I have been selling on Ebay since 1999 but have not sold much in the past few years. Recently, I decided that I would like to start selling some smaller items. I was going to try this as an experiment and thought it could possibly be something I could write about on this blog. Having sold more than 600 items on Ebay, I was pretty familiar with how it worked. Now, my goal was to find some items that I could sell on Ebay. Having sold many items on Ebay, I decided that the item(s) must meet the following criteria:
* The item would need to fit in a #10 envelope. In case to are unaware, a #10 envelope is the standard envelope size that most letters are sent in.
* There needed to be an infinite supply of the item and it needed to be easy to purchase.
* The item needed to be something that I could take a picture of once and set up a continual auction for.
I went to many different department stores trying to come up with some items that would fit the criteria I described. After much deliberation, I decided I was going to sell USPS Forever Stamps on Ebay. The Forever Stamps come in booklets of 20 and will fit very easily in an envelope. Forever Stamps are also available in any post office in the United States. In addition, I could take a picture of a book of stamps one time and not have to create a new auction each time. I put a disclaimer on the auction stating that the photo was for informational purposes only and that I would ship what I had in stock. Okay I thought, this is the perfect item to sell on Ebay let’s get started!
I took my picture and wrote out the text for my Forever Stamp auction. Now, I had to decide what I was going to charge. Again, Forever Stamps are available for purchase at any post office and cost $9.00 per book (20 stamps x .45 cents each). Also, I had to factor in the the final valuation auction cost Ebay imposes and the associated Paypal fees. I decided to offer free shipping in the United States but would charge a flat rate of $1.99 for international sales. The final “Buy it Now” price I decided on was $11.45. Based on this price, I would make about .40 cents per sale in the United States and about $1.45 per international sale. I realize this isn’t much money but I was doing this as an experiment.
I made a few sales on Ebay and everything appeared to be going along well until I got a Paypal Chargeback! Again, I have been selling on Ebay since 1999 but this was the first dispute with Paypal for me. As a buyer on Ebay, I used the Paypal sellers protection program one time for an item that I did not receive. Let’s get back to the Paypal Chargeback! The email from Paypal stated that the individual buyer did not authorize the purchase and they needed additional information from me. Paypal put the funds I received from the two disputed sales on hold.
Ten days later, I received another email from Paypal informing me that they were assessing two $20 chargeback fees. After receiving this email, I was understandably unhappy! I decided to give Paypal a call and to see what I could work out. The first representative I spoke with was very nice and agreed to reverse the two $20 chargebacks. However, he was unwilling to refund my Paypal account for the funds I received from both stamp sales which totaled $34.35. I asked to speak with his supervisor. His supervisor came on the phone and I explained that I had been a Paypal member for more than ten years and asked if he would he be willing to refund the proceeds from the sale as well. He agreed to refund the sales proceeds and reverse both Paypal Chargebacks which together totaled $74.35. This has restored my faith and trust in Paypal and in their commitment to their customers!
What did I learn from this experience? First, make sure you read the small print or in my specific case the entire email! I didn’t realize that I was supposed to provide proof of mailing the stamps even though that was not what was in question. Second, in order to qualify for the Paypal Sellers Protection, you must use a tracking number when mailing your item. Third, in this digital age sometimes it is still best to pick up the phone and try to resolve things over a phone conversation opposed to using email!
I am very curious to know if anyone has had a similar situation as the one I just described? Please leave some feedback describing how you were able or unable to resolve a Paypal Chargeback.