I've been selling on eBay for 22 years and recently ran into a situation that you might find interesting enough to share with your readers.
We sell a wide range of fully assembled diecast models that include aircraft display models. These models are 98% assembled and the buyer need only attach certain parts to it to make it complete such as missiles, landing gear. etc. One such item we recently sold is eBay's item #(redacted). Up until today, we had 100% positive feedback, which fell to 99.6% because of one inane buyer who just doesn't get it no matter how many times I tried to explain to him that he is wrong. In any event, neither does eBay.
The customer contacted us on Friday evening claiming that a second set of canopies, the plexiglass cover that goes over the cockpit, wasn't included with the item. We indicated that we would check with our supplier on Monday morning to see if the item was supposed to contain a second set. We've never heard of a situation like this whereby the model was supposed to contain a second set of canopies but maybe the customer knew something that we had no knowledge of so we just wanted to make sure.
He then sent us a follow-up message on eBay indicating that he is fine with the item provided we issue him a $10-$15 refund for his trouble since, as he claimed, it was incomplete. This is basically extortion. He was looking for a discount by claiming the item was supposed to contain something that he knew wasn't included with the model.
We again indicated that we would have to wait until Monday morning to get clarification from our distributor regarding the "omitted" part. He then sends us another message indicating he needs immediate resolution because he is "headed out of the country." A bit suspicious, yes. Finally, late yesterday, he says he wants to return the item for a full refund. Mind you, this item was shipped to him free-of-charge and now he wanted us to foot the bill for return shipping too.
To make a long story short, we heard back from our distributor this morning who indicated that the item did not come with a second set of canopies. The images included in the listing show the canopies in both the open and closed position so I'm not sure how the buyer reached the conclusion that a second set was supposed to be supplied. As an analogy, if I was selling a car on eBay Motors and showed the car with the doors closed and then another image showing it with the doors open, does that mean I'm supposed to include a second set of doors with the automobile? Of course not.
Needless to say we indicated to the buyer that we could not supply him with a second set of canopies and that if he wanted to return the model it would be at his expense. Within five minutes time, he left us negative feedback again claiming that a second set of canopies was supposed to be included and that the model was therefore incomplete and not as advertised.
But here's the part that really gets me mad. I spoke to eBay today on four separate occasions and even included a copy of the email we received from our supplier indicating that the model did not come with a second set of canopies.
What was eBay's response? They refused to remove the negative feedback and are choosing to do so at the height of the holiday season. So right now, I have to live with the unwarranted negative feedback at least until I receive the returned item, at which time eBay will "re-investigate" my request to remove this feedback. Mind you when I spoke to the first CSR he indicated the feedback would be removed within 24-48 hours. Others agreed with my stance but still they refuse to do anything.
I'm not expecting that this letter to the editor will change eBay's stance. What I am hoping to achieve is to alert sellers that eBay will look for any excuse to mollify their buyers and keep them on their platform when they are losing sales daily to Amazon. Why they couldn't remove this feedback is beyond me when it clearly was left to damage our business by an unscrupulous buyer looking to get a discount after the fact.