Monday, April 21, 2008

Ebay Selling Strategies - After Getting Paid

I added a couple of links in the right column, one for the secondary market options and one under Connections. is a website that's been around since 2002. They have a "make me an offer" negotiating format. Think ebay's fixed price with best offer. You have the choice of having an asking price or simply ask for an offer. There are no listing fees but the site takes a small percentage out of completed sales. I checked out the site and typed in the word "etopps." I was surprised there are quite a few in-hands listed.

I have been reading The Brill Report for at least a couple of years now. I consider this blog the pulse of the hobby, covering new releases, new products, significant changes with manufacturers in the hobby and deals to be had online. When he issued his report on Thursdays, he would usually have a blurb about the upcoming etopps autograph offerings. But now that he posts only once a week (Mondays), he no longer gives any mention to etopps. Earlier today, I emailed him about this etopps blog and offered to provide him any updates for his weekly report to keep his readership in the know.

The following is what I do after I get paid. It's just a guideline based on my experience. There are plenty of other ways but this is what has worked for me.

More times than not I receive payment for an in-hand (or a set of in-hands) via paypal. I usually send the card the following business day in a bubble-mailer. I already have printed out sheets of labels that have my return address information on them and with a sharpie pen I scribble the buyer's name on the mailer.

If I get payment via money order or check, I track the time the buyer's email that indicates they will mail their payment. If I do not receive payment after a week or so (more if from Canada), I will email the buyer again.

If I do not hear from them after at least a day or if payment hasn't been received via paypal after 7 days, I will file an unpaid dispute on ebay for the etopps card. Sometimes this works and the buyer pays pretty fast. After 7 days if I still do not have payment, I close the dispute, get my final value fee for the card credited to my account, put the bidder on my blocked list and the bidder gets a "strike" against them from ebay (two strikes and they're out).

For the bubble mailer, I usually use size #000 which fits up to three etopps cards snuggly. If I am printing out a shipping label via paypal for the transaction, I apply at least part of the label where the mailer is sealed, ensuring (optimistically) that the package will not be opened while in transit.

I also email the buyer, clicking the reply button for the payment receipt email from paypal that reads:
Your payment has been received.

Thank you very much for your business.

No Brainer Bargains strives to ensure customer satisfaction with timely communication, fast shipping and satisfaction guaranteed.

Your item will be shipped tomorrow and we will leave you feedback shortly.

Please visit our website for clothing, collectibles and consumer electronic components.

Best regards,
No Brainer Bargains

More times than not I receive positive feedback from the buyer.

Recently I received an email from someone who purchased an etopps in-hand card from me. He said he had not received the card. The card sold for about $10 with shipping. It sold near the beginning of this month and the buyer did not email me until more than 2 weeks after making payment via paypal.

My rule of thumb is if an item I sell on ebay goes for at least $15, I will print out a shipping label via paypal to cover delivery confirmation. If it's under $15, I will hand-write the buyer's mailing address on a bubble-mailer and will put the stamps on myself. I decided on $15 as the line-in-the-sand because that's as much as I'm willing to eat if the buyer claims they never got the card.

To get labels specifically for paypal, just do a search on ebay and you can find at least a few sellers who offer half-page sticker labels designed for shipping via paypal. Buying these will save you a lot of time that you will otherwise have to use in cutting out the label from the print-out and taping this paper label to the packaging.

I keep the remaining part of the label in a shoebox near my in-hands and write the name of the item I shipped so in case I have to refer back to a shipment, I can always look through my pile to get all the details needed for the buyer.

Back to the buyer who emailed me: I told them to wait another five days just in case the mail was slow getting to its destination. The buyer agreed to wait and I emailed them again on the day I would check back with them. The buyer said the card never arrived so I refunded them fully.

Luckily this has happened no more than a few times a year. Rarely do I have someone inform me they have never received what I sent them and even rarer when I'm in this situation without a tracking number.

At what price point do you print out a shipping label for delivery confirmation?

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