Monday, December 22, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: What’s this UK buyer scheming?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 6/13/2013

Dear eBay Queen: I’m fairly new to selling on eBay, and I was hoping that you could give me advice on exactly what this buyer is asking me to do. I sold some vintage, Italian sweaters to a person in the United Kingdom. She is asking me to value the three sweaters at $25 and declare them as a gift. What exactly does this mean? Why would she be asking me to do this? Thanks! — Bridgette, Overland Park

Dear Bridgette: Your buyer is asking to you to help cheat her postal system and government. She is being charged duty or tax to bring the item you are selling into her country. This practice is against eBay policy. I would email your buyer back the following:

“I am so sorry, I am unable to mark this item a gift, and it is against the U.S. Postal Service and eBay’s policy to do so. I hope you’ll understand why I am unable to do this. Thank you so much for your purchase.”

If your buyer gives you any grief, you can turn her in. If she leaves a negative, eBay should remove it.

Dear eBay Queen: I recently came across your column, and I’ve been gobbling it up! I don’t know what it is, but eBay users seem to be some of the oddest people I’ve ever come across. I like using eBay — it’s been an excellent way for me to clear out a lot of excess items — but I’m getting increasingly frustrated dealing with the some of the people that can’t seem to read or follow directions.

• Problem No. 1: I’ve been selling some items on eBay for my parents. Almost everything they are selling is furniture or huge lots of dishes. I have chose to advertise as “pickup only” in these listings. Another bonus is that they are paid in cash and I do not have to worry about postage. It’s been exciting for my parents to watch their items sell, and I’ve enjoyed being able to help them out.

One of my most recent sales stated these simple conditions, and even then five people asked if I’d mail it, which was not possible because of the fragility and size of the item. I posted all five of these messages at the bottom of the eBay ad. It couldn’t have been any more obvious if I’d have been sitting next to the people and answering the questions directly.

Of course, one person who asked if I would mail the item won the auction, and is now pushing for me to send it UPS, and to have them wrap and send an 80-piece Dresden china lot. I know full well UPS will pack it worse than we ever could, and the items will be smashed. Any suggestions on what I can do here? If I pull out, I’ll be slugged with negative feedback.

• Problem No. 2: I sold an item where there was a bidding war between two people. The winning bidder paid with PayPal and then canceled it with some unintelligible excuse. I did a second chance offer to the next person in line, who sent me a long rant about “the other bidder pushed the price up” and offered 1/4 of the price, even though the auction clearly showed how much they bid at maximum — only a few cents below the winning bidder! Once I mentioned this, I never heard a peep again. Is there anything I can do about that?

• Problem No. 3: I won a filthy Mac Powerbook, which took about one month to arrive. The seller clearly used trash from their can to pack the box — complete with McDonald’s wrappers with old french fries and lettuce! Is there anything I can do about this? — Sarah, Overland Park

Dear Sarah: Here are my responses to your problems ...

• Problem No. 1: If the buyer agrees to pay for UPS to pack and ship the item, I’d let the person. It will be insured if it breaks, and your buyer will be happy you mailed it.

• Problem No. 2: I don’t think there is anything you can do except file a non-paying bidder case against the first buyer. You were more than fair with the second. In a situation like this, I would just re-list it.

• Problem No. 3: In this situation, I would email the seller and let him or her know how the item arrived. You could always leave a neutral or negative feedback, but I would wait for the seller’s explanation to why you had trash in you packing. The seller’s child could have accidentally put the trash in the box.

Strange eBay Item of the week: eBay Item No. 161033681092. How much would you pay for a pair of shoes? Apparently these Nikes are quite the collector’s item. Check out “NDS Nike SB Galaxy Retro 19 Potato.” It sold for $30,100 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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