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Mon May 28 2012 11:05:11

eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance Reimbursement

By: Reader
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Dear Ina,
I am seeking advice on a strange (to me) situation. I sold a set of four mixing bowls, wrapped them carefully as I could, and shipped them via USPS WITH INSURANCE.

One of the bowls was broken during transit, which I heard about immediately from the buyer. I apologized, reminded her the set was insured, and told her that she needed to take the bowls and box to her PO to start the insurance claim process.

I heard nothing else until she gave me negative feedback. I replied to it factually, stating I packed the bowls as best I could AND insured them. (She mentioned the fact they were insured in her neg). She gave me a neg basically because the POST OFFICE broke one of her bowls! And she got her money back via insurance!

I am too angry to email her - have not called eBay because I've read about the low quality employees they have.

Dropped me from 100% to 99.2% which I can't figure out. Should be higher than 99.2, according to my math, but hey, eBay does all sorts of weird things with numbers.

Advice, please.

Reading EcommerceBytes Letters Blog: eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance Reimbursement
Comments (22) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 28 12:22:27 2012
This is the problem with eBay today.  The seller does everything right and is still blamed.  

The buyer even got paid back so she got her items free.  

Geez.  What a world we live in.  
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: basset
       
Mon May 28 14:00:53 2012
That is my take on FB - sometimes a seller goes above & beyond to rectify a situation but can still get a negative feedback. In the current FB system, if you sell on eBay, you have to grow a coat of armor to learn to live with what can happen.

Lets face it, if buyers can leave a negative because a folded, packaged, item of clothing had wrinkles when unpackaged (go figure!), they can leave a negative just because they are having a bad day - and they do!
  A big problem in eBay's current feedback system is sellers are not given enough space to at least counter with factual brief bullet points on what occurred & when. I would think that for most prospective buyers looking at FB, how the seller handled the situation is more important than the negative mark.

Unfortunately eBay takes it a step further & uses those questionable negatives to punish (and financially punish) the sellers further.

My advice would be to respond to the feedback left with a brief factual account of buyer being reimbursed with insurance for item broken in transit. The trick is to make it fit in the TINY space you have for a response!!!

Good luck!
   
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 28 14:42:34 2012
Steevo, The seller did not do everything right. The seller inadequately packed the bowls, from the sound of it. Notice the seller said she packed it ''the best I could''. She didn't say double boxed etc etc as was probably necessary for these bowls.

In this situation I would have asked the buyer for a picture of the  bowls and packaging, showing the damage. Upon receipt of the picture, I would refund the buyer in full and file the insurance claim myself. I have done this once in the past, I did not use an appropriate box for the item shipped and it got broken. I was the one who insured the package so I filed the claim.

Because of the inadequate packing, the buyer had to take the package to the PO and wait for them to settle the claim. The PO paid for it, but the packing was likely the problem. The buyer has 2 ''free''  bowls now, but that is not what she bought. What if she had bought the set as a gift?

I think that putting it all on the buyer is wrong. Ebay has made it clear that the seller is responsible for the package until the buyer receives it. As a buyer I would be upset also.

eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: basset
       
Mon May 28 15:18:02 2012
Oops - I did not read accurately that you already responded. Small response space, is it not?

I don't know if this seller packaged the bowls to perfection or not. I do know as a buyer that I've seen my share of improper packaging. I also realize that many smaller or occasional sellers are not expert packers, especially glassware. However, if the seller acknowledges the issue and makes it right on their own, I don't leave a negative.

I have not had an insurance claim for quite a while - are they not settled online these days? If so, I agree sellers should start the claims process & do as much of it as they can. If USPS needs to see the broken item & buyer to sign something, then the buyer would have to participate so it may not matter who initiates it then, just whatever makes the most sense!  
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser
       
Mon May 28 16:20:56 2012
@basset - you really hit the nail on the head - you can get a neg if the buyer is having a bad day.

There is no requirement that FB be accurate or reasonable.

FB can be, and often is  ''arbitrary''

''Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.''

eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus
       
Mon May 28 20:05:40 2012
One time I had a buyer (in France of course) who left a negative because he dropped a porcelain item when unpacking it. The fool didn't want a refund but he was mad HE broke a $150 item because ''I packed it too good''

Seriously, you can't make this eBay nonsense up.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: expertbenefits This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 28 23:36:01 2012
If you don't usps insurance and use uPIC or even ebay new partner, the buyer may have to file the claim not the shipper and the affidavit saying that the item was broken so if the seller refunds first there may  be no motivation. Although you may have point that it was not carefully packaged, there are times when the POST OFFICE makes a mistake after all..it may go through a press by mistake fall back and get crushed. I have had them tell me stories about the packages falling behind something. Has not happened to me but postal employees have told me stories in my 14 years doing this so the assumption that it is the seller's fault...may or may not be correct. A little OCD in packaging does help however. I over tape and worry about corners getting stuck in  machinery or tape sticking up with USPS or FEDEX or UPS...have heard some stories do not want to live them...in any case...depends upon who the insurer is...
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: roseland This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 28 23:45:20 2012
You think this is something new?  It's not.  A similar thing happened to me a few years ago.  The item was insured but the buyer refused to take the item to the PO.  She kept the bowl AND got all of her money back from paypal and I got screwed.  I haven't sold on ebay since then.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 28 23:53:57 2012
Wallflower is completely right. The seller sent a broken bowl and made the buyer make the situation right. Really, people? You really think it's OK that a buyer has to track down a refund, and that a seller can ship anything and say anything about its packing, and be off the hook?  
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: AlBeSure This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 29 02:16:28 2012
The seller may have not sent a broken bowl set and should not have gotten a neg feedback. It is the ebay trash and bash the seller plan at work here.

It is really possible that USPS damaged the items by tossing and dropping the box. It does happen in real life, boxes do get mangled in shipping, more often when the item is being delivered to a rural address.

Really Shawn person, Not all sellers ship out broken items in the real world.

There are honest sellers and plenty of crooked buyers.


I sold a working Xbox 360 system on ebay once, the Buyer claims it did not work when she got it. She took it to a UPS store and wanted to file a claim there. They told that since they did not ship it to get a refund from ebay. Ebay told her to take it to the USPS post office and file the claim there since it was insured by USPS and not UPS. Buyer wanted Post Office to refund the item and wanted ebay to refund the item as well as keeping the system. Post office would noy do that, Ebay would not do that and ebay closed the case in my favor. Buyer later admitted to ebay that her son setup  the xbox and that it appeared to be working fine by playing games on it. Go figure !!  

You have the insurance payor reversed. According to USPS insurance, if you ship and insure by USPS, then Buyer takes and the package and all contents to their local PO for insurance claim and refund. USPS keeps the damaged item and disposes of it.
According to uPic, if you insure with them, then the buyer has to ship it back to you, you refund the buyer, and then you file the claim with uPic.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: Carol This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 29 02:49:46 2012
Making an insurance claim is an inconvenience to the customer, even though they get their money back at the end of the process.

Here's one way to make it as easy as possible for the customer:

1.  Keep a few USPS claim forms on hand.
2.  Complete all items on the claim form for the customer (checking the box to reimburse the customer) so that all (s)he has to do is sign and date the form.  (Estimated completion time for the seller: no more than 1 minute).
3.  Mail the form to the customer with a copy of the first part of the item page with a notation of PAID and your name and date written on it, and the insurance slip (keep a copy of the slip for yourself in case of a problem).  Having everything required for the claim will make the claim easier and quicker for the customer.
4.  Email the customer and explain what you are doing and that all (s)he will have to do is to take the completed form with the damaged item to the post office.  State specifically that you are sorry for the inconvenience but are doing everything you can to make the claim process as easy as possible.

I arrived at this procedure (which I am happy I haven't used frequently) by THINKING LIKE THE CUSTOMER.  That helps to avoid a lot of problems.

After cooling off, you might write to the customer and tell her again that you are sorry that the package suffered damage and ask if she'd be willing to withdraw her feedback in view of the fact that you did everything you could to assure that the package reached her safely - long shot but she might be reasonable after SHE cools off.

Good luck.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: feline This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 29 03:12:03 2012
Its my understanding that that the seller refunds the buyer  and makes the claim

its not very good  selling practice   to  leave the buyer to sort the claim themselves

if you leave the buyer to sort it chances are  they will file a dispute win the case you  end up  with black marks on your account

thats certainly how it works in the uk
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: basset
       
Tue May 29 07:13:43 2012
As a buyer I realize that when shopping online (or by catalog) shipments can get lost or damaged. It is a risk of shopping online (or catalog ordering) and it ALWAYS has been.
    I believe the seller should have a claims process in place, but as a buyer I understand I may have to get off my butt & do some required action to get my money back. It always has been that way when "shipping" is involved, even from waaaay back when Sears & Montgomery Ward were big.  
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: Tula
       
Tue May 29 08:41:49 2012
I agree with Carol. Wait a week or so, then contact the buyer to see about removing the neg. People often do or say things in the heat of the moment, then may regret them later.

Also, Carol's insurance tips are excellent. If the buyer is required to take some action due to the insurer's demands, be sure to make it as painless as possible for the customer. It might help to include a copy of the part of the insurance terms that specifies that the buyer has to show the item, so they don't blame the seller.

I think having the item returned and dealing with insurance yourself would be ideal, except you can't be sure the buyer will package it properly, especially if they're feeling angry about the breakage. Remember, insurance is more for the seller's protection than the buyer's. It may be unfair, but it's up to the seller to get the items to the buyer in good condition. Yes, the shipper can be responsible for damage, but buyers don't care about that. All they know is that they didn't get what they paid for and they'll likely blame the seller, regardless of who's at fault.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: RCL This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 29 09:49:02 2012
Have to agree with feline. The insurance is to protect ME. I initiate a claim, and refund the seller immediately upon return of the item. It has always worked well. If I were the buyer, I'd be pretty annoyed if I had to do the extra footwork for the seller's mistake in packing. Items should be packed to pass a drop test--double-boxed--some sellers don't know that.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Tue May 29 10:01:44 2012
Perhaps I'm odd, but I never tell the customer if I have insured an item or not (I insure at my own expense via UPIC when the package goes above a certain value). Knowing something is insured, in my opinion, only gives unscrupulous buyers a bigger reason to claim something is lost or broken. in the rare instance when someone contacts me that they have a problem, that is when I will tell them their item is insured and the process that we both need to go through, including the 45 day wait to file international claims. To give international buyers their refund up front and then the seller has to wait to file the claim, means they don't have someone that is going to be as willing or motivated to sign the paperwork etc. since it is long out of their minds.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Tue May 29 10:05:04 2012
Steevo - You are wrong that the buyer gets the items free; the post office would get her bowls. I once had an item slightly damaged in transit which was insured, and when I talked to the postmaster about the steps to take to make a claim on the insurance, I was told that the buyer would need to present the insurance forms, and the damaged item, to the post office. My buyer ultimately decided that a slightly damaged item was better than no item at all, and decided not to make a claim on the insurance.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 29 10:21:27 2012
The seller always gets blamed when the post office looses or damages items.
Almost everyone of my negs and neutrals are because of the post office.
I don't know why ebay allows this.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Tue May 29 11:57:34 2012
OP while there are certainly problems with some CSRs when you call in, that doesn't mean they are all under trained.  To not call Ebay because you fear what other people have said is only hurting yourself.  There are times when calling Ebay is the best way to resolve a problem.  And when you call if you get the feeling you are talking with someone that does not have the experience you need to resolve the issue, politely find a way to get off the phone.  Then call back and talk to someone else.  

Most of the time when I call, I get someone that knows what they are talking about.  But there have been those times where I just don't know where Ebay got that CSR from.  I get off the phone and call back.  Rarely has it taken more than a couple of calls to get to someone that is experienced.

Also you may consider calling during regular business hours for the state of Utah.  That is where the best CSRs are located.  They are open far more hours than regular business hours, however I've had much better luck getting good CSRs this way.
eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance   eBay Seller Negged for Breakage Despite Insurance
by: greenmountainsgirl This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 30 03:46:49 2012
I encountered this same problem as the OP a few years ago. The USPS has everything set up so you can do it all on line. Since the seller is the person who purchased the address label and insurance for the shipment, the USPS insists that the seller does the filing for refund. I asked the buyer for some photos of the item and the package it was shipped in (to show prove that the item was the item shipped to buyer and show the damage).

When he emailed them to me, I went to USPS online and filed a claim, attaching the photos. This was all they wanted from me. It took a few weeks for me to receive the refund, but I had refunded everything to the buyer and told him to do what he wanted with the broken item.

It had been VERY well packed and only suffered damage because the USPS had seriously abused the box! It was shipped in the manufacturers box inside an Amazon box and had tons of air bags. Both boxes were crushed down to half size on one side, as if the USPS had crushed that side of the package in an industrial heavy duty vice grip or tried to run it over with heavy equipment.

Also, since I stopped selling a few years ago (due to eBay's stupid anti-seller attitude), I buy a lot of stuff on eBay. My transactions are all quite enjoyable experiences. I haven't had a bad experience with a seller in years.

I understand that many of you feel you have to bend over backward to please buyers, but I don't need that. Most of my friends also buy from eBay and they've had nothing bad to say about sellers EVER.

I read everything on this blog and it seems to me that pretty much every seller who posts here believes 95-100% of eBay buyers are out to burn eBay sellers.

I just wanted to remind you that there really ARE nice buyers at eBay. Based on the horrible opinions expressed about a good portion of your buyers, I wonder why anyone remains to sell on the site. It seems whenever anyone says something nice about eBay, the comments that follow claim the poster must be an eBay plant.

So, now, have a go at me, if you need to. I will continue to shop on eBay, being careful to read terms and descriptions and will continue to be delighted when my items come in the mail...
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