Lesson 1362 – Online Auctioning – lesson 3

For the most part, once you have listed something on eBay everything is pretty much automated. People bid, a winner wins, that winner gets notified and payment usually happens, sometimes before you’re even aware that the auction has ended.

This sold for $15.

This sold for $15.

However, there can be a few little bumps along the way.

Questions – sometimes people will want to know more information about your item and they will send you a question through eBay. You’ll receive a notification of the question by email but when you look at what you are selling on your “My eBay” page, you’ll notice a red text box on the auction line indicating that there is an unanswered question. Most of the questions are straight forward – Does the pocket have a zipper? Can you tell me how wide this is? Are there any markings on the bottom?

Do your best to provide the information (and try to keep to the facts – you’re not responding to a pen pal.) If it’s an “I’d like more information” question click the box at the bottom of the reply form to post the question and answer to your auction’s page. If someone is requesting more information, chances are others might be as well.

Every once in a while you’ll get an odd question or request. I’ve had people ask me to send them material with Swastikas on them. (Um, sorry, nope.) I’ve had people make offers on auctions before they end. One guy wanted to give me $19.00 with no shipping for something that ended up fetching over $75 (plus shipping.) My policy is that if I start an auction, it ends as an auction. If it didn’t sell, then we can talk about buying it through a Buy Now post.

When you get requests like this, be polite but reply that you are not interested. If someone is offensive in a reply, you can always report them to eBay.

Non-payment. Just this week I had someone bid on a purse and win it for $41. She sent me mail yesterday saying that she had a family emergency and couldn’t pay the money so she wanted me to cancel her invoice.

I don’t know if what she has told me is true or not, but it doesn’t matter. This person is not going to pay and if I don’t do something about it, I’ll be paying eBay a percentage of money I didn’t get.

This is what I did:

  • I reported her to eBay for non-payment.
  • I blocked her from my future auctions (search Block buyers) Again, I don’t know if she really had a family emergency, but I choose not to take the chance of working with her in the future.
  • I created a second chance for the auction which notified the second highest bidder that this item was now available at the price she had bid and it automatically listed the purse at that price for anyone to purchase (non-auction.) As of now, the post has 3 hours to go and it doesn’t look like it will be bid on which means I’ll go back and create another auction.

Not the world’s biggest problem but it’s definitely a hassle.

I’ve also had a situation where I was in the wrong. One time I listed a gorgeous vintage tablecloth. The auction had a winner and, after payment, I shipped out the tablecloth. Soon I get a *very* angry email from the woman who purchased the tablecloth, apparently there was a repair that I hadn’t seen and she wanted to know what I was going to do about it.

I apologized (in fact there was a repair that I hadn’t noticed and this was totally my fault) for my item and told her that I would give her a full refund including shipping (x2) *when* I received the tablecloth back from her.

She returned the tablecloth (and got her full refund), but not before she sent me two more emails calling me names and telling me what a horrible person I was.

Here’s a case where, even though I was at fault, I blocked her. I don’t ever need to interact with people like that. Life is too short.

But, you’re saying, you’re too nice to report anyone. eBay works on a feedback system. If you sell sub-standard things or if you are trying to rip someone off, people will soon find out through comments. eBay is self-regulated that way. If you don’t report someone when they misbehave then you are allowing that person to continue on eBay and chances are they will continue their behavior.

Reporting someone doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It simply means you are reporting someone.

I’ve been working slow and steady on eBay – about a dozen items a week. There hasn’t been a lot of action, but then we are all coming off of the holidays where everyone purchased and received a lot of stuff. I intend to keep at it and use all of the money I get toward our debt (if you’ve been following my Dave Ramsey posts you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

It’s going to take some time, but even Michelangelo’s David had to be done one chip at a time.

Tip: Any holiday items should be posted the month before (Christmas items 2 months before) – so if you have anything that might be appropriate for St. Valentine’s Day, (hearts, red, figurines, decorations, etc) now is the time to get it up.

A few people are following these steps and they’ve given great advice. Be sure to read any comments below these lessons.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under eBay

2 responses to “Lesson 1362 – Online Auctioning – lesson 3

  1. Marcia

    Wendy, you have inspired me to get back to selling things on Ebay and Craig’s List. My goal is to clear my basement of all unnecessary “stuff” that has been sitting around far too long and has created a mountain of clutter. Thanks for the refresher course – well done!

  2. Love reading your posts about selling on Ebay! When we still had all of our sheep we were pretty successful in selling the raw wool on Ebay. We too dealt with the occasional angry email, weird questions and no payments. We also had our fair share of having to refund in the beginning when we were still learning how things went with online auctions. We learned fast to give as much description as possible and to take as many photos as we could to make sure buyers knew all we knew. That did help minimize the issues we had early on. It has been years since listing anything on Ebay but reading your posts has been inspiring!

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