So you know how to sell your diaps on Facebook groups… but have you considered how to do so with proper netiquette?
Here are my suggestions for smooth buying, selling and trading transactions via Facebook. I’m starting today with tips for sellers. I started my second-hand fluff business literally overnight, so I definitely made mistakes, especially in not looking carefully enough at diapers before listing them, particularly in the case of brands I wasn’t as familiar with. I’ve learned a lot, and thought I’d pass some tips along! I follow all of these steps for the consignment and used diapers at Maman Loup’s Den as well as when de-stashing from my own collection.
1) Inspect your diapers very carefully:
- Take note of stains.
- Turn the diaper inside out to take a look at elastics, stitching, etc.
- Test out your snaps to make sure they’re still snappy.
- Check the stickiness of the velcro and pick out any lint or hair if required.
- Look for snags and runs in the PUL.
- Assess the tightness of the elastics (you can even measure them).
Describe what you observe about the diaper rather than giving an abbreviation, which can be very subjective.
2) Figure out accurate shipping.
- If you’re doing letter mail, make sure it will fit letter mail so you don’t have an unwelcome surprise at the PO!
- If selling a bunch as a lot, I recommend packaging up, weighing and measuring the parcel and listing a price plus exact shipping. If the potential buyer sends you her postal code, you’ll then be able to get the exact price either using CP’s Find a Rate or PayPal. I recommend shipping using PayPal because it is the cheapest method.
3) Decide your price.
- You can choose whatever price you want, but you may not find a buyer if your item is overpriced or if you price doesn’t match your description.
- If your have a high price and the diaper arrives in less-than-stellar condition, the buyer has every right to open a dispute against you.
- If your price is PPD (Postage Paid Domestic), specify if it is letter mail or as a parcel.
- If a diaper has only been used a couple of times or not at all, you can try posting for close to what you paid, factoring in shipping.
- Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for a given diaper. In general you’re not a business trying to make a profit, you’re trying to recoup a bit of what you originally paid.
- Watch for similar items on swap boards to get a sense of pricing. You’ll see prices ranging from 20-75% off retail, and it is very dependent on the brand. AppleCheeks and TotsBots seem to hold their value well.
- If the diaper is HTF (hard to find), you may get your best price on a board dedicated to that brand.
- It’s your item, so if someone offers you lower than your listed price, there’s no reason you can’t politely decline.
3) Decide how you wish to be paid.
- I recommend using a secure transaction via PayPal, meaning that the buyer is paying you for “goods and services.” You can calculate the transaction fee in advance.
- You can accept EMT (electronic money transfer) if you want, or PayPal as a gift… realistically the risk is more for the buyer than the seller in this case. EMT payment is not instantaneous, so don’t panic if you don’t receive the notification email immediately. I find it tends to take about 20 minutes.
- To be paid via PayPal, you can either send a money request or have the buyer send you the money from their account.
4) Post well-lit, close-up pictures of what you’re selling, inside & out.
- Take pictures near a window, in the day time, or outside if possible. If the only time your can snap pics is once the sun’s down, find the best-lit spot in your house.
- If there are issues with the diaper, take photos of them. So as not to clog a board with images, have the photos ready to go for your potential buyers, or even add those photos to the comments or your post.
- Issues to photograph:
- Anything you want to make sure the buyer is aware of so there are no surprises upon reception!
5) Considerations for a smooth transaction:
- If sending a private message to an interested buyer, also tag them under your original post so she knows to check her “others” folder.
- To whom you choose to sell is your prerogative. If you cross post your items, it’s most fair to go in order of comments, but sometimes Facebook notifications are wonky. If one person comments but then goes m.i.a., it’s up to you how long you wish to wait. Most Moms tend to give the first commenter a chance to “pass,” but personally I think this is up to each Mom’s discretion.
- Complete the transaction via PM so you have a easy-to-find record of it.
6) Package your diaper(s) to make sure they make it intact to the buyer and mail in a reasonable amount of time:
- If you have any delay in mailing, it’s nice to let the Mom on the receiving end know. I try to send the buyer a quick private message when I’ve mailed.
- When shipping letter mail using a manila envelope, reinforce the with packing tape.
- Double check you’ve put the right mailing address, especially the postal code, and clearly mark your return address.
- Don’t just drop something that obviously will not fit letter mail in the mail box: it can take ages to be returned to you for insufficient postage, and the buyer could even be required to pay missing postage upon reception.
I discuss the risks of sending letter mail in this post. Unfortunately it is the seller who is “screwed” if a buyer chooses to open a claim for an item sent letter mail. That being said, there tends to be a sense of community on B/S/T boards and usually disputes can be solved amicably.
7) So what happens if, after all of the above, there is a conflict?
The customer is almost always right… except that you aren’t a business and the buyer isn’t really your customer. Every transaction is different and there are a lot of reasons a buyer might be dissatisfied. As a seller, as long as you wait to receive your money before shipping, you shouldn’t have many reasons to complain. (It’s up to you to decide how long you “hold” an item if someone promise to pay, but I think 24 hours is reasonable. Watch out for PayPal “e-cheques” and wait for them to clear before shipping, as recommended by PayPal.)
- The diaper never arrived….
- Assuming you shipped letter mail, there’s no way to truly prove you mailed it or even that the buyer didn’t receive it. I discuss the situation in this post. It’s fair, in my opinion, for both parties to ensure that neither is prone to “scamming.” This can be done very tactfully and without causing drama.
- The buyer only has 45 days to open a PayPal dispute (if she feels so inclined) but letter mail can take, sadly, longer to arrive or to be returned to you.
- I’ve seen this situation resolved in the following ways without a PP dispute:
- The seller is very generous and offers a full refund;
- The buyer accepts the loss, since she knew the risk of letter mail;
- The buyer & seller each take a hit with a 50% refund.
- Proof of goodwill, such as messaging the buyer when you’ve mailed, specifying that you’re sending letter mail and confirming that that is acceptable, and even snapping a pic of the diaper about to be mailed are all helpful, but don’t guarantee the buyer won’t open a dispute (which she could, theoretically, do even if she actually received it… but such scamming is usually brought to light fairly quickly).
- The buyer claims the diaper did not arrive in the condition described…
- If she’s right (you missed something, or even sent the wrong diaper… this happens, we’re human!) then refund what you feel is fair.
- It’s a good idea to have screen shots of your original listing and to repeat any defects in your private messages. If there’s a stain or a snag on the PUL, I tend to reconfirm that the buyer saw this in the description via private message.
- If you think she’s wrong, try to deal as diplomatically as possible with her. It’s really hard to assess tone over the internet, but any Mamas I’ve dealt with who have a concern about something I’ve sold have done so respectfully. Refunding a couple of dollars can go a long way to avoiding a ton of drama. That being said, do your best to protect yourself against being scammed. Contacting the admins of a B/S/T group can help if you think the buyer is trying to rip you off.
Above all, remember that they’re (Pretty) Poop Catchers. Remember that we’re all Moms with families to feed, and no one wants to be ripped off. Online karma exists, too… establishing a reputation as a reliable Mama to buy from doesn’t take long, and you’ll soon have an army of Mamas behind you, ready to defend you if ever you’re in a jam.
Related link: Check out The Inquisitive Mom’s list of general fluff forum etiquette!