Shopping on eBay is very usual for many online shoppers. It is a challenge for shoppers too to pick the right products and the
right sellers. As a seller, we would like to share with buyers the common issues with eBay shopping.
BEFORE PLACING BID
Read all information on listing page
Unless you don't care the money you spent, otherwise, spend time to read ALL information provided by seller. We quite often
receive emails from potential buyers asking questions while answers to those questions were stated clearly on listing page. Some
buyers even overlooked the information and made complaint about missing information on listing page after receiving the products.
It is seller's responsibility to provide as much information as possible to potential buyers. It is also the responsibility of
bidders to find out ALL information needed for making purchase decision by contacting sellers BEFORE placing bid (not after). If
not sure, DON'T bid on it until everything is cleared. Otherwise, the chance of becoming dispute transaction is far higher.
Read seller's feedback history
Feedback history will give buyers a general clue of the reputation of the sellers as well as the product satisfaction. It is more
importantly to try to communicate with the buyer who left feedback asking them for comments on the products. They are the actual
users and their comments worth to listen. There are always pros and cons for everything. Bidder should analyze the information to
make decision if they want to go ahead to place bid or find another seller.
Quite often we got complaints from bidders or buyers saying that we did not reply their emails. We found that those broken
communication cases were mainly caused by mail server from both sides. It is better to use eBay message system to communicate for
two main reasons. It is reliable and can make sure that the message will be delivered. Another reason is that it will maintain a
complete record of correspondence for future reference.
Sometimes we need to reply with images or files. It cannot be done through eBay message system at this stage. Emails with
attachments have to use other email program, either web based or PC based. Mail could be lost or attachments could be removed by
mail server. Try to resend message again if no reply from sellers before assuming seller refuse to communicate. Sellers do want to
communicate with bidders to gain more bids.
It is important to read sellers' trade terms. Those terms form part of the purchase contract and legally binded, unless terms are
trying to supercede buyers rights protected by Fair Trading Act.
There is always chance for parcel being lost or damaged during transit. It is always the best choice to arrange transit insurance
for your goods. Commercial postal contact service ie eParcel (Aust Post), TNT, Courier Please etc. have online tracking facility
but insurance is optional at extra cost. Many buyers misunderstood that eParcel includes insurance, but no. eParcel is registered
post without insurance.
Delivery Lead Time
We found that many buyers shop at last minute and requesting good to be delivered in an unrealistic time frame. Buyers should find
out the order processing time or expected dispatch date from seller, add about 3-7 business days allowance to find out the rough
arrival date of your purchase. It could be more flexible for private sellers to make special arrangement for urgent orders.
However, for many commercial sellers, all orders are processed in routine. Buyer can try to negotiate with sellers for special
arrangement. However, it is sellers discretion if they could make special arrangement or not. Especially during Christmas shopping
season, if you buy goods as gift, better buy earlier and allow up to 15 days delivery lead time since payment made.
WAITING FOR DELIVERY
Keep following up with sellers about the process of order. Some commercial sellers like us have automated notification system
setup to notify buyers when payment is cleared, also when item is posted. If buyers were notified, buyers should contact seller
ASAP if they do not receive the item 7 business days after receiving shipping notification before it bounces back to sender. We
had experiences that buyers did not receive collection note for unattended delivery. For buyers who contacted us in time, we are
able to track it and tell them to collect from post office. For some who failed to contact us for weeks, the item bounced back to
us as unclaimed. Such bounce back parcel will cost sender extra trip of postage. If redeliver again, it is another trip. Unless
bounce back parcel was caused by senders's mistake, ie wrong or incomplete delivery address, buyer will be responsible for the
extra round trip postage for unclaimed return.
We have tried to leave recipients' contact number on consignment note. However, Aust Post or other courier companies never attempt
to contact recipient. They just keep item for collection. This is something that is out of sellers' control. Buyer should keep
following up with seller about the delivery if the delivery time frame is beyond reasonable.
AFTER RECEIVING THE PRODUCT
Item not as described
This refer to the variance between actual product received and the description on listing page. Buyers should retrieve the listing
page from "My eBay" of buyers account. The copy reflects the information buyer had when winning the item. Even sellers have
updated the listing page afterwards, buyers copy will remain unchanged. Compare this copy against the product and see if there is
variation. If buyers found variation beyond acceptable point, contact seller ASAP for solution.
Item received damaged
It is always better to check the content once received. If item received damaged, contact seller immediately. If item is insured, your item will be covered. Simple return the item to sellers according to their return instruction for exchange.
When item is lost, sellers will claim insurance under transit insurance policy. Once item is confirmed lost by carrier, a replacement will be sent. This situation is not what sellers or buyers want. However, it is beyond control of either party. As seller, we are happy to re-deliver replacement item for insured parcel once carrier confirmed that item is lost. The reason why need to wait for the confirmation from carrier is that the item could turn up after lodging complaint form by seller.
It is always better to start communication with polite manner reporting problems and ask for solutions. Aggressive starting seldom
comes into agreement. To maintain happy shopping experience, both sellers and buyers should respect each other. In most cases, polite communication resolves issue quick and smooth. Everyone is happy. Aggressive attempt might attracts back fire. Even problem might be resolved at the end, both parties will not be happy.
Remember, resolving problem is the ultimate goal. Insult, black mail and personal attack is not the proper way to resolve issues.
This is just some information we concluded from eBay selling experience and wish it will help for better shopping and selling experience for buyers and sellers
Working towards dispute free eBay shopping experience!
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20 November 2007
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