Well, maybe the title is a bit unfair. I have been away from selling on eBay for a while because (1) I’ve either been deployed away working for my former job and making a decent salary or (2) the items I’ve found that would have gone for sale on eBay either sold quickly on my website or at a gun/militaria show. And Husband has been fabulous at keeping items listed on eBay when I’m not available and there’s something that we know we can make a decent amount of money on if we can just find the right audience. Like, say, the entire eBay-ing world!
But today was just annoying! I’ve got a few items and some books that I want to list and figured that since I still have all of my templates saved it would be a breeze! When did eBay decide they can tell me what I can and can’t say and how I can and can’t say it?
For example, I have strict shipping requirements. The reason for that is because I’ve sold many items to people overseas and they’ve received their items within the usual shipping period and have let me know that they’ve arrived safely. I’ve also had many items shipped to people here in the United States — some in states bordering my own — and been told that either the item was never received or that it was extremely damaged and they wanted their money back. When I’d ask for photographic proof of the damages to the item and shipping container, they would have an excuse for not being able to provide it. And they always picked the cheapest route with no insurance or tracking capabilities so there was never any way to determine if the item had or hadn’t arrived. So, I changed all of my shipping to a commercial shipping organization in brown uniforms because they offered free insurance (up to $100) for the value of the item and I as well as the buyer could track the shipment all the way to their door. My attitude became, “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy from me. I’m protecting myself and my company from idiots who just want something for free.”
So, I would list in my eBay auctions to “Be sure to read all shipping policy information and if you’re not willing to pay the extra expense, do not bid on my items!” Straight and to the point. No wishy-washy customer-servicey happy namby-pamby phrasing. I prefer to tell it like it is. Make it clear and plain so that it translates into any language easily (even stupid) and, no, the customer is not always right.
You would have thought that I’d tried to incite a war with the way eBay reacted! I had my template completed for the first item I wanted to list and big, bold “warning” boxes popped up on my screen telling me that I needed to review my return policy before they’d let me list the item. I’d said in my description that the buyer would need to read my policy information and even provided a link for it. That wasn’t good enough. I’d have to fill out a form to make it simple. So I clicked back to fill in the form and they didn’t offer anything like what I offer. In my business, photographs and printed materials are not allowed to be returned because it doesn’t take a genius to know that some unscrupulous person will just scan it and make all of the copies they want and claim they’re originals and sell them. The eBay form had nowhere I could specify that. So, I stated it in the little box they give you for additional information.
Then another pop-up box appeared. It didn’t like the fact that I said I wouldn’t accept money orders as payment. It also informed me that money orders were no longer allowed as payment through eBay except in certain categories (mostly eBay Motors). It wouldn’t let me post my item because I said I wouldn’t accept something that it won’t allow me to accept in the first place. Ahhh….someone in programming figured out how to make the system recognize words but not the context of them. If I don’t have the option to accept money orders checked in the payment box, what difference does it make if I say I won’t accept them in the description? But, it wouldn’t allow me to list my item until I went back and removed the offending sentence.
Finally, just when I thought I’d get my item listed, the shipping payment information I included caused the largest box to pop-up on the screen. It basically said that the way I phrased my listing by stating that if someone didn’t want to pay for something that they shouldn’t bid was wrong and I could drive away customers.
Um….that’s kind of the point!! If they’re not willing to pay extra for the shipping services to ensure that it arrives at their residence/office/deserted island, then I don’t want to fool with someone trying to argue with me that they “really want to complete the auction and pay the money due but the shipping is just too expensive and [they] had no idea whatsoever that [I] would charge such an extravagant amount and how dare [I] not know that [they] are always good for their word and that [I] am insulting [them] by not just slapping a stamp on the item or, in [their] opinion, sending it for free.” I’ve gotten so frustrated and people trying to argue about shipping at times I’ve told them I’ll just stick their item in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and wish them the best of luck ’cause what they want to pay isn’t going to get their item to them.
The pop-up box continued to chastise me on being “unprofessional” and how it could hurt me from becoming one of their Top Sellers. I don’t list enough stuff to be a “Top Seller” and if I was operating a storefront instead of an online business (which I’ve done), my attitude would be exactly the same. It’s not being “unprofessional” — it’s being honest. And, as I said earlier, the customer is not always right.
After over an hour of changing and adding and subtracting things from the listing, it finally let me post my item. All that work for something that’s got a starting bid of $5. AND, I got a notice that they’re changing the rules/regulations on listing items again May 1st (tomorrow).
I’ll wait until the 2nd to list more items, if it will let me. Hopefully they will have made their minds up on what those of us who list our items for sale (and are the ones who’ve made them successful) will be allowed to do. It’s sad when a company gets too big for its britches. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.