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Cranky Complaints-Lady leaves eBay feedback

I left negative feedback for one of the worst eBay sellers (the worst seed seller) I have ever dealt with. 
 
She didn't contact me at all, forcing me to email her a week later for confirmation that she'd even received my payment.  When I did get the seeds, they were in lousy condition, with photocopied inserts that contained only the most vague directions.  Many of the sheets - all the ones for the perennial seeds I'd ordered - contained care instructions for plants, not sprouting instructions for seeds.  Totally unprofessional. 
 
I don't mind if someone is trying to run a business out of their home.  Some of my happiest gardening transactions have been with people running tiny home businesses.  But the cumulative effect with this seller was enough that I left negative feedback and the same comment for each of ten transactions (shipping was free with 10 purchases, and they were pretty cheap):  "No bubble env, packets squashed. Instructions unhelpful; I hope the seeds grow."
 
She responded to each negative comment with the following snippy remarks:
    • Buyer got free shipping/Buyer never contacted us with any problem at all
    • If seeds really smashed why didn't they contact for replacements?
    • Vindictive buyer never contacted with any problems
    • The seeds were packed with foam on either side of the packs to cushion
    • Buyer received complete care instructions sheet for every plant {sic!} bought
    • The envelope used is not a fair & logical excuse to leave neg feedback
So here's my response, which I emailed to her on Sunday.  To date, I have not received a reply... at this point, I don't expect one.
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 11:21 PM
Subject: Negative feedback on eBay

Hi!  I wanted to respond to the responses you left following my negative feedback; I'm glad you had an opportunity to respond. 

It's true that I never contacted you.  Honestly, I have purchased many seeds via mail order, both from companies and individuals, and also received many free seeds by mail from kind people I've met over the Internet.  I have never seen seeds packaged as poorly as yours - and there's honestly no insult intended by that. 

There may have been padding, but the packets were indeed squashed and staticky by the time they got here.  You wrote "The envelope used is not a fair & logical excuse to leave neg feedback", but I consider it the vendor's responsibility to make sure ANY item arrives at my house in excellent shape - regardless of whether shipping was free.

(hmm... what kind of defense is that, anyway?  "we'll ship free as long as you don't care what condition the seeds arrive in!"  In many cases, smushed seeds = no seeds.)

You mention in one of your feedback responses that "Buyer received complete care instructions sheet for every plant bought."  In fact, I didn't buy any plants - my orders were all seeds.  However, several of the care instruction sheets - ALL of the perennial seed, I believe - gave care instructions for plants, rather than sowing instructions for seed (big difference, esp for something like coneflower that requires stratification).  Other sheets referred only generally to the details of planting specific seeds. 
 
To be very honest, again, the sheets seemed to have been copied and pasted from the Internet and did not seem to apply to the exact seeds I had bought.
 
My big concern with any eBay seed transaction is the obvious - you're selling something that will take too long to sprout and grow to leave accurate feedback about the product itself (I believe eBay allows 30 days).  In the absence of actual germination statistics, the only thing I have to leave feedback about are the details of your communication, packaging, planting instructions, speed of shipping, etc.
 
To give a good example:  I bought seeds from another eBayer a little before I bought from you, an individual who probably runs her business out of her home.  Her seeds arrived with a newsletter, detailed instructions printed on the packet, bubble wrap around each individual packet, and (okay, I'm a sucker for this) a little "bonus" packet of free seeds.  Her seeds cost around the same, but the buying experience overall was WAY better. 
 
Oh, she also emailed me when she got my payment and again when my order shipped - I didn't have to bug her to find out if they were on the way.  I love that. 
 
Otherwise, I'm just sending PayPal to someone I don't know and hoping for the best.  I'm sure you're a nice person, but I don't know you... all the "extra" things she did helped build my confidence and create a repeat customer.  (if her seeds germinate, of course - it really is about the seeds!)
 
I hope you understand that the negative feedback was not a personal attack.  I was just very unhappy with the lack of professionalism behind this transaction.  I didn't feel that emailing you again would resolve the issue - at best, you'd maybe have sent me more seeds... hopefully packed better, but I had already decided I wasn't a repeat customer, and for 99 cents or whatever, it wasn't really worth pursuing.
 
Thanks for listening!  I really hope this feedback can help others, and help you build your business - good luck.
 
Jennifer

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