Thursday, February 4, 2010

Continuing Ebay Adventures

Remember the other day I was griping about shoddy shipping practices? Well, I got my irritation out of my system on this here blog, then I wrote the seller of my broken bowl a nice note. It said something like:

"The bowls arrived quickly, thanks, but one of them was broken in half." Then I favored her with an emoticon.



"The other one is in perfect shape, so of course I want to pay for that one. Would you consider a partial refund for the broken bowl and its shipping?"

She wrote right back and was all, "Oh I'm so sorry, I've just issued you a full refund, we hope you'll shop with us again," etc. Then I thanked her for being so responsive and we were done. I'm glad she gave me my money back. And I think I see why she has 100% positive feedback despite her poor packing and shipping. She bought my silence.

So, then (you didn't think I was finished shopping for Red Wing, did you?), I saw another leaf-shaped bowl like the green one in the post I linked to. This one is is all one color, a gorgeous celadon. And, nobody had found the auction yet and I won it for 99 cents. Good Lord! The shipping was $16 for one of the larger Priority flat-rate boxes, but I thought, well, that's about right, and maybe this one will be properly packed. So I was surprised, when I got the invoice, to see that the seller had added a $16.99 charge in addition to the shipping. Hmm. I looked closely at the auction page to see if this was some kind of bogus "handling" charge, but there was no mention of it. So I sent a note to the seller:

Hi, would you please reissue this invoice? It seems to have an extra $16.99 charge on it. Thanks!

Here was her response:

Yes, I added that because the auction ended so low. You couldn't of expected to get that dish for a dollar did you!
Oh ho! Oh ho ho ho! Let's dig in, shall we? First, I can't even talk about the "couldn't of" because it gives me hives all over my body. Let's just note that this person, despite a lot of history on ebay, it seems, does not understand how an auction works. Her opening bid was 99 cents, I bid that and nobody else did, ergo I get it for 99 cents. There was no reserve price. This is why, when I've sold stuff on ebay, I always always list it at an opening price that I would feel okay with. If I wouldn't want to let an item go for its opening bid, the opening price should be higher. I know many people believe in and use the 99 cent opening price to avoid listing fees and to elicit interest in their auctions--people argue it drives the final price even higher than it otherwise would have been by pulling in bidders and watchers--but that only works if you have a hot item. An auction for obscure mass-produced American art pottery will not work the same as an auction for the next-gen iPod nano. Anyway, yeah, 99 cents is crazy for that dish. I would have paid 20 bucks for it. I paid forty for the one I have now, but it is a better color scheme and had matching candle holders. But that is the way the ebay cookie crumbles. So I wrote back:

Well, I didn't expect to get it for a dollar, to be honest. And I know that it's frustrating to only have one bid on an auction. But if you add the extra charge to your invoice, I'm afraid ebay will see that as fee avoidance, you know? They're tough on that stuff. So I'll keep an eye out for the invoice, thanks!
Then, without responding back, she invoiced me for just the 99 cents plus her original shipping. I'm glad we didn't have to get ugly, 'cause hell hath no fury like a bargain hunter scorned. Also, it is amazing to me how many people are selling stuff on ebay--high volumes of stuff it seems--without knowing the rules of ebay. You see it all the time: people charging excessive handling fees after their auctions end low, people adding surcharges for payment with credit cards rather than paypal funds, on and on. To quote my favorite Monica line from "Friends," people, the rules control the fun.

So yeah, I might have enough Red Wing for right now, unless something absolutely great comes along. I still haven't managed to find a bowl in the same design that Fabienne broke. That one had little feet. They were so elegant. Sigh, it's hard out here for a pimp.

24 comments:

Cassie said...

Oh, you handled that very well. It could of ended badly. HA- kidding.

"It's hard out here for a pimp" is my most favorite closing line ever on a blog post.

Jenni said...

Oh ho ho ho indeed. What was she thinking? Good for you for handling it with such class.

Coffee with Cathy said...

Becky -- I didn't know you collected Red Wing. Good choice! And nice eBay behavior, too. Well done, you! And thanks for posting today -- I'd thought everybody was in Nashville.

Hootie said...

I can't decide whether your "refund the surcharge" letter is more Victorian Socialite or more Japanese Businessman. [ATIFYWAE]

Amy said...

Becky, you are a pro. That poor ebay seller--she couldn't of known who she was messin' with. (Sorry--like Cassie, I couldn't help it!)

I love your email, subtle yet effective with the whole "I'd hate fore ebay to think you were avoiding the fees" etc. You brought the hammer, girl! But you did it with pure class.

So let's see the bowl!

The Messy Mom said...

GASP, you had me talking out loud to the computer! You've encountered some interesting sellers glad it all worked out though.

Judy said...

Oh, well done, Becky!! Those Odom parents raised you right! Susan was totally scammed on an ebay auction back when she was having her first baby and was trying to buy a breast pump. It scarred her for life, I think. She has never ventured back. And I'm with ya on the 'could of' part. "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" may just be my favorite non-fiction book.

Becky said...

Hi Judy! Nice to see you!

Hootie, ha! They're not that different I guess.

Cathy, I wish I could be at that conference! Sadly I have neither the money or the time right now.

Mad Woman said...

You did great! I love the way you made it sound like you were concerned about her getting dinged for fee avoidance. Hahaha.

You have a serious addiction to this Red Wing stuff. But I'm not concerned, just thinking of looking it up myself :)

Becky said...

Also, Cathy, what Red Wing patterns do you like? Besides the more "arty" pieces, I have six or eight place settings of Bobwhite, which I love.

Keely said...

Oooh! Grraarh! That would make me crazy too. Nicely played though. Hope it arrives in one piece ;)

Elle said...

Oh, honey bunny! That ebay stuff burns me up, but people try it all the time. I have never had anyone admit to it, though, the way she did. Usually, they just reissue the invoice without a fuss. O, couldn't of, horrible!

If you did not know -- and you are looking for something in particular, as you seem to be --Ruby Lane (rubylane.com) and Etsy both feature vintage pottery in their marketplaces. Ruby Lane is like the virtual version of those antique shoppes where people sell their stuff in "booths," you know? Yes.

Marie said...

How much blood did she lose before she realized she was cut?!
That was great! Apparently she didn't know that you inherited your Mom's pottery hunting gene.

remarkablydomestic said...

Oh, NO. SHE. DIN'T. That is insane! I am a relatively frequent seller on Ebay, and that is egregious! Handled with such class.

The Dental Maven said...

BooYaaa!!! That. Was most satisfying. There must be a whole new generation of Ebayers these days, cuz just 8 or so years ago - most Ebayers would abide by the rules. Ah me. It was bound to happen. Those were the days...

Michele R said...

The sad thing is if you were someone else, i.e. someone not with the program, the seller would have gotten away with it. Great email!

Becky said...

Hoot, what is ATIFYWAE?

Veronica said...

Oh, she did NOT do that! I could of died, reading your post. (Sorry, I'm with Cassie and Amy.)

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

LOL - love that you added the Monica quote :-D I remember exactly when she said that, and I agree.

You handled this so well, BTW!

mbaumbick said...

You are one smart cookie! We could of discussed that while shredding today... (Sorry!). Oh, and I'm with Cassie, "It's hard out here for a pimp" is my most favorite closing line on a blog post too!

Sara said...

Now I know where to turn if I get in any ebay scraps in the future. I've been out of the ebay loop for a while so I didn't know all this was going on. Lady didn't know what hit her!
Could of, would of, should of: hooo! like fingernails on a blackboard!

gretchen said...

"Couldn't of". AAARRRGGHH. The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

I love the Red Wing stuff. Gorgeous. And good for you for standing up to the "couldn't of" chick. Unreal.

A Day That is Dessert said...

You handled it all beautifully! I haven't used ebay in awhile; it seems to be fraught with potential peril.

Bex said...

wow! i should hire you to do all of my negotiating! that was talent!