Saturday, December 20, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: Was I set up by a ‘Mothers Day’ eBay buyer?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 12/13/2013

Dear eBay Queen: I sold a bag to a lady in Italy. She paid with PayPal and in her item notation she asked that I ship the purse to a U.S. address because it was a gift for her daughter. In a later email, she explained it was the first time (ever) that she would be away from her daughter for Mothers Day and that her daughter had just become a first-time mother. I agreed and adjusted the shipping amount for her. I wrapped the gift beautifully at no extra charge and I shipped it (Priority) to New York, insured, with signature confirmation. I confirmed that it had arrived and I went on with my life. We exchanged emails, the buyer could not thank me enough for going the extra mile and she posted positive feedback.

Three months passed by and I was alerted by PayPal that a claim from an international customer had been opened. I thought, that can’t be possible — according to PayPal’s own policies, a user has only days to file a claim; but not when the seller does what I did.

I really could not believe this was happening. My little Italian customer was claiming she had never received her bag. Of course she had not. I sent it to her daughter. At first I had trouble finding my paperwork because it had been so long. I was surprised I’d not tossed it. Again, the dispute clearly stated she had never received her parcel. I emailed the buyer because I was sure that she had confused me with another seller. I reminded her that I had shipped the bag as she had asked, to her daughter in New York. She said oh, yes, and then said she did not recall any sort of communication with me and only wanted to communicate through PayPal. I was shocked.

Paypal immediately withdrew the funds from my account, which was, of course, hooked to my bank, meaning they had my money. All $900 of it!

I went back and forth with this buyer who demanded a full and then partial refund, although I still had proof that I had shipped it to the address she had requested. I declined any sort of partial refund based on principle alone. After all, I had been a good seller and believed I had done the right thing. Certainly, I had cared enough to go the extra mile and wrap her daughter’s gift for her.

I guess I knew all along what the outcome was going to be.

I had a conversation with a PayPal representative and I asked why the company had awarded a judgment to this woman who had clearly asked in the notes area of her payment that I ship this to her daughter — a new mom — for Mother’s Day. I had provided them with all sorts of email communication and then pointed out my feedback. I pointed out again, the comment, and the address it contained. I also provided the company with the tracking number and the proof of signature delivery. The PayPal representative responded in the most sarcastic voice saying, saying this was an expensive lesson: Never ship to an unconfirmed address.

I have shipped to unconfirmed addresses many, many times without any trouble. So much for good customer service — on both sides! If I could do business without PayPal, I would. What would you do in this situation? Please don’t say “I wouldn’t ship to an unconfirmed address!” — Trina

Dear Trina: I do occasionally ship to unconfirmed addresses, but only when it is an amount I am willing to lose. I would not have been willing to risk $900. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.

If this happened to me, I definitely would contact PayPal and ask to speak to a supervisor. I would not give up until I spoke to one. I also would contact eBay and report this buyer. In your communication, I would make sure that I covered the following points:

• The buyer left you positive feedback

• The buyer communicated with you about the item after the sale.

• The buyer asked you to send it to her daughters address, and signature confirmation confirms she received it.

I believe this buyer set you up. You did not say where you lived, but with $900 on the line, I would not hesitate to contact the daughter who lives in New York. I would contact her by phone, mail and, if she is close enough to you, in person. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, I would call the daughter’s police department and have them start an investigation.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 271325127793. Christmas is getting closer! Look at what I found when searching “Nativity” on eBay” “Anri 10-inch Italian Nativity Hand Carved Wood Hand Painted.” It sold for $2,500 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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