Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – Free private listings
- Reader’s rant
- Item not received – further thoughts
- Ask Molly – Why are my listings being removed?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
eBay is very hard to predict at the moment and I can’t work out why. The weather is steady, no heatwave to pull buyers away, not the school holidays and the World Cup is not here yet. Molly’s sales are fluctuating out of the usual pattern, it is not all bad but very hard to assess stock levels and Elf staffing levels. Maybe the new defect rankings are impacting on search results, all I know is that is is getting harder to plan a coffee break!
In this bulletin, a super rant about PayPal, one of my favourite subjects, and a few further thoughts on dodgy buyers.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – FREE PRIVATE LISTINGS
eBay have been tinkering with the free listing allowance and now private sellers can have 20 free listings each month (zero insertion fees, FVFs still apply).
The good news is that the allowance of 100 listings at 99p has gone which should remove some of the debris from the site and replace it with more realistically priced items.
There are other related changes and you can read all about it here.
To coincide with this change eBay have embarked on a radio ad campaign to publicise the new allowance.
Now I was always told by my old guvnor that it costs a lot more to attract a new customer than hang on to an existing one. The Chartered Institute of Marketing has tried to put a figure on this.
“Most sources say the answer is that it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Some sources say cost of acquiring a new customer is over 30 times that of keeping an existing one.”
Now I am just a simple salesman [Ed - !!] but if it costs so much to attract new private sellers who may list 20 items each month of varying value why are existing business sellers who list thousands of items being dealt such a poor hand?
eBay must have a similar inbox to mine, it’s full of notes from sellers who are no longer expanding through eBay, they are selling on Amazon and other sites. The threat of a defect-driven loss of selling discounts can really impact on business decisions. But then what do I know?
2. READER’S RANT
Last week PayPal informed me that one of the transactions were fraudulent use of an account. Unfortunately they told me this 2 hours after our post was collected. I did the usual – gave all information that they required etc.
Today I have had notification that PayPal have found this case against me and refunded the customer. OK I thought, I will ask the supposed customer for the item to be returned when they receive it. Including a note that we help eBay, PayPal and the Police to stamp out online fraud.
I have just had a reply from the lady, stating that she never contacted PayPal to say that her account had been used fraudulently and that she did want the item and if I had actually been paid for the item. Needless to say, she is re-paying for her items (thank you Mrs!)
She had not realised it was for the items she wanted because she had sent several items back to sellers over the last few weeks (mainly clothes) and assumed the refund was from one of them.
I wonder how many of us have lost money on cases where the customer had no idea of any cases opened on their behalf. Of course when they refund the customer you have not only lost your sale amount but also the item, eBay fees and PayPal fees. So well out of pocket for nothing.
I will be contacting PayPal in the morning to see what they have to say about this, what do you think my chances are?”
M – It has been some time since PayPal did this to me but the memory does linger, waking me in a cold sweat from time to time. Ok, so maybe not that bad but their approach does not exactly build a good rapport with sellers, we use them because there is no alternative and this rant supports that view.
3. ITEM NOT RECEIVED – FURTHER THOUGHTS
“Hi Molly,I have an additional process which I follow for INR situations, which may be of interest to your readers.On receipt of an INR claim, I have a similar letter of response to the one you included in a recent bulletin.I then go the the buyer in question’s recent purchase history and as long as they haven’t made it private (a further sign of potential guilt, of course, but fortunately not all thieves are that smart), I email 5 other sellers they bought from at around the same time (5 being the maximum number of messages you can send out that aren’t specific order related in a 24 hour period), with the following:
“I’d be very grateful if you could help us regarding a customer who has claimed non-delivery of an item purchased from us.As this customer has also purchased from you recently, would you be kind enough to confirm that they didn’t claim non-delivery of the item ordered from you as well.The customer’s eBay ID is XXXXX.Sorry to bother you, and I’m sure this customer is perfectly honest, but we take the time to go through this process with all customers who claim non-delivery and if we’re able to track down just a small percentage of the fraudulent eBay buyers out there it’ll be better for eBay sellers all round.”
In general, they report back to say that the customer hasn’t been in contact at all, so therefore everything is fine, but generally appreciate the effort I’ve gone to anyway.However, last month, I did this for a customer called fern_qualitygoods, and all 5 sellers responded to me to say that they had been fed exactly the same story, that the customer had claimed to have “bought a similar item from the high street” and therefore requested a refund rather than a replacement.I reported the situation to eBay and they have since looked into it, although the customer is still on the site but now with ‘private’ feedback.Unfortunately, though, I had already refunded him. And despite the fact it was a clear case of serial fraud (that I’ve also reported to the police online fraud department), unbelievably, eBay and PayPal were unable to return my money to me (£33.90 for a pair of Adidas tracksuit bottoms, so worth chasing).I now realise I need a slight amendment to this process and must email the other sellers quickly and wait for them to get back to me before processing a refund.Or perhaps this is an overly long process to go through for INR cases full stop and this particular catching of a fraudster was an anomaly (I’ve only been trading for 4 months, so not enough instances to know yet).”
M – great idea and if you have saved just one reader from a fraud then it has to be worth the effort, I am sure that fern_qualitygoods will be added to quite a few block bidder lists over the next few days.
4. ASK MOLLY – WHY ARE MY LISTINGS BEING REMOVED?
I recently came across your bulletin online and have brought your book, very good I must say (now this is the way to get your e-m ail noticed).
I own a retro sweet / tobacconist, I sale a lot of ‘E cigs’ in my shop and have now started to trade online with eBay. I have listed E cigs and Liquids for about a month now, they sell well. However I have now started to get emails form eBay saying I am breaking eBay policy.I find this strange as there are lots of E cigs and other paraphernalia for sale on eBay. can you help me understand why they keep taking my listings down?”
ebay do have a policy of not allowing ‘E cigs’ (electronic cigarettes), it is part of the tobacco policy. The 7th item on the ‘not allowed’ list –
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and components.
Although not allowed to be sold on the site eBay seem to be having trouble enforcing the rule as there were 2,159 listings relating to the subject when I looked.
I would think that your listings are being reported by a competitor, if eBay are aware then they can take action. Although it does seem a bit unfair that other sellers get away with it there is not much that can be done.
It does seem that related items such as battery chargers are allowed so they may be a market for associated items. If a reader knows any more about this, please let me know and eBay please sort out the listings that should not be on the site, the ‘Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’ has these guidelines in place in place for a reason.
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.
A great question this week concerning an ink cartridge:
“How long would it take to deliver to Sheffield?”
Well, if I send an Elf now with a full packed lunch and given that they stay focused we can almost guarantee that it will be with you within two weeks. The Royal Mail however could take an eternity – you’d be better of going to Staples.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook – available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
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