There it is.
A big red minus sign and 80 angry characters from your buyer.
First things first. Take a deep breath. In. Out. One more time for good measure. In. Out. Now, here’s what you do:
Assess whether this is truly your fault or if the buyer had unfounded expectations. Do not get emotional even if the buyer has been rude or vulgar.
Examples of unfounded expectations from buyers:
“The color was more reddish than pinkish in person” You can’t account for color differences across computers and smart phones, so this isn’t your fault.
“This looked longer on the mannequin” Assuming you gave all the neccesary measurements–you did, didn’t you?–it’s the buyer’s responsibility to read them.
“This dress has belt loops but no belt” If you didn’t include it in the listing, the buyer has no right to demand it from you.
“The seller wouldn’t change my address after I bought the item and it went to the wrong place.” It’s against ebay policy to manually change addresses after a purchase–it opens the door for all kinds of scams. Buyers can’t demand that you do something that is specifically against ebay policy.
If the buyer left a negative feedback that is clearly undeserved, call ebay customer service. Here’s the number:
Politely explain why the feedback was undeserved and ask to have it removed. Again: don’t get emotional or make any comments about the buyer, just state the facts. The reps can look through your listing and your messages to verify what you say. If you’re right, the rep can probably have it removed. Your feedback score will go back to normal and the negative comments will disappear.
Sometimes we make mistakes. Maybe we were being sloppy. Maybe we made a typo in the listing. Maybe it isn’t exactly our fault but it’s definitely not the buyer’s fault and there isn’t anyone else to blame so here’s what you do.
Click “contact buyer” and type this message– “I’m so sorry. This was my mistake. What can I do to make this right?”
The next step is to wait. There is no reason to give away the farm if the buyer just wants a tomato, know what I mean? Like any savvy negotiator, you allow the other party to go first. They might ask for nothing more than an apology (pretty common buyer demand, actually) or they may want a full refund. Once you make it right, send the buyer a feedback revision request. A satisfied buyer will likely reduce the negative feedback to neutral or even give you a positive for owning up to your mistake.
And now, whether it was your fault or the buyer’s fault, it’s time to cheer up. Every ebay seller gets negative feedback eventually and it just means you’re a regular ‘ole human being. So get your brain back in money making mode and keep listing.