How to make Money with eBay — Customer Service Tips

This series is brought to you by Kimberly from Homemaking Expert. Kimberly is a stay-at-home mom who uses eBay to supplement her family’s income while her husband finishes college. She writes at Homemaking Expert about cleaning, cooking, budgeting and all other things related to making a house a home.

Now that you have listed your item and shipped your item, let’s talk about how to deal with your customers. Having good customer service skills is a great tool for success. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to keeping your customers happy:

Feedback Score

After an item sells your customers have the ability to give you a feedback score. There are two aspects to this. They can give you negative, positive or neutral feedback. Obviously, you want positive every time! The amount of positive ratings you have shows up beside your username on your item listing. The higher that rating, the more confident buyers will be.

The second aspect is the five star scoring system. They can rate you from one to five stars on communication, shipping cost, shipping time and item as described. It is important that these scores be above 4.5 stars. When it dips below that, eBay and Paypal start to get a bit leery. Your account will be evaluated every 35 days and if you have bad ratings your account can be put on temporary hold, restricted or even removed. So, like I said, customer service is important!


If you get questions about an item before it sells or after an item is received answer in a timely fashion – within the first 24 hours is ideal. And if there is a delay in shipping for whatever reason, let them know right away. It is easy to misinterpret one’s tone in an email, so be as nice as possible! Chances are if it sounds cheesy in text, it’ll come across pleasant on the other side.

Shipping Time

Ship fast! My goal is to have items picked up or dropped at the post office within 24 hours of receiving payment. That way the customer can see it’s on its way and so can Paypal and eBay. Having a high shipping score is a good way to avoid your Paypal account being set to pending status and having to wait for your money. Shipping the item right away makes for happy customers and excellent feedback!

 Unhappy Customers

Despite your best efforts of describing an item thoroughly, shipping an item fast and communicating well, you will have customers that just aren’t happy with the product. So, what then? Here’s what I do…

I do put in every listing that I don’t accept returns in an effort to deter people from requesting a refund. However, chances are if a customer asks for a refund I am willing to come to a compromise in the name of good feedback.

If the item was indeed defective or there was something major that I overlooked, I issue a full refund. I usually do not ask them to send it back in this case and just send back their money and cut my losses.

If the item is simply not what they expected but I described everything accurately, I offer them two options – to either issue a percentage refund and they keep the item (usually 30%) or to have them return the item and I will issue a full refund less the eBay fees and shipping costs to me. In this scenario I typically require that they pay for return shipping.

Under most circumstances your customer will be satisfied, but it’s important to know what to if the situation arises.  Being a happy seller is as important as having happy customers. So, next we’ll talk about ways to stay organized which for me equals happy!

Upcoming Posts in This Series

Getting Started
What to Sell
Finding Inventory
Listing Your Items – Part 1
Listing Your Items – Part 2
Smooth Shipping
Customer Service Tips
Staying Organized
Tips for Success
My eBay Successes & Stumbles


  1. laura says

    You are a little inaccurate with your info here, which just indicates to me you are a great seller and don’t ever have to bother with this issue. But as far as the refund if they demand it you must issue a full refund to include shipping, not fees of course, ebay will refund you the fees once the case is closed, not shipping fees though, you’re just sol there. You can try and explain about shipping but if they paid for it it wasn’t really your money anyway, if it was free shipping I’m sure most people, not all, would understand minus shipping cost to you except when you ask them to send it back. Then they feel like they’re paying 2x shipping, which they would be. How would you feel? So in the interest of getting a good score I would do refund, kiss my shipping goodbye, again only if it was free ship to begin with, and have them return the item. No one wins in a return-shipping charges-you just have to minimize your losses without infuriating the buyer.
    Everything else you said was accurate. Full if you royally goofed and partial if they’re just experiencing buyers remorse-all in the name of better feedback-and they can keep the item (except when the item is worth over $40 then GET IT BACK!). Some will take advantage of you but 1 out of 50 is just something you factor into your bottom dollar.

    Personally-I hate buyers remorse and wouldn’t stand for it if ebay didn’t side with the buyer 99.9% of the time. A crooked buyer can really fleece you.

    One more thing-I know this is long-you should always try to at least double your money-when it’s a high priced item-you’re never gonna get a xbox 360 console and more than double your money-and triple for everything else. Otherwise not worth the trouble.

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