“Item Not Received” how I bet you love that message appearing in your inbox, but how much more common is it for eBay purchases compared to Amazon purchases to go AWOL?
It’s a curious question raised numerous times now in conversation and this time around I’m going to share parts of an ongoing email conversation with a chap called Mr B.
So that they remain anonymous, Mr B obviously isn’t their real name, the quotes are though.
We’d both love to hear your experiences by leaving us a comment in the comments box at the bottom of this page.
So let’s dive in…
Mr B Says: On my Amazon store I have just passed the 2,000 orders sent mark and so I feel a reasonable figure to start drawing comparisons Item not received: on Amazon I have had exactly 2 from 2,000app. and both were for less than £5 sale price and so I’m absolutely sure genuine losses
It’s never nice to have a disappointed customer because of the delivery part of the order, but it happens. That to me seems about right, yea we all get losses, but it’s never really that high and 0.1% is tolerable and to be expected, stuff just gets lost, regardless of the carrier being used.
Mr B Says: If I was to compare this like for like with my eBay UK only sales I can often expect maybe as high as 2% I am no mathematician but I think this can be as much as 15% of my bottom line after all expenses involved in resolving.
So that’s about 20 orders per 1000 orders despatched, as the point is made above, when you factor in the extra legwork needed to solve these issues, 15% is probably quite generous, especially in a small business where there maybe only one or two members of staff. Those kind of numbers hurt.
Mr B Says: To be fare on eBay I think perhaps dishonest customers are a legacy of the old eBay the dodgy professional sellers have by and large been weeded out but the scam buyers remain and in my opinion are rather cynically protected by eBay/paypal policies as of course they still generate fees all be they completely at sellers expense.
I do mostly agree with ebay and paypal policies ultimately no customers = no sellers but ebays policy in pushing for these cases to be resolved with ought opening disputes does sadly keep the minority of dishonest customers hidden (I am sure you have also noticed item not received customers very very rarely leave feedback even after issue resolved) something I have noticed is that it is most likely the genuine lost in post customers that do leave glowing feedback on how issue was resolved.
On a side topic here, notice how Mr B refers to an “Old eBay”, this is now becoming quite common in discussions and hats off to eBay, their plodding to transform the site from its beginnings are starting to pay off in it’s sellers community.
Mr B also makes another very interesting point, if your order had been lost and the seller had been super helpful in resolving the issue for you, then why the hell would not leave them glowing feedback? His suggestion that the people who do not, probably have something to hide, while may taint the odd genuine loss, but for the best part is probably very true.
A Possible Solution?
Normally sellers have solutions to such problems already worked out and ideas on how they would tackle them if they could change the system to do so. Mr B not surprisingly, has his own ideas and it’s not bad:
Mr B Says: I feel a very simple solution would be to implement a system allowing sellers to atleast report customer has not received an item the chronic cases will be high lighted very quickly and a few prosecutions I’m sure will benefit all.
Failing that if a customer has a history of items not received perhaps a personal warning to seller that secure postage advised on an individual rather than global basis would atleast allow seller to make an informed decision before posting would be welcomed.
While we have settings in the Site Preferences under “Buyer Requirements“section of My eBay that covers some basic options:
- Buyers without a PayPal account
- Buyers with unpaid items recorded
- Buyers in locations to which I don’t post
- Buyers with policy breach reports
- Buyers with a negative Feedback score
- Buyers who may bid on several of my items and not pay for them
- Buyers with no credit card on file
The only one option of these that could possibly help Mr B and you is the “Buyers with a negative Feedback score”, but since sellers are not unable to leave negative feedback on buyer accounts, the last line of defence is now gone.
With the feedback out of the loop and let’s face it the unlikely chances that eBay will tell you that a specific buyer is suspicious or has a risky address (more on this in a moment), then taking Mr B’s suggestion and adding a claims/ item not received option to the buyer requirements would be a very good addition.
Quickly flipping over to Amazon for a few moments, for purchases made directly from Amazon, it’s always bemused me that why exactly the same product at very similar prices would be delivered by two different methods to two addresses within a few minutes walk of each other.
Even when queried in the past, Amazon staff are not entirely sure what causes one order to be sent via one method and another via another method, especially when you factor in a slight change of postcodes for exactly the same product.
Makes you wonder what extra processing of risk assessment Amazon has at their disposal, but that’s a topic for a different day…. So going back to Mr B.
Mr B Says: I don’t know if you have any contacts within Royal Mail? Personally I rarely make lost parcel claims at present due to time and effort involved lol but I am sure lost parcel claims specifically ebay related must be a big chunk from RM’s bottom line and so they would probably welcome and perhaps atleast partially fund needed changes at eBay
Just after receiving the OK from Mr B to use parts of our conversion, I contacted Royal Mail and they have not been back before the publishing of this article.
Pity, but what I would add is that part of the business contracts with RM, is that as part of the discount you get, is that you forfeit the ability to claim for losses. Ironically so if an order does get lost in transit, that you are actually paying RM to do that for you. Something that has driven me personally nuts in the past.
Myself & Mr B would love to know what your experiences are when comparing Amazon to eBay for ‘lost’ items.
- Do you see a difference in order losses between eBay & Amazon?
- How much they impact you and your staff?
- What would you change?
You can let us know in the comments box below.