eBay’s no hassle return program has a good side and a bad side. The good is that you don’t have to go back and forth with the customer. The bad is that a customer can return an item with little-to-no recourse on your end. I sold and re-sold a shirt and got very different responses from two buyers. Just goes to show you that you can’t please everyone!
Let’s start with the shirt in question:
The shirt was just a regular old Polo Jeans Co. sweater. I labeled it as “Chunky” and had this in the “used” description and the general description area: “Light wear/discoloration from normal light use.”
You can see it in the picture, it’s not perfect but it’s also over 10 years old.
Polo Jeans Co. was a lower end line of clothing licensed by Ralph Lauren. They don’t make them anymore, and the story behind “why” is really interesting. The impact of a high-end brand licensing to lower quality companies could have major repercussions. Joe Rich Guy who spends a lot of money on recognizable clothes to let other people know that he has a lot of money doesn’t want to be in the same crowd as someone who shops at a regular department store. 😉
I didn’t mention this brand when I did my Ralph Lauren overview, but this shirt jumped out at me for three reasons. It had the RL letters on the little flag on the chest, it was an XXL, and finally, the shirt was made in Hong Kong.
What does Hong Kong have to do with anything? I need to do a bigger post looking into this, but you can sort of judge an age of clothing by where it was made. Wikipedia has a good discussion around Hong Kong moving away from manufacturing, but NPR’s Planet Money T-Shirt series is even better. It discusses the low-cost labor that’s required to make clothing but also how it moves around the world and boosts smaller countries’ economies.
And no, I still haven’t found any of the Double RL, purple label, or teddy bear Ralph Lauren yet. I will some day, and I’ll shout it from my blog’s metaphorical rooftop.
Buyers Not Happy/Happy
Since this shirt was large, heavy, and neat, I put it up for 49.99 or best offer. The first time it sold at full price, and I was stoked! Within a few days of the item being received, I got notified by eBay that the item was being returned and that eBay automatically approved it. I’m guessing this is part of the hassle-free returns.
I don’t care that I get returns. It’s not that big of a deal since it doesn’t happen too often. I do not have to like it, but it’s part of our culture now. Buyers want to be able to return an item.
Even though the fact that the buyer wanted a return is OK, the comment from the buyer was another story: “the sweater look faded and not what it looked in the picture”
They shipped the item back, and it looked EXACTLY like it did in the picture above. Dwelling on it doesn’t help anyone, but this was a very frustrating situation. I was happy that I didn’t have to pay to have the item shipped back. I think this is because I had free shipping, but I’m not 100% sure.
Either way, I re-listed the item with an updated condition description: “Light fading from normal use and age. Color in 3rd picture is most representative of shirt.”
I quickly got an offer for $30 which I accepted. I wanted it out of my house and was able to ship it for under $7 to the next state over.
I got feedback pretty quickly too:
“Very Nice Sweater, Fits Great & Fast Delivery!!”
Hows that for salt on the wound? I racked my brain as to why the 2nd buyer would be so enthusiastic about the shirt while the first wasn’t.
There were two differences in the new listing – the selling price and the extra notes in the condition description. I’m not sure if these gave the buyer a little bit more of a realistic view of the sweater or if I’m way off base.
- Purchase price – $3
- End Selling Price – $30
- Fees and Shipping/Handling – $9.97 (First buyer – Regional Rate A Box) + $10.89 = $20.86
Total Profit: $6.14
Either way, I sold the shirt, made $6 profit after the original shipping and the new shipping, and I would have forgotten about it already had I not created a draft blog post at the time. I don’t like making such a small profit, especially considering the extra effort required for an item return and relist, but I need to move on.
Who has time for revenge when there’s life to live? I’m going to try to be on the less petty side of the fence. But that shirt really did look exactly like the picture… 🙂