Monday, July 22, 2013

Seller Beware! My Not-So-Magical Ebay Story!

Not too long ago I shared my story about a really crappy experience I had with a Disney World shopper site. Well, as (un)luck would have it I had another situation happen recently in which I felt I should share in order to help you avoid the same fate.

There are lots of things to be weary about when buying Disney items on eBay, most notably that there are a lot of fake pins and vinyls being sold as the real thing. However, I had my first bad experience selling on eBay and I know a lot of honest people like to use eBay to buy and sell collectibles so I wanted to share once again, the lessons I learned so you don't have to learn the hard way.   Let me start by saying I have bought and sold on eBay multiple times, with no issue and 100% positive feedback (even through the transaction I am going to share).

I put some collectibles up on eBay which I didn't have room for in my closet (obviously I had some Disneyana overflow if I had these guys tucked away). I sold everything in 3-5 day auctions and everything seemed to go well. I had a little extra pocket money and people got the collectibles they wanted without paying full price (I even included Picturing Disney cards and magnets for most of them).

This one Jim Shore collectible was a hot item. Less than a day after I listed it there were bids and questions. The first question asked if I had the original box so I posted the question to the listing because I did not. 3 days into the listing the first person who bid messaged me and asked if she could purchase for the Buy It Now price, I informed her that since she chose to bid on it Buy It Now was no longer an option. She ended up winning it for $22 over the original Buy It Now cost.

(If you are unfamiliar with eBay when I listed the item I put it up for $35 starting auction but $50 Buy It Now- if someone was willing to and did not want to deal with the auction Buy It Now gives you the immediate purchase at usually a decent price.)

The buyer did not pay after I sent an invoice. I messaged her after 2 days. Finally after 4 days I heard from her saying she was having issues with logging into PayPal and she would resolve it by calling on Monday. I didn't hear from her Monday and messaged her, then Tuesday I resent the invoice and told her if I did not hear from her I would file with eBay an unpaid item notice. Finally after 10 days I filed with eBay only to receive my payment moments after I filed it. I was very skeptical about this whole ordeal after this.

But my first mistake came here: I shipped it anyway. If I ever had this issue again I would file with eBay and refund the money. I should not have completed the transaction with someone who strung me along with poor communication.

Then came my second mistake: I spent additional money on bubble wrap- 2 rolls at $2.99 each to wrap this figure up nice and neatly. Then I spent $5 and change on a new thick box to ship in. I packed lots of shopping bags all around the bubble wrapped figure and mailed him out.

Mistake number 3: I did not use insurance. I was already skeptical and had ALREADY spent extra money this $3 would've saved me a headache.

Once the item arrived the Buyer claimed her item came broken and emailed me pictures of a broken figure and an unopened box that looked as though it had been mishandled in transit.  I offered a full refund if she shipped the item back to me and a partial shipping refund so she was not stuck paying shipping twice on the item she was returning. She agreed.

Seems like this isn't so bad, right? Disappointing and time consuming but really just a broken figure that had been in my closet, right? Nope. She filed an "Item Not As Described" dispute with PayPal/eBay claiming I sent her a broken figure, wrapped it poorly, and did not state in listing it didn't come with original box. And THEN she sent me an email directly asking me to eat the cost of all the shipping.

At this point I told her email communication was inappropriate any longer since she filed the claim and I sent all the evidence I had to PayPal with a description of the whole ordeal (her claims were unwarranted).  She then began messaging me through eBay in what were short, clearly quickly written, and somewhat rude responses as if I was a horrible human being for asking someone to return an item they wanted a refund on.  Eventually I had to also say 'Enough is enough' through this communication as well.  

I don't know the outcome yet but I still would like to think that PayPal or eBay or whoever makes the decision will say "hey this lady is willing to go ahead and give a refund if item is returned so that's what the buyer needs to do". Who knows? What I do know and want to share with you is this:

Tips for Selling on EBay

  1. 1.  Always add the cost of insurance into your shipping cost as well as the cost of shipping supplies you must pay for into your auction price. (If you go to the MyEbay section under applications I have learned if you ship through eBay you can get pretty cheap insurance through ShipSaver.)
  2. 2.  In your listing state that buyers have X amount of days to pay or they will be reported to eBay as unpaid. (Buyers have 4 additional days to pay AFTER you file with eBay!)
  3. 3.  Take pictures of fragile items after you have wrapped them and your box after its all sealed up with label visible. (I wish so much I had done this!)
  4. 4.  If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, its probably a duck. I doubted my own instincts and this turned out bad.  I should have filed the claim earlier or attempted to cancel this transaction and pass on to next highest bidder.  I just had a bad feeling about this and I convinced myself it would all work out and it didn't.
  5. 5.  Remember even though eBay doesn't seem Seller friendly you can report Buyer abuse as well!
  6. 6.  Stay positive on the internet and in life.  I am choosing to rise above the personal feelings of skepticism I have here.  It probably seems naive because there are a lot of scammers on the Internet today but it seems like the only high road I can take.  I am going to assume that this package was accidentally damaged by the post office and that this buyer didn't really know how to properly return something through eBay. Why? Because thinking someone is trying to screw me out of money and a Disney collectible is hard for me to swallow right now. 
Be wary and be careful but also be honest and optimistic as much as you can.

UPDATE: After this whole fiasco was resolved (buyer shipped item back to me, I marked it returned in the false PayPal claim while noting the entire time that this was damaged in shipping and was exactly as described in the listing) it turned out that I was still liable for my seller fees through eBay.  Since this buyer filed a case as "item not as described" and we closed it through PayPal I was not allowed to cancel the transaction after she returned the item since a case was opened and closed in regards to this item already.  The buyer was fully refunded and I got Peter with a broken arm and an $8.11 bill from eBay.  It sure feels like I paid someone over $8 to break one of my collectibles.  
Lesson learned: Never Grow Up!

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