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The One About The Crazy Buyer & How eBay Helped Me Out

I've been selling 16 years full time on eBay.  I've met some great people selling and buying stuff on there, and I've also met a few people that might be off their medication. 😉  This blog is about one of those people.  ** Please when you read this, don't let the crazy in this story make you overlook how eBay Customer Service helped me along the way.

On March 12th Buyer #1 sent me a couple of messages AND an offer on a shaper. 

First message: "Is this for a beige or a black one? I see pictures of a black piece, yet the listing specifies beige. Thanks"

I respond:" It is beige, sorry for the confusion"  * Keep this in mind because later they are going to give me crap about the color as another buyer.*

The retail price of the shaper is 55.00 I have it for 34.99 or Best Offer.  They make me a low 18.00 offer I counter with 24.00 and say "With Free Shipping this is as low as I can go.  Thank you for the offer."   They send me this message.

"Ok, thanks for clarifying the color. I can pay $22.00 as I am on a strict budget. I am unemployed and also selling on eBay. I am working on listings right now and not really selling anything worthwhile it seems like… :/

If this payment arrangement is acceptable, I can counteroffer on the listing and then submit an immediate payment via PayPal. Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to your anticipated response. "

They sent me a counter offer for 22.00.  I responded the same way.  24.00 "With Free Shipping this is as low as I can go.  Thank you for the offer." 
 

Then they send me this message:

"Are you looking to complete a transaction? I submitted a counter offer of $22.00. Thanks for your time. "

I decline their offer and block them. I then receive this message:

"Thanks, always a pleasure in dealing with such diligent and accurate sellers on eBay! Best of luck with your business as your tactics are unmatchable!"

They sent me 2 other messages, and I ignored them, because I had already blocked them as a buyer.

On March 20th the item sold as a Best Offer to buyer #2.  I mailed the item off and on March 26th I recieved this email:

"Hi, we would like to bring to your attention the following matter. We are in receipt of the shaper and it has an extremely strong and unusual odor which does not go away after a potent wash.

At this point, we will be forced to have this piece professionally cleaned. We are requesting a partial refund in order to execute such services.

Furthermore, the listing advises the shaper would be beige and then shows a black item in the picture which is rather confusing. At this point, the color is irrelevant as this piece looks to presently have an irreversible appalling odor.

We look forward to your anticipated response and immediate resolution."

**This email set off a bunch of red flags for me. 

  • If something has a "extremely strong unusual odor" people don't wash it, they email the seller immediately and return the smelly item.
  • A buyer doesn't want ANYTHING to do with a "extremely strong unusual odor."  Would you?
  • Then there was the color thing.  I went back through the messages, and noticed buyer #2 asked no questions about this item, but buyer #1 had.  This item said it was beige, but I accidently had put in black photos.  
  • The wordiness of buyer #1 and buyer #2

I contacted eBay customer support. The man I spoke too was super helpful, checked to see if buyer #1 and buyer #2 were related, shared IP's etc.  He told me he could not confirm if they were, but sent me to Trust and Safety.  T&S told me that they made notes on the account, and they could not tell me if they were connected, but if I was talking to Trust and Safety, that was my answer. 

We respond: "Hi, I am so sorry! We want our buyers to be happy. Please let me know what you would like for me to do."

The buyer responds:"Hi, thanks for your prompt response and attention to this matter. We would appreciate a $7.00 refund to our PayPal account which should compensate for the professional cleaning. "

*** 24.00- 7.00 is the original offer price ***

I immediately contact eBay Customer service.  The rep was once again super helpful.  He pointed out a few things to me.

  • The buyer hasn't opened a case, which is extremely unusual for an  actual unhappy buyer.
  • eBay would not require me to give a partial refund
  • The buyer washed the item, and I am not required to give a refund since it has been altered

At this point I was 80% sure it was the same person, but I really wanted eBay to confirm it. I debated on what to say in my next email to her.  It occurred to me maybe she was NOT the same buyer, and thought the chemical smell that ALL of these shapers have was an "extremely strong unusual odor" to her.  While I was trying to figure out what to do…

She sent me another email:

"Hi, what is the delay with responding to our last message regarding the partial refund of $7.00? Better yet, to not waste anymore time both yours and ours, you can proceed with the depositing the amount into our PayPal account.

We hope to resolve this today and look forward to your anticipated response. We really would not want to further dispute the entire transaction.  Thank You! "

I contacted eBay AGAIN.. and the customer service person was super helpful.  I told him of my concerns about what if it WASN'T the same person, I don't want this to be an unhappy buyer.  He re-assured me that my gut instinct was correct.

I sent the buyer a message:

"In a situation like this I would ask you to return the item for a full refund, and I would pay your return shipping, But since you washed it, I can not accept it as a return. I do not want any buyer to be unhappy, but I am not comfortable with the partial refund."

I received the following message from the buyer:

"We are glad that you reiterated the situation. Obviously, returning the item is not an option. We were unaware that the odor was so potent and would not be removed with a wash.

As a matter of fact, the condition this item was sent in, is technically NOT NEW since the smell has tainted the ORGINAL condition of the piece.

We are unhappy at this time with the way this is being handled. If you are unable to complete our request for a partial refund of $7.00, we will be forced to dispute this with our reputable credit card company.

We will also have no choice but to leave negative feedback for this transaction."

As you can imagine… with a message that has a feedback threat I contacted eBay. Where they made a note on the account if and when the buyer should ever leave a negative feedback it would be removed.

I responded to the buyer:

"The item was new. I am very sorry you are unhappy."

The buyer responded:

"We don't need your apologies. We need you to take responsibility and provide the $7.00 credit for the professional cleaning. If we have not heard from you by 5pm EST we will move forward accordingly.

Also, we will never purchase from you again due to the poor product you provided and overall customer service. That is the ONLY accomplishment you have succeeded in thus far.

Interestingly, most sellers leave feedback right after the purchase; however, you chose otherwise. This demonstrates your lack of confidence in the product you are selling. Clearly, you knew a potential issue would arise since you sent such an item in this terrible condition.

Furthermore, we did a little research and it appears you live on a FARM. Do you store your items on the farm??? We also noticed you don't maintain 100% feedback, yet the amount of transactions would not prompt someone to dig into your wonderful background. Nonetheless, at this point we feel forced to do our own investigation on this matter.

We have matched up a feedback which is appalling and resembles our situation. Here it is: August 1, 2013 – "Almost vomited from the stench". Now, we will guarantee feedback which will CLEARLY spell out the situation and be much more effective for a potential unsure buyer whether or not to proceed with a purchase. No wonder you offer prices which are appealing at first….. Where else could we purchase a shaper valued at $45 for $25… Well at a farm where ALL the animals have used it during their playtime….

Yes, you guessed it! We are VERY UPSET…… CONGRATULATIONS SUZIE…. Today is your LUCKY DAY, since due to your decisions and regardless of ANY credit, we will leave you negative feedback and you will compensate for the entire purchase through a merchant fee from our reputable credit card company.

This will be our last communication with you, and please spare your POOR responses to the ACCURATE feedback we will shorty leave you. NOW BLOCKED!"

 

This is how I WANTED to respond:

We don't need your apologies. We need you to take responsibility and provide the $7.00 credit for the professional cleaning. If we have not heard from you by 5pm EST we will move forward accordingly. Threat!

Also, we will never purchase from you again due to the poor product you provided and overall customer service. That is the ONLY accomplishment you have succeeded in thus far. You are correct.. because both of your ID's have been blocked. 🙂

Interestingly, most sellers leave feedback right after the purchase; however, you chose otherwise. This demonstrates your lack of confidence in the product you are selling. Clearly, you knew a potential issue would arise since you sent such an item in this terrible condition.  No, most sellers don't leave feedback right away.  If you looked at the feedback I leave you'd notice that it is all done on the same day at the same time, not after each individual sale. I have a program that does it for me.  I noticed you've been on eBay since 2005 with one ID and 150 feedback and 2006 with the other ID with 370 feedback.  I have around 400 to 500 transactions a month. This is why I do it all at one time and not individually.

Furthermore, we did a little research and it appears you live on a FARM. Do you store your items on the farm??? We also noticed you don't maintain 100% feedback, yet the amount of transactions would not prompt someone to dig into your wonderful background. Nonetheless, at this point we feel forced to do our own investigation on this matter. Ah… yes, you've read my "about me" page.  I don't really live on a farm.  I live on 40 acres with no farm animals. But really that's irrelevant.  An "investigation"… someone knows how to work "the Google on the Internet machine" (name that movie)

We have matched up a feedback which is appalling and resembles our situation. Here it is: August 1, 2013 – "Almost vomited from the stench". Now, we will guarantee feedback which will CLEARLY spell out the situation and be much more effective for a potential unsure buyer whether or not to proceed with a purchase. No wonder you offer prices which are appealing at first….. Where else could we purchase a shaper valued at $45 for $25… Well at a farm where ALL the animals have used it during their playtime…. Dang you have dug deep! There were probably 1200 positive feedback on top of that one negative. I must be a bad seller! What you don't know, is that buyer was complaining about a swimsuit smelling like a "swimsuit"  She did not want to send it back, and had even WORN the smelly item.  She like you wanted a partial refund and I refused to give it. Interestingly enough she would not open a case about this item, she didn't want to get eBay involved… (perhaps it's because eBay would have sided with me since the item was WORN?) 

Yes, you guessed it! We are VERY UPSET…… CONGRATULATIONS SUZIE…. Today is your LUCKY DAY, since due to your decisions and regardless of ANY credit, we will leave you negative feedback and you will compensate for the entire purchase through a merchant fee from our reputable credit card company.  My favorite part of this statement… "reputable credit card company"  I did a bit of my own feedback research.. It seems you leave quite a bit of negatives and neutrals. 

crazypants

This will be our last communication with you, and please spare your POOR responses to the ACCURATE feedback we will shorty leave you. NOW BLOCKED!  Um.. you can't block sellers… but you can block buyers, which we've done and you found away around it. 🙁  Which is against eBay rules.

Here's how I REALLY responded.

"You and I both know you feel you paid "too much" for the item as "ID #2" and that you were trying to buy it as "ID#1" but I blocked you, so you bought it as ID#2. You were angry that I blocked you and have made up this story about the item. This is against eBay policy. It is considered UNWELCOME BUYING. As a seller yourself I would think it was important to you to know and understand the rules on eBay. While we are on the subject of rules: feedback extortion, and threatening a charge back because you don't get your way might not look so good for a person who wants to be a successful seller either.

I don't live on a farm. I have a house on 40 acres. A farm implies that I have farm animals OR that we grow crops. We do neither, we simply have a home on acreage.

What's the point of complaining about my feedback? YOU tried to buy from me as ID#1 I blocked you and then you bought as ID#2. No one FORCED you to buy from me. My feedback is public and out for all to see. You wanted to buy from me got blocked and then bought from me after I blocked you.. it apparently it didn't worry you then. So why complain now? I noticed while reviewing your feedback you leave quite a few neutrals & Negatives. Maybe I'm not the one with the issue?

I leave feedback in batches once a month. It has NOTHING to do with anything except that's how I have my listing program set up to do it.You say most sellers leave feedback immediately, I've never noticed that, and I buy things on eBay under the same ID I sell from, no underhanded stuff going on here.

You freaked me out a little bit with your "investigation" comment, but Google works both ways right?

Good luck in the future with your eBay transactions."

******

queyneg

The buyer did leave negative feedback, and it was removed by eBay.  The buyer sent me 3 more emails that were over 2000 characters each. (She's very wordy)  Those emails pretty much said what a con artist and a bad seller I am, and how I need to treat my customers better… yada yada yada I didn't give her what she wanted, so I am the worst seller on eBay.  She did continue to threaten a charge back and to keep digging into my life. 

Here's an excerpt from one of the three 2000 character messages.. that made me chuckle..

"The majority of your last email was irrelevant and details that we could care less about in general. It is actually suggested on eBay once feedback is received in order to begin a "friendly and successful" transaction for the seller to leave feedback right away. Go ahead and learn the rules ebay Queen. It sounds like you feel the power to override situations that should be taken care of appropriately from a business perspective."

I like how she refers to me by eBay Queen 😉

The good news is I contacted eBay once again, and they sent her a Cease and Desist letter.  A lot of bad things are said about eBay customer support, but in this situation they really came through for me, and I appreciate it. 

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