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.

eBay Buyer Used the item and Now wants a Refund

Dear eBay Queen;
I sell just about anything I can get my hands on. I purchased some brand new sheets at a closeout store, and sold them on eBay. I copied all of the information from the back of the sheet package.
Today I received this message from the buyer:
“After washing and putting sheets on bed, I noticed that the pockets were 14 inches instead of 12 inches as stated on eBay. The reason l bought these was because of the 12 inch pocket. l have a linen closet full of ill fitting sheets, so was excited to find a pair that would fit my mattress.. Very disappointed in the elastic that goes around the fitted sheet. extremely lose… l will sleep with them on the bed tonight and see how they hug the bed, perhaps this can be rectified if they turn out not to my liking, very disappointed.”
I have these same sheets on my bed. The sheets fit fine for us. How should I handle this?
Jennifer; Topeka

Dear Jennifer;
I hope that you have a refund policy that covers items being washed and used then returned. This buyer could be a problem. I don’t know many stores that will let you use an item then return it, especially bedding.
If this were my transaction, I would email the buyer back saying this:
“I am very sorry the sheets are not what you expected. I do accept returns as long as they are in the condition I sent them to you in. Since you have washed them and are sleeping on them, I will not be able to accept these for a return. I have checked on the back of the package, and they said these sheets have a 12″ pocket as the eBay ad stated. Once again I am sorry these are not what you expected.”
After that email, I would wait and see what your buyer does next. She could file a dispute, which you will win, or leave a negative which you can respond to. If you want to avoid all of that, you can refund her money and have her send the sheets back or keep them.

Dear eBay Queen;
I sell was lucky enough to buy out a music store a few years ago, and I am finally getting around to list the items I bought. I have had pretty good success with the CD’s, sheet music and music books. My customers have been very kind up until now!
I sold a $14.99 Buy it Now Music Song Book tonight. The buyer paid right away, and he has 6 feedbacks. He sent a message to me immediately after his payment telling me that he studies vocal music in Los Angles and wants to know if I have any complimentary song books I can send him. Don’t you think that is weird? It is one thing to ask for a discount, another to ask for free stuff right?
I am anxious to know how you would handle this.
Freebie Queen

Dear Freebie;
My Grandma used to say “Sugar, it takes all kinds to make this big world go round”. I believe this is one of the people she was talking about. Do you have anything in your eBay ad that would lead this buyer to believe that you give gifts with a purchase?
You have a couple of options with this guy.
1.     You could send the item, and not respond to his question.
2.      Respond to his question by letting him know that you have lots of music books up for auction now, but do not have any that you could send to him complimentary.
3.     You could respond to his email, letting him know that you were once a college student, and understand his plight. You could then offer to send him one of your cheaper, low cost books this one time.
If this was my transaction I would probably email them to let them know I did not have anything I could send them complimentary, and wish them good fortune in their studies.
It’s pretty bold move on this guy’s part; asking for a free song book. You are not obligated to send him anything but what he paid for. Do not feel like you need to, but if the spirit leads you, by all means send him something.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item 220400875978 (enter this number in the eBay search box in the top right corner of the eBay homepage) Have you been looking for a Life Size Cow Statue? Check out this one SOLD $720