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!