Here’s one from our eBay June Files:
Customer Service Challenge – An eBay customer in Canada bought an item and we shipped it promptly. She was furious that she had to pay $21 for duty fees because we marked the item “Commercial” rather than “Gift” on the Customs form. She wanted us to refund the $21 for “our error”.
Our response: “Commercial is what the Post Office advises when sending items we’ve sold outside the country. Gift is only to be used when something is sent free. While we can’t issue a refund for that, we’ve set up a $25 store credit for your next order at our website” (inserted link to our website).
Apparently some eBay sellers actually do mark their items as gifts on USPS customs forms. According to this customer, “that’s what all the other sellers do”. Hmmm, well if it comes down to choosing between getting in trouble with a customer in Canada and getting in trouble with the Postal Service for mail fraud, I think you know which way we will have to go.
The store credit was a goodwill gesture to let her know that no, we can’t give you a credit, but hey, here’s an incentive to come to our website (which by the way, was off eBay). Obviously, it would not have bankrupted us to just issue the $21 as a direct credit. But we did not want to encourage her to try a customs ploy with us again. And this let her know that if she does buy something from us again, we will still have to mark it “Commercial”.