Monday, July 25, 2011


One of the "features" of being a seller on eBay, is the opportunity to continually update my listings and my "strategies" as eBay evolves.  Every couple of months, eBay announces a change, always with the goal of improving the customer experience.....or certainly, to improve the corporate revenue.  So, I study the changes and determine what I need to do to make my listings compliant with the new rules, while continuing to provide my customers with the best value possible and still turn a minimal profit. Yes, I understand that the goal SHOULD be to turn a GOOD profit, but at this point I am happy with a minimal profit.

One such new rule is that sellers no longer pay final value fees on the item cost alone. Now they are charged the final value fee on the total cost of the item PLUS the shipping and handling.  Now, the bottom line is that eBay wants all sellers to offer FREE SHIPPING.  They say they are encouraging this, because buyers LIKE free shipping.

Obviously, sellers are also buyers, so we DO understand the buyer experience.  Everyone wants a "deal," even on the hard to find items.  But the truth of the matter is that if a seller offers free shipping on all of his items, he must capture those shipping and handling costs in the price of the item.

Example:  A T-shirt costs the seller $9.00 to acquire.  eBay charges the seller 20 cents to list that T-shirt in his basic store, after also charging the seller $15.95 to operate that store for the month.  The seller lists the T-shirt at $15.49 in his store, and offers fixed price, low cost shipping, which includes insuring the package through U-PIC.

When the item sells, the sell is charged $1.77 final value fee (10% of the sale price of the item plus the shipping and handling charged).  The seller sends the customer an invoice for $15.49 + $2.22 shipping and handling, for a total cost of $17.71.  The buyer pays the seller through Paypal and Paypal charges the seller 81 cents for that payment.  The seller now purchases the postage to ship the 8 ounce T-shirt ($2.60), purchases insurance to cover the shipment (65 cents) and ships the T-shirt to the customer.

Total sale: $17.71
Total cost of sale (excluding materials, time of processing and monthly store fee): $9.00 + .20  + 1.77 + .81 + 2.60 + .65 = $15.03
Net income (before monthly store fees): $2.68

Obviously, I will need to sell a LOT of T-shirts to make a decent return on investment, but I am still determined to make it work.

Now, in offering the low shipping, I am able to offer shipping discounts for multiple items purchased and shipped together.  First T-shirt ships for $2.22;  each additional  T-shirt ships for $1.11.


Sale price $17.71 (each T-shirt)
4 T-shirts total price: $70.84

Sale price $15.49 + $2.22 S/H = $17.71 (first T-shirt)
Each additional T-shirt sale price: $15.49 + $1.11 S/H).
4 T-shirts total price = $67.51.

It may only be a savings of $3.33, but it is a savings and I'm convinced my customers appreciate that savings.  When eBay offers a way to offer discounts on multiple FREE SHIP items purchased and shipped together, I will update my listings and take advantage of the favorable search features offered to those who offer free shipping.  Until then, I will opt to offer my customers the opportunity to save on multiple purchases.

CHICKS T-shirts



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What a Fiasco

I am an eBay seller.  I know about shipping issues.  I know what CAN go wrong and I know that it occasionally DOES go wrong.  When the inevitable happens, a package gets lost, or an item gets damaged in transit, I respond immediately to the situation. The buyer is immediately refunded and THEN I begin the insurance claim process.  The buyer is inconvenienced already....I don't need to further his inconvenience while I await the resolution on the insurance claims. This, to me, seems common sense.

I also buy on eBay. Most of my transactions are flawless.  But, occasionally, there is a problem, and I would like to think that my seller would simply handle the situation as I would.

In June I purchased an accordion for Joe for his birthday... a brand new one.... brand new because he already has a number of accordions that are of significant vintage, and which all have little age related issues.  This was to be a new instrument... shiny and new... issue free.

When the accordion arrived, via UPS, Joe opened the box.  Inside the cardboard shipping box was the accordion case, each corner of which was protected in shipping with only an inch thick Styrofoam corner.  The "brand new case" had multiple dents, and the hinges were askew, obviously damaged in the shipping process.  The accordion itself had a deep gouge in one of the face plates and was missing one of the rhinestones.  If this had been a used instrument, I would have simply accepted the dings and dents, but it was not.  It was supposed to be brand new, and the price reflected that.

So, I contacted the seller, alerting him to the state of the accordion and case as delivered.  He requested photos, which I provided.  He responded with an offer to send me a replacement rhinestone and $15.  What? are you kidding me?  You shipped this by UPS, you insured it ONLY for the $100 base UPS value, even though you charged me more than three times that amount for the contents of the package...and you want me to fix the instrument and the case with $15.00?  No, that was unsatisfactory to me.

So on June 27, began the crazy, and I do mean crazy, three ring circus to resolve the issue.

  • Seller claimed it was damaged by UPS.
  • UPS arrived with a damage claim label and announced they were to pick up the accordion and case.
  • I refused, on the basis that the seller had already informed me that he had no replacement.   Joe likes the instrument and wants to keep it, he just wants the refund for the damage to the accordion and case.  Though I refused to return the accordion and case, the UPS driver did verify the damage to his supervisor.
  • Over the next two days I spoke with several "supervisors" at UPS claims, and they finally agreed to process the claim based on the photos we provided the seller, and a statement from the seller (supposedly a music store) of the value of the damaged case and the cost to repair the instrument.
  • I conveyed all of this to the seller. 
  • On July 1 I spoke by phone with an agent of the seller who assured me the refund for the cost of the case $85 plus $15 for repairs to the instrument, would be processed on July 5, when the seller returned to the office.
  • On July 11, with no refund, and no further communication from the seller, I sent an eBay message inquiring as to refund status.
  • The seller responded, now telling me that before they can issue a refund, they have to get the insurance money from UPS and since I was not willing to send back the instrument, UPS would not pay on the claim, so they had canceled the claim.
  • Several more phone calls to UPS supervisors and the seller, and several more trips from the UPS driver later, it was agreed that we would ship back ONLY the damaged case, and the seller would send a new one...we would eat the cost of repairing the instrument.
  • Today, the UPS driver arrived to pick up the box with the case, and gave me the claims receipt.....
  • Only AFTER he left, did I discover the label said "accordion and case."
  • Several MORE UPS supervisor calls later, I was assured the case will be returned to the seller AFTER UPS "analyzes" the damage and the packaging.
  • I sent an FYI eBay message to the seller, providing the tracking number for package, and requesting she send the replacement case ASAP
  • THEN the seller informed me that she sent me a DIFFERENT UPS label to use to return the case only, and that there would not be a UPS claim at all..... I had not received the label, and actually, had no idea she'd sent it....after she informed me, I looked in my junk mail folder and there it was.... delivered nearly 18 hours after she'd sent it, but to my junk mail folder, rather than to my inbox...
  • After another series of emails with the seller, I am, at this moment, sending the label she provided me, to the UPS claims guy, requesting that he ship the case directly to the seller, using the label she provided....

I don't think UPS is out to get me.  I don't think the seller is out to get me.  I just think I have spent an inordinate amount of time on this "thing" that should never have been my problem to start with.  I purchased NEW. I paid NEW price, and I trusted the seller to securely package such a delicate instrument. I trusted the seller to properly insure the package.  And, when, despite ALL of these, the instrument and case arrived damaged, I trusted the seller to refund reasonably for the damage, and then deal with UPS to recover his money from the insurance....of course I would have provided photos or inspections, etc., but I would have already been compensated for the damage.

I will find it very hard to rate this seller, both in feedback and DSR's....the experience has been ridiculously time consuming, and I still end up with a damaged accordion.


About Me

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Welcome to Judy’s Corner. I’m Judy. BACKGROUND: My little corner of the world is in Gloucester, VA. I work full-time to pay the bills and eBay is my pastime. I’m not quite ready to retire yet, but I’m getting there. I love to sing, I play guitar and violin, I do needlework and computer programming. I love to fish and work in the yard. I was active in my community theatre group for years until my work travel schedule started to interfere. Suffice to say, I like to stay busy. Enter eBay! I have met wonderful people through my transactions on eBay. I have even found an old school chum from those years when I lived in England, through a sale to a lady there! I’ve been buying and selling on eBay for over seven years. I appreciate dealing with honest sellers and I treat my customers the way I like to be treated. 100% Customer Satisfaction is not just my goal, it is my guarantee.