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Two Steps Forward, One (Potentially Massive) Step Back

July 3, 2011

It has been a bit of a roller coaster hobby-wise for me over the last week or so, some of which will result in this being a rather abbreviated post today since I am in a near full-blown panic about the topic that makes up the second half of the title of today’s article and I am scrambling to find solutions to a rather large problem.

I will start with the good news.

First, after weeks of disruption, the mail is finally flowing again here in Canada.  It was great to get the pile of envelopes that had been accumulating during the strikes and lockout out of my office and on their way to some very patient collectors.

Based on how things have gone since the resumption of mail service I would have to say that there must have been a fair number of Canadian collectors who were holding off on making any eBay purchases until things got resolved.  Business has been surprisingly good for the summer months, which gives me reason for optimism about what things could look like once the NHL is back on the ice for the 2011-12 season.

Secondly, I have done all of the work needed to introduce my newly revised shipping fees in time for eBay’s Final Value Fee policy is put in place this week.  I will be updating my listings in phases over the next few mornings and will also begin including an information piece about my shipping and handling fees in every order I ship out.

My hope is that by continuing to point customers to my recent article that explains those fees in detail I will avoid some, if not all, of the unjustifiably low Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) that are impacting my “business” those fees

Unfortunately, those pieces of good news were marred by one significant piece of bad news related to my eBay Store and my DSRs in particular.

I received an e-mail from eBay on Friday informing me that I am not meeting standard seller performance criteria when it comes to my American customers and as a result I have had my store subscription level downgraded from Premium to Basic.

This is a huge issue for me since my listing fees in a Basic store format will now be quadruple the amount that I would incur under the Premium store setup.  This horrible piece of news all but eliminates any hope I had of achieving my goal of a financially self-sufficient hobby in 2011.

After doing some quick digging through my records, I have come to the conclusion that this entire mess has been caused by two individual customers who ordered a significant number of cards from me, but deemed my shipping fees to be too high.

Apparently the fact that there is much more involved in shipping fees than the number on the stamp was lost on these two people.

Opinions are once again allowed to trump facts and hurt an eBay seller in the process.

This entire situation really makes me wish I had posted this article much earlier than I did, because it would have allowed them to understand that I do not overcharge on shipping.

I am all but certain that I will not come even remotely close to making any money to reinvest in my collection for the next few months, but I am simply not willing to cave in and close up shop because of this mess.

I have worked far too hard to build my “business” to what it is today to allow my focus to be swayed.  In fact, at this point it only seems to be further fuelling my desire to continue to put in the hard work that is necessary to finally achieve my self-sufficiency goal.

This is certainly a massive speed bump on the road to achieving that goal, but a speed bump is much more bearable than a total road block, and I don’t see this situation as any sort of road block just yet.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!



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