I sell things online…on eBay, Amazon and KSL (a local newspaper classifieds section). I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. At times, I have a lot of stuff to sell and other times not as much. Right now, I don’t have as much listed online.
This year, I’ve noticed something changing on Amazon and I’m still not sure exactly what it is or what it means about society as a whole. I’ve had a lot of return requests and the reason are varied. Most people say they ordered the wrong book or don’t need it anymore. These are just straight returns (if they even return the book at all after they request to return it). One person returned a book that wasn’t mine (I only sell new books and he returned the same book title but a used one to me and then left me negative feedback for questioning this in the first place).
In one case, I shipped the wrong book to a customer and he returned it, but before I received the book back and had a chance to refund him the return shipping….he left negative feedback saying he had to pay the return shipping. Then, through a series of emails about how someone else used his account to purchase the book and leave that feedback…he started flirting with me through the Amazon website. As far as I know, he didn’t know my name or if I was male or female.
Two months after a purchase, one person sent me an email saying they never received their book for their daughter who was leaving for college and they signed it…”a very dissatisfied customer.” I realized that I had switched a couple of numbers on the tracking number I entered into the Amazon website…so I found the receipt with the right number and re-entered it. The tracking showed that it had been delivered a few days after they ordered it. So I sent them an email and never heard anything back. It was as though they went through their order tracking history looking for mistakes and then complained about it.
Another person had a very expensive book delivered to their work and the office picked up their mail at the post office. The buyer said they never received the book. The tracking number showed that the company picked the book up from the post office. Amazon said that I didn’t deliver it directly to the customer and refunded the order.
As far as I know, Amazon hasn’t made any policy changes lately, and they have always favored the buyer whenever there is any question at all. But this year, I have never had so many dissatisfied, angry, and unfocused customers. I haven’t had any issues on eBay, but I also haven’t sold as much on that site. I’ve had more complaints and return requests this year than in the last 20 years combined. And more people seem to be downright lying about the situation in order to get a full refund. In the past, this might have happened once a year, but this year it’s happened over a half dozen times. It seems to be a sense of wide range, irrational self entitlement.
I’m not exactly sure what is going on. Facebook certainly shows more people complaining about politics and yes, they also seem to be dissatisfied, angry and unfocused. But I’m not sure how that relates to buying textbooks on Amazon or if it does. I also see a few things at work where people are acting irrationally and I am not sure what that is all about either. I hope this is fleeting, but I’m concerned it may be more than that or a sign of things to come.