Usually this request is accompanied by some form of a sob story or excuse. The reason can range from “I don’t get paid until Friday” to “I’m waiting on my tax returns” to “My credit card numbers were stolen and the new card hasn’t arrived yet!”, regardless of the reason the potential buyer wants you to remove an item you have listed for sale and wait on them to remit payment. Heres what you need to know about this situation:
First of all, keep in mind that someone asking you to hold something does NOT obligate them to purchase it. Have you ever been (or worked) at a retail store when the time to close arrives and an employee has to put back that massive pile of “holds” because the supposed buyer never came back for them? Heck, some stores don’t even offer holds because the percentage of holds that turn into sales is super slim. With that in mind, the only person who stands to financially lose is YOU, the seller. It would be no different than if you were selling a vehicle and someone tells you they’re very interested in buying it but wants you to drive the vehicle 4 hours away to where they are located so they can see it. You can choose to honor their request and end up driving an 8 hour round trip for nothing.
Second, when you remove something off your site you are guaranteeing 1 thing; nobody will buy it because it’s not available for sale. Try asking someone who is selling their house to hold it for you and you’ll get laughed at because absolutely nobody would ever do that without a non refundable deposit.
Third, the situation makes no sense. If someone has $0 why are they shopping? Obviously everyone likes scrolling through listings when they’re bored but few people expect the seller to remove items they are selling because the broke person can’t afford it. And quite honestly, if someone has not a penny to their name they probably aren’t serious about buying the handbag you have listed for $200.
And finally, some people just want to compare prices. They love the dresser you have listed for $300, so they ask you to Hold it. Meanwhile they’re surfing the internet for the same dresser for lesser money.
You can simply reply “I’m sorry we cannot offer holds”. A serious buyer will magically come up with the funds very quickly.
My preferred solution is to collect a non refundable deposit, thus putting the item on lay-a-way instead of holding it for free. Most people WILL come back and finish paying for it IF they have money invested in it. You can learn more about this by reading our post How to Deal with Custom Orders - the topic is slightly different but the directions are the same. You can easily send an invoice for the down-payment through PayPal and the buyer does NOT need to have a PayPal account to pay the deposit. Here's simple directions showing how you can create and send your buyer an invoice they can pay online, FOR FREE.
Most sites will allow the buyer multiple payment options. For example, on BigBrandWholesale we offer financing. I believe Poshmark also offers payments through Affirm, which allows people to divide the amount due into a bunch of little, affordable payments. If I recall correctly, I think eBay and Etsy also have a “buy now, pay later” thingamabob. So, you can refer the buyer to the payment options.
Unless you are getting a deposit, NEVER remove your items. You are NOT being “kind”, you are being STUPID. Business is business. If you want to do kind things to help people find a local organization to work with.
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