Football Programmes, Packaging and Feedback

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Apologies if this guide appears to be a bit of a whinge, but I would ask you to appreciate that I speak from personal experience. I would hope that some eBayers may learn something here, or find it useful or even agree with what I have to say.
 Buying football programmes on eBay has its problems. It’s not all bad, but there are some aspects for buyers that are quite frightening as far as I am concerned. I have never had a problem myself as a seller. I would put this down to the fact that I maintain very high standards. I always send emails after the sale, unless payment or checkout is completed before I get the chance to. I will send an email when payment has been received and yet another when the programme(s) has been despatched. I consider this important on eBay. It is good customer service to keep people informed. Items are sent immediately.
 I have never had a dissatisfied customer as I try to maintain 100% accuracy in my descriptions (*see footnote). I try to avoid any room for misunderstanding. Sometimes, descriptions can be lengthy but I would argue that the customer knows what he is getting and doesn’t need to waste time writing emails. I never get emails asking about folds, writing, rusty staples or any other type of fault, including production defects (like a missing staple for instance) because I mention everything. The amount of programmes I have purchased on eBay described as mint and subsequently arrive not in mint is frightening. I do not understand how anyone can misinterpret this. On one occasion I purchased a mint programme with writing, pages missing and probably a bunch of other faults that I can’t remember now. I now have to ask some ‘mint’ descriptions for clarification owing to personal experience. I can accept a mint programme with the odd crease (I personally would not describe it as mint for the simple reason that it isn’t) but when it arrives folded, written in or has something cut out, I get really upset. Under these circumstances, I have found that many sellers are not prepared to refund all postage costs etc even though they have been misleading in their description, albeit unintentionally. 
 I have also found that there are some sellers who will list all the good points of a programme but fail to mention the staining, or badly rubbed out pencil marks for instance (I still consider this writing). Also, just because a fold has been well flattened out or is hardly noticeable does not mean that it has not been folded. It can be very frustrating.
 With regards to packaging, I personally do not consider a board backed envelope or jiffy bag good enough to guarantee damage free arrival. I have had too many programmes arrive with a fold or suchlike due to poor packaging. How on earth anyone considers a couple of sheets of cereal packet card sufficient is beyond me. I have also had experience of items not arriving at all (Royal Mail continues to deteriorate). Recorded delivery is only a few pennies. Why people do not use it, I do not understand. I would always advise to get valuable items sent by Special Delivery. I package my items to the highest of standards and have never had a problem yet. Yes, it takes a little longer than bunging it in a jiffy bag but, as stated, I have never had to deal with a complaint.
 Feedback: In my opinion, a seller should always leave feedback the moment payment has been made, unless he has sent the item out before payment has cleared (some sellers do this with cheaper items). Too many sellers hold out, waiting for the buyer to leave feedback first. Well, I’m sorry, but this is not acceptable. When a buyer completes payment, he has fulfilled his part of the deal and the seller should respond. The seller has his money and now he expects the buyer to leave feedback as well. It is invariably sellers with higher feedback ratings that do this in my opinion. If there is a problem with the item, the buyer then has retaliatory feedback to consider. Imagine: he has bid on an item in good faith, paid for it and then it arrives, not as described or damaged due to the sellers limp attempt at packaging. The amount of sellers that blame damaged items on Royal Mail is unbelievable. Damage in post is virtually 100% avoidable.
 Again, I apologise for the whinge, just needed to get it off my chest. I am mostly happy with my purchases. Ebay is great fun, there is no doubt. I would have to say that Ebay is not what it was, however. Or Paypal for that matter. But that’s another story.
 Please vote on this guide. It’s good to know what people think, regardless of opinion. If you feel anything needs to be added or if you have any questions, please contact me…….Giorgio.
 * I did recently receive my first negative feedback from a buyer who didn’t pay. He subsequently contacted me five weeks later asking me to retract my feedback, which I didn’t. He then left the negative out of spite which eBay removed because he didn’t respond to the Unpaid Item Strike. I feel I am vindicated in this instance.

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