View Full Version : when is it appropriate to contact the buyer?

03-12-2002, 08:24 PM
I'm new on E-bay. I started my first acution on 28 of February. Since that day i sold 6 paintings and 1 auction had not bids.
But i got only 2 payment so far!!!

I do not worry about two customers because they bidded on my other paintings and still in the process, but two others seem to me strange.
Their auctions ended last week. One has not contacted me yet, even 5th days passed since auction ended. Another customer sent me an e-mail that he planned to bid on more of my auctions, which ended on 10th. He did not bid and did not contacted me.

Would it be appropriate if i contact them or should i wait till the last day?


03-12-2002, 09:37 PM
Your first contact with the buyer should be within the first three days from the end of the auction. The buyer "should" contact you within that period also. I try to send an email within a couple of hours after the closing bids as soon as I receive ebay's notification.

In my first email, I again tell the buyer what options they have for payment. Then I wait until the three days have passed. If the buyer hasn't contacted me by then, I send a second email message. This time I say the same thing about options to pay, but I add that this is my second message and that the three day contact period has passed.
I wait again....until the 10 days for payment that ebay allows has passed.

I've only had one person who was a non-paying bidder in the past year. They told me they would use PayPal, but they did not. After the ten days, I sent a message that I was filing a non-paying bidder report with ebay and relisting the item. They did not respond and I followed thru with the NPB report. Ebay will return your final fees for the auction if the bidder does not pay and it goes on their record.

Be sure that you are clear on payment options when you first contact a buyer. Sometimes they are new to ebay also....and need to know in detail what to do. I check feedback on all my buyers to see if they are newbies.

03-12-2002, 09:39 PM
I just noticed that you're in Canada....you should be sure to tell the customer they need to send an International money order if paying with them.

03-12-2002, 10:24 PM
I do exactly what Carly does. You don't have to wait for buyers to contact you. I contact them as soon as I get ebay notification of end of auction
and copy and paste in my letter to them, the part of ebay notification that relates to the auction. I also thank them for the bid and make the letter short but warm and personal. Public relations are very important on ebay!! I have aquired many repeat buyers and some friends since selling on ebay. A personal touch makes a big difference because buyers that like you art will also like you as a person and that usually results in more and better sales.

03-12-2002, 10:46 PM
Same here Aselka. I send an email right after the auction and usually get a reply the same day or the next day. I thank them for their bid and give them their options, ie money order/cashier cheque through the mail, or Paypal or Billpoint. Most pay by Paypal. I have had only one buyer who did not respond. I sent a second email after 2 days, just as friendly as the first one. After another 2 days, I emailed again, indicating that I had nor heard from them and hoped everything was alright. I then said that unless I hear from them, I would not hold the item for them, in fact would relist it and sell it to someone else. To this email, I had a reply and the sale went through OK.

I agree with Rita. Keep it friendly and personal. I have found most buyers to be extremely friendly in return and have received some very nice compliments from them, not to mention some very good feedback.

By the way, Aselka, if you have sold 6 paintings in 10 days, and you have just started on Ebay, congratulations, you are doing VERY well. :clap:

03-12-2002, 10:55 PM
Thank You girls for responce!!

I'm very shy and soft person in life and it was very hard for me to conact my customers.
After reading your postings i did contacted them and besides payment options i asked them if they want to be in my mailing list, so i can notify them about updates in my auctions and on X-mas they get handpainted greeting cards by me. I consider it as a personal touch and as a promo too.

I consider that I'm doing well, but i'm not happy with the price range. I should not complain because i just started. My highest price was 21 USd and lowest 3.70 USD. but most go for 5-6-7 USD.

Thank You and
Good luck in your art


03-13-2002, 01:21 AM
Well guys, I do it very differently and its been working great. Sure seems like a lot less work and attention. In my auction I state the following:

AT END OF AUCTION... U.S. Bidders, please pay with your choice of PayPal or Billpoint (don't forget to add shipping and tax if required) or contact me with questions. Bidders outside the U.S., please contact me for shipping charges.

I also of course state what the shipping choices are and the tax if for my state etc.

Most of the time now the first email contact between me and the buyer is PAYMENT! its great.

Since I started using the above blurb, there's only been 1 time I had to contact the buyer (before the 3 days were up) and a couple of times where the buyer emailed asking if they could pay by check or MO -- which I accept if they ask but don't say anything about it in my auction.

Works for me!

Find my ebay auctions by searching for "HAIRBALLS"
Oooooh, I've never written that sentence before..."searching for hairballs"....gee, I do that all the time around the house and find PLENTY!:D

03-13-2002, 02:08 PM
I always email first time just after the auction. I follow up 3-4 working days later if I haven't received a response (I discount weekends because sometimes people only have computer access at work). In the 2nd email I always mention that it's the 2nd time I've tried to contact them and for them to email me back a.s.a.p. with their shipping address so I can start packaging their item. This is my subtle way of saying "email me back!" without sounding pushy. :) It is well worth emailing a 2nd time without waiting too long as a couple times I've had a reply that they had contacted me but evidently I hadn't received it (along with a copy of their original email, so not just excuses).

For what it's worth, I never bid on auctions where sellers say they dont' need to contact me - I've seen a few for items I wanted but always want a personal confirmation of my win from the seller before sending money. Just my little preference. Only once did I bid on something that I immediately paid by PayPal and never once heard from the seller. It was 2 weeks of anguish *hoping* he'd be honest and send my item. Never got an email. The item did arrive but I hated the process and now always ask the seller to contact me when the item has shipped.


03-13-2002, 04:34 PM
Tina...I'm like you. I want a seller to contact me if I'm buying!

I also send a message when I've shipped the item. I give the buyer the confirmation # for shipping so they can check on it if it doesn't arrive in 3 to 5 days.

One of the reasons I like being a Self Representing artist is the personal service that I feel builds a relationship with my clients. Many have bought more than one painting! and I really appreciate their support and let them know it!

03-13-2002, 07:24 PM
Hairballs, You definetely have a point! I like it.

I contacted two of my customers but i have not heard from them at all. Tommorow is a last day and then i relist.
I have a question, after you relist, could you live a feedback on that customer?

Tina, You a perfect buyer! I wish that my every customer was like you.

I charge for shipment 4.50 USD (with bubble envelopes) and it covers only Airmail even within Canada. Airmail promises to deliver from 4 days to 14 days. Should i charge more for a fast delivery, which costs 14 Cnd and approximately 8 .50 USD (supplies are not included)?


03-13-2002, 11:41 PM
Aselka, did you check the feedback on your buyers? I'm surprised that you've had a couple of deadbeat bidders so soon. They are not the norm at ebay...but are usually few and far between!

Before you relist, you should file a Non-Paying Bidder alert with ebay. You will find a link on your Selling Page for this info which will explain the steps to take and the appropriate relisting procedure.

About shipping, since the bidder pays, you might want to give them an option for paying the higher fee for a faster shipment. You could do that in your first email....and give them the total due with either option for shipping.

03-14-2002, 12:47 AM
Thank you, Carly for tips!

They are so useful for me!
Actually there are only two customers, who behave strange. Other ones were just angels.

I checked the feedback on one of my non-responding customers, it was just perfect, only positive feedbacks on buying art, some technical equipment, etc.

another customer had 0 feedback, so did I. He was bidding on two auctions and lost the first one, so i decided to give him a chance.

That's my story.

Thank You all for your responces!


03-14-2002, 01:17 AM
As stated before, I think that personal contact is very important. I have had many ebay clients buying from my page at full prices because of this. That's where the real money is. Ebay is just a bait. (a very good bait, I must say, because my prices are increasing and so are the number of bids).
I always use Federal Express and I state this on my listings. I email the trcking number to by buyers so they can follow the shipment progress. Most packages arrive to their door in two days.
Also FedEx provides great, professional looking, sturdy, free boxes. Shipping becomes very easy this way.
It is possible that by stating in my listings that I use an expensive way of shipping, I will get less bids from people who are very money conscious, but I think that if somebody likes my work enough , shipping costs do not scare them.
Nobody has ever complained about it and I have had many repeat buyers. It could also be possible that high shipping costs are a positive thing because buyers sometimes buy two pieces to consolidate shipping.
Anyway, I am having a good month, and I like to think that this is the result of customer care,lenght of ebay experience (9 months),lots of help from you guys at WC....and a lot of money spent on Featured Plus!!

03-14-2002, 01:33 AM
I understand, what you mean Rita.
I would like to ship my customers by Fed Ex too, but if my painting sells from 3 USD to 20 USD, it just would not work.
i'm a young painter few years after college and my works are not so famous as yours. I should develop my style, professionalism, create my protfolio.
I have already was contacted by some customers and their friends from E-bay to do some comissions (actually 2 comissions), which is not bad for me.
I hope that it will come and i would be able to provide my customers with super service.

Good luck in your business and art,


03-14-2002, 03:14 AM

I am not famous. If I were famous I would not need to sell on ebay.
Also I am not suggesting that you also use FedEx, I am just saying what I do. I have also sold paintings for $19.00 especially at the beginning. Beginnings are hard for anybody in any field.
I was stressing the value of personal contact because I think that is one of the most important aspect of selling on ebay, and off ebay.
Ebay is a good selling tool, but it takes time to develop. It also takes a lot of effort, determination and a bit of patience. I am sure your prices will go up, because it happens to every seller after a while. :)

03-14-2002, 11:08 AM
I agree that the personal contact with the buyers is very important. Even though I have it set up for them to contact me first, I aways send a follow-up that I've received their payment and approximately when the item will be shipped. Often in their first contact to me (payment and/or email) they will express their excitement of having won the auction. These usually lead to several emails back and forth just talking about (what else) CATS!

I also contact them when I ship the item -- partly so I can point out that I've left them Positive Feedback, so hopefully as soon as they get it, they will leave some for me too. Do you guys leave feedback when you SHIP or after the person receives it?

So far about 25% of my ebay buyers have been repeat customers and a few have also ordered from my gallery site.

I don't do commission work yet -- but eventually I hope to take advantage of that too with ebay buyers. Just haven't figured out how to do it with what I do (any suggestions are appreciated.) :)

03-14-2002, 11:16 PM
I want to put some update on my situation.
While i was contacting without any results my two non-payers, one of them got 2 positive feedbacks from another sellers. It was yesterday! He paid them for painting and for VCR.

What should i do now? I have only one positive and if i leave negative on him he could do the same to me.
I tried to call him, but noone answers.


03-14-2002, 11:41 PM
I never leave negative feedback, and you should not either, especially with (1) FB.
If enough time has elapsed from the end of the auction, file a "non Paying Bidder" complaint with ebay. This usually wakes up slow paying bidders in a hurry!
The fact the he got two feedbacks yesterday does not mean those auctions ended after yours. Some sellers take a two three weeks and wait that the transaction is completed before leaving feedback.
Most of all, don't fret. You still have the painting. Ebay will refund your fees if the bidder does not pay, and you can list again.

Good luck and good painting!!


03-14-2002, 11:52 PM
Thank You Rita,

I will not leave negative even he deserves it. The auctions ended yesterday, I checked it. Both of them and he immediately paid. He was registered since 1st of March.

I'm not greedy Seller, I'm just new and I'm afraid to do something wrong and because of it lately i'm paranoid about every little detail.