Researching Buyers

In the run up to and after obtaining my Top Rated Seller status (again!) I have had a busy past month selling a quantity of desirable pre-owned designer clothing & accessories. Clothing can be tricky to sell on eBay but if you have items from prestigious brands that are in good condition and you buy at the right price, you can make a sizable profit. I am always amazed by the size of the fashionista community on eBay and also the number of trade buyers sourcing items for their bricks & mortar shops.

I sell 95% of my items as fixed ‘buy it now or best offer’ listings. I do this to control how much my items will sell for and to prevent losses. I also use this listing format to check out prospective buyers prior to selling an item to them. You are probably thinking “What’s the point?” Well in my previous blog post I explained how I was unlucky with a buyer who left me instant negative feedback BUT if I had checked their ‘Feedback left for others’ tab on their eBay profile before accepting their offer(s) I would of discovered they regularly leave negative feedback and not lost my Top Rated Seller status for a couple of months.

I have put together step-by-step instructions for how to investigate your buyers before accepting an offer:

1. When you receive a best offer notification, take note of the buyer’s eBay username and their delivery address.

offer
2. Copy & paste the following link in any web browser address bar http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/ + buyer’s eBay username. For the above example it should be http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/shikha03.

Top Tip: Bookmark this link so you only have to replace the buyer’s username in future.

3. You can now view the buyer’s eBay profile. Under the feedback ratings banner you can see when they became a member on eBay and their country location.

feedback

Top Tip: Is their delivery address country the same as their country location?

4. At this point, I usually click the ‘See all Feedback’ link and view the ‘Feedback left for others’ tab to see if they are an serial negative feedback leaver and if so, was the feedback fair or left for valid reasons? Judgment time!

negative
5. Depending on the type of item I am selling I like to ascertain if the buyer is trade, a collector or even a competitor. I check the buyer’s ‘Items for sale’ from the member quick links. If they do not have any active listings I select the ‘Completed listings‘ box in the search filters.

Top Tips: If the buyer is a collector they may accept a higher counter-offer if their initial best offer was low. If you are still unsure if the buyer is trade or potentially a competitor there is one useful additional check you can do. Simply copy & paste their delivery post code on http://www.instantstreetview.com to see if they have a shop or business premises.

Obviously the need for carrying out my suggested checks depends on the re-sale value of your items and how much you care about protecting your eBay feedback. Always been mindful of the very important fact that sellers cannot leave buyers negative feedback on eBay. Majority of the items I sell are fairly high-value and unfortunately are known to attract scammers so I find taking 5 minutes out of my day to go through initial checks really helps in having a greater chance of reducing losses or unwanted stress.

Sometimes however buyers can buy an item without making an offer. I have an example of exactly this from an item I sold last week. The item was HERMES perfume, brand new & sealed. I did “price to sell” and within a few hours of the listing ending it sold for the advertised buy it now price. My heart sank the minute I saw this particular buyer’s feedback left for other sellers. In fact the negative feedback screenshot used in my instructions was taken directly from their profile. I also saw they had 100+ active listings of all different types of perfume. This led me to look into their delivery address and I learnt it was a Bed & Breakfast so it wasn’t looking good or maybe I am just too paranoid?

I was in a dilemma because I am a strong believer of never cancelling a transaction on eBay especially not when the buyer has done their bit by making immediate payment. I put my concerns to one side, packaged the item in copious amounts of packaging and wrote a very polite thank you letter. I kept an eager eye on the tracking, after 2 failed attempts I started to panic but thankfully it was delivered on the 3rd and a signature was obtained. I am not going to lie, I was constantly refreshing my feedback page on the eBay IOS app for the next couple of days until I was finally able to relax after receiving their positive feedback. All’s well that ends well!

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