I mentioned in a previous blog that eBay has grown and changed as we all do as we get older. My current experience (last 60 days) has been a sobering wake up to the realities of now. The first three miscues were my fault because I wasn't used to the changes. I am a little better informed now, but the miscues continue. One of the basic principles of eBay is leaving feedback on transactions as you progress allowing everyone to gauge their performance. Both buyers and sellers leave feedback and the feedback can be positive, negative or neutral. You can see how many times a user has received feedback for both buying and selling and I truly admire people who have collected thousands of positive feedback responses.
My experience with feedback has not been encouraging. I believe my first negative feedback resulted from my wanting to return an item that did not work correctly when it arrived. The seller understandably was none too keen to accept it back and a minor tussle occurred resulting in my leaving feedback that included the seller's first name. Well, that is a big no-no on eBay. I was reprimanded and reminded we don't do that on eBay and that was the end of that. I had to find a way to make the device work on my own.
Since that time eBay has changed their philosophy on returns and even if the seller does not offer them eBay has a return and refund policy that is fertile ground for abuse.
A case in point, I listed a guitar multi-effects pedal with a buy it now price of $60 and offered free shipping USPS Priority Mail, which in this instance was just under $10. A buyer (who shall remain nameless), bought the item and I carried it to the Post Office, saw a sign that said free Priority Mail boxes, grabbed one and put the pedal in it and attached the mailing label I had purchased through eBay and Pitney Bowes. When I got to the counter I was in a hurry, late for a meeting and became confused when the clerk at the counter tried to tell me I had a problem. The free box was free as long as I purchased $17 worth of postage. I had only purchased a little less than $10. I couldn't understand the clerk and was not offered any alternatives. She took the package and I assumed all was well with the world. Well it wasn't.
I proceeded to my meeting feeling a bit flustered with government employees like I am at the DMV with state employees. eBay provides a link so you can track the package through the USPS. I watched as it moved through the postal system and was delivered according to the USPS. This is where it starts getting real interesting.
After 4 days, the buyer sent me a message to say he hadn't received the (delivered) package. I respond by giving him the tracking number and suggested he go to the post office to see what the problem was and I told him if there was postage due, to pay it and I would reimburse him. The next message he sent said he went to the post office and was told they had no such tracking number in their system. That could not be true because their system said it was delivered. The next message from the buyer informed me not only had he not received the package but that I was a fraud, didn't use Priority Mail and he wanted a refund. I replied by sending him the tracking information provided by the USPS and a receipt showing the date I sent it by Priority Mail as well as letting eBay know we had a problem. The buyer's next move was to submit a claim with eBay asking for a refund and providing me with negative feedback. Too much negative feedback on eBay will result in being run out of dodge so to speak.
At that point, I thought he still might be telling the truth and not making up a story so he could have his pedal and play it too. I sent him a message and stated I wanted to send him a refund but wanted to find the pedal so I could get it back. I filed a claim with the post office and waited for a week or 10 days and in the meantime, eBay informed me they were sending the buyer a refund and they were not going to charge me for it. That was good news and bad news. I was relieved I wasn't going to be out the pedal and have to forfeit the $50 as well. I complained to eBay and reported the buyer because by now I thought the buyer was the fraud. The USPS informed me my claim was denied because they delivered the package, period. I asked eBay to remove the negative feedback and they said they couldn't do that and I should contact the buyer and ask them to change the feedback. I did and he didn't.
While there is a possibility that I am missing some information I seriously doubt that because I have since had a problem with the USPS saying they couldn't deliver another package because it was undeliverable as addressed. This was a small bubble wrap envelope but it was not lost in the vacuum that is the post office, it eventually got back to me. Why didn't the pedal come back? Simple answer really, it was delivered.
Out of 10 sales transactions on eBay, I had problems with 3 of them and one of those spoiled my feedback rating. I thought I had sold another item because a bidder won but when I had not received payment I sent an invoice (eBay facilitates that too) only to find the buyer changed their mind and wasn't interested any longer. I thought eBay was a step up from Craigslist, but now I'm beginning to wonder.