Tuesday, April 19, 2022

What happens if you misplace an item you sold on eBay?

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I've been selling on eBay for over 23 years.  I try to be very careful, but unfortunately I am human and I make mistakes.  Like the time I accidentally swapped mailing labels and sent the wrong ugly Christmas sweaters to the wrong people.  It was nerve-racking, but thankfully it all turned out okay because the one family got their toddler sized sweater still in time for their holiday photo shoot and I was the only seller online that year that had a dinosaur themed Christmas sweater.

As I write this, my husband is searching for some curtain clips.  We have a great eBay storage set up (which I will talk about in the future.). But for now, I want to talk about what to do and what happens when you can't mail out an item.

I have a large amount of items on eBay.  I try to provide spectacular service, but sometimes it's just not possible.  I might misplace an item, or as happened in July, something broke as it was being packed. 

eBay allows you to have a transaction defect rate of .5% -- that's 1/2 of a percent and still remain "above standard".  For me that's two defects in a year based on my sales for the last 12 months (which I am hoping to increase this next year.)

When you lose an item, it's best to message the buyer and be honest about what happened.  Usually buyers are more understanding than you would think.  But they still could leave you a negative.  However, I will say in 23 years I have received a handful of negatives, but never one when I deserved it.  I've gotten one because someone said my "free shipping" rates were too expensive.  (Huh?), another because I wouldn't accept a check from a foreign country, things like that.

Once you contact the buyer, go into "My eBay" and go to items awaiting shipment.  Beside of the "print shipping label" there is a pull down menu, and from there select "cancel order".  Then on the next page click 'item out of stock'.   This will refund them as well as refund your fees to your account.

This won't prevent you from any repercussions.  You will get a defect on eBay, but provided it's not a normal occurrence and you sell enough, you should be fine.  Otherwise, I would suggest you list a lot of items to get your sales rate higher so it won't affect you much.  I am not sure when everyone's new evaluation day is, they may all be the same or be seller specific.  Mine is on the 20th of the month, and that's when I can see what my current percentage of defect rate is, etc.  

You can still get a negative from the buyer, but I have found that most people are understanding if you explain what happened.  It's obviously annoying to buy something and then have your order cancelled, so work to not make a practice of it.  It's been well over a year since I lost something until this
week.  That time there were two similar items that sold a few months before then.  I shipped the wrong one and the customer never told me.  My current defect is from a Christmas ornament that my husband squeezed too hard thinking it was metal but it was actually plastic and the spoon on the ornament snapped in two!  

But with over 2,000 items listed, I know that things happen.  I hope I don't get a negative, but it's always a possibility.  

I will also likely send the buyer a coupon to use in my eBay store that is specific to them, maybe something like $10 so they could get a totally free item and feel better about the whole situation.

As for me, I'm disappointed.  I like to provide amazing customer service, and losing an item not only means I don't get the money from the sale, but I feel it reflects poorly on me.

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