Monday, February 11, 2013

How to Handle eBay Items Damaged During Shipping

Selling things on eBay is easier then it seems, the hard part comes when you send out an item and it's gets damaged during the shipment.

 photo saba555.gif This goes way back to the beginning when we talked about 'taking your losses'.  You might send out a shirt, or collector's plate or an XBox 360, each one has the possibility of being damaged by the time it gets to the buyer.  Now, you might be wondering, 'How does a shirt get damaged during shipping?', well, I'll tell you this, it's easier then it sounds.

Along with your items, there are other items, cart fulls of other items, and although you'd like to think your items are being treated with the utmost care, the truth is our postage service is paid so little that these workers could care less if you even put the right postage amount on your package.  So, when they put your package with the shirt in the cart that they send out from post office to post office, sitting on top of it is probably another box full of coloring dyes, soaps, wax, perishable food, etc.  And even if you wrap yours air tight, the other people might not, and leaks happen.  Once it drips out, it can be all over your package and then, find it's way into the package, damaging your goods.

 photo infinitechances.gif For example, I sent out a pair of snowpants once.  They were brand new, meant for my daughter, but she was too big for them and I just never took them back to the store, so I sold them on eBay.  I took all the pictures I could, front back, inside tags and there wasn't a single mark on them.  When someone purchased them, I was very excited and sent them out right away, hoping maybe a little girl would get them in time to play in the snow.  Well, as soon as they got there, the person didn't even bother to contact me, they just jumped right at the chance to leave me feedback and started shouting they were stained with some purple dye all over the back of the pants!  I wish the buyer would have spoken to me first about this before leaving the feedback as I would have asked her to send it back so I could confront the post office with the damage, but they refused to even respond to my messages.

So when you don't think it'll happen to you, think again.  The worse thing that can ever happen to you is you get blindsided by the people you think you can trust.  It's like walking into a door that you thought was open, it sucks, bottom line.

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So what do you do when something gets damaged in shipping?
Well first off, if this is a normal buyer, they're going to just send you a message about the damage before they leave feed and let you know what the damage is.  If this was a big item and you had it insured, ask the buyer to provide pictures, tell them that you had it insured and apologize over and over and over again about the damage.  You can never say sorry too many times.

If you don't have the item insured, the next step is to ask them to send it back.

Now this can get a bit tricky, unless you provided them with a return label, they're most likely going to have pay to send it back and depending on how big the item is too, is how much they have to pay.  A few dollars doesn't sound so bad at first, but if they paid you $4 for the item and they have to pay $3.50 to send it back, then it becomes a problem.  The eBay Buyer might become a bit hostile to the idea of paying more out of pocket for an item that was damaged so you have to handle this delicately.

Believe me, you need this feedback more then you know, it'll define whether Paypal puts a hold on your money, or allows it to be available right away after the buyer has sent it, so feedback is extremely important.

The best way to handle these situations, is to try to come to some 'agreement'. photo Terra.gif

  • First, ask them  if they still have the original packaging.  If they do, great!  Ask them to re-tape up the item, then write 'RETURN' above their address label in a black marker and drop it off at the post office or put it back in their mailbox.  Ask them to package it up as neatly as they can so the Post Office doesn't complain about the damage done.  This is the easiest and most hassle free way of handling this situation.
  •  If they don't have the original packaging, and the item was only a few dollars, just send the money back to them.  Unless you see this has been a repeated issue happening with other sellers that your buyer has gone through, arguing over a few dollars is pointless.  It might truly be a case of buyers remorse, but in the end, it's not going to be your call to make if they want their money back, it'll be Paypal's.
 photo Hazama-1.gifYou can say, all over your auction that you don't take returns, it doesn't matter, Paypal will force you to take the return should the buyer want to send it back.  In the end, be thankful if they lied and the item wasn't damaged and it was truly buyer's remorse.  It means you're right back where you started and you can relist the item again, the only thing you've lost is time!

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I hope this helps anyone who's wondering what they should do if an eBay buyer reports a broken or damaged item.  These are the best options I've found when handling a situation like this and they always seem to work very well.  Just remember not to hold a grudge, and if you truly think that you're dealing with a scamming buyer, then ask them to return the item, no matter the cost.  Paypal won't give them their money back unless it's returned first, (unless they state it's fake or counterfeit, that's a whole other ballgame that we'll go over in the next blogs).

Please feel free to ask any questions you have on this topic or share your experiences!  Hearing from other people and their stories can really help others with their own problems.

Look forward to more posts about earning with eBay soon!

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