I can’t believe it is almost August. Live Boot Camp is only 28 days away. How exciting!
- Lynn Recommends: A Queen’s Court Member shares a Score from the Dinnerware eBook & Shipping eReport
- Special Announcement: Only Three Seats Left for Live Boot Camp & Hotel Room price is going up
- Feature Article: Block that Bidder
This ezine is published every two weeks.
July 29, 2010 Volume VI, Issue 14
Another crazy two weeks. Of course! My eBay business has really picked up this summer and I don’t know why–but I am very grateful! Actually, I was thinking about it and I came to the realization that people may be thinking back-to-school, fall, and Christmas shopping already. Let’s hope!
July has been fantastic. I just sold $200 worth of Mikasa dinnerware on Tuesday out of my eBay store.
Here is a link to one of the store listings that just sold. Isn’t it a pretty pattern?
For those of you who don’t own my Dinnerware Success eBook and Shipping eReport, please read the Lynn recommends section to learn more. This is an awesome product and one that can make you a lot of money. In fact, I just got an amazing email from Beth Probst (long O) and Queen’s Court member extraordinaire about a score she made recently due to the Dinnerware Success eBook. The email is in the Lynn Recommends section! Make sure you read her email even if you already own the eBook.
Speaking of the Queen’s Court, it is our three-year anniversary this month. Happy Birthday or would it be Happy Anniversary! Anyway, thank you to all the wonderful members that make it the awesome forum that it has become. The Queen’s Court Rocks!!
As you read this, we are most likely playing in a baseball tournament! No way! Wish us luck, as it is the last one before our summer break. Yes, we actually get to take one month off and the kids and I will be spending a few weeks in Washington state with my mom and dad. Can’t wait to hit the awesome garage, charity, and estate sales in Bellingham and see my good friends and family!
I was on eBay radio with Griff and Lee this past Tuesday. (In case you missed it, you can listen in to the archives on the eBay Radio website here.) We talked about my Harley Davidson score. I spent $675 on 15 vintage pieces. It turned out very well.
Check out the piece that sold for the most here.
Thank goodness that business has been so great because we had a little accident in the eBay room last Sunday. It was during a birthday party that I had at the house for Houston. Can you even imagine? Four 14-year-old boys outside playing with baseball bats and balls.
One of the boys took a swing at a pitch (they were using tennis balls) but he let go of the bat and it sailed 25 feet into a huge picture window. Luckily, Carmen was not at her desk that day!
Anyway, $330 later we have a new window. Luckily, Houston had just sold one of his bats on eBay and was able to pay a portion of the expense. Houston is hooked on eBay now. Finally! He took all the photos for the listing and helped me write the copy. Good job!
Here is his listing.
Can you believe what a used baseball bat can sell for on eBay?
Sporting goods are an amazing category to sell on eBay. Check out this HUGE promotional Callaway Big Bertha that I got at a garage sale last week. I called the Callaway company and they said that these were very hard to find and were never made available to sell to the public. Here is Houston holding it. He wants to keep it. Not gonna happen.
Here is a link to the listing. I listed it SUPER high on eBay on 10 cent listing day. Let’s see what happens.
I got an email last week from an ezine reader asking about when to block bidders. It was very timely, as we had just discussed the exact same thing at eBay on Location in Chicago on stage. If you can believe it some of the sellers in the audience have more than 500 bidders on their blocked lists. WOW!
Here we are in Chicago.
That email prompted me to write this week’s ezine article on when and why you should block bidders. Don’t miss this one. This is one of the last tools we can use to protect ourselves and you will want to look for the warning signs!
Oh yeah, speaking about eBay on Location, don’t miss the one in San Jose on September 2nd and 3rd–eBay’s fifteenth birthday. It is going to be a blast. Maureen (Mo) is going to attend this one with me. We are also going to speak at the Bay Area eBay sellers group on Tuesday night, August 31st. Click here to learn more about eBay on Location.
LIVE BOOT CAMP is filling up, we have ONLY THREE SEATS LEFT for 2010. If you are considering joining us, we recommend that you reserve your spot soon. This one will sell out. Here is a link to read more. We hope to see you there.
Lynn Dralle, ‘The Queen of Auctions,’
Creator of the best-selling eBay Boot Camp in a Box.
A Fun Score from a Reader
Check out this email I just got from Beth:
Time and time again you have provided me with such great tips! I purchased the Dinnerware Guide earlier this year. In your first installment you mentioned pewter, specifically Wilton Armetale, was a good item to find. I check the ads every week so I thought – well that’s not something I have searched for in the past – let me see what comes up.
Lo and behold there was a woman who wanted to sell a Wilton Armetale Set – 2 cooking pots, 8 dinner plates, 8 salad plates, and 8 bread and butter plates for $100. So I bought them. The pots sold immediately at auction for $49.99 each! Score! I had recaptured my investment!
Replacements had no plates so I put the dinner plates in my store at $49.99/each or best offer. Today a person from Vermont offered me $160 for all 8 plates!!!! So to date I have made $260 on my $100 investment and still have 8 B/B plates listed at $20 OBO and 8 Salad Plates at $24.99 OBO with the potential for another $359.84 profit!
Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!
Please Keep the good tips coming!!!
Beth Probst (long “O” – 🙂
Whispering Creek Treasures
When I asked Beth if I could use her email as a testimonial, Look at what she sent back…
Here is the auction page for the dinner plates.
As an update, after I sent the email to you, the lady that bought the dinner plates came back and bought all of the salad and bread and butter plates!!! Thanks again for the great tip!
WOW. Don’t pass up the very lucrative dinnerware business on eBay. If you don’t already own the eBook and eReport, they can be purchased together here at a very special price.
This is one of my best products EVER and I have had soooo many of you email me, come up to me at eBay on Location, and post on Facebook how it has helped you! Don’t miss out on this offer. The eBook and eReport are available for immediate download so you can get started today! Order yours here.
Countdown to Live Boot Camp
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated you making it possible for me to attend a 3rd Boot Camp. If my first Boot Camp was: “I know nothing.” And my second was: “Now I know what I don’t know / need to know.” The third was definitely: “Knowledge is power!”
Was a third Boot Camp worthwhile? DEFINITELY! It is always helpful to have a refresher on the Dralle Method; I learn new “tweaks” each time. And it helps to see how you do things and where I have diverged to customize it for me and how I can adapt changes you have made to your system to my routine to make listing faster, purchasing more reliable, and shipping more cost effective.
I also discovered that I have learned a lot in two short years! And I learned that there is soooooooooooo much more to learn. Our guest speakers (Joel Elad, Debbie Ybarra, your mom), had lots of great information to share. As well as fellow campers Sheila speaking about books and Suzie giving us such great information about selling Hawaiian shirts. And this year my head wasn’t so full of the nuts and bolts of selling on eBay that I was able to relax and take it all in.
From our opening breakfast, through thrift shopping and garage sale-ing, Friday night’s hilarious dinner and our reluctant departure on Sunday, 2009 Boot Camp was a treasure to savor. Was a third Boot Camp worthwhile? DEFINITELY! Would I come back for a fourth? Don’t count me out yet!
[INCREDIBLE yes, Diva Dawn is coming back for her fourth boot camp next month!!!!-Lynn]
Diva Dawn LV
I can’t wait to see Diva Dawn, her husband Bill, and everyone else who has signed up in just 28 days!!
3 Seats Left!
AND the Hotel will be releasing the room block soon.
NOW is the time to sign up and reserve your room at the low rates we have negotiated.
I want to see you there!
‘Block that Bidder!’
by Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions
Here is an email I recently received from an ezine reader:
I am curious about something that may be a good topic for you to write about at some point. It’s a question I’ve pondered a bit, particularly listening to other sellers. I’ve been an eBay seller since 1997.
That is — under what circumstances will you block an eBay user from bidding on your items? Do you ever block a bidder preemptively, and if so, what are the red flags that tip you off that a buyer may be worth trouble to avoid.
You see, I am beginning to have this sense that some sellers on eBay have really developed a defensive mindset toward buyers — even paranoid — to the point where “pre-emptive blocking” has become a strategy.
In some cases, I think some sellers are unrealistic with their attitudes toward buyers — they’re just in the wrong business! But also, to some degree, I think eBay has helped (perhaps inadvertently) to foster this climate — by the way the feedback system is skewed (and sellers fear that imbalance has created an untenable situation, where buyers can leave unwarranted negs and sellers have no recourse), and where DSR metrics have taken on such a huge role in evaluating seller “performance” for the purpose of discounts and other “perks.” (The dynamics are currently such that a tiny minority of buyers can seriously disrupt a seller’s qualifications for such discounts.)
So the end result — I’m seeing a trend where sellers are shifting the way they do business on eBay, to the point they feel they have to become “gatekeepers” to ward off ANY potential problematic customers who can adversely affect their bottom line.
I’m sure you probably have a laid-back attitude for the most part, but I am wondering what criteria you use for making these determinations in your own business model.
What a great question and a well-written email! And since we had just discussed this very thing on the stage in Chicago during the Top-Rated Seller’s panel, I thought it would be a perfect subject for this ezine article.
I totally agree with Jan that just a few bad bidders can ruin your business and you do need to have more of a gatekeeper’s attitude towards your business.
Here are the times when I will seriously consider blocking a buyer. These are NOT preemptive blocks but blocks made after a purchase has gone bad.
However, keep in mind that I RARELY block bidders. Approximately two a month get blocked and I take it very seriously. Here are the circumstances where I will consider blocking a bidder.
1. When a buyer is completely unhappy with a purchase from us and makes it a MISERABLE experience for everyone in my office.
This is a time when I most definitely will block a bidder. If someone is so rude that the entire office is talking about it then they will most likely get blocked. Life is too short and most of our customers are lovely.
The worst buyers are the ones who claim that items are missing from their shipment or that something arrived broken when there is NO way that either is true. We come into contact with these types rarely but it is very frustrating trying to prove that we did ship everything or that the item could not have possibly broken in shipment.
If an item really was broken, we are more than happy to file a UPS claim and pay the damages.
I think the worst example of this type of buyer is the person who bought my Fitz and Floyd pig soup tureen. It sold for $137.50 and in the listing, I detailed that there were tiny chips on the underplate. I even showed close-up photos.
We knew something was amiss when they emailed to FIRST say that the piece was chipped. We emailed back to say, yes, we know that, and it was stated in the listing.
The NEXT email that came back said, “No, it wasn’t just chipped, but completely broken.” Now they were claiming that it arrived smashed. I could smell a RAT.
There is no way this was the case as I watched Carmen pack it and it was packed perfectly. We asked them to hold onto the package as we would be filing a UPS claim.
Well, this buyer didn’t bother to wrap it all back up as we had shipped it and threw it into the box with no bubble wrap and no packing peanuts. I think that this was when the actual breakage occurred
Here is the broken pig as we received it.
Check out this close-up of their note.
I think that in all actuality this was all that was wrong with it until they threw it in the box. Great!
In any event, UPS would not pay the claim, we got a broken pig back and I exacted my revenge by blocking this bidder!
Use your instincts on a case-by-case basis. Don’t block bidders willy-nilly but if you have a gut feeling, it is probably a good idea to block the buyer.
2. When a customer asks 20 questions before even bidding or claiming they didn’t buy something.
You know those potential buyers that ask and ask and ask 20 questions and then they never even buy the item or when they do you still have to email them 20 more times during the transaction. You should consider blocking them.
Then there are the buyers that claim amnesia or ignorance and say that they never bought the item. Here is one of those.
I keep getting an invoice from eBay on these plates and I never purchased them. I noticed they are not dinner plates and I have no use for them and I never went forward on the transaction.
Thanks and sorry.
Of course, this bidder bought my item! Then they claimed that they didn’t realize that they were salad plates and never went forward with the transaction. Help! Yes, I am going to block this bidder.
3. When a relatively new customer files an eBay or PayPal claim without contacting you FIRST.
This drives me nuts and it is even more reason to block a customer now that eBay will be counting these claims against us. Here is a case that was just filed against us on eBay and it was the FIRST time we had heard about it.
Wow, that is a lot of complaints!
Details the buyer provided:
Problem: The item is not as described
The buyer has tried contacting you
The buyer paid on Jul 05, 2010
The buyer contacted you through eBay Messages
The item is damaged
You have not responded to the buyer
You aren’t working with the buyer to solve the problem
“received item that was broken no seller response item # 310113310408”
The buyer wants:
“replacement or a refund”
You can view the details of this case in the Resolution Center.
This buyer was relatively new and we may have considered blocking them. However, I don’t usually block a buyer unless they really make me angry. Once we started working with this person, they were actually very nice and we got everything settled just fine.
A big heads up…just keep in mind that you don’t want to block a buyer who has not left you feedback yet. We have done this and then the buyer left us a TON of 1s and 2s. Just be careful. Now onto preemptive blocking.
Here are some PRE-EMPTIVE reasons to think about blocking a potential buyer. I RARELY do this but have on special occasions.
1. When a buyer makes a low ball offer on an item
I know that sometimes sellers will block a bidder who makes a ridiculously low offer. I don’t even bother because I tend to think that these buyers can’t be serious and will most likely NEVER buy anything from anyone.
Here is an example of a ridiculously low offer I just received. I just shake my head and click DECLINE.
Want to sell this item fast? A bidder has just made the best offer to buy it. Here are the details of the offer:
2. When a potential bidder wants to haggle on shipping and is extremely unrealistic.
Many times a bidder will ask you to ship an item for $2.00 even though it is going to cost you at least $5.85 to send it. I usually don’t change my s/h/I prices unless the potential customer is really, really nice and then I won’t block them because they have been really nice.
Here is an example of a shipping offer we got recently.
Do you ship via USPS also? I’m interested in this piece, but I would hate to pay $10.95 for UPS Shipping when I know it could be shipped way cheaper and still safe with a USPS priority box.
Thanks in advance for your answer,
OK, so my s/h/I was a little high on this one. But you know that when I list a dinner set I try and ship the entire set (no matter what the pieces) for the same s/h/i. I did just go in and revise this s/h/i price down to $8.95.
But when a potential buyer starts haggling over shipping prices, I typically stand my ground. I explain that UPS is more expensive but safer, etc. I didn’t lower my s/h/I for this customer and I didn’t block them either.
Once again, use your own judgment. Blocking too many bidders can negatively affect your sales.
3. When a potential customer is just downright rude. They may not even be asking questions about an item but have just emailed to make their opinion known.
I get lots of these and unfortunately (or fortunately!) couldn’t find one for this ezine. Some of my favorites start out with…”You say you have been an antique dealer for over 50 years and you don’t even know what this item is…blah, blah, blah.” These really rude people do get BLOCKED!
As always, use your own judgment. Bidder blocking is one of the last remaining tools that sellers have to protect our reputation. We may need to be doing some preemptive blocking to ensure our success.
Finally, you may be asking, “How do you block a bidder?” Well here is the link to do it. Happy Blocking but just remember most customers are WONDERFUL!
Visit my eBay Store.
Visit my eBay auctions.
For more great eBay tips and stories, visit my website at:
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEBSITE? Yes, you may – just as long as you include all links as they are and append this complete blurb with it: The Queen of Auctions and eBay Power Seller, Lynn Dralle, publishes ‘eBay Tips & Tricks’ a weekly ezine with 10,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your eBay business, make more money, and have more time, get your FREE tips now at www.thequeenofauctions.com
eBay PowerSeller and third-generation antique dealer, Lynn Dralle, is the creator of Boot Camp in a Box, the home-study course where you can learn to implement the Dralle Method to maximize your eBay profits.
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Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author, and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks, and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at an online auction click here.