Friday, December 19, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Is eBay buyer trying a flipping scam?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 6/13/2014

Dear eBay Queen: I have a problem, and I hope you can help me. A customer bought a pair of candlesticks back in May. She sent a message last night that there are air bubbles all around the bases, and asked me to please advise. I did a little research this morning and found out she is also a seller, and a few days before she bought my candlesticks, she sold a similar pair. Not really understanding about what she meant by air bubbles, I asked her if she wanted to return them, or would like a partial refund. Here is her response:

“Hi, in the condition they are in, it doesn’t pay to send them back and for you to lose the shipping costs both ways, I think. A refund would be in order. Thank you.”

She said refund, not partial refund, I figure she is buying to flip. How should I respond now? — Sharla

Dear Sharla: I would email her back, and ask for photos of the air bubbles. When I looked at your listing, you took six photos of these candlesticks, and I did not notice a single air bubble or any damage to them. Once you receive the photos, evaluate the situation and see if you still think she is trying to pull a fast one. If you still think that is what is going on, I would message her back through eBay and say this: “I noticed a few days before you purchased my candlesticks you sold a pair identical to them (eBay listing number goes here). I can’t help but question if perhaps you are confusing those candlesticks with the ones I sent you?”

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can say; “After reviewing the photos, please send the items back to me. I am so sorry they did not work out. The items need to be sent back in the condition they were sent with my secret UV mark I leave on each item when I sell it.”

Dear eBay Queen: I won an auction at the starting bid of $3.99, plus $7.49 shipping. Now, the seller is saying she made a mistake, and it should have been calculated shipping, not flat rate shipping. She said it is going to cost $12-something to ship. She wants to cancel the transaction, unless I pay her shipping figure. Of course, she has been very sweet and apologetic, but I am frustrated. I have the same type item and it is weighing 1 pound 14 ounces, boxed. Shipping to her address is showing $9.59 without seller discount. How would you proceed? — Natalie

Dear Natalie: I would be interested in the comments other sellers leave her in feedback to see if she has done this before. It makes me wonder if she truly made an error, or if this is her way of getting more money because it didn’t sell for what she wanted it to sell for. When a good seller makes a mistake like this, they eat the shipping costs.

In this situation, I would message her a link to eBay’s rules for sellers when it comes to non-performance —

Explain to her that you are sorry, but she purchased the item for $3.99 with $7.49 shipping, and you are not comfortable paying more than what was listed in the listing.

As sellers, we are required to charge reasonable shipping and handling costs. Specify those shipping costs and handling time in the listing, and make sure the buyer gets the item in your stated handling time. If the seller refuses to send the item without the extra shipping fees, I would open an “Item Not Received” case immediately.

Strange eBay item of the week: Item No. 321405357488. I’ll be in Joplin all this week with the youth from our church. We’re on a mission trip to help rebuild. I searched eBay, and found this basketball jersey from Joplin. I think it’s pretty neat! “Vintage 1920’s-30’s Unsx Basketball Jersey Joplin Mo Green w/ Red Stripes RARE.” It sold for $55 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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