Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The eBay Story

Okay, so here's my eBay story.  I'm putting it here mainly because I need to vent a little (to someone besides BF), and also because I'm interested in other people's opinion of the situation.  (If I can convince you to stay away from this particular user, that's a bonus, too!)

So as I mentioned a little while ago, I'm trying to downsize my wardrobe, and so I started selling some items on eBay.  eBay's a good vehicle for this, but I find their fees to be kind of high, so I started small.  I sold some clothes from my first batch, and then decided to relist the clothes that didn't sell for 99 cents each, and give them one more chance.  I was hoping that by pricing them so low, people would buy them, and I'd use the shipping cost to break even after the fees.

One of my items was an Eddie Bauer cotton cardigan - nothing special.  It was midweight, so I priced it at 99 cents with $6 for shipping.  Only one buyer bid on it, and she ended up winning.  Most of my customers paid right away, and I didn't even have to send them an invoice.  She waited a day or two, then sent me an e-mail asking me to look at the shipping cost again, because she was certain that it was too high.  I didn't want to get in a big back and forth over it, so I said I'd lower the shipping to $5.  She never responded, so I just invoiced her that amount, and a couple days later, she got around to paying for it.

Then, after she pays, she sends me another message, informing me that she's going out of town for the weekend, so I should wait until Friday or Saturday to put her package in the mail.  At this point, I'm pretty frustrated, but I wait until Friday, delaying mailing about 5 other eBay orders (from prompt payers who didn't make all kinds of demands).  The package goes out on Friday, and I don't really think anything else of it.

Fast forward to Monday morning, when I get another message from her saying that the sweater was nice, but she's very irritated with me because she specifically asked me not to mail her package until Friday, and I mailed it on Thursday.  She said she hoped I understood that she couldn't give me all 5 stars. 

The reason she thinks I mailed it on Thursday is because that's when I printed and paid for the shipping label.  I let her know that, and also that not only did I accommodate her, but that I delayed mailing my other orders just to fulfill her request, and so she immediately comes back and starts calling me out for not e-mailing her.  She said she had 5 or 6 other orders and that every single one of them e-mailed her back letting her know that they'd be waiting to mail her packages.

Now here's where I got really frustrated.  So what is the issue then - that I allegedly mailed it when she told me not to, or that I didn't bother to e-mail her that I'd be following her orders?  It seems to me that she realized she'd made a mistake getting angry (and giving me bad feedback without waiting for my response), and instead of admitting it, she's just finding something else to get upset about.  Even in messages from her now, she continues to bring up how she told me not to mail it until Friday...which is great, because that's when I mailed it.

The best part of this is that in the midst of all our back and forth, she tells me how she's going to report me to eBay, I'm going to get a sanction for leaving her negative feedback (and don't even get me started on eBay's ridiculous buyer-sided feedback policy), and then goes on to claim that she's going to sell my sweater for more than what she paid for it ($5.99), and that she still managed to get the positive feedback out of me.

In her latest message, she's claiming that it's wrong of me to make $2 off of shipping (I made exactly 50 cents), and is still harping on the fact that I never e-mailed her and that "all" she asked was for me to make my shipping cost more reasonable and ship out on a specific day.  Then she goes on to say if she'd known I was going to react this way, she would have just given me negative feedback to begin with.

I'll give her that it would have been courteous for me to let her know I received her e-mail; however, I didn't e-mail a single other customer when their package shipped, and none of them cared, presumably because they know how to read tracking information (especially for someone who uses eBay as much as she does).  But on the same token, she never e-mailed me back, letting me know my final shipping offer was okay.  She could have e-mailed me when she got the shipping notification to find out if I had actually shipped on Thursday. 

What really bugs me about this situation is that she won the item, fair and square, which means I could have tried to force her to pay the $6 shipping, but I didn't.  I tried to be fair and reduce the shipping by a dollar, then she wants to dictate my trips to the post office, and again, I comply, but somehow I end up being the bad guy in the whole thing because I didn't send her one e-mail? 

So what does everyone think?  I just started using eBay, so I realize now I should have e-mailed her and let her know, but I think she is way overreacting, and just using the e-mail as an excuse to stay mad because she can't stay mad about when I e-mailed the sweater, which was her initial (and ongoing) complaint.  I'm almost tempted to buy the sweater back when she relists it, because I feel bad for it having to spend any time with such a petty person. ;)

If anyone is interested, her user name is "absolutelyaudrey" (poor Audrey Hepburn, to have to be associated with such a person), and she also sells under "24LavenderLane".  The second account has some pretty amusing things for sale.  The one that got me is the cosmetics bag that is obviously one of those freebies you get with a minimum purchase, with a bunch of random samples that she's starting at $5.99 and then charging almost $6 for shipping.


C June 9, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

ugh HATE people like that- i NEVER email people before I ship- you went above and beyond. I've only had a couple bad experiences (person takes 5 days to pay, I don't ship til a couple days after that, didn't have the tracking number, they refuse the package when it arrives saying it took to long, then left me negative feedback AFTER i refunded, including shipping... it's just one of the annoyances of ebay. ALl in all though I think it's a worthwhile thing to do though.

BTW, loved the frankie dress on you

JTS June 9, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

Ohh, that really sucks - I would have been so upset! The worst part is you can't even give honest negative feedback! :(
And thanks about the dress :)

audreybella June 9, 2010 at 5:19 PM  

That really sucks. I also never email anyone before I ship and I've only received emails from sellers about 5% of the time when I make a purchase. You were very accommodating to her. When checking out her feedback left for others she seems to do this sort of thing a lot. Such a shame people like that have to ruin the experience.

I had one lady message me saying her postman put the package on her doorstep where anyone could have taken it. Two days later she submitted an "Item not received" case with ebay. Luckily she messaged me through ebay and the case was quickly closed in my favor.

spiffy June 9, 2010 at 5:27 PM  

wow, this is a really weird ebay story. Here's my take... the world if FULL of weirdos - on ebay and elsewhere. If it were me, i would have told her that the shipping is stated and if she wasn't comfortable with $6 then she shouldn't have bid. I would have then offered her the opportunity to walk away from the sale because honestly, I don't want to get mixed up with weirdos and I don't want to spend time talking about one dollar. You are totally in the right and she is totally in the wrong, but she is never going to see that and your time is worth more than back and forth emails and threats of negative feedback. Going forward, cut psychos like this one loose right away.

Sorry you had to deal with that :(

Catrina June 9, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

This is terrible! I have sold a ton of stuff on ebay and I have some horror stories, but nothing like this! When she confirmed her bid, she was confirming that she was agreeing to a contract (and that includes shipping charges). I also charge $6 to ship most things. I use Priority Mail, so one average I am making between $1 and $2 on the transaction. When people ask me to adjust the shipping price, I explain to them that if I charged the exact amount for shipping, I wouldn't be starting the listing at $.99. I can't believe all that arguing over a $5.99 sweater (which sounds like a steal)!

If she is this annoying on ebay, I can only imagine what her co-workers and everyday acquaintances put up with. I am so tempted to buy something from her and be even more difficult! The nerve of some people!

dinagideon June 9, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

Ooh, Catrina: I like that idea of buying something from her and being VERY difficult. After all, the customer is always right (at least on ebay).

I rarely, if ever, bend to the will of an ebay buyer. If they are going to hassle me, I just basically state that I am firm, that others have messaged me about the product, and if they don't want to pay the whole amount, then so be it.

I love most ebay transactions, bim, bam, bum, and you're done. You know? Why make it SO FREAKING HARD, Miss I took my name from someone far more graceful than myself. Ugh!

C June 9, 2010 at 10:45 PM  

she is a nut case and you have already spent too much time on her. No matter what you ever did or did not do, she would be complaining.

JTS June 10, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

@audreybella - I totally agree - every other transaction I've had has been great, so it's always too bad when you run into bad apples. And that lady sounds ridiculous - I can't believe some of the stuff people try to pull!

@spiffy - I almost told her I wasn't going to change the shipping, but just really wanted to sell the sweater...but obviously I should have just passed, haha! In subsequent messages I reminded her that I didn't have to change the shipping at all, but oh well. Will definitely stay away from people like this in the future! Is that your dog, by the way??

@Catrina - That's what I was thinking! It's a contract, and you're getting a good deal anyway (it's a $30 sweater that I wore once)...and then to go and taunt me how she's going to sell it for even more, UGH. My boyfriend was saying he wants to bid on a bunch of her stuff and be difficult, too, haha!

@dinagideon - I don't get my eBay caters to the customer so much. I definitely learned the hard way not to give in to buyers! And yes, I feel bad for Audrey Hepburn - this lady obviously lacks some class!

@C - Haha, agreed! At one point I just stopped responding to her because there was no point. I actually told her if she didn't stop messaging me, I was going to report her to eBay for harassment!

Thanks everyone for your support and kind words :) I really appreciate it!!

Alexis {J.Crew Aficionada} June 10, 2010 at 7:26 PM  

Yikes! That story sounds like a nightmare. Honestly, it sounds like the Buyer got a bargain and should be happy that she got the item so quickly in the first place. And it was super nice of you to delay the shipment when you did! As for how fast it arrives- that is up to the post office, not you. There are just some people who love drama, she sounds like one of them. ;) Keep your head up high, you are in the right on this one. And eBay will see it that way too. :)

Anonymous June 18, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

Thanks for sharing her name, I will block her from my ebay account. Some people are simply blackmailers. Unfortunately I had to deal with two of those. But I can say that most people I had transactions with on ebay (as buyer or seller) have been quite honest.

ferrydust July 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

Really sorry you had to go through that; you seem to have handled it very patiently and absolutely no wonder you are so frustrated and incredulous. Thanks for her usernames; I've been an avid ebayer (seller and buyer) for over 10 years, and I aim to avoid her and others like her for the next decade+.