I remember being a young child, around the age of six, and visiting a Thrift Store located near my family owned pizzeria. The store was filled with elderly women, volunteering their time for a charitable cause. Having been so close to the restaurant, I frequented the store nearly daily after school, and became quite friendly with these lovely elderly women. They humored me, taught me, listened to me, and helped me to select the most unique of items in the store. One time, I bought a vintage mood ring, (you know, the ones that change color based on your mood), for only $5.00!
When a buyer with a two-week history complained about an iPhone being stolen in the post, eBay decided against the seller without conducting a proper investigation.
I always had an infinity towards thrift stores, and that infinity seemed to heighten into my late 20’s, early 30’s. As life often does, the reality of actually owning a thrift store was overshadowed by student loan payments and rent. That dream was compartmentalized in a special place in my mind, and served only as a means to retrieve fond memories of my childhood, as opposed to the reality of one day actually becoming a thrift shop owner.
Being the passionate and driven person that I am, I chose not to give up on that dream, and in late 2013 I opened my eBay store, Thrifting for Treasures. Though it’s not the same as the traditional brick and mortar store, it was still my own, and an opportunity to “re-introduce myself to the world of laughter and giggles.” Boy, was I happy! I was able to design my store with a quirky catchphrase (the “re-introduce yourself to the world of laughter and giggles” one), personalize store categories, and had a great reason to frequent my neighborhood thrift shop, nearly daily. As I began selling items, and my seller feedback ratings increased, I soon earned power seller status. Things were going great; my childhood dream was now my weekend hobby, and I was making a little bit of spending money on the side. I had officially made a dream a reality! And then it happened…
I think most of us would agree that criticism isn’t usually an easy bite to swallow, especially when it’s with regards to questioning your integrity, and certainly not when the opportunity to defend your integrity isn’t offered. Oddly enough, this basic principle is overlooked on this popular website, consumed by the mantra, the customer is always right. But, is the customer always right?
Yes, I started my entrepreneurship career on eBay. My business was selling other peoples items and then taking a commission. I enjoyed making nice commissions and was even interview on television. I loved eBay then. Now I don’t. Read More
One of my customers requested a refund for an item, which I gladly honored. I apologized for their dissatisfaction, paid for a return shipping label, and promptly refunded them 100% of the original cost. In return? I received negative feedback from the buyer, stating he was unsatisfied with the item. Hmmm. I thought we resolved you being unsatisfied already? On another occasion, a buyer left negative feedback stating that the cost of shipping charged was too high. I emailed the buyer, and stated that the item shipped at $2.42 below the actual shipping cost. No reply. But, why did you buy the item in the first place if you thought the shipping price was too high? I’ve been called a con artist, cheap, I’ve been accused of sending a damaged item, and have been called dishonest, just to name a few. When I reached out to the company I was told, “the customer has a right to his/her opinion.”
What about the buyers who never pay for an item that they’ve won? Or, the ones who leave negative feedback without ever contacting the seller? What about those who purchase an item with a clearly defined description (i.e. a tear in the box), and then leave negative feedback referencing that description (i.e. item had a tear in the box)? How about the ones who falsely accuse the sellers? Why aren’t the sellers given the opportunity to resolve the problem first? Why is it that if I sell an item in working condition, but the buyer says it’s not in working condition, does this company not only force me to return the item, but also forces me to pay the return shipping cost? Why am I given an option to accept or not accept returns, when I’m forced to accept returns whether I want to or not? Why are buyers the only ones permitted to leave positive, neutral or negative feedback? Why can’t the sellers leave negative feedback? More importantly, why is the only option for sellers to leave positive feedback? What if it wasn’t a positive transaction on the sellers behalf? I was told by an eBay representative that “we don’t allow sellers to leave negative feedback because then it will be a feedback war between the buyer and seller.” Say what? So I asked, but what if the buyer is in the wrong? The response, “the customer is always right.”
At the end of the day, the sellers wouldn’t have anything to sell if not for the buyers, and the buyers wouldn’t have anything to buy if not for the sellers. Sounds like an equal exchange to me. How about you? Is the customer always right?
Although we believe that customers deserve to be treated right, so do the employees and the other folks that serve them. Not Always Right is about leveling the playing field for those of us who toil and sweat every day trying to juggle demanding customers and often unreasonable corporate expectations. At the end of the day, it’s about remembering that whether we’re a customer or an employee, we’re all human, foibles and all. Visit site