eBay Tips and Tricks
Useful, free advice for active eBay profit seekers


Avoiding Buyer Complaints on eBay Is Easy

One of the biggest attractions of selling on eBay is that it is easy. List the item, someone wins it, you ship it and everything's fine. However, if you get a complaint, selling on eBay can suddenly become a real pain. This article contains some suggestions on how you can minimise complaints.

Once you've sold a product on eBay and shipped it, the last thing you need is for the buyer to contact you to complain. If this happens you now have to spend extra time exchanging emails and trying to please them so they don't leave negative feedback or insist on a refund.

Follow the points below and you will protect yourself against complaints and potentially messy refund/return situations.

(1) Be completely honest in your description

This is the most important defence against complaints. If you have listed every possible problem, glitch or blemish on your product in the description in clear terms, the buyer will not have much reason to complain.

Also, if they complain to eBay, you can simply point eBay to the description and they will see you pointed out the problem.

If you are selling a DVD and it has slight scratches on the disk, say so.

If you are selling a porceline doll and it has a hairline fracture on the bottom, inform potential bidders in the description.

Hiding problems with your item will results in problems. There is no point selling an item, packaging it carefully and shipping it to the buyer quickly only for them to return it within days for a refund. You've wasted their time, your own time and your own money sending it to them.

A simple sentence in the description will avoid problems and can be a reference point to alert any complaining buyers to.

For example:

I recently listed an 8 VHS video set on eBay but tape 5 was almost unwatchable. To cover myself I simply added the following to the description:

"PLEASE NOTE: Tape 5 of this set is not in very good condition, it was shipped in this way and a replacement could not be sought. Most of the tape has bad audio and it is hard to pick up what [the presenter] is saying although the picture is fine. All of the other 7 videos are in excellent condition. Please do not bid if this is a problem."

If the buyer complains now, I can point him back to this text in the listing (which, by the way, was written in red text so it stood out!)

(2) Make it clear where you can ship to

If you are selling in the UK and do not want to ship abroad, make it perfectly clear that you only ship to the UK.

i.e. put in the description "UK bidders only please. Sorry but I cannot ship this item outside the UK"

Also, eBay allows you to state in the options where you ship to. Make sure you choose the "United Kingdom Only" option.

(3) Justify the postage costs and make sure they are stated

Nothing annoys a buyer more than winning an item and then being charged what they see as too much for postage.

eBay's stand on postage is that you can charge a reasonable fee which covers the postage and packing charge as well as any "handling fee".

The problem with this is that a buyer will not be happy to have an extra 5 or so "handling fee" added on to compensate for your troubles. Any normal eBay buyer wants to pay the exact postage cost and no more. If the parcel turns up with a 4 stamp printed on it and they paid 10 they will not be happy.

State and justify your exact postage costs. If you don't clearly tell potential bidders how much postage and packing is, don't be surprised if they neglect to bid on your item.

(4) Let bidders know how long it will take to post the item

Another problem with eBay and the world today is that everyone is in a rush. People expect goods to arrive next day.

Complaints can be lowered (and feedback improved) if you let the buyers know, in the description, when you are likely to post the item and how long it will take to arrive at the buyer's location.

e.g. "After payment I will despatch as soon as possible, usually the next working day so you should take possession of the package within 48 hours."

(5) Don't shill bid or use underhand tactics

Shill bidding is using someone else's account to ramp up the price of your own auction. It is relatively easy to detect if you are shill bidding and it usually results in negative feedback and suspension/banning from eBay. Don't trick your buyers, it isn't worth it.

(6) Respond to buyer questions quickly and politely

If a buyer asks you a question after the auction ends, respond quickly and be polite. When using email it is hard to convey emotions and a quick response may seem rude or "stand off-ish". Remember your manners and add a quick line to your replies such as:

"Thanks for your question, please do not hesitate to contact me with any further queries".

(7) Act professionally at all times

Some people like to complain. Before firing off a reply email, write it but do not send it.

Wait a few hours until you have calmed down and write a polite response asking the buyer what you can do to help or resolve the situation.

You may be forced to offer a refund and in this case, it may be easier to simply refund the money and relist the item rather than argue.

If you are forced to leave negative feedback, try to wait until 90 days following the sale before you submit the feedback. This will leave the other party with less than 24 hours to respond. This is due to the fact that eBay does not allow anyone to leave feedback once 90 days has lapsed.

Thanks for reading,