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Thu Aug 11 2016 17:39:20

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I'd like to hear from other sellers whether they've had a repeat buyer whose spending may be out of control (a nice fantasy, we'd all like that, but still...).

I listed a ham radio collectible and it sold to a ham, as evidenced by the call letters after his name. The first odd thing that happened is he left glowing and effusive feedback at the same time he made payment, before I had even shipped the item.

A few days later I listed a vintage fountain pen. Imagine my surprise when the same buyer made a late bid that left everyone else in the dust. Not only that, but the bid history shows he even entered two more bids on top of the winning one, to buttress his chances. The winning bid was frankly more than the pen is worth. When he made his payment via PayPal, he included a note thanking me for listing "such a wonderful pen." Again, he left florid positive feedback before I shipped.

In each case I sent him a message asking to let me know when his purchase arrived. Not a peep.

His feedback history shows a LOT of purchases in the last month. I can't help thinking this person may be not be rich or addicted but perhaps not in good control of himself and not quite compos. 

Having had elderly family members who got very careless about spending and vulnerable to con artists, I'm tempted to think this buyer latched onto my second item. I haven't listed anything since but am about to and wonder if he might do it again. If he does, I'll kind of feel tempted to block him, imagining myself as a relative whose whacko uncle or whoever is filling his porch with deliveries he shouldn't have bought.

Not that I'm ungrateful for the business. I'm sure you know what I mean. What say your readers?
Lee




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Aug 11 18:15:15 2016

@Lee

Clearly your heart is in the right place and if it were me, I'd be concerned too.  There may or may not be any type of issue with this buyer.  You are letting your personal feelings get in the way of a business transaction.  It is not your responsibility to do that or to make the ASSUMPTION that this buyer may have personal issues.

I'm not being cold.  I've had compulsive buyers before.  They shopped with me for years and bought up a whole lot of my stuff.  But they pretty much have completely dried up now and sales on Ebay are really slow for me and many other sellers.

Don't wish yourself into problems with this buyer.  I'm a firm beleiver that too much negative thinking can blow back on you in a way you will not enjoy.

Be grateful for the sales, do your job as a seller the best you can and always be responsible.  That is what your job is.  To medal or make assumptions about their personal lives is not your responsibility and chances are pretty high that your buyer would not appreciate it either.

Again, I do understand why you feel the way you do and I'm confident I would have some of the same concerns, but just move on and hope they continue to buy from you without issue.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 09:57:43 2016

Gesh don't be so paranoid. I have a lot of great buyers. They might buy one thing this week and 50 things next week. Then disappear for awhile and then start all over.

You are overthinking a problem that doesn't exist.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 11:00:07 2016

I know where you're coming from, I would be suspicious too...a stolen credit card, hacked account or a flood of SNAD claims 6 months from now? I have had a few buyers like this in the past, but all you can do is hope for the best!

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

This user has validated their user name. by: Bad Hair Day

Fri Aug 12 11:46:15 2016

I would not be concerned at all. I echo what Marie said. And I'll add that it  sounds like you have a dream customer who is absolutely thrilled with his purchases!!! Why would you even consider blocking him? Imagine is disillusionment!

You also state ''the winning bid was frankly more than the pen is worth''. That's for the buyer to decide not the seller.

The first item that sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. Someone decided it was *worth* something and purchased it!

Your whole scenario sounds like the 'old eBay days'.
Enjoy it!  :])

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Aug 12 14:34:56 2016

I think I get where the OP is coming from. eBay have a different breed of buyers, so you have to consider that.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Aug 12 15:17:56 2016

@Lee - So far your buyer has purchased two things, and though dissimilar, perhaps he collects both ham radio memorabilia and fountain pens. If you could see a list of all the stuff I collect, you'd probably have concerns about me, too!

As far as leaving feedback before you ship, that never happened to me while I was selling on eBay, but I get that quite often with my eCrater sales. The feedback is always along the lines of, "I've been looking for this for ten years!"

Lee, you appear to be a really wonderful seller who cares about his customers. But it's up to your buyer's family members to look after him and take control of his bank account if he has out-of-control spending.  

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 20:36:23 2016

I've had positive feedback left before I've shipped the item as well.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: FLIPPER This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 14 00:10:48 2016

@ OP  Here's a suggested way to ''feel out'' your customer without offending them. Send them a written ''Thank you'' note for their purchases and their excellent feedback. Mention as a ''P.S.'' that you have a wide variety of items (older ones in  this case) that you're not always able to list and suggest to them that they ''Please don't hesitate to contact me with items you are looking for.'' I've been selling locally,via mail-order and now on the internet for over 30 yrs. The ''Thank you '' note was first suggested (required) in a sales position I held previously. I was amazed how many people were tickled pink that I took the time to ''thank'' them. If they ARE a ''SCAM'' chances are you'll never hear from them again. Otherwise you may end up with a long-term, loyal,satisfied customer (OH, THE HORROR!!)  ;))

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 14 11:31:58 2016

Lee, totally understand where you are coming from. The only thing I can say (don't mean this to sound uncaring nor dismissive about the person), is that our customer service to them is the only priority, not their personal well-being. Hopefully they are okay. You're a good business owner, compassionate. Keep up the good work.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Katie This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 15 00:29:37 2016

We've never had an ebayer leave good feedback before receiving an item.
You can either block them, which is a bad idea, or do nothing.  I would do nothing.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 15 00:40:49 2016

@Flipper, I've always handwritten 'Thanks' on packing slips, although occasionally I'd write a longer notes. But just the simple ones with thanks, I couldn't believe how often I got feedback that was impressed with the simple thanks. I guess others don't do that, but I've had lots of packages come without even a packing slip!

I've had a few buyers that start to write to me, some times several letters a day and eventually I can tell they are kooks. But they can buy from me any time!  

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 15 01:06:49 2016

There are a lot of wealthy people out there that buy a lot.
We have had the fortune over the years to get dedicated well heeled buyers.
One buyer loved linens and lace and for each bid she used to leave a 500.00 bid.
Some other bidders got tired of her winning all our items (used to get disgruntled e-mails) thats when they started bidding her up. Once a simple 10.00 doily went for 499.00 because the competing bidders just wanted her to 'pay'.
We only charged her 10.00 for that doily since she was such a golden customer.

Her husband was very,very rich. She  would buy almost everything we listed because she liked our taste and liked us. She even sent a sweet 'care' package for our young children.
Oh those were days!! We had so many such wonderful customers! It was a pleasure to sell and 'meet' our customers.
Today they are rare and you should enjoy it.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: Bird Mad This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 15 03:15:56 2016

You could "Google street view" the address and see if the house or building looks dodgy.

Be sure to ship with tracking to the address provided with the payment. This way there is no charge back risk.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: imbloated This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 15 03:23:21 2016

I would call the buyer and ask how he liked the items. You would learn a lot from the response, whether you end up talking to the buyer or a relative (or care giver).  I am dismayed that some of the responses here convey that compassion has has no place in business. It does.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: bpm This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 15 09:02:35 2016

Two competing bidders once bid my mid-century glassware (I used to hold weekly auctions) from it's value of around £30-50 to £1000+ on several pieces a week for a whole month of auctions. It seemed like a scam, then as time went on I assumed I'd get a whole bunch of SNADs for buyer remorse; but no, it all went swimmingly. Dont worry, sometimes people do just have more money than sense!

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 15 11:29:58 2016

Keep a polite business distance from them; don't go looking for problems, and ESPECIALLY do NOT write a customer to ask him to let you know when the package arrives: that gives the impression that you don't know where it is. That is what you have tracking for.

I have had buyers leave Positive feedback before they're received the item. I don't know why they do that (except perhaps they just want to clear the eBay auto-nags about it, and don't care about feedback otherwise), but I would not question it.

Why are they spending a ton of money on you? Again, it doesn't matter as long as they are holding up their end of the deal. I have had a pleasant number of big spenders over my years of selling, and in some case I was able to figure out a likely reason:

-- Two collectors of talking alarm clocks who apparently have a deep rivalry of each other, and fought bitterly over each good example that my wife had listed. (One of them asked us for our original listing photos of an item on which he'd actually lost the bidding, as he was writing a book on the topic.)

-- Quite a few vintage collectors reside in various well-heeled retirement communities. Typically I'll make some sales to a given location, he tells his friends, and I suddenly get more sales to the same general area. This was especially obvious when I found myself making sales to particular regions of England in one case and Australia in another.

-- Two price-is-no-object buyers were particularly memorable. I noticed that a few hugely successful auctions had gone to two different buyers at the same California address. Fearing something nefarious, I Googled the mailing address... and it was a Hollywood prop house. I had a couple months of very good sales to them before they went silent on me, and I always wondered if I'd recognize any of my stuff in any upcoming films. :-)

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

This user has validated their user name. by: SalesBoy

Mon Aug 15 14:03:02 2016

I used to sell cars for many years.  I had this excellent truck customer who suddenly started buying/trading, buying/trading.  Each time he got more and more upside down in the newest truck as his loans exceeded vehicle value.  His payment were getting bigger and bigger!

Finally, I told him that I appreciated his business very much, but felt this newest purchase was unwise and, if he continued, would lead to repossession if it didn't stop.

You know what he said!?  If you won't sell it to me, I'm sure another salesperson will.  OMG!! He was set on financial ruin and I, as the seller, had wasted my breath trying to offer advice.

The end result?  I literally had to drive him ''home'' to his daily rental room after he dropped off his repossessed truck with us.  He had lost his home and now his transportation.  Other salespeople asked why I had bothered to give him a lift!!!  Heartless.

Anyway, it is not the seller's job to decide for the buyer.  He/she is a grown-up and won't listen, anyway.  Block him?  He'll just buy elsewhere.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: dll366 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 16 00:50:45 2016

I understand your concern, but a few words and some premature feedback is very little information to base a 'mentally unstable' diagnosis on.   One of my husband's customers (he does handy man work) had a hubby who had dementia.  His wife was unaware that he bought several hundred real, and some phony Zippo lighters on eBay.  She had me sell what I could on eBay for her to recoup some on the money, but she ended up having to change the password and make sure he couldn't still do it.  That doesn't mean your buyer is doing the same, though.  The wife never blamed the buyers who sold her husband the lighters because she realized they wouldn't know and it was not their responsibility.  
I think Flippers has good advice to write a nice note of thanks.

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 16 02:21:53 2016

People buy and collect things for a variety of reasons, thank him from his business and count yourself fortunate

When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True   When a Great Buyer May Be Too Good to Be True

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 16 10:42:44 2016

Maybe the Buyer got a big employment buyout, or, an inheritance, or, hit the lottery ?

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