Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ebay and Paypal Are Astonishingly Unfair to Sellers

I've been selling some things on Ebay. If you ever plan on selling on Ebay, here are some things to watch for. Yes, they are good for getting rid of stuff you may otherwise never sell. But Ebay seems hellbent on emasculating sellers. For instance, buyers can leave negative feedback for sellers for any reason whatsoever, and sellers CANNOT leave negative feedback for buyers!

This is a less visible, but far more serious problem. Ebay and Paypal will force any seller, at any time a buyer complains, to accept the return of an item and eat the shipping cost to that buyer. Anytime, for any reason, EVEN IF YOUR LISTING STATES "NO RETURNS ACCEPTED"!!!

Let me state this again: Even if you list an item on Ebay and choose the option "no returns accepted", Ebay or Paypal will still override you and force you to accept returns. You will be forced to accept the return and will LOSE the cost of shipping to the buyer. The buyer will have to pay the cost of shipping the item back to you. All the buyer has to do to get his money back is ship something with a tracking number; it could be a rock. Once Ebay/Paypal sees that a package has been delivered, they will refund the buyer.

Why do they even bother giving sellers the option of not accepting returns!? Giving sellers the option "no returns accepted" when listing an item for sale is an illusion. It seems downright fraudulent.

Here are some communications from Paypal and Ebay as an example. I listed a Net10 phone on Ebay which clearly stated that the phone was a manufacturer-refurbished item, and no returns would be accepted. The phone was still covered by a limited one-year warranty by Net10. The buyer still had and has the option to return the phone to Net10, but he instead chose to force me to accept his return of the phone. Paypal is forcing me to accept the return AND pay for my cost of shipping to him.

Subject: Status Update - Case #PP-001-xxx
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 07:27:28 -0700

Hello Norbert Wu,  As you know, we've been investigating a recent
transaction involving items that were damaged or significantly not as
Transaction Details
Buyer's name: paul xx
Transaction ID: xx
Transaction date: Jun 10, 2011
Transaction amount: $35.00 USD
Your transaction ID: xx Case number: PP-001-xx
Refund amount: $35.00

We've determined that the buyer should receive a $35.00 USD refund
if they ship the merchandise back to you. The merchandise will be in the
same condition as when the buyer received it and the buyer is
responsible for all shipping and handling costs.

6/17/2011 10:54 PDT - PayPal: Seller escalated this dispute to a Claim.
6/17/2011 10:54 PDT - Seller: The buyer is unhappy because he purchased a manufacturer-refurbished item from me, and he claims that the item does not work. The item was purchased on Ebay (item 190540788767) and the listing option states that no returns will be accepted, as well as the following text in the listing: "No returns accepted; contact Net10 for any issues. " The buyer's claim that the item is not as described is incorrect.

The item is definitely as described; the listing clearly states that it is a refurbished phone from Net10 and that the seller should contact Net10 for any issues.

The seller filed a dispute on this transaction with Ebay, who refused to allow the claim. He is now filing the dispute with Paypal.

I wrote the seller after he contacted me for a refund as follows: "Hi -- Sorry that you are having trouble with your phone. Unfortunately, my listing stated the following: No returns accepted; contact Net10 for any issues. The item is definitely as described; the listing clearly states that it is a refurbished phone from Net10 and that you should contact Net10 for any issues. This phone comes with a 1-year limited warranty from Net10. There should have been a card in the box showing the warranty and how to obtain a return authorization number. I am happy to email you a scan of that card (but I will need your direct email address) along with my receipt for the purchase of the phone from Net10, which was made last month or so. The warranty states: To obtain a RA# and shipping address, please contact Net10 Direct sales customer service at 1-877-836-2368. If your problem cannot be remedied over the phone, our Net10 technicians will provide you with a Return Authorization Number, which you will use to send your phone or accessories to the designated Net10 service center for repair or replacement at Net10's option.

6/17/2011 09:10 PDT - Buyer: This item does not work and I am very unhappy. I bought this item thinking it would work but net 10 said there is something wrong with the phone. I want a full refund since they sold me a non working correctly phone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Install tracking software on your Mac or PC before it gets stolen!

The local news station ran a story about a guy who had his MacBook stolen. He went to the police, who of course were no help. He had installed tracking software called Hidden on his Mac. This software, like others, will allow you to track your PC or Mac's location, and also take photos remotely -- showing the person who is using your stolen Mac.

He went to the police with photos of the suspect, along with the exact location of his laptop -- and they finally got his computer back for him.

I myself have been using the product undercover for my Macs for several years now. It provides basic tracking information, and a new feature takes photos. I believe it is only for the Mac, and it costs a flat $45 for five Macs. There is no annual or recurring charge.

Hidden costs something like $15 per computer per year.

I recently discovered Prey for Macs and PCs, as well as Android. It is a free open-source software that provides the same capabilities that I describe above, and more. I will likely be installing this on my computers in the future.

New Square Up service allows small businesses to accept credit cards directly!

Check out

be sure you use https and not http.

This is a great new service that lets small businesses like mine accept credit cards. My office can now accept credit cards over the phone or email, or with a swipe. The card-reading equipment is free; you do need an ipad or iphone. In the past, small businesses had just one way to accept credit cards -- Paypal, which is a confusing service (not to mention being very unfair in the way it handles disputes or problems). Square Up does take a commission of 2.75% if swiping with a credit card, and 3.5% plus 15 cents if entering a transaction manually, with no physical credit card available. Frigging amazing! Very simple to use.