How to Deal With Non-Paying Bidders on eBay

No doubt, if you’re trying to minimise (like me!) you will be selling some items on eBay. I find non-paying bidders to be a more and more frequent problem. It’s so frustrating when you’ve listed a whole bunch of stuff – you would prefer to make just one trip to the Post Office and you have to leave 1 or 2 parcels sitting waiting on the side. I just don’t get it – if you went into a shop you wouldn’t get away with paying 3 days (or even longer) later. So why do eBay buyers think they can get away with it? I find it disrespectful.

My top tip is that you use eBay’s non-paying bidder process for every bad buyer. This is the only way you can get your fees funded, if they ultimately refuse to pay. They will also have action taken against their account and I believe this depends on the severity of their offence. For example, a first time offender will probably simply get reminded of the rules, but it will still be a strike against their account. If they do it again, they won’t be able to bid on my items or any other seller who has set up tight buyer requirements. If they offend further, they will likely find their account restricted or banned.

I prefer not to set up the non-paying bidder process to run automatically, as you have to wait twice as long for the process to kick in (4 days then 4 days to get payment!) As far as I’m concerned, 2 days is plenty of time to pay for an item! I start the process myself, as soon as possible after the 48 hours has passed. You just click next to the item in your selling page and click the option to resolve a problem. Then select that you haven’t received payment yet. The case will open and you won’t need to do anything more for a few days. If the buyer pays, all well and good- there is nothing else to take care of. If they don’t, in 4 days you can close the case yourself- get their account marked with a strike (they’ve had 6 days to pay, plenty of time in my mind) and get your fees back, so you can get on and re-list that item and get rid of it!!! You can open a case immediately if for some reason, your buyer is no longer registered with eBay. When you close the case, you must select the options to say that the buyer did not pay and that you want to receive a fee credit.

Since eBay no longer allows sellers to leave negative feedback about buyers, I simply refuse to leave feedback for bad buyers. I know this is unhelpful to other users of the site, but eBay have tied our hands. I also take a moment to add them to my blocked bidders list, so I don’t ever have to deal with them again.

Another tip I find hugely helpful, is to set up tight buyer requirements on your account. Bring all your settings down to the minimum levels allowed. This means that (in theory) only the best buyers will be able to bid on your items. For example, I don’t allow people with 2 unpaid item strikes within the last year to bid on my items. I frequently find this one kicks in, to stop them bidding. So many buyers now seem to have 100% positive feedback – but it’s masking a bad buyer. I don’t allow people with low feedback scores to bid on my items. This may be harsh to newbies, but I had a spate of zero feedback buyers not paying. I also block buyers from countries I don’t post to and those who don’t have a Paypal account – this is to protect myself as a seller.

I hope you find this guide helpful.

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The Best Laid Plans

Whenever I have to go out for the day, whether it’s for business or pleasure I plan to take a packed lunch with me. This is a crucial money-saving tactic, as you can easily spend £3.50 – £5.00 on lunch, even just a bog-standard sandwich! It’s easy to purchase an insulated lunch bag and a couple of mini ice packs, so you can store your lunch safely, regardless of whether you’re out and about or not. Another great tip is to take a thermos flask with you, so you can save another £3.50 or so on a hot drink. If you think you’re going to succumb to a sweet treat, mid-afternoon – then pack one! It’s far cheaper to buy a multi-pack of chocolate bars than it is to purchase them singly, either from a shop or a vending machine.

So I dutifully did all of the above and set out on my journey. Imagine my frustration and dismay when I arrived at my destination, to find I’d left the lot on the kitchen counter! The best laid plans and all that. So I ended up having to purchase items in a corner shop anyway! This was even more frustrating, as I had to break my own zero waste rules as you cannot buy anything ready-to-eat unpackaged here, except for fruit. I blame my forgetfulness on a phone call that I received just as I was picking all my belongings up to leave. That interruption cost me dearly, in every sense.

Still the other beauty of a packed lunch is you can always eat it later or the next day! Unfortunately my sandwich hadn’t remained cool, despite the cool pack I’d used – too many hours had passed, so I had to bin that.  However, everything else was ambient and I just had it for my tea instead!

Have you had any money-saving fails?

Swagbucks – Swag Slopes Team Challenge!

I’m sorry it’s been a little bit quiet here this week. I don’t want to waste your time writing about nothing much, so I prefer to keep quiet. Rest assured, I’m busy myself trying to earn some money online and declutter. January is a great time to make good preparations for the year ahead.

On that note, here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online. Swagbucks wants you to join in the fun! Pack your warmest snow gear and pre-register today! The Swag Slopes Team Challenge begins Monday 23rd January.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate! Members of the 1st place team will receive a 40 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 20 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday 27th January and will expire on Sunday 12th February at 7:59am GMT.

Zero Waste Wreath

I fancied a wreath for Christmas this year, I’ve bought cheap (£6-7) before and they’ve fallen apart in about a week being outdoors as they are just glued onto polystyrene. I also wanted to avoid plastic, as much as possible aiming to be zero waste. I had half fancied making my own, but I’d left it a bit late this year. Plus, a wreath holder costs around £5, plus any other materials on top – even if I foraged the natural materials and raided my fabric scraps for ribbon, I would have wanted to buy cinnamon sticks and oranges. Cinnamon sticks are not cheap – around £1 for 3 or 4. This option was starting to look expensive.

I found this wreath going in Morrisons for £5 instead of £15- it was from their ‘The Best’ range. I think I bought it about 2 weeks before Christmas, so maybe that’s the time to look? It is comprised of natural foliage, with cinnamon sticks, pinecones, ribbon, raffia and yes, unfortunately just a few polystyrene and plastic adornments. However, it was the best option I could find. As you can see, it was all sitting on this wire frame which I plan to re-use year after year. It is painted green to blend in with the foliage.

In taking the wreath apart to compost the foliage, I was able to learn about its construction – vital as I will be making a homemade version each year from now onwards. It was actually comprised of very short sections of foliage, each clamped between the metal prongs that stick up. These are easily bent down with pliers. Then the decorations are wired and simply push into the foliage. I have carefully removed all of these and stored them in a cardboard box for next year. Rather than buying an expensive wreath hanger, we simply wrapped a long piece of twine through the wreath, over the door and tied it through the letterbox. It didn’t budge, even in strong winds!

So this is my top tip for next Christmas, or any other time of year you fancy putting up a wreath. Buy a good quality one, on sale and re-use the parts. Or maybe you can find the parts on sale? This frame could be re-used for any occasion – maybe I’ll try a Valentine’s wreath next?

Swagbucks Swago: Winter Wonderland

It’s time for you to get a big SB bonus this Winter courtesy of Swagbucks! This month’s Winter themed SWAGO board offers a possible 200 SB Bonus!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. When you complete a task, watch that square change colour like a twinkling Christmas light. You can then redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great way to learn how to use the site, and it’s a lot of fun!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 200 SB Bonus:

  • SWAGO will begin on Monday 16th January at 5pm EST, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items.
  • Each square on your SWAGO Board will contain an action item to complete. Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change colour signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your SWAGO Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday 26th January at 8pm GMT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

What Impact Does Our Consumer Culture Have On Our State Of Mind?

It’s the New Year, a time when many of us make resolutions to stick to good habits. Many people will be committing to buy less and spend less this year for all manner of reasons, be they thrifty, green, minimalist, zero waste and or just plain skint! Today I’m going to explore the impact of our consumer culture. Some people even choose to enforce a ‘No Spend Year’. This often comes after people have been pursuing the Minimalist lifestyle for a while and they start to realise how meaningless all their stuff is. Some people have triggers for this, such as; having to box up all their possessions to move which really forces you to evaluate absolutely everything that you have.

The ‘No Spend Year’ concept is simply an extension of ‘Buy Nothing Day’ which falls on Black Friday each year. An academic from The University of Sussex, Dr Helga Dittmar has been exploring the effect of our consumer culture on our well-being and identity. She has been examining what she has termed as ‘a materialistic value orientation’ or ‘MVO’ where people pursue and strive to spend money on expensive possessions to gain status. Alongside this, people who do so also have beliefs that these things will lead to a better life and make us happy.

She and her team have conducted a meta-analysis of over 200 research studies, where they have looked at all the existing studies that link MVO to personal well-being. This is a very robust study of the evidence and in the case of the aforementioned, means that the results are conclusive. MVO is linked to lower personal well-being, lower subjective well-being, increased negative self-appraisal such as low self-esteem, mental health problems (in-particular depression and anxiety) and also poorer physical health. As you can see, the more MVO a person is, the worse they are affected and interestingly, there are no positive attributes according to this study!

The advantages of spending less are that you are more organised with your time, organising free or low cost activities to replace your previous expensive habits. Your health may benefit as you spend less on eating out, junk food and alcohol. It may even force you to find new things, that you may never have considered before.Buying things can easily become addictive behaviour, bringing along with it a pressure to spend more and more due to our consumer culture. We are constantly bombarded by advertising which tries to persuade us to buy yet more. Advertising has become totally pervasive in our culture, it’s literally everywhere these days – on TV, on radio, on the internet, on billboards, in magazines and newspapers and more! It partly plays to our fear of not wanting to miss out on something that everyone else has. But they also ply us with subtle messages – ‘buy this and you will be happy’, ‘buy this and your relationship will be better’, ‘buy this and you will achieve the perfect body’ and so on. Consumer culture will try to sell us everything. However, the research shows that buying all this stuff has actually made us less happy. Psycho-pathologies have increased since the 1930s.

Ultimately, stripping away all this stuff will expose the real you and what matters is that you are a good person, happy and positive in yourself. Having stuff won’t necessarily make people like you. The research demonstrated that the most crucial aspect in getting the balance right in your life, is getting the right orientation towards money and material things. Having things is not inherently bad, but you do not need to have certain things in life. You can use the MVO in either a positive or a negative way, for example- if you seek status, you might become depressed which leads you self-medicate and this is a bad use of MVO which leads to lower well-being. Conversely, highly treasured personal possessions, are a record of your history and tell a very personal story of who you are and who you’ve been over time, who you’re connected with, they are symbols of your personal relationships and are a form of self-expression – these can have a positive effect. The study particularly looked at life transitions, such as going into a nursing home in older age. In this situation, if you are allowed to take your treasured personal possessions, you are not only happier – you actually live longer!

So, in the light of all this you might want to consider taking up a musical instrument, singing in a choir, learning a new art or craft. I also think this research shows that we should make time for small items that can make a big difference to our well-being; like flowers, perfume or a good moisturiser. Of course, what brings joy to one person will be completely different for another but try to keep it simple – so no purchasing of a Ferrari! Consider purchasing items that allow you to spend time with others; like a meal out, or travelling together, or to see someone important.

This blog post was inspired by today’s episode of Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. If you are in the UK, you should be able to catch up on iPlayer. If you are interested in the work of Dr Helga Dittmar, then you can look here for more information or read her book on the topic. The author of this book was also featured in the podcast – Michelle McGagh – The No Spend Year: How I Spent Less and Lived More. I have added that book to my reading list!

 

How to Recover from Holiday Spending Using Your Phone

 

Did you find yourself spending a little more than you had anticipated over the Holidays?It’s easy to do, especially when you want to give all your friends and family the perfect gifts. Well today I have an easy way for you to recover from your holiday spending from the convenience of your mobile phone.

Swagbucks is the web’s most popular rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. My regular readers will know about this, since I write about them often as they are my main online earning opportunity. I am certain that there are still plenty of you reading this who haven’t yet taken the plunge and signed up!

Whenever you shop, watch videos or search the web, Swagbucks gives you points called SB. You can use your SB to redeem gift cards to hundreds of your favorite stores. With the Swagbucks mobile site, answer and SBTV apps I can use my spare minutes to earn free gift cards on my phone! I leave the apps below running when I’m home and on Wi-Fi. So my phone is earning, whilst I get on with my life! Like the Swagbucks website; I can also rack up SB by shopping, answering surveys and downloading free apps.

Here are some quick tips to get your started:

  • While you wait for the coffee to brew, download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB
  • During commercial breaks, take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60-100 SB, and sometimes more!
  • While standing in line at the supermarket, answer the daily poll: 1 SB
  • When you’ve finally made it to the gym, watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos
  • Just as you’ve put dinner in the oven, your Swagbucks app tells you there’s a new Swag Code!: 3 SB
  • Before you go to sleep, use the Swagbucks app to shop from your favorite stores. You deserve it!: 100 SB

By downloading the Swagbucks mobile apps, I could earn a free £5 gift card by the end of my week. Who knew playing on your phone could be so productive?!    There are 6 apps:

  1. SBTV
  2. Sportly
  3. Lifestylz
  4. EntertaiNow
  5. MovieClips
  6. IndyMusic

So you can instantly start earning your way to free gift cards. It’s 100% free to download and easy to use. They are all available for both iPhone and Android devices. They often give out bonus rounds too, so there are extra earning opportunities. It really is a case of the little things soon add up.