eBay Buyers Get Greedier! Case Study: Janet Bailey aka jsb190854

By | March 24, 2009

Janet Bailey of The Cottage, 8 Alderton Road, Chippenham, Wilts. SN14 6AN is a typical example of the new generation of greedy eBayer. Buying occasionally from eBay under the username jsb190854, Janet is of the breed that starts complaining AFTER she has purchased and received the goods.

Anyone with half a brain, when buying from eBay, checks the postage and handling price, and weighs up the total cost to determine if they are getting value for money. Janet is not of this strain of regular person. Her preferred method is to buy the goods, have them satisfactorily and speedily delivered, find they are to her satisfaction and THEN she will start pestering you and complaining about it.

Be advised that she sends her e-mails to you through the eBay service, hopeful that she can get them on side and make problems for you. Reply to her directly to her own e-mail address which is: jsb@janetbailey.co.uk to remove nosey eBay from this communication loop.

These kinds of people remind me of the old Paypal scammers eBay was rife with a while ago. The miscreant purchaser would buy the item from you, receive it by regular mail and then protest to Paypal that it had never been received. Paypal would then promptly remove the money they paid you from your account and refund them. They would get your money and your goods. This wheeze was slowed down by some savvy sellers insisting on sending everything by Recorded Delivery (but not telling the buyer). That way, there is proof of receipt and no charge back.

Such people, when they receive their package by Recorded Delivery, realize that their intended wheeze won’t work. These kinds of people then start “item not described” claims and other behavior designed to discredit you as a seller and/or get their money back.

Disputing excessive postage charges (after the event) is another new wheeze eBay miscreants are trying to pull. Where is the sense in choosing an item on eBay, buying it, checking all the charges, paying, receiving it and only then complaining about the shipping and handling charges? Such a lunatic always has an ulterior motive. The motive usually is partial or total refund. If Janet “jsb190854” sends you an e-mail through the eBay system disputing postage charges after she has bought from you, simply ignore it. There is no point even entering into correspondence with her. Weird people abound on the internet, they are best ignored to crawl back down the hole whence they came.

Many buyers do not realize what an inhospitable place eBay is for sellers. Their policies are stacked against sellers. Sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers (so people like Janet Bailey operate with seeming impunity and clean feedback; they just leave negative feedback for others).

Many sellers used to sell using the auction format, starting items at 99p to minimize charges. Greedy buyers would all lurk as “watchers” until the last few minutes then indulge in a 10p-bid-at-a-time feeding frenzy right at the end and effectively steal your item from you for £2.

In the recession, this behavior has got worse. Sellers have now switched to “buy it now” formats at a sensible price. eBay responded to this by charging 48p to list an item in the fixed price format, charging a 9.9% final value fee then you get the double whammy that is Paypal’s 5% on the whole transaction.

Sensible sellers tried to include some of these charges within shipping and handling costs so they are not paying fees on fees. Sensible buyers understand this and check the total price they will pay to determine if an item is value-for-money or not. This simple concept escapes people like Janet Bailey.

To add insult to injury, eBay now limit the postage you can charge in certain categories. Books must have a domestic postage of £2.75 maximum. DVD’s must be FREE postage. This means the seller must pay eBay final value fees of 9.9% on money they are collecting for postage!

Here is an example calculation for a seller selling a DVD on eBay: A DVD sells for £4 on a fixed format listing. It costs 48p to list it, shipping must be free. The postage is £1.50, the address label, ink, electricity and jiffy bag might be 50p. eBay charge 9.9% on the whole £4 and Paypal charge around 5% (plus 20p) of the £4. The result? The seller’s net revenue is actually 76p. Assuming he got the DVD for free (which is unlikely), lets imagine it took around 15 minutes to list and 30 minutes to the Post Office and back (less 50p for petrol of course), this equates to an aggregate hourly rate of 35 pence, or 26p on the transaction.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to sell an item on a listing where reasonable postage can be charged, it would make sense to incorporate the fees and costs you will pay within the shipping and handling charges (in addition to the actual postage). This means you avoid paying 9.9% final value fee on listing fees, sundries and postage costs. Perhaps in so doing, you might increase your revenue to almost the heady level of a spammer in Lahore.

Such logic escapes people like Janet Bailey of course. The value of the time she spends e-mailing complaining about “excessive postage” must exceed the £1 or so she imagines she has been overcharged. Unless, of course, her time is free and she has nothing better to do. Clearly the recession is biting hard in Grittleton in Chippenham, Wilts, that she will devote so much time to bitching about stuff like postage on eBay to try to claw a pound or two back. Beware of greedy eBayers!

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