things ebay buyers need to know

I swear, I think eBay is trying to kill small sellers.  I am so sick of them.  The latest bs is that they are removing the option to have buyer-purchased insurance, so that ebay will be in line with "industry standards and expectations," stating that sellers are responsible for the item until it hits the seller’s hands.  Well, if I have to replace a $7 bottle of oil, that’s one thing, but what about a $200 order, or a custom item that the postal service loses or smashes?  I’d be out of business in a heartbeat.  In cases like this, ebay says we should insure the items ourselves, adding the insurance cost into our shipping fees if necessary.

Ok, great.  My shipping charges are generally actual cost + something in the neighborhood of 50 cents to $1 per package, depending – bubble wrap, envelopes, tape, etc cost money, as does the gas to drive things to the post office.  Ebay demands that sellers go way, way below the industry standard on shipping costs.  (I just paid $20 in shipping at one online store, when I know full well it will cost them $10 max to ship the box. That is just how it is on sites that calculate postage based on their own formulae.)  But I lost my power seller discount last month because somebody rated me low on "shipping charges."  ONE person gives me a low rating on shipping charges and my costs in the form of ebay fees go up 15%.  But I’m supposed to raise my shipping charges to cover my ass?  Oh ebay, you have got to be kidding.  This is a lose-lose situation for small sellers, and I think ebay is really really wrong about this decision.

I understand ebay wanting to make the site a place to keep shoppers shopping and to protect buyers from any number of things that were a problem before.  I buy on ebay too – I buy on ebay a lot.  But their policies are screwing small sellers and those who specialize in custom or custom-finished items, those who take more than a day or two to ship, those who are one person working out of a home or  small shop with no other employees.  Personally, those people are why I shop at ebay – I like to support small businesses and artisans, and I like the "rummage sale" thing.  I don’t buy, say, huge packs of envelopes from ebay sellers – I’ll go direct to a site for those.  But I will buy artisan soap from ebay or etsy before I buy anywhere non-local.  But ebay is training buyers to expect truly unreasonable things from sellers, and giving buyers the power to maim sellers when their unreasonable expectations are not met.  For me, losing my power seller discounts was just a question of time, because regardless of what the item listing says, ebay is training buyers to think a one week handling time is too long.  I will never be able to ship more quickly than that on most of my items.  So in a way, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t lose it before now, because of low ratings on shipping time.  That’s fine. But then ebay penalizes sellers whose ratings fall below a certain level by lowering their appearance in search results.  Alright.  You don’t want me here. I get it.  I’ve been working to move business off ebay for a while now anyway.

But this effects every seller on ebay, and that is why I’m writing this post.  Less than 5 in a DSR means higher prices for your seller and thus higher prices for you.  a 4 star says "good" but it doesn’t mean "good" according to ebay’s standards.  A one or two means you want to see the seller go out of business.  If you buy on ebay, you need to know this stuff.

Oh yeah – I will be raising prices on oils and light settings soon, the former by just a hair, the latter by a bit more than a hair, and I will probably not be able to offer handpainted medals after this month (they take too long to paint and dry, and they are a bad rating waiting to happen).  So if you had your eye on something, don’t wait too long, or you may have to wait until the website can handle it, which wont’ be tomorrow.

Ok, done beating dead horse for now.  A big thank-you to all of you who come to visit, to read or to shop, for making this worth doing and for showing the world that people still appreciate custom-finished hoodoo and spiritual items with a personal touch, in this era of Walmart and 24 hour operators standing by.  You guys rock, and I really appreciate you.

I’ve been working on camera issues and should have some photos up soon,  I hope (and emailed to several clients who have  been waiting on them.  Tech and I aren’t the best of friends all the time, sorry!)

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