Everyone who has been using eBay to sell their items for a while will have had to deal with non-paying bidders and the annoying process that comes with them:
- Sending messages
- Sending payment reminders
- requesting contact details
- Opening a non paying bidder case
- Further contact attempts
- Possible arguing with the buyer and giving extensions when they still don’t pay when they say they will
- and finally requesting a final value fee credit and striking the buyers account and hoping they don’t neg you!
What do you do once this process is completed?
Obviously getting the item back in your store is the first step and it’s as simple as hitting “relist” from within my eBay. That’s all well and good but in certain circumstances this may not be the best way forward.
For example if you want to have your item start on a certain day at a certain time, or if you’d like to add a message with the reason you have put it on again. This is especially important on auction listings due to the perceived threat of Shill Bidding. If you don’t know what shill bidding is, it’s where someone who is selling an item gets their friends to bid on the item to force the price you have to pay up.
I sold a lawnmower in the summer of 2013. It was peak grass cutting weather and I arranged for the buyer to pick it up the next weekend when I was off work. The weekend came and went, no show from the buyer. I messaged the buyer and got all the usual apologies in reply. Fair enough, sometimes life gets in the way of eBay. I arranged to have the buyer pick them up the following weekend.
The Weekend came, I reminded the buyer about the pickup, they confirmed they were still coming. They didn’t! Two weekends I wasted waiting in for that buyer. I was rightly quite annoyed. In fact I was pissed off, I missed out on doing things with my daughter because I was waiting in for a customer.
So I sent another message. And another. No reply. I then sent a final message informing them I was going to begin the non paying bidder process. No reply. So I started it, got my final value credit and it came to relisting the mower.
I wanted any regular buyers or people who had viewed my item before to know that I had only done this because the original sale hadn’t gone through, not because of any nefarious reasons. For example:
In the past I have bid on items only to be outbid on the last minute. Not the end of the world, I get on with the next item, but on several occasions I have received a second chance offer only minutes after the auction has ended. The seller claims that the original buyer has backed out because their aunties, half sisters dogs former owner hasn’t paid them back for a tenner they lent them three years ago. Right. Anyone who offers me a second chance offer minutes after the auction ends is no longer a seller I will buy from. I always decline these offers no matter how much I want the item because I just don’t trust that the seller hasn’t been shill bidding to get me to pay more. I always see the items relisted within a day or so and wish there was a way of warning other buyers about the practice. (But that’s another story).
I don’t want people to associate my relisted auctions with this so I like to give a reason in the description.
In this particular auction I added to the description right at the top before anything else:
“Relisted due to time waster.”
An innocent sentence which says why I’ve listed again.
I sold the item for a second time, at the end of the summer after the grass cutting season was over, for the same price so i was glad to see the space in my garage free for other things. If you’ve read the post about my garage you’ll understand why.
I arranged for the buyer to pick up and a day later got a message asking if it had a grass collection box. It didn’t, I clearly stated that it didn’t in the listing and there were plenty of pictures and even a video of the mower so the buyer knew exactly what they were getting.
I could sense that the buyer wanted out and I couldn’t be bothered to do the haggle dance when the buyer turned up so I suggested if it wasn’t exactly what he wanted I was willing to cancel the transaction rather than risk them not being happy. They agreed and I canceled the transaction, got my final value fee back and I clicked relist. Unfortunately this time I didn’t edit the listing. I left the phrase about the Time waster in.
Fast forward a few days and the second buyer had changed his mind and decided he wanted the item again, even without the grass collection box. He had seen the comment about time wasters in the description and thought it applied to him. I got an angry message back. I suppose it’s only natural to think that it applied to that buyer.
I sent a detailed message explaining why I had left the sentence in, I don’t think the buyer was convinced and I lost the sale.
This made me think about my relisting procedure. It’s a fine line between letting potential buyers know why an item has appeared again in your store and potentially receiving negative feedback from a buyer.
I don’t really know what my new policy will be with regards to this. Should I even bother mentioning it? There is a school of thought that by mentioning that your item has been relisted prompts the buyers to devalue it, as someone else has clearly either decided they didn’t want it or sent it back, so clearly it must not be worth the money? perhaps mentioning something along the lines of “Item for sale again as original sale fell through” it’s inoffensive, it doesn’t blame the buyer and hopefully no one would take this and feel compelled to leave negative feedback.
Having said all of this you can if you are so inclined turn on eBay’s automatic non paying bidder assistant and they deal with everything from reminders to relisting and take this entire decision out of your hands. Problem solved I suppose!
Let us know what you do in the comments and if I’m convinced to change my mind I’ll do a follow up post with the best suggestions.
Find out what happened when I eventually sold the lawnmower!