Would you upset a customer for the sake of £1?

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This week we learned of an eBay seller willing to upset an overseas customer for the sake of just £1.

The back story is that they customer purchased four items valued at £39.99 each with a quoted carriage price of £7.49 for Royal Mail Airmail (Small Packets) with each additional item costing £6.49 carriage. That made for a total order value of £188.92.

After five days the buyer received an email from the seller asking if they could either only ship three items, or if they could send them all without the retail packaging due to the weight. The reason being the seller hadn’t realised that there was a 2kg weight limit for Airmail parcels.

This is quite frankly a ridiculous position to take for all sorts of reasons. Firstly if they could ship three items for the quoted costs they were only going to lose £1 sending the fourth item in a second parcel at their quoted rate of £7.49 instead of the £6.49 charged. Is it really worth upsetting a customer for £1 out of £188.92?

Secondly the way Royal Mail’s pricing works they were making more profit by sending multiple items anyway. Retail costs are £3.62 for the first 300gm and then 60p for each additional 100gm. Guessing that the weight of the items was around 600gm that would mean a retail postage cost of £5.42 (plus of course VAT and costs) but only £11.42 (plus VAT and costs) for sending three items. They were saving £3.84 for sending three items together but only passing on a saving of £2 – more than enough to cover the extra £1 needed to ship the fourth item separately.

The net result is that the customer is annoyed enough that they’re likely to leave very poor feedback. They sent the seller £1 through PayPal (as a gift so as not to incur any costs for the seller) to make up for the supposed £1 loss they were making, and they’re not likely to purchase from that seller again in the future.

Some sellers still need to realise that customer service is key and that applies just as much if not more to cross border trade than to domestic sales. It’s never worth upsetting a customer for any reason at all and if it’s only going to cost you £1 from a £188.92 sale that’s just ridiculous.

The most important lesson though, is if you make a mistake it’s your mistake. Don’t upset a customer because you messed up and don’t wait for them to pay to put your mistake right. You set your prices and a sale is a sale.

19 Responses

  1. Dont forget thou in some cases, the retail packaging offers the product protection whilst in transit. Removing it from the retail packing means a higher chance of it being damaged.

    Seriously who cares about 1 quid, if you a getting a good quality item and already saving.

  2. What im saying is, all those ‘deals’ i thought i got of ebay.

    When i look back at it, were not really ‘deals’ they were cheap C*ap.

    Who cares about 1 quid, if your getting good quality goods that will last 5 years or more.

  3. its just a vicious circle

    Tight sellers, resulting in tight buyers.


    Tight buyers resulting in tight sellers.

    This is at the end of the day a result of a tight fisted myzerr of a seller. Lets be honest.

    All i know the more we focus on quality, the happier i become and the less important our ebay activities do.

    Plus the more stable and better profits we make.

  4. Selling Books, which are heavy and often thick, I almost always come up against one or other of the Post Offices restriction/rules with multiple sales. In this case instead of moaning about it I would have split the order and sent 2 parcels/packages each with 2 items in it.

    If I was going to make a “Loss” on the postage of £1 then so what. Its my mistake and if I was so desperate for a £1 then I could make it up elsewhere.

    I must admit that I recognise the same names turning up regularly on my Sales. Also I regularly get glowing Feedback. So I must be doing something right. Perhaps because I always think of my customer being me placing the order. How would I like it to be mucked about. So I do not muck about my customers. Think “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

    It seems to work for me.

    If the £1 note was photo’d specifically for this posting I take it that somebody is a Banknote collector as down here in Cornwall £1 notes have long since been replaced by £1 coins.

  5. Your quote “Some sellers still need to realise that customer service is key”

    Isn’t it about time ebay found that out for their customers – the remaining small sellers still trying there despite not being wanted by ebay any more.

  6. its well worth a quid to annoy the whinging moaning sniveling bunch of pillocks that call theirself customers , then do nowt but complain

  7. As Chris said it’s not worth the chance of the bad feedback or the 1 star you are more likely to get on the DSR’s.
    We do international at £7.50 which is airsure or int signed for. Some we cover our costs and some we don’t.
    I found a problem with Saudi when they only accepted 1KG parcels as Int Signed for and had to send 2 x 1KG parcels for £7.50
    OUCH!!!!!. (I’ve changed our shipping weights since then B-))
    I didn’t expect the customer to have to pay and I explained to her that I would have to send as two parcels and sadly we would not be able to ship at the same rate and would have to make changes to our website in future. She asked me if I wanted to take more money and I said no. It’s my mistake – problem. She has bought from us many times since and I have easily made up the LOSS since then.
    Good luck

  8. I find now that customers are looking at all angles of the sale.

    Anything that isn’t perfect,is getting panned.Also the ‘I bought cameras from you and find that these aren’t what I bought.’

    I got these processed and could you pay for the processing costs.Sure,want me to pay for your petrol as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    It’s getting out of hand!!!!!!!

    I have decided it’s getting way too much.It’s like sharks going after dolphins!!!!!!


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