A lot of space on web sites like this is devoted to the subject of Ebay sellers. Those ruthless, greedy, cut throat, bastards that intend to dislodge every single dollar that they can from innocent buyers by hook or crook, but how about those Ebay buyers, why is it that they are never mentioned? I was just going through my Ebay seller’s dashboard just now and thought I would show the other side of the coin and try and relate what an Ebay seller must deal with. This is a blend of fact and humor.
All of the items I sell on Ebay are sold with an unconditional, 14 day, no hassle return policy. I have about 2500 positive feedbacks and am considered a power seller.
Out of over 500 transactions this year I have 2 low marks on items being as described. One of those came from a buyer that bought 2 old Schrade knives that were listed as complete, but in poor condition, with heavy blade wear, poor snap to the blades, and plainly stating that the knives might have more value for parts. The pair of knives brought less than $20 including the shipping involved. Upon receiving them the buyer informed me that he was very unhappy with the purchase because the knives had scratches on the bottom of the backsprings not mentioned in the description. I try to live right, that is how I was raised and what I believe. I will always take the high ground in a dispute like this. I told the buyer he could return them for any reason and I would even pay the return shipping. He responded he would like to keep them he just didn’t approve of my listing practices and I should include more pictures and give better descriptions in the future because condition was important to Ebay buyers. I will make a note in the future when I list part knives I will spend half a day taking and editing photos and then write paragraphs about each knife in the listing; that way when they sell for $5 each the buyer will know for sure what he’s getting – or maybe not.
Then there was the case of the hubby buying a knife without the consent of the Mrs. It was a new, in the box Case 3 blade stockman knife. It brought $40 - $45 or in that general area. Apparently the man bought the knife while the wife was away and when she returned she wanted to know where it came from and how much he had paid for it. I suppose at that point there was an immediate mental calculation made and also a determination made of how that money might be applied to her next shopping spree. As if to intimidate me she told me that while he had bought the knife but she was going to be handling the return and wanted to know the procedure. She had looked at it with a magnifying glass and found there were small cracks in the bone handles that could not be seen with the naked eye. I told her that this was a very common problem with new Case knives and once she returned it I could send it back to the factory and get a replacement free of charge. Again I took the high ground and told her she could return the knife for any reason and as the item was not as described if she clicked around she could print a return postage label and I would have to pay for the return shipping as well. This seemed to make her very, very happy. She returned the knife and left me glowing feedback. The transaction cost me $1.81 for the return postage, but that was a bargain and both parties lived to shop another day. However, I suspect the hubby remains in the dog house.
Upon getting the knife back I immediately relisted it in Ebay and it sold for about the same amount the second time around. Apparently the buyer is as happy with it as an ice cube in an igloo because he left good feedback and I haven’t heard anything from him.
Finally my most recent experience was with a buyer I’ll call Mr. Knifeman. I’m thinking Mr. Knifeman is an elderly southern gentleman new to Ebay and computers, but with extensive experience in cutlery. I listed one of those Case Centennial, stag, lock back knives. Not an extremely rare or desirable item. The factory etch is still on the blade and the little knife has never been used or sharpened. I listed it as used because the bolsters had light scratches and had dulled. The knife brought $50 or right in that ballpark and Mr. Knifeman was its new owner – well for at least for a few days anyway. However upon receiving the knife Mr. Knifeman contacted me immediately. He had inspected the knife and found there was a piece of metal missing on the back of the blade. That’s right folks – I’m not kidding that is what the man said – a piece of metal is missing on the back of the blade. In order to add further support to his contention he had taken at least a dozen pictures of the knife showing me the missing metal and also accused me of staging photos and not showing the area with the missing piece of metal in my original auction listing. Even with the pictures I have no idea at all what the man is talking about. Silly me – I thought knife blades were made from a single piece of metal and didn’t know they could have missing parts. The pictures showed me nothing except the same knife I had just sold him. In spite of the fact that I had over 2500 positive feedbacks up to this point; now I was staging the photos in my auctions to conceal the missing pieces of metal from bidders and his pictures showed the real knife as it was. Am I evil or what? I hope the kids in my Sunday School Class don’t learn of my nefarious Ebay activity. My image will be forever tarnished.
Clearly Mr. Knifeman was preparing to go to war with me to get a refund. Again I will always take the high ground in these types of disputes and told Mr. Knifeman he could return the knife for any reason including buyer’s remorse – he didn’t need to take any more pictures or waste anymore of his time. I also plainly told him that if he clicked around some he could find a link and print a return postage label (like the unhappy homemaker did) and I would have to pay the return postage because the item was not as described.
It was maybe the next day when Mr. Knifeman got back with me. He had contacted Pay Pal – that’s right Pay Pal - and someone told him they didn’t know the procedure for printing a return postage label. Then he did the next best thing he knew to do. He consulted with his son and unfortunately for me the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree because his son is Mr. Knifeman Jr. and in charge of technical issues in the household and he also knows more about computers than Bill Gates and more about Ebay than Pierre Omidyar, its founder. Jr. informs pops that there was no possible way to print a return shipping label. This was clearly a delaying tactic by the Obama supporting, Yankee seller trying to make him miss the deadline for returning the knife and pops takes this as gospel. The dynamic duo were far too savvy to fall for this ruse.
Bright and early the next morning he packages the knife as if it were an egg preparing to survive a nuclear holocaust and promptly takes it to the UPS Store – yep, the place with the big brown trucks that cost a lot of money. Once there he purchases priority shipping with tracking. I suspect this cost him $10 or more.
A few days later sure enough the knife makes it back to Indiana. I open it at once and you know what? I still don’t see the missing piece of metal……. Maybe it’s just me? However within minutes of receiving the knife back I am on the computer. I want to get Mr. Knifeman a refund right out and I want him to be happy. I go to Ebay, find the transaction, and click the little tab that says issue a refund. I do not calculate what I owe Mr. Knifeman. I click the tab and assume the calculation is done automatically and just like on Duck Dynasty everybody is happy, happy, happy.
Well everybody that is except Mr. Knifeman he is still not a happy camper. Now, not only am I a miscreant, ebay selling, photo fixing, spawn of Satan trying to cheat him out of his hard earned money. I am also a bold face liar. I told him I would pay the return postage and he wants to know why the amount he paid UPS wasn’t included in his refund. At this point I’d like to scream but fear Mr. Knifeman might retain Ken Nunn or another Jerry Springer show sponsoring attorney and seek punitive damages from me, so I’d like to get this resolved. I start to write and explain to him that if he had printed the return postage label $1.81 would have been added to his refund for the return postage, but then I remember that Jr. had told pops it wasn’t possible to print a return postage label so I know my effort would be futile. I think the next best thing to do is to suggest that he open a claim against me with Ebay for the return shipping. Let him submit the information he has, let Ebay read the correspondence that has taken place between us and let them decide who owes who what. I will abide by their decision. I honestly think he tried to do that and Ebay told him to take a hike because he had already been issued a 100% refund and the matter was over with, but perhaps Jr. advised pops that filing a claim would require proper of spelling of words with more than 5 letters and that scared them both away from the process. In any event I also thought the matter was over with and it was except for the subject of feedback. Despite by best efforts to appease Mr. Knifeman and resolve things to his satisfaction; this is a direct quote from the feedback he left for me including the spelling as it is – “Had to esclate to ebay to get a refund.” Mr. Knifeman is a man with a lot of knowledge in a lot of areas but no single area is more superior than his ability to esclate. In fact he can esclate with the best of them. I’ll bet if you met and spoke with Mr. Knifeman yet today he could tell you the story of the no-good scalawag that tried to rip him off on Ebay. What is a person to do?
Life goes on and I’ll spend the summer gathering items to list on ebay in the fall. It is a good activity for me and I my experiences are mostly positive. I have taken the knife to the local knife club meetings and shown it to collectors in the area. No one has been able to see anything wrong with the knife or explain where the missing piece of metal should go. If I send items back to Case for repair I may include it and ask them to inspect it for me. If they send me a note back with it I’ll forward it to Mr. Knifeman so he can retain it for future references and impending litigation.
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” (Paulo Coelho)
Men make plans and God laughs
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.