Monday, December 22, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Same town, same street, same buyer?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 6/27/2013

Dear eBay Queen: I have an eBay situation that is driving me up the wall! I listed an item about two months ago. The winner gave me a story about an issue with PayPal. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and gave her extra time to make the payment. At the time, I didn’t know eBay has a very short time limit on when it will intercede, and I let it go too long because the buyer kept telling me she was getting her issues straightened out. I offered her an alternate method of payment and the money never arrived. She told me she sent it to me and it was returned. She eventually stopped responding to my communications completely. I could see throughout this time she was receiving favorable feedback from other items she’d been purchasing.

So, I wrote it off and re-listed the item. It sold for about half of what the first auction went for. The buyer didn’t pay. This time I reported it, eBay stepped in and I got my payment. I got suspicious because both buyers were from the same town and had feedback from a bunch of purchases that were remarkably similar — bathing suits with college logos ... dozens of them. Kind of a unique thing to collect, don’t you think? (By the way, my item was something completely unrelated to the swimsuits).

Although I believed both buyers were the same person, I sent the item out anyway because I want my closets cleaned out, and the situation seems ridiculous. Then, I got a message from the buyer saying that I gave wrong information on the listing, and she wanted a partial refund.

I looked up the addresses (which I probably should have done earlier, but, like I said, I wanted this over with) and they’re not exactly the same, but the names are remarkably similar and the addresses are on the same street in the same town. I’m certain this is the same person and she’s playing the system here for some bizarre reason.

I figure I have three options:

• Give her money back, which I really don’t want to do because I think she’s lying.

• Tell her she’s effectively already gotten a partial refund because she got the item at half of what she originally bid for it under her other user ID.

• Get eBay involved, which I don’t want to do, given that I have had good feedback and good experiences up until now.

I’m leaning toward the middle one. What would you do here? — TSK, Oklahoma

Dear TSK: Whoa! This is crazy! I would call eBay and report the situation to the company immediately. Then, I would send your buyer this email:

“I’m so sorry this item is not what you thought it would be. I would be happy to refund your money once the item is sent back in the condition I sent it in. I don’t know how I could have overlooked the discrepancy you mentioned in your email.

“On an odd note, I was going through my emails and noticed you live super close to a person who has purchased from me before on eBay! Her name is _____ and she lives on the same street as you! She also collects the same college logo swimsuits. What a small world!

“Once again I am so sorry that I missed this error.”

If there is anything hinky going on, eBay will figure it out. I hope that your buyer is not the same person and this is just an odd coincidence.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 261198764595. I love to do needlework. I just wish there was more time in the day so I could work on it. Look what I found while searching the term “needlepoint” on eBay: “Antique American framed needlepoint sampler from 1759 18th Century.” It sold for $1,193 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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