December 18, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Was eBay item damaged? Or is this buyer’s remorse?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 2/13/2014

Dear eBay Queen: I’m hoping you can give me some advice, and that my story will help other eBay sellers.

If you sell on eBay, you should be very careful when describing items and only ship out things as described. What is a seller to do when buyers try to force them to accept a return by claiming the item is not as described — especially when it’s just buyer’s remorse?

I sold a wallet described as new in the box, and it was indeed new in the box. It is clearly stated in my listing that I do not accept returns. I take good clear photos of the items and fully inspect and describe them. I request that all questions are asked before bidding, and the buyer asked none.

At the time, I had 100-percent positive feedback with glowing remarks regarding the condition of the items I had sold; some new, some used, some vintage. I’m sensitive to this because, as a buyer, I have been taken by a few sellers who did not divulge the flaws in their auction ... no one reimbursed me either, despite my claims through PayPal.

Upon receiving payment, I carefully packed the wallet in the box and shipped it out. It was in new, perfect condition when it went out. The buyer contacted me when she received the item and claimed it was crushed, damaged, sticky stuff all over it and it was scratched, not new, etc. ... you get the point. It was in a shipping bag, wrapped in bubble wrap and then tissue paper. I knew this couldn’t happen on its own. My opinion is she had buyer’s remorse.

I responded to her email and reminded her of my return policy, restated that the wallet was in new condition when sent and offered to replace the outer (gift) box, with no response from the buyer. Instead, she opened a claim with eBay. I responded to the eBay inquiry, and told the company I sent a new wallet as described to her, and didn’t know how anything like what she’s claiming could happen.

eBay has told the buyer to send the wallet back to me. The company never asked me for proof of condition (auction photos?) or demonstrated that she had offered proof of her claim. I have 13 years of 100-percent positive activity with eBay — more than 1,400 transactions; she has one year, 43 transactions and has complained about other people. I have sold many other things of higher value with glowing reviews. What incentive do I have to lie? It doesn’t make sense. I could sell it with flaws if it had any ... I would list them and get on with it.

I sent her a perfect wallet. She decided for whatever reason, she didn’t want it, so she gets to force me to fully refund her despite the no return no refund policy clearly stated in my auction by simply lying about the condition in which it was received.

In addition, I am concerned that with such an unscrupulous buyer, it is possible that she might damage the wallet before she sends it back just to justify her claim. Then, I will be out the money and the wallet to sell to someone else who would be very happy with it. What should I do? — CLB, Ottawa

Dear CLB: When a buyer opens a “not as described” case, eBay gives a couple of choices once the case is escalated:

• Send the item back and give a refund; or

• Refund without sending the item back.

The company does this to try to be as fair as possible to both parties. I am really of the opinion that it is pointless to have a “no return” policy. If a buyer wants to return something, all they need to do is open a case. If you do not have a return policy that is fair and well stated, then some buyers might damage the item just to return it. Why not just have a return policy to prevent this from happening?

I like to handle the case before eBay gets involved. With what your buyer said, I would ask to upload photos of the damaged wallet. It has been my experience that buyers with a valid concern upload photos, and the ones who might have less-than-honest motives, do not. I always take back a return, even when what their complaint about is described in my listing. I do this because it’s more important to me that I keep my feedback and detailed seller ratings high than it is for me to lose a little bit of money.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 131108813192. The Olympics are a pretty big deal in our house. We watch it from the opening ceremonies to the closing. Did you happen to see the amazing sweaters Team USA was wearing? You just might be able to snag one on eBay ... for a price. Here’s a “Polo Ralph Lauren Team USA 2014 Olympic Ceremony Cardigan Sweater 324 Made.” It sold for $2,025 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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