Dear eBay Queen: Should I Buy My Way Out of a Negative Feedback?

Dear eBay Queen:

I’ve talked to my husband about this and my neighbor. They both said I should ask your opinion. My neighbor said it’s just a newbie mistake, my husband says I’m giving stuff away and being passive with people I should not be passive with. I’m not sure if it’s a newbie mistake when I’ve been selling for 4 years!

My brother purchased a house and 100 acres in Nebraska 5 years ago. The house and 2 barns were FULL. Once a month he brings me stuff from his barns/house and to sell on eBay. We split the profit and he pays the listing fees. Some of this product he brings me is old store stock from a general store that the previous owner of the property had.

I had listed a Bakelite necklace, earring and bracelet set. I tested it to make sure it was Bakelite before I sent it, and packaged it in bubble wrap and double packaged it when I sent it. The buyer contacted me with this message:

Hello, thank you for sending the jewelry set so quickly. I don’t think this is new, and I’m not really happy with it. This looks like something my grandmother wore in the 1950’s, not the cute necklace set I thought I was buying from this century!

I paid $145.00 for the set, and I think I should receive half of it back. Perhaps if you used Buy It Now I would not have to negotiate with you for the price of the item afterwads. You know if you give me good customer service I will buy more from you.

I messaged the buyer back, and told her to send them back and I’d refund her money. She responded, and told me “it was not worth it” and if I didn’t refund in full and allow her to keep them, she’d give negative feedback. I was going to refund the buyer’s money, because I don’t want a negative, and just let my brother know what happened. I talked to my brother and he told me to NOT refund the money. So I am coming to you for help.

The buyer sent me another message today.

Well, 5 hours have gone by, and I have not heard from you. What are you going to do? My negative feedback is not going to be nice. You will never be able to sell that crap you call inventory if you don’t give me what I want. I better receive a refund before tomorrow, or your 100% positive feedback rating will no longer be 100%.

So should I just give them their money back and save my account the negative?


  1. Jenkins


Dear M. Jenkins:

I’ve been in similar situations, and I think I would message your buyer and tell her that based upon eBay’s new rules for sellers, you can’t give a refund without her opening a request. Give her these instructions:

  • To start a return, find the item in the Purchase history section of My eBay. …
  • Select the reason for the return. …

Let her know that once that is done, you can proceed.

Once you message her, contact eBay. I’m pretty sure that eBay will side with you and this is why:

  • The item was never described as new, but as vintage in excellent, used condition.
  • By her own admission, it looks like something from the era it is from.
  • The buyer refuses to return the item.
  • The buyer wants to KEEP the item and receive half of the money back.
  • The buyer threatened negative feedback if you do not give her what she wants.

Make sure that you do not say in your message you will give her the item or a refund. Just wait for the case to be opened by the buyer.

I hope that you get a fantastic understanding eBay CS representative that handles this swiftly. I don’t think it would hurt to report this buyer either.


Strange eBay Item of the Week: Item #121684686777. Bakelite jewelry is highly collectible. If you are ever lucky enough to come across a bakelite “gumdrop” bangle, you might be able to sell it for quite a bit on eBay! Rare Red and Cream Vintage Bakelite Bow-Tie Gumdrop Bangle Bracelet Late 1950’s SOLD: $3000.00.


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