Saturday, 14 May 2011
To Ebay or not to Ebay
I discovered Ebay later than most. Just prior to the birth of the twins somebody suggested I look on there for clothes for the babies. What a world it opened up to me. I soon became hooked on biding and buying, within a few weeks I realised I could also make money by selling on there too. My items sold quickly and feedback was fantastic because of the quality of my items. I soon built up a great reputation for myself and went from strength to strength. I took the step of opening a shop on Ebay and found suppliers in America to start selling new designer clothes thanks initially to an American friend of mine.
When the twins were 3 years old I had built up a regular supply chain and customer base, I had become a powerseller, sales were great and my husband who knew I was not happy at work and with ongoing childcare issues suggested I turn it into a full time job. Along with my new website I took the plunge. At this time Ebay had started already to change what was once a vibrant buying and selling community into a much more unstable environment for sellers. Bringing in lots of little terms and conditions that worked for customers but in the main against sellers. I can understand the need to ensure that customers are treated fairly (ebay did have a reputation for some rogue sellers and fake sales) but in the main most sellers were honest, hard working and most sales went off without a hitch. I prided myself on my 100% feedback going everyday to the post office, sometimes twice if a customer really needed something in a hurry. I answer ever sale with a personal email and only sell items that are immaculate and beyond reproach.
My first negative feedback was literally like being hit in the face ! I know that sounds melodramatic but when you get into selling on Ebay, a bit like blogging - you want comments, you want people to enjoy what you write its all part of the experience. I can't remember now what the negative was for but I remember how it made me feel and how I raged about it. I also know it was totally unwarranted. At this time Ebay also bought in a new rule whereby only buyers could leave negative feedback ! What had happened to the fair two way communication and the basis on which the original owner of Ebay had established his community on.
As with most things like this, if it is your livelihood you have to just suck it up and carry on and ebay knew this, they knew they had most sellers by the short and curlies and they continued to introduce more and more impossible regulations. They would be laughed off the high street if they tried to impose such rules on bricks and mortar shops ! The Star rating system (totally anonymous of course) ment that customers could give you written feedback as usual but could also rate you on item as described, communication, despatch time and postage and packing charges ! No problem I though, I work hard in all those areas I have nothing to worry about ! Stupid Karen ! I have had several positive comments written where the buyer has obviously then gone on to mark me down in the star rating section, usually because they don't like how much it cost to post to them. I send all items recorded delivery in the uk or international signed for service overseas, because if I don't, I can't get my money back if the item is "lost in the post" . I clearly state the cost of postage and the customer is agreeing to that when they commit to buy so why should they be able to make me down in that area. I also received 3 low rating on despatch time in January this year when anybody with an once of a brain would know that the majority of the country was snowed in and Royal mail was having difficulty delivering. Would Ebay remove these low ratings ? Would they hell.
You might wonder why the feedback is so important to me.
I recently lost my top rated seller status (which affects where your items are listed on ebay pages, discounts you get and your standing as a reliable seller) a big deal if you are in a category that has lots of items like the clothes category that I am in. All because a few customers 0.68% of my total sales for a year gave me a low seller rating.
0.68% of my total sales in a year !!!!
Can you imagine again the high street retailers with a failer rate of less than 1% in customer overall satisfaction, seeing that as a FAILURE !!!
I've had 2 negative feedback's in the last year one customer said "great ebayer. Never received the item" - OK so it failed to arrive, royal mail said it was lost in their system, we had tracking info everything but still Ebay refused to remove it.
The second ebayer said " bad communication.Sent me wrong size and did not make me a full refund.DISSAPOIN" This was for a second hand Armani top I sold her for £4.50 which was correctly listed but because it didn't fit her she lied on the feedback. Again Ebay refused to remove it.
Today I have had a customer who I gave a discount of £8 off the original cost with free shipping to Germany for 2 baseball caps. She sent me the following email :
hello, the cap has some errors. a cap has a hole in the back seam is 7 mm long and the other cap has the wrong seam in the middle (where there is polo rider), and these approaches is also to 1cm! short front and rear short by 1 cm than the other cap, so small and tight Wiesent looks flat. I think it are wrong products. I'm very disappointed, I will be refund the caps only when I was 50% decrease in both, I think it's fair. if you want, I can send them photos with meter stick next to it, so you can see the differences. shame that the controls determining CAPI not have before sending it.
in a nutshell, she is lying about there being holes in the caps, I check everything I send out, nothing goes out if I have the slightest concern. As for her argument that there is a 1 cm difference in the sizes of the caps ! Is she for real and then comes the crunch line she wants 50% discount on them ! Got to the bottom line in the end. 50% off an already discounted pair of caps that I had again discounted for her. I wouldn't play ball and told her to return them to me for a full refund. She then told me she had cut all the labels out of the inside of both of the caps ! Really, how convenient, and so it went on. I remained calm and told her I would consult with Ebay and paypal on Monday but she knows what she is doing and has put a claim into paypal already. The money has been taken from my account, I can do nothing about it, I know she will probably get to keep the caps and get her money and yes, because I sent it international signed for service I will get my money back, but that's not the principle ! I am outraged at the unfairness of this system.
What would you do ? Is it time to go ........