As a seller on Ebay for 10 years, and Etsy for 3, I’ve had the occasional irate customer. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, you will. It’s just a matter of time. I have learned a method of handling angry customers that works for ME every time.
When a problem arises, there are certain presumptions that come into play~
**Buyers are out to cheat or harass the seller. NO! They just want a transaction with no surprises.
**When things go wrong, buyers immediately assume you are out to cheat them and keep their money.
The first imperative you MUST do when writing a listing description is be honest about any flaws no matter how minor. Describe them as if there were no photos. Take pictures from every angle.
Therefore, when complaints arise, you have it in your listing. Proven fact: Buyers do not read descriptions. For YOUR protection, write a detailed description anyway with flaws documented.The best protection for vintage sellers is writing a description with all flaws documented.Click To Tweet
I recently had such a situation on Etsy. I sold a vintage sewing pattern, with most of the pattern pieces missing…an old 30’s “Hollywood pattern,” but I listed it because the envelopes are collectible. A person bought it and 2 other vintage patterns. After they received it, I got an angry email about the missing pattern pieces. I was accused of dishonesty for selling the pattern, and threatened with an opened case against me on Etsy.
Calmly I told the customer:
*Name I don’t blame you at all for being disappointed!
*I wondered if you had read the description where I clearly stated that most of the pattern pieces were missing.
*I debated about reminding you before shipping that the pieces were missing, but I usually assume people have read the description before purchasing.
(The latter 2 statements tactfully puts the responsibility back on the customer for not reading the description.)
*I promised to refund money for the pattern and part of the shipping. (I received a sheepish reply and an apology about “the misunderstanding.”)
*The money was promptly refunded.
Steps for Handling Angry Customers:
Don’t respond in anger or defensiveness. Be professional.
Be honest about flaws. Describe and photograph them.
Disclaimers are good reminders for buyers. “Vintage items are pre-loved and have normal signs of use. It is not a new item.”
When complaints arise, you have it documented.
Agree with their complaints, which helps deflate anger.
Tactfully remind them that it was in the description.
Promptly refund the money.
A much happier buyer is the result. You have protected your reputation and the buyer is happy. **The maddest buyer becomes a lamb when you refund their money.The maddest buyer becomes a lamb when you refund their money.Click To Tweet