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Coming to Grips with eBay Gripes

How to avoid negative feedback on eBay and keep happy and continuous buyers. Honesty will go a very long way when you are building your eBay customer base.

Business on the internet is unlike the off-line world.  If you buy something in a local store, you get to see it, touch it, try it on and decide if it meets your needs.  On the internet you rely upon the descriptions and judgment of others.  We’d like to have faith in our fellow man.  And in a perfect world, all eBay buyers and sellers would follow eBay policies to the letter at all times.  Listing titles and descriptions would be 100-percent accurate; photos would show items as they truly exist in the real world; shipping and handling charges would be fairly determined; all payments would settle quickly and accurately; and shippers would never have accidents or delays.

Until that time, however, there will be complaints about eBay transactions made by both buyers and sellers.

As a seller, you should know the most common complaints buyers have about sellers and transactions so you can avoid becoming a statistic in the world of bad feedback.

Item not as Described

Or, as it shows up on eBay’s message boards, “Significantly Not as Described”, or SNAD.  As you can probably guess, a buyer might lodge this complaint if the item they receive from you differs in large part from the description and photos on your listing.  Examples would be:

   1. Describing a watch as perfect when it has visible marks, even if the marks are small and unobtrusive
   2. Saying a digital camera is sealed in its original packaging, but on arrival the package is open and the camera exterior is scratched or dented
   3. Not sending all the accessories included in the listing, e.g., said camera should have come with a battery charger and it didn’t
   4. Listing an autographed hardcover book in very good/very good condition—that is, the dust jacket and book are in excellent condition, without tears, stains, marks, dents, etc.—but on arrival the dust jacket is torn or missing, there’s no autograph, and the book shows signs of having lain in a puddle.

There are more, obviously, and each buyer will be different in just how far from the description or photos an item can be before it hits her SNAD threshold.  When it happens, though—and chances are that it will happen, despite your best efforts—the buyer’s first action should be to contact the seller through eBay and try to resolve the problem one to one.

Some SNAD events are due to sellers deliberately misleading buyers and believing, for some reason, that they won’t get caught.  I’m going to assume that you will always act as a reputable seller and, so, this explanation doesn’t apply to you.  And some SNAD events are attempted fraud on the buyer’s part…but again, one of eBay’s core tenets is that people are basically good, so let’s say that for this example, the buyer has a legitimate complaint.  Respond promptly and thoroughly.  After allFind Article, isn’t that what you would want?

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Greg Kusch has been dubbed "the eBay expert". He is the most quoted eBay expert on national news. You can ask him questions about how to make more money on eBay at

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