To ship or not to ship?

Posted in Ebay Business, Wallcovering at 9:33 pm by Carrie Wigal


Late last week I received a request to cancel an order that was made 24 hours prior. Unfortunately, we had already shipped it. Wait a minute…unfortunately? I thought quick shipping was a good thing. Apparently to some, it is not. When I informed the customer I couldn’t cancel it because it was already en route to her, she became hostile, threatening a dispute with her credit card company. Whoa, wait a minute.

I informed her she could simply refuse the package, and when we received it back, she would get a full refund since she had called to cancel it within 48 hours of placing the order. (Of course, we would have to eat the shipping charges.) I didn’t hear back from her yet, so I’m waiting to either receive the package back or a letter from the credit card company.

Why must people assume the worst? We are very reasonable people…there’s no need to resort to threats.

Chargebacks via VISA/MASTERCARD

Last week I received a phone call at my home from a customer wanting to know the status of her order. I told her I would check into it and if there was a problem I would call her back, otherwise I would email her with the shipping information. I checked the status and emailed her the next day with the UPS tracking number. The next evening she called my home again and spoke to my husband. We were in the middle of dinner and he asked her to send us an email and we would follow up on it. She refused and wanted to speak to “the lady”. He politely repeated his request and she became hostile, so he hung up.

The next day she filed a claim with her credit card company (it had only been 3 weeks since she was charged…merchants have 30 days to deliver a product when paid via credit card) and they charged back our account…that was Friday. She received the merchandise on Monday. Unfortunately the only way to get our money back is to get signed proof of delivery…well, UPS does not do signed delivery confirmation much these days.

I called our merchant account asking why she was able to chargeback our account when it was clearly within the 30 days. I was told because she called and was hung up on, that made the 30 day rule null and void. Huh? She didn’t even talk to me, who is technically the merchant, and she called me at my home phone number (as opposed to the business number listed on her order receipt) after business hours.

Naturally, I called her to get things straightened out since she filed the claim one business day prior to the delivery of the product, and wouldn’t you know it, I was hung up on (not by her, mind you…I don’t know who it was, but it was clear I got the right number and they were not interested in talking to me). I followed up with an email only to find it was “undeliverable” for some reason. I’ve tried to call again only to receive “no answer”. I have one more day to file my response with our merchant account, and I’ll try her again. Hopefully, she’ll respond and we can get this resolved amicably.

Chargebacks via PAYPAL

Last year a man placed an order with us on eBay for a mural at a price of $299 and paid for it with Paypal on a Thursday. We shipped it on Friday. He wrote an email to us late Friday (asking for shipping information), again on Saturday, and on Sunday he was so irate for not hearing back from us he left us negative feedback and charged back his credit card. We proceeded to carry on with our business on Monday morning only to discover that PayPal seized our funds for an item we clearly shipped.

We gave the delivery confirmation #, and it arrived the next day, Tuesday. BUT, since it was not signed for and it was over $250 we were not covered under the Seller Protection Policy. Now had this been through our own merchant account, we could have fought the chargeback ourselves, but since it was via PayPal, it was in their hands to resolve. As it turns out, the man admitted to receiving the mural and was willing to reverse the chargeback, but PayPal closed the dispute and never gave us back our money. The man places an order, receives it in less than 3 business days, and is able to charge back payment for non-receipt of merchandise? What is up with that?

When we attempted to contact the buyer after the dispute was closed and requested he remit payment again, since he could clearly see he received a credit on his card and he has the mural in his possession (already hanging on his wall, no doubt), he refused to answer us. He got away with stealing $300 from us. How do people like that live with themselves?

Who are we?

We are not some faceless, huge business conglomeration that can just swallow losses like that. We are a family of five (going on six), living in a very rural community within modest means, working very hard to put food on the table for our children. This business is our only income. We do not have benefits like vacation and sick pay or funeral leave or medical & dental health care. We are a small business.

Don’t people realize when they accept merchandise that they didn’t pay for, that’s stealing? Somebody paid for it. Or how about when they talk on the phone to someone, don’t they get that the person on the other end of the phone is a real person…when they call someone at home, during dinner (after business hours) and there’s children yelling in the background…can’t they get a clue that “now is not a good time”. And just because other companies (people) have treated you badly in the past, it doesn’t mean every future company/person is out to rip you off. [heavy sigh]

I would like to still think that most people when confronted would do the right thing. But I have to realize, either not everyone has the same idea of what that right thing is or some people just don’t care.

BTW, it’s our policy to ship within 1 business day provided the product is in our possession. We’ll still continue to do so…at our own risk.

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  1. Beth Bell said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Carrie,

    I just read this account of your shipping woes. I feel for you. I’m the office manager of a small business, and I feel it’s part of my responsibility to be the “door-keeper” for my boss. Most of our patients are wonderful people, but we have some that are something else!! They expect you to absorb all kinds of costs on their behalf……I guess they think we can use it as a tax write-off or something…. It’s a shame there are folks who have no conscience. I appreciate what you wrote….I sure have a better understanding of what merchants in your position go through. I think it’s great that your family is able to work together like this. BTW—I just placed an order…..have no fear—I’m a reasonable person, too!! ;-)

  2. Carrie Wigal said,

    May 22, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Beth,

    Thank you for your compassion. After I posted this I thought, maybe I shouldn’t have put that out there, but it’s the truth, and I thought it would be good for others to see the situation from our perspective. At least it is nice to know that situations like the ones I mentioned above are few and far between.

    Thanks for the order. :) Enjoy!

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