Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Well, I think that's it for that

As you may recall, selling stuff on eBay is not going that well for me. First I had to learn the hard way about shipping calculations. Then yesterday I got an email from a buyer. She had checked the "item not as described" option on the email. She told me that there are three stains on the dress I sold her.  Now, I did check all of the clothing carefully before listing any of the items for sale. I noted in the description for each one that "wash wear" was evident. I did not see any stains, however. Otherwise, I would've mentioned it (or, more likely, not attempted to sell the dress at all). I responded immediately and offered a partial refund. I ended up having to give her $3.00. Since I am a new seller (despite a 13-year (!) history with eBay and a 100% rating), eBay is holding the money I've made so far (pending satisfactory completion of all sales). So, I didn't have $3.00 in my PayPal account to give this buyer. I had to transfer it from my bank account and send it to her. So now I've sold ten items (all that eBay will allow me to sell in one month because I am a new seller) but have zero dollars to show for it. In fact, I'm down three bucks.

eBay's business model heavily favors buyers. Sellers have virtually no recourse, no matter what happens. For all I know, this buyer lied about the stains (I mean, what could I do? Force her to send me a photo to prove they existed?). I think this is a significant loophole. She probably wasn't lying, but I can see how others might. They know that as a seller, you have to do whatever is necessary to get that positive feedback rating.

Here's the thing. I buy clothing on eBay all the time - mostly Gymboree dresses for my daughter. A fair number of them show up with a stain or two. Many times, Oxyclean does the trick. But you know what? I never even mention the stains to the seller. I mean, each dress costs me about the same as (or less than) a half-gallon of almond milk. Expectations should not be overly high. I give them positive feedback and everyone goes on their merry way. I am just not one to return things. In fact, my daughter did not even find out until recently that is it possible to return an item. She overheard someone talking about a store's return policy. She looked at me, incredulous. "Mom! You can RETURN something to a store?"

I mean, unless you've poured a bucket of fresh vomit on the dress before mailing it to me, we're all good. However, I worked retail in high school and college and I know how people are. I've seen people drive halfway across the state to return a ten-dollar shirt because it had a loose thread. Just keep it! Or give it away!

So, I just don't know if I have the patience and stamina to sell more stuff on eBay just to get a few extra bucks for vacation next year. I almost feel like prostitution would take less out of me. I called my stad for advice because he sells a lot of stuff on eBay. He told me a couple of horror stories about irate moms he's encountered over the years. He also mentioned that eBay takes a higher percentage on clothing than on other items, so it's hard to maintain even a small profit margin on clothes.  I can't sell anything else until November so I will just wait until then and see if I am still irritated.

In other news, the three of us went to a Fall event at A's school yesterday. Families were invited to run a half mile and then come inside the building for some trail mix and water. P and I had been threatening to gallop or run like the Hunchback of Notre Dame (bearing goofy expressions, of course) and then to proclaim loudly, "WE ARE A'S PARENTS!" Threatening to embarrass your child is almost more fun than actually doing it. Luckily for her, her dad and I just ran it and then sat in the cafeteria like dutiful parents. I have to confess that I am not much of a runner. I jogged the 1/2 mile. I sometimes wish I were a runner, as my runner friends can pretty much eat whatever they want. However, I'm kind of, um, busty. Not really built for speed, as it were. So, I think I'm better off sticking with yoga classes and the elliptical machines at the gym. I may try to start adding a quick run on the treadmill from time to time. Okay, probably not. But you never know!

3 comments:

aliciajill said...

My husband sells a lot on ebay and I agree that the model heavily favors the buyer, it can be very frustrating. Just to throw it out there, if you have some nicer items you'd like to get a little $ for, feel free to message me. I may be interested in them for F. I have all of B's hand me downs for her, but it's always nice to get a few new pieces in the mix, and at a good price. Plus, like A she favors dresses while B does not. :)

Meghan Wallace said...

Do you have a local consignment store? There are bunches of them in our area and that's where I "recycle" all of our clothes. And make a little money for those fun trips. Might be worth looking into. I've always been terrified of just those issues with eBay selling.

Matt said...

Once Jennifer has re-joined the land of the vertical, maybe we should see what wares you are peddling.

-Matt