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buyersmarket2aaa2.JPG (7729 bytes)
Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Apr 1 2012 21:58:14

eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Sellers are concerned over changes to the eBay Buyer Protection Policy that will allow eBay to issue partial refunds to buyers without requiring them to return the item to the seller. Sellers are talking on several eBay discussion boards about a letter they say eBay sent only sent to buyers.

One poster explained why it has sellers upset: "It's a BIG DEAL because eBay gets to decide the value of a partial refund not the SELLER, and it seems the seller doesn't even get the choice of saying "no partial, return for full refund". eBay can't inspect the item to know what's missing etc (if it IS so) they'll rely on the word of a buyer who wants money back?"

The provision that has sellers buzzing is the following:

"In some cases, we may refund part of the cost of the item to the buyer to cover differences between the item described and the item actually received, in which case we will try to recover that refund amount from the seller and not ask the buyer to return the item to the seller."

Another change in the Buyer Protection Policy that eBay's letter did not mention is the parenthetical statement in the following paragraph:

"If we resolve an item not as described case in the buyer's favor, we will in most circumstances ask the buyer to return the item to the seller (and the seller needs to accept the return even if the seller's return policy indicated "no returns accepted") before we refund the buyer and try to recover the refund amount from the seller."

The letter, sent last week to some registered users, states:

Dear (buyer name),
I'm writing to let you know about important updates to the eBay Buyer Protection Policy that will go into effect on June 19, 2012:

A provision has been added that in some cases we may refund part of the cost of the item to the buyer and receive reimbursement from the seller to cover differences between the item described and the item actually received, such as small parts missing or minor repairs needed. In these cases, we will not require the buyer to return the item to the seller.

A clarification has been included that delivery signature confirmation for items $250 or more is only required in order to protect sellers from losing a case where such service is offered by at least one shipping company. Similarly, when we ask a buyer to return a $250 or more item to the seller, delivery signature confirmation is required if it is offered by at least one shipping company.

A clarification has been made that items purchased from the Businesses & Websites for Sale category will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

A provision has been added regarding the relationship between eBay Buyer Protection and the new managed return process. If a buyer uses the process to return to an item purchased from an eligible transaction under that process, and the seller fails to provide a timely refund in accordance with the new process, the buyer may file a case under eBay Buyer Protection. If we resolve the case in the buyer's favor, we'll refund the buyer, the amount of which will depend on the terms and conditions of the process.

As with earlier updates, other changes have been made to keep the eBay Buyer Protection Policy up-to-date with our product and service offerings.Thanks,
Heraldo Botelho
eBay Buyer Protection Policy
eBay Inc.

One seller reacted to the letter by writing, "Taking the buyer's side in a he said-she said and requiring the return of an item for a refund is one thing but how on Earth do they think this is a good idea?  I'd really like to know what's supposed to stop a buyer from claiming missing pieces in order to get a forced discount aside from eBay's standard "if a buyer does it enough, we'll maybe look into it." They're seriously going to start letting buyers keep the item and a portion of the money based solely on their word? This is insanity. Regardless of what eBay puts in their TOS, I find it difficult to believe this is legal."

You can find the current eBay Buyer Protection Policy on this page - it went into effect on June 20, 2011 - and you can access the eBay Buyer Protection policy effective June 19, 2012 at the bottom of that page.




Comments (71) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: EssexEstateServices This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Apr 1 22:38:47 2012
As the new policy is written it is just another way for eBay to interfere with my business and mess with my profitability.

Allowing a partial refund is a good idea IF it is mutually agreed upon by both the buyer and seller. Many time I would rather give a discount for damage or other reasons and not receive the item back.

Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Apr 1 22:57:22 2012
This is UNJUST ENRICHMENT and the LAW says a person (buyer) is NOT entitled to KEEP the merchandise and the get their money back unless the MERCHANT agrees to it.  The law also says that buyers are to abide by the SELLERS store policies, which includes NO RETURNS if stated.

I am so glad my website will be FINSIHED before June because I am so SO DONE with ebay!
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Apr 1 23:03:28 2012
Partial refunds are a huge scam.
When a sleazy buyer asks for a partial refund , the seller has to choose between giving the a******e his partial refund, or , refunding the entire amount, eating the shipping cost, and potentially receiving a damaged item.  100% downside for seller, no loss for buyer. Add feedback and dsr extortion to the mix, and sellers life becomes a living hell..... Thanks, JD !!
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Apr 1 23:34:11 2012
So now eBay is being an extortionist! If sellers do not want to give a partial refund, then eBay will allow buyers to ding the sellers DSRs and feedback. Sellers will have no say into the matter whether their ''as described'' item will be assessed a partial refund? Completely outrageous and warrants a class action. One of the few leverages a seller had against scamming buyers was either no returns or returns without a partial refund. Now eBay is overriding the no returns and allowing partial refunds with absolutely no leg for a seller to stand on. All seller's rights are being taken away allowing for the eBay marketplace to be nothing but a den of thieves.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Sun Apr 1 23:53:22 2012
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I am betting that eBay's preferred class of Diamond Sellers will be exempted from this new partial refund policy and that it will only be used against the smaller sellers whom eBay is bent on exterminating.

The proof will come shortly after the policy goes into effect when some buyers attempt to utilize the policy on purchases made from Diamonds.

I have no doubt that when a buyer attempts to file for a partial refund without returning the item to a Diamond, they will quickly find that eBay will determine the description supplied by the Diamond seller was sufficient to prevent the buyer from winning the partial refund.

I am betting there will be more than a hand full of buyers who attempt to file for this protection against Diamonds and will come up empty handed.

On the other hand, I have no doubt that 99% of buyers who file against smaller sellers will find eBay decides the case in favor of the buyer and forces small sellers to pay up.



We must be getting closer to the final act in John Donahoe's script.

He has raised the requirements for Top Rated Sellers making it next to impossible for most to qualify for discounts but is leaving the title in place. Mr Donahoe is hoping many more small sellers will leave after this insult.

The small sellers that remain will be hit with these partial refund decisions which will be the last straw for those sellers  and they too will head for the exits.

Surely Mr Donahoe has more insidious anti small seller policies sitting and waiting to be implemented as the need arises to drive more smaller sellers out until the last one is gone.



In a very short time, JD is going to see his miscalculation blow up in his face.

Within the next 24 months, as he drives out the last of the small sellers, he will realize that small sellers and the buyers he is desperate to attract were one in the same.

By that time, he will have acquired another company or two and will add that revenue to eBay's bottom line in order to hide the fact that marketplace sales are in the toilet.

The corporate deceit and revenue shifting will continue to conceal the decimation of the John Donahoe era.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 00:00:15 2012
I would like to add where in the user's agreement does it state that once I list MY item it becomes the property of eBay to do what they wish on my behalf?

I spent gas money and time to purchase MY items with MY money.

I took photos and described MY listings with hours upon hours of time.

I PAID eBay, as a venue, to list and show MY listings and paid FVF fees IF an item sold and then AGAIN with shipping fees and AGAIN with Paypal fees.

I took more of MY time to make sure MY items were safely packaged with packing material I paid for with MY own money.

I took more of MY time and gas money to make sure MY item was shipped.

Now I have to wait to make sure this great and as described item does not fall prey to a scamming buyer AND an ANTI-seller eBay.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Apr 2 00:10:38 2012
This will not work.

Unless, however, the idea is to drive away more small sellers trying to make an honest dollar.

And if that's their intention, then this will be a HUGE SUCCESS.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       Web Site
Mon Apr 2 01:40:43 2012
Non realistic partial refunds and returns rules from eBay. It is non sense.

Not even in WMart you can get a refund/credit/change without returning the item to the store. They don't make pick-ups. You need to spend your time and money to return it.

Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: basset
       
Mon Apr 2 07:38:20 2012
So, eBay is assuming control of  the basic decisions like returns, and now, in effect, setting our prices through partial refunds. Since they are taking so much of the everyday responsibilities of running our business on themselves - will they be declaring the income from those items sales for themselves? (I don't mean their fees, I mean the sales) ??? Something about a fox guarding the chicken coop here.  
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Henry This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 08:54:56 2012
If eBay issues a partial refund and gets reimbursed by the seller will eBay credit the FVF on the refund amount back to the seller?
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 09:29:06 2012
To quote the Rock (well after all yesterday was Wrestlemania) ''It doesnt matter what YOU think''!

Why?

eBays policy is ''We require eBay sellers to comply with our resolution process. Sellers permit us to make a final decision, in our sole discretion, on any case that a buyer opens with eBay under the eBay Buyer Protection Policy.''

Thats the TOS to being an eBay seller :{

Of course its all BS, and of course eBay is once again being dishonest, immoral, slimy and repugnant .. but thats what one expects from eBay!
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 09:33:03 2012
The thing that folks have not forgotten is the eBay side of this...

Someone mentioned unjust enrichment and that is EXACTLY what eBay gains from this.

UNJUST ENRICHMENT in advertising and building a reputation that eBay did not pay for.

Then thee is the BIGGEST part of the UNJUST ENRICHMENT in that as it is now eBay WILL NOT issue a partial refund on Final Value Fees if a seller DOES agree to offer a partial to a buyer.  SO... if eBay forces a seller to provide a buyer a partial refund eBay will STILL keep the ENTIRE original FVF.

Example:
Item sells for $200.00
eBay collects the FVF on $200.00

Buyer files partial refund claim for $125.00... eBay grants and refunds $125.00 to buyer and takes it from the seller.

NO partial refund of the FVF to the seller!
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Apr 2 10:52:27 2012
I think eBay is tired of the small sellers who refuse to let go. There remains a subset of (''undesirable'') eBay sellers who are doing their best to comply with all the directives... but eBay just can't seem to shake them loose.

As this idiotic anti-seller and scammer-friendly policy begins to be implemented... and when sellers start to feel the impact (especially when word gets out to the scammer community)... then eBay will accomplish their goal of culling the herd even more.

It's vile and disgusting. eBay's contempt for small sellers is palpable.

You can count me in that group of foolishly die-hard folks who continue to hang-on. Even though I'd never again be able to make the same living wages that I once did on eBay... it still has some minimal value to me as I'm able to drive some customers directly to my web site.

I'll continue to hang-on and do my best to avoid being snagged by this policy that sanctions outright theft and after-the-fact negotiations. ~ However, the day that eBay allows someone to use it against me, will be the last sale I ever make on eBay.

Congratulations, eBay! Well done, you!

You guys have finally come up with a policy that is BOTH an insult, AND costly. What self-respecting seller would remain after being treated to that? ~ Not I.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 12:42:31 2012
This has turned into an all out assault on sellers....no other interpretation can be made.  With all due respect to posters, and I do understand this site can be a bit of a venting outlet, I would never stand for an arbitrary ''value reassignment'' of anything that has been sold by an unqualified ebay CS rep (or whomever they have throwing the darts into the price board).  This will surely have to be challenged in Court (both against the buyer that filed for the price reduction as well as ebay) and I will certainly follow this remedy if affected.  My point is, folks need to quit griping and take action if it affects you.  On another topic, ebay has certainly ''flipped'' some sort of switch as to visibility and associated search functions as my sales have nose-dived 90+%.  As far as I can tell via my metrics, this occurred sometime in early January.  For instance, my page views have plummeting from an average of 1500+ per month, to less than 150 per month....all verified via reports / metrics.  Of all the crazy things going on in ebay-land, I can say one thing for certain, all buyers from all parts of the world, did not suddenly (and in unison) decide to stop looking and buying mid-January of this year.  Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this precipitous drop in all the above.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep
       
Mon Apr 2 13:12:23 2012
@Scotty

I mentioned this in a previous post...  If you do the exact same search ( cut and paste the url ) with different browsers, your results will vary - widely.  It will also vary by account - try it while signed in with different accounts ( if you have multiple ).

I only sell in the Event Tickets category and set up very generic searches ( artist and city ) for all inventory listed and use these links to stay competitive.  The differences I see are in that some searches show Catalog item results only, Catalog and non Catalog item results, and non Catalog item results only.

For my category, variations in search results started in September - about the time views/sales dropped by 80%.  In speaking w/ Ebay, I was told that it was random - not specific to any browser or user ( this seems to be the case as I get different results nearly day by day ).

I can't imagine how Ebay could figure out how to scramble results for only us "small" seller's products and not effect results for ~ The Diamonds ~, nor can one imagine that sales have declined that much across the board ( Don the 'Ho would surely be packing by now ) but the deadly drop in views/sales seems to be kind of widespread.

Not sure what the answer is, but get off of those metrics and do a few searches - at least that part of the mystery will be solved.      
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 14:00:23 2012
Silly me! All this talk about returns and partial refunds when nothing is even selling.  My views, watchers, and sales, like Scotty and Trent stated, have also plummeted. I'm sure the free listings have a lot to do with it but there is something more, more sinister coming into play.
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 14:08:24 2012
@TrentDep
Thanks for the suggestions.  I have done as you indicate for quite some time now (in addition to the metrics) as I have friends all over the world that are doing searches of my items for me on a regular basis.  This has been on-going for about 3 months.  Screen shots with search results, date/local time, etc. are all being sent to me.  Yes, most items vary greatly in the results (they are searching ebay.com the USA site and not their local country site...) which makes me think this is somehow internet gateway segmented by ebay.  Of greater concern, aside from the variance in visibility, is some items do not appear at all.  At present, I have friends in the UK, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, The Netherlands, Poland and Russia running this sample for me.  Believe me when I say I am serious about being able to prove this when needed.....and it unfortunately seems to be coming to that with this latest move by ebay.  The sampling is both while logged in locally as well as a guest visitor performing a search.  I do agree with you on your point as to how it would be tough from a technical standpoint to ''protect'' the diamonds from this search fiasco.  The only solution that comes to mind is some may be given a dedicated internet server that does not have the same search rules applied, whereas the rest of us are in ''steerage'' with our results rationed by the community server.  Just a thought....
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Apr 2 16:59:02 2012
For anyone interested ... what's going on is all in my last 10 posts.

eBay has CLEARLY said and done what they set out to do - remove small seller, part time sellers and auctions.

Noah Hershman (who didnt do much while he was at Amazon) has been given free reign to remake eBay into Amazon 2.0.

The problem for him is people LIKE Amazon and have no reason to leave to eBay. Not that Amazon is perfect - any seller can tell you of the issues - but EVERY site has issues. Amazon at least has the guts to tell you UPFRONT what the rules are - and its YOUR choice to either sell there or not.

eBay takes the slow, abit at a time approach. They hurt you just a bit more each seller update. Sellers who still need eBay (it does have the ''eyeballs'') try to adjust each time to the pain eBay causes.

Hershman clearly said in TWICE magazine (he counts on NO ONE reading it since its geared toward the CE community)(even Ina hasnt wrote about it yet)(hint hint) eBay wants to shed its image of being an auction house, eBay wants to concentrate ONLY on large sellers, and will do ANYTHING to make sure they are profitable!

In presidential elections past - the slogan was ''its the economy stupid'' ... here its simply ''its the FVF's stupid!'' No more, no less.

Can anyone name (1) policy eBay has ''upated'' that actually helps make more sales? can you name anyone that hasnt cost sellers more $ ?

Yes, its been more then ''dry'' for most small sellers - and its not the economy, Easter or any other BS excuse. Its pure %100 manipulation by eBay via Cassini. Listings are moved around to best serve thier partners PERIOD. Theres no magic, its not about TRS, its not about Powerseller, its  about what Noah said ... making sure thier  partners are profitable.

eBay is now YOUR unasked for business partner. They want to know where ''we'' buy goods from, Vero ensures what brands you can list, new picture regulations decide for you what pics you can post, partial refunds and the refund center insure you pay off ''thier customers and keep them happy'', Paypal holds your funds if you complain, and eBay places your competitors ads at the bottom of your listing(s). (the people in Russia had it better under communism!)

My question is - where are all the attorneys? wheres all the press? where is anyone but the same core of us sellers that discuss this over and over?
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon Apr 2 20:11:32 2012
Let's just call this corporate crime syndicate for what it is: organized crime that should be prosecuted under the RICO statutes.

Ebay does NOT own our inventory and, regardless of their TOS, cannot magically transform theft into a non crime.

This is patently illegal!!

Drop Dead, Donahoe!
Perminate Link for eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns   eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns
This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY
       
Mon Apr 2 20:22:22 2012
I'm a bit unclear. Is the partial refund in play if a seller doesn't want the item returned as well as if he wants the item returned? I always tell the buyers to return the item for a full refund. There is NO WAY that ebay would tell a seller, "sorry, we're not having the buyer send the item back even though you want them to and we're just giving them  a partial refund."

In many cases, ebay has a requirement of the buyer sending the item back to the seller but the seller could be reluctant to take it back.  I would think if you state in the dispute that you do want the item back, they would not let the buyer keep the item.

Ebay  eats the cost of shipping the item back in a majority of disputes and I'm sure this new plan is to cut down on those costs.

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