I quit using ebay regularly almost 4 years ago, when a scammer tried (and failed) to blackmail me into giving them a partial refund for an item they claimed arrived in a damaged box.  Ebay supports this sort of scam, by not allowing sellers to leave feedback for buyers and by not supporting the sellers who pay the fees in such disputes.  So, I closed my seller’s account and haven’t sold an item since then.  I’ve stuck to buying a few things here and there over the last 3+ years, but nothing in the last year. Until recently, when eBay claimed they missed me and lured me back with a 10% off one item coupon.

That’s a pretty good deal, and I knew what I wanted.  It was a near-commodity item, so pricing is well established by past sales and buying guides.  Yet, this particular seller seemed to think their particular coin merited 3 times the fair market value.  I assumed it was just an over-inflated Buy-It-Now, hoping someone who hadn’t looked up the values would be suckered in even though their last listing failed.  So, I took advantage of the “Best Offer” option, entering a reasonable starting number.   They quickly counter offered, cutting their BIN price in half.  It was still almost 50% above past comparables, though.  But close enough that I sent a message asking for better images of the item, since the included ones were not that great.

Apparently they took offense to that simple ask.  They retracted their counter offer and sent me a wall-of-awful-text in response.  It was all lower case with a mishmash of punctuation and poor grammar.   They refused to send images, saying I was wasting their time when I could have bought the item and returned it if I wasn’t satisfied(!).  How’s that for a red flag?  I was surprised to see it signed by someone with “Customer Support” in their signature.  I wondered how you could run a business without fundamental communication skills.  But apparently they do, with over 5000 feedbacks at 99.8% and only 1 negative in over 700 from the last 12 months.

In proper ebay fashion, I was compelled to reply to counter their ridiculous claims of  how they couldn’t find any record of a sale for near my offer.  So, I included a link to the most recent one, and a couple others as well.  The next wall-of-awful text claimed prices have mysteriously shot up since the previous sales, though no such trend has been noted by anyone in the industry.   What they said to impress me was that the upscale address of their office somehow made them more knowledgeable about current pricing than everyone else.   What was actually impressed upon me was that they were paying too much in rent and probably paid way too much for the item in the first place!

I ended up using my coupon on a similar item.  Not my first choice, but I paid less than fair market value with zero hassle.  Plus, it gave me motivation to write this boring blog!  My lesson today is that you can learn a lot by reading the feedback sellers leave for previous buyers.  Had I read some of those first, I wouldn’t have even made the offer!  Well, enough of my eBay saga.  Anyone out there bought or sold carseats or kids gear or anything on eBay recently?  Any horror stories or encounters with people that haven’t mastered customer service?