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How To Respond To An eBay Buyer's Complaint.

At some point in your eBay selling life, one of your customers is going to send you a complaint. As long as you respond to it properly, however, it's easy to keep a complaint from turning into a crisis.

Respond Immediately and Grovellingly.

Someone might complain to you directly, or they might do it through eBay. Whatever happens, you need to email them immediately. Here's a template to use:

"I have just received your complaint and I would like to say that I am very sorry you aren't satisfied. If you would like, I can send you a [replacement/refund] for the item, as part of my 'no questions asked' guarantee. I apologise again for our mistake."

Whatever you do, don't start making excuses for yourself. "Oh, sorry, I didn't get around to posting it yet because I've been busy at work and I'm going on holiday next week…" – no-one cares. If the buyer isn't satisfied, then you screwed up, and you need to apologise repeatedly and do everything you can to make them happy again. Besides, is it really worth your time to go through eBay's long-winded dispute process when all it's going to do is alienate your customers?

This an attitude that will give you a massive advantage in eBay selling, for the simple reason that many smaller sellers are confrontational, unhelpful and out for every penny they can get. If buyers are rude to you, it's just because they're used to dealing with rude sellers.

Responding politely, promptly and being willing to do anything for your buyers will mark you out as different. It's so rare that you might even manage to turn your complaining buyer into one of your most loyal customers!

Let People Phone You.

Don't insist that everything is done with email – allow frustrated buyers to phone you and have a chat about their item. The chances are that they will never have talked to a human voice before about an eBay complaint, and will be even more impressed with anything you offer them to solve their problem.

Neutralise Negative Feedback.

If it really comes down to it and your complaint ends up as a piece of negative feedback on your record, make sure you post a response – and don't make it something like "buyer was impossible to work with, avoid"!

Instead, post an apology, and detail what you did to put things right, for example: "Very sorry for the scratched item, I have sent a replacement". You may also find that some buyers leave feedback before you have the chance to put things right, in which case you could write a phone number in the response space, or something like "I have emailed you about a refund".

This will let anyone looking through your feedback see that not only are negatives very rare, but the few that there might be aren't really worth counting.

In the next email, you'll learn how to turn your shipping costs into a profit center.

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