I have been selling online for a couple of years now and I have experienced a few challenging customers. I’d like to share the scenario and what I have done to address the issues so you may learn from my experience.
Please note that this may or may not apply to your situation so please take this with a grain of salt. This is not meant to be a bit of advice but just a blog about what I have experienced and what I personally did to address the issues.
For those who are new to my blog, I sell second-hand clothes, bags, and shoes. I post them on various selling platforms such as eBay, Carousell, and Instagram.
Almost all of my customers in the past couple of years were very easy to deal with. However, there were just a few who are a bit challenging. Here are some of those experiences I’ve had with challenging customers:
Non-Paying Customers or Joy Reservers
Carousell has a ‘Make Offer’ option wherein a customer can make an offer to your item. It may or may not be the price you have posted (usually it’s lower than your selling price of course). This is not binding thus, I don’t expect much from people making offers. However, almost all of my buyers who made an offer honored their offers and paid for the items.
When a customer makes an offer to an item using the ‘Make Offer’ button, you have the option to have it automatically get tagged as reserved. I opted for this option. This means that when someone makes an offer, other interested customers will see this item as ‘Reserved’ and may/may not contact you anymore even if they’re interested.
eBay has a “Buy Now” button which customers will click if they want to buy the item. Once they click on ‘Buy Now’ your item will be on your pending sold items and will not be visible to other customers anymore.
Once in a while, I do get customers who click on ‘Make Offer’ or ‘Buy Now’ who do not pay for the items. In all of my posts, I specifically mentioned the items will only be reserved two days from the date they click those buttons. I usually send them a payment reminder on the second day and if they don’t respond. I relish the items.
When I was starting, I usually get irritated and get pissed off when someone does this because basically, I lose the chance of selling the items to others during the time the item was reserved to those ‘Joy Reservers’. On eBay, the items don’t get visible anymore to other interested customers once the ‘Buy Now’ button has been clicked.
Nowadays, although I still do feel mildly irritated when someone does this for multiple items. I just try to keep my calm and focus on the bigger picture. I also do maintain positive and polite interactions with these customers even if they technically ‘Seen-zoned’ me.
Possibly ‘Dishonest’ Customers
I have experienced getting to deal with customers who I felt were not saying the truth. And I remember really getting so stressed due to those transactions.
My first experience was with a customer who bought a leather bag from me. I always inspect my merchandise prior to shipping and I personally pack these items. With structured bags, I only ship them in boxes (with bubble wrap and additional carton supports on the sides) to prevent incurring possible damages from shipping.
After receiving the bag, the customer claimed that the corner was unstitched thus creating a hole. I asked for a picture and she sent me a picture of the hole. I asked for another picture showing the hole and the entire bag. The customer ignored my request and continued ranting about the bag.
I then offered a full refund upon receipt of the bag and to my amazement, the customer doesn’t want to return the bag and just wanted a 50% discount. I offered free shipping for the return also but she insisted she’s busy that she couldn’t bring the bag to a courier.
There are so many couriers in the city where she lives in and I felt that she’s just making excuses to get the bag for a 50% discount. I was wondering why she said she didn’t have time to bring the bag to the courier but have time to bring the bag to a repair shop.
Anyway, after various exchanges, I just agreed to give the 50% discount to her so that we could both move on. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but during that time, I remembered thinking that I just want to get over that situation and move on. Fortunately, the bag was not that expensive, and prolonging the situation was not worth the very tiny profit.
A customer bought stretchable skinny denim jeans and after receiving them claimed that there are two large holes at the crotch areas. Again, I doubted this because basically, I personally buy my merchandise and inspect them. I also personally wash and steam these items and I’m sure that I will notice if there are large holes in the pants.
The customer sent me pictures of the pants with the two large holes on both sides of the crotch near the bottom zippers. In the picture, she was wearing the pants and sitting in what looks to me like a restaurant chair/bench.
I was wondering if there were really two large holes in the crotch areas of the jeans, why would you still wear them to go out of your house? I sent her pictures of the jeans and a Zoomed in a copy of the crotch areas which shows that there were no holes when it was shipped to her.
My theory was, she ordered very tight-fitting jeans, possibly way smaller for her size, and still tried to wear it thus breaking the seams on the crotch areas.
I’m also bewildered that this customer still gave me a positive 5-Star rating.
My recent experience was with a customer who ordered multiple items. The customer said that my measurement was wrong and that she wanted to replace the items. She said that the item was too small and it was very far from what I have mentioned in the post. In my years of selling, this was the first time that I have received such a complaint. I always take my time in measuring the items that I sell. I don’t rely on the measurement of tags because of two things:
- Not all preloved garments have size label/tags
- Garments may/may not shrink/expand due to wear and washing.
So the customer picked a replacement and I told her that I will send her a pic of the item with the measuring tape on top of it so she will see the actual measurement. I was surprised when she picked another pair of pants that have almost the same measurement as the first one she bought.
I told her that it’s the same size as the one she’s returning and she said, that I can pick items on her behalf and gave me her size. I was surprised when I received her measurements, it was way bigger than what she was buying.
I then asked her why she bought a Size 30 when she was 32 – 34. She did not respond. At this point, I already know that she’s lying and just want to replace the items because she ordered the wrong size and put the blame on my measurement for her mistake.
Anyway, since I already agreed to replace the items, I still shipped the replacements to her and she returned the previously ordered items to me. As soon as I received the returned items, I measured them right away, and lo and behold, my measurements were correct.
At first, I was really pissed off but then later on I felt sad. Some people would really compromise their integrity for such a small amount of money and some people don’t really know how to be accountable for their own actions.
Anyway, since I have shipped the replacements and received the returns already, I didn’t bother insisting that my measurements were correct. We both know what truly transpired.
Customers Insisting that they Have Paid (But Did Not)
Luckily, I only experienced this once. A customer placed an order and said that he paid via PayPal and changed his mind and would like to refund. At this point, I already know that this customer was lying because I do not accept PayPal payments on this particular shipping platform.
So I asked him how he paid me via PayPal if my PayPal account is not linked to the shipping platform. He insisted that he got debited and thus wanted a refund. I told him to just contact his bank to report this issue and I assured him that I did not get any payment from him.
This person did not contact me again after that.
Some sellers on Instagram that I followed, have allegedly received fake payment receipts. One seller even reported a buyer to NBI because of this issue. If you are a seller, always check the payment receipts before shipping any items. Check if the details on the receipt are correct and check if you really received the money in your bank account.
I know that sometimes this is very difficult to do especially if the online banking website or app is down but I suggest that you do not ship any item especially expensive items unless you have confirmed the payment.
Customers Who Do Not Read the Post
This is a very minor thing but it does eat a lot of time. Price, measurements, and descriptions are all available for all my items online plus numerous pictures and I still get people asking me these questions:
- How much?
- What is the size?
- What is the condition?
To be honest, I don’t know what to think anymore. I get these questions on almost a daily basis. Over the years, I have learned to just remain polite and tell these people to please check the post for the details that they’re asking about. For their convenience, I sometimes send them a screenshot of the post.
People who Always Inquire but Never Bought an Item
There’s one person who has been inquiring about numerous items but has never bought anything from my online shop. She’s been doing this for almost three years already. She even asks for details and I always try my best to reply to her politely.
These are just some of the challenging customers that I have encountered in the past few years. If you are an online seller or if you’re thinking of putting up your own online store, I suggest that you follow other sellers on IG so you’ll be aware of these issues.
Knowing these will help you improve the way you deliver customer service and will help you avoid possible scams in the near future.How to Deal with Challenging Customers Click To Tweet
How about you? Are you an online seller as well? I’d love to hear how you dealt with challenging customers?