Tamebay reader Rich has written in with an interesting problem. He had a buyer open an item not received case, so as any good seller would he immediately shipped a replacement item. The customer then told him they’d eventually received the original and the replacement items.
Rich asked for the replacement to be returned, asked the customer to get proof of postage and said he’d refund the costs. Since then he’s not heard back from the customer. eBay support have told him that they can’t help and suggested he contact PayPal, although quite what PayPal could do I don’t know.
So this is an interesting problem with lots of ways to forestall it, but once it’s happened it is tricky to figure out what to do. Shipping with tracking would obviously help, but even there tracking such as Royal Mail Signed For wouldn’t have helped – Signed For only gets a signature when the item is delivered.
Asking the buyer to wait for longer would make sense, but how long is it reasonable to ask a buyer to wait? Royal Mail don’t consider an item lost until a couple of weeks have passed by which time if you’ve not taken action that eBay complaint would in all likelihood have been escalated.
Providing a pre-paid return label might prod a buyer into action, but not everyone has an arrangement set up to do this.
Of course you could take legal action against the buyer – but who wants the reputation of being a seller who takes their customer to court?
What would you advise Rich to do? Would you write the item off as a bad experience or is there something he can do to get the replacement item returned?