How to Handle a Difficult Customer on eBay

How to Handle a Difficult Customer on eBay

Mike Tyson
Jul 6, 2011

Whether you're a casual eBay member or a longtime business, it's likely you've come across a difficult eBay member or two. Beyond the basic desire to make any transaction an efficient and pleasant one, it is important to keep your customers or buyers happy because your reputation within the community is sacred. The more negative feedback you receive from transactions gone awry, the harder it will be to continue to buy/sell on eBay. Knowing this, we can provide you with some valuable tips to help handle a disaster in the works from a difficult eBayer.

You may have taken the most perfect photos, have been entirely honest in your description, and shipped on time, yet for some reason, the transaction still happens to end up going sour. Here are a few ways to keep yourself from making the situation any worse:

Don't Respond Immediately: One of the most valuable lessons we can give is to let yourself cool down and gather your thoughts when a problem arises, particularly when a difficult member contacts you directly such as winning an auction and intentionally neglecting to pay. Often times we're more likely to react in the heat of the moment and be more vicious and rude to a member if we respond as soon as we read whatever it is that set us off. If it isn't an extremely time-sensitive manner, take a few hours or even a day to respond so you allow yourself to properly compose your thoughts and not fire back a response which would undoubtedly lead to more problems down the line.

Be Patient: When dealing with an irate customer you should always remember to stay calm and explain as clearly as possible. Our trick is to always repeat ourselves because it's better to give too much information than not enough. Repeat dates, stated auction rules, prices, auction numbers, etc.. The more facts you can provide, the easier it will be to prove your case if you ever need to raise the problem to eBay.

Don't Use Sarcasm or Curse: Try your best to refrain from making sarcastic remarks or bad language. Sarcasm never seems to translate well over the internet and being respectful to your customers/sellers is crucial, no matter how difficult they're being.

Utilize eBay's Protection Services: eBay has setup some great buyer and seller protection services to help save you from a bad transaction in their Resolution Center. For example, you can easily report a buyer for a multitude of common transgressions including: inappropriate feedback comments, manipulation, extortion, or an unpaid item. Once you submit a report, eBay will open a case and investigate all correspondence and make a final judgement. If you've done nothing wrong, you can count on eBay refunding you your money so you can try again either buying/selling another time.

Maintaining a perfect feedback score can be difficult but is well worth it once you are able to properly handle the troublesome transactions.

(Images: Flickr members viking_79 and TrevinC licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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