Dear eBay Queen: What is an APO/FPO and How DO I Ship Stuff to Them?

Dear eBay Queen:

I’ve been selling 2 years, and never had this happen!  I sold four handmade tutus I made, on eBay.  When I go to print my shipping label, I receive a message that says it is going to a APO/FPO or military address.  The PayPal label wants to print a customs form.  Is that what I am suppose to do?  The address still says USA on it. Am I doing this right?  Do I have to wait in line at the post office and give them the customs label, or just attach it to my package along with the regular shipping label? I’m so confused!


Dear TTS:

It sounds like you are doing it right! Just fill out the forms, and give them to your mail carrier (if that’s how you normally do it.)  They will scan it, and it will be on its merry way.

APO/FPO is a military address.  APO is Army Post Office, FPO is Fleet Post Office.  You can learn more about military addresses HERE.
Dear eBay Queen:

I’ve been selling on eBay for about 3 months. I have 92 feedback points with 100% positive.  I feel like I’ve been pretty lucky up until now.  In February I had a buyer purchase a very cute lot of little girl’s shoes.  Within a few days, she messaged me and told me that the shoes were not as described. I asked them to clarify, and they told me they didn’t feel that was necessary since I was a newbie seller, and they just wanted a refund.   I didn’t know what to do, so I sent them the money via PayPal.  My friend, who also sells, told me that I should not have done that, and the buyer was probably just taking advantage of me.

In March, a buyer contacted me stating that she wants her money back.  I asked what was wrong and they replied that the item didn’t come in the original box.  I messaged the buyer back and said that the listed stated it was new, out of the package, and there was not a photo in my listing showing the item was new in the box.  The buyer responded saying they want their money back, and they want to KEEP the product because I keep messaging them.  Uh.. I don’t think so!  I did describe it correctly!  I contacted eBay, and after about 1hour and 20 minutes on the phone, eBay decided to refund the buyer out their own pocket and let the buyer keep the item. The eBay guy said that it wouldn’t count against my seller account and that this way both the buyer and the seller would be happy.   I am happy it is over, but don’t you think it is weird that they did this?

I do not have a return policy, because my friend told me it was better to not have one because eBay would not make me take a return.  Is this true? In my LONG winded phone call with eBay, they told me that they could and would still force a return.  Do you have any advice about this?



Dear Stephanie:

I always make the buyer return the item when they are unhappy with it.  I believe allowing a buyer to keep the item, teaches buyers it’s ok to complain and then keep the item for free.  When it comes to your March buyer, you did everything right.  For some reason eBay thought it would be best to give the buyer their money back.  I’ve had this happen and I just shake my head and keep listing things.

I also think it is important to have a return policy.  This way buyers will feel confident in purchasing from you AND if someone tries to pull a fast one, they can’t because  your return policy says all items must be returned.


Strange eBay Item of the Week: Item #: 221705816062. Handmade, boutique children’s clothing sells well on eBay, if you have the right piece. This adorable little dress is part of a small line of handmade children’s clothing you can find. It is so highly sought after, customers must pre-order before the next batch of clothing comes out. No wonder it sold for such a high price! Girl’s WD Wolf Apron Pinafore not smocked Dress Size 6 & M2M Bow Beautiful! SOLD: $197.50.

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