My First Ebay Neg; Advice Needed

As some of you may know, I have a small eBay business. One of the items I’ve been selling lately are ViewMaster disc sets. I generally sell them for around $1.00 each.

Not to long ago, a set was ordered; they sold for .99 plus $2.50 shipping by Media Mail. I received an email from the customer last week saying she hadn’t received them, and what should she do? I responded that she should give it a few more days since they were sent Media Mail (which is announced in the listing), and it is notoriously slow.

Well, I log in this mroning to find out she’s left me Negative Feedback! The feedback says “I’m sorry; I simply never received the item. Seller was willing to communicate with me”.

Huh?? I was willing to communicate, it’s true. We did do one email exchange. But then I never heard from her again before she negged me. I’m torn between offering her a refund, or just saying “Screw it; if she wanted a refund, she should have told me before she put a blemish on my previously spotless reputation!”

Oh, btw, she had 509 pos feedback out of 510, but this is her latest feedback from another seller:

So, what do you think I should do?

It never looks good to be overly defensive, just use the provided feedback-reply doohickey to state the facts: “Items were sent via media mail, buyer did not allow time to arrive or request refund.” Or something to that effect.

ETA: In any case, I assume you have lots of positive feedbacks. Getting the occasional neg is inevitable and usually won’t hurt, as long as you have a long history of positives.

Give her a refund (it’s not a lot of money)
Respond calmly and factually to the neg (don’t forget to mention the refund)
If you haven’t already left feedback, leave the buyer a neg, calmly stating that the buyer did not give you enough chance to act on a postal delay/loss

This is good advice (I do have a lot of positives; I have a total of 273 feedbacks, this is my only negative, ever). But I can’t find the “feedback-reply doohickey” (as you so eloquently put it :wink: ). Any idea where it might be? If not, I can always communicate with eBay about it. I’m sure they’d help me.

Click the feedback forum link at the bottom of your ‘My eBay’ page, then follow the ‘Reply to Feedback Received’ link on the feedback forum page

Thanks, Mangetout. I’ve now responded “Items were shipped via Media Mail; buyer did not allow time for me to offer a refund.”

I think that sums it up nicely.

That is a good response…just the facts. When I see “retaliation” to a neg FB, that is a far worse reflection on the seller than the neg itself. In the OP, the shouting (all caps.) reflects a seller that I would absolutly avoid. As a buyer, I realize that Shinola occasionally happens…when it does I don’t want to be working with a hostile seller.

The eBay rating system must be taken with a hint of skepticism. My only negative entry was from someone that sold ME pirated software & was upset that I had the nerve to report them for it.

I agree with the other posters. It would be nice to offer a refund since it was a low cost item; however, if you post that you did it understand that it would be taken as your policy going forward regardless of price.

A very good point. In truth, I’m considering just sending her a new one, posting nothing about it, and letting it go. If I hear back from her, thanking me or whatever, fine. If not, oh well. I believe most people are pretty reasonable, and wouldn’t let a negative like this affect their opinion of me as a buyer or a seller, given my record to this point.

I wouldn’t give her a refund. First, the thing is probably going to show up in her mailbox the day after tomorrow, adn do you think you’re ever going to see that 99 cents again if you give it back? Hell no. Second, 99 cents is a small tax for her to pay for being a bitch.

I’d be very wary to offer her a refund, especially since she’s got at least one other seller who she gave a neg to claiming the item was lost. Seems kinda fishy to me that her mail was lost twice.

I just want to assure you that one negative comment out of 273 would not keep me from bidding on your auction.

I’m with the folks who say a refund would set a bad precedent for you, and probably wouldn’t appease her anyway.

Good luck.

I agree with you, but from the other end. I wish more people were willing to give neutral, or even negative, feedback when the situation warrants it. Every seller seems to have 99% positive feedback, but then you read the comments and see things like “Item arrived two weeks late,” “Seller took a while to respond to e-mails,” “Item not exactly as described but still okay.” People are so scared of retaliation that they’ll give a positive for anything short of the seller coming to their house and threatening them with a gun.

I was gonna say the same thing. Seems like the kind of person who eats everything on her plate at a restaurant and then complains about how inedible it was to get it comped.

eBay has a “detailed seller ratings” system now. In addition to the positive/neutral/negative rating, the buyer gives 1~5 stars in each of 4 categories. Just take a look at anyone who’s received feedback as a seller in the past few weeks.

I believe this feedback is anonymous, and many people seem to be willing to give less than 5 stars. I have 4.5 stars out of 5 for “shipping and handling charges” even though the shipping charge is clearly stated upfront. I guess people use 4 stars to mean “reasonable, but not fantastic.”

Thanks. If you read my other feedback (not that I expect you to go look me up :wink: ), you’d see that not only is the rest of it all positive, but the comments are really glowing, and the comments themselves are positive, not just a “positive feedback” with lukewarm comments, like some sellers are. I’m really a very conscientious seller, to the point that I probably give refunds when I shouldn’t. But even people who have had problems with my items (mainly caused by careless handling by the USPS) have wonderful things to say about the way I handled the complaints.

In the future, always pay extra to ship with Delivery Confirmation. That way you’ll always have proof whether or not something was delivered. If someone claims they didn’t get your package, you can say “Well that’s odd, because I looked up this number on the U.S. Postal Service website, and I see it was delivered two days ago.” That puts you in the clear no matter what, so it’s worth the extra 75 cents. You can even add it into your shipping and handling fees.

For really low value items like this one, I really don’t think it’s worth it - you could put those 75 cents in a jar each time and on the very rare occasion something goes missing, there will be enough money in the jar to refund it a hundred times over. Also, on a low value item like this, sticking the extra 75 cents onto the shipping price means some buyers will go elsewhere, or complain about what they perceive to be unreasonable postage charges.

An excellent point; especially the part about perception of unreasonable shipping costs, particularly relevant now that there’s detailed feedback.