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Seller Beware!


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Initial post: Jun 2, 2012 3:10:38 PM PDT
I have sold 2 textbooks on Amazon. Unfortunately, USPS had an issue shipping one of the books. I have been working with them in an attempt to locate the book. In the meantime, the buyer filed an A to Z Claim, or whatever Amazon calls it. I responded to claim, but I don't think Amazon even read what I wrote, they just gave the buyer her money back, and they have never answered my questions concerning what my recourse is if the buyer does receive the book, and won't either send it back to me or pay me for it. I GUESS AMAZON THINKS IT IS OK FOR ME TO BE OUT THE BOOK AND PAYMENT. This is totally wrong that they are so unwilling to answer questions.

TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, BECAUSE I HAD A COMPLAINT FILED, THEY WON'T PAY ME FOR EITHER BOOK I HAVE SOLD!!! The second book I sold had nothing to do with the book that was lost in the mail. Different buyer, etc...YET AMAZON IS HOLDING THAT PAYMENT!!!!!!!! Just when I thought things couldn't get worse. I guess they just want to add to the list of my complaints to the Better Business Bureau.

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 7:02:46 PM PDT
review says:
The person who Ships can file a claim through the Postal Service if something is lost - the buyer has no recourse through the Postal Service if the package is delivered in error or lost.

You may want to check with the Postal Service regarding selling through the mail and how to protect yourself.

I have not taken the chance selling through Amazon or online due to this concern of how to sell without ending up losing the product without getting paid.

Too bad there isn't a vendor forum that could share tips and ideas on how to get paid while providing good honest customer service.

Neither seller nor buyer wants to be left holding the bag.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 10:14:53 PM PDT
I agree it would be nice if no one ended up left holding the bag, and clearly there had to be some sort of resolution. In the end, I imagine it is only fair the buyer gets their money back. What has frustrated me is Amazon's total lack of communication on the subject. The respond to my emails, but it is with prewritten responses that don't answer my specific questions.

I did get an email back today saying they are holding my money because I am a new seller. Well then why does it say on my account they are holding it because I had a claim filed against me? I guess I'll have to ask...not that I think I'd get a response that makes sense.

I'm just shocked that any business wants to treat their customers so poorly. I have a lot of classes, and text books to buy, before I finish school. I won't be buying them here! In fact Chegg.com seems to be a great place to rent books at a reasonable price, and no worries about re-selling. Amazon will be missing out on a lot of sales from myself and a lot of other people I've told about this. I can say for certain I will never be a Kindle owner!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 7:45:04 AM PDT
Paris Tofino says:
"I'm just shocked that any business wants to treat their customers so poorly. I have a lot of classes, and text books to buy, before I finish school. I won't be buying them here!"
Actually, Amazon has protected the buyer (i.e., customer) by refunding their money. Amazon does that specifically to make sure that it doesn't lose business from buyers. As a seller I can sympathized with how you feel, but in the long run I think Amazon's policy is the best for everyone. The fact that buyers know they can buy with confidence makes it easier to sell my stuff on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 9:45:15 AM PDT
I do understand they have to protect buyers, I have no problem with that.

This has been my issue...I sent the book by media mail, and I was told it would get there by a certain date. I wasn't told by USPS that the date they gave me was a goal, and that they actually had 14 business days to deliver the book.

Fourteen business days had not passed since I had shipped the book. So it was still possible the book could be delivered to the buyer. The buyer had unreasonable expectations from the start. She thought by paying $6.99 for shipping that I was going to ship the book to her overnight. Anyone who has shipped anything overnight knows, you cannot pay for overnight shipping for $6.99.

So...what if they gave her money back to her, and then she got the book? According to Amazon, the buyer would have to contact them to say she had the book before I could get paid. Considering how unreasonable she was, I had ZERO confidence she would handle this situation appropriately.

IT WOULD NOT BE FAIR FOR HER TO HAVE THE BOOK AND NOT PAY FOR IT. THAT IS MY PROBLEM. Amazon has given me no direction on how to resolve this issue if it is to occur. I would have to depend on a buyer who was not reasonable from the start to help me.

I've made a claim with USPS, and I've told them to ship the book back to me when it is located, but they can't promise me that will happen. If you were me, as a seller, I'm sure you would not appreciate that Amazon has not given a solution to this problem. GIVING A BUYER A FREE BOOK IS NOT APPROPRIATE NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT.

I have a tracking number for the book, so if it is delivered I would be able to prove it was delivered. So why doesn't Amazon tell me what my options are if the buyer then does not work with me to return the book? She could even just deny it when USPS delivered it so that I could give it back. I emailed her to ask what she will do, since she got her refund, if the books turns up. She won't respond. Outrageous!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 3:58:04 PM PDT
I think I might see part of the problem. You say she paid $6.99 for shipping but you sent the book Media Mail. The standard shipping rate is $3.99. $6.99 is the amount charged when a customer specifically requests expedited shipping. Media Mail is an acceptable shipping method for Standard shipping, but NOT for the expedited shipping. Those packages need to go by Priority, at least. Whether the shipping credit is sufficient to cover the shipping cost is irrelevant. You're supposed to take that into account when setting your item price and the shipping options you want to offer. So, obviously, the buyer needed the book faster, and paid extra for upgraded shipping. You, on the other hand, apparently didn't upgrade the shipping. I would have filed a claim too. Media Mail is up to 14 business days. The expedited shipping the buyer actually paid for is supposed to arrive within 2-6 business days. Period. It's the seller's responsibility to ship via a method that will arrive in the timeframe a buyer pays for.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 4:25:47 PM PDT
But see that is how this got to be an issue...I had NO IDEA USPS had 14 business days. I specifically asked when I mailed it when it would get there, and the clerk told me by May 17th, and the book was due to the buyer no later than May 21st. So in my mind I had time to spare. I wish USPS had told me the whole story...so that is a lesson learned on my part. USPS even printed on the receipt that she would get the book by May 17th, so I had to reason to think it was an issue. And it probably wouldn't have been, except now it seems the book is probably lost. So shame on USPS all around... I tried to contact USPS today, because I have filed a claim with them. Of course the person I needed to speak to was off today :/

As for the buyer, she literally told me to I was going to ship it to her however needed to get it to her in the next couple of days. What she didn't realize, and again, this is a bad on Amazon's part, the difference between non-expidited and expidited is that she would get the book in 2 weeks rather than 4. I think the word "expidited" does make it sound as though you should get the book within a few days, but that isn't true.

So see what I am saying...this has been such a conglomeration of errors by the buyer, myself, Amazon, and USPS that it is a nightmare. I will be renting elsewhere from now. This way I am just doing business with whoever I rent the book from. And Chegg.com has totally reasonable prices, a $150 text cost me $24 to rent for the term.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 1:49:18 AM PDT
hello world; says:
this is why you should always do a delivery confirmation, since it allows you to track the package. Some buyers get the books and then file a claim. Delivery confirmation nullifies their claim

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 1:59:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 2:00:27 AM PDT
hello world; says:
no its not, there is documentation on amazon that specified what their code is. you as the seller are supposed to know and make sure it gets their when specified. when someone pays for expedited, amazons assumption is that you are going to use either ups or fedex or usps priority mail. if you are going to sell another book via amazon, i suggest that you read this link
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=1161252

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 7:27:17 AM PDT
I did do deliver confirmation...that's a no brainer. The book is is still lost, and I've had to file a consumers affair complaint with USPS. I shipped a second book at the same time as this one that is now lost. It got to it's destiantion in 2 days. USPS clearly has lost the book, otherwise this never would have been an issue.

USPS asked me to contact Amazon, so they could confirm with the buyer that she entered her address correctly. They refused to helped me.

And now...I can't seem to get paid for the book that did arrive. This is the final straw, I will be filing my complaint with the BBB today. The message I see is that the disbursement failed, but it doesn't say why. I emailed Amazon once again, and all I got back was a cryptic answer with links to go figure it out myself.

NEVER AGAIN WILL I DO BUSINESS WITH THESE CON ARTISTS!!!!!!!!! What a nightmare... I am on unemployment, and I need that money for my nnext term's textbooks. I used to live in Seattle, and I hate the attitude of the people there...Amazon takes on that rude persona perfectly.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 10:56:25 AM PDT
J. gutierrez says:
I want to know the end of this story

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 1:33:30 PM PDT
I will certainly let you know. Now I've gotten an email asking me to contact some seller guarantee email address. They say they are holding the funds because I had a claim filed against me. That's totally not fair...the money was refunded in that case several weeks ago. I want to get paid for a completely different transaction. Why should they be able to hold money that had nothing to do with the claim filed? These people are con artists.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 2:04:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 2:11:52 PM PDT
In all honesty, I'm having trouble finding any complaints in these posts that have even a real shred of validity to them. You offered expedited shipping without knowing what it means or having sufficient knowlege of the postal service to know what mail class that would be or how media mail works ("last priority, on a space available basis" shipping). I can only assume you thought you were getting a great deal by paying for the least expensive mail class when the buyer paid for an upgrade, though if you had thought it out I hope you would have realized that any buyer that knows the least bit would have realized they had been cheated even if the item HAD managed to make it on time, having paid for Expedited and gotten Standard. Media mail is cheap for a reason. It may make it across the country in two days, or take weeks to make it to the next state over. You apparently sold items on Amazon without being familiar with their policies, and then came here to complain about their policies that are stated fairly clearly if you read the help center. Did you contact seller support rather than standard customer service? They should have been ready and able to explain the reserve amount policy, not to mention the other policies you are complaining about. Finally, if the book was worth more than you were willing to risk losing, you probably should have bought insurance. Some packages are going to get lost. In all the hundreds I've sent or received (had enroute to me), the number has been very small, but it does happen. So, maybe you should direct your anger in the right directions. If your messages here are any indication, I can make a very good guess why the buyer hasn't responded back to you. They probably wanted to give you time to calm down, or just not communicate again unless absolutely necessary.

I'm sorry. I do understand the frustration, more than you know. But, there comes a time when you just need to say "I didn't know that. My bad." or "hey, that's bad luck" shrug, and move on with your life. I'm part of a book swapping site, and from my experience there I can tell you there's a very real chance the book still may show up again at some point, and hopefully the buyer will be kind (gracious) enough to ship it back to you with no muss or fuss over shipping cost or anything if it shows up to them. In their place, that'd be my route, since they will have already bought another copy of the book and will have no need to buy yours. But, it's unfair and unreasonable in the extreme to expect the buyer to be without money or book, when it's you and not them that agreed to the terms and conditions making the seller responsible for the book until it's in the buyer's hands, and for complying with shipping speed requirements. That's the risk one takes selling online. There's always Craigslist, if it's too much risk for you.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 2:20:23 PM PDT
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Posted on Jun 15, 2012 2:36:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 2:52:47 PM PDT
I DID read. I even mentioned the policy you're talking about by name, because I remember that one from reading their policies before, though I had to look up exactly what it was called. It IS in writing, and we DO agree to it by selling here. You tell me to read what I'm responding to, and I could say the same to you. I was responding to ALL your posts in my message, if that wasn't clear, and my opinion stands. I really don't care if you're unhappy that I disagree with you. Do us all a favor and get off your high horse too, while you're basking in your "justified" outrage.

The one thing I will somewhat agree with you on is that one policy (implementation of a reserve amount) needs to be further clarified in their help area information pages. Right now, it explains what it is, to an extent, but it could be done far better in saying exactly how it works and all. But, it does clearly apply to your situation.

As much as I appreciate you speaking for what I would do, the truth is, I am aware of what I agreed to by selling here. I might be annoyed or even frustrated that it came to that, but when I make an agreement, I don't view it as wrong when that agreement is complied with. I'd keep an eye on the situation, and make sure I got my money when the extended hold period was up. And yes, I am talking from similar experience here (long story, not related to a bad selling experience).

As for working for Amazon? lol. I wish. Alas, I'm not that lucky. The long-term unemployed/underemployed club is pretty big these days, isn't it? I do find it funny that's the conclusion you jump to because I read the help area and T&Cs though. In truth, overall, while they've made a few really extremely bad calls over the years, I find Amazon customer service generally pretty good for such a large company. A far cry from perfect, but better than many mega-companies I've had the misfortune of dealing with over the years. Hopefully when you get in touch with one of the right people, they can help you properly. THAT'S the bad thing. All the divisions that don't know anything beyond one specific area of issues. *eyeroll* That right there is something to be said for buying from much smaller outlets and selling locally. But we don't do that, because it costs more, makes us less, is slower, or whatever. There is a price to pay for that. But, that's besides the point.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 5:04:08 PM PDT
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Posted on Jun 17, 2012 10:30:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 10:51:48 AM PDT
I didn't tell you that you cheaped out, I told you that you were obviously too inexperienced with the postal service to really know what you were doing well enough to be offering faster shipping services, and as a result went with the cheapest mail service as your solution to expedited shipping (likely thinking it was a "great deal" the same as anyone inexperienced would). I then said that I would hope that if you had thought about it more at the time, you would have realized the mistake as a buyer would likely feel cheated. Big deal. We all do things that later turn out to have been the wrong move. That's the price of inexperience. In contrast, anyone familiar with the postal service already knows all about their "estimates" and the real actual shipping speeds of the different services. See what I mean? But, seriously, did you really expect to post a rant here angry at anyone and everyone that was any part of the process of mailing or receiving the book, and not have ANYONE point out the places where you went wrong? That's a bit unrealistic, especially when you say the whole reason you posted was to help others avoid your mistakes. That's kinda a tall order, if you're going to get offended when someone actually flat-out points out your mistakes. Don't you think?

Look, I'm not saying you're a bad person, stupid, or anything else like that, as you seem to be wanting to take my words to mean. I'm saying you messed up. Big time. Period. That shouldn't be some majorly offensive idea to you at this point. Everyone messes up sometimes. I DO think it's important for somebody to write the truths you can't really see right now due to being upset. People need to know that the Amazon policies you complain about ARE all in writing, that Media Mail is not Expedited Shipping, that if a buyer doesn't get an item they purchase it's the seller's responsibility and they will therefore get their money back (also all stated in writing), and that they seriously need to consider buying insurance if their package going lost would be a huge deal for them. That's all. Unless you can really disagree with any of that, I think we're on the same page.

In all honesty, I wish you had read the terms & conditions, seller help pages, and so on a bit better before opening a seller account here. Maybe this whole mess would have been avoided, and you may have stuck to Craigslist or something. I hate seeing people this upset when they get blindsided by a policy due to not reading carefully in the beginning. Unfortunately, there's nothing to be done for it. Nobody forces anyone to read everything. But, if you had, you at least would have had an idea that a bad experience can affect other transactions as well. Maybe it wouldn't have been so upsetting to you. I really think, if you had read up first, you wouldn't be so bitter now, which is why I said what I did about there being no validity to the complaints. Anyone really familiar with the USPS, and all the rules that apply to sellers here, could have written out a diagram of exactly how this scenario would or could play out, with no info at all from you. If everything that happened is something that could be expected or anticipated as a possibility with a bit more knowledge, it means there's a lack of validity to the complaints. That doesn't mean you can't be upset or even angry about what happened, it just means that everything you're upset or angry about is covered by written policy and/or simply how things (such as the postal service) work.

As they say: live and learn. I guarantee that should you ever sell anything online again (or even just mail something to someone), you'll remember this. You'll be more careful in choosing how you ship it, will seriously consider adding insurance, and so on. Experience can be a harsh teacher sometimes. The first time you unintentionally buy a bootleg video game, and have it crash half-way through so you lose your money and need to buy a new copy, you go online and learn how to detect the bootlegs. The first time you have a package get lost that contains a very expensive item, you learn to take the question about adding insurance seriously. And so on. I've been there, done that, with a lot of things, costing me a pretty good amount of time and money over the years. I think we all have. Similarly, you had to learn a LOT of lessons the hard way thanks to how this all played out. I'm truly sorry about that. At least it really truly could have been far worse. Though, it may not feel like it right now.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 11:05:12 AM PDT
Also, just as a question: How do you feel about the idea of a bad seller being able to sell a ton of defective/broken/fake/whatever stuff, shut down their bank account and card as soon as the money gets transferred, and split, leaving Amazon to have to pay ALL the money back to buyers due to their A-to-Z guarantee? Does that sound right? Probably not. You may not like the policy, but there are many good reasons I can think of for it, and that's why one bad transaction can affect the others. In general, I'd say someone that starts out with having a claim filed against them is pretty high-risk, wouldn't you? All your circumstances aside? Though, really, they likely invoke that policy anytime someone has a claim filed against them, because it generally shouldn't happen. Usually, if a package doesn't arrive by the deadline the buyer's selected shipping speed warrants, the item is broken, or whatever, the buyer and seller work it out between them with a voluntary refund being issued. A claim is meant to be the last-resort option when a seller simply refuses to communicate or follow the rules, which is obviously a big red flag against them as well. So, there is one way that your scenario is a bit strange, if your buyer just filed a claim without communication. You don't really say if she wrote you before doing so, to try to work it out.

In short, Amazon is covering themselves. I don't blame them. They are letting complete strangers that they have no way to possibly vouch for sell on their site, so while I may not like it, I can see where the policy is coming from. But then, I've purchased from one of those bad sellers in the past. So, I can appreciate how much money they can cause to be lost in a very short time, not to mention the other potential issues/accidents/oversights the rule helps guard against on Amazon's end.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 11:18:00 AM PDT
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Posted on Jun 17, 2012 11:24:17 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 8:31:51 PM PDT
I've had situations where i have had canned email responses from both Paypal, Straighttalk, and Tracfone. I got so fed up that I filed a complaint with the BBB for both the phone companies (same company really) but with Paypal, they were holding the money from auctions for more than 21 days after telling me that when my feedback got above 25, they would stop doing that. All I did with them is write them an email and tell them I would file a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General with my state. Generally, you get a real person at that point and can get to the bottom of the situation. Companies now have whole depts dealing with BBB complaints.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 9:30:27 PM PDT
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Posted on Jun 18, 2012 5:48:33 AM PDT
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Posted on Jun 18, 2012 8:53:53 AM PDT
Mr. A.J., I had a guy on eBay who purchased an item from me last week, and he just happened to live right down the road from me. He asked if we could meet so I could deliver the item to him, rather than shipping. After this incident with Amazon, I really didn't want to go outside the norm! It might have seemed silly, but I shipped the item. I think he was probably legit, but it just sends red flags when someone wants to do things different than usual. Just like with this darn book, I should have listened to my gut!

But one interesting this I learned...the book I sold here appears to have either not left the post office I shipped it from, or it never got to the post office in the main part of town. I shipped a few things last week I sold on eBay, and when I looked at the shipping confirmation, I saw that it was scanned at the post office I shipped from (which is a suburb), then it went to the main post office in the area, and then off to it's destination. Seeing how it works when the shipping is successful makes me wonder if my book ever left town?! Still waiting to hear back from USPS on my consumers affair complaint.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 12:07:06 AM PDT
There is no "expedited" shipping for a heavy textbook for $6.99, 2 lb Priority mail an cost up to $10 or more in some cases, and it usually takes less than 9 days for Media Mail. But it is certainly not date certain. And anyone that buys something anywhere without it explicitly saying expedited is being unrealistic. Amazon has created an instant mentality that only they can achieve.
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Discussion in:  Textbook forum
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Total posts:  47
Initial post:  Jun 2, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 19, 2012

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