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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
Wed May 28 2014 20:15:37

eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
eBay must have a case of whipklash due to its changing stance on "open cases" and how they affect sellers' performance standards, and it's now giving buyers mixed messages.

In July 2012, eBay announced it would require buyers to contact sellers before filing a claim.

In April 2013, eBay began requiring buyers to open cases in the Resolution Center in order to contact sellers - but on the plus side, eBay promised sellers that opened cases would no longer count against them.

A year later, March 2014, eBay announced that open cases would count against sellers. So if a buyer tries to "contact seller" in their My eBay account to check on the status of their delivery, that action alone will count against the seller.

An eBay seller tweeted me yesterday, "@EcommerceBytes what about a blog on how eBay are lying to buyers about the effects of cases on sellers...." with a link to eBay UK's FAQs on the eBay Money Back Guarantee.




Under, "Problem with your purchase?" a FAQ explains:

I haven't received an item - what should I do?
The amount of time that it takes for an item to arrive often depends on the postage method that you selected when you bought the item. You can review the estimated delivery time on the Order Details page.

To find this page, look up the item you ordered in your Purchase history in My eBay and click on More actions and then View order details.

If the estimated delivery time has already passed, you should contact the seller. To do so, go back to your Purchase history in My eBay and click Contact Seller next to the item you ordered. When you contact your seller in this way, we open a case so we can track your seller's response and help when needed.


On the same page was this FAQ:

What does a "case" mean - are there any consequences for the seller?
If you haven't received an item or received an item that isn't as described, the first step is to contact the seller. When you do this, it opens a case so we can track progress and help when needed. If the seller resolves the issue to your satisfaction, then there are no consequences for his or her performance rating.

Please be aware that as of the 1 May, open cases will count as defects in new evaluation standards that starting on 20 August. This first evaluation will include May, June and July.

We know that issues like these sometimes happen and are happy that most sellers resolve them quickly. If a seller doesn't resolve a case and you ask eBay to step in, we do take this as an indicator of seller performance. We track how often this happens and if it is more than expected take appropriate action against the seller. You can get more information on how unresolved cases affect seller performance standards.


So eBay advises sellers to open a case and that there will be no consequences for the seller's performance rating, but says open cases will count as defects in the seller's evaluation standards.

This contradictory message is clear as mud for buyers who simply wants to check in with sellers about their packages.

Sellers are also getting mixed message - take a look at this email I received from a seller this week.

Hello, Ina.
Suddenly, I noticed I had 46 counts of Opened Cases Item Not as Described Opened Cases for Item not Received. By August 20, I will surely be below standard. The CS said don't worry, this is not final yet.  I am sure she would not be there when shit hits the fan for this seller.

Today, I have only 1 opened case and all buyers gave me good feedback after cases were resolved.  A lot of buyers want to ask technical question.  Ebay tricked them to Open Case under Item Not as Described.  Other buyers just want to ask where is their package.  

We had 3 months of grueling freezing roads and USPS were late each time and buyers wanted to email sellers.  But eBay hijacked buyers communication to sellers and tricked them to Open Case under Item Not Received.

Everytime, I ask why the buyer opened a case, 100% said they only wanted to email me. The CS said it is my communication problem. How could that be?   EBay hijacked buyers communication to sellers and tricked them to open a case?

If sellers asked buyer to sign that they were somehow tricked or misled by eBay to Open Cases against their sellers, will FTC take action against eBay?

At the rate this is going, I would get kicked out of eBay as a seller.. so I won't be able to call eBay to resolve the problems.   

Are other sellers on the same boat?  Should we NOT Worry like the CS told me today?

Please help all us now before it is too late.  I will have over $30k inventory in my shop.


I receive other emails from sellers that say their buyers are apologizing for opening a case against them, that they simply wanted to inquire about their package.

Perhaps sellers should start telling those buyers to lodge a complaint with eBay.



Comments (46) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 28 21:16:35 2014
''If the seller resolves the issue to your satisfaction, then there are no consequences for his or her performance rating.

Please be aware that as of the 1 May, open cases will count as defects in new evaluation standards that starting on 20 August. This first evaluation will include May, June and July.''

Aren't performance ratings part of sellers' evaluation standards? One and the same. As usual ebay is not telling buyers the real story of this impact on sellers. Defects are being counted retroactively for 12 months back to August of 2013 for those sellers who do not have 400 transactions in a three month period. Some sellers, but not all, received an email for a stay of execution until March 2014. The rest will receive their sentencing on August 20, 2014.

Besides opening cases, ebay has a slew of other defects they will implement in August against the seller.

Og Mandino (The Greatest Salesman in the World) wouldn't stand a chance on ebay.

 
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed May 28 21:54:11 2014
This, and many other unfair trade practices, need to be brought to the attention of Congressman Barton of Texas (you can Google contact info) and Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois who have just now launched a investigation into eBay over the mishandling of the hacking event. I would urge EVERYONE to write letters or send FAXES regarding malfeasance at eBay to these two Congressmen.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Wed May 28 22:04:31 2014
Maybe sellers should start inserting something like the following in each of their listings: "If you need to contact me for any reason, with a question or concern, please click on the Contact Seller link and then choose the 'Other' option."  
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: rstpete This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 28 22:37:23 2014
I hear it all the time. "I only wanted to ask a question."  eBay does not tell the buyer they are harming the seller.  Its plain and simple.  eBay hates buyers and will continue to harm them as long as the buyers are there.  
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Puck
       
Wed May 28 23:12:18 2014
UK FAQ - Can the Money Back Guarantee system be abused?:

Answer:
''We take fraud very seriously...''

And enable it whenever possible as a best practice.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Wed May 28 23:15:38 2014
As a seller of computer parts and accessories, it is common to receive post delivery questions regarding proper installation of product. Instead of viewing these kinds of everyday communications as a reasonable post transaction communication and an opportunity for the seller to provide customer service, eBay has turned the fact a question is being asked into an adversarial process.

This process has been designed by eBay management to drastically cull the number of sellers who qualify for the 20% discount on final value fees.

On this there is little sellers can do. Since eBay management considers sellers to be little more than "noise", the corporate culture has trickled down to the point that even the Peggy's at customer can be heard cringing when they hear the words "I am an eBay seller."

John Donahoe has systematically dismantled the sense of community between buyers and sellers which was the heartbeat of eBay and a major factor in eBay's early massive growth.

Donahoe has failed to notice that as he has continued to drive a wedge between buyers and sellers, eBay's sales languish well behind the growth rates of virtually every other marketplace.

Donahoe's divisive policies have actually encouraged sellers to handle as much buyer and seller post sale communication outside of eBay, which of course leads to a relationship where repeat orders are done person to person instead of through eBay. This is but one example of how Donahoe's failure to understand the company he administers actually works and how his policies have hurt - not helped sales on eBay.

In order for this incongruity to be reversed, I am afraid it will take a loud and persistent chorus of BUYERS calling eBay and complaining that they had no idea that they would be opening a case against a seller when they simply wanted to ask a seller a question.

Sellers, if you have an account you use strictly for buying, make sure you contact eBay customer service and express your outrage that the mere act of asking a post purchase question results in an open case. Explain how you feel that eBay's interpretation of post purchase questions totally and completely misses the mark.

Also, while you ave their ear, voice your opinion that neutral feedback should npot be considered a defect.

If you do not want to invest the time waiting for customer service due to eBay's low staffing of customer service, use the eBay send a suggestion link and make your feelings as a buyer on these two points heard.


eBay is now

Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 04:47:54 2014
Ebay suffers from the forked tongue syndrom.... Like a snake.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Thu May 29 07:28:31 2014
Ric says "John Donahoe has systematically dismantled the sense of community between buyers and sellers which was the heartbeat of eBay and a major factor in eBay's early massive growth."

This statement pretty much sums up what happened to the near perfect ecosystem of buyers and sellers on eBay. It was a magic formula for success that others have tried to emulate but have been unsuccessful doing so.  The ecosystem was poisoned by insane policies put into place by a CEO and his minions who seemed to be doing everything in their power to redesign and rebuild an ecommerce site that did not need rebuilding.

It appears to me that Mr. Donahoe didn't have a clue regarding what made eBay successful.  Whatever insecurities he possessed and still possesses regarding his inability to interact and work with mom and pop or small sellers seemed to be a driving force behind his disruptive innovation.  

Moreover, based on recent company news, I can not quite wrap my head around why this man is still allowed to run this company...into the ground.

The whole defect system that has been implemented is a slap in the face to eBay customers, and it clearly shows what an enormous lack of respect eBay has towards its customers.  
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Thu May 29 08:02:40 2014
There's a lot of talk about ousting Donahoe as CEO and replacing him. eBay's replacement for Donahoe would need to come form a different corporate "mindset" than he and his cronies come from. There would still need to be a major expose/investigation by the House/Senate and/or governmental agencies and reprimands slapped against eBay in order to see a reversal of bad policies at eBay. If JD is simply replaced by someone inside the company or his replacement is of the same ilk, changes could be either superficial or slow. Someone AWARE of the damages JD has done and willing to restore eBay to how things were pre-2008 is what would be required.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: Dexter Morgan This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 08:09:16 2014
''In April 2013, eBay began requiring buyers to open cases in the Resolution Center in order to contact sellers - but on the plus side, eBay promised sellers that opened cases would no longer count against them.''

This is a huge issue since, now, eBay is attempting to retroactively go back 12 months and count those exact cases against sellers. eBay, clearly and in writing, stated those cases would NOT count against sellers. And, the instructions that trick buyers into opening a case was installed in early 2013.

I had 3 cases opened in Feb/Mar 2014. 2 were accidental and the buyer clearly stated that. I called CS to have them removed and listened to her lame attempt to spin every point I was making. She said she was a buyer and buyers have to click on 4 different pages before a case is opened. I told her I am also a buyer and that is a lie. I accidently opened a case on someone way back in 2013. I thought it was another glitch. After an hour of unspinning her eBay robot talk she actually admitted I was right and removed all 3 cases.

I was in the top percentage of TRS before cases were applied. The cases and a cancelled transaction, that was my fault and deserved the defect, put me at the very bottom at 2% defects. I am now back up to .81%.

This does need to be reported to officials as it is an obvious & devious attempt to purge TRS and other good sellers.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 08:09:57 2014
Rexford says:
''The whole defect system that has been implemented is a slap in the face to eBay customers, and it clearly shows what an enormous lack of respect eBay has towards its customers.''

.....and now, the primary creator and the person responsible for implementation of same (Brian Burke).....drum-roll....has actually been named Head of Seller Protection.  You couldn't make this up if you tried....we don't stand a chance.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: FIERCEI
       Web Site
Thu May 29 10:42:58 2014
I simply don't care anymore about eBay and their foolishness.  This company is so full of it! My defect rate is ''2.79''. They can keep their 20% discount and leave me alone.

Only (2) sales in the last 14 hours.

All I want to do is sell my products without the BS!
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 10:59:19 2014
Brian Burke - Head of Seller Protection - ebay's wolf in sheep's clothing
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: lucask7 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 12:27:32 2014
About six months ago I was restricted indefinitely from selling on e-bay due to two cases that were opened against me! I have been a handicapped senior citizen member on e-bay for 15 years with over 6,000 positive  feedback accumulated, this was my only source of income other than the disability for my terminal illness that I received! E-bay screwed me over the two cases, one for item not as described, which was really damaged item received from the mail, and the other for a non-paying bidder that left me low DSR'S after filing the non-paying bidder case. Is this my reward America for trying to make a living? Something seriously needs to be done with this e-bay system, this is not right, totally unfair and sets a real bad example to the upcoming generations! With more new policies going into effect in August,a major crash is in store for this site! It has already created a war between the buyers & sellers, time for the Federal Government to step in and clean up this mess created by e-bay!!!        
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: Gina This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 12:58:42 2014
I don't think this is a world-wide issue. My batteries seller in China didn't report any negatives when, after reading here that all emails open a case against the seller, I sent him a second email to see if the first one "opened a case against him"...
Perhapse he didn't know about this problem or didn't know how to reply....
I think this policy is only aimed at 'little sellers', whom ebay would rather see just go away!
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: Baby Gurl This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 12:59:06 2014
I cannot think of a more wise time to pack your bags and get the heck out of the ebay trap. Do it in small increments if you must, but get out now. I am not a doomsdayer, but this security breach is going to go down big time in the news for awhile. More will be exposed I am sure. There goes the trust of many potential buyers. Build your own site now or invest your time into it. I have been and continue to work toward the day when my ebay account is no longer in use except to maybe purchase.
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: lucask7 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 13:23:34 2014
Why would anyone here is the USA purchase batteries from a seller in China? Especially when there are different policies & rules for China and they are one of the main problems on e-bay!!!
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Thu May 29 13:27:31 2014
This is almost true for INRs.  ALMOST!  While the INR is opened, it does count as a defect.  But if it gets closed by the buyer as item received, the defect goes away.

The same thing is not true on a SNAD.  While still a defect when the claim is opened, even if the buyer closes it as being a happy camper, the defect stands.

As I am sure others are finding out, Ebay's stats are NOT accurate anyways.  But just try to battle them.  You get the same reasoning as stated in the OP.  It's not perfect and that's why there is a 2% rate.  Hogwash, it does matter.

I have 2 INR claims showing as defects when both claims were closed as Item RECEIVED.

Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: bruincomputer This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 13:30:54 2014
This is a common occurence for us.  Ebay knows it.  It's just one more way that they make becoming a top rated seller elusive.  
Perminate Link for eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers   eBay Gives Buyers Mixed Messages on How Cases Impact Sellers
by: Go tell the Spartans This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 29 13:34:39 2014
Great place to vent your frustration, but at the end of the day, how do we get ebay's attention? Who do we contact to light a fire to bring change? If we can't do this, then venting is the only recourse but not a resolution.
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