ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Problem with an eBay item? Guess who gets blamed?
By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 10/10/2013
Dear eBay Queen: I am a Power Seller on eBay with 100 percent rating after selling for 2 ½ years — I am proud of that fact, and I’m not trying to brag. I am very concerned lately though that my rating could drop or I could lose my “Power Seller” status because I received a “Below Standard” rating on my last evaluation for performance because of having a lot of cases opened up against me, even though I solved the biggest majority of them myself without the buyers having to escalate their case to eBay.
Many of the cases that were opened were unnecessary, since the buyers could have just sent me an email explaining the problem and I would have solved it to their satisfaction just as I did when they opened their cases. Some buyers opened cases because an item got damaged in shipping, which is not my fault. It happened because of our postal people who load the packages on the trucks — throwing packages in the trucks like they were tossing footballs. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! No wonder so many items get damaged!
I sold a Crosley 5-in 1 Music Entertainment System that was “Like New” when I shipped it, and I packed it and padded it very carefully. Well, it arrived damaged with the lid almost hanging off the edges and broken, so the buyer opened up a case and said the item was “Not as Described.” Really? The guy wanted a refund and I gave it to him and he was real nice about it. He said he knew it wasn’t my fault and was even nice enough to give me Positive Feedback saying, “Honest Seller Highly Recommended.”
I usually ship out another item to my buyer if the first arrives damaged, without asking for a return if the item was $5 or less. If it costs more, I ship another one after I received the damaged item back, or gave the buyer a refund in some cases. A couple of cases were because a drop shipper I use didn’t ship the items out in a reasonable time — another factor over which I have no control. They usually are very prompt, but there was an error made, so guess who gets the blame?
I don’t think it’s really fair for eBay to allow buyers to open up cases in instances when it is clearly not the seller’s fault. I had two buyers who each bought an expensive pair of sunglasses from me that came in a case. In both instances, they received the case without the sunglasses! To say they were both infuriated is putting it mildly! One lady called me a fraud and a cheat! Can you believe that? I don’t know, but I think there needs to be a new policy put in place that protects a seller from getting their rating and evaluation lowered when it is determined it is not the seller’s fault. I would love your input on this. Thanks so much! — Frank
Dear Frank: I’m not sure when the changed happened, but I’m guessing sometime in early spring was when I started noticing I was receiving more and more open cases, for what seemed like problems that should first be handled in emails. This is something eBay has started, and you just have to adapt. Here are some ways I have adapted to this new way of doing business on eBay.
• Respond to the case immediately. If it is a not as described case, I first respond with a case communication apologizing for the fact it is not what they wanted. Then I go back into the case and request they send it back for a refund. If it is a not received case, I put the tracking information in to the case log, and wait for the buyer to respond. If the tracking shows the item is received, you can escalate the case. I typically will refund the buyer’s money back.
• Always be polite and try to work with the buyer — even when the buyer is rude or wants more than what was sent. eBay can see all of the messages and will judge you and your business on how you handled this with your buyer; likewise if your buyer is being disagreeable.
• If the buyer escalates the case, contact eBay and see if they will de-score it so it will not count against you. I know it doesn’t feel like our responsibility when the post office is less than gentle with packages, or loses the packages, or when a drop shipper doesn’t ship items out quickly, but it is. It is our business, and we are ultimately responsible.
Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 300974733284. Halloween is getting close! I love vintage Halloween decorations, but when I looked up “vintage Halloween” in search, I found something I never expected: “Original Vtg Halloween Rosbro Witch on Wheels Hard Plastic Whistle 1 of Set.” It sold for $686.50 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-Vtg-HALLOWEEN-Rosbro-Witch-on-WHEELS-Hard-Plastic-WHISTLE-1-of-set-/300974733284
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