Guest Author - Kim O´Shea
We have all heard the saying “let the buyer beware” but unfortunately, in the world of online auctions, this also applies to the seller. While most transactions run smoothly, sometimes even the most courteous, conscientious seller has to deal with the buyer from hell.
Experience has shown that sometimes there is just no way that the seller can win and the buyer, although in the wrong, can get away with dishonesty and foul play. These experiences, fortunately, are not the norm and have to be let go and not dwelt upon.
In the world of online auctions reputations are all important, so beware of the buyer who may try to compromise yours in order to get something extra from the transaction.
Your seller terms and conditions are vital to help protect you and communication with the buyer is also invaluable. Most buyers will pay attention to and respect your terms. However there are some buyers who will completely disregard them.
How can you minimize the risks?
The first thing you should always do when someone places a bid is to check out their feedback. Simply click on their id and follow the feedback link on their profile.
Go back through all of their feedback and read all the comments. Check the comments other sellers have left for them as well as the feedback they have supplied.
I recently came across as seller who frequently left the following type of comments, “Please leave only five star ratings as anything less brings down the feedback score” and also placed links to his own items and websites. This type of feedback should be avoided at all costs. The comments telling you what feedback to leave are clearly a form of harassment and feedback is not the place to promote yourself.
Genuine feedback should be a short comment about the transaction and nothing else. If there is a problem, a brief explanation can be left but that should be all.
Check carefully to see if they are also sellers and if so, read what their buyers are saying about them.
Build a list of your preferred buyers and mark them as favorites so you can keep track of new buyers. If you have any doubts about your buyer contact them for more details before you finalize the transaction. This does not guarantee safety but it can help to weed out the troublemakers.
If you are not sure about your buyer but want to proceed with the sale, keep all documentation and make sure the package has to be signed for on receipt. This will cost extra but mention this in your terms and conditions and charge accordingly.
EBay does not have a policy in place to protect the seller. You are advised to go to the resolution centre but if you are a seller whose buyer is claiming he didn’t receive his package, there is no option available to you and you will have to email support for help. The support centre may take some time to get back to you so you may need to be prepared to wait for help.
Paypal offers better help and support and you should contact them as soon as you have a problem.
You may be tempted to let off steam in the eBay forums or to warn other people about the dangers but be careful not to mention any information that will reveal the troublesome buyer as eBay will simply remove the whole thread no matter how much useful information it provides.
Most transactions do proceed smoothly but just remember that sometimes no matter what you do you will not be able to resolve the problem. Put it down to experience and do not be disheartened. There are thousands of excellent buyers out there and try not to let one bad apple spoil your whole harvest.