As frequent readers know, in January of 2006 I published a four part series on eBay dropoffs - based on a personal experience with a local eBay Dropoff.
Well, in April of 2006, my best friend won an auction from another local eBay dropoff called I-SoldIt of Greenville South Carolina.
eBay ID: isoldit.sc0140
In order to save a little bit of money, my best friend contacted the owner of the dropoff to see if he could get local pick up. His email reply was very stern and stated that iSoldIt had a local pickup fee. Through a bit of patient email back and forth my friend tried to understand the reasoning for the local pickup charge of $7 which was roughly 6% of the value of the item. (Note our local tax rate is 5% - don't you sometimes buy online to avoid sales tax?)
My best friend called me and told me about the situation. The pickup fee was mentioned (read as buried deeply) in the auction. It was not mentioned by exact price, just mentioned that there is a local pickup fee.
I told him that although ridiculous, because it was mentioned in the auction he would have to pay it and pick it up. I offered to go with him as a witness. We went to the store. It was very nice on the inside with a nice counter. The owner was up front and didn't really offer a "hello" or "welcome" - simply, "Can I help you?" (in a not so welcoming tone)
My friend explained that he was there to pick up an auction winning for an LCD he had won. The owner (a female) instantly sighed with an exaggerated high-low shoulder ... kind of like saying "Oh it's you - Mr. Question our policies and fees boy!"
Before she goes to find the item my friend asks once again.
"Can you explain the charge of $7 for the pickup?"
She can't explain anything beyond, "It's our fee, it's our policy."
But then she added, "Do you want the item or not?"
At that point I piped up and said, "You don't have to be offended, we sell on eBay too and just want to know why you charge the fee you do?"
With kind of an evil eye she said, "It requires a special handling and storage fee."
Ok, fair enough.
She looks up the auction in her computer and wanders aimlessly throughout the 5 isles of gorilla rack storage looking for it. She comes back to the computer twice looking for the item number and I suppose the item name and description. While she's near the back, I point out to my best friend that there is a Golden Retriever and giant cage sitting in the middle of one of the isles. In a few places where the counter was black, you could see dog hair.
Finally, the owner brings my friend's item to the front - a flat LCD computer monitor. It was sitting half way out of the box, seemingly just thrown in. She sets a piece of styrofoam on the counter and says, "this goes with it".
So much for special handling and the storage fee!
I, against better judgement, said something to that affect mumbled under my breath.
She piped up and said, "Look, you guys came in here and tried to gang up on me, questioning everything, you've got your item."
I told my friend to just pay and let's get out.
Well obviously my friend wasn't pleased, nor was I. We discussed this thoroughly. Knowing that eBay Dropoff franchises are failing left and right, we couldn't understand how such an experience would be possible.
We talked about leaving negative feedback, but noticed that iSoldIt retaliated to every negative given to them. My friend at the time had 100% positive feedback. Maintaining that perfect record is a matter of pride and honor in my opinion. I told him to wait until the 90th day past the transaction and post the negative ... and just maybe it will have been kicked out of the eBay system.
Here is the comment he posted:
- Very very bad experience; seller rude and unprofessional, HIGH local pickup fee
Follow-up by [buyer]: Owner keeps DOG in store, item was by dog cage, not packed--I paid $7 for this??
He crossed his fingers, hoping that the transaction would expire. A few days passed. Then a week. Then exactly a week later he gets this negative comment posted to his feedback:
- If you would like this removed. Please contact the store. isoldit 8646759600
So, not a negative ...an extortion. In other words, you carried out your end and did everything right. You posted negative though, so we posted negative.
Feedback on eBay is suppose to be relevant, factual, and most of all honest. This comment was none of the three.
I-SoldIt clearly knew that my friend had 100% positive feedback! So, they purposely retaliated to ruin my friend's feedback!
As a 9 year eBay seller - I know that receiving a negative can damage your sales for weeks! Shame on ISoldIt!
We quipped to each other over the next few weeks .. that we gave them less than a year to stay in business.
There have been some interesting developments in the last few weeks ...
iSoldIt is a national eBay listing / eBay dropoff franchise.
Our local franchise opened in March of 2006 in a very prominent location, and advertised heavily in the newspaper and on radio. For a few months they [I-Soldit Of Greenville] seemed to be selling roughly $4000 in eBay merchandise a month. Even at an average 45% margin that would be net revenue of $1800. The lease for the area that you see empty in the picture above is currently $3410.60 a month w/ a 12 month minimum lease agreement. I-SoldIt was in business for about 6 months. The leasing company, Inland Atlantic Leasing, informed me that I-Soldit was paying the same thing and was in fact still paying on the lease until the space is taken by a new business.
So, in the case of I-SoldIt, just to make building lease payments they would have to have revenue of $7000.00 and net $3500. This doesn't include utilities, advertsing, and personal income. With net being roughly $2000.00 ... you can see why they went out of business.
According to this website that discusses failed eBay dropoffs - such a store (an eBay dropoff) must sell roughly $35,000 a month in eBay merchandise just to break even. This comes to roughly $17,000 net. But after taxes and other expenses [franchise fees, etc etc] ... the true "profit" is unknown.
Upon interviewing neighboring businesses to the I-SoldIt location the following came to my attention:
- People were walking in daily (to neighboring businesses) inquiring about their merchandise or money.
- The phone number for the business is invalid with no forwarding number. (call it yourself - it was left in my friend's negative feedback)
- I-SoldIt Greenville has not listed items on eBay in 68 days from the publishing of this article.
- It has come to my attention that eBay has sent "cease & desist" notices to eBay dropoff franchises and about to send them to independents as well concerning signage and naming of businesses with the "eBay name" - In other words - "iSoldit On eBay" is no longer allowed as you see in the picture above
If you are a customer of iSoldIt Greenville and need information concerning your eBay transactions with them, please contact me by leaving a note within the comments associated with this post.
* edited for grammar
* Note about "eBay" in logo and signage added