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Fri Oct 9 2015 20:08:24

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exasperating

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I know that you must receive literally hundreds of these kind of letters every year but I really need to vent right now and this seems to be the best place online to do it!

I have been selling on eBay since 2000 and while I have never been a high volume seller I always had a presence on eBay and a nice following of bidders who appreciated the quality antiques and collectibles that I offered for sale and my absolute attention to detail when packing and shipping the fragile items.

I have always taken great care to "over pack" and "over protect" items so that they arrived safely. I take great pride in what I put my name on and have the satisfaction of knowing people are happy when they shop with me!
 
Over the last 15 years nothing ever arrived broken, all bidders were thrilled with their purchase and left exceptionally positive feedback. It was a great place to sell for many years, but as we all know the foundation of that unique and incredible business platform began to erode when Meg Whitman took the reins and nothing has ever been the same since.
 
I have always sold on eBay, set up in several antique malls and did the antique show circuit for many years as well.

However, last April I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and my ability to set up in antique malls and service them properly as well as participate in antique shows while undergoing treatment was no longer a possibility. Because of that I lost more than half of my yearly income and I am now depending on eBay to support myself.
 
My listings have grown from 25-35 to several hundred a month. For the most part I have had wonderful customer experiences with very few issues, a certainly nothing that could not be solved with good customer service!

Many of my customers have actually become friends and I make repeat sales quite often.
 
However, something happened when I started to list full tilt again last year. All of a sudden I have been BOMBARDED with problem customers, whiners, extortionists and shake down artists! It's like they have opened the door to the insane asylum and released all the crazy people!

With every batch of auctions I list have problems after the sale is complete with at least one or two bidders. It's beyond wild!
 
Saturday I had a woman buy a bracelet for $95.00 and after the invoice was received she emailed me and said that her high bid was $52.00....could I please send her a corrected invoice? Then I got a second email from her while my head was still spinning from the first saying: "Oh never mind I see someone bid $94.00 behind me!" She is NOT new to eBay!

In the last three months I have had to deal with a woman who I sold a decorative cake knife to for $14.99....mind you, this knife was one solid piece and she managed to break the handle off and claimed it was defective. I refunded her and let her keep the knife as it was "way too much trouble for her to pack it and ship it back". 

Another bidder who bought a fabulous vintage necklace for $49.99 (easily worth $150.00!) that she received in good shape, left me glowing feedback for and then two days later sent me a "not as described" email saying that she wore it twice and broke the clasp.

Of course she wanted to keep it and just get an adjustment. She requested $5.00 to take it to a jeweler and get it repaired even though she admitted that it arrived in good shape and she was the one to break it!
 
Just yesterday I had a guy email me when he received his package because one tiny rhinestone had fallen out of a vintage pendant during the shipping process. It was still in the box but wanted me to give him back $20.00 to "take it to a jeweler for repair and he would handle it himself"!

The item was won for a bid of $29.99 and he had already complained about the postage before I shipped it so I reduced the shipping by two dollars to make him happy. So not only did he scam me for part of the postage (which by the way was the exact amount) but he now wanted $20.00 to have a jeweler put a drop of glue in the piece to repair it!
 
I completely lost it when I got his email so I said no, send it back to me and I will re-glue the stone and put it back up for sale on eBay.

Of course he said no, he loved the piece and wanted to keep it but said that he would "settle" on a $5.00 refund. I just cannot cope with this nonsense anymore! I would quit selling on eBay all together but I do not have the money or strength to set up my own website and I really need the income to help support myself. 
 
I am pulling my hair out trying to cope with all of these people who seem to care little about buying items for their collections and much more about which sellers they can extort money and merchandise from!

I know that it will do little to call eBay but I sure wish there was something I could do other than bite my lip and add their names to my ever growing BLOCKED BIDDER list!
 
I just wrote up my winter template for auctions that I will use starting today and added the disclaimer that I will no longer give partial refunds. If the item is seriously not as described (unlikely as I have been in the antique business for well over 40 years!) it must be returned for a full refund.

Also I will not reduce shipping costs after the auction closes....if they cannot afford or are not willing to pay exact postage costs I respectfully ask that they refrain from bidding.
 
I am almost to the point that the next time I get one of these emails I will close my account, put on my coat, hat and boots and stand on a street corner with a tin can and a sign that says: Can you please help an old, sick former eBay seller? It would be less stressful and probably more lucrative than what I am dealing with right now! 

Thank you for letting me vent! I much appreciate your wonderful blog!  
Best Wishes,
Maureen




Comments (40) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Fri Oct 9 23:28:37 2015

{{{Maureen}}}

It does seem like eBay has indeed invited all the nutbars and scammers onto their site.  Hopefully your run-ins just happened to clump together and you get a break for awhile.

I have found that Etsy Buyers are a different group.  More in line with what you were used to in the past - when it was possible to be friendly and not get taken advantage of or even sell to the same people now & then!  Seems like they have far more manners.

Good luck to you in all you do!  

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Oct 10 03:06:41 2015

Maureen

First let me say I wish you nothing but the very best for your recovery. It is a difficult road to travel and it is my sincere hope that everything turns out for the best for you.

Ebay can be a very hard place to sell things for a number of reasons.  It does however seem like certain categories have more problems with buyers than others.  Electronics being the highest, but I'm also very aware that antiques, fashions and jewelry have a large percentage of the troublesome buyers.

Doing partial refunds is rarely a good idea.  Personally I stand firm and will not do them except in a very rare situation.  I tell my buyers to return for refund.  Nicely of course.  I have never had a buyer that originally requested a partial refund return an item.  They have always declined.

I do not however suggest that you state in your listings that you NO LONGER give partial refunds.  First this tells your buyers that you have in the past entertained the possibility of doing a partial refund.  A fact that they otherwise would never know.  Second, it will tell some buyers that even though you are saying you will no longer do it, they could give it a try and maybe you will slide back to your old policy.

Your buyers and/or potential buyers have no way of knowing about the partials you've done in the past.  I strongly suggest you don't make that statement in your listing.  I think you might just invite more problems.  Instead, just readjust your mindset and don't do it anymore.  Stick to return for refund.  I think you will be better off this way.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Oct 10 08:55:48 2015

I am sorry to hear of your illness.  I wish you the best.

Exasperating is a great choice of words.  Just this morning I got a message from a buyer who made a purchase last night who started out the message with "PLEASE HURRY".  Seriously? Mr. Buyer, don't make your poor planning my problem and you might want to try a dose of politeness when you have a request.  Yes, it will ship today but for God's sake I can't wave a magic wand and make it appear instantly.

I do not have a problem with rude, whiny, needy, want-something-for-nothing, demanding buyers on the other selling venues but it seems like 75% of the buyers that I have on eBay fit this description and it seems to be getting worse.

This is an eBay created problem.

And with a tsunami of free sales killing listings that eBay is offering lately due to their shear desperation it just isn't worth it any more.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 10 09:06:25 2015

Don't ya just love the buyers who start a message with " HEY I WANT ". You just know that they are PITA.

Over the years we have found that the two most used and favorite words from buyers are HEY and RUDE. These types of buyers need to look into a mirror. Rude is what is starting back at them.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Oct 10 10:08:53 2015

All "buyers" are the same no matter what site you sell on.

There's the good, the bad & the ugly. . .And handsome me ~ LOL

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: queenfloraday This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 10 12:15:27 2015

I also sell on eBay and  have for many years. I have watched my sales go down and my selling issues increase. This summer I discovered selling through niche groups on Facebook and my sales increased overnight and with no listing or selling fees. Also FB has great and informed buyers. I am on other selling sites but FB has been the most rewarding.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Oct 10 15:19:46 2015

@Maureen - I wish you the best regarding your health.

I agree that you should not state "I no longer...." I think you should put in something like, "Under no circumstances will I tender a partial refund of the winning bid for any reason." You need to make sure that the "liar buyers" understand you can't be taken advantage of.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Oct 10 17:34:50 2015

Toolguy, would you argue with a signpost if it argued back?  Is being disagreeable just in your nature?

Maybe all of YOUR buyers are the same, but I do not have problematic buyers on the other sites that I sell on so you do not speak for me.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 10 18:14:34 2015

I have near zero problems with my customers on other sites either. Ebay is in a class by itself.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 10 20:16:42 2015

Maureen :)

Firstly best wishes on your road to recovery !

Secondly ..... bad buyers are an epidemic SPECIFICALLY on eBay. They like we sellers know the rules and how the game is played.

They know quite well that sellers are generally "Scared" by the revenge eBay takes on them and their accounts and therefore know to take advantage.

Because eBay is so desperate for buyers (as apposed to Amazon (not that Amazon buyers are perfect by any means) they will do ANYTHING to pacify them, in the hopes that they will return to buy something else. Of course that means to generally rip more sellers off.

Truth be told - %95 of my buyers are STELLAR individuals, period. All they want is the items they bought in the time frame they were promised and in the condition they were promised.

The problems start though with the OTHER %5, the ones who spend time "hunting" for prey aka sellers who will do as THEY want.

I get them too and its maddening that eBay refuses to step up to the plate to help.

I sold 2 timers to a person. They were old store stock but still new. They are/were AC only - no batteries. The email back to me was that the batteries in them left them corroded on the inside. Not possible if the items are AC ONLY. eBay told me STFU.

I then sold a vintage 1965 Thorens turntable. I double boxed it, but in more packaging then hairs on ones head and sent it off. I got "hi it arrived broken and twisted". The box was SOLID and the item was double boxed but still - that was it. I thought it was odd since I did a good job on it, and went to look into who this guy was. He sells the same thing on eBay - he takes older model items like mine, upgrades them and sells them for 5x as much. His purchase history was for MY EXACT model - he has been buying up parts for one he was working on. Funny huh? Then I got the email ... "I'll keep it if you give me %50 off the price!". eBay said nothing was suspicious and that it was all Fed Ex's fault as they MUST have damaged it during transit, that they guy also sells them, and went and bought the exact parts mine was missing (to make it complete) was a mere coincidence.

eBay lets customers abuse the MB policy to abuse sellers.

Sorry it happened to you, hope it doesnt continue.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 00:38:46 2015

@MAUREEN---Hope your recovery is easy and fast!

Yes--ebay HAS created all of these problems by fostering an adversarial relationship between buyer and seller for some years now.  I have had the PITA buyers too.  I too would advise you to NOT mention "No more partial---etc"---but to put in a strongly worded NO RETURNS NO REFUNDS and also to USE the NO RETURNS option on your listings.

Altho of course ebay can (and does)  over ride the NO RETURNS at times I have won a few of these --one where the buyer claimed the item I sold her--that she bid on almost the instant I listed it and THEN demanded that I CUT THE PRICE!!!!--well she claimed that the item looked like it was "hit by a bus"  and that a part was ripped off--well two can play this game and I discovered that she had LISTED THE ITEM ON EBAY USING MY PHOTOS OF IT!!!!   And claimed it was in fabulous condition!  How these two things could be possible--- Now since I DID have the No Returns on there and I could SHOW ebay what she had done--I did win.  So it is possible.  And this is just the dramatic one I won--there are others more routine.  

But yeah---the problem whiner buyers are increasing.

Why IS there no other site TO sell on that will BLOCK these FOR us?  

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 00:41:48 2015

@QUEENFORADAY---IS there any way you can tell us more about these "niche"  sales sites on Face Book?  I have looked for them and perhaps because I am not a dedicated FB user I can't find where to sell.  Maybe Ina could have a special article devoted to this?  

WE all need to diversify and having ebay show my Northern  ski and cold weather items seemingly ONLY to potential buyers in the South--well--I'm not selling much this way!  

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Sun Oct 11 02:29:01 2015

... words of caution ... sell nothing of significant value on eBay anymore as you may lose it and the money that was paid to you for it, and keep no balance in your PayPal account.  Withdraw the funds as soon as possible after a payment has been made to you.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Oct 11 11:01:40 2015

Being a buyer of goods on the internet, do I become an instant villain when I buy on eBay vs Amazon?

eBay buyers are no different then buyers on Amazon or Etsy.

Buyers just want what they ordered in a timely fashion no matter what venue you sell on. . .

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Oct 11 11:31:04 2015

@comet - You can set up a store on Facebook, and also sell on Facebook through Shopify. Search "how to start selling on Facebook" for a plethora of articles.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 11:47:00 2015

I wish you well with your recovery!
You should look into Ruby Lane or Etsy. I no longer sell more than one item a month on Ebay-I sell ALL of my items on Ruby Lane. Its a far better class of customer, I get ZERO problems (like you I have been in the antiques business for over 25 years) and the only emails I get after the sale are emails THANKING for me great items, great packing and superior customer service.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 20:37:02 2015

@IHEARTJACKSPARROW--Thanks!!!  I will do that--looked a while ago and did not come up with much but maybe there is more info out there now.  

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: mendocinobooks This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 12 00:19:02 2015

I got scammed on Amazon 10X more often than on Ebay.  I never sell expensive items on Amazon.  Ebay has SOME recourse, not enough though

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 12 01:03:17 2015

{{Maureen}} eBay has over indulged the 'self entitled' who now fully take advantage of the 'all buyers get 100% feedback' philosophy that has steadily eroded bottom lines even w/ large B&M retailers. These predators see sellers as desperate for any sale, and desperately willing to do anything to protect their rating, their ability to sell on eBay. It is sharks circling bleeding prey, knowing they will easily give up, or, 'mama eBay' will spear them and force them to submit. These policies took 15 years to transform decent human customers into "frankenbuyers". It may well take that long to reverse the process. You are not alone. So many of us are the victims of bad laws & policies foist upon us by the rich & privileged, who still get their big paychecks no matter how little the rest of us make for an increasing workload, ever rising expenses, and a diminishing profit margin.

Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas   Antiques Dealer Finds eBay Buyers Have Become Exas

by: JusMe This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 12 01:14:55 2015

Thank you, @iheartjacksparrow for providing the path to 'how-to' sell on Facebook!

I don't even DARE to sell on eBay anymore.

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