When you want to explode at a customer remember to breathe.
That's my mantra right now. Breathe in, breathe out. You don't want to say anything inappropriate.
Ok you want to say something inappropriate but it's not the best course of action in business. Very very hard not to do sometimes.
Here's the situation:
Recently we sold the first item made by my boyfriend's Mom. We were all so excited because she has been working so so hard, and finally she was earning a little money. I sent the scarf off, paid her, and everyone was so happy and excited.
Now, I'd had reservations about paying her before the item arrived safe and sound. I just had this gut feeling that I should wait until the transaction was completely complete. But I went ahead and paid, because it was so exciting for her.
As some of you know, shipping from Mexico is taking 2-4 weeks at this time via the regular post office. I realize that's long, and it stinks, but it's the situation, and I can't change it. (I am working on solutions for the BeBe Baby shop at this moment but the Mexican Fabric shop will have to wait).
So anyway, 8 days after shipping the scarf I receive a notice from Paypal that a dispute has been opened and that my funds have been withheld. The woman who bought the scarf started an "item not received" dispute. She never contacted me on Etsy, or in another manner, to inquire about the scarf.
It's a long story, with a lot of back and forth, but yesterday the scarf was attempted to be delivered and the customer wasn't there. She tells me today she will try to pick it up tomorrow and "cancel the dispute in the next day or two". In the meantime Paypal has withheld my money now for about 2 weeks.
I am angry number 1 because the customer opened a dispute without reading our shop policies or contacting me, but I am even more upset with Paypal. I have been a Paypal customer for over 10 years. I have NEVER had a dispute filed against me. Paypal is a company that makes their money from SELLERS and when a dispute is filed they automatically take the money from the seller? I can understand allowing the dispute to be opened, but to withhold the funds without any type of information? Now I could open a claim myself, and get Paypal involved, but why should I have to? I have done everything right in this situation and this customer is overreacting. She also mentioned that if she closes the dispute she can't open it again, which leads me to believe she has done this before. I on the other hand wasn't even familiar with this process until now.
I knew that Ebay bought Paypal, and I left Ebay for the same reasons I am now thinking about alternative payment options. These companies really need to realize that their paying customers deserve more respect than this. I know there are bad sellers, but there an equal amount of bad buyers, and creating policies that side heavily with one group over the other is bad business in my opinion.
I encourage you to use direct pay through Etsy when buying BeBe Baby products. Etsy has much friendlier seller policies and I would love to someday get away from Paypal all together. In the meantime I won't be using Paypal for my own purchases, and will start using my credit card more often. As for the customer, I wanted to slam her when I read her last message about how she'll release my funds in a day or two. What person believes they can receive their item before paying for it? Instead I wrote, "I would appreciate it". We will see if she is just a nervous nelly or a real scammer when the scarf is in her possession.
The consolation I suppose, is that in over 10 years this is the first real bad egg I've had. It's just extra rotten because my boyfriend's Mom won't be able to pay me back for the loss, and I don't want her to. This stinky customer ruined the excitement of a first sale, and I don't want to take that from his Mom, so I haven't even told her this happened.
I'll keep you posted on the outcome. The moral of the story is that these things happen to the best of us. It really sucks when it happens but as a business you must take it in stride, no matter how much you rage inside.
Update: The customer received the scarf, cancelled the dispute and even sent a thank you message about how much she loved it as well as the packaging presentation. I still don't believe I would like to have her as a future customer but I am thankful everything ended well.