Selling on eBay: buyer from China with zero feedback
March 8, 2015 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I had a Chanel garment on eBay and it just sold to a buyer from China who has zero feedbacks. They used the Buy It Now option. I've sent out my invoice, which came to just short of $800 with shipping, and am now waiting for them to pay using PayPal. What should I do to protect myself in this transaction? Should I just cancel and relist? I am worried that I am exposing myself to negative feedback somehow.
posted by Dragonness to Work & Money (17 answers total)
So far nothing dodgy has happened and I'm not sure why you feel like it will or might. In future, there is the option of making buyers pay immediately when they Buy It Now. Once it's paid for, to protect yourself, document your postage & for an expensive item I would build in insurance. If there's a dispute about the item when the buyer receives it, PayPal often sides with the buyer if there's any doubt.
posted by stellathon at 3:19 PM on March 8, 2015

I would definitely cancel and relist. Buyers on eBay get much more protection than sellers. For an $800 item, there's no way you should go through with this.
posted by cincinnatus c at 3:21 PM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

You also have the option of making a listing that excludes people with zero feedback so do that if you're relisting.
posted by Hillsbillie at 3:50 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I normally exclude people from outside of the USA when I list on eBay. Too much potential for something to go very wrong when shipping an item overseas.
posted by dcjd at 3:52 PM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

You cannot exclude people with zero feedback, just if they have a negative total score, ie -1, -2, -3. I mean, you can put something in your listing like "if you have less than X feedback, you must contact me before you bid," but there's no way to automatically do it as far as I know.

I wouldn't worry about negative feedback so much as getting scammed, and selling something that expensive to a zero-feedback Chinese buyer is certainly fraught with risk. If you can afford to take the feedback hit and the non-sending strike, I would probably cancel the transaction and in future limit it to US only.
posted by Slinga at 3:57 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would cancel and replist US, assuming that's where you live, only and make signature confirmation on delivery mandatory and included in your shipping cost as you will need it if there is a dispute because of the cost of the item. Chances are the buyer could be absolutely legitimate but you have much less recourse with an international sale of there is a problem and it's harder and more expensive to get the item back of the buyer wants a return.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 4:28 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you cancel the listing before they have paid, then the buyer can't leave feedback. You can then relist with a restriction on the countries that you ship to.
posted by Lanark at 4:32 PM on March 8, 2015

If you cancel the listing before they have paid, then the buyer can't leave feedback. You can then relist with a restriction on the countries that you ship to.

I don't believe this is true, unless the buyer initiates the cancel transaction request.

See here and here.

It's really up to you. What I would do is wait to see if the buyer pays. If they do not, then you're good. If they do, then you can decide if you want to try to back out of the deal. Negative feedback isn't the end of the world, and $800 is a fair amount of money. You can also pull the classic "someone stole it and that's why I can't sell it to you," and maybe offer them a small amount of money as an apology.
posted by Slinga at 4:58 PM on March 8, 2015

If you decide to relist, I would advise you to at least consider making the item available in Canada as well as the United States. There is little chance of fraud, and Canadian buyers are used to absorbing ridiculous shipping costs. Not at all bitter about it, either.
posted by Gin and Comics at 5:39 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Others, above, may be much more familiar with eBay options, but I would be very careful about cancelling. You made an offer which was accepted within the terms of the offer. Unless the buyer doesn't complete the transaction from that end, I don't know what legitimate basis exists to renege on your agreement to sell.
posted by uncaken at 7:08 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, if you renege, the buyer's only recourse would be to complain to Ebay, who can't force you to complete the deal, or to sue you in US court, which is extremely unlikely.
posted by Slinga at 7:50 PM on March 8, 2015

It's not necessarily a scam, and if it is, you have some protection via PayPal / eBay. And it's not like you can't get screwed by domestic buyers. I would also be wary of cancelling the transaction, since it sounds like you're a new seller and every single feedback counts.
posted by wnissen at 8:31 PM on March 8, 2015

I would definitely cancel, but then my ebay reputation isn't worth anywhere near $800. You really don't get that much protection as a seller on ebay, and risking that amount of money to avoid one negative feedback doesn't seem like a good trade to me.

If you do ship it, make sure you get it fully insured and tracked, then at least you're sort of covered.
posted by stillnocturnal at 6:25 AM on March 9, 2015

if it is, you have some protection via PayPal / eBay.

No you don't. The seller is always assumed wrong when there is a dispute. At the very least you have to prove delivery, which may be difficult when shipping overseas.
posted by Gungho at 7:24 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for your comments. I have a 15-year 100% positive reputation with a 375 feedback, of which only 26 precious ones as a seller. I can't afford to tarnish that as I'm planning on expanding my selling activity.

No sign of payment yet, two days later, so fingers crossed they give up and I can legitimately cancel this transaction.
posted by Dragonness at 8:38 AM on March 9, 2015

Best answer: I'm a seller also, and I deal a large part in jewelry, and sometimes in the amounts you're talking about here. If there's no possibility of getting tracking information, which depends on the country (Russia, China, etc.), I wouldn't ship anything that I'm not prepared to eat the cost of in case it never makes it.

It's not even necessarily a matter of a buyer scamming you, though that's easy enough too. The Russian mail, for example, is just plain unreliable to say nothing of the possibility of customs "seizing" the package or similar.

With that in mind and a buyer with zero feedback, I would definitely not risk $800. Do you wanna possibly be out $800 or possibly deal with a single negative feedback? I'd even say that the odds of either route turning out badly are about even.
posted by cmoj at 12:34 PM on March 9, 2015

Response by poster: I just contacted eBay to figure out if anything could be done, and they walked me through canceling the order. They advised me to select the reason as being an issue with the buyer's address. I was able to relist the item immediately and they showed me how to exclude particular countries. Phew.
posted by Dragonness at 8:36 PM on March 9, 2015

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