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Dealing With Abusive eBay Buyers.

I've written before about bad eBay buyers. This is a common topic between eBay sellers. It seems like every week I get someone being crazy.

Today, I tend to find these buyers entertaining rather than irritating. This article has some tips for dealing with these people.

I've thought for years that these problem buyers were being passive aggressive.

The worst passive aggressive buyer I ever had was a deaf kid. I sold him some small plastic houses for a train layout. He became abusive when I refused to treat his small check (I think about $16.) like a money order.

This kid sent me dozens of hateful emails because he had to wait a week for his plastic houses. Then when he got them, he left me a negative feedback, and continued to send me emails.

I got fed up and called him on the phone. I said "is this so-and-so?Ē When he said yes, I went off on him. It turned out I was yelling at the buyer's father who had the same name.

The father told me his 27-year old son would go off on someone every month or so online. Basically, life had crapped on the kid, so he'd go off on someone online to feel a sense of power.

When they aren't yelling at me I can see that it's sad. The problem was I responded to the yelling, and never saw the pitiful people underneath.

Slowly, I'm learning to see them.

It's really helped me deal with these people. Instead of reacting to the words, I remind myself it's just a sad pitiful person. That doesn't mean it's OK to be abusive, but it helps me not yell back.

Today, I usually ship twice a week. Either on Monday or Tuesday and always on Thursday. Sometimes I'll also ship on a Saturday if it's a big box I want out of my way and I'm running errands anyway. I have my Shipping Handling Time set as 4 days on eBay.

Every few weeks I get a buyer complaining about not getting tracking information the day after they pay. I explain it says 4 days shipping time in the listing and when it will go out. That solves the problem and if it doesn't, it's not my problem.

Last week I had a weird one. A man in Florida won two lots of train track that each had $16 dollars shipping listed in the auction description. I put the two lots into one box, figured the shipping and sent him an invoice.

I'm in Arizona so Florida is the highest price for distance from me. The winning bids were $45.39 plus the $23.45 shipping for a total of $68.84.

At this point let me do a quick aside. I've decided that from now on when I write about bad eBay buyers, I will use their real information. I do this for two reasons:

  1. So you know I'm telling it as is happened. If I make this up, the Yahoo can sue me. This keeps me honest.
  2. So the Yahoo is outed for his behavior.

The first reason self-explanatory. The second reason requires more explanation. I am firmly convinced that the problems on eBay are a result of a small number of Yahoos who act up over and over again.

I had a guy years ago who left negative feedback in over 50 percent of his recent eBay purchases. That's Mark in New Mexico - you have to click on feedback left to see his actions. I don't remember his last name, but I do know I'm out about $40 in eBay fees because of his crap.

It looks like Mark's not as aggressive as he was, but he's still on eBay. As of July 1st 2020, Mark has left 236 feedback and 36 of them are negatives or neutrals. That's 15 percent.


EBay allows these bad buyers to continue to harrass us hard working sellers.

This new yahoo is Paul Ketz. Paul's the IT manager for the city of Wildwood, Florida. He has a PO box at the Wildwood, Fl 34785 post office.

Here's the exchange:

Paul Ketz:
Can you please send me the dimensions and weight of the box with the origination address so I can send my own shipping label? Thanks Joe

Terry Gibbs:
Weight is 4 pounds 2 ounces. Dimensions are 26 by 18 by 10 inches. I drop at Fedex and the post office regularly. If you send a UPS label you need to pay me $5 for the hassle of going to UPS and standing in line to drop the package off.

Paul Ketz:
Oh no no thatís ok Iíll send a pick up.

Terry Gibbs:
I'm not sitting around waiting for a pickup. Just pay the invoice and I'll ship it to you by Fedex.

About the $5. . . FedEx and the post office both have places I can just drop a box and leave. At the UPS store near me, you have to wait in line to hand the box to an employee. The last time I was in there it took about ten minutes. And the ten minutes doesn't include the drive over there.

Five dollars is cheap. The last time I got a pizza I gave the delivery kid about that in a tip. (The tip was about 15% of the pizza price.)

My cost with the eBay label system for the package is $20.41. I add about 15% to my label cost to cover shipping supplies and the eBay and PayPal fees. That's where the $23.45 number comes from.

Paul Ketz:
No. Thatís far too expensive and besides you already agreed to accept a shipping label. And I can schedule whatever time you like for the pickup. There is no need to be difficult.

If youíre not happy with how much youíre making on the item, why list them for .99 to start? No one forced you to do that.

Check out that last paragraph. Paul is accusing me of canceling the sale because the track sold for too little. If he thinks I'm canceling the sale because the price is too low, then he is certainly getting a deal. He shouldn't be complaining about the shipping.

One of my friends suggested he was getting a label from where he works.

Paul Ketz is the IT manager for the City of Wildwood, Florida.

If the city is paying the shipping, and he's upset about my $5 charge for dropping the box off, he must be a real cheap Yahoo.

Paul sent me a photo of the shipping charge on the system he is using:

Picture sent to me in eBay message by Paul Ketz

Is that the system the City of Wildwood, Florida uses? Do you recognize it?

The price looks cheap. That price includes sending someone to pick up the box?

By this point, I'd had enough. I raised the shipping cost to $532 so he wouldn't pay, and blocked him from bidding on my listings in the future.

Paul Ketz then sent me an eBay message saying he tried to pay, and eBay blocked the payment. That message included the photo below:

Picture sent to me in eBay message by Paul Ketz

(I think that may be a black man wearing woman's clothes? Maybe a comedian? I obliterated the profanity.)

I didn't know that blocked bidders can not complete transactions.

THAT'S A BIG TAKE-AWAY. . . Block the Yahoo as soon as a problem is seen.

If the Yahoo can't pay, he can't leave feedback.

I used to raise the shipping by $100, but I had someone pay it without looking, so I now raise it to $500. More on raising the shipping price here.

I think Paul Ketz was going to try to wipe the shipping costs, and just pay the bid amounts.

Did you know that buyers can select local pick up when they pay, and the shipping cost is removed from the invoice? That's only if you checked the local pick up option when you listed.

Years ago, I caught buyers scamming me by selecting local pickup when they were out of state. They were hoping I'd see the items paid and ship without looking at the amounts. I don't offer local pick up anymore for this reason.

Anyway, back to Paul Ketz. . .

My policy is once I've blocked the buyer and raised the shipping, I just look at messages for entertainment rather than information. I have to open the eBay messages to mark them as seen, but I don't have to pay attention to them.

He's been sending me messages with no replies from me. He also has two Non Paying Bidder cases open, but can't pay. He's just begging.

From reading the messages Paul might have realized he screwed himself out of a good deal. Here's one:

Paul Ketz:
It is time for you to decide. Are you going be an adult and set reasonable shipping or leave this at $532?

Iím sorry you were having a bad day and you decided to take it out on a customer. Itís really a shame, Terri. But all I can do is hope youíre having a better day today and youíd like to get back to this and finish a sale.

That's enough of Paul Ketz. Let's move on. . .

I only cancel transactions when I relist an item I already sold by mistake. A buyer can leave feedback for that, but I need to own up to my mistakes. (You might be able to avoid a negative feedback when this happens by sending the buyer a link to a search showing both sales. Search completed auctions for the complete title of the listing to get the link.)

It used to be you could cancel a listing for other reasons, like a problem with the buyer's address, and not get feedback, but now eBay requires the buyer to approve the cancellation.

That's how Mark in New Mexico cost me about $40. He didn't agree to the cancellation and paid. I refunded his money, but couldn't get the eBay fees back.

Speaking of cancellations, I no longer cancel transactions because the buyer changed his mind. I've had a string of these in the past few months.

It seems like every week, my auctions end and I get messages saying I changed my mind, please cancel the transaction. I had one Yahoo do this to me three weeks in a row.

Now, I jack the shipping up by $500 and then let the buyers get Non Paying Bidder strikes. The strikes are the only way we sellers can block unknown problem bidders.

There is an exception to this Ė I recently had a regular buyer buy something from me he'd bought from me a few weeks earlier. He buys a lot of stuff from me, and said he forgot he'd already got one. I've done that myself.

Remember eBay calls these people ďTheir Buyers.Ē If eBay won't police their buyers, we have to do it. Look at this guy Paul Ketz. For a $45 sale I have to put up with his crap.

At this point I'm really good at what I do. With the Chinese flu 200 extra free listings, and not being able to go out, I've been cleaning out around here. I'm doing 100-175 sales a week. I did almost 800 sales in May.

It's bad enough that we have people asking questions because they are looking at eBay on phones and eBay is hiding the descriptions.

Did you read about eBay employees hassling the Steiner's? for writing critical articles about eBay?

That's the culture of eBay.

It's screwed up.

Treat the good buyers you have well, and shut down the rest of them.


PS. I reported the message with the photo of the black man or woman with the profanity to eBay. They basically said they wouldn't do anything, but I could block the buyer. Here's eBay's response to the complaint:

RE: Report a message SR# 1-267960026196

Hello Terry,

Thank you for contacting eBay. My name is Rahemat and I am happy to assist you with your concern regarding reporting the member ďernurseroĒ.

First of all, I apologies for the inconvenience you are facing due to such messages by the member. I appreciate your efforts for bringing this concern to us. I can see that you are a genuine seller and always comply with eBay policies.

On reviewing your account and the item details of item number (removed), I confirm that this above buyer is sharing you some abusive and threatening messages.

Let me assure you that we have taken your report and appropriate action will definitely take on memberís account. Due to some privacy restriction I am unable to share the actual action taken on memberís account, but it can vary from account restriction to account suspension.

Once again I am sorry for the inconvenience caused with you. For further preference, I would suggest you to kindly block such members. Kindly follow the below link to block the member:


Thank you once again for your patience and co-operation in meantime and for bringing this concern to us. It is in times like these that we badly need your support as we do get really concerned that our customers are not having a good experience as we always aim for.

We appreciate your patience, flexibility and understanding as we navigate through these extraordinary and unprecedented times. Stay Safe.

Kind regards,

Rahemat B.

eBay Trust and Support

If eBay won't police these Yahoos, we need to do it.

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