Having recently resigned myself to no longer having any physical space outlets for my art, I have been looking at ways to expand my online presence.
Perhaps that just makes sense at the moment, given the whole Coronavirus scare... the idea of wandering door-to-door in public spaces doesn't sound hugely appealing... or smart.
So... It Was Suggested to Me...
... a well-meaning friend and fellow artist suggested that I really "ought to" create a Facebook Marketplace "catalog" and attach it to my Facebook page to maximize the benefits of having such a page. After all, the page has close to 600 followers.
So, I set everything up, following Facebook's instructions, using an interface that clearly was best suited to someone selling mass-produced generic products.
But hey, when you're hungry and need to eat... you tend to do what you need to do!
So Far, So Good...
Having gone to the trouble of only loading some items, I then promoted the "shop" a bit to my greater Facebook following.
Lo and behold... I actually sold a couple of things.
Time for a celebration, right?
Not so fast!
For starters, you don't get paid until a transaction has been declared "completed." Which basically means that either the buyer "signs off" on having the received the goods, OR the system detects (from the shipping tracking information) that so-and-so-many days have passed since the shipping service declared the package "delivered."
Fair enough, I suppose... a reasonable way to minimize sketchy dealers...
But it Doesn't End There...
Thankfully, my account balance quickly showed I had about $95.00... and after a couple of days, that went to zero, suggesting that the money had been transferred to the bank account I had set up and confirmed.
I wish I could say that was the ending, but it isn't.
I waited some days... and nothing showed up. In fact, my Facebook account didn't show that any actual transfers had been made. I had a $95.00 balance, then I had a zero balance.
Time to contact Marketplace Support!
Customer Support Says...
Like most large organizations, Facebook goes to great length to make it almost impossible to reach an actual person, sending you through endless loops of self-guided Q&A and FAQ pages, all ending with "Did this answer your question? Y/N."
When you click no, you get a little input form that asks "How could we have made this page better?" the answer to which is "You could have directed me to a page that actually ADDRESSES my question!"
Eventually, I managed to get off an email to God-knows-where and was even able to include some screen shots. Bonus points for that!
To their credit, Support had a response back within 45 minutes.
To their DIS-credit, said response amounted to "Please follow this link to set up your bank account on the payment preferences page! Let us know if we can help you further!"
Clearly, a "canned" response, generated after detecting a couple of keywords. Clearly my request was not actually READ, as nothing I asked was addressed.
So, I write back, and a different support person replies, this time (evidently) an actual human being, explaining that Facebook's "payment processor" takes about 8-10 days to turn around merchant payments. Nice... BUT it has already been close to 20 days.
So I write back again to point this out.
A couple of hours pass. Another reply, from a third person. This time, my "bank account is not set up correctly."
So I go back through all my financial settings to double check... yes, sometimes I do make typos. In this case, I didn't make a typo... everything is correct. I email back and explain this.
Another reply, from a fourth person, explaining that the next "payment window" is now March 9th, because I changed my account settings (I didn't, I just accessed the page to double check).
It'll be very interesting to see what happens...
The "good" news is that I know the purchaser fairly well. And if this remains a "fail" I'm going to ask her to enact a "return," send me a trackable empty box, get a refund from Facebook and mail me a check.
After which I will be done with Facebook Marketplace.
Thank you for allowing me to share this gripe report!
Thanks for reading, and "till the next time!"
Thank You For Supporting!
Because I am trying to make some semblance of income — a living, even — I now add this footer to all my posts, in the hope that someone, somewhere, might decide to take a further look at my work, and perhaps consider supporting independent art either with a purchase or by becoming a Patron (for as little as $1!) on my Patreon account.
Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and support!
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