Ebay Morons Galore!

January 23, 2011

What the hell is wrong with the Canadian post office?

Seriously. I need to know. Almost everything I’ve sent there over the last few months has arrived either damaged, massively late, or most importantly, not at all. It’s moved beyond a coincidental fluke to something substantially wrong with the system.

About 15% of my ebay business goes overseas. Anyone who’s read my posts here knows I think it’s good for business to sell anywhere, anytime. However, I am seriously considering outright banning Canada for a while. I had a perfect holiday season everywhere else in the world (even Italy and Mexico!), but about 7-8 packages just never arrived to Canada, leading to constant refunds and several negative feedbacks, even though I did all I could to help the buyers. I’ve been shipping from three different post office locations, so it’s not like someone in “the back” is stealing my Canadian packages, which is a pretty paranoid way of thinking anyway.

This week alone, I received two negs from western Canada for non-receipt. I first asked for patience, that mail to Canada has been slow recently (especially during the holidays), and they act like I called their sisters a bunch of sloppy whores. God forbid you insult the infallible Canada Post! Both buyers actually refused refunds and apologies for the inconveniences because I said the fault lies with their countries’ mail delivery service. They’d rather neg and get nothing (if you think a refund offer is still on the table after a neg, you’re nuts).

An email: “Do NOT say it takes long because it’s international. I’ve sent and received stuff to/from US – it NEVER takes a month – it arrives within a week if not 2. Even items from Asia don’t take a month. It wasn’t even holiday season back when I purchased it.

Ignoring the fact he considers the second week of December to not be part of the holiday season, it’s a dumb email. Even the packages that do make it into the buyer’s hands take no less than 10-14 days. This is not just my experience; other sellers I know experience the same results. Three to four weeks is in no way unusual, but according to this buyer, it’s never happened in the history of Canada. Thanks anyway, guy with 60 feedback!

Later, his neg: “Item NEVER received. Blames on the postal service. Irresponsible. Do NOT trust.

Really now, what more can I possibly do once I drop the package off at the PO? Of course I’m blaming the Canadian post office. The address is written 100% legibly and the customs form is always on the front or top and is filled out correctly. If there’s no item 30-35 days after the mailing date, I’ll send a refund. Wow, that’s pretty irresponsible. (I realize I’m being snarky now, but my emails are actually professional to the buyers until the transaction has officially been ruined, so don’t think my ‘tude is causing the bad feedback)

So, I have three choices right now (aside from doing nothing and hoping it’s all a giant, expensive fluke):

1) Continue to ship to Canada, jack up shipping ~30%, and give a refund at the earliest possible moment to any Canadian who complains, even if it’s hours later. I will not speak ill of Canada Post because Canada Post is perfect and asking for patience will only make the buyer angry, and I won’t like him when he’s angry.

2) Continue to ship to Canada, jack up shipping to Priority/Express Mail costs. This is a HUGE price increase, since I mostly sell items that are under a pound, meaning the shipping price will likely more than double. Unless it fits in a Flat Rate envelope/box (less than half do, since I sell a lot of 5950 hats which go in a custom box), this’ll cost, bare minimum (no handling fees), $21. Not appealing when most items I sell go for about $10-20. I’ll have a tracking number, which is good, but Priority items to Canada have gone missing before.

3) Ban Canada outright from future sales. Will definitely hurt business, but will have a nice catharsis effect. Will probably lead to a giant flashing text box in all listings taunting Canada while thanking them for all the negs, which will probably hurt business more.

I’m leaning towards #1, but 2 or 3 might happen too. A colleague mentioned a variation of #2, in which anyone outside of the province of Ontario MUST pay for Priority shipping, since that’s where a majority of the non-receipt problems come from. Not a bad idea, but there’s no way to officially discriminate against Canadian provinces in your ebay listing, and packages still go missing to Ontario.

Comments, suggestions, similar horror stories to share?

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January 15, 2008

On second thought, maybe I should quit accepting mailed payments…

I’ve had a lot of problems with mailed payments recently. Normally I prefer them, since there’s no Paypal fees and no real threat of chargeback. I see a lot of sellers worried about bounced checks, but that’s never happened to me, and I’ve accepted hundreds of personal checks over the years. Obviously money orders are okay, since the money is guaranteed.

I’ve already shown you the woman who underpaid via money order (even though she included the total 3-4 times) a few posts back. I emailed her, she apologized and said she’d send the rest of the money. She never did, but I sent the item anyway because $2 isn’t going to make anyone richer or poorer.

Now I’m getting more and more people who just send money with no information whatsoever. I clearly say in my item description, shipping details, and automatic invoice that if you do not include exactly what you won with your full name and shipping address, I can’t possibly be expected to ship. I refuse to mail a package in a situation where I’m not 100% confident that the name/address is accurate and that it will arrive.

If I just get $30 cash in the mail with only a scribbled return address, this does me no good. Same with blank money orders for a common amount. $24.99 + $8 shipping for a total of $32.99 is a very common payment amount and doesn’t help me find what item you won. If the total is $43.81, I might be able to find who you are because that’s an unusual amount that stands out. You know what I mean. If a buyer includes their name, I can search my email because their name shows up in the ebay “Your Item Sold!” email. This obviously doesn’t work when they pay with a business check when the account is registered to a single person and vice versa.

Like every other kind of ebay nonsense, the holidays are the worst time for this. People just mail checks and are apparently too busy to say who they are and what they won. So I deposit the payment, write down whatever information is given, email the buyer if possible, and simply wait for the buyer to get back in touch with me. I had a nice stack of four payments a few weeks ago with literally no contact/ebay info to work from, which is a personal best for “on-hold” payments at a time.

This reached a new level of absurdity last week when a buyer opened an “Item Not Received” ebay dispute. I asked them in the Dispute Console for their name, shipping address, how/if they paid, and so on to see if they matched one of my “on-hold” payments. After a quick email search, it turns out I emailed this user 4-5 times to verify basic information, because the handwriting was beyond sloppy, they wanted the item shipped to a friend’s address but didn’t make it clear exactly which address belonged to the friend, and they didn’t say what item it was. They never responded, and in the Dispute Console, they said they never received any emails from me.

Essentially, I had a personal check from a person with a dead email address who wasn’t the buyer, didn’t say what they won, and didn’t make it clear where I should mail this mystery item. Clearly this is my fault.

They flipped out in the Dispute Console and finally, everything was sorted out and all the necessary information was given to me. Apparently this was a birthday gift, which might be a bit late, since the auction ended November 17.

It’s times like this I wish everyone just paid with Paypal.

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