Tag Archives: customers

A Quick Word on Packaging

Having bought several thousand items on eBay over the years you would think I was quite good at it, wouldn’t you?

It seems I’m not. I did spot that several items that seemed cheap last night had serious deficiencies, which an honest seller would have noted in the box for reporting the condition. However, I bought a medallion last night which I didn’t think about too hard and just found, on paying for it, that the postage and packing is about twice what we would charge. And we, as we keep being told, charge too much.

It’s only  couple of pounds, but it goes to show that you need to be careful when buying.

One of my least favourite things happened last Saturday. Someone decided he could save money by sending us an envelope containing his own packaging. I haven’t seen that done for twenty years and thought it had died out.

If you want the postage and packing for nothing, come and pick the item up from the shop. I had a few people do that to me before, and they always send woefully inadequate packaging materials. last time it happened to me I wrote and said that I would use the materials provided but that it was at his risk. He wrote back demanding to know what I meant and I told him what I thought of his materials (bubble wrap with most of the bubbles already popped, and an ordinary envelope). He decided to argue his case and it went downhill from there.

The one that sent the stuff last week sent substandard packaging AND understamped the envelope. We added 20p of stamps and effectively paid him for the privilege of sending him his order. I’d have sent it back with the stamps as provided and let him pay the Post Office the £5 penalty charge. The others, being nicer to customers than I am, put the stamps on and posted it for him.

What these people don’t understand is that there is a cost to having a properly wrapped parcel.

However, I’ll leave it at that, as this could be a whole new rant and it’s the Numismatic Society tonight, so it’s now time to chat to Julia and have a cup of tea.

It’s Monday and I’m Back to Work

I’m not sure if I mentioned the customer who contacted us last week. We had sent him a refund after he had waited for his parcel and opened a case on eBay. Despite their assertion they were making allowances for the delays caused by Royal Mail disruption, they haven’t been particularly flexible and we have refunded around £1,000 to date. Fortunately, this customer , having had his medallion, was an honest man and emailed to ask how to pay. This was particularly welcome as it restores my faith in customers. He was American and, though it pains me to admit it, Americans are, in general, more honest than the average European.

We had a real classic this afternoon. Two months ago we had a customer order a medallion and then, just after we had posted it, ask to cancel as he hadn’t read the details properly. We told him that he could return it for a refund, and he did that. He returned it and had a full refund. I would have refused to refund the postage but the owner doesn’t like to quibble and stood the loss of the postage (which was actually the fault of the purchaser, who didn’t read the details properly.

Late this afternoon we had an email from the customer telling us he had been checking on his recent transactions and he has not received his medallion. He either wants the medallion or a refund. He’s out of luck, because we have, as I said, already refunded him. This what happens when you give good customer service.

He has now had an email telling him what the situation is. Hopefully this will jog his memory and he will leave us alone. Sometimes these things happen.

Currently we are waiting for snow, ice, frost, rain or just a coldish spell. What ever it is, we are on the edge of it and the weather forecasters aren’t very precise about what to expect. I have the cover on my windscreen and a hot water bottle ready for bed.

Another 15 minute Post

We had to refund £250 at the end of last week and £350 this morning. One of the packages is stuck in customs in Italy, and for the last three weeks has been within 20 miles of its final destination but he customer has been complaining and eBay has refunded him despite the recent difficulties and the obvious looming problem. Yes, it will be delivered soon, so the Royal Mail insurance won’t pay out, the customer will “forget” to pay and eBay will wash their hands of us.

It’s he same story for our Malaysian parcels – they have been in the UK as part of the massive backlog from the cyber attack, and is still showing as in transit – one parcel being in Milton Keynes and the other slightly further along the chain. But these are exceptional times and as we can prove they are on the way I don’t see why we should suffer. Yes, it’s irritating for the customers, but in the end i’s not our fault. Patience would not hurt.

However, things are a little different this time as I am recording all the details so we can chase up the issues with the local police. I doubt it will help, but it’s worth a try. I’m fed up with people pulling this one, and thinking we are too stupid to spot it. It’s usually too small a sum to be worth chasing up but in this case they are big enough to warrant taking time over following up.

We have another one active at the moment too –  and he wrote to tell us that he has had two parcels through from the USA recently so doesn’t understand why his parcel from us hasn’t got there. Let’s see . . .

Royal Mail is targeted by Russian criminals for a cyber  attack and their woeful lack of cyber security is exposed. They make heavy weather of the recovery. We have mail in the system and  can’t do anything about i. Meanwhile, a totally different country, with no problems, is able to process its mail efficiently. Apart froma customer who is clearly unable to process logical thoughts, tghe two things have nothing in common.

Pah! Is all I can say.

Eighteen minutes – not too bad . . .

Magical Worlds Stamps

Cold, Customers and Contentment

All I did this morning was scrape three windows and two mirrors and my fingers became so cold that I couldn’t get the safety belt on until I’d beaten my hands together to restore the feeling.  That was probably the worst bit of the day, because it took a distinct upturn once I got to work.

We have been arguing with a customer and were expecting eBay to find in his favour despite his stupidity and unreasonable behaviour. We sent a parcel to the USA and the USPS tried to deliver it. Nobody was in and they left him a note to tell him. He claims they didn’t. We hear this a lot from customers and, based on experience, tend to disbelieve them.

He then said he didn’t know what to do and we would have to sort it out for him. We said that we couldn’t and he would have to sort it out himself. I don’t see this as unreasonable – what can we possibly do from this distance? I advised that he should contact his local delivery office or ask the postman. They would be able to tell him what to do. He refused.

He told us that he has 100s of post offices within a 20 minute drive and couldn’t visit every one. We said he didn’t need to as one conversation with his postie or on the phone should reveal all. And so it carried on. And on. He clearly had no intention of collecting it. or making any effort, and finally told us he didn’t want it and opened a case with eBay to get his money back.

They took the logical view that as it was at the local sorting office waiting for him it was his responsibility to pick it up and they would not issue a refund. This, to be honest, cheered us up after a  three week exchange of emails.

The parcel should, eventually, come back to us, and we will issue a refund, but we don’t have to refund the postage, which would have been annoying.  And that, minor as it may be, was enough to cheer me up fro the day.

It then improved even more. Someone had wanted a parcel delivering by Christmas. He agreed to pay for Guaranteed Delivery and we made a special listing for him to buy and then made an extra trip to the Post Office with his parcel.

It went to the post office at 3pm, was in London by 10 am and was delivered at 11.20am. Not bad for a postal service that is hampered by strike action. I not only have the beard of a Santa, I have the instincts too.

I tell you this story as most of our customers are fine people and most of our interactions are good. Unfortunately I always moan about the bad ones and this may not give you an adequate picture of my sunny disposition and my love of humankind.

Tea and Cake – British Penicillin

I’m feeling creative again. Sloth and low temperatures put me out of the game for a bit, but an extra layer of clothing, a little heat and some reading has put me back in there. Mainly the reading. After a lazy month and a few weeks of experiments with hibernation I opened up Blithe Spirit when it arrived yesterday and felt something happen. Sparks danced from synapse to synapse and ideas seeped from cell to cell. Ideas appeared and if my life was an early Disney cartoon, bluebirds would have flown around my head.

It wasn’t just the reading of course. I have a couple of tanka and a haibun in there. They will appear here in due course. There’s nothing like seeing yourself in print for getting you going again.

We had a delivery from a charity shop yesterday and one of the lots is around 250 envelopes addressed to the Elvis Presley Fan Club. The main Presley man in the UK in the 60s was a man called Albert Hand. He only lived about ten miles outside Nottingham and this was a selection of empty envelopes he must have either kept or given to a local stamp collector. It’s an interesting lot and it enabled me to open the sales by asking “Are you lonesome tonight and wondering what to bid on eBay?”

Botham’s Whitby

It’s not quite ready for going live yet, but if say I managed to get another half dozen song titles in you will get the idea of the good humour, not to mention puerile glee, that filled the shop this afternoon. Unfortunately, none of the envelopes have been marked “Return to Sender”.

Meanwhile, customers continue to be irritating. One has refused to collect a package from his local post office in the US and it will soon becoming back to us. eBay will, of course, take his side because they always side with the customer, and we will lose the £15 postage fee. Another is claiming that his parcel hasn’t been delivered, despite the fact it was delivered and paid for a month ago. We will win that case as we have proof of delivery, but why should we have to spend time proving it? Time is money and in the case of a £20 sale the profit probably isn’t worth the time we spend on it.

To lift my mood I will post more pictures of tea and cake. Tea and cake can be very uplifting.

Tea and Eccles Cakes at Bempton Cliffs


Colds, Customers and Time for Bed

I fell asleep in the chair again. So I’m writing in the early hours again, and having rambled on for about 600 words, have parked two unsuccessful attempts at posting. It’s late now and I have to take the decision on whether to write a post or go to bed. As I’m writing this, you can probably guess what I decided. The desire to write about my days is like a sickness. I just can’t shake it off.

I’m currently sneezing on a regular basis and my nose is running. I could expand on this, but it’s probably best that you imagine it rather than I describe it. Let’s just say that of all the drugs I need, decongestants aren’t one. I also have a sore throat and a thick head. The throat could be a sign of the new form of Covid, but I did a test yesterday before the dentist, and it was clear. This isn’t, as I found out last time, conclusive, but it’s the best I can do.

We had an email this morning from a Chinese customer demanding to know why his order had gone to japan and what we were going to do about it. Unfortunately, when communicating in a language which isn’t your first language it can appear that you are being rude, when you don’t intend it. In fact, this can be the case even when writing in your first language. First I had to waste ten minutes checking where we had sent it (we had sent it to the right address in China) and where the tracking showed it had gone (it had, as he said, gone to Japan).

Then I had to spend twenty minutes explaining simply and politely that I don’t know why his order has gone to Japan and that there is nothing I can do about it.

Customers always seem to think we have a hotline to Royal Mail to sort these things out. We don’t. Having paid the money to have it delivered we just have to sit tight and hope it makes its way to the customer before they run out of patience. At that point they can ask for their money back and eBay will give it to them and take it off us. That is my cue to write a complete post on the evils of customers, so I’d better go to bed now before I start.


The Case of the Missing Parcel

You can’t, so the saying goes, prove a negative. This is in the context of proving that we didn’t receive the disputed parcel. You can “prove” that we did receive it, because the Royal Mail has a record of it, but we can’t prove we didn’t. because we weren’t asked to sign for not receiving it. Such a thing is not possible.

This is in a philosophical sense, of course, as you can prove a negative in other ways. However,think of a small teapot orbiting the sun . . .

Anyway, back from theory and philosophy, and into the territory of sensible real life. (Though with the proviso that some scientists need to lighten up when discussing teapots in space).

The first thing we had to deal with was an email from the customer with a picture of his proof of posting and a demand to know why we weren’t refunding his money as he had proof we had received the parcel.

This revealed a new problem – the customer had not returned the parcel by Guaranteed Delivery but had used a cheaper, less secure method, His method does not require a signature and only insures the parcel for £100 instead of the necessary £500. In saving a few pounds he caused this entire problem.

We, in turn, contacted eBay, who have given us another seven days to make our case for not refunding the customer, with his use of a sub-standard postal service working in our favour.

We then spoke to the postman, who told us, amongst other things, that he had checked for us and the mobile technology used by the Royal Mail showed that the delivery had taken place at the specified time and in the vicinity of the shop. Without needing a signature, they cannot be sure exactly what “the vicinity” is. It now seems that it is our job to knock on all local doors asking if anyone has our parcel.

This is where we had a little luck, realising that the CCTV could help us. We checked it, and sure enough, it shows that the postal delivery employee walks down the road, pauses outside our shop, shuffles through some letters then walks off without delivering anything.

That, to me, is proof that the parcel was not delivered to the premises at the stated time. I’m not going to speculate further, as it may yet develop into a serious legal argument.

W are still going to end up losing money, and wasting time sorting it out, but it’s unlikely to be the £500 we originally feared.

I will let you know what happens when it is sorted.

The next post will be more cheerful. Probably.

The featured image is a propaganda Iron Cross from 1914 – they were made in various places in Britain and sold to raise money for Belgian refugees. I use it because it was the subject of a claim by a customer who said he hadn’t received it. That was easy to sort out – we had a signature from the delivery, which was to his place of work. He recognised the signature, checked it out and found the package was waiting for him in the post room – he just hadn’t bothered to check.

Sales, Surprises and Staff

If you read yesterday’s post you may have noticed that I missed the title off. It’s not the first time I’ve done that, but it is the first time since last year – one of the advantages of my “no title” series of posts. It has a title now, though it didn’t exactly stretch my creativity.

It was a good day in the shop. We had five orders on eBay, one for 32 items I had only loaded yesterday. They were only cheap, but any sale is a good sale. It was one of those double-edged events – glad to make the sale, but slightly regretful that two hours of listing and (complicated) loading of photographs brought such a quick result. Even though it was clearly a masterful bit of listing, it seems like wasted effort when it finishes so quickly.

We then had several customers by appointment, answered phone calls and listed more items for sale. One of the customers was very knowledgeable, and told us so, at length. It’s very tempting to be sarcastic, but I’m better than that.

Then, when I finished loading the new coins, I checked for new sales and found we’d had six sales, one of which was for more than all the sales we’d had overnight. There’s always plenty of room for surprises when you have eBay.

Another surprise was a comment in our feedback, which I liked – “you should be very proud of your staff”. I’m thinking of having it made into a T Shirt.

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Reverse

Dove of Peace on a 1995 £2 coin – this one is gold, the ordinary ones were brass. For those of you from UK, yes they were meant for circulation but they never caught on.

Day 190

I made a mess of the on-line shopping last night – disappeared into a tour of the internet and lost my way out. It was interesting, as ever, but when I emerged and found how much time I’d wasted, I decided it was time to get some organisation in my life.

The result is that we only had a third of the shopping we wanted tonight, and it cost us £4 for not having enough in the order.

Annoyingly, something that was out of stock last night (when it was “too late to change the order”) was delivered, so obviously back in stock. And milk, which had been in stock, was now out. Annoying that there are two sets of standards at work here.

We have just spent two days sorting a customer out. He’s a regular buyer on eBay and always seems like a nice man. He had asked if we could do cheaper postage if he bought two items, and we had said yes. The problem was that we could only see one purchase. We tried all sorts of things and eventually, this morning, tactfully, I had to write and ask if he’d actually bought the second item from us. It seemed the only logical explanation after eliminating all others.

Turns out he had actually ordered the other medallion off someone else. Oh, how we laughed as we talked of notable senior moments. Took me several hours in total, as I worked to facilitate a sale of £6.50, but that’s customer service for you. And old age . . .

Day 168

I had a very efficient visit to hospital this morning, and only need two more to call it a day. One is for a chest X-Ray and the other is to teach me how to vaccinate myself as I will be getting some extra medication. Oh good, I said.

While I was in there I left my car window fully open. As I waited for my appointment time, I read in the car and forgot to wind the window up when I went for the appointment.

At work we had one customer in the shop and one on eBay. We had another who wanted to return something as he’d ordered the wrong thing. His fault, not ours. We agreed he could send it back and w would refund everything, including his postage, which represents a £3 loss to us. We did however, refuse when he asked us to pay the postage costs of him sending it back to us.

In the afternoon I left my phone when we shut the shop. It seems a little strange not having it, but not too bad. It’s fortunate I’m not a teenager as it would be a tragedy if I couldn’t look at it every two minutes.

Two senior moments in one day. It’s a good job I don’t let it worry me these days, as I am resigned to descending into a bumbling old age. Then, when I posted todays blog, I lost it. It must be somewhere, but I can’t find it. Snatched by evil Microsoft elves, no doubt. So that’s now three senior moments in one day.

Things just get better. I’ll probably get lost on my way to bed . . .