Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just a-waitin' & wonderin'

So we're sitting around wondering when our first negative feedback on eBay will hit. When I say we, I mean me. We've been selling stuff on eBay for about 2 years 5 months and 28 days or so, give or take a day, not that I'm counting. The vast majority of people we deal with are trustworthy, nice, decent and pleasant people. We have developed a cadre of repeat buyers, and we do that by trying to provide the best customer service we can. But one out of 100 buyers or so seem to be insane. Maybe not that high, or maybe its just that these things seem to come in twos or threes.

Right now we're dealing with a buyer who for the life of me appears like he wants to keep the item (an old, non-working clock) we sold him, and have us refund his money. He says it was damaged in shipping. We presented out apologies (and it was sincere, I always worry about shipping, and do my best to package things securely) & said since he bought insurance he can file a claim with the post office. We even gave him instructions on how to do that. He says it will take too long to get his money back. We said, ok, send it back, we'll refund the cost of the item, but not what we charged for shipping, and not what he'd have to pay for shipping it back to us. It's a fairly heavy item, and was not cheap to ship. This was spelled out in the listing - the only time we refund shipping is if we grossly misrepresented an item. In this case we absolutely did not.

The item cost over $42.00, and shipping + insurance was another $15.00 or so. It was too big for a large flat rate priority box, so it was the best we could do. If he sends it back, it will cost him another $15.00 or so, and he'll be out $30.00. It would make more sense just to take it to the post office and file the claim, and get the $42.00 back. That's the reason for the insurance. Assuming it really is damaged, of course.

The buyer has been on eBay for several years, and had a feedback of zero. This immediately raised a red flag with Patti Anne, before he even won the auction - its odd to have no feedback of any kind after 4 years. Maybe it should have raised a red flag with me too, but I just shrugged and said there's got to be a lot weirder things on Planet Earth.

He's got a feedback of 1 now, 'cause he paid quickly so I went ahead left feedback. That is eBay's "best practices" recommendation, a term that makes me want to gag, btw. But eBay in their wisdom has decided that sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers, so what difference does it make? He paid, I left positive feedback saying he paid.

We can't be absolutely positive, but it smells like an attempt at a scam to us. We've been the target more than once in the last two years. The most famous one (for us anyway) was a fake 2nd chance offer on an item we bidded on. We were knew to eBay, and I didn't really catch on until the person told us to send an western union money gram to a place in London. Hmmmm, might was well hit me in the head with my Roger Maris baseball bat.

Anyway, since we told him we'd refund the cost of the item but none of the shipping charges if he returned it to us, we haven't heard anything from him. So, I guess we'll find out sooner or later.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for a negative feedback to show up. We've not had one yet, but it's bound to happen someday.

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