I have previously opined that the best way to get anything done in a world where electronic communication is cheap is to send a letter.Â IÂ believe that the physical nature, and relative rarity of a letter means that it is less likely to get lost in the system.Â Writing letters straight to the managing director is usually a very quick way of getting things done.
My theory has come unstuck with eBay, who have amazed me with the ineffiency of their customer service.Â Recently, an error in the configuration of my listing software caused me to list around 10,000 shop inventory items for a very short period of time costing me around Â£1,000.Â I was pretty upset, thinking of all the things I could have spent the money on, but then I cheered up.Â I know, I thought, I will write a letter to the head of eBay UK, who will surely see that this was an honest mistake and refund me the additional fees. Genius I thought this can’t fail.
So I wrote a nice letter to Mark Lewis, Managing Directory of eBay UK, explaining what had happened and appealing to his better nature.
Dear Mr Lewis,
I am an independent eBay seller trading under the ID hellobabydirect.Â I was shocked yesterday to receive an eBay invoice for Â£1000 on sales of Â£3000 when my previous eBay invoice had been for around Â£200.Â I quickly established that the reason for the huge bill was that my listing software had been wrongly configured and that it listed around 10000 shop inventory items for a very short period of time.Â Each time a listing was added and then removed I was charged Â£0.10.
As a start up business money is tight and I am humbly writing to ask you to refund me the additional fees that I incurred due to this mistake.Â I have been a loyal and rule abiding member of the eBay community for several years and write an enthusiastic blog about eBay which can be found at www.trevorginn.com.
I got not reply, so I sent a follow up letter.Â Still no reply.
Not to be put off, I sent a letter to Doug McCallum, Senior Vice President for Europe, who did not see it fit to reply to me either
Finally, in a last ditch attempt I wrote to John Donohoe, CEO of eBay Inc, and, you guessed it, no reply.
Now, I think that it is reasonable for a polite letterÂ to receive a polite reply, even if the request is rejected.Â I think it says a lot about a company if they do not have the decency to reply to customer communication.