Yet another "explain this eBay behavior" thread

My brother gave me a $50 eBay gift certificate for my birthday, and I decided to go ahead and spend it all at once on CDs. I found an eBay store that had a really good selection of world music, including most of the stuff on my current wish list, so I went ahead and picked out three of them and ordered them. This was 1/1.

When they hadn’t come in a week and a half, I emailed the vendor and asked if there was a problem. “Wow, two of them went out Tuesday the 4th, the other went out Thursday the 6th. How strange.” So I said fine, if they didn’t go first class, I’ll give them a few more days. The first two arrived a few days later – postmarked the 12th. :dubious: A week later, I sent a second email asking about the third CD – they said “well, it went out on the 6th, it should be there by now, but if you insist, we’ll send another copy.” I said “pls. do, if I get a second package, I’ll return it.” Again, it came a few days later.

Okay, so I go to leave feedback. I’m not one to leave negative feedback for no good reason – so I left “neutral” on the first two CDs, saying “it took 2-1/2 weeks and a follow-up email to get this” and “negative” on the third, saying “it took a month and two follow-up emails to get this.” This seems like useful information to potential buyers, it wasn’t about me being petty.

Reading their feedback page more carefully (I’d glanced at it before ordering, it was overwhelmingly positive), I noted that of the 25 comments on the first page, in addition to my three remarks, there were three other comments – positive comments – saying some variation of “I didn’t get the CD but they sent a replacement.” So either 4 or 6 times out of 25, depending on whether you want to call mine one order or three, these bozos don’t send the damn CDs until you bug them.

Not a rant, though. Honest. It’s a question, viz:

What’s in it for the seller? What financial advantage is there to them to waiting an extra week or two or three before shipping? It seems like it can’t be a supply thing – that they need a few extra days to get the CDs from wherever they get them – because both times that I bitched, they shipped the very next day.

Can anyone explain this to me?

I’m guessing they’re hoping for the small percentage of people that don’t complain or put it down to a ‘lost in the post’ thing. Some people would write off the money before making too big a deal about it.

But, on the other hand, maybe they’re just lazy. Putting it off until tomorrow, or until they have a few things to post. No reason to lie about it.

Or they could be reselling stuff they’re buying elsewhere and to keep cashflow up the put it up for sale before it’s actually arrived.

From the fact that they’re claiming they’re sending ‘replacements’ I’d guess they’re hoping for the people that don’t complain or they figure that it’ll make them more popular if they look like they’re willing to shell out to make up for the post services failings.

Hmmm, looking at that answer it would appear that, no, I can’t really explain it.


The advantage, plain and simple, is that a certain percentage of people are going to forget all about it when the CDs don’t arrive, or not bug them about it until it’s too late to leave any feedback at all, or otherwise let it slide - in effect, giving them their money free and clear without receiving the product.

I have been selling on eBay for almost eight years now, and I have shipped thousands of packages. None of them - *not a single one * - has ever been lost in the mail.

And yet, dozens of payments **to ** me have gotten lost! And many shipments **to ** me when I’ve bought something have been “lost” and “replacements” sent right away! I’ll tell ya, the outbound service from my town is the best in the world, but they must have the third-stringers taking care of the inbound.

I like to think of myself as fairly cynical, but apparently I’m not.

I guess I’m not totally surprised that someone would set up an eBay store with the intention of trying to rip some people off – I am, however, surprised that there are people who wouldn’t notice that they hadn’t gotten something they’d ordered. And enough of them to make it worth the seller’s while to do things this way. Okay, $15, $20 a pop – times how many airheads a month? Hmm…