Warning Signs

eBay has recently been pushing their “Buyer Protection” plan.  They want all buyers to know that they should be confident when buying on eBay.  Like Shaq, on the Comcast commercials , eBay’s “got their back”.  That’s fine.  But what about sellers?  Who protects us from unscrupulous bidders?  Since the demise of negative feedbacks for buyers, we sellers are unaware of those sellers who are either deadbeats or trouble makers.

But, we have found that there are some tell tale warning signs. We are inundated on a daily basis with questions.  I understand that not every picture can capture the angle that the bidder is looking to see.  Most questions are certainly legitimate.  However, beware of those bidders with too many questions (when I get a plethora of questions from the same person, I can’t help but hear the robot from the TV show “Lost in Space” shout out – “Danger Will Robinson”).

I recently had an auction with 32 original Beatles trading cards.   We took a number of photos, but the value of the cards did not necessitate 32 photos.  The cards were in good shape – no tears, pin holes or markings.  I listed the numbers of the cards and we posted about 6 photos.  One guy wrote me at least 4 times asking me to email him photos of each of the backs of the cards.   He also asked for the numbers on the back of the cards (as I said, the numbers were listed in the auction description).  RED FLAG.  I have been doing this too long – I should have known better and blocked him immediately.  eBay allows you to keep a list of blocked bidders – those we just don’t want to sell to, for whatever reason.  Usually, this list gets populated after the bidder becomes a deadbeat.  However, it is also a good place to add those people who ask too many annoying questions before the auction is complete.  Silly me – I didn’t block this person.  And he won the auction.  Now he is complaining that the cards have marks on them, etc.  I looked up his feedback and see he is a seller of these Beatles cards!   Is this a case of bait and switch?

I had another person write me 10 times in one hour asking detailed questions about a piece of car stereo equipment.  I have sold two of these same pieces with no problems.  The item has never been used.  I listed the make and model and showed photos.  That is about all I know of this piece (car stereo equipment is just not my thing).  There is plenty of information about this piece of equipment on the Internet.  Look it up.  I wrote the guy and told him that I am not familiar with this item and that if the photos and model number were not enough, I would suggest that he not bid on this one.  I also just blocked him.  Go away.  This piece is too heavy.  This guy will never be happy and the shipping costs are too big to risk having him return it to us.

Problems are inevitable in this business.  But for the few that can be avoided ahead of time, sellers, take note.  Heed the warning signs!

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Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 6:02 am  Leave a Comment  

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