Selling Hiatus – Explaining Our Absence:

In case you’ve been wondering…

Ebay policies and scammy buyers made us step back

I’ve been absent for a while. I was languishing under a bad case of the “I don’t want to deal with it anymore”-itis from an Ebay customer to whom I’d sold 3 plants. This “unique” individual had been a thorn in my side from the get-go; continually questioning why she couldn’t get the order through checkout, which ended up that she just didn’t like the fact that there was an additional shipping charge for each ADDITIONAL plant she was attempting to order.

At first we thought this person just didn’t understand the process. We kindly explained to her, SEVERAL TIMES, how she was to enter her choices and Ebay would calculate the charges and give the total. Simple, right?  I can’t tell you the times I ordered plants from both African Violet and Christmas Cactus sellers who had shipping charges for each additional plant along with the standard shipping charge, some as little as a $1.00 per plant, up to $3.50 per plant. Face it folks, IT COSTS TO SHIP NOWDAYS – especially with the increases in postage that the wonderful USPS has imposed upon us recently!

Anyway, before I go off on a tirade on the USPS, let me get back to this delightful customer… We first thought, she didn’t get the process. After our attempts to get her to understand what was going on in the Checkout, we began to see that the cheese had seemingly slipped off of this person’s cracker. Eventually, she simply dropped off the radar. Honestly, we breathed a sigh of relief. Granted, I’d lost the sale, but my daughter remarked after all the back and forth emails covering the SAME THING that we were probably better off that this person went silent. As my daughter said, she felt that person would have been a problem going forward.

Back to quietness, again. I went about packing up the other orders I’d received. No one else was complaining about anything. Life was good!

Well, dang it, dag nabbit, ##$%%^#@&&! About two weeks later, just when we were convinced that customer had found someone else to harass and act crazy with, SHE WAS BACK!  In the cover of late night darkness, SHE’D PLACED AN ORDER!!! Instead of the 4 plants in her original order, she’d reduced it to 3…we guessed to save money, since that seemed the thrust of her last objections and once again, she complained about the shipping charges! This time, we sent her a breakdown of OUR COSTS in packing, PLUS, and only Ebay sellers know of the charges Ebay has for each sale-what we get charged. She grew quiet…plotting… Yes, you might get free posts of your items at the beginning of the month but every time there’s a sale, Ebay gets a cut and then so does their sister company, PayPal, if you use them for the payment processing.  By the way, the “discount” you THINK you’re getting on the shipping charges is actually what good ‘ol USPS charges anyway AND THEN you’re charged a SHIPPING FEE by Ebay along with a FINAL VALUE FEE on the total sale. During this process, we learned a lot more about Ebay! More on THAT later.

And here’s something else about Ebay selling…YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SELL AN ITEM…TO ANYONE!  Even a bothersome, troublesome, nagging, hateful individual who YOU KNOW is going to be further trouble. YOU CAN’T SAY NO.  This person placed their order, I packaged up that order THE SAME WAY I PACKAGED ALL ORDERS. I had, until this person, a 100% positive feedback. Other customers were sending reviews about the GREAT PACKAGING and that their plants arrived beautiful and carefully packaged…THERE WERE NO PROBLEMS. But when this person received  her plants and oh dear was EVERYTHING WRONG!

A few days after she got the plants, she released the hounds of hell! Her mouth. I’d post screenshots of her nutty ebay messages but I closed my ebay account for good. Just take my word for it. All caps, not forming coherent sentences. You know, nuts. She reported leaves had been broken off all three plants and one that she sent a picture of was smashed in THE CROWNE of the plant. Outer leaves looked like they’d been chewed by a dog!  And just how the blankety-blank @#$%$$%^^! Did it get smashed in THE CROWNE???!!  It is IMPOSSIBLE the way I pack the plants for them to get damaged in that manner without “outside assistance”! IE: Her damaging the plant intentionally in order to get her “outrageous” shipping refunded.

My daughter and I were aghast. Of all the plant sales we’d made and shipped over the last few years, we’d never seen anything arrive like that! I was upset over the damage and I immediately began to question if there had been ANYTHING DIFFERENT I’d done on this packaging. I knew there hadn’t been, but, you know, when something goes wrong, you still wonder “Did I skip something? Did I skimp on padding? WHAT WENT WRONG?!” All the while, this person was demanding a FULL REFUND for the entire order!

Yep. FULL REFUND. Although, she admitted the loss of “a couple” of leaves from the other two plants was something she could accept. Even though, if you’re ANY KIND of AV person, broken leaves means more plants because you PLANT THEM!  But her main complaint was that I hadn’t used a Flat Rate Priority box to ship in which, she said, would have cost HER less money on the shipping and it would have been a smaller box so the plants wouldn’t have been “tossed around” and broken.

Number 1, I don’t use Flat Rate Priority boxes to ship in as they DON’T COME IN THE SIZES I CAN USE in a way that WON’T damage plants. Additionally, although the box is FREE postage is SEVERAL DOLLARS MORE than what I was charging. Yes, I have to supply my own box, and from time to time I have to buy a box or two, but I get orders from Amazon monthly and those are PERFECT for my needs. I recycle the boxes and pass the savings on down to the customer. Why bust down a box and send it to the landfill when you can re-purpose and reuse and EVERYBODY’S HAPPY? But this woman got a brandy new box specifically for the size and number of plants she ordered so that no damage would be accrued. Not enough for THIS CUSTOMER!

I offered her a partial refund for that destroyed plant, but that wasn’t good enough! No siree! She hit me with TWO negative feedbacks that sent my rating down to 94% AND SHE WAN’T DONE! Filing a complaint with Ebay, all the while my daughter was on the phone with Ebay, HOURS ON THE PHONE with Customer Service from India as the buyer went absolutely awol. Writing in all caps, saying we were scammers, blah blah, yaddy yaddy. The best part was that Ebay customer service was pandering to my daughter and agreed that they felt this person was trying to scam us. All the while, they WERE SIDING WITH HER! I’ll get to that part in a minute…

My daughter did some investigating on this person, finding they had a track record of this kind of behavior. They had in the past purchased items from other sellers and then claimed the item came broken or faulty or “not as represented” and got Ebay to refund her money while she gets to keep the item! As it turned out, she also has an Ebay site, selling all kinds of ugly, weird stuff. Probably some of the stuff she scammed other sellers out of! She’s also that person on Facebook that invites friends over to her dwelling to try to get them to buy in on her latest pyramid scheme gig. Yeah, she’s that person.

Buyers have caught on to Ebay’s propensity to side with them over the seller no matter what and some are scamming the hell out of the sellers. Go to fu** and you’ll read story after story of sellers who had sold one of a kind collectibles and then have the buyer claim the items was not as represented or had PayPal freeze their account with hundreds of dollars in it that they can’t access almost indefinitely. Once a buyer makes such claims, it can cause Ebay to immediately take the money back and refund the TOTAL PRICE with the seller being out of the item and out of the money! Once such heartbreaking story was about a seller with a COLLECTOR’S VIOLIN that had sold for $2,500. Buyer claimed the item was not as represented, and seeing as the payment went through PayPal, Paypal contacted the buyer and TOLD THEM TO DESTROY THE ITEM and REFUNDED THE ENTIRE AMOUNT! To add insult to injury, the buyer seemed to gloat and sent the seller the picture of the destroyed violin. I’d vomit.  There’s a picture of a smashed violin that the buyer sent back to the seller. That seller was not only out of the violin, out of the money but also the charges by Ebay and PayPal on the sale of that item, which, I’m sure was considerable just from seeing the charges I’ve incurred from both those entities on my much small sales! Another horror story was when a seller sold a collector’s hockey Jersey for several hundred dollars. They’d posted TONS of pictures of the item and a thorough description. The buyer got the item, said they didn’t like the color, claimed item was not as described and BAM! Got to keep the Jersey and get the money back. Seller – 0 Buyer AND Ebay – infinite points.

Ebay wins no matter what as they have made bank on fees. Unlike in the old days, Ebay prefers to keep buyers happy rather than sellers as buyers keep the big gears of Ebay turning by coming back and pumping money in through purchase fees and ad revenue. My daughter worked for a large technology company that sold primarily through Ebay and the only reason Ebay worked with them, was because they made almost $300,000 in sales per month. She followed the exact same procedure this time as when she worked there and had a completely different and negative outcome this time. Additionally, Ebay does not allow you to leave negative feedback on buyers anymore! By all means, can’t upset those precious snowflakes! Basically, if you want anything for free on eBay just purchase an item, say you have received the package but it was empty or not as described. Ebay will then grant you a full refund, and the seller will be out money.

On my frustrating issue, I ended up with having the refund FOR THE ENTIRE ORDER taken by Ebay, so I’m not only out of the plants, out of the costs of shipping, and out of the charges that were incurred by Ebay and PayPal. Those charges are NEVER REFUNDED to the seller. I immediately shut down my Ebay account and decided to step away from selling for a while. This left a REALLY BAD TASTE in my mouth. What’s maybe worse, after this person got their victory and refund, they sent back a destroyed plant. In a box too small, surrounded in packing paper. They sent back a pot with a NUB covered in fungus. There was nothing but a rotting NUB where once a beautiful Wrangler’s Gaudy Lady had been!  They had the audacity to send a long a letter calling me a liar and a cheat and that I should be ashamed of myself for my HORRIBLE packaging! While, no doubt, she’s planted those leaves and 3 or 6 months from now, I don’t doubt she’ll be selling on her site!

Good luck, lady. Too bad what goes around, comes around!

Anyway, I thought I’d share this so everyone would have an idea why I’ve fallen completely silent lately and not posting. I personally just got sick and tired of being sick and tired of what the internet has turned into and reverted back to just taking care of hundreds of plants for the simple joy of it. I’m still a little bitter and will not be selling ANYTHING on Ebay ever. I will be selling my plants next month on this site and Facebook ONLY.

Imagine if someone bought ALL of my plants in one big wallop and then pulled this nonsense? I’d lose all my stock and money. I just recently learned of someone whom I just placed a rather huge order through that had almost the SAME thing happen to them. Same problematic communication from the get-go but this time, the buyer placed the claim through PayPal as “illegal credit charges” and then turned right around to sell the same items online using the original seller’s images after claiming the seller had sent unusable items! They’re obviously good enough to sell to others.

This whole issue was NOT a very good experience and I have not given up on selling but have definitely retooled my strategy on doing so. I am actually grateful it happened on a “smaller” order although, when you’re a small business, no sale is small.

I’ve seen other sellers through other sites on the internet state quite firmly what they will and will not refund for, what their shipping prices are and it’s a matter of “take it or leave it”; some sound rather harsh and it’s sad that people’s behaviors cause this unpleasant ripple effect…but unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. There are many, many good people out there that wouldn’t THINK of pulling the kind of nonsense on someone that this person has on me and others, as I found out, but you have that small percentage of folks out there only out to take advantage and “get over on everyone”. It’s those that spoil the whole thing for everybody!

My apologies for rambling on so much but I do hope that this opens the eyes to others that have yet to experience this. I hope it doesn’t happen to any of you but beware. Knowing is half the battle!

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Selling Hiatus - Explaining Our Absence: In case you've been wondering... Ebay policies and scammy buyers made us step back I’ve been absent for a [...]

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