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Community Member
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-23-2017
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The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

Hello fellow ebayer's

 

I'm pretty new to ebay as both a buyer and recently a seller too and wanted to share my experiences with a gap of mis-trust between buyer and seller when dealing with return issues / diffcute buyers. I have been on ebay for over a year now, originally wanting to sell a few things around the house and with just over 100 transactions i started to get a string of return requests and abusive buyers. With selling pre-owned items you can usually pick the fake buyer pretty quickly to prevent returns/scams, i now contact each buyer for my pre-owned items to ensure they read the listing and also not sell to buyers who seem fake. 

 

However since starting to sell new items which i dont expect any issues with ive come across some really aggressive buyer which caused a bit of emotional stress as well as wasted my time. when i first started on ebay i imagined it would be a pleasant experience just to make bit of extra income as a hobby. 

 

So my first run in with an unpleasant buyer was when i sold a wall decor piece, on arrive they claim it was damaged. Ok i agreed to replace the item as it was covered by the supplier, they sent photos but they were not clear and wanted a full refund instead. The supplier review the images and they looked like the buyer may have caused them and just changed their mind, i was told it happens a lot. By now the buyer was abusive, refused to provide more clear photo and their story was not consistent, as i proceeded to rule out / source other cause of the damages. After a while, they agreed to return the item for inspection before a decision was made, The supplier was willing to refund and the buyer remained suspected. After physical inspection it was found the issue was caused partly by the supplier leaving out a small piece of packaging and the courier likely placing a heavy item  ontop creating the damage. So the buyer was happy i refunded them and my supplier and i took a lost. During this long ordeal i liked to think i was objective and was reasonable in my investigation, but the lack of cooperation and aggressive nature of the buyer really add suspicion to their case/claim.

 

So after that drama i started thinking about my customer service as i have been working under the principle "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" Why would a buyer have such an attitude or be abusive. You normally would not do that to a chef at a cafe or when returning an item to a retailer.

 

Later the same item was sold and delays where caused by the post, i informed the buyer ASAP as i hope to deliver to them within 2 or 3 days but they became abusive and threatened to report me, even tho the item would arrive within the ebay allowed time frame and it did in the end.

 

Was that too much customer service?

 

Finally, i recently sold wooden furniture piece. The buyer claimed there was a crack in the grain but in photos it was hard to see and just the nature of the product. The buyer was likely too pedantic. I spent sometime with my supplier to get them to agree to replace the items but in the end the buyer did not return it and stopped communication's tho they were not very responsive in the first place while i made updates regularly. So i just canceled the return.

 

I had a few other minor return issues such as buyer not liking the colour of the item, which they did not read the listing correctly. Or other very imperfections were buyer are fishing for a discount. however these buyer were more respectful and fix the issues by reasoning with them. In genuine cases like other seller i go out of my way to make buyers happy as iam starting out still.

 

After my experiences i realised a few things,

 

  • Buyers do not often realise that most ebay seller are ebay buyers themselves and individuals, but they reaction in the mind set of returns to a big retailers, 
  • Seller get blamed for delayed postage although its out of our control once it leave us.
  • Anger and abusive behaviour from buyer slows the resolution process, first communication is lost in the emails and a reluctant of seller to deal with the claim promptly.
  • Buyer are unlikely to understand the seller and continue to behaviour as such until they become sellers themselves.

 

So i hoped my shared experience's will help reduce the issues between buyer & seller and i hope to hear more about experiences from other seller as well as buyers. 

 

 

Community Member
Posts: 3,310
Registered: ‎06-24-2013

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

[ Edited ]
in reply to cutekittycat16

I think most buyers are probably going to be okay but for sure, there are some unreasonable people out there.

 

What i think is making it harder for sellers is ebay have ads on their home page. They imply that if there is any problem whatsoever, if the buyer is 'not happy', the buyer will be able to return the item or get a refund. They imply that most items will get there fast & put an estimated arrival date in the ads.

So some buyers take it all at face value. If they decide they don't like a colour or if something doesn't fit or if they just change their mind, they are angling to get their money back without having to pay return postage costs if they can.

 

I don't think it is going to get any better.

Community Member
Posts: 2,619
Registered: ‎05-18-2013

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to cutekittycat16

I see that you are drop shipping your items so when you say that you can't see that there should be a problem with new items how do you know that for sure when you don't see the items?

 

Community Member
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-23-2017

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to kollector18

Hi there, good question. First i have purchased most of the items i sell and sometimes i go to the showroom/warehouse to inspect them also. But in general i trust the supplier i work with as they been in their industry for over 10 years and are themselves a trusted brand. I guess my meaning is that since items are new i expect less interpretion of what the items condidtion should be vs any pre-owned goods. Saying that iam sure there will be defect rates and is just apart of selling.

Community Member
Posts: 7,416
Registered: ‎07-28-2015

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to cutekittycat16

I've never had a defect. I wouldn't say a defect is a part of selling. I'd be upset if I got a defect.

Community Member
Posts: 10,855
Registered: ‎05-25-2010

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

[ Edited ]
in reply to cutekittycat16

cutekittycat16 wrote:

 

 

After my experiences i realised a few things,

 

  • Buyers do not often realise that most ebay seller are ebay buyers themselves and individuals, but they reaction in the mind set of returns to a big retailers, 
  • Seller get blamed for delayed postage although its out of our control once it leave us.
  • Anger and abusive behaviour from buyer slows the resolution process, first communication is lost in the emails and a reluctant of seller to deal with the claim promptly.
  • Buyer are unlikely to understand the seller and continue to behaviour as such until they become sellers themselves.

 

So i hoped my shared experience's will help reduce the issues between buyer & seller and i hope to hear more about experiences from other seller as well as buyers. 

 

 


I have a pretty basic formula for responding to complaints, and so far it's been quite successful in turning around a lot of situations with angry buyers.

 

The simplest way to summarise it is:

 

  • Acknowledge
  • Empathise
  • Address / solve

As in, when you respond to someone, acknowledge the problem, show some understanding for why it is a problem (can occasionally be difficult, depending on the actual complaint), and then provide what - if any - solutions are available to the buyer(this can be contingent on acquiring further information from the buyer, eg an initial reply might say something like "once I can confirm [whatever info you need], I'll be happy to provide you with further options").

 

Many buyers can empathise with sellers, many others can not, but it's more constructive to solve the buyer's problem than it is to explain something isn't your fault, IYKWIM.

 

For a recent example of the 'formula' I listed up there in action, some weeks ago I accidentally sent the wrong item to someone. The buyer fired off two angry messages in quick succession to tell me of their displeasure, said outright that they were leaving me a negative, and told me I was a bad seller for doing that to them (they assumed I had done it on purpose).

 

In summary, in my reply I thanked them for letting me know, told them I understood how frustrating it can be to expect to receive one thing and receive something else instead, pointed out I had nothing to gain from sending them an incorrect item and providing an unsatisfactory experience for all concerned, then provided two options to solve the situation, and finally told them (not in these words), that they are free to leave whatever feedback they desire, as I have no interest in the FB they choose to leave, only solving the problem. 

 

The response to that was interesting to say the least. In short, I received an apology, the grammar and spelling was even vastly improved, and I was now a good seller who clearly cared.....and did not get any neg feeback. Smiley Happy

 

The only time this sort of thing doesn't really work is when someone is less focussed on the problem they are experiencing and hell bent on causing problems for the sake of it, but I've managed to develop a que sera, sera attitude about those. 

Community Member
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-23-2017

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to springyzone
Hi there, Thanks for your insightful feedback and yeah i agree. I now have a no change of mind/refund policy but have just passed it along from the supplier. Before i thought about cover that part and did for a while but if i do get an unreasonable customer and ebay sides with them it would take me maybe 3 or 4 sales of the same item to recover the cost, not to mention the drama too. Not worth and rather sell less at this stage.

Community Member
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-23-2017

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to digital*ghost
Thanks Digital Ghost for your reply and sharing your experiences with us, In a way i started to do what you have advised but less structured. Great tips and i'll start including some of them in my own approach.

And yes i totally agree when you have a buyer whos unreasonable and just want to blame someone its difficult, i had one such buyer early on and after explaining to them i just disengaged for a while ie a week until they settled down. But also i think i too will have to start getting into the same mindset you are in, i ve have read in another thread the same things.

I guess thats the experience of seasoned ebay sellers Smiley Happy
Cheers.
Community Member
Posts: 399
Registered: ‎08-11-2017

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to cutekittycat16

There's some very good information shared here and that's wonderful. We are so fortunate to have both experienced eBay buyers and sellers, but I suspect more so the latter, who are prepared to share their knowledge and expertise with us. The knowledge base here is invaluable, especially for newb's.

 

But, I make this observation .... eBay take it all for granted. These kind people are doing the job eBay should be doing - doing eBay's job for them

 

And, one further observation. Just my opinions n of course. Even though we've only been back here a short while, it is soooo readily apparent to us that the climate of  mistrust and angst e.g. Buyer Vs Seller has been directly created by eBay itself. SOmeone please prove me wrong. It would be pleasing to have that happen.

 

And then I start looking for the underlying agenda, but for the moment that escapes me. I need to understand the first part of it before I go there, and I just can't.

 

It's an awful situation and it's hard to win trust when someone, namely eBay, continues to introduce ill thought, discriminate, and DIVISIVE policy. 

 

I can well remember the excitement, anticipation trust and GOOD WILL when last we were selling. Sadly, that's now water under the bridge and eBay have contributed in a big way by creating a tidal rush out of it.

 

Being perfectly honest, I'm disgusted with some of the things I've heard about and been a principal witness to. I know, it's a two sided coin, but in my opinion one side has been tarnished beyond redemption. There will come a day. There always does!

 

But, until that time, it'll be good hearted members who do their best to try and bridge what I see to be an ever widening gap.

 

My compliments to them.

 

Melina.

Community Member
Posts: 11,790
Registered: ‎12-19-2011

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to clubesquire

6 months is a long time in eBay land.

 

Policy changes have been made in that time. One of the risks of dragging up OLD threads is that the information provided might no longer be current. And a lot don't bother to check posting dates, so they get a rude shock when they follow solutions given in OLD threads.

Community Member
Posts: 399
Registered: ‎08-11-2017

Re: The mistrust gap between Buyer & Seller and what is good customer service?

in reply to davewil1964

You know Dave, I didn't even think to check the date.

 

I went to this forum and right in front of me was this topic and thread, thereby thinking it was current. It was on the first page??

 

Many Thanks, I'll be more careful in future. My observations stand though.

 

Melina.