Avoid bad feedback you cant return as a Seller

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After  issues with bad buyers, I thought I'd share my best practice experiences. Having maintained a 100%  selling and buying record , I lost it due to eBay's  policy which allows buyers to leave negative feedback( and denies  sellers the opportunity to do the same ).... for an item sold for £4.99 with no contact with me first ...just ...BANG !! negative feedback !!!
I have a few ideas on how to avoid dealing with such buyers

Writing the Listing information !!


When writing your listing, check VERY carefully that you leave no loopholes for someone to come back at you. Don't Use the EBay pre-filled description on its own put you own description in to note the exact condition of your item or differences .
If there are  any differences between what is listed and what you are actually selling bad buyers will use this against you and claim the "item as not described"  clause. If you MUST use the pre-filled listing information, at least put a disclaimer that is worded something like this:
"**The EBay listing here is given as a guide only, all bidders should refer to the description given in the listing**"

Remember the less  honest buyer will use any loophole, EBay returns policy for items "not as described" use the word "significantly".. There is no detailed description as to what constitutes "significantly". A netbook for example which is described perfectly but listed as a "laptop" could give the buyers an opportunity to pursue a return under this loophole.
Avoid lengthy waffle descriptions in the listing, the more non information you put, the more opportunities you give to those wanting to return for the wrong reasons.
Be honest and describe the item with all the obvious faults but unless you feel confident, don't go into extreme detail.

Blocking Bidders

I now block any bidders who have had a spate of leaving bad feedback for others on a regular basis and who have done this unfairly from checking their feedback. A tedious process but as I come across this type of feedback, the eBay member gets added to my block list. The feedback profiles are there, supposedly to inform other eBayer's what they are dealing with, so I see no reason in taking pre-emptive action. Some bidders have approached me wanting post costs amended or asking other questions they could find the answer to on the web if they looked.
 Use your judgement to determine if they where to win the auction will they try some stunt to ask for a refund and not return the goods i.e. look at their feedback and judge the comments left !!!
 

Avoiding Problems

Pack the item carefully before posting, don't skimp on packing materials, even the nicest buyer will be miffed if you send an item that is badly packed and may leave you neutral or negative feedback. Standards at the Royal Mail appear to have dropped and some parcels, if poorly packed will arrive in a damaged condition. Nothing is guaranteed to annoy a buyer who has been waiting for some time to get an item which is damaged in transit. Secure packing also deters items "falling out" of the packing during transit or the packing mysteriously "popping open". For that reason, I now where possible, send everything via recorded mail, parcel force or courier. It may add to the costs to the buyer (and your PayPal fees, which PayPal take a percentage of), but at least you have some comeback and compensation if things go missing and it's tracked avoiding the " I have not received my item" ploy . In my experience and that of others I deal with, it is the parcels that are sent via standard parcels that vanish into the twilight zone for some reason.
Retain all proof of posting, send your buyer a copy (the eBay messaging system does not provide for this), so email the buyer.... their email address  is on your sales summary page , keep a copy of your message to them that shows you asked them if they wanted proof of posting in the comments on that page so they can see there's no hiding your communication. Also use the sales summary page ( its where their postal address is shown ) to show the tracking info  code and carrier and if supplying a phone number place that in the notes too ( they can remove it  if you don't ...handy for the police if needed ).

I assume you made a record of all serial numbers before posting? If so, then take a photo of the item showing the serial numbers on it as well. Please place " IMEI" numbers of mobile phones on the summary ( you can remotely switch off the phone making it dead )  This deters those very unscrupulous eBayers who will  say a mobile phone  never arrived ...swap parts then say it was dead on arrival ( D.O.A )  etc. ...etc... and then pursue an "item not as described" claim.
I also use a UV pen and or SmartWater  to mark all my items and photograph them under UV light for reference. It will hinder the  dishonest, and WILL make any counter claim you need to make a LOT easier.
As soon as the item is posted, I email the buyers to inform them, also if I have had a delay in posting the item. It is good practice and helps keep your buyers faith in you. If there is going to be a significant delay, I will refund part of the postage or send via a quicker route as compensation.
 
Postage
Simply put my listings show normal postage cost ...but arrive signed for or by courier...just imagine the face of a fraudster expecting a multitude of items because he has no intention of paying for them to have to sign for an item .
He would be fuming as he actually has paid for my item with no hope of claiming it didn't arrive or it was damaged .
If  broken ..fine return it to be inspected for the SmartWater mark for a match...no match ..no refund but perhaps a visit from your local police and a tainted reputation within eBay.
 

Non Arrivals

 Check to see if an item has arrived either through the tracking number or emailing the buyer as a courtesy. Royal Mail give details of date and time delivered  copy and paste that to the summary page so the buyer can see it .
Where the buyer reports they have not had the item, you can (after the 15 days that the Post office insist on), make a refund to the buyer and pursue a lost item claim.
NOTE: The Post Office WILL check that they buyer has not had this, as if they have received it, they can refuse to make a refund.. be warned.. Some eBay sellers  now pursue a policy where they will ONLY refund after they have had the money back from the Post office, (this takes up to 8 weeks). Personally, I would rather keep the buyer happy and my reputation intact than go through the process of dispute in eBay.
 eBay don't seem to have a firm policy on this, but WILL freeze PayPal funds until this is resolved, by which time, the buyer will in all probability have left you a negative feedback.
 

Exceptions and my personal thoughts


Where a buyer tries the "item as not described" ploy (and I have had a buyer or two wanting to return the item because he " didn't  like the way it looked"), I don't  bow to pressure of the dispute process and make a refund automatically (the case above took 90 days to resolve, as even after being offered the refund, the buyer did not return the item, EBay did not help me the seller in any way to confirm receipt or put pressure on the buyer  do so
I now will contest the return request in cases like these and take issue with eBay.

Don't be "bullied" by the standard freezing of funds and vitriolic complaints by the buyer in the dispute communications. IF YOU KNOW you are in the right. stand firm and contest the claim. You may get a negative or neutral feedback at the end of it, but at least you can follow this up in the response to the feedback and give your own version of events. Also why would you give feedback as a seller first ? wait until the buyer leave's feedback  for you and then respond. eBay have taken away the negative feedback for sellers and forgotten to add an AUTOMATIC POSITIVE FEEDBACK FOR SELLERS AFTER 30 DAYS ON ALL TRANSACTIONS COMPLETED ..
wouldn't that make eBay a better place as a community ???
Where a buyer has given  negative feedback BEFORE giving you the opportunity to sort out the matter and has then opened a dispute, I now will contest the refund process without exception (IF I am in the right !!).

Finally

There are a lot of excellent eBayers out there, the majority of which are reasonable , rational , courteous , polite, well mannered ,grateful  and understanding. I intend to always leave positive feedback that is personal to the auction for them and would want to trade with them again. Courtesy costs nothing and the payback can be very rewarding, it is sadly the few serial complainers , scammers , fraudsters , cheats ,liars and dishonest eBayers who spoil it for the  100% honest users of this service controlled by a amoral worldwide corporation earning commission at every turn.
BE careful and follow my suggestions and best practice for  problem free trading on this worldwide car boot sale called EBAY !!! 

 

 

 

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