Dear eBay Queen:
I’ve been selling on eBay since February 2010. I sold a huge set of Franciscan Starburst dishes on eBay at the beginning of May 2010. The buyer paid for the item, and I packed them and sent them out the next day. I received this email from them:
“Hi there – I was very happy to receive my dishes today but unfortunately there was some damage that occurred in transit – they appear to have been packed well & the box that arrived didn’t seem badly damaged, but there are several dishes that have been chipped or broken – I am happy to leave positive feedback after we work this out, but wanted to contact you first with your thoughts – I can send pictures and/or more information at your request – please advise & thank you”
I apologized and asked him how many dishes were broken so I could process the claim. It took him 3 weeks to respond, and when he finally did, he told me 4 dinner plates were broken. I contacted the shipping company, and then refunded his money based on the 4 broken plates. He paid 289.50 for 35 pieces. The way I figured it UPS would pay me $8.27 per item broken item. I refunded him $33.08 to his PayPal account. Two weeks later he sent this email to me:
“I don’t feel you have given me the proper amount of insurance for this claim. Please re-evaluate how you are handling this transaction. I found 2 completed auctions with 4 plates for sale, ranging in price from $38.75 to $47.00 making the average price $42.88 per plate – additional shipping costs are more difficult to determine but are likely to be at least another $20.00 or more – This doesn’t account for the other broken bowl, which I’m willing to forgive if you’ll remedy this matter quickly – Thank you & please call if you have questions”
His original shipping was only 18.50! Why does he think that he should be refunded $20.00 for shipping of 4 broken plates? The way I read his email, he feels a refund of $188.00 is what I owed for the 4 broken plates and shipping. What should I do about this? Why does it take him WEEKS to respond to me? What does he mean by; “This doesn’t account for the other broken bowl, which I’m willing to forgive if you’ll remedy this matter quickly.”? Is he going to leave me negative feedback?
I look forward to your answers.
Andrew; Topeka, KS
Sometimes there is no good reason as to why a buyer (or seller) does the things they do. Maybe this buyer is only on the computer once a week, or checks his email at the library.
The buyer’s emails to you are nice enough, but there are hints of feedback extortion, not to mention he wants more for the broken items than he paid. When dealing with a buyer like this, it can be kind of tricky. His comments regarding feedback do not have enough threatening qualities to turn them into eBay for feedback extortion. If this transaction ended at the beginning of May, it is past the time he can leave feedback. That being said is not an excuse to not do everything within your power to make him happy. The way I take his “broken bowl” comment, is that he isn’t going to claim insurance on the bowl or leave negative feedback if you handle this correctly.
If this were my transaction, I would email him back and let him know how UPS figures insurance claims on partially broken items, (which is exactly how you did it) and perhaps remind him how much he paid for shipping. I think it would be ok to remind him that he wants $188.00 for 4 broken items, when he paid $289.00 for the lot of 35. It’s very important to be nice in all your correspondence. Keep your emails upbeat,
Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item 140425333113 (enter this number in the eBay search box in the top right corner of the home page): Do you collect bells? Check out this Rare Antique French Bell clock. SOLD $765.00 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140425333113
Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained Education Specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Do you have a question for the eBay Queen? E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.