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Post Office damaged item

 
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WeezeesWonderland



Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:46 pm    Post subject: Post Office damaged item Reply with quote

Customer purchased a new butane lighter from me. It was about 4" long, slender in original box, I shipped in bubble wrap envelope.

It arrived damaged. She sent me a picture with the head of it off the base. I told her I would refund half price since the Post Office or her had clearly damaged the lighter. She wants full refund including the shipping fee.

Is it the seller's fault if the PO damages the item being shipped? The total was under $13, but I feel like I'm being blackmailed. She said I sent her a broken item. I've sold over 450 items, so I know that I'm a experienced shipper and never had a complaint before. What is ecrater's policy for damaged goods made by the post office or buyer?

She, at first asked me how to fill the lighter which makes me think she broke it in the first place.
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maggiethehousecat



Posts: 2398

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eCRATER does not get involved in your transactions unless you are acting fraudulently and they dump you.

The post office will not pay a dime if they damaged something unless it is insured. Sounds to me like the lady broke the lighter trying to fill it assuming she asked that question after receiving it. Unfortunately you can't prove that so I think you will be out the total amount including shipping. It is part of the cost of doing business. You can be sure she will give you negative feedback and it isn't worth it for a low dollar value.

I don't think you can win this one.

You can post the photos she sent and the one you had in the listing. Maybe others will have a different opinion.
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 13592

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a mail order seller, you are responsible for all your items getting to the buyer intact and in good condition. It is not the PO responsibility. In this case it sounds like the lighter needed better protection than a bubble envelope as they have a tendancy to get stepped on as well as driven over. If something is unbreakable inside the envelope, no problem, but I think I would have used a crush proof box.

While ecrater doesn't tell us how to handle refunds or complaints of broken items, it might be best to give a refund and an apology to the buyer as this is not a real high amount and doesn't seem worth the cost to get possibly your first negative feedback.

I don't believe in helping out nasty customers or blackmailers, but in this situation hard to know for certain how the damage occured. Even if you have sent out 50 lighters of the same type without damage, that doesn't mean it can't happen. I have received things in the mail in abyssmal condition and when I wrote and told the seller (hoping they would improve their packaging) almost all of them would tell me no one else had ever had a problem. Maybe other buyers just didn't tell them, since no way should two large PB books be put in a plain manilla envelope. My books were literally falling out of it by the time they got here. Can't believe that if they sent things that way all the time, she wouldn't have had more complaints!
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SammysSupplies



Posts: 1580

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just in case you are unfamiliar, the are specific rules for sending filled lighters, http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52apxc_012.htm
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3263

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What is ecrater's policy for damaged goods made by the post office or buyer?
There is no eCRATER policy for damaged goods. Each seller is responsible for establishing their own policy. If a buyer is unable to reach a seller, eCRATER will become involved in trying to contact the seller.

This is the info I saw from your post and from your store's Terms:
1-Should you refund in full when the customer claims the item was damaged and it wasn't damaged when shipped?
2-You feel the customer damaged the lighter after receiving based on email asking how to fill the lighter with no mention of damage.
3-Customer sent photo of damaged lighter, but not of the original box nor of the bubble envelope in which the boxed lighter was shipped.
4-You have a stated "no refund" policy on used items, but not on new items.
5-You state you are "Not responsible for post office damages."

Assuming the above information is true and based on years of selling new lighters plus years of experience in selling both online and in B&M, I think the customer probably tried to fill the lighter and caused the damage. The fact that you don't have a photo of the box or envelope leaves a question in the air about damage in shipping. Now that is my personal opinion. As a seller, I'd refund in full and move on.

Why would I do this? The customer can file a claim with PayPal months after the fact and claim the item was damaged. Paypal is probably going to side with the buyer and refund in full taking the money out of your PayPal account. If the customer paid with their credit card through PayPal, they may simply contest the charge with their credit card company. That would also go through PayPal, but it will cost you a full refund PLUS a charge back fee of $25.00 if you lose the case. (I think that is the current fee, I didn't check and it may be more.) I personally think you would lose a PayPal claim or a credit card chargeback. It's not worth the time and effort for the amount of the sale. Plus you are probably going to get a negative feedback even if you refund half of the money.

In writing this answer, I reviewed your terms and found that you are in violation of eCRATER's Terms of Service. All eCrater sellers are required to ship to all 50 states. Personally, I couldn't understand why you would exclude those states when you ship via USPS. Media Mail, First Class and all Priority Flat Rate items cost the same to ship to your own state or Alaska/Hawaii or PO boxes. Priority Mail is based on zones and it maybe a little more expensive to ship to Alaska/Hawaii depending on where you live, but the cost to a P.O. box would be the same. In eCRATER Shipping you must state the shipping fee to Alaska & Hawaii separate from the Mainland because some sellers use FedEx or UPS for the mainland, but use USPS for the other 2 states.

I also noted that you are not shipping with tracking. In this day and age, you are asking for trouble. If you get a good scale, which are available at very reasonable prices, you can purchase your shipping through PayPal at a discount from the USPS retail counter cost. Since the label will include the shipping bar code, your tracking will be included for most classes of postage. So, you will be saving money and have the proof of shipping and delivery that comes with tracking. The labels can be printed on plain paper using most printers.

I know this was more information than a simple answer to your question, but I really think you need to review the eCRATER TOS and think about your current shipping policies.
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3263

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@SammysSupplies, the link you provided is helpful for sellers who may be considering selling pre-filled lighters. There are many lighters available for resale that are shipped empty. If the lighters contain no fuel, the USPS regulation don't apply.

In the case of the OP, the customer's first email was a question on how to fill the lighter so I assume the lighter was shipped empty.
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WeezeesWonderland



Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI: The lighter was new, unfilled, wrapped in the original box, then inside bubble wrap. 3 layers of protection. Why would any seller mail a broken item?

As of this morning, my email is flooded with spam. Not only do I have to put up with her breaking the lighter, now I see she was busy during the night spamming me.

Thanks for your feedback.
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 13592

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As of this morning, my email is flooded with spam. Not only do I have to put up with her breaking the lighter, now I see she was busy during the night spamming me.



Why are you blaming her for the spam? Was it all from her address? If not, that was a very unfair statement to make about a customer.
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