Sunday, December 21, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Is American Doll demand eBay extortion?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 10/3/2013

Dear eBay Queen: I am so frustrated. I have five daughters younger than 10. My daughters each have at least two American Girl dolls. To say I purchase a lot of American Girl doll clothes on eBay is an understatement. I purchased an American Girl doll outfit, and what I received is not what I thought I was bidding on. I emailed the seller:

“Hi. I got your item and it has dots that look like the clothes has been a long time put away. I am being very honest with you, hopefully we get to fix this problem. Thank you”

The seller emailed me back this:

“Hello. Thank you for reaching out to me. The outfit was sold as needing cleaning specified in the condition. What would make you happy at this point? “

I emailed this back:

“Hello. Yes, I know that in the description says that it has to be cleaned, and when I received it I thought that I could actually take it off, but you cannot take it off. I think it was put away for a very long time or it was not in a proper place. I wanted for us to resolve this problem because I don’t like losing my money or throwing it away on something that does not work. I am sorry but I will have to give you a negative feedback because you do not want to admit that your item was in bad conditions. It’s not worth my time to deal with you. Thank you.”

Then the seller told me I was using feedback extortion. What is he talking about? I’m simply telling the seller that if he or she doesn’t make me happy, I am going to leave them a bad feedback. That’s extortion? Please tell me what I did wrong. — Dollie

Dear Dollie: Thank you for including the information for the transaction, so that I could look at the listing. I reviewed the seller’s listing, and see that the listing not only said there were dots on the item and that it needed to be cleaned, but also took two photos of just the dots. This leads me to believe this seller is honest. The seller didn’t omit anything; he or she told you of the problem and took two photos of it. 

If this were my transaction as a buyer, I would evaluate if the 5.50 you paid (including shipping) was worth it. After all, your daughters are not collecting this stuff, they are playing with it. I know how much an American Girl doll outfit costs new, and if you buy a faux outfit at Target it costs at least $24.99. If you still feel the spots are not worth your time or money, I would ask the seller if you could return it for a refund. You mentioned it’s not worth your time to deal with this seller. If this is the case, why are you complaining?

The second thing I think is important to note is that you’ve been a buyer on eBay since January 2013 (I looked this information up on In that time period, you’ve left 1,099 feedback ratings. Of those ratings, 136 were negative and 56 were neutral. That’s a lot of negatives and neutrals. I’m thinking eBay might not be the best place for you to buy. Your expectations might be too high.

The definition of extortion is this: the practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats. Do you think saying “I am sorry but I will have to put you a negative feedback because you do not want to admit that your item was in bad condition” could be perceived as a threat? The seller described the item as needing cleaning and took two photos of what needed to be cleaned. Here is a link to what eBay says about feedback extortion:

Feedback and detailed seller ratings are very important to sellers because it can affect how a buyer can see us in search results. If a seller does not sell very many items, one low rating can skew this sellers search results and affect their bottom line.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 151117453495. American Girl doll clothing can be quite an investment. Look at this beautiful handmade outfit, “MHD Designs ‘Vent De Septembre’ OOAK Design for American Girl Caroline.” It sold for $685 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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