Opening a Shop and Pay Pal Returns

We are recent additions to Ruby Lane and have enjoyed our first SUCCESSFUL foray into online shopping. Prior to our launch on Ruby Lane we had tried two other sites for several months. The fees were high and we never sold a single item. Imagine our surprise when we had our first order in the first week of our Ruby Lane launch. We have gone on to become a GOLD status shop in around 4 months and now just over 6 months into our adventure we have nearly 200 orders finalized and pending. This has been a great ride.

As shop owners, we have met many nice people who love jewelry as much as we do. In this first six months we have had 4 returns. Not a bad ratio, but sort of disappointing because 2 of them were for size issues. When we post an item, we include the dimensions, measurements and size if it's a ring. But it seems that the customers don't always read the full description. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

A recent issue with one of these returns is what prompted this blog entry. I received a return from a customer outside the US and when I went to Pay Pal to issue the return, I entered the amount reflecting the original cost of the item, minus the shipping I had paid to get the item to the customer. When I checked my Pay Pal account, the entire amount including the shipping had been returned to the customer. This was annoying, but not a huge loss as the item had been shipped 1st class with affordable 3rd party insurance.

However, just a few days earlier, I had attempted to issue a partial refund for an overcharge on 1st class postage to a United Kingdom customer. You see, the thing with international shipments is that the Ruby Lane system estimates the cost based on the information you provide in your item master. Often when the item is packaged up and you take it to the Post Office you find the charge is less than the system calculated.

As shop owners, it has been our practice to refund the overcharge to the customer via Pay Pal. This week I attempted to refund such an overcharge of around $6. When I looked at my Ruby Lane Purchase Order page, I discovered the full amount of the purchase had been refunded. I was very fortunate because this customer was an honest guy. When I contacted him and explained the situation, he checked his Pay Pal account and agreed that the entire amount had been reversed. I tried sending him a payment e-mail via the PO system, but Ruby Lane would not allow him to pay a second time. At the customer's suggestion, I then sent him a Pay Pal invoice which he promptly paid.

So the lessons here are 1 - be very careful with refunds right now, it seems something is not right with Pay Pal, we've sent them an e-message regarding this recurring issue, and 2 - never underestimate the ability of our customers to be wonderful people.

Carol of Market Treasures

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