September 11, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #38

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questions-answers-38Welcome back!

Another week has passed by and it’s Friday – time for our Questions & Answers session.

This week has been rather difficult for me – last weekend I was attending a party and seemed to have picked up some kind of nasty virus. My whole family has got it, including our kids, which is never nice!

I just hope it wasn’t because of this:

tatooThe lady who did this to me said it won’t last more than 2 weeks, and fingers crossed she was telling the truth as it’s getting hard to hide!

Anyway, so on Tuesday morning we basically all woke up with scratchy throats, mild headaches and all the rest. The kids don’t actually seem to mind as it means a sort of holiday for them.

But what do I have to do when I’m sick? Head to the office and work as normal, right? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing as there’s just no rest when you’re a business owner. But I at least kept my days short and tried to get some rest when back home. By rest I mean watch TV of course (I know, I know – not the ideal way to recharge your body!).

So I used this time to watch the whole first series of Narcos, a Netflix original show.

And it was awesome!

narcosI’m now adding this to my “can’t wait for next season” list, which includes:

  • House of Cards
  • Returned (even though I heard there won’t be a season 2 for this)
  • Orange is the New Black (don’t judge, please)
  • Better call Saul
  • Bloodline
  • Prison Break

So if you have a Netflix subscription and like gangster movies, I highly recommend you check out Narcos – you won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, back to business!

You have been very lazy last week (I guess you all knew that I wasn’t feeling too well) so we only have three questions to cover today:

  • How to deal with negative feedback when you make a mistake?
  • How to safely deal with suppliers that are NOT on
  • How do eBay & PayPal’s fees change when you become VAT registered?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

First of all, thank you for your great blog. I’m trying to build up an online business and it’s a great help!

I recently created a listing but mistakenly put the price as £3.00 instead of £39.99. A bad mistake indeed. Within a few hours, someone bought 3! So he paid £9 instead of £119.97.

He obviously realised there was a mistake and grabbed the chance. I would’ve done the same!

I cancelled the order and wrote him a polite message saying there was a mistake in the listing price.

I didn’t hear anything for 2 weeks. Suddenly, out of the blue, he left me negative feedback, saying: Seller cancelled my purchase. Did not honour sale.

I would like to know if there is anything I can do to remove it. I have 41 feedbacks and have gone down from 100% to 97.4%.

Thank you in advance

Hi Ari,

Unfortunately this is one of those times when you just have to admit you made a big, big mistake. And there’s really no way to fix it now. You can of course try talking with the buyer and ask them to revise the feedback but I highly doubt they will, as considering the comment left they understand it was a mistake but wanted you to still honour the sale.

You will also get a defect for this sale as a result (that would have happened even without the negative feedback as you cancelled the order).

Now you just have to concentrate on the future and getting your feedback score back in good shape. I would recommend you list 50 or so used DVDs or Blu-rays as £0.99 auctions, just to get that negative feedback down the page and increase your score to at least 99%. Another alternative is of course to open a new account and start from scratch, but that’ll put you in basically the same position and you’ll probably also have to deal with new account limits.

It’s harsh I know, and you were extremely unlucky to get a sale so fast, before you realised the error, but at the end of the day it was your mistake and you now have no choice but to deal with it as best you can.

Hi Andrew,

I’ve built up my company and products and have now started to get great traction selling b2b. I have been asked to fulfill a 200,000 unit order of my product.

I had a problem which I have just fixed in that my previous factory was getting one over on me and sending me dodgy products – I have been forced to leave them obviously. Since then I have found a new factory with an even better price and better quality and things are going well. I still have this 200,000 unit order to fulfill, literally just waiting for the client to confirm.

The problem is that I found the new factory off a website called and there is no trade assurance like Alibaba.

What do I do to fulfill these large orders safely, are there any other services I can use that are similar or is there anything else I can do? It’s very important for me as I’m potentially losing out on thousands of pounds by not being able to pull the trigger on anything big.


Hi Fola,

Yes, it can definitely be a challenge to deal with such large orders, outside Alibaba, with no transaction protection in place. But there are a few things you can do to minimise your risk of getting scammed.

First of all, if you haven’t done it already, carry out a full factory inspection following my guide here:

If that all looks good, you can proceed to the next step – placing an order and making the deposit payment. Now, if this is a very large order (tens of thousands of pounds), maybe the factory will accept a letter of credit (from your bank) as a payment method? Usually this is possible with very large orders as a letter of credit basically means that your bank will guarantee payment to the supplier upon you receiving the goods in the described condition. Of course you’ll have to talk to your bank manager to see if they’re able to provide this service to you in the first place.

Lastly, make sure you do a proper pre-shipment inspection and possibly even do another inspection round when your goods are loaded on to the container for delivery. This way you will further minimise any possibility of you being scammed on product quality and/or quantity.

Dear Andrew,

Recently our company has become VAT registered and in one of your recent posts you mentioned that VAT registered companies are eligible to claim VAT back from business expenses, such as eBay and PayPal fees.

I spoke with our accountant and she said that to claim VAT back they need an invoice with the VAT amount displayed.

But eBay have said that, from 2015, they will only provide business sellers with invoices without VAT.

Does this mean that we are in fact NOT able to claim VAT back from our eBay fees? Is that correct?

What about PayPal?

Maybe you have a clear answer to this as I am quite confused?

We are UK based company by the way.

I really appreciate your advice.

Kind regards,

Hi Denis,

It’s not the easiest thing to do – to explain how VAT works, especially as I’m not an accountant myself and don’t know all the small details regarding it.

However, IF you’re a VAT registered company in the UK and have your VAT number on file with eBay, then they won’t charge you VAT, but will instead issue you a NET VAT invoice (you don’t pay VAT when paying your eBay fees).

Your accountant should know how to book these invoices properly. If not, please send them this link with all the details related to VAT and eBay:

As for PayPal fees – there’s no VAT involved at all as they’re considered a financial service (just like banks) and are VAT exempt.


Alright, that’s about it for today.

If you want to get your question featured in an upcoming Questions & Answers blog post, feel free to get in touch with me via the contact form on this page. Even if your question isn’t published on the blog, you’ll still receive a personal reply via email.

Back to Netflix now!

Just joking….

Or not.


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  1. I watched Narcos last night, you’ve got me hooked! Awesome series!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good stuff! 🙂

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