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Topic: confused and afraid.  (Read 3352 times)
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Rebeccalynnis
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« on: September 11, 2009 11:38:39 AM »

i just made my first sale on etsy, and i was excited untill i was emailed back by the customer saying her item was severely damaged during shipping. i'm kinda lost on what to do. the first time i shipped it, it was sent back to me saying it was the wrong address. so i spent more money to ship it again, and it left me with a 52 cent profit for a ceramic peice that i worked really hard on. now she's saying she wants her money back, but i'm kinda lost on what to do. should i give her money back, even though i spent it all on shipping? it just kinda bummed me out that my first sale went so terribly. and i guess the post office never marked it as fragile, even though i confirmed to them that it was indeed very fragile. what should i do?
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redcleo
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009 12:15:26 PM »

I have had this happen too. The buyer contacted me to let me know that two of the four ceramic items arrived broken (she didn't demand a refund though). I wrote back asking her if she wanted a refund, and never heard anything more from her. She didn't give me negative feedback, so... I have no idea how she felt about that in the end.

Sellers on the Etsy forums will tell you to just instantly refund the buyer's money as policy. I'm not so sure about that. I would ask for some sort of confirmation that the item is indeed broken. A photo would be enough proof, and should be easy enough for the buyer to provide.

If the item truly arrived broken, you have two routes to take. One, you can state that once the product leaves your hands, it is no longer your responsibility, and that the seller should have purchased insurance. Or two, you can take responsibility for the product all the way to the buyer's doorstep, in which case you should refund her money.

I'm curious about the double shipping costs - did she give you a wrong address, or did the post office mess up?

The post office may not have marked it as fragile, or it may have and the item was still damaged anyway. Are you absolutely sure that you wrapped it in as much protective packaging as possible? (In my case, I was pretty sure that I had, since I had previously sent several nearly-identical items the exact same way and never had any complaints. Since the buyer never wrote me back, I have to assume that she was OK with paying for the damaged ones, or that she was hoping I would instantly refund her money without her having to prove they were broken. Not everyone is honest, even on Etsy.)
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009 04:13:51 AM »

I'm sorry this happened to you.

I would issue a refund or a replacement. When on the fence about decisions like this...I put myself in the other person's position. If I got something damaged, I'd hope the sender would do good by me.  Wink
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Rebeccalynnis
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009 07:04:52 AM »

Thank you guys for your input. I'm Going to Refund her money, even though i can't really afford it. But in The future I'm going to insist that customers also purchase Insurance so this doesn't happen again.
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catdaddytn
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2009 03:40:04 PM »

This is interesting, since one of concerns about any internet sales is the shipping.  I think a photo of the damage is good for a couple of reason.  One is verfication and secondly, to help know how to ship/package next time.

I make jewelry and am concerned that it gets to the destination in one piece.  I might try a trial mail run.  I might package up a piece and send it to someone in another city and see what happens.

thanks.
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catdaddytn
endlessxhorizon
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2009 01:27:32 PM »

I'm sorry to hear your first sale went so poorly. That is always a bummer when something arrives broken, but at least you are learning up front about the risks involved. I would definitely have buyers purchase insurance and make sure your packaging is as secure as it can possibly be.

And if you want to avoid something like this in the future you can state in your policies that unless insurance is purchased, you are not responsible for what happens once the item is shipped.

Good luck with your next sales!
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navyfamily4
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2009 05:57:24 PM »

that is too bad. but i would hope you keep selling not every sale is terrible. I also think you should add a little money for packaging supplies also. Remember it is your time and effort also not just supply cost.
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2009 06:58:52 PM »

I would definitely request a photo of proof of damages before issuing a refund. In the future, offering optional insurance is also a good idea. Or, you could just add a 1.70 handling charge to each price quote to cover insurance. Insurance really doesn't cost a lot up front, and is always good in the long run, so that you don't have to face these issues.

Just curious. Did you check the address on the original shipping against what you sent it to the next time? Was it returned because of incorrect address, or was it returned as 'undeliverable' because the buyer never picked it up from the post office? Whenever something gets returned to me, I check very closely. If it is my error, I will reship, but if it is not, I will contact the buyer and they will have to pay again for shipping. I don't want to risk buyers trying to cause frustration.

Oh, just a tip to you and every other shipper out there. Something I learned the hard way. When you ship ANYTHING via usps, pay the extra 5 cents to use priority mail rather than parcel post. If something has to be forwarded to you (because of a recent move for example), the post office will charge you full postage again before you can get the item if shipped parcel post, but priority covers forwarding.
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Wildfyre
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010 03:37:47 PM »

I would definitely ask for a picture. Tell her it's so you can see how it broke and package it differently next time.  That way the buyer doesn't feel like you are accusing them of lying.

Via Ebay I had several people try to scam us this way. They refused to send a picture, made a million excuses why, and then when I said - no picture, no refund - they disappeared. A few apparently forgot about the entire thing because months later they left me good feedback.  Huh

I agree 100% about insurance. I make it optional, and I warn people if they refuse insurance that my responsibility ends when the package leaves my hands. Be careful though - if they have insurance and it gets broken - they have to take it to their post office and file a claim because the post office wants to see the broken item. So don't refund the $$ and think you can get the post office to reimburse you. That may sound obvious but I've heard several people on forums complain about getting stuck with the bill that way  Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2010 06:54:50 PM »

I agree 100% about insurance. I make it optional, and I warn people if they refuse insurance that my responsibility ends when the package leaves my hands.

Just remember, you can only do this on Etsy and other sites. It is now against the T&C to do this on Ebay. The seller is responsible for making the choice to insure. Because of this, I add a little extra handling charge in the listing to cover insurance, and advertise as having a insured shipment.
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