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Mon Dec 12 2016 09:51:14

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Occasionally I have buyers on eBay pay with PayPal, and ask me to not ship the item for a few days either because they are going out of town, or the item may be a gift and they want it to arrive closer to the gifting date.  

I am torn as to how to handle these customers. In PayPal and eBay's eyes, I MUST ship right away, otherwise I get dinged for non-compliance of my handling time with no exception, however, I would love to provide good customer service and comply with the customer’s wishes.  

Yes, I could just refund the customer and request they pay when they want me to ship it, but that is not very good customer service and may lead to poor feedback. 

I was wondering how other sellers handle this situation.
Thanks,
Daniel




Comments (28) | Permalink

Readers Comments

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Dec 12 10:48:15 2016

I only get 1 or 2 of those each year and since the number is that low I just hold the item as requested by my customer and take the ebay hit for late delivery.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: Bob V. This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 12 12:42:51 2016

I agree with toolguy.  I do get such requests, but the number is low enough that I just honor the request and take the hit, because that's what I consider good customer service.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Dec 12 13:19:36 2016

While I agree with Toolguy and Bob, you need to be VERY careful if your evaluation period is the previous 12 months.  Depending on how many transactions you have in a year, a couple of these late shipments may or may not hurt your standings.  So make sure you run the numbers.

If you deem this is not in your best interest, just be honest with your buyer and let them know that per the Ebay rules you need to ship within your stated handling or you will experience repercussions on your account with Ebay.

That has always worked for me.  You just need to be polite and professional.  Keep it simple and respectful and most of all don't slam Ebay.  That comes across badly to a customer.

BTW, if they are going on vaca, suggest that they ask for the PO to hold their mail.  That way you can ship it and the item will be safely at the PO until your customer can pick it up.

Another thing to keep in mind if you decide you want to go ahead and hold this shipment as your buyer asked, you run the risk of losing the Seller Protection that PayPal offers.  

While some may laugh at that, PP does offer some seller protection and I've reaped the benefit of that many times over the years.  You must ship within 7 days of receipt of payment and adhere to the other rules for seller protection [which aren't hard] to qualify.  

In a nutshell you just need to weight the pros and cons and do what is best for your business.  If you deem you can't do as the buyer asks, the explain it to them.  If they still want it delayed, explain again why you can't do it and then ask if they would like to cancel the transaction.  Word it carefully so that their response would be saying THEY want you to cancel the transaction.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 12 15:55:54 2016

If you do not have a free stamps.com account, get one.

you can print the postage / label
before you print, just make sure to change the date to the date your customer requested. Upload the tracking, and remember to ship on the shipping date.

no dings

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Dec 12 17:31:32 2016

@rl15

Well now that is an interesting work around attempt.  So you are saying even though the label you print is a week or so out [whatever the buyer wanted], the uploading of the tracking number onto Ebay will keep the dings away?!?!?

But how exactly does this work.  There are currently 3 ways in which Ebay determines if the seller shipped on time.

1.  Carrier scan that they received the item within the stated handling time.
2.  The items gets a delivery scan within the stated ETA on the listing.
3.  When the buyer leaves FB, if they check the box that they received it within the stated ETA on the listing.

Any one of the three ways will protect the seller on Ebay, but I don't see how your work around accomplishes that unless your buyer modifies their FB to check the box that says it was delivered within the ETA.  And if they do that and the tracking is in conflict with that, I'm not sure how or if Ebay would respond to that.

Then there is the PP side.  If the shipping label is more than a week after payment, you will lose the Seller protection provided on PP.  So how does this work around protect you with PP or does it?

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 12 17:38:57 2016

I have never had a issue doing it that way.

With some of the points you raised. Yes the buyer could ding you and say no they did not receive it by the date, or, not even leave feedback at all, you will get dinged. But, if the buyer marks as received in time, our good. The buyer can say it arrived in time even though eBay says its not on time.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 13 08:42:15 2016

Well said Marie

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 13 15:28:59 2016

Oh they joys of selling on eCrater.  None of this ratings nonsense.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Dec 13 16:22:43 2016

@Rexford - You're not kidding! A buyer wants an item mailed a few days, or even aweek, later? No problem on eCrater. It's so nice to sell on a site where the sellers can provide excellent customer service and not worry about hoop-jumping.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: iBuyers

Tue Dec 13 19:28:09 2016

eBay will remove a late shipment defect if the buyer requests a delay or change in shipping though member to member.  

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 13 19:40:53 2016

@ibuyers

You are correct in regards to delaying shipment.  Providing you get to a CSR that knows what they are doing, you are willing to chew up a bunch of your time trying to make the call and as long as it doesn't happen very often.

As for a "change" in shipping.  I am assuming you are talking about changing the ship to address.  That is rarely a good idea for a seller to comply with a buyer's request to ship to a different address than what appears on the PP payment.

First off, it is against both Ebay and PayPal rules.  And even if you somehow convince Ebay it is OK, you won't convince PP, so you will automatically lose your seller protection with them.

When you change a ship to address, it can become very risky for the seller.  You don't know if that account has been pirated or otherwise compromised.  You don't know for sure it is the actual buyer writing to you asking for the address change.  This is one of the biggest reasons that the rules say you have to ship to the address on the PP payment.

So I suggest using great caution if you are going to comply with the buyer's request.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Dec 13 20:22:43 2016

A few times over the years I have had buyers request shipping to a different address but had the buyer do a revise of their account with the change. This was after I explained the policy. My buyers understood and everything seemed to run smoothly with no repercussions.

I'm not sure how this works with delayed shipping and have always wondered how certain sellers offering layaway plans get around all these policies. A special privy deal with eBay?

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 14 13:58:43 2016

Forget about the silly TRS game discount.....and tracking info is not mandatory. Life is much better without the TRS shipping timelines.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 14 23:26:56 2016

"...using great caution if you are going to comply with the buyer's request."

Only on eBay
Such moronic irony.
No sense of "custom".

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: Cimfubar This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 15 00:27:46 2016

All carriers have a hold service, for packages to be delivered on a certain date for buyers, direct the buyer to the carrier website so that they are responsible for when they are getting their packages..I don't think that should be put on a seller.You should not get any dings that way.  I have held packages for myself with USPS, as well as UPS.  

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 15 00:31:36 2016

Just so you all know ebay changed their policy on you must ship by the next day or whatever your you handling time is as long as the buyer sends the message through ebay messaging that they want the package shipped out at a later date. You will still receive the defect, but you just have to call in, they will check to see it is in the messaging and once they see it they remove the defect. I dealt with this last month. I ship next day he wanted it shipped the following week. Its a PITA that you have to call in but they do remove the defect and you don't get dinged. Like said above these requests only happen a few times a year so you can take the small hit or call in and get it removed.

@RL15 that work around doesn't work. Your "Tracking uploaded" and "Tracking uploaded within handling time" will be fine but the package still has to be scanned in by the USPS or your "Tracking uploaded on time and validated" percentage will drop like a rock.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Dec 15 02:32:41 2016

@bb6

Yes, Ebay did do that, however I've had trouble finding that in their written policies we can access online.  Do you know where to find it?  And you should know that even if Ebay does say it is OK, it still is not OK with PP.  You have to ship within 7 days to retain their Seller protection.

While I agree with you about RL15's workaround, Ebay is now allowing 3 different ways to validate shipping.  We are no longer dependent on it getting scanned when picked up or dropped off.  I outlined this is my earlier posting if you are interested.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 15 09:14:51 2016

This is very rare for me, but, if a buyer asks ahead of purchase, I would ask that they pay as late as they can and you could even adjust your handling time for that item so you would be in compliance.
However, since this is not the way it normally happens, I usually find out when they want it delivered and try to send it as soon as I can based on the date the post office has on it's site (because it will not be there before then). I have never held on to anything longer than 3 or 4 days.  I do print within the expected handling time though.
The uploaded tracking time is all I can worry about, the rest is out of my hands anyway so I would take the hit on the scans.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Thu Dec 15 10:06:37 2016

We politely explain to the customer why we can NOT do this, and yes, we also throw Ebay under the bus for their stupid policies in the process.

The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma   The eBay Seller Customer Service Dilemma

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 15 10:32:22 2016

I had been accommodation winner requests for delay but NO LONGER! I had a few here and there but last 6 months I seem to be getting 2/4 per month. I checked my feedback number it and it moved from 97% to 93% and below 90 I lose the TRS and we know what happens then, no placement is search. I asked myself, if the person bought and item off Amazon or Walmart would they ask same request? Of course not. mI now refund the payment and give reason as buyer made demand against eNay policy.

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