Dear eBay Queen:
I need your clarification on what I did wrong here. I bought and paid for an electric guitar on eBay. When it arrived, I found it did not work although the eBay ad stated it did. After getting it checked out, and finding out the electronics were bad, I contacted the seller and asked to return it because it did not match the description. He agreed, refunded me for the item and initial shipping costs up front. I went to ship it back to him, and shipping cost was $59.00 because it was an oversized, heavy item.
I contacted him the same day to let him know that shipping was going to be $59.00. He did not respond to me that day, so I did not ship the item back to him. About 3 days later he sent me an email requesting the guitar be sent back. I told him how much shipping was, and if he didn’t pay it I would not send it back. I decided that he was annoying me so, I left negative feedback and complained to eBay. The seller then got my personal information from eBay and called my house at midnight cursing at me and threatening to come and kill me. He also filed a fraudulent non-paying bidder claim against me. What should I do? This is only my 3rd transaction. Do you think I should try again?
I am so sorry this has happened to you. The seller should not have called you at midnight and threatened you. I believe I can shed a little light on the reason the seller is upset and why they filed a non-paying bidder claim against you. In normal situations the seller would ask you to send the item back before giving you a refund. Your seller gave you the money back first, and you did not send the item back, plus you gave them a negative.
I still think this situation might be salvageable. I would contact them and see if they would be willing to pay the return shipping, after you send the item back. Let them know once you receive that you will remove the negative.
Dear eBay Queen:
I’ve been reading your articles for quite some time now and I’ve been selling on eBay since 2001. With the two accounts that I still sell on, the totals show I’ve sold close to $200,000 in transactions since I started. I have one account I sell new items on and another account I sell vintage and antiques.
I’ve seen lots of concern when it comes to buyers returning items. I also understand eBay is pushing a 14 Day return policy. I am curious how many sellers have a huge return problem. Don’t you think returns are an unavoidable cost of having an online business?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this new 14 day return policy; I’m, not thrilled with it, but most business owners do it that way. One thing I have thought about is how almost no vintage/antiques store allow returns. I think eBay should adopt a policy of returns for antique and vintage sellers. I’ve read that you sell antiques and collectibles. How do you feel about no returns in that category? What percent of returns are your sales each year?
You are right; I don’t remember seeing an antique store that took returns. One thing about that is when I shop in an antique store; I can personally inspect the item. I’m not taking a risk based on a stranger’s unknown ability to take accurate pictures and make an accurate assessment of the item. And there are things I might not even think to ask until I looking at the item up close.
I don’t think eBay should adapt such a policy. Mostly because if an inexperienced seller is describing an item, I want to make sure as a buyer I am going to get what I paid for. Without some kind of return policy that won’t happen. I think a better idea would be a little online tutorial for sellers to take while they are listing their first 5 or 10 items. Maybe a series of pop up reminders to let a new seller know they need more than one photo of that valuable antique.
I’ve been selling since 1998. I truly believe that returns are a part of doing business. I believe that in order to sell online we as sellers are going to have to make some concessions and accept returns. If you think about it the buyer has put their trust in you to describe this item correctly, and they are betting on your ability to describe items correctly. If you look at other online retail sites; they have very liberal return policies because they have to when selling online.
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Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained Education Specialist. She lives in Rantoul, Kansas.