|Wed May 30 2012 13:01:13|
What's Your Worst Selling Mistake and How Did You Fix It?
By: Julia Wilkinson
As an online seller, I've found it cathartic, if not necessary, to vent to my seller friends about annoying, unethical, or just plain AWOL buyers. But we're all human, and every seller I know has a story of a mistake he or she made. Then they usually launch into a long diatribe about the stress it caused, and how hard they tried to fix it, sometimes with no or even disastrous results.
So, share your "worst mistake" story here and get it off your chest! I'll start with two of mine. The first happened on eBay. In my haste, I had two orders to ship, and I sent the first order to the second buyer, and the second order to the first buyer. One of my seller friends suggested I ask each buyer to simply ship their item to the other, rather than routing it through me. I of course would fork over the shipping amount.
To my great relief, both buyers agreed to do it, and were even nice about it! That one had a happy ending, although I have had other endings on eBay that were not so happy.
The other, more recent mistake happened on Amazon.com, after I had not been selling for too long. In general, Amazon is much less buyer-hassle-saddled than eBay, in my experience, and those I hear anecdotally from other sellers. However, in this case, the buyer had a much lower tolerance for mistakes. (And you will also hear anecdotally that Amazon buyers have high expectations of a professional level of service).
I sold a bunch of my son's video games one month. After one sale, I noticed I had a dreaded "one star" feedback, not having even been contacted by this buyer at all...complaining it was the wrong item. Turns out it was an "expansion pack" for the game and not the actual game. I immediately gave a full refund, told the buyer to keep the item, apologized, and even offered this buyer a free game. I heard nothing back. Then I emailed her through amazon's communication system asking if there was anything else I could do, and would she consider removing the feedback, given I had fully refunded her and offered her a freebie to boot. Nada.
Finally, another Amazon seller friend of mine suggested I actually send her a letter (as in paper, yes) politely requesting the removal via US mail, and giving clear instructions on how to do so on Amazon. (You have to be very careful with these requests to not make them sounds like demands, or you could be in violation of Amazon's terms: "...When contacting a buyer, always keep in mind that pressuring a buyer is unacceptable and a violation of our policies..."). I sent such a friendly, but not demanding, note...and...crickets chirping.
The negative has been slowly wending its way toward scrolling off my Amazon feedback rating. But nothing was going to budge that thing.
What mistake or mistakes have you made selling, and what did you do to try to fix them? Were there cases where nothing you tried to do worked? Post a comment here!