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Your advice sought on ebay dispute

Discussion in 'B&S Archive' started by mack11211, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    Dear Folks:

    So, it's like this: Guy bought a small item from me. I shipped it in one of those little USPS Priority Mail boxes. Took about two weeks to go from NY to CA, and when it did, the box was in a USPS plastic bag -- and empty. While in transit, it seems to have opened.

    Buyer has started dispute via ebay, item not delivered/as described, etc. Buyer paid by money order so paypal is not involved.

    I note I took reasonable care in shipping the item, and he elected not to pay for insurance. In all my listings I note that insurance is recommended (I require it for shipments of over 100 USD) and I also note that I am not responsible for uninsured items.

    At this point in the dispute, he is asking me how I can prove the box was sealed. Of course my shipping agent would not accept one unsealed. Perhaps I can get my shipping agent to make a statement to that effect.

    How to proceed.

    Other note is that to date, my feedback number of over 1350 is still 100%. What is it worth to keep it that way for a little longer? What are the bragging rights of 'perfect' feedback worth to me, the seller, or to you, the buyer? This is the first time in my experience that a box has opened in transit.

    Item in question cost 40 USD.

    What do you think I should do?
     
  2. chobochobo

    chobochobo Senior member Moderator

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    In the end, how much is 'perfect' feedback worth to you? To have it for 1363 transactions is great, but then one negative in that isn't going to deter any reasonable person from bidding on your auctions. If someone chooses uninsured shipping then they share the responsiblity if not take it on entirely, and this is from the point of view of a buyer.
     
  3. Jared

    Jared Senior member

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    Considering that insurance reduces hassle for sellers, it's not rational that buyers pay all of it. It's also not rational that the buyer have sole discretion.

    That being said, we don't live in a perfectly rational world. You have to assume that reputation is less valuable for the buyer than for you, so the question boils down to: would you pay $40 to avoid one bad review? (You might be able to negotiate an intermediate sum with them...?)
     
  4. michaeljkrell

    michaeljkrell Senior member

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    Is there a comparable item that you could send to the customer?
     
  5. sjmin209

    sjmin209 Senior member

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    I've had a few similar problems; in a few cases, I've ponied up the money, but only if the buyer has seemed honest and forthright. In a couple cases, when buyers have clearly been dishonest (as in damaging items themselves in order to try to get a refund), or unreasonable, I've accepted the negative feedback as a consequence of standing on principle. Like you, I've sold quite a bit, so my feedback rating is very high, and one or two bad transactions isn't going to affect many people's perception of my credibillity.
     
  6. Baron

    Baron Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As a buyer (more than once from you in fact) I treat negligible negative feedback the same as a 100% rating, and if I were you I'd be inclined to stand on principal.
     
  7. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Uh, no...

    I think the above is key. On principle I'd say it's not your problem. If you can prove you shipped it then you did your job, he had the opportunity to buy insurance. On the other hand, if it is really cheap it might be worth just making it go away. I usually base my reaction on the buyers attitude, if he is being a jerk than I don't budge. That's how I got my few negative feedbacks [​IMG]

    Edit - I suppose I should add that I insure all packages, so I have never run into this exact situation.
     
  8. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Let's see how'd you react, if the boot was on the other foot? You order a book from amazon and receive an empty packet. Wouldn't you expect amazon to supply you a new book or refund your money?

    Maybe the packaging was bad and the item worked its way out while going through the postal processes, maybe something indicated "╦ťinteresting item', the fact is, it happened on your watch by the carrier of your choice. I do not think your watch has ended before the item gets handed over. Insurance is for your protection, not for the buyers (just like your car insurance protects you, in case of liabilities).

    In this particular situation, there is no doubt that the buyer's complaint is genuine (he did not receive the goods). It's not that he fraudulently claims a non received item, while he actually got the thing. I have no doubt that you should pay up. It happened with the carrier of your choice, and any claims on your part should be directed at that carrier. Ask them, they might find the thing in the bottom of a postal sack.

    Why don't you self-insure? Many eBay sellers do that, particular those who are dealing with low value item where the insurance is in no relation to the actual cost. Charge for every transaction an additional Dollar or 50 cent and put that money into a piggy bank. With your 1350+ transactions you would have a sizable fund by now, to refund that buyer without even battering an eyelid.
     
  9. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As a buyer, if the seller did not offer insurance, then I might have a problem. But if I purposely opted not to buy it, I would not feel right expecting the seller to cover a loss, as long as they shipped it.
     
  10. knittieguy

    knittieguy Senior member

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    From a legal standpoint, I'm afraid you are generally responsible for getting the item to the buyer, whether he purchases insurance or not. You usually can't disclaim this obligation. It is kind of like trying to disclaim liability for negligence, you generally can't do it. This is one of the biggest misconceptions by sellers on eBay. That's why if you don't feel you can trust the postal service, you have to make insurance mandatory.

    Personally, I have found that the postal service makes few enough mistakes that not buying insurance (essentially self-insuring) saves me more money than the few times I have had to send a replacement or refund the money. In over 500 transactions, I've only had the postal service mislay two items, and they ended up finding both of them several weeks later. Now if you are dealing in very high end items it might not be worth it to trust the postal service, but for anything under $100, insurance probably isn't worth it unless you just don't want to deal with the hassle.
     
  11. knittieguy

    knittieguy Senior member

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  12. TheHoff

    TheHoff Senior member

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    Was the package marked with a shipping weight?

    A shirt doesn't weigh much, but if it was a coat the difference should be noticable as the package weighed more at the post office than it did on arrival.
     
  13. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    From a legal standpoint, I'm afraid you are generally responsible for getting the item to the buyer, whether he purchases insurance or not. You usually can't disclaim this obligation. It is kind of like trying to disclaim liability for negligence, you generally can't do it. This is one of the biggest misconceptions by sellers on eBay. That's why if you don't feel you can trust the postal service, you have to make insurance mandatory.

    What he said.
     
  14. dave5

    dave5 Senior member

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    As a buyer how I feel depends may depend on how much shipping was charged by the seller. If the seller seems to be charging only for actual shipping costs and then offers insurance, I might think it is my choice whether to buy it. But many sellers clearly charge much more than the actual shipping costs, and then try to nickel and dime by offering insurance for an additional fee. If I pay $10 shipping for a polo shirt, I don't think I should have to pay extra for insurance.

    Also, some sellers charge clearly excessivbe amounts for insurance.
     
  15. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    Responses to different notes above:

    -- I have only one of this item, therefore cannot offer any replacement.

    -- Buyer has feedback of about 700 with 12 negs, but seems to have responded rationally to neg feedback given him in the past.

    -- Difference in shipping weight of item is no guide as I weigh at home and print labels online. USPS does not bother to weigh any item unless my paid for weight is grossly below actual weight, which it never is.

    -- Shipping is reasonable, I believe -- 6.50 before rate change, 7 after. Insurance I offer at cost.

    Since buyer refused shipment of the package, I think I will wait to decide until the package comes back to me.
     
  16. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Care to point to any applicable law on that? I'm not saying it isn't so, but it does not make much sense. When I hand an item over to a shipping company, I cease to have any control over what happens to it, so I can hardly be negligent.
     
  17. strazzaque

    strazzaque Senior member

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    What I do as a seller is to take pics of the items in series, as I place them in express post satchels and seal them.
    I am going to start producing little clips on my camera phone which will then be uploaded to youtube, and sent the buyer for confirmation, as pics can be disputed, for obvious reasons. Have not lost a package yet, from Oz to as far as the US, UK and Italy.
     
  18. edmorel

    edmorel Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I think sellers are way too afraid of neagtive feedback on ebay. So you'll have 1 negative, who gives a sh&#. The likelihood is that you'll leave him a comment to the effect of "buyer did not choose to take insurance, package lost by P.O.", He'll probably leave you something stupid, and no one that bidson your auctions will care. When I am buying something on ebay and the seller has a couple of hundred or thousand feedback, I don't even begin to look at the negative feedbacks unless it's below 98%. Don't be afraid of the ebay negative, buyers will try to hold that as ransome over your head. I had a case that I posted here where the guy refused to pay me on a pair of shoes unless I gave him the right of return. Then he told me he'd destroy me on feedback if I left a negative. My response was, start composing your negative feedback for me because you better believe that I am going to leave you a negative and report the transaction as uncompleted to ebay. He came back a day later and apologized and asked if I would be so kind as to simply agree to not complete the transaction and no feedbacks left.

    if you care that much about perfect feedback, then just give him his money back. That is the only way he is going to be happy.
     
  19. cocostella

    cocostella Senior member

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    Was the package marked with a shipping weight? A shirt doesn't weigh much, but if it was a coat the difference should be noticable as the package weighed more at the post office than it did on arrival.
    Sharp insight. Furthermore, a qick comparison of feedback (regardless of rational responses) tells the tale. Perhaps, after the empty package is returned and you verify shipping weight you can offer to split the difference ($20 isn't that much for an unfortunate accident for either of you), in return for either positive feedback, or none at all.
     
  20. whacked

    whacked Senior member

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    I think sellers are way too afraid of neagtive feedback on ebay. So you'll have 1 negative, who gives a sh&#. The likelihood is that you'll leave him a comment to the effect of "buyer did not choose to take insurance, package lost by P.O.", He'll probably leave you something stupid, and no one that bidson your auctions will care.
    [​IMG]
    I really like this advice. In fact, I might use it to deal this week to deal with a similar case.
     

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