Scavenger Life Episode 48: How To Avoid Negative Feedback and Deal with Customers On eBay - Tips for Beginners

You can easily avoid having your feedback look like this guy's!

Jay and Mikey cover the basics on how to avoid negative feedback and deal with angry customers on eBay.
  • First, don't buy items in very bad condition or that you can't easily test. 
  • Second, if there is a problem, deal with it professionally and courteously. Ebay will absolutely take your inbox responses into account when siding on a case. 
  • Remember not to take things personally, people get defensive when they have had bad previous experiences with sellers and it's easy to diffuse someone with prompt and consistent communication. 
  • Sometimes you get negative or neutral feedback without a word from a customer, but eBay has some new policies about removing certain dings like this.
 eBay recently suspended 15,000 sellers (out of 15 million) from listing new items because of bad performance. Just read the rules and give eBay a call, they might just delete that negative for you!

Direct .mp3 link. Direct ogg vorbis link.


  1. Great Episode as always! I was able to turn potential negative feedback into positive feedback on an item. I normally do same day or next day shipping whenever possible. But it just so happened I was bed stricken with a fever of 106 and having bizarre hallucinatory dreams and cold sweats...needless to say I was out of commission. Anyway - the buyer paid for the item around 10:30pm on Wed evening. I printed the Shipping label Thursday evening (and trust me, I was BARELY able to even do that) and brought the package directly to the post office Friday morning .

    Saturday morning I received a long email from the buyer saying things like "When I pay promptly I expect the item to be shipped promptly. I'm not going to be annoyed if it takes USPS a long time to get me my item, but I am annoyed that it appears you have not even shipped the item yet..." and it goes on. I'm not saying the buyer is even being out of line ... It did take 2 days for me to get the item shipped (which is well within the 3 day recommendation from eBay) ... and our store says allow up to 3 days handling time (the automatic/default preference). So in no way were we obligated, technically, to ship it immediately.

    Rather than saying that to the buyer ... or telling them how sick I was I just said "I completely understand how important fast shipping is and I appreciate your fast payment. We always try to ship next day whenever possible. I personally dropped off the item Friday morning at the post office so it is indeed on it's way, but it appears the tracking information has not yet updated. Thank you for your patience."

    This buyer left us positive feedback upon receiving their item. This could have gone South very quickly depending on the way I handled my response to him.

    Honesty is the best policy, and being polite and professional can seriously get you far with customers.


    1. exactly the right move adam. it took me a long time to be able to just keep calm when a customer started yelling at us, rare as that is, it tends to color all transactions after that. i think a lot of buyers expect to not hear back from a seller, so they get agressive from the get-go. but defusing the situation with prompt and professional communication is the best solution.

  2. Hey guys

    I sent a flat rate international letter to Australia, but didn't get tracking on it. Now the buyer wants to the tracking #. Now what? Refund or wait another week?

    Love the podcast, and ALL of the help.

    1. just to clarify, you used Priority Flat rate envelope (the red white and blue one)? there is a good chance that there will be tracking on it. did you print the label at home or go to the post office? the numbers starting with a letter near the barcode are the tracking numbers. that being said, it's a 50/50 chance it will be tracked. First Class and Flat Rate Envelopes International don't always get tracked, but sometimes they do.

      as Jay said, i would tell them to wait and it should get to them soon.

  3. Yeah, this is a problem. Because it's flat rate international, there is no tracking. And if there is no tracking, then you bear all responsibility if it gets lost. Most items do get there, but its a crap shoot.

    Two solutions:
    --We tell buyers that it can take up to 45 days to get to them with this cheaper postage. Often it gets stuck in customs. eBay will usually back you up if they complain because they know it takes time. Often items eventually get to the buyer. But after 45 days, we always do a full refund.
    --You should consider joining ebay's Global Shipping Program. Buyers pay for Priority mail, but you only ship to ebay's warehouse Kentucky. eBay guarantees shipping from there with full tracking. Google it for more info.

    1. Thanks a ton guys!

      Since I started ebayin' last month I've found the whole shipping/customer support has been the hardest part. So, thanks so much for ALL you guys do.

      I just got a message that he received the item. Sigh... Good news.

    2. If you're just starting out, you may want to avoid doing International Shipping at first. Or make sure you join the Global Shipping Program.

      Keep it all simple for now. You don't want a couple arduous sales to get you down.

  4. Great video!

    I also agree with your points! Great communication is key to pleasing your customers! I had one negative feedback but it was quickly changed to a positive using my customer service skills.
    I sold some guy an authentic Pokemon game. When he received it he said it was a fake, opened up a "item not described case" and insisted on a refund. Also left a negative. I was able to work it out with him very fast.

    The guy was a scammer but I didn't think the negative was worth the effort. I refunded his money and he sent the item back.

    I also have a blog to help out people who want to make money on eBay. SelloneBayforProfit.


  5. I was listening to one of your podcasts where Jay and Mickey were discussing the global shipping program. I think it might have been #48 (maybe I am wrong) about negative feedback and how to avoid it. Anyway, you asked for comments on experience using the GSP.

    I signed up for it some time ago and yesterday I sold a camera via an Ebay auction to a buyer in Canada. The GSP kicked in. The camera I listed actually was a kit that contained several pieces. It was brand new, but three of the pieces (a lens, adapter and flash) were missing. When I created the listing I entered a comment in two places in bold red text that three of the pieces were missing. It was pretty obvious, but it pays to communicate. So, when the items sold I emailed the buyer and reminded them that this items has three missing pieces.

    Later, he paid for it and I printed the postage. I then noticed message from the buyer. He said he was aware that there were items missing and he was good with that, but he wanted to know whether he could purchase shipping that allow the item to reach him more quickly.
    I responded telling him that I would drop it off at the post office in the morning, which I did, but it got me to thinking.

    1. Since I’m using the global shipping program it will almost certainly take longer for the item to arrive since it goes to Kentucky, possibly gets repacked and then it gets mailed out.
    2. I don’t know whether I have any control over which type of shipping (express, priority, etc.) once I select the GSP form of postage.

    It could be my ignorance of the program, but shipping to Canada is almost like shipping an item within the U.S. in my opinion. I’ve never experienced a problem with shipping to Canada, so it would almost be beneficial for me to exclude Canada shipping from the GSP. I don’t think I can pick and chose other than to use it or not use it.


    1. my experience with the GSP has been that packages get to their destination at the same speed as Priority or faster. depends on the country. Australia gets items sent FedEx, so it's mostly under 6 days, which is amazing. Canada gets items through Canada Post which can be equal or faster than USPS Priority and most definitely faster than First Class. and that, of course, depends on what part of Canada it's going to as well, urban or rural. i'm including the time it takes to get to KY in these calculations as well. you also have full tracking and insurance from the 3rd party shippers, FedEd, CanadaPost, RoyalMail etc.

      the very first item i sold on GSP was a popcorn popper (used to roast coffee beans) to the UK. the guy claimed it was broken when he got it. i called ebay and said it got to KY ok, assuming they had checked it and re-boxed it (or so they claim to do). and ebay took care of the whole thing. they gave the buyer a refund and i didn't have to do a thing.

      the other advantage has been that customers pay the customs fees to ebay, so they just get the item at their door step. when you send an item Priority to UK, Europe, Canada etc, the foreign post office holds the item and demands that the customer pay the VAT tax, customs fee and sometimes even a delivery fee on top of that, UK seems to be the worst. GSP avoids angry customers demanding that you've duped them by not disclosing the customs fees or refusing the package all together and having it mailed back to you and demanding a refund, which i've had happen.

      i must say, as the shipper of the family, i LOVE the global shipping program and have not had an issue that ebay wasn't willing to resolve because of it. someone didn't get their item in France? not my fault, ebay will take care of any open GSP case or negative feedback. amazing.

  6. Mikey, Jay: Mikey asked if there were any countries that Jay hated or didn’t want to ship to. In my experience I would have to say Italy is the worst. I am not an Ebay seller on your level, but I won’t send anything to Italy unless it goes priority mail and insured.

    I totally agree that shipping to Russia can take a long time, but the Russian buyers I’ve dealt with have been extremely patient.

    1. Yeah, I think we're done mailing items First Class to other countries. Buyers hate to pay for Priority, but then they also dont bear the responsibility if a package gets lost. Tracking and insurance really is necessary.