Saturday, November 28, 2009

Misusing Priority Supplies and the Seller Response

I had to go to the post office on Friday to pick up a package that had arrived postage due. The seller had used a priority mail flat rate box turned inside out. The priority mail boxes are easily recognizable even when turned inside out since they come in certain sizes that do not match the boxes sold by Uline and other companies.

I realized later that the seller also used one of the plastic sleeves that the post office provides for the customs declaration form for international mail. It might actually have been the plastic sleeve that was noticed first instead of the box itself. In the below image, I have placed an arrow pointing to where "priority mail" can be seen on the plastic sleeve.

I am always highly annoyed when I receive a package that is postage due. I already had paid the seller nearly $5.00 for media mail shipping. When I pay for media mail, I assume that the seller is using boxes that are not priority mail boxes. Since the seller used a priority box and was caught, I had to pay an additional $6.22 for the package.

By the way, most packages in which priority mail supplies have been misused are returned to sender for insufficient postage. The people at my post office know me and have asked whether I want to pay the postage due or have the packages returned. I would rather receive the books and then take it up with the seller, so I have requested that the packages be sent to me postage due. Sometimes these packages contain books that are very important to me, so I don't want the packages returned and then shipped again. It is better to pay the extra postage and guarantee the safe arrival of the books.

So that there is no doubt, this is what I saw when I opened the package.

It was a priority mail flat rate box. I photographed one of the flaps. Read the part that I highlighted.

I am sure that some people reading this blog think that it is okay to use priority mail supplies for other classes of mail. Some people cannot be convinced otherwise, regardless of which argument is used. All that I will say is that the postal service, as can be seen above, has a problem with it, so it is against regulations to use priority mail supplies on other classes of mail. It is not worth the risk of upsetting your customers.

As always, I contacted the seller, provided a photo, and requested a refund for the $6.22 I had to pay for the extra postage. The seller apologized, sent me a full refund of my entire original payment for the books and the postage, and sent me a PayPal payment of $6.22. Now I have some free books, which is not at all what I wanted. I just wanted a refund of $6.22.

I think that sellers are now so afraid of buyers, because of eBay's changes during the last year, that they will do anything to make buyers happy. I did not want free books. My first reaction to the seller's full refund was that I wanted to send the seller the original payment again. I then reconsidered. The seller did what she thought was right, and even though I disagree, perhaps I should just let it rest. I feel bad about having a full refund and the books, but this is apparently what she felt she needed to do in order to make it right. What do you think?


Kami said...

A few weeks ago, I overlooked a loose leg on a doll I was selling. The buyer let me know about it, so I paid $26 total to have the doll sent to the doll hospital. Since I bought the doll for $30 and sold her for $55, I almost cut even. It was a hard lesson to learn after all the time I invested in fixing the doll up, but the buyer left me glowing feedback (whew!). It gave me a good feeling to know that I made a little girl's Christmas extra special, even if it was at my own expense. I must admit that I try to make buyers happy at all costs because poor feedback can be very damaging, especially because I do buy it now listings that aren't on the cheapest end of the spectrum. If a buyer sees poor feedback, then of course they're tempted to wait for another listing or save their money.

Lauren said...

"I think that sellers are now so afraid of buyers, because of eBay's changes during the last year, that they will do anything to make buyers happy."

I would agree with this. eBay has pretty much insured this outcome with their new policies.

I get annoyed every time I have to fill out those "detailed seller ratings" only because I know half the eBay users didn't know how to use the REGULAR feedback system.

If I had a nickel for every user who thought "neutral" feedback was for a perfectly fine transaction, I'd be rich. So now I have to count on those same people to accurately rate a transaction in all these new categories?

I just don't think it's an effective system and it causes situations like this where a seller feels like they have to stand on their head to get you to give them high marks.

My sister and her husband were recently scammed by a buyer in a totally transparent and egregious fashion and despite hours of effort to get Paypal and ebay's attention, they are still stuck with an unfair and bogus negative, which tanked their rating completely. Of course, since sellers are not allowed to leave a negative for a buyer, she can't even warn other sellers about this con artist. ebay is totally ridiculous these days.

Jan said...

I, fortunately, have never had any problem with the feedback on ebay. But I just wanted to state that I think it's a shame that the post office has to penalize the recipient for misuse committed by the sender.