Would you upset a customer for the sake of £1?
This week we learned of an eBay seller willing to upset an overseas customer for the sake of just £1.
The back story is that they customer purchased four items valued at £39.99 each with a quoted carriage price of £7.49 for Royal Mail Airmail (Small Packets) with each additional item costing £6.49 carriage. That made for a total order value of £188.92.
After five days the buyer received an email from the seller asking if they could either only ship three items, or if they could send them all without the retail packaging due to the weight. The reason being the seller hadn’t realised that there was a 2kg weight limit for Airmail parcels.
This is quite frankly a ridiculous position to take for all sorts of reasons. Firstly if they could ship three items for the quoted costs they were only going to lose £1 sending the fourth item in a second parcel at their quoted rate of £7.49 instead of the £6.49 charged. Is it really worth upsetting a customer for £1 out of £188.92?
Secondly the way Royal Mail’s pricing works they were making more profit by sending multiple items anyway. Retail costs are £3.62 for the first 300gm and then 60p for each additional 100gm. Guessing that the weight of the items was around 600gm that would mean a retail postage cost of £5.42 (plus of course VAT and costs) but only £11.42 (plus VAT and costs) for sending three items. They were saving £3.84 for sending three items together but only passing on a saving of £2 – more than enough to cover the extra £1 needed to ship the fourth item separately.
The net result is that the customer is annoyed enough that they’re likely to leave very poor feedback. They sent the seller £1 through PayPal (as a gift so as not to incur any costs for the seller) to make up for the supposed £1 loss they were making, and they’re not likely to purchase from that seller again in the future.
Some sellers still need to realise that customer service is key and that applies just as much if not more to cross border trade than to domestic sales. It’s never worth upsetting a customer for any reason at all and if it’s only going to cost you £1 from a £188.92 sale that’s just ridiculous.
The most important lesson though, is if you make a mistake it’s your mistake. Don’t upset a customer because you messed up and don’t wait for them to pay to put your mistake right. You set your prices and a sale is a sale.