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OReilly EBay hacks 100 industrial strength tips and tools aug 2003 ISBN 0596005644

Hack71DealingwithStragglers,Deadbeats,and
Returns

Filingnon-payingbidderalertsandcreditrequestsinthe
eventofafailedtransaction.
Althoughsellersareresponsibleforpayingallfeesassociated
withanauction,eBayisnotunreasonableaboutrefunding
thosefeeswhenitcomestoreturns,deadbeatbidders,and
otherextenuatingcircumstances.
Regardlessofthetermsofafailedtransaction,everysellercan
completethefollowingtwo-stepprocesstorecoveranyfinalvaluefeesassociatedwithanauction.Unfortunately,listingfees
arenonrefundable,buttheyareneververylarge.

6.8.1Non-PayingBidderAlert
Ifabidderneverpays,ifabidderreturnsanitem,orifyouand
thebiddersettleatransactionforlessthanthefinalbidprice,
thefirst(andsometimesonly)stepistofileaNon-Paying
BidderAlert.

Thisisdifferentfromthe"paymentreminder,"availableintheSelling
tabofMyeBay.Sendingapaymentreminderisoptional,andisnota

prerequisitetousingtheNon-PayingBidderform.ANon-PayingBidder
Alertcanbefiledonlyafter7days(andnomorethan45days)have
passedsincetheendoftheauction.

StartbygoingtoSiteMap RequestFinalValueFeeCredit
Non-PayingBidderAlert(cgi3.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?


NPBComplaintForm),andentertheeBayitemnumberas
instructed.
You'llbepresentedwithalistofreasons.Thereasonyou
chooseherewillhaveaveryrealeffectonthewayeBay
handlestherestoftheprocess.Thereareeffectivelythree
differentscenarios:
1.Urgethebiddertopay.Ifyouchooseanyofthe
followingoptions,anemailwillbesenttothebidder
remindinghimofhisobligationtopay.Thiswillalsoenable
youtosubsequentlyusetheFinalValueFeeCreditRequest
Form,discussedinthenextsection.Theoptionsare:
Highbidderdidn'tcontactyou.
Highbidderrefusedtheitem.
Highbidderdidn'tsendpayment.
Highbiddersentpayment,butcheckbouncedor
paymentwasstopped.
Highbidderdidn'tcomplywithseller'stermsand
conditionsstatedinlisting.
OneormoreofyourDutchauctionbiddersbackedout
ofsale.
2.Cancelthetransaction.Chooseeitheroneofthe
followingtoendtheprocesshereandgetarefund
immediately:
Highbidderpaidforitemandreturnedit.Youissueda
refundtobidder.


Bothpartiesmutuallyagreednottocompletethe
transaction.
3.Applyforapartialcredit.Useoneofthefollowing
optionsifthetransactionwassuccessful,buttheamount
youultimatelyreceivedfromthecustomerwaslessthan
thefinalbidprice(forexample,ifyouissuedapartial
refund,asdescribedin[Hack#70]).Aswithreason#2,
yourrefundwillbeimmediate,andtheprocesswillend
here.
Salepricetohighbidderwasactuallylowerthanthe
finalhighbid.
HighbidderinDutchauctiondidnotcompletethe
transaction.Yousoldtheitemtoanotherbidder.

6.8.2FinalValueFeeCreditRequestForm
IftheactionyoutookwhenfilingtheNon-PayingBidderAlert
resultedinawarningemailbeingsenttothebidder,youare
obligatedtogivethecustomeranother10daystocomplyand
sendpaymentinfull.Ifthebidderstillhasn'tpaidafterthose
10days,thenyoucanfollowupbyfilingaFinalValueFee
CreditRequest.(Notethatcreditrequestswillbedeniedif60
dayshavepassedsincetheendoftheauction.)

WhenyoucompleteaFinalValueFeeCreditRequest,thebidder
involvedwillreceiveaNon-PayingBidderWarning.Abidderwho
receivesthreesuchwarningswillbesuspendedfromeBay.Forthis
reason,youshouldbediligentaboutfollowingthroughfordeadbeat
bidders.Likewise,youshouldbeextremelycarefulaboutfiling
undeservedcreditrequeststoharassbiddersorsavemoneyonlisting
fees,lestyoubesuspendedyourself.


GotoSiteMap RequestFinalValueFeeCredit Request
YourFinalValueFeeCredit(cgi3.ebay.com/awcgi/eBayISAPI.dll?CreditRequest),andentertheeBayitem
numberintheformshowninFigure6-5.

Figure6-5.UsetheFinalValueFeeCreditRequest
Formtogetmostofyourfeesbackafterafailed
transaction

Here,you'llbepresentedwiththesameassortmentofreasons
thatappearedontheNon-PayingBidderAlertForm,plusafield
inwhichtospecifyhowmuchmoneyifanyyoureceivedfrom
thebidder.ClickSubmitwhenyou'redone,andeBaywillcredit
theappropriateamounttoyouraccount.
Yourcreditwilltakeeffectimmediately.Toseehowmuch
moneyhasbeencredited,gotoMyeBay Accounts View
AccountStatus.


6.8.3RelistingandOtherOptions
Whenallissaidanddone,you'llmostlikelystillhavetheitem,
whichmeansyou'llwanttorelistitandtrytosellitagain.

Beforeyourelist,makesuretoaddthedeadbeatbidderfromthefirst
roundtoyourBlockedBidderList,asdescribedin[Hack#54].Youcan
alsoseeifanyoftheotherbiddersontheauctionarestillinterestedby
usingtheSecondChanceOfferonyourMyeBaySellingpage.

YoucanrelistanyitemoneBaybygoingtothecompleted
auctionpageandclicking"Relistyouritem."Youcanrelist
multipleitemsquicklyintheUnsoldItemssectionofyourMy
eBaySellingtab.
Relistinginthiswayhasthreeadvantagesovercreatinganew
listing:
Youdon'thavetoenteralltheauctiondetailsagain;eBay
willdoitforyou.AllyouneedtodoisclickGoToReviewto
jumptothelastpageoftheform,andthenclickSubmit
Listingtostartthenewauction.
IfyouturnontheRelistedItemLinkoption,aprominent
linkwillbeplacedontheoldauction,directingany
customerswhohappentoseeittothenewauctionpage.
It'sagreatwaytogetalittleextrafreeadvertisingforyour
item.
Ifthefirstauctionfailedbecauseitdidn'treceiveanybids
orthereservewasn'tmet,eBaywillwaivethelistingfees
fortherelistedauction.
Silverliningclause:Moreoftenthannot,anauctionthatis


relistedafteradeadbeatbidderbacksoutusuallyclosesata
higherpricethesecondtime.Why?First,twoback-to-back7dayauctionshavetwicetheexposure(14days)ofasingle7dayauction;ifyoudoitright,anyonewhovisitsthefirst
auctionwillseealinktotherelistedauction.Second,any
unsuccessfulbiddersonthefirstauctionarelikelytoreturnand
bidmoreaggressivelyonthesecondauction,especiallyifyou're
sellingsomethingrare.Third,adiligentsellerislikelyto
improvetheauctiondescriptionthesecondtimearound,which
canresultinahigherprice.


Hack70DamageControlBeforeandAfterYou
Ship

Howtohandleproblemsdiscoveredbyeitheryouorthe
customer.
"Adiplomatisapersonwhocantellyoutogotohellin
suchawaythatyouactuallylookforwardtothetrip."
CaskieStinnett,1960
Soyou'repackingupanitemtoshiptoacustomer,andyou
suddenlydiscoverascratch,scrape,hole,discoloration,or
missingpartthatyouhadn'tnoticedandhadn'tmentionedin
theauctiondescription.Sure,youcanpackitup,shipit,and
hopethebiddernevernotices.Buthewill,andyouknowit.
Thebestapproachinvolvesaquickpreemptiveemailtothe
bidder,likeoneofthefollowing:
"IjustnoticedanickonthebackoftheitemwhileIwas
packingit.Letmeknowifyounolongerwantit,andI'll
refundyourmoney.Otherwise,I'llshiprightaway."Give
yourcustomerawayout.Inmostcases,iftheproblemis
minor,thecustomerwillstillwanttheitem.Notonlywill
thisnotemakeyouappearhonest,butyourcustomerwill
haveamorerealisticexpectationabouttheconditionofthe
item,andlessofareasontoreturnitwhenitfinallyarrives.
"Whilepackingupyouritem,IdiscoveredaflawIhadn't
noticedwhenwritinguptheauctiondescription.I've
attachedaphoto.Ifyoustillwantit,I'dbehappytosendit


toyoualongwithapartialrefund.Or,ifyou'renolonger
interested,I'llrefundyourpaymentinfull."Thephotogives
thecustomeradditionalinformationwithwhichhecan
makeaninformeddecision,and,again,helpssetamore
reasonableexpectation.Andthepartialrefundisan
excellentcompromisethatwillbothsweetenthedealfor
thecustomerandsaveyouthetroubleandexpenseof
havingtorelisttheitem.
"Iwascalledoutoftownforafewdays,andIhadtoleave
beforeIgotachancetoshipyourpackage.Ishippedyour
packagethismorningandupgradedittosecond-dayairfor
noextracharge.I'msorryforthedelay;pleaseletme
knowwhenthepackagearrives."Damagecontrolisn'tjust
forphysicaldamage;it'sfordealingwithsnagsinanypart
ofthetransaction.Notonlyshouldyoucontactcustomers
beforetheyreceivealatepackage,youshouldmakesome
concessiontohelpcompensateforthedelay.Forinstance,a
freeshippingupgradewillcostyouverylittle,butwillgoa
longwaytowardmakingyourcustomerhappywiththe
productwhenitfinallydoesarrive.
"Iwasgettingreadytopackyouritem,butIcouldn'tfind
someofthepartsthatwerelistedintheauction
description.Iapologizefortheinconvenience,andhave
refundedyourpayment."Thisisthebestapproachifyou're
reasonablycertainthecustomerwillnolongerwantthe
item,asitdoesn'tevensuggestthepossibility.Assuming
you'resufficientlyapologeticandyourtoneissincere,the
customerwillbeunderstanding,andwillquicklyreleaseyou
ofyourobligationwithoutfurtherinquiryornegative
feedback.
Thegoalineachcaseisnotonlytosetareasonable
expectationwiththecustomer,asdescribedin[Hack#39],but
tosaveyoumoney,time,andaggravation.Thelastthingyou


wantistogotothetroubleandexpenseofshippinganitem,
onlytohavethecustomercomplainandultimatelyreturnitto
you.Notonlywouldyouhavetorefundtheshippingfees
(assumingthatyou'reatfault),butyou'dbestuckwith
negativefeedbackandanitemyouthenhavetoresell.
Ifyouinsteadrefundthecustomer'smoneybeforeshipping,
you'llstillbestuckwiththeitem,butyouwon'tgetnegative
feedback,youwon'tlosemoneyinshippingcosts,andyou
won'thavetogothroughthehassleofdealingwithan
unsatisfiedcustomer.
Anddon'tforgetthepartialrefund,either.Byrefundingsomeof
yourcustomer'smoney,eitherbyasmalltokenamountor
perhapsbyshippingforfree,you'llstillbeabletocompletethe
saleandthebuyerwillbehappytogethisproductforalittle
less.
Ifyouenduprefundingsomeorallofthecustomer'spayment,
makesuretoapplyforacreditfortheappropriatefinal-value
fees,asdescribedin[Hack#71].

6.7.1AftertheFact
Ifthecustomerhasalreadyreceivedthepackage,anyhopesof
settingareasonableexpectationwillbedashed.Butyoucan
stilltrytoensurethatyourcustomerwillbehappywithhisor
herpurchase.
Thetypicalscenarioinvolvesacustomerwhoisn'thappywith
anitemforwhateverreason.Somecustomerswillbemore
understandingandreasonablethanothers,butit'suptoyouto
setthetonefortherestofthetransactionanddealwiththe
problemappropriately.
Whenyoureceiveacomplaint,takethefollowingsteps:


1. Checkoutthecustomer'sfeedbackratingandlookfor
signsthathehasharassedothersellers.Acustomer
withglowingfeedbackcanbemuchmorereadily
trustedthanonewhomothersellershavefoundtobe
unreasonableoruncooperative.
Seeifthecustomerhasleftfeedbackforyouyet.Ifnot,
you'llstillhaveachanceatcomingoutofthisunscathed.
Otherwise,youmightunderstandablybelesswillingto
compromise,giventhatthere'sseeminglynothinginitforyou.
Butdon'tforgetthatfeedbackcanberetracted,asdescribedin
[Hack#6],sothere'sstillachancethatyoucouldmakethings
rightforbothyouandthebidder.
Double-checkyourauctiondescriptionforamentionofthe
problem.Ifthecustomer'scomplaintisaddressedinyour
description,thenallyouneedtodoiskindlyinformthebidder
thattheproblemwasexplainedintheauction.Asellershould
neverbeheldresponsibleforacomplaintbasedsolelyonthe
buyernothavingreadtheauctiondescription.
Examineyourphotosoftheitemtoseeifyoucan
corroborate(orrefute)theseller'sstory.Itwillbeuptoyour
judgmentastohowclearlytheproblemwasillustratedbyyour
photos,andhowyouwishtoproceed.
Offerapartialrefundcommensuratewiththeseverityofthe
problem.Ifthecustomerishappytoaccept,youwon'thaveto
taketheitembackandrefundallthecustomer'smoney.
Sohowdoyoucalculatetheamountofapartialrefund?One
wayistotakethedifferencebetweentheamountthecustomer
paidandtheestimatedamountthecustomerwould'vepaidhad
heorsheknownaboutthespecificproblem.Barringthat,a
tokenrefundoftheshippingcost,forexample,maybeallit
takestomakethebidderhappy.


Ifthecustomerrejectsthepartialrefund,thenit'suptoyou
whetherornottogivethecustomerafullrefundandwhether
ornotyouincludethecostofshipping.It'sgenerallyaccepted
thatthesellerrefundsshippingchargesifthesellerisatfault;
otherwise,thecustomerisentitledtonothingmorethana
refundofthefinalbidprice.

Watchoutforfraudwhenhandingoutrefunds.Somepeoplewillbuyan
itemtoreplaceadefectiveonetheyalreadyhave,onlytoreturnthe
defectiveunittotheunsuspectingsellerandeffectivelygettheitem
fixedforfree.Makesuretoinspectboththeitemandthecustomer's
feedbackprofileforsignsoffraud.

NotethatyoushouldneveraskthebiddertocovereBay'sfees
iftheyreturnanitem,mostlybecauseyoucanapplyfora
creditforanyfinal-valuefees,asdescribedin[Hack#71].


Hack54KeepingOutDeadbeatBidders

Alittlediplomacywillhelpkeepoutdeadbeatsandstill
allowhealthybiddingonyourauction.
"Goodjudgmentcomesfrombadexperience,andalotofthat
comesfrombadjudgment."
OneofthemostfrustratingaspectsofsellingoneBayisdealing
withwinningbidderswhodon'tpay.Notonlyarenon-paying
biddersawasteoftheseller'stimeandmoney,theyendup
ruininghonestbidders'chancesofwinningtheauction.
Youcanalwaystellasellerhasbeenrecentlyburnedbya
deadbeatfromtheharshwarningsintheirauctiondescriptions:
"Don'tbidifyoudon'tintendtopay!"
"Seriousbiddersonly."
"Ifyouhavezerofeedback,emailbeforebiddingoryourbid
willbecanceled!"
"Anon-payingbidderwillreceivenegativefeedback,lotsof
threateningemail,andanotetoyourmother."
Theproblemwithalloftheseisthattheytypicallydomore
harmthangood.Forexample,youshouldnevertellvisitorsnot
tobidonyouritem,regardlessofyourintentions.Thetoneis
angryandthreatening,andsendsamessage(eventohonest
bidders)thatdealingwithyouwilllikelybealessthanpleasant
experience.Besides,youraveragedeadbeatbidderprobably


won'treadyourdescriptionanyway.
Instead,startbythinkingaboutwhysomeonemaynotpay
afterwinninganauction,andthenfindadiplomaticwayto
weedoutsuchbidders.
Inmostcases,itwillbeneweBayuserswithafeedbackrating
oflessthan10orsowhoendupbiddingandnotpaying,afact
duelargelytotheirinexperienceratherthananykindofmalice.
Forinstance,newbidderswilloftenwaituntilafterthey'vebid
toreadtheauctiondescriptionandpaymentterms(iftheyread
thematall).Or,abiddermightbidandlaterdiscoverthatheor
shenolongerneedsorwantsyouritem.Andsince
inexperiencedeBayuserstypicallydon'tknowhowtoretract
bidsorcommunicatewithsellers,nordotheyunderstandthat
theycansimplyresellsomethingtheydon'twant,theysimply
disappear,hopingthattheproblemwillgoawayiftheyignorea
seller'semails.
Naturally,therearealsothoseclownswhobidwithnointention
ofpaying.Thisisactuallyquiteuncommon,andsuchabusersof
thesystemdon'tlastlongoneBay.Ifyoususpectthatsomeone
withavendettaagainstyoumightbidononeofyourauctions
justtoleavefeedback,youmaywanttoupdateyourBlocked
BidderList(describedlaterinthishack).

Sohowdoyoutellthedifferencebetweenhonestbiddersanddishonest
deadbeats?GotoSearch
ByBidder,enterthebidder'suserID,and
clickYestoincludecompleteditems.Iftheuser'sbiddinghistoryseems
reasonable(afewbids,allalongthesamelines),thenheisprobablya
legitimatebidder.However,iftheuserisbiddingasthoughitwere
goingoutofstyle,tryingtobuyupasmanyhigh-priceditemsas
possible,thenyou'velikelyfoundyourselfadeadbeat.

4.23.1AnOunceofPrevention...


Sincetheproblemofdeadbeatbiddingismostoftencausedby
alackofexperience,anynotesofwarninginyourauction
descriptionshouldinsteadbewelcomingandinstructional.
ThinkofitaseducatingyourbiddersoneBaybasics:
"Attentionnewbidders:pleasereadtheauctiondescription
carefullyandmakesureit'swhatyouwantbeforeyoubid."
"Pleasereadmypaymentandshippingtermstobesure
youcancompletethetransactionbeforeyouplaceyourfirst
bid."
"Ifyouhaveanyquestionsaboutthisauction,please
contactmebeforeyoubid."
Notonlydotheseexamplesencouragebidderstobidonyour
auctions,theyenforcethepracticesthatwillhelpensurethat
they'rehappyoncethey'vepaidandhavereceivedtheiritems,
whichwillreducethelikelihoodofnegativefeedbackandhaving
todealwithreturns.See[Hack#39]formoreideas.
Finally,toavoidmisunderstandingsthatcanleadtonon-paying
bidders,takestepstomakesureyourpaymentandshipping
termsareasclearashumanlypossible.See[Hack#48]and
[Hack#40]forwaystoremoveclutterandsetapartimportant
policiesinyourauctiondescriptions,respectively.

4.23.2BeingProactiveBehindtheScenes
Probablythebestapproachtopreventingdeadbeatsistobea
littlesneakyaboutit.Insteadofrelyingonbidderstoeffectively
censorthemselves(whichtheywon't),simplyletthembid
freely.Afterall,onlytheintentionsofthehighbiddercount;all
lowerbidseventhoseplacedbydeadbeatsinthemakingonly
servetoraisethefinalauctionprice.


Checkbackandreviewthestatusofyourrunningauctions
everyfewdays.IfyouseeanyeBayuserswithzerofeedback
orthelittle"newuser"iconnexttotheiruserIDs,justsend
themaquicknotetoverifythatthey'reserious.Ifyoudon'tget
areplyinadayortwo,canceltheirbidsandletthemknow
why.
Now,ifanyofyourauctionshasahighbidderwithanegative
feedbackrating(lessthanzero)orafeedbackprofilewith
excessivenegativecomments,don'tfeelbadaboutcanceling
theirbidsandblockingthemfrombiddingonanyofyour
auctions.

4.23.3CancelingBidsandBlockingBidders
Cancelingbidsiseasy...andfun!Withtheabilitytocancela
bidatanytimeandforanyreason,aselleryieldstremendous
power(overhisorherownrunningauctions,anyway).
Tocancelabid,gotoSiteMap CancelBidsonMyItem,and
followtheprompts.Allbidsplacedbythespecifiedbidderwill
becanceled,andtheauctionpricewillbeadjustedaccordingly.
(Youcanalsocancelallbidsonanauctioninonestepbygoing
toSiteMap Endmylisting.)
Onceauser'sbidshavebeencanceled,you'llhavethe
opportunitytoaddthatuser'sIDtoyourBlockedBidderList,
availableatSiteMap BlockedBidder/BuyerList.Thelistis
simplyatextboxwiththeuserIDsofallthebiddersyoudon't
wantbiddingonyourauctions,separatedbycommas.Notethat
althoughblockingauserpreventstheuserfromplacingany
futurebidsonyourauctions,ithasnoeffectonanyopenbids
placedbythatuseronanyrunningauctions,soyoumaywant
tocheckyourrunningauctionswhenyou'redoneforany
remainingbidsthatneedtobecanceled.


eBaydoesn'tallowyoutoautomaticallyblockbiddersbasedsolelyon
theirfeedbackrating,whichisagoodthing.Afterall,everyeBayuser
hastostartsomewhere.Don'tassumeeverynewuserisgoingtobea
deadbeat,butdon'texpectnewuserstounderstandallthe
ramificationsofbidding,either.Ifyougetstuckwithadeadbeatbidder,
they'llusuallyshapeupwithalittlediplomacyandmotivation;see
[Hack#71]formoreinformation.

Timingisimportantwhencancelingbids.Cancelingabidtoo
earlyisusuallypointless,sincetheuserislikelytobeoutbidby
someoneelse,andthecancellationwouldjustlowerthefinal
priceneedlessly.Cancelingtoolateisalsonotagoodidea,
sinceitwouldkeepthefinalpriceartificiallyhighclosetothe
endoftheauction,whichmightscareoffbiddersplanningto
snipe.Agoodwindowinwhichtocancelbidsistypicallyabout
20-30hoursbeforetheend.
Regardlessofthetiming,there'susuallynobenefittocanceling
bidsbyauserwhoisn'tcurrentlythehighbidder,withtwo
smallexceptions.First,unlessyoublockabidder,hecanbid
againandbecomethehighbidder.Second,ifthehighbidders
retracttheirbids,thenaonce-trailingbiddercantakethelead.
Ofcourse,bidderscannotretracttheirbidsinthelast12hours
ofanauction,sothatparticularthreatisminimal.


Hack39ExpectationManagement

Afewcarefullychosenwordsinyourauctiondescriptions
willhelpavoidunhappybuyers,returns,andnegative
feedback.
"Ifyoulendsomeone$20andneverseethatperson
again,itwasprobablyworthit."
MostsellerswouldagreethataneBaytransactioncanbe
consideredsuccessfulifthebidderpayspromptly,leaves
positivefeedback,andthendisappears.Naturally,thishappens
whenthebidderishappy.Unhappybidders,ontheotherhand,
havecomplaints,wantrefunds,leavenastyfeedback,and,all
told,makethemselvesageneralpainintheneck.
Whenabidderisdispleased,it'susuallybecauseofafailureby
thesellerlongbeforethecustomerevenplacesabidonthe
item.It'stheseller'sjobtodescribetheitemsothatthe
eventualbuyerwillbepleasedwithit,evenifitmeanspointing
outitsflaws.
Thinkaboutit:everytimeyou'rehappyorunhappywitha
transaction,it'sbecausetheexperienceeithermetorfailedto
meetyourexpectations.Thehighertheexpectations,the
harderitistomeetthem.Thekeyistostrikeabalance
betweenmakingyourproductlookgoodandsettingreasonable
expectations.
Considerthefollowingwhenwritingyourauctiondescription:
Ifyouwouldliketocategorizeanitemas"likenew,"sayit's
in"mintcondition"instead.Thephrase"likenew"means


"indistinguishablefrombrandnew."Nomatterhowgoodit
lookstoyou,thepersonwho'sjustlaiddown$1,500of
theirhard-earnedmoneywillexpectmorethanyou'll
probablybeabletodeliver.
Iftheitemhasbeenused,sayso;don'texpectyourbidders
torealizethissimplybyscrutinizingyourblurryphotosor
noticingthatyousetalowstartingbid.
Mentionallflaws,regardlessofhowinsignificant.Whether
ornottheflawsareimportantisbesidethepoint.Rather,
it'stheblunthonestythatwillwinthetrustofyourbidders,
andultimatelygetyoumoremoneyforyouritems(and
happierbidderstoboot).
Ifyou'resellingsomethingbelongingtosomeoneelse,say
so.Otherwise,yourbidderswillexpectyoutohavefull
knowledgeofitshistoryandwillholdyouaccountablefor
anyflawsyoudon'tspecificallymentionupfront.Anything
youknowabouttheitem'shistory(suchasprevious
owners,repairs,oraccidents)shouldbementionedinthe
description,alongwiththecurrentconditionoftheitem.Or,
iftheitemhashadarelativelycushylifesurvivingno
accidentsandrequiringnorepairsthensayso.
Ifit'sdirty,cleanit.Ifyoudon'twanttotakethetimeto
cleanit,saythatit'sdirtyinthedescription.Or,betteryet,
saysomethinglike"Withagoodcleaning,thisitemwillbe
asgoodasnew!"
Ifyou'resellingclothing,stuffedanimals,dolls,camping
gear,oranythingelsethatcantrapodors,besureto
mentionwhethertheitemswerekeptinasmoke-free
environment.Yournon-smokingcustomerswillthankyou
eitherway.


Measuringtapesarecheapandplentiful.Besuretoinclude
thedimensionsofyouritem,especiallyifyou'renotthat
familiarwithit.Thisisnotsomuchforthebidder's
convenience,butrathertohelpease(orconfirm)your
bidders'fearsthatyoumight'vemiscategorizedyouritem.
Forinstance,ifyou'resellingyourgrandfather'smodel
trainsandyou'renotsureofthescale(HO,N,Z,etc.),then
yourunaprettygoodchanceofgettingitwrong.Ifyou
includethedimensions,yourbidderscanbesureofwhat
they'rebuying,longbeforetheyreceiveitandhavetosend
itback.
Don'tforgettomentiontheinclusion(orexclusion)ofthe
originalbox,manuals,accessories,warrantycard,
paperwork,pricetags,oranythingelseyourbiddersmight
expecttogetwithyouritem.
See[Hack#55]fortipsontakinggoodphotosthatwill
simultaneouslysellyouritemandinspiretrustinthosewho
wouldpayforit.
Don'tsay"thephotosaysitall."Thephotoneversaysitall.
Finally,yourtonesetsanexpectationwithyourbiddersas
towhatyou'llbeliketodealwith.Beinvitingandfriendly,
andinviteinquiriesfrominterestedbidders.Writein
completesentences.See[Hack#54]forwaystoprotect
yourinterestsintheauctiondescription,and[Hack#53]
foreverythingelse.
Althoughitmaysoundtrite,honestyisindeedthebestpolicy.
BysellingoneBay,youarejoiningacommunity.Bydealing
fairlyandhonestly,youwillbuildagoodreputation,attract
morebidders,andcontributepositivelytothatcommunity.This
will,inturn,improveyourreputationandattractmorebidders.
Plus,you'llmakelotsofcash.


Hack6RemoveUnwantedFeedback

UseSquareTrade'smediationservicestoretract
feedback.
eBaydoesn'tkidaroundwhenitcomestofeedback,andneither
domostusers.AlthougheBayisquiteclearaboutstatingthat
everymemberwholeavesfeedbackisresponsibleforhisorher
ownwordsandthat,onceposted,feedbackcannotbe
retracted,thereisindeedawayout.
Infact,thereareseveralcircumstancesunderwhichafeedback
commentcanberemoved:
ThefeedbackdoesnotappeartobeconnectedwitheBay,
theparticularmemberforwhichitwasleft,ortheparticular
transactionwithwhichitisassociated.
Thefeedbackcontainsoffensivelanguage,personal
identifyinginformation,linkstopicturesorwebsites,or
falseclaimswithregardtoeBaypoliciesorlaw-enforcement
organizations.
Thefeedbackwasmistakenlyleftforthewronguser,and
thepersonwholeftfeedbackcorrectstheerrorandthen
contactseBay.
Thefeedbackwasleftbysomeonewithfalsecontact
information.
Thefeedbackwasusedasameansofcoercionorblackmail.


eBayreceivesacourtorderfindingthatthefeedbackis
slanderous,libelous,defamatory,orotherwiseillegal,oras
aresultofasettlementagreement.
eBayisnotifiedbySquareTradetoremovethefeedback,as
explainedinthenextsection.Ifthefeedbackcomment
doesn'tmeetanyoftheothercriterialistedhere,then
goingthroughSquareTradeisyourbestchoice.
Gotohttp://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/feedbackremoval.htmlforallthelegaleseassociatedwitheBay's
feedbackremovalpolicy.

1.7.1SquareTrade
AnyeBaymemberwhowishestohaveafeedbackcomment
removedmustdosowiththecooperationofthepersonwho
originallyleftthefeedback.
Here'showitworks:
1. Therecipientoftheunwantedfeedbackfilesacaseat
www.squaretrade.comandpaystheservicefee.
Thereisnotimelimit.
Emailsaresenttobothparties.
Eachpartyindependentlyagreestohavethefeedback
removed.
AmediatoratSquareTradeinvestigatesthecase.
Ifallconditionsaremet,SquareTradesendsaremoval
requesttoeBay.


Theonlytimethingsproceeddifferentlyisiftheotherparty
doesn'trespondtoanyoftheSquareTradeemailswithin14
days.Inthiscase,aSquareTrademediatorreviewsthecase,
andhopefullydismissesthefeedback.Therestrictionhere,
however,isthatthecasemustbefiledwithin90daysofthe
dateofthefeedback;thispreventseBaymembersfrom
attemptingtoremoveoldfeedbackfromposterswhohavelong
sincelefteBayandchangedemailaddresses.
What'ssoterrificaboutthisconceptisthatitgivesbuyersand
sellersincentivetoworkthingsout,evenafterfeedbackhas
beenleft.


Hack48MakeGoodUseoftheAboutMePage

SetupastaticpageoneBayforallthestuffthatwould
otherwiseclutterupyourauctionpages.
Manysellersmakethemistakeofincludingpagesandpagesof
paymentandshippingterms,onlytosupplementitwitha
singlesentenceabouttheitemitself.Nowonderbiddersnever
readdescriptions!
Ihateclutter,whetherit'sononeofmyownauctionsor
someoneelse's.Iliketoreservethespaceinmyauction
descriptionsforinformationabouttheitembeingsold,mostly
becausebiddershavealimitedattentionspan,andI,asa
seller,havealimitedamountoftimetopreparemyauctions.
eBayallowsanyusertobuildastaticpagerightontheeBay
websiteseparatefromtheirauctionswithwhatevercontent
heorshewantstomakepublic.Althoughanyonecanput
togetheranAboutMepagebygoingtoSiteMap AboutMe,
it'ssellerswhowillbenefitmostfromthisfeature.

SincetheAboutMepageisseparatefromauctions,itscontentcanbe
modifiedatanytime,evenafteryourauctionshavereceivedbids.See
[Hack#50]and[Hack#51]formoreinformation.

Althoughyoucanmaintainyourownwebpageonanyoff-eBay
site,therearesignificantadvantagestousingtheAboutMe
feature.Forone,theinformationonthepagewillappearmore
trustworthytoyourbiddersbecauseitlookslikepartofthe
eBaysite,completewiththeeBaylogoandmenubar.Second,
alinktoyourAboutMepagewillappearnexttoyouruserID


wheneveryourIDappearsoneBay.Andfinally,you'llbeableto
insertdynamic,eBay-specificcontentinyourpage,asfollows.

4.17.1JustSayNotoTemplates
WhenyouusetheAboutMefeatureforthefirsttime,eBay
presentsaselectionofdifferenttemplatesthatyoucanchoose
fromtoframeyourpage.Thenextstepinvolvesfillinginabout
adozenfieldswithyourpersonalizedinformation(seeFigure413),suchasatitle,welcomemessage,somethingcalled
"anotherparagraph,"andsomeofyourfavoritelinks.Youcan
alsochoosetodisplayrecentfeedbackandalistofyouritems
forsale,rightonthepage.

Figure4-13.TheAboutMesetuppageisthefirst
thingyouseewhenyoubuildanAboutMepage,
butitdoesn'taffordtheflexibilityoftheoptional
HTMLeditorinterface


Ifyouwanttohavefullcontroloverthelookofyourpage,you
canskipthesetuppagebyclickingPreviewatthebottomofthe
page.Then,onthenextpage,click"EditusingHTML."You'll
thenbeshownasingleeditbox,prefilledwiththeHTMLcode
fromyourcurrentAboutMepage.Youcanproceedtomodifyor
replacethiscodeasyouseefit.See[Hack#40]forassistance
inthisarea,aswellasinformationonusingaWYSIWYGweb
pageeditortocreatepageslikethis.

Onceyouleavethetemplateinterface,youwon'tbeabletogoback
without"startingover,"whicheffectivelydeletesyourpageandreturns
youtotheblankslateprovidedwhenyoufirststarted.Forthisreason,
youshouldalwayskeepacopyofyourcustomAboutMepageinatext
fileonyourcomputer.Justhighlightallthetextintheeditbox(Ctrl-A),
copytotheclipboard(Ctrl-C),andpasteintoyourfavoritetexteditor


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