When Things Go Wrong

When Things Go Wrong
While most of your eBay auctions should go off without a hitch, not every auction will run smoothly. There are a number of things that can go wrong but there are also ways to deal with most of them to everyone’s satisfaction.

The important thing to remember is that you should always take your time and think before you act. Hasty action can lead to negative feedback which will follow you for a long time.

Some of the main problems you may run into are as follows:

• Listing mistake
• Item not sold
• No contact from buyer
• High bidder not paying
• Item broken in transit
• Item lost in transit
• Chargeback
• Negative feedback

Listing mistake
If you check your listing after you have submitted it and find you have made a typo or forgotten to mention something you feel is important or if you want to add somethng to enhance the listing there are ways to change the listing depending on various factors. You can change most things provided the listing has more than twelve hours to run and you have not received any bids. Even if your listing does not meet these criteria you can still add to your description or upload extra images.

Item not sold
If your item does not sell you can relist it. You may need to rewrite your description, offer extra ways to pay or make other similar adjustments to give your item a better chance of selling.

No contact from buyer
As soon as the auction finishes it is a good idea to send out an invoice detailing how much the bidder has to pay, when it must be paid by, how the item will ship and a rough idea of when they will receive it. If you don’t hear anything back within a couple of days and you still haven’t been paid, you should send a gentle reminder, politely letting them know that you are still waiting for payment. If you still do not get a reply, you should send a final notice. Again, be polite but firm. If this fails to elicit a response you can issue a second chance offer to the next highest bidder if you have one or relist the item. Be careful about leaving negative feedback as they may decide to retaliate. Sometimes it makes more sense to put it down to experience and move on.

High bidder not paying
Your item sold but now you get an email form the buyer saying that they do not want the item or they cannot afford it at this time. Politely remind them that they have entered into a legally binding contract with you and try to find out what the problem is. Perhaps they need an extra couple of days to arrange payment or the payment method doesn’t suit. By communicating you can usually resolve the problem. However, if they still won’t pay, move on. It’s all part of the learning curve.

Item broken in transit
If the buyer contacts you and says that the item arrived broken there are a few things you need to do. First ask the buyer to photograph the broken item and send the pictures to you. Also ask them to keep all the packaging and take a photograph of that as well. Contact the shippers and report the breakage straight away. If the item was low value you have a choice – refund the buyer yourself or claim through the shippers insurance. For higher value items covered by extra insurance, notify the insurers straight away as they will need to inspect the goods and the way they were packaged before they settle the claim.

Item lost in transit
If your item goes missing in transit you need to contact the shippers and file a report. You will need the tracking or consignment number or proof of postage depending on the shipment method. The shippers will issue you with a reference number and will contact you as soon as they have relevant information. Most shippers include up to $100 worth of insurance with each shipment but if your item was higher value and insured you will need to contact your insurers and keep them informed.

This is a facility where the buyer can ask their credit card company to refund their money. Usually this only happens in the case of a missing package or broken item but some unscrupulous buyers may apply a chargeback months after the auction. If this happens you need to contact the credit card company with a proof of postage or signed delivery docket and any other relevant information to show that you acted in good faith and that the chargeback is unwarranted.

Negative feedback
Sometimes it is impossible to avoid negative feedback. If this happens make sure you use the comment section on the feedback page to give your side of the story. The best way to try to avoid negative feedback is to keep in communication with your buyer. Try to build up a relationship so that if there is a problem it can be handled promptly.

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