OK, I’ve been neglecting the blog side of my website for a variety of reasons, mainly because I’m not a blogger! I’m a writer/reporter/journalist and I’m good at what I do. Blogging is something that’s foreign to me. When I read other people’s blogs, it seems effortless. Then I tried my hand at it and I pretty much just sat there. Wondering. What should I write about?
Enough excuses. I’ll probably get better at this with time, right? RIGHT? (Or, this might be my first and last blog entry. No worries either way.)
The customer is almost always right on eBay. Thanks to eBay’s desire to attract more buyers, it’s become a perfect way for dishonest buyers to order an item, claim they never received it, complain to eBay and have the online company mediate between the buyer and the seller. And guess what? The buyer almost always wins.
Which is why I won’t use eBay anymore. Too many of my friends–and myself on a smaller level–have been ripped off by buyers who want something for nothing. And eBay lets them get away with it.
A few things to know about eBay if you decide to try to sell some of your items there:
– Ebay gets a percentage of whatever the seller sells. Fine–that’s only fair. But now they’re also taking a cut of the shipping and handling fees. They said they do this to prevent sellers from inflating s/h fees. Again, not a bad idea in theory. But sellers can’t inflate the s/h price in most cases because eBay caps the prices sellers can charge. For instance, if you’re selling a CD or a DVD–regardless of whether it’s one disc or a heavy boxed set–you can only charge $3 for shipping and handling. Go to Target and see how much a bubble mailer is…a cheap one is at least 50 cents. It’ll cost you another $2.22 for the postage to mail a 6 ounce package through the U.S. postal system. So now you’re at $2.72. You’re up 28 cents, right? Sweet!
– Not so fast. Because the seller also is expected to provide proof of shipping/delivery, which means sellers have to pay for delivery confirmation (80 cents) and/or insurance ($1.80). And the seller can’t charge these costs to the buyer. Now the seller has paid out anywhere from $3.02 to $4.82 to ship the package. But it’s worth it to prove that the item reached the proper destination, right?
– Again, not really. My friend Aiden (not his real name) sold an expensive piece of musical equipment on eBay. The buyer–who had given my friend positive feedback in writing–later claimed that he never received the item. He wanted his money back. It seemed like a no brainer to anyone with a brain. Aiden had written proof from his customer that he had received the item and loved it. He also had delivery confirmation from the post office that the item was delivered. Any sane person would agree that the buyer was trying to rip him off. Ebay’s official position on this transaction? It was Aiden’s job to make sure the item safely reached his customer (it did, as proven by the post office’s record of delivery confirmation) and that his customer was happy with the product (he was, as evidenced by the positive feedback he gave Aiden. In writing, remember?). The outcome? Ebay sided with the buyer. Aiden no longer uses eBay.
– Which leads me to the topic of feedback. Ebay allows its customers to leave a line or two on each transaction so the public can see who they’re dealing with. In theory, this is a great idea. But then eBay decided that sellers leaving negative feedback for buyers might chase away potential buyers. A couple years ago, they made it so that sellers could ONLY leave positive feedback for buyers. But, buyers can leave negative feedback for sellers. For any reason. No thanks, eBay. If I want to be unfairly judged, I’ll call my mother. (Just kidding, mom. You rock!)
For those of you who’ve dealt with eBay–either as a buyer or seller–I’d love to hear about your experiences, both the good and bad.
© 2011 JAE-HA KIM