Friday, December 19, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Why are international eBay buyers such a pain?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 10/24/2013

Dear eBay Queen: I am so annoyed! I am looking for you to maybe give me some of your excitement that you have for eBay. I’m so frustrated that eBay allows a non-delivery claim to be made a few days after shipping items.  On the other hand, customers demand the lowest possible shipping charges. 

My wife and I explain both in our listing and in our invoice that low shipping costs to far-away countries means surface shipping. On average, surface shipping can take up to six weeks, plus in some countries customs can delay shipment for another two weeks (surface shipments are given the lowest priority in many countries). In spite of the fact that we have let customers know what to expect, they frequently put in a claim against us in a matter of two weeks. 

eBay and PayPal then put the claim against us and freeze the money for the item and shipment costs. This occurs even when there is tracking on the item — money is still frozen even though tracking is showing the item as being in transit.

While I agree that customers need to be protected, it seems that eBay and PayPal only listen to customers and will agree with customers no matter how unreasonable the customer demand.

This is just another example of the eBay attitude which is repelling good vendors and buyers.

Years ago, my wife and I used eBay heavily, averaging about 100 transactions a month, both selling and buying. It was our first choice to sell. Now, if we have 3-4 transactions a month, it is a lot — many months we have none. Selling on eBay has become our last resort! — Alex

Dear Alex: There is a simple solution to this: stop selling internationally, or refuse to send things slowly. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for your business, and not what’s easiest or cheapest for the customer. I truly dislike shipping internationally, and secretly hold my breath until the item arrives at its destination. 

If you are having a lot of international claims, I would evaluate how much business you do overseas and see if it is truly worth it for you to continue selling that way. To keep my international shipping issues to a minimum, I have refused to ship things slowly, and excluded some problem countries. I know it’s difficult to keep your enthusiasm up when people always seem to be popping your balloons. Remember, it’s just eBay.

Dear eBay Queen: I just spent some serious time shopping on eBay for some things I need. In one case, I was looking for novelty yarn. I looked at hundreds of listings and I’d have to say that 20 percent of the photos were blurry. Same thing when I browsed vintage handkerchiefs looking for a nice lot to use for my miniature clothing. Way too many listings had muddy dark photos and some were for very large lots and they only showed one photo, a pile of who knows what.

I think it’s time we all look at our photos. 

• Are our photos crisp and inviting?

· Do they really show what we are selling?

I guess a listing with a blurry picture is better than no listing at all. You might not get a sale from it, but at least you feel better for it. — Tom

Dear Tom: After giving it some thought, there could be a couple of reasons for the fuzzy photography; either the seller can’t take good photos, or some people just took the existing images, and blew them up to meet eBay’s new photo size requirements.

eBay instituted a new minimum requirement of 500 pixels by 500 pixels for all photos. I’m sure some sellers went in and changed the sizes rather than see the wrath of eBay and watch all of their listings come down.

I truly believe that quality images are infinitely important to the online selling experience. Words and photos equal sales. Sellers need to remember photos are worth doing right. eBay is worth doing right, even if it’s your secondary business. Everyone benefits when we provide the best user experience possible.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 370894608590. Do you knit or crochet? It’s getting chilly! Why not purchase some yarn on eBay and crochet a ruffle scarf or two? Check out these “12 balls of Very soft Fancy Pavia Ruffle FishNet style Yarn.” They sold for $59.99 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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