How to Prevent Common Issues with Buyers on eBay

Every transaction on eBay is undoubtedly a little bit different, yet there are a number of common issues with buyers that sellers encounter time and time again. Some are fairly insignificant and easy to rectify while others require much more time and consideration to resolve. The best way to handle disputes with buyers, however, is make tangible steps to avoid having them in the first place. Read on to discover four of the most common post-sale transaction issues on eBay and how to lessen their occurrence.

How to prevent items becoming damaged in transit

It is an online shopper’s worst case scenario – their desired item has arrived but it has been damaged in transit. While it is not possible for sellers to monitor the entire shipping process of their item, there are a few ways to lessen the probability of it happening.

  • Use an appropriate container. Always make sure the chosen box or package can support the weight of the item and has enough space for adequate cushioning. Don’t over stuff padded envelopes as they have the potential to burst.
  • Take the time to pack items securely. This step is often glossed over by sellers who are keen to get the item out of the door. The more careful you pack an item, the less likely it is to be damaged in transit to the buyer.
  • Buy shipping insurance. Not quite a prevention method, but having shipping insurance is ideal to have if an item is damaged in transit. Being able to claim on the insurance helps to recoup the cost of the item.

How to reduce Significantly Not As Described (SNAD) requests

A thorn in the side of many eBay sellers, Significantly Not As Described return requests can be difficult to deal with. Here are some pointers to help minimize SNAD requests.

  • Set appropriate expectations. eBay is not a place to oversell items. Be honest, upfront and realistic about the condition of each item. Describe and demonstrate any flaws and damage in both the description and photos.
  • Provide as much listing information as possible. Use item specifics to make sure buyers know exactly what product is being sold. Include measurements in the item listing, preferably using both imperial and metric quantities.
  • Be sure to send the right item! This is an easy mistake to make that happens more than most sellers would think. Before the item is sent, be sure that the correct item and all relevant parts are in the package. Double check that the buyer’s details and item match the eBay transaction.

How to reassure buyers of efficient delivery

With the continual rise of Amazon and other large online-only retailers, online shoppers expect on-time shipping more than ever. As per the Money Back Guarantee, buyers who do not receive their items are eligible for a refund or other suitable compensation.

  • State a handling time and stick to it. Don’t promise something you cannot deliver on. It is worse for an item to arrive late than to be advertised with a longer handling time. The latter may lose you a few sales, but late items put a mark against a seller’s record.
  • Use a package tracking service. Although a little more expensive, using a package tracking service is reassuring to both buyer and seller. Be sure to upload the tracking details as soon as possible. Buyers who know the location of their item are less likely to bother the seller.

How to encourage buyers to pay quickly

While there are plenty of reasons why a buyer may not pay right away after committing to an item on eBay, it can be frustrating for the seller on the other side.

  • Require immediate payment. To get paid quicker, change your payment preferences to require immediate payment. This is possible for Buy It Now or Auction Buy It Now purchases.
  • Send a thank you message. Thank the buyer for their purchase and confirm that you will send the item as soon as payment is sent. A polite nudge can go a long way to receiving payment faster.

Remember: most buyers want to avoid problems too

The founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, once stated that “most people are honest. And they mean well.” More than twenty years on, this phrase is still relevant today. eBay has challenging moments but it is important to remember that the vast majority of buyers want to have a successful transaction. They are looking to purchase a product, receive the item in the expected condition within a reasonable time frame and then move on. As frustrating as some issues can be, take a second and think about:

  • The problem, not the person. Don’t automatically assume that the buyer has bad intentions. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the situation that has occurred. It might just be a simple case of miscommunication or technical issues. Discuss the problem objectively.
  • The broader view. This is just one transaction of many. Spending so much effort solving one small issue reduces time spent on the master plan – selling more items and making more profit.
  • The importance of customer satisfaction. Without customers, you do not have an eBay business. Being flexible is appreciated by buyers and may lead to repeat sales. Be creative and find solutions that work for both you and the buyer.
  • Maintaining professionalism. Even when prompted by angry or irate behaviour from the buyer, be sure to always remain calm and friendly in your responses. A good idea is to wait an hour or so and then re-read the message before writing a reply.

Experienced sellers, how do you prevent common issues with buyers while selling on eBay?

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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