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Wed Jan 4 2012 19:58:19

eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere to Turn

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Dear Ina,
As of today, I can finally say I am fed up with eBay.

I have been selling on eBay for approximately 4 years now. Up until last week I had 100% feedback from 2600+ sales. I received my first negative and come to find out the comments are completely untrue. The buyer gave me a negative, saying that I charged him a $35.00 handling fee on top of shipping. That is not at all true! I charged him the purchase price plus $4.56 shipping to Canada (actual shipping, plus insurance I purchased on my own).

I've sent an email to the buyer, sent a feedback revision request to the buyer and contacted eBay customer service. Well, guess what! The buyer hasn't responded to my email or my feedback revision request.

eBay customer service told me that although they realize it is unfair, since it doesn't qualify for a feedback removal based on their guidelines, if the customer does not revise the negative I will have to keep it.

I have followed all the new rules: free shipping, 14 day return, etc. I ship within 24 hours, I don't overcharge on shipping, I accurately describe my listings and have the feedback as well as top rated seller status to show for it.

Now I also get to have a negative, when I do not deserve it. As I am sure you have heard many times before this is not fair. Unfortunately , at this point, if I want to continue to earn an income I have to stay with eBay. I do list on another site but the sales are basically a break even.

It is very disheartening to be in this position and not be able to do anything about it. I wish I could come up with a wonderful solution for those of us who have been victims of eBay's ridiculous rules, but I can't.

I don't know what direction I will ultimately take with online sales, but hopefully eBay will not always be in the picture.
Thanks for letting me vent,
JH




Comments (39) | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Cadia
       
Wed Jan 4 20:22:41 2012
Unless the buyer is making up a completely fictitious story, my bet is he/she had to pay Canada's HST/GST on a high-value item.

I certainly hope you did not inflate the declared value beyond the actual selling price!  If you did, the buyer can get a partial refund of the tax through the Customs service by providing a document (sales invoice/receipt)that has an
accurate value.

Based on your mailing charge, it's obvious you didn't use UPS or FedEx by mistake.  Private couriers charge huge brokerage fees, whereas Canada Post charges only CAD $5 in addition to taxes and/or duty.

For anything valued over CAD $20, your listings also should include the appropriate disclaimer that international buyers are responsible for any Customs fees their governments may charge.  That way, if the buyer complains about the fees, you're covered and negative feedback can be removed.  

~~C~~

eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Wed Jan 4 20:24:50 2012
So, what's new?

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       
Wed Jan 4 20:30:05 2012
In Australia, imported goods have to have a declared value of greater than $1000 before any govt charges (ie GST) apply.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: seth
       
Thu Jan 5 01:13:38 2012
My issue with ebay was even worse then this. My buyer wanted to change there feedback but never received the revision request through ebay. I contacted ebay for help and they said there is nothing they could do. They could not resend the request, give me a link to forward to the buyer for revision or change it themselves. I had many emails between me and the buyer proving the buyer wanted to revise.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu Jan 5 05:42:13 2012
@ The OP: Sorry this happened to you.

Although there are many varying schools of thought with regard to whether or not it's good-form to post a follow-up comment... personally, I'd be tempted to go ahead and reply with a simple statement.

For example: ''We're sorry, but Canadian Customs Fees are the responsibility of the buyer.''

People disagree on whether it's smart to reply because when the seller posts a follow-up, the buyer has one more opportunity to get in a final word (or another false accusation) that the seller is unable to respond to.

Also, feedback with follow-up comments kind of stand out in the crowd and attract more attention.

But... on the other hand... a follow-up comment from you shows that you care (as long as the comment remains calm and factual, and doesn't get snippy). Avoid calling the buyer a ''liar'' or ''scammer'', etc.

Whatever phrasing you choose, as long as it includes the words ''Canadian Customs Fee'' you will have successfully explained their accusation... you will have reframed the incident... and it will probably have the desired effect of making your buyer look foolish, irrational and irresponsible.

Good luck!

PS: This is why I do not sell internationally on eBay. I *will* sell internationally on my web site, but never on eBay.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Debra
       
Thu Jan 5 08:12:12 2012
You need to have a disclaimer in all of your listing regarding import duty and customs broker fees.
Like this: The buyer is responsible  to pay for any customs duties or broker fees that may be incurred in their country. We are also not responsible for any delays that may be caused by your countries customs regulations. We do all we can to ensure your purchase is shipped in a timely manner. And please do not request that we mark your purchase as a gift. Thank you for understanding.

If you do add this disclaimer you are covered and eBay will remove the neg.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu Jan 5 08:34:23 2012
@Debra: That's a great disclaimer to add! It's professional, clear, polite and concise.

Indeed it will help buyers (who read) to understand the seller's policies and the likely pitfalls of shipping internationally.

But I question your last sentence which tells us that eBay will remove a neg... presumably if the negative comment relates to specific situations that are ''covered'' by the disclaimer.

I'm not sure if this is entirely accurate, or just wishful thinking. ~ Can anyone confirm whether this is true?
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Kevin
       
Thu Jan 5 08:36:41 2012
Yes, it's unfair and when I sold on ebay I had this happen too.  Unfortunately, you have to realize that it's to Ebay's benefit to sit by and do nothing.  Get a couple of these and suddenly you lose a discount and ebay makes more money.  

Ebay has a financial incentive to allow buyers to unfairly punish sellers.  Why would they help you if it costs them money?  

Sorry to say, but the solution is to leave ebay.  I did and I wish I would have done it a long time ago.  It can be done, and I wish you well!
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Idaho Dude
       
Thu Jan 5 10:18:13 2012
I woke up last week to see my funds on hold. I called ebay support and they said I needed help with my s/h . I have perfect my loswest dsr rating is a 4.8  - still I am an "at risk" seller because in November of 2011 I had 3 buyers leave pos fb but they left low dsr on s/h time...
Now nearly one and a half months later - with perfect service and dsr's- I am hit with this hold..lol  - So ebay said sorry .. Its really crazy that they use this - I even asked the operator who was very nice if there was a "common sense" manager  who could see I was not at risk at all- No luck they told me see you in 20 days when I am reviewed again.. Ebay sucks but they are the only game in town---Thats why I have 4 other stealth accounts!
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Jan 5 10:58:27 2012
If you have the proper disclaimer in your listings regarding international shipments and customs / duty fees, you can get any negative or neutral FB removed IF the buyer clearly states that is why they left the bad FB.  They would have to refer to the high shipping costs, fees, taxes or something like that.  I've had one removed before because of this.  I don't know if the OPs FB would fall under that rule, but it sure would be worth a try.

Ebay's policy reads as follows:

Who pays for customs?
Generally, buyers pay additional costs such as duties, taxes, and customs clearance fees. To avoid problems, make sure that your listing clearly states this. You can cut and paste this directly into your listing:

International Buyers – Please Note:

Import duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost. These charges are the buyer's responsibility.

Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding or buying.
If you add this information to your listing and receive negative or neutral Feedback from the buyer about having to pay import duties and taxes, we may remove the Feedback. Find about more Feedback which refers to customs delays or customs fees.

Note: It's illegal to falsify customs declarations or mark an item as a "gift" in order to avoid customs fees. If a buyer asks you to commit customs fraud, report it to us.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Jan 5 11:09:36 2012
JH, there may be some hope.  Have you tried calling your buyer?  If not, you should.  Your buyer may not get on the computer as often as you'd like, or maybe they went out of town. Either way, a call is in order as this is a very important issue.

So first:  Request their contact information in Ebay.  If you don't know how to do that, just ask.  But do this formally so Ebay has the record that you requested it.

When you call, if the phone number proves out to be bad, report it immediately to EBay.  Don't do live chat or email the problem in, call Ebay and report it.  Make sure you tell the CSR that you are trying to get in contact with your buyer due to the FB they left.  Further make sure that you request that they make a note on your account that you made this call and why.

Ebay will flag their account and until they correct their contact information, they won't be able to use their account.  Continue to recheck the contact information daily to see if they updated it.  If after 48 to 72 hours it is still not updated, call Ebay again.

This time tell them you have been trying to get in touch with your buyer, but nothing is working.  No response to emails [make sure they are all in Ebay's email system] and the phone number is still not updated.  Formally request that the FB is removed because their contact info is bad and you can't work with them to resolve whatever perceived issue the buyer has.  This can work, I've done it myself.  So I have personal knowledge that handled correctly, you can get it removed if the contact info is bad and they don't update it within 72 hours and they aren't responding to emails.

Good luck and I sure hope this helps you.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu Jan 5 11:28:04 2012
Unfortunately, the phrase ''we may remove the Feedback'' is not the same as ''we WILL remove the feedback''.

Also, in this case, it appears that the buyer has cleverly worded their complaint to suggest that the import tax (or customs fees, duties, etc.) is a ''handling fee''.

Most intelligent and observant people realize that eBay/PP will use every technicality to avoid doing the right thing and in this case... even though it's abundantly clear what the buyer is complaining about, eBay/PP will dismiss it by pointing out that the buyer never actually wrote the words ''customs fee''.

I wonder why eBay would require (or recommend) sellers to have to specifically added those words to their listing. ~ Why wouldn't eBay instead simply make those conditions part of the TOS or UA? By doing so, all international buyers would be automatically bound to those conditions.

Or, why wouldn't eBay simply add that verbiage somewhere near the ''Pay Now'' button?

Their short-sightedness on all things... even the simplest things... that would serve to protect sellers from this type of abuse is astounding.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu Jan 5 11:30:14 2012
Oh! Thanks, Marie, for the tip on what to do if the contact info is out of date (or fake). That's very helpful info. :-)
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu Jan 5 14:20:07 2012
I can tell you Annie that I was very pleasantly SURPRISED at that information when I was able to get a neg FB removed.  I had never heard of it.  Not that I know all the rules by any stretch of the imagination.  They are so fluid anyways that once you learn one it changes.  But yes, it is handy information to have.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Mr. Bill
       
Thu Jan 5 16:26:08 2012
I quit selling to international buyers a few years ago it was just not worth it. I would really sit down and do some thinking, is the hassle really worth those few sales. There have always been problems with international sales and there always will be why punish yourself.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Ned Hegmon
       
Fri Jan 6 00:44:43 2012
Ebay rule #1: No good deed will go unpunished.
Rule #2: The seller beatings will continue until morale improves.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: sunflower
       
Fri Jan 6 01:08:43 2012
Sorry this happened to you. Same thing happened to me, seller left a negative and even mentioned the customs fees she had to pay. I called eBay and had them look at all of my listings in which I copied eBays international shipping policy word for word and I was told that gee no, they wouldn't remove it because the buyer was a. entitled to her opinion and b. althought the fb was negative based upon customs taxes, it was missing specific words that eBay looks for when considering removing a negative. Do they make this stuff up as they go along?  I seriously wonder?
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Don
       Web Site
Fri Jan 6 01:17:55 2012
Unfortunately this sort of thing comes with the territory.

One neg deserved or not isn't that big a thing in the overall scheme of things.

Consider adding a comment to the feedback stating that you charged $4.56 for shipping and no handling fee. Hopefully future buyers will believe you.



eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Fri Jan 6 02:52:47 2012
@sunflower

You got a bad CSR, if that buyer actually stated something about custom fees in the negative FB and you had the disclaimer in your listings, you can most certainly get that FB removed.  Sometimes you just get a CSR that has no idea what they are talking about.  Call again.
eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere   eBay Seller Stuck with Negative Feedback, Nowhere
by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri Jan 6 04:36:33 2012
Follow the link above to the eBay announcement of the precise steps (placement, font size AND wording) you have to follow in your listings to enable removal of bad feedback due to customs charges in cross border transactions.

This is what the CSR was referring to when she said "it doesn't qualify for a feedback removal based on ... guidelines"
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