Two weeks ago, I started my spring cleaning. Part of my process is making piles. I make a pile of trash (usually the largest), a pile to sell, a pile for charity or to otherwise give away, and a pile of things that need to be put away somewhere. Most of the contents of the pile to sell went up on eBay, and resulted in me listing about 10 items (so far).
I should probably do this cleaning process more often, since 8 of the 10 items sold, and I made about $300. Not bad. However, I now have found out that I really didn’t make $300. In the days since the auctions ended, I have had problems with 2 of the auctions. That is a pretty big deal, considering that 2 auctions makes up 25% of the sold items. I had 2 different problems. Here is what they were and my analysis.
One item sold and was immediately paid for. It was a Franklin-Covey binder and sold for about $50. I received the payment right away through Paypal. The address was not confirmed, but it was for a planner, was only for $50, and the email name matched the shipping name, so I figured what the heck? The person had 30+ feedback and no negatives, so I shipped the item. I got an email from FedEx on Friday that the item had been delivered. Later that afternoon, I got an email from Paypal saying that the payment had been reversed. Paypal took the $50 out of my account, leaving me with a negative balance. I then got an email from Paypal saying that if I didn’t transfer more money to cover the regular balance, I’d lose my merchant rate that I’ve had from years of use. All this in a day. Wow. I tried calling the buyer, but the phone number was disconnected; I tried looking the buyer up in the phone book online, but there was no listing. I emailed Paypal and they sent me a short email saying that I had no seller protection since it was an unconfirmed address. Nothing. The money and item are gone.
All of a sudden, the $50 felt like a lot more money to me. Although when I was sending it, I thought the risk was low and $50 was an acceptable risk, now I wish I hadn’t done it. I could have surely re-listed the item and gotten $50 from a buyer with a confirmed address. But, I was careless, and now I lost my item and my payment.
ReliaBid would offer me recourse in this situation. I could submit the buyer and the address to ReliaBid and the debt collection agency would probably find this eBay non-paying bidder and help me collect on the unpaid item. But, I also made another careless mistake, one which is a bit embarrassing to have made as CEO: I didn’t have the account I used signed up for ReliaBid! Oops. Big oops. With ReliaBid costing only 25 cents for every $100 of business I do, my cost for these transactions would have been 75 cents. That is like a 75 cent insurance policy for my $300. And if I had been signed up, I would now have some options. But, because I was not signed up and the seal was not in my listing, ReliaBid can’t help me. Not even since I am an employee. The seal has to be in the listing for ReliaBid to offer collections. We get so many inquiries about whether ReliaBid can collect on an unpaid item or non-paying bidder without the seller being a member and having had the seal in the listing. I made the same silly mistake myself and it cost me $50. Well, actually it cost me more, because I had a problem with a non-paying bidder in a second item I sold. But, I’ll save that for my next post, later this week…