Dear eBay Queen: Is it just me, or are all transactions involving people in Canada horrible? Seriously! I need to know. Almost everything Iíve sent there during the past few months has arrived either damaged, incredibly late, or most importantly, not at all. Itís moved beyond a coincidental fluke to something substantially wrong with the system.
About 15 percent of my eBay business goes overseas. However, I am seriously considering banning selling to people in Canada for awhile. I had a perfect holiday season everywhere else in the world (even Italy and Mexico), but about 7 to 8 packages just never arrived to Canada, leading to constant refunds and several negative feedbacks. Iíve been shipping from three different post office locations, so itís not like someone in ďthe backĒ is stealing my Canadian packages, which is a pretty paranoid way of thinking anyway.
This week alone, I received two negatives from western Canada for non-receipt. I first asked for patience, noting that mail to Canada has been slow recently, (especially during the holidays), and they act like I called their mom a foul word! Both buyers actually refused refunds and apologies for the inconveniences because I said the fault lies with their countryís mail delivery service. Theyíd rather give me a negative and get nothing ó if you think a refund offer is still on the table after a negative, youíre nuts.
A buyer emailed me this: ďDo not say it takes long because itís international. Iíve sent and received stuff to/from the U.S ó it never takes a month. It arrives within a week, if not two. Even items from Asia donít take a month. It wasnít even the holiday season back when I purchased it.Ē
This is what his negative said: ďItem never received. Blames on the postal service. Irresponsible. Do not trust.ď
Really now, what more can I possibly do once I drop the package off at the post office? Of course, Iím blaming the Canadian post office! The address is written 100-percent legibly and the customs form is always on the front or top and is filled out correctly. If thereís no item 30-35 days after the mailing date, Iíll send a refund. Wow, thatís pretty irresponsible. (I realize Iím being snarky, but my emails to the buyers actually are professional until the transaction has officially been ruined, so donít think my ítude is causing the bad feedback.)
I have three choices right now (aside from doing nothing and hoping itís all a giant, expensive fluke). Which do you think I should choose?
1) Continue to ship to Canada, jack up shipping 30 percent, and give a refund at the earliest possible moment to any Canadian who complains, even if itís hours later. I will not speak ill of Canada Post, because Canada Post is perfect, and asking for patience will only make the buyer angry, and I wonít like him when heís angry.
2) Continue to ship to Canada, jack up shipping to Priority/Express Mail costs. This is a huge price increase, since I mostly sell items that are under a pound, meaning the shipping price will likely more than double.
3) Ban Canada from future sales, which definitely will hurt business.
Iím leaning toward No. 1, but No. 2 or No. 3 might happen too. A colleague mentioned a variation of No. 2, in which anyone outside of the province of Ontario must pay for Priority shipping, since thatís where a majority of the non-receipt problems come from. Not a bad idea, but thereís no way to officially discriminate against Canadian provinces in your eBay listing, and packages still go missing to Ontario. ó JPB
Dear JPB: I have had similar experiences with shipping to Canada. I blame the issues you are having with Canadian Post on the fact that their post office is not regulated by the Canadian government like our post office. In some places, individuals make bids on cities and they are responsible for getting the mail to where it belongs. This sometimes leads to items being lost.
Iím not sure which you should choose. If it were me, I would probably do No. 1. For my business, I insure each item, using Endicaís insurance. That way, if a buyer says they do not receive their item, I refund their money and then collect the insurance.
I hope you figure out the best thing for your business.
Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 300837557265. Itís cold outside, and you need a quilt! Check out this ďVintage Antique 100-year-old crazy quilt.Ē It sold for $5,000 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-VINTAGE-100-YEAR-OLD-CRAZY-QUILT-GREAT-CONDITION-/300837557265
Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Do you have a question for the eBay Queen? E-mail her at the eBay Queen