Friday, January 29, 2010

Problematic Buyers and Sellers Part 2

I decided to write this post as an update to the transaction I mentioned in my last post. The seller's invoice was wrong at $26.98 postage. After the seller had no idea how to reduce the charges even after I explained exactly how to reduce the charges, I paid and requested a refund. The seller refunded $13.00, so the total postage amount charged was $13.98.

The books arrived on Thursday in a large bubble-lined envelope. This was unacceptable packaging, but it was even worse because three of the books have dust jackets. Nothing was done to protect the books; they were just stuck in the envelope together. The envelope had a hole ripped in it. The postage paid by the seller was $8.74. Even if the seller overpaid for the envelope, there was still an overcharge of several dollars. The seller did not ship the books priority as stated in the auctions.

As I feared, I was sent a wrong book, which does not surprise me. I knew this was a risky transaction because of the minimal details in the listings and because of the seller's inability to send an invoice with the correct shipping amount. I went for it because it was not a large amount of money.

It is curious. I have had several sellers in the past who did not know how to send a correct invoice. They would send an invoice for one book yet enter a postage amount higher than for one book that might or might not be for all of the books. Just like in this case, the resulting invoice would have all of the books uncombined at a high postage amount. Each of these sellers was incapable of figuring out how to send a proper invoice. More significantly, each of these sellers was incapable of giving a straight answer to a simple question: What exactly was the postage amount that the seller intended to charge? Odd, really...

I don't know why people like this cannot answer a simple question. I give them the benefit of the doubt, but every time this happens I wonder whether they want me to pay the high price and are hoping I won't notice. When the postage is higher than the total for the individual postage amounts added together, you can bet I will notice.

I should also mention that this seller stated that the books were in "excellent condition." No, they are not. The books are not in excellent condition. The photos did not show the flaws in the books.

I am done with this transaction. I will not be contacting the seller about the wrong book. I had such communication problems with just trying not to be grossly overcharged for shipping that I doubt I can get the right book sent to me. It is not worth it. I do not want to go through that again with this seller.

Regarding the seller's DSRs, I don't know what I will give, but they most certainly will not be fives. The seller has communication issues, does not describe items well, and overcharges for shipping. I usually think about it for a week before I go to leave feedback.


stratomiker said...

I think you're just being duped, or you ran into a complete idiot. You can mail five series books for $4 or so media mail. To mail them priority would indeed cost up to $13. Lots of sellers are still trying to make money on the postage because it's gotten more difficult to make money on the books.

Which doesn't mean to stay away from lower priced books. I've been selling a lot of low-priced ones. Just make sure the postage is sensible. Don't bid on books that require more than $3 postage per book - eBay requires that limit. And surely don't bid on series books that promise Priority Rate. It's unnecessary and costs too much. Media Mail most often works just fine. Of course, not always; but then Priority doesn't always work properly either.

Many people using eBay really don't know what they are doing. You seem to have an unusual amount of problems and it's probably because you look for bargains. I do, too. They're fun. But you have to expect morons and outright con-srtists now and then if you keep at it.


Jennifer White said...

Exactly. Since I look for bargains, I run into sellers who have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I tend to think that is the case with this one.

I could not get her to understand how to send a combined invoice. She said she had done it. No, one book at $10.98 and the others showing at $4.00 each is not a combined invoice. This is why I am done with this transaction.

I am not upset about it; I knew that because of the bargain, I was going to be dealing with someone who was difficult. I will admit that I did not expect it to be this difficult.

I will probably give the seller fours. She is just not someone who understands what is going on. I am usually right in my gut feeling as to whether someone is clueless or intends to deceive me. I think she is clueless.

It does make for interesting material for this blog though, right?

Paula said...

I had a seller like this once - invoicing issues, unfamiliar with postage methods, issues with the books once received, and didn't know how to use Paypal to refund. The difference was she was younger and computer literate, so I was able to explain things and she understood, and she was eager to do the right thing. But the time I had to spend on this one transaction was crazy! So I can sympathize and imagine your frustration must be even greater because you can't get through to the person.

After it was all over, it was hard to know how to rate her. Ultimately, I felt she had learned allot from our transaction, and gave her the benefit of the doubt that she would do better next time (i.e., I felt sorry for her even though I had had to hand hold her through the whole thing). Thank heavens this only happened once!

Donna said...

Because I am in Canada, I always confirm in advance of bidding what the shipping cost will be. Sometimes a seller will say "Please remind me", which is fine. But you would be surprised how many times the first invoice has higher shipping than quoted (usually $3 or $4 higher) - even when I'm the only bidder. I think these sellers just think I'll pay it. I respectfully request the seller honour their shipping quote, but I find it most annoying and, usually, I don't think it's an accident. When I speak up, I always worry that the shipper will then not pack my book safely. And finally, these sellers usually don't leave me positive feedback.
C'est la vie.

Jennifer White said...

And that's just it... why should we have to nag a seller to charge an appropriate amount for postage? I had to send a total of four or five messages in order to get the postage down from $26.98 to $13.98, which was still too high. Ugh.

It is this sort of thing that eBay has been trying to curtail by implementing its series of draconian policies of the last couple of years. The trouble is that the problem sellers are still there, and all eBay did was drive a bunch of us away. No offense to the good sellers who remain on eBay, but the bad sellers will stay on eBay because they are lazy. EBay is kind of like Walmart. It's that big place that everyone shops at because of the low prices, but everyone has a few horror stories about it.

Maybe I should give my seller threes on the DSRs. This is why I wait a week. I have a good amount of time to think about all of my options so I don't leave a rating that is too low or too high.

Jennifer White said...

I also think it is possible that my seller does not know basic arithmetic. Of course, most people own calculators, but I have had high school students who do not know how to use a calculator to add money. Sadly, I am not joking.

My seller had $10.98 as the postage for the one book that was included in the invoice. Was that supposed to be the amount I was to be charged? I don't know since the seller would not communicate that fact to me. If not, then what was the $10.98?

If the charge was to be $10.98, then it was not that much more than the $8.74 that the seller paid for postage. I think the seller may not know how to add and subtract and may not have known that $26.98 - $13.00 = $13.98 which is $3.00 more than $10.98. Seriously.