Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – New seller standards
- INR letter
- Block bidders
- Ask Molly – One shop or two?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
OK, so I forgot about the bank holiday weekend and that nobody would be around at the publisher to send out the bulletin. I have also heard rumours of some people having most weekends off as well, what is the world coming to?
In this bulletin, the subject of eBay shops and a few thoughts on which buyers to block.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – NEW SELLER STANDARDS
Well, you have probably seen the new projected performance standards so I thought I would share the details of Molly’s report with you.
My overall projected defect rate is now 1.04%, it was 1.35% so it is heading in the right direction. The big problem for me is ‘Opened cases for items not received’ which is currently at 17.
Most of these were self inflicted as I insist that all such claims are processed through the resolution centre as this does dissuade some from making their claim official. eBay should also monitor the number of such cases opened and take action if needed. I won’t be doing this from now on so my defect rate should fall.
It has been a sad week for negative feedback, the best one being for a 15ml tube of cream. The tube was factory sealed and the complaint was that the tube was not full. I guess an Elf must have opened it, squeezed out a few ml for personal use and then resealed it again. However stupid the buyer may be these negatives all contribute to the defect rate.
The latest scam is to claim the package arrived ok but was empty. Having sold umpteen thousand items with no problems like this to have two items fall out of their bubble bags within a week is really bad luck.
Low scores for item not as described or slow shipping time account for a further 10 defects. I am still hoping that I will be able to identify those buyers in the near future and block them.
I have now added the following note to my dispatch e-mail:
“We welcome back customers who leave us 5 stars in the eBay rating system as this helps us maintain keen prices. Anything less than 5 stars impacts on our ability to deliver a low price.”
The inference being that if you leave anything less than 5 stars and you will not be welcomed back, which is exactly what I want to imply.
I think it is quite ironic that eBay introduced this new rating system to improve the customer experience when actually anybody leaving a DSR score of 3 or lower will (hopefully) be blocked and unable to buy again in the future, which is not a great customer experience.
My blocked bidder list is now quite extensive, if you would like a copy of those buyers I have chosen to block, just let me know at the usual address and I’ll send it to you.
2. INR LETTER
“Some time ago in one of your bulletins you published a letter that you use when buyers claim their item has not been received.
I’ve checked through the various bulletins I have kept (sorry not all of them!) and cannot find it, nor did I cut and paste it into a file, oh the shame!
I would be grateful if you could send me a copy and I promise this time I will take care of it and save it securely somewhere in My Documents.”
Is this what you are after – bulletin 252 back in June 2012?
Thank you for informing us that your item has been undelivered or lost by the Royal Mail. I take this matter as being very important and will resolve ASAP.
Please try the following first:
* Your local Sorting Office (your local Post Office can inform you where this is) as the posties don’t always leave a ‘while you were out’ card.
(If the package is returned to me as ‘uncalled for’ I will unfortunately have to re-invoice you P+P for re-sending)
* Other people in your household
* Around wheelie Bins and outdoor areas (strangely posties do leave in odd places)
Once you have tried the above and informed me it is still not to be found I will issue you a refund and inform Royal Mail of this loss.
Royal Mail have recently been liaising with sellers to provide details of all items lost in transit so that they may investigate shortcomings in their service/and or postal staff.
The details we will provide on your behalf are:
1. Your name
2. Your address
3. The postal service used
4. The value of goods
When The Royal Mail investigation team contact you regarding your loss please reply with:
1. Your eBay ID
2. The eBay Item Number
I also used to ask these buyers to open an ‘item not received’ case which does put some scammers off. I don’t do this any more as it would count as a defect.
3. BLOCK BIDDERS
“I’ve had a few buyers that I’ve considered blocking because of the way transactions have worked out. One person purchased twice in four months and both times claimed they didn’t receive their item and asked me to resend – the second time the item was only supposedly a day late! Suspicious, I thought.
“Anyway, do you know whether the buyer is informed that they have been blocked at the time I do it, or do they only find out if they try to purchase from me again?
“I have been loathe to block people while I’m still in a dispute with them, in case it encourages them to turn nasty.”
No, the buyers does not know they are blocked until they try to buy again.
I am quite firm with my blocking and block anybody who:
- Asks if my items are genuine
- Sends a rude or particularly stupid question.
- Is refunded for an item not being received (it could always happen again as in your example). There is obviously a problem somewhere in the delivery system, this could be a stolen item and the buyer is innocent or a corrupt buyer, either way they get blocked.
- Anybody leaving a DSR score of 3 or lower will be blocked as soon as eBay release the details to me. If I disappointed them first time around I wouldn’t want to upset them again.
- Anybody who opens up a dispute case. As this now counts as a defect I would not like the same outcome should a future purchase also encounter a problem.
- Anybody who leaves a less than complementary comment within their positive feedback.
I know this all sounds a bit harsh but I am happy that I will hit my required turnover so the loss of a few potentially troublesome sales is of no consequence. I will do what I can to reduce my defect rate and keep my 15% fee discount and if that means upsetting a few customers then so be it.
My advice is to make a stand and block any buyer you are not 100% happy with, especially the ‘item not received’ ones.
4. ASK MOLLY – ONE SHOP OR TWO?
“I currently have a shop that’s tinkering along steadily and was wondering about opening another one, selling totally different stuff, to run alongside.
“I know you have a few shops and just wondered if I could pick your brains about the practicalities?
“Does absolutely everything need to be separate? Or can some things be shared? I’m thinking particularly about email addresses and bank accounts but wondered also about postage, i.e. is it possible to use the same online business account with Royal Mail?”
A couple of shops is a great idea as you can construct each one to suit the target buyer. My cosmetics one is soft colours with a more feminine overtone whereas if you sold Warhammer then a different approach might appeal. I think that a buyer wants to see a specialist and that a variety of lines might confuse things.
I should really split my DIY away from the toys as they both share at the moment but I have built so many ‘multi-variation’ listings I am reluctant to rebuild half of them. This combined shop has just over 1000 lines so is getting a little cumbersome.
Another benefit of two distinctly different shops comes if you need to split turnover between two business to manage VAT thresholds. Two businesses trading through one shop is more likely to be treated as one business for VAT purposes.
All the usual rules apply about having more than one PayPal account but there is no reason you can’t have the monies flowing into the same one if you wish and the same thing applies to e-mails, it all depends on your relationship with the taxman and how you want to structure things.
Yes you can use the same Royal Mail online business account, in fact you could post your Christmas cards using it although I am sure this never happens. Again it is down to any business split, if both shops are part of the same venture then all is fine but if they are two separate businesses then sharing a Royal Mail account leads to some accounting issues.
I am a big fan of shops at the moment especially with the 200 listing allowance making a basic shop free (if there can be such a thing) when you list 200 items. They are great for managing sales so a toy shop could be shut during certain months and come into its own at Christmas, a shop dedicated to Halloween could be opened for a month each year and lay dormant for the other 11 months. An inventory of 200 items could sit in the background for just the £20 monthly shop rental and you could open it when you wished, other shops could be open selling different lines. It all depends on how much gardening you have to do.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. I will reply personally to every email I receive and, remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips or stories.
– END NOTE –
That’s all for this week. Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
I was a bit sad to see the removal of the PowerSeller status bar from the dashboard summary as it is just another downgrading of what I still consider to be a worthwhile achievement.
This along with the loss of the ‘About Me’ page is another small step away from the community spirit that was once so important. If eBay just becomes a business venue it will be a sadder place in my opinion.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook – available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
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