Last week we put some Buffalo Nickels on eBay. They were well circulated and they have been gold-plated. They are strange, yet decorative and, after some discussion on how yellow they needed to look in the photographs (see yesterdays post for a discussion of that) we loaded them and waited.
On Wednesday someone enquired about them and in a message using entirely capital letters, told us we had made a mistake and should correct it at once. It was my day off and i only caught the tail end of the correspondence. The shop owner, worn down by the hectoring of the customer, gave him a discount on the coins and a postage rate that was actually below cost. Sometimes he does that.
Today, the complaints started. We had got the order, packed it and had it delivered in the space of two days, but this wasn’t good enough.
The customer was unhappy because the dates were worn and they were not varied enough for him. He claims he used a 10X glass, and even then the dates are hard to read. He also says he notes we have “covered” ourselves by saying that the dates were from the 1920s and 1930s. It was in block capitals again and the use of “covered” seems like an accusation.
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out what has happened here.
First of all someone bought something he knows little about. The Buffalo Nickel is a beautiful coin, but it is well known that the dates wear badly and that time and circulation can make it look very shabby.
Second, he didn’t read the details properly and/or thought he was getting something for nothing. We didn’t offer a date run, a variety of dates or anything like that. We offered coins of random dates which we described accurately and, in another part of the listing, said that we wouldn’t select dates, and you would get what we sent. We did this to avoid people asking for the rare dates and wanting us to spend time sorting. They are cheap coins and if I spend ten minutes sorting coins it eats into the profits. If people want specific dates we have listings that offer that, but the prices are higher to reflect the time we spend sorting.
Third, he either has problems with eyesight or a bad attitude, or both. I deduce this from the capitals, the tone and the fact that he can’t read the dates. My close-up vision isn’t great and I need a lot of light these days, but I have no difficulty with the dates.
There didn’t seem any point in arguing, and the terms and conditions are quite plain – he can return the goods and we have to pay for that return. It’s one of the ways eBay makes it difficult for sellers. So we thanked him for his feedback and promised that we would take it on board for future listings.
And half an hour later, we had another reply. He is, it seems, “disgusted” with the way we do business and considers it close to “deception”. He’s also issuing vague threats about leaving us negative feedback.
The owner replied and reminded him that if he isn’t happy he can send the coins back.
The next reply said that the coins were lovely to look at and as the customer is housebound he is unable to get out of the house to return them. He concludes by telling us that the problem is back to us.
He’s actually looking for an offer of a partial refund. It’s a form of dishonesty practised by many people on eBay. It’s really just theft dressed up, and you’d be amazed how many people try it.
So where we do we go from here?
Monday’s emails are going to be a delight . . .