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How to Lose a Customer Forever on eBay

March 18, 2012

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Today’s post was originally going to focus on a positive aspect of my hobby experiences as of late, highlighting some of the trades I’ve made with fellow collectors over the past few weeks.

After checking my email this morning and becoming incredibly frustrated by something I saw though, I decided I needed to change directions entirely and get a little venting out about a customer service horror story that I am currently involved in with a seller on eBay.

I don’t really like being negative in my articles, but I felt this specific instance needed to be highlighted, if only to serve as a lesson for how not to go about selling on eBay.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the chain of events that led up to this venting session:

Early in February I won an auction on eBay for a card I need for my 2006-07 Upper Deck Artifacts Bronze Parallel /25 set.  I paid for it shortly thereafter and the seller marked it as shipped a few days after that.

A couple of days later the seller sent me a message to say that he had  actually sold the card the month before and inadvertently relisted it.  I’m not sure how you would make the mistake of relisting an item on the “Sold” page of your eBay Selling Manager system, but I digress.

While this news from the seller was disappointing for me, I wasn’t overly upset.  Mistakes can happen and this simply seemed to be one of those cases.  The seller apologized for the “honest mistake” and immediately refunded my money as well, so as far as I was concerned this was really just a minor inconvenience as opposed to any sort of major ordeal.

I was wrong.

Earlier this week I received my daily email from eBay with the newest listings of Artifacts cards /25.  Strangely, I saw the exact same card back up for auction from the exact same seller so I immediately sent the person a message seeking an explanation. 

The seller promptly replied, telling me that this too was an “honest mistake” and that the card was still available and would be sent to me the next day.  All I had to do was send payment in the amount of the original invoice as soon as I had a chance.

The next day the seller sent me a message indicating that the card had been put in the mail that day as they had pledged to do.

I sent the money the following day and followed up with a message on eBay to indicate the same.  The seller responded later that day and apologized again for the relisting error (which this person admits to doing “pretty often”).  Further into the message the seller stated that the card had been sent around noon on the day of my payment.  

This contradicted the message of the day before and raised yet another red flag for me, but I decided to let it go, hoping that this was yet another “honest mistake” that happens “pretty often” and that the card was indeed in the mail.

This morning though, I received my daily new Artifacts /25 listings email from eBay and found that once again the card was listed for auction by the very same seller!   I nearly went through the roof!

I have since sent a message to the seller expressing my frustration as diplomatically as I possibly could, to which I received a trio of replies (at least this person doesn’t ignore my inquiries and gets back to me quickly, I’ll give them credit for that).

But none of the replies do anything to temper my frustration with this whole mess. 

While I have been told yet again that the card is in the mail, I am left feeling very skeptical about the truth behind that assertion given the inconsistent messages I have received, not to mention the fact that the various excuses the seller has given me regarding the errors surrounding the relisting of the card simply don’t make sense. 

These excuses have now gone from repeated “honest mistakes” to blaming eBay’s system for something that any experienced eBay seller would know is blatantly yet another human error rooted in what I can only describe as a horrendous degree of disorganization.

To my fellow eBay sellers or those of you who looking at becoming on, the moral of my story is this: the importance of being very well-organized when selling on the site cannot be understated.

No customer should ever go through the kind of hassles I have when purchasing an item on eBay.  This situation has not only caused me some pretty considerable frustration, but has also completely unnecessarily wasted a substantial amount of my time…including getting to the point of writing an entire blog article about it!

At this point I am not holding out much hope that the card will actually arrive, but I do hope that it does soon and this mess is over and done with. 

Needless to say, ‘over and done with’ is also the perfect description of my relationship with this seller.  I am one customer who will never be sending another dime to this seller ever again and will be posting negative feedback for a seller for the first time in more than a decade of using the site.


Do you have any horror stories about service you’ve (not) received from an eBay seller? 

Share your stories with me by posting a comment, emailing me at or connecting on Facebook and Twitter and sharing your thoughts there.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2012 11:05 AM

    That’s pretty bad. To be honest – I think you’re being too nice in assuming that it’s disorganization. It seems to me like it could be more along the lines of “shady” – seems to me like the seller didn’t like the price you won it for then tried to relist it.

    • March 20, 2012 7:42 PM

      I considered that too. One of the trio of replies I got on Sunday was “Why are you still looking for this card in my auctions?” The reason should be pretty obvious, clearly I HAVE TO!

      With that said, the card actually arrived in the mail today! Doesn’t reduce my frustration with this person, but at least it allows me to put a positive end to my relationship with them.

      • March 20, 2012 9:16 PM

        Yeah – good thing you got the card. That response is absurd – and makes me think it was shadiness not disorganization even more! If it’s an item you’re looking for – and you didn’t get it – of course you might look for it again or have a saved search for it. Once you see it once – of course you’ll be a little more suspicious.


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