My friend Maureen is addicted to vintage magazines, particularly Ladies Home Journals from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. As she is somewhat computer illiterate (not as much so as she used to be, but still kind of behind the times here), she doesn’t bid on Ebay. She is a wizard at finding stuff she wants, however, so she gets others to do the actual nuts and bolts of buying. I am her winged monkey, sent to do her Ebay bidding. I got an email from Mo the other day, asking if I’d please bid on a lot of LHJ’s for her, so I did and I won. I’ve done this many times and have always had the seller ship the magazines directly to Maureen in La Jolla rather than send them to my San Francisco address where I’d then have to re-mail them down to her. It’s never been an issue or a problem. Until last night when I went on PayPal to pay for the magazines. For the first time in my Ebay bidding history, it would not let me use one of the alternate shipping addresses I have on file (Maureen’s being one of them, my work address the other). Confirmed address only, which was my home address. Fine, I paid for them and then sent a quick email off to the seller. What follows is my correspondence with Bruce, aka ‘Kardkidd.’
In a message dated 7/24/2008 9:51:58 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes:
Hi, can you please ship these to;
address and last name withheld for privacy!)
These are a present for her!
Paypal payments ship to confirmed addresses so that I am covered under the Paypal Seller Protection Policy.
In a message dated 7/24/2008 10:08:30 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes:
Is there any way around that? I’m ending up paying for shipping twice. I’ve had good feedback for about 10 years now… My billing address is the confirmed address.
Confirmed addresses only as stated in the description and explained in depth on the linked FAQ page. It is absolutely not negotiable.
In a message dated 7/24/2008 10:15:55 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes
Okay. But as someone who was a seller for five years, I find this policy very unreasonable given my ebay history. You’re the first seller I’ve run into who has had this policy and it’s not an incentive to buy from you again
If you don’t like my policy then you shouldn’t have bid. Like I said, Paypal requires it for the protection of my business. My policy is the industry standard
In a message dated 7/25/2008 8:43:36 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes
I’ve never had a seller refuse to ship to an address requested before as long as they had my confirmed address for billing, so it never occurred to me there would be an issue. I realize Paypal has that policy for the sellers’ protection, but it’s also discretionary. It also wouldn’t hurt for your responses to be less abrupt – it’s very much like dealing with an outsourced help line based in India or thereabouts. A friendly personality goes a long way even when the response is not what the person wants to hear.
Regardless, yes, I bid on the magazines and will deal with the second shipping after I receive them.
My policies are simple. If you don’t like them you should have moved on. You didn’t get your way and now you are whining. I don’t want your business and if you want to cancel the transaction I’d be happy too. I don’t want to do any kind of business with arrogant rude people like you.
And my last response:
If these magazines were for myself, I would cancel the transaction, but they’re for a friend who would be very disappointed, so I’d rather you ship the magazines and continue the transaction. I was not trying to be rude or arrogant by asking you for some flexibility in your policies, but I stand by the friendly personality observation. I am, however, sorry this became contentious. My whiny tone is much shriller, btw.
Now I don’t blame Bruce for wanting to stick to his policy; Ebay instituted a new rule where sellers can’t leave negative feedback for buyers and he might have been burned in the past. However, I meant what I said about inserting a little friendly personality into his emails. Granted, my third email, written last night when I was tired, was not as polite as I normally try to be, but I was reacting to his unnecessarily brusque and borderline rude responses to my first two emails. Reading the second one was like a written slap in the face. Would a little friendly courtesy have pained him that much? Sadly, taking the extra minute to instill some personality into transactions seems to be becoming a lost art. Like cell phone rudeness and the sheer nastiness exhibited in the comment sections of articles online, this indifference to social niceties seems to be an increasing part of our culture.
Ah well, I’m whiny, arrogant and rude, so what the heck do I know?
This is, btw, my first negative Ebay experience as a buyer and I’ve only had one bad experience as a seller (bounced check). Guess that’s a pretty damn good record over a decade plus of buying and selling.
I have not had a response to my last email, so I have no idea if he’s going to ship the magazines or not. If he does and they’re in good condition, I don’t intend to flame him with lousy feedback. I think in this case I’ll stick to the ‘if you can’t say anything nice’ policy. And if he returns my payment and doesn’t ship them, he’ll be out a sale and I’ll look elsewhere for Maureen’s latest fix in her addiction.