Overall I think I do a really great job providing good customer service to my eBay buyers. With very few exceptions I only sell items that are new or in nearly new condition, I package items neatly (usually wrapped in tissue, with a packing slip that I write Thanks! 🙂 across), I always ship within one business day, I send a friendly e-mail to the buyer after the item has been dropped off at the PO to let them know the item is on its way. I know I add in extra steps that aren’t necessary, and they take time, but I like providing that level of service. And in return my buyers are generally very kind, friendly, gracious, and appreciative.
But every once in awhile, I do make a mistake. It happens, it sucks. Usually this takes the form of pulling out a clothing item I have just sold, only to find that it has a flaw. Like at the end of last week. I sold a beautiful cashmere sweater, and when I was packaging it up I noticed it had a small hole on the back. How I could have missed it I have no idea, because I always try to be sooo careful with cashmere sweaters, looking for flaws. And yet, there it was.
So, what would you do? Cancel the sale? E-mail the buyer to let them know, and ask if they still want it? Send it anyway, and hope they don’t notice? Or?
Here’s what I did. I packaged up the sweater, and mailed it. Then when I went to send the “your package has shipped” e-mail, I sent this instead:
I wanted to let you know that I dropped your package off at the Post Office yesterday (Thurs) morning. When I was packaging up the sweater I noticed a really small hole on the back. It’s not very noticeable, but it is there. The sweater is beautiful, and I hope that you are still able to wear it and get enjoyment out of it. But, I am SUPER picky about what I list on eBay, and I would never have listed this if I saw the hole earlier. I am going to refund your money in just a couple minutes. But I’m not canceling the order, the sweater is already on its way. I hope you still love it!
If you have any questions or concerns about this transaction please let me know.
Is it overkill? Maybe? Does it save me from getting the occasional negative feedback because I’ve owned up to an honest mistake, and tried to make it right? It’s certainly possible.
And in addition to saving myself from negative feedback, I also simply want to give the buyer a positive eBay buying experience. While the buyer probably won’t come back and buy from me again, I have hopefully spun my negative into enough of a positive that the buyer won’t be turned off from buying on eBay in the future. We’re all in this eBay thing together, and hopefully the good, responsible sellers outnumber the crummy ones.
This particular situation where I’ve missed a flaw on an item that has sold probably only comes up a couple times a year, and this is how I have generally chosen to deal with it. About a year ago I sold a NWT dress, only to realize that it somehow had a stain on the front. I had purchased several of the same dress at the same time, and obviously hadn’t looked over every single one closely enough, and of course the one with the stain was the only one I had left. I shipped the dress, refunded, and sent an e-mail of apology/explanation. I had looked up the buyer’s feedback history, and she left negative feedback a LOT. But that time? Not only did she leave me positive feedback, but she sent my money back to me(!), with a note saying she washed the dress and the stain “mostly” came out. So that scenario turned out much better than I could have hoped.
And the cashmere sweater I sent out last week? Here’s the feedback I got today:
|Best seller on eBay, fast shipping, great communication with seller.|
Of course there are no guaranties, but when buyers know we are trying to do our best, they appreciate it and often respond accordingly.