Chefs Chiefs Great Googly Moogly

Mistakes on eBay – Not Just for New Sellers

Dollar Flipper eBay Tips

We all make mistakes.

I still make plenty of them. Really, I do. And these are only the eBay ones! If you ask my wife, she’ll let you know that I’m just perfect all the time. 😉

You’d think that since I’ve been doing this eBay thing for over 3 years now, I’d be mistake-free by now. Hah!

So what was the mistake this time?

A Listing Setting Was Wrong

I sold a jacket for $74.99 and had free shipping. It cost $10.65 to ship to California with my TRS discount.

That would have been a nice ~$40-50 profit after all the fees.

I was celebrating, but then about a week later, I received an e-mail from the buyer asking if he could return the jacket. I let him know “of course!” and to use the eBay return process.

Looking back, I should have realized that something was wrong when he used my personal e-mail instead of Hassle Free Returns (the eBay process I use).

About a week later, I received an e-mail from eBay saying “Chris, an issue with an item you sold.” Well, that doesn’t sound good!  This is when I realized something wasn’t right. I figured I would deal with this when I got home.

When I got there, a package was waiting for me on the porch – a medium flat rate mailer. I knew this was going to be the jacket.

It was still in perfect condition and had a note saying “Thanks Chris” written on the packing slip.

When I went to refund the buyer, the entire $74.99 price showed up.  What’s going on here? Is the buyer trying to scam me?

Nope. I found out the issue once I went to re-list the item. I had forgotten to turn on returns when I listed the jacket!  For some reason, eBay does not save my settings for returns. I have to select “Yes” for returns and add my 20% re-stocking fee.

In the end, I realized this was my mistake and I wasn’t going to bug the buyer any longer with the return. I had the jacket back, and it’ll sell again.

I’m out the $10.95 that I had originally paid to ship the jacket. If I had my normal re-stocking fee, I’d have gotten $15 back which would have covered the shipping (and any ancillary costs like labels, tape, and boxes).

Luckily, I already knew this return was coming and had budgeted the whole $74.99 towards my returns categories in YNAB. I took the money from my “purchase money” category where I always keep $200 allocated for spending.  I didn’t even notice the lost shipping money since I’ve sold enough items recently.

The lesson still stings, and it just goes to show you that even us “veteran” eBay sellers (I sold my first item in 2008) continue to make mistakes and learn from them. My process has been refined but still has a few hiccups. It wasn’t even worth it to try to get the buyer to cover some of the costs. He didn’t do anything wrong. I was the doofus here.

The big thing I want to know though, is this just me?

Does eBay retain your return settings or do you have to select it every time you list something?