I have been on eBay since 2011, but only recently started to sell a couple of surplus items in my collection. Today, I had my first encounter with a frustrating selling experience.
In early July, I had a listing for a commemorative silver coin. It came with a typical Royal Canadian Mint
display case, so due to its size, my advertised rate of shipping was that of a parcel with tracking (about $15).
I received an offer from a prospective buyer, who claimed that he did not need the protective case. He dropped me a best offer and asked that I ship him the item via Lettermail (no tracking). In retrospect, I should have turned down the offer (just by virtue of the fact that the buyer requested a service without tracking). But my logic at the time was that the cost of the item was low enough that I could afford to lose it, and since Canada Post wasn't collecting signatures anyways, a genuinely dishonest buyer would probably get their way whether or not I used tracking.
After I accepted the offer, the buyer immediately sent me a request to change the price of shipping. This took me by surprise, because when I accepted the buyer's offer, I was under the impression that he was willing to pay my original shipping. In hindsight, I should definitely have thought this part through more, i.e. by reducing the price of shipping from parcel to registered lettermail, rather than going ahead and making an invoice for regular lettermail. Second mistake.
I adhered postage stamps to the package, walked over to the post office, asked the postal worker cancel the stamps, took a picture of the envelope, and sent the image to the buyer to show that the item was mailed.
Almost a month after the transaction, the buyer contacted me indicating that the coin was never received. I recognize that there is always a slim chance of mail being lost, although I cannot recall of ever having to personally deal with lost mail. I spoke with a friend who happens to be a much more seasoned eBayer. He recommended that I refund the order, since there is little else I could do. And that's what I did. The refund will take a couple of days to go through, according to Paypal, and I explained this to the buyer accordingly.
Going down the road, I will definitely be a lot more sensitive towards the red flags I encountered. I admit that I made a couple of mistakes as a new seller.
My biggest worry now is about the feedback I might still receive. Let's say the customer decides to leave a negative feedback. My feedback score will surely suffer, since I have not accumulated much feedback at all. Other than replying to such feedback to explain my perspective and waiting for another year to sell, is there anything I could do (i.e. through eBay) to fix it? I am just trying to think ahead of the game right now.
Also... The buyer had a relatively high feedback score (I think about 1k), but detailed feedback was set to private. Does this also tend to be a red flag for sellers?