For nearly a year now I have been selling on eBay. Most days, transactions go smoothly but occasionally, what should be an easy transaction turns into a complete nightmare. The year has brought a lot of education through mistakes, reading , observing other sellers, and watching YouTube videos. Running an online business certainly isn’t easy and sometimes things, and people (buyers,) can make it a pleasant or a very unpleasant experience.
There are a variety of reasons a transaction can go sour. Many buyers do not see sellers on the Bay as a legitimate small business owner, because they may see them as an online yard sale. Yes, people do sell used clothing, just as I do, but a lot sell new products (although many who do have made the transition to AMAZON as a selling platform.) Some other reasons are outlined below.
One of the first reasons a transaction can be a negative one for the seller a zero or low feedback buyer. These are the worst, because they do not know how eBay works, and a lot of times, are people expecting to get something for nothing. Inevitably when I have a transaction where the buyer is of low feedback I cringe. These buyers are generally demanding and make unusual requests, ones that do not comply with eBay policies. For example, I have had low feedback buyers attempt to have packages sent to a different address than what is listed on their eBay shipping label. Huge policy violation that voids seller protection. Other zeros or low feedback buyers tend to ask a lot of questions after the sale is complete, when it is clearly stated in all of my listings that all questions should be asked prior to the sale. Would these buyers purchase from Macy’s or Zappo’s, then call trying to get the seller to ship to a different address other than the billing address? Nope. Wouldn’t fly.
And some people just shouldn’t be buying used items (although a lot of people sell new with tag items, many do not. I sell a mix of the two.) I tend to downplay the condition, meaning if something is gently used I will described as “well worn.” That way the buyer is pleasantly surprised when they receive their package. They can also see from the photos I post that the item is in good condition. I get questions about the “well worn” aspect of my auctions and explain it is simply a way to deter claims by buyers that they assumed they were buying a new or near new item.
Non Paying Bidders
Those non-paying bidders are a nuisance. If you do not plan on paying for something you have entered a legal contract to purchase, you have no business buying on the online auction site. So please, stop doing this! Most of my listings are “buy it now” with immediate payment required to deter these slow payers. Again, would any customer be able to purchase something from an online store and then email to say they cannot pay until next Friday? The answer is a firm no.
Negative and neutral feedback for buyers
Sellers are all frustrated by the feedback system and defect rating system. No matter how warranted it may be sellers can no longer leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers. We also cannot usually see feedback left for others by buyers. There are websites however that sellers can go to in order to obtain this information.
Why would a seller on eBay need to learn about feedback left for others by their buyer? Sometimes on listings you can except best offers if you so choose. If you have an item that is going to elicit a lot of best offers, you can look up buyers feedback left for others and accept the best offer from the buyer that gives the best feedback.
There are groups that black list buyers to give them lots of negative feedback. If you were a difficult customer we know who you are, and most of the time you are blocked by us in the eBay system. EBay may be giving a lot of power to buyers with the new defect system, but sellers are fighting back on their own via Facebook groups and Internet gatherings to share information to help keep their small business going.
Buyers, why must you threaten sellers to comply with your unreasonable demands with negative feedback? Guess what? This is something ebay calls “feedback extortion.” All the seller has to do is click the little “report buyer” button for this violation of policy, and you’re done.
Item Not as Described claim
One aspect of ebay that leaves a lot of sellers scratching their head is the “item not as described” claim. Even if a description is spot on and has 100 different photos from every angle, some buyers will be a jerk and click “item not as described” just so not to have to pay return shipping. Guess what buyers? Sellers can call ebay to dispute this claim and you can lose, especially if this is something you do as a pattern. Remember, sellers are gettig wise to behaviors of scammer buyers. Not all buyers are scammers, but those who are leave a bad taste in the mouth of sellers.
And while we are at it, eBay, can we not have the buyer open a case simply to ask a question? That is the most moronic thing I have ever heard of. Why cause sellers undue stress over buyers asking a question?
The World of Scammers
There are cute tell ebooks and YouTube videos available outlining exactly, step by step, to scam eBay sellers. By “scam,” I mean to get product free by finding a loophole in the description, title, claiming not as described, or a number of other means. How can an eBay seller combat this? Read their manuals. Watch their YouTube videos. Selling on eBay has become like a chess match. You need to be one step ahead of the scammers and bad customers in general. I was fortunate enough to have the help of an attorney in writing my HUGE product description disclaimer.
On the seller side, stop taking things so personally. I belong to Facebook groups and other online forums and sellers tend to take things like returns so personally. It’s BUSINESS. Returning your product isn’t a reflection of how they view you personally, the product just didn’t work for them. Graciously accept the return (and add a restocking fee into your return policy if it helps,) and move on. It’s the cost of doing business. If you had a brick and mortar store, you’d have returns there as well.