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EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
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Tue Apr 24 2012 22:26:01

Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's Mistake?

By: Reader
Sponsored Link
A view from the other side of the fence,...

Dear Ina,
I'm a seller (over 10,000, all positive feedback) and want to tell you about a problem I've had as a buyer. I did a stupid thing, something I should have known better than to do! I bought a blanket from a large seller (99.1 feedback, with over 30,000 sales), without first looking at his detailed feedback.

From the photo, the blanket was exactly like the one I already own, from which I'd removed the tags. I used "enlarge" to check the edges of the blanket in the photo to make sure the edges, hem and stitching were the same. It was a very distinctive blanket - sherpa on one side, thick velouor on the other and the color was the same. I could tell, without any doubt that the photo was the blanket I wanted.

Well, on the bright side, the blanket arrived quickly. It was $49.99, which included shipping. The blanket arrived this morning.... absolutely nothing like the photo! It actually appears to have the hem sewn backwards - the sherpa is hemmed overtop of the velour, the fabric is thin & flimsy, the color is wrong and it's just so obvious it's NOT the blanket in the photograph.

I contacted the seller, who said return at MY expense. I'm in Florida, they're in California, so shipping will be somewhere in the neighborhood or $15.00.

My question is.... Why should I have to incur the cost of returning a blanket which was totally misrepresented!?!? They've told me already that their policy is to refund only the cost of the item - NOT return shipping. This just isn't right!! Back to my stupidity.... the seller has 100+ negatives for the year and 150+ neutrals.

Same sort of thing is happening to a relative - she bought glass bookends, that arrived in pieces due to very poor wrapping. She is having to incur the cost of mailing the broken pieces back to the seller. Again, NOT RIGHT!!

I know, as a seller, if I make a mistake, I eat the cost of the return shipping and if something were to arrive broken, I'd not even ask that it be returned - I'd just refund. Obviously there are quite a few sellers who just don't get it!

A buyer SHOULD NOT have to pay to return an item when the return is due to the seller's misrepresentation, poor packaging or other instances where the buyer is not at fault.

Just my 2 cents regarding the return of items.
Unsigned

Reading EcommerceBytes Letters Blog: Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's Mistake?
Comments (41) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Tue Apr 24 23:24:05 2012
My vote: Seller's mistake = seller pays shipping both ways.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       
Tue Apr 24 23:40:21 2012
I believe the same.

Seller send wrong item = Seller pay the Shipping cost

@OP, do you read the feedbacks? I always check what the negative and neutrals said to be ready if I bought from the seller.

About ''broken'' items. I found some sellers that are really bad packing items, but in some cases the USPS like to play football, soccer, boxing, etc with the mail.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Apr 24 23:59:17 2012
This is why a seller should have a separate account just for buying. Unfortunately sellers have to make sure their accounts are protected just in case there is a problem with a purchase. Seller's mistake and buyer should not be out money for a return. Lots of cheap, poorly made items are coming from China and other countries but show as having a US location.  
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: Frankcoins
       
Wed Apr 25 01:12:34 2012
Any problems caused by seller error (misdescribed or wrong item) should be paid for by the seller.  
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: sparky This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 01:51:07 2012
Seller's mistake. Seller should pay.  I would pay shipping as a seller.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Wed Apr 25 02:43:36 2012
I'll say just what everyone else is telling you.  You should NOT have to pay for the return shipping.  Obviously you are not dealing with a responsible seller.  Now there is something you can do about this, so hopefully you have not shipped this back yet.

I know you may hate doing this, but it is what you need to do to fix this.  CALL Ebay.  Don't write, do do live chat [well if you could find it], call them.  Explain the problem.  They will probably instruct you to open a claim and you should just to protect yourself.

Now, this is where you may need to ask Ebay to provide you with a return label.  They will most likely do it for you.  They might not as this one I think is probably a little above what they will automatically do if you just ask, but it's worth a try.

I know this works as I've been in the same position myself.  That is how I found out that Ebay does this sometimes.  

So Open a claim in Ebay, Call Ebay, and ask for a return label.  And when all this is done, make sure you leave proper FB for your seller as they have certainly earned it.  I hope you will keep us updated.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Carol This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 03:11:19 2012
I think your first sentence says it all.  When you fail to check feedback and bad things happen, you've failed to do your due diligence by using the information ebay has provided to help you avoid just his kind of problem.

I'd hate to see ebay ''correct'' this problem (limited mainly to rotten sellers) by imposing a rule that would require conscientious sellers to pay return shipping.  

Although good sellers do pay return shipping when they've made a mistake in their listing, instituting a rule requiring it would invariably create a nightmare for sellers.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: StevenM This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 06:15:16 2012
IF things are as stated, this is a no-brainer and I am surprised with eBay's buyer protection plan that they even THINK they won't get satisfaction.  It is significantly not at described and that has been protected for a long time. A 10,000+ feedback seller should know that.

It it so obvious, that I am afraid I cannot help but wonder if it is a setup for eBay's new program to take control of the return shipping process.

Again, that is IF things are as stated.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: mcfiver This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 06:28:19 2012
We recently sold a vintage Ken doll with several flaws, which were clearly photographed and pointed out in the auction. When the doll arrived at the buyers, Ken's arm had separated, something that hadn't been an issue or described in the item description. The buyer wasn't happy and returned the doll. When it arrived, we refunded her 100%, including her return postage. To me, if we made a mistake, we should eat the cost of the return. Very, very simple.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Valencia57 This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 07:38:01 2012
Thanks to everyone for their responses. To answer a couple questions, YES..... things are as stated. I'm VERY honest. Second, the blanket was in a plastic package from San Juan, with all wording in (what I think) is Spanish - washing directions, size, name, etc. However... how do you 'make' the seller pay for the return shipping?  I ended up filing a dispute last night. Seller responded saying to return the item for $49.99 (that DOESN'T include return postage).  I'll try the suggestion of calling ebay to see if they'll supply a return postage label. This is the first time in 10 years I've ever had a problem as a buyer. I'll keep you informed. Thanks again.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: StevenM This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 08:48:38 2012
Valencia57, your question came at a time that eBay is working toward control of the return process, so.... my skepticism got the better of me.

I would suggest doing a screen capture of the listing with picture.  eBay should have this and they would also know if the picture was changed recently, but an ''ounce of prevention'' might not hurt.

From what you said, it is not a mistake, it appears to be that the seller used a stock photo and is substituting a different manufacturer, which is another case for eBay to consider.

Of course, eBay encourages the use of stock photos for new products so they may have inadvertently contributed to the issue. :-)
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: Al G
       
Wed Apr 25 09:05:42 2012
I had a not-as-described item delivered to me. I first contacted the seller - no response.

Then I filed a Buyer's Protection claim & after 3 days was refunded my full amount. The buyer listed the item as "no refunds" - didn't help.

PS. I still have the item - it was heavy & would have cost about $35 to ship back.

Stupid, stupid seller - out over $560 AND no inventory. Maybe he couldn't sell it at any price.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Valencia57 This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 09:15:11 2012
Steven M, Not quite sure what you mean when you say that your skepticism got the better of you (are you questioning if I'm legit?). I'm a seller, have been since 2002, with over 10,000 feedback. I've BOUGHT maybe 200 items in that time and have had no problems at all. This is the first time.

I am actually totally against ebay taking over the return process or dictating about certain returns. The ONLY time I would stand with ebay being involved, is when the seller is TOTALLY wrong.  If the seller is wrong in the description, has switched out an item, sent a defective item, etc., and does not offer return shipping, then ebay SHOULD have some policies to side with a buyer.  If a stock photo is used, it's up to the seller to make sure that it matches his/her item. I wish I felt comfortable in providing the name of the seller, but if you know ebay, with some detective work, you could probably figure it out.  
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: MADandCracked This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 09:37:16 2012
Honestly, I've filed several cases against sellers for damage of items due to improper packing and for sending the wrong items.

The reason I just file a case is because of the fact that many sellers REFUSE to pay for return shipping. Why should I (as a buyer) be responsible for the stupidity of a seller?

If I made a purchase from a large store and there was a problem with my order upon arrival, I would receive a return label for free and have a new one sent to me for free.

I know there are a lot of small sellers out there that don't want to lose the extra money by paying for return shipping. At the same time, I shouldn't have to pay shipping twice!
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Wed Apr 25 10:06:49 2012
@madandcracked

See that is simply unfair.  Ebay and PP simply should not allow any buyer to open a claim without FIRST contacting the seller and allowing the seller at a minimum of 24 hours to respond.  For that period of time buyers should be blocked from opening a claim.

If you think so little of the sellers on Ebay, then why shop there.  Most sellers are honest hard working people.  Just as most buyers are.  You may find you will have better success if you communicate with your seller instead of starting things off on such a bad note.

Even if you file a claim, you may end up responsible for shipping.  At this time Ebay does NOT require a seller to pay for return shipping.  YOu probably would find that your seller would work with you much better if you treated them with respect as you expect that for yourself.  Why should you be treated with respect if you don't think your seller deserves to be?

You are correct, no matter the size of the seller, if the seller made an error, they should pay return shipping.  But for any buyer to refuse to communicate with the seller, it is plain wrong and will not make that seller want to work with you.

**************

Separate note, regarding the new Opt In Return Management system Ebay has come up with.  If you Opt Into that new program, you can prevent buyers from opening claims without your prior knowledge if you REQUIRE RMA numbers when you set up the new program.  There is suppose to be a place to say you require an RMA.  If you do that, the buyer has to contact you and request the number BEFORE an item can be returned.  Sellers will have I believe it's 24 hrs to respond.  You will have to give them one, but at least you will have 24 hrs to try and work things out without a claim.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 10:27:00 2012
I'm a buyer, and I think the problem with cases like this is that ebay is not involved enough. What I mean is, when ebay strengthen buyer protections, it went to a default "buyer almost always wins." But we all know that there are scammers on both sides, so ebay should employ *gasp* REAL PEOPLE to decide more of these cases!! If your case is as clear cut as that, a real person would see it and you should win. But, for example, in the cases of sellers who clearly can show that their item is what they said it was, they should win.

Awhile back I bought a decorative plate. The seller said her camera wasn't good enough to take decent pictures that weren't too dark (I guess she didn't have any source of lighting either) but assured me the plate was fine. Because of ebay protection, I took a chance, and it turned out that most of the decoration was worn off. I contacted the seller, who was rude, and filed a claim. I had a refund in hours. That's great for me, but sheesh -- ebay didn't even ask for pictures! How did they know I wasn't a scammer??

I'm a buyer, but a process like that doesn't seem fair to sellers. I used to sell occasionally, but I see that ebay doesn't even listen to sellers. Why should I sell there?
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 10:36:37 2012
@Marie, here's one of the problems I see on ebay:

"that is simply unfair.  Ebay and PP simply should not allow any buyer to open a claim without FIRST contacting the seller and allowing the seller at a minimum of 24 hours to respond.  For that period of time buyers should be blocked from opening a claim.

If you think so little of the sellers on Ebay, then why shop there.  Most sellers are honest hard working people.  Just as most buyers are.  You may find you will have better success if you communicate with your seller instead of starting things off on such a bad note."

As you just said, MOST sellers. People always want to make it sellers-against-buyers and buyers-against-sellers. In truth, most buyers and seller are normal people and not scammers. We mostly talk about the problem sales, and each sale is unique. And then in comes this "most sellers" and defense of all sellers.

Let's get real -- SOME sellers (and buyers) are not like most sellers. Some are scammers, on both sides. And they do not deserve the protections of these broad statements (most sellers are good, most buyers are normal) -- they should be looked at by ebay. But instead, ebay is churning problems through an automated process, even though these are individual and unique cases. One size does not fit all on ebay.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 10:39:46 2012
I actually have a little different take on the situation here.

The OP made several mistakes here and the reality of life is that there are often consequences for your mistakes.  Just like everyone is saying the "seller" should pay for their mistakes,(and I do agree) well the buyer must pay for theirs as well.

In fact ths is one of the biggest problems with ebay today.  ebay has made the buyers feel as though they are ERROR PROOF and no matter what they do or do not do, "they are covered by ebay and paypals MAGIC buyer protection policy".  When in real life there is NO "magic unlimited buyer protection policy".

So lets look at the REALITY of this situation.
1. The buyer did not check the feedback first to get an idea as to what they could expect.  DSRS of course do not mean much because they are so contradictory with FB.  
   FB at least helps to see if there is a pattern or history of an issue or issues.

2. Clearly the buyer DID NOT READ the sellers terms or policy BEFORE they bought.
  Again this is where buyers shop on ebay like they are on some sort of cloud OUTSIDE of the real world.  The LAW says that you are held to the stores policies and procedures.  If the buyer (who in this case is also a seller and should have known better) did NOT read the policy BEFORE they bought that the buyer pays return shipping then that is one of the consequences for THEIR mistake.

3. The buyer admits the label on the blanker does say SHERPA and that is what the seller says it was.
   The seller did not make the blanket they are just selling it, my guess is that it came packaged so how would the seller know about the minute details as to the stitching etc.
If the OP was so concerned that it be IDENTICAL to the one they had, which according to their post they were, then they should have asked questions first or maybe went to an actual Sherpa dealer.

I understand that if you buy a name brand item you want to know that you got the actual name brand, but in this case the blanket said SHERPA and as far as the seller most likely knew it was exactly that.  Unless te op can show us that he has a history of selling knock offs, then the seller did nothing wrong here.

Here is the thing, the ebay and amazon culture seem to THINK that they can just CLAIM anything they want and get refunded and often times get to keep the item they seem to "hate, claim is broken" etc.  Online buyers feel as though they should be compensated for "their inconvenience" but that is NOT how life works nor does the law work.

Had the OP bought the same blanket from Wal-mart, Sears, Penny etc and was unhappy they would have to get in their car spend the gas and TIME and stand in line to return it but not only that NONE of the stores will compensate them for their "INCONVIENCE, time, gas etc, and they would NOT send someone to pick up the blanket.

But the online culture seems to feel ENTITLED to not having to be "inconvenienced" or spend the time to return something or even the cost of sending it back.  This is a MYTH that MUST be addressed soon and I think will finally be the more people buy online.
In closing I will again say that I DO believe that if a seller makes an actual mistake then they SHOULD pay for the return shipping and even to resend the item.  However, in this particular case, unless the BUYER can show the seller KNEW these were just cheap knock offs then they have no case; they got a SHERPA just as the listing stated.  
Sellers cannot guarantee a buyer is going to LIKE the item they purchase, they are just responsible to make sure they get what the listing promised they would.

As for an item being broken, the buyer ALWAYS blames the seller even though it is often the CARRIERS fault but that is where insurance kicks in.  Of course we cannot forget the fact that buyers will actually break the item and still try and blame the seller because they do not want to have to REBUY the item because THEY broke it.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Ed This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 10:54:24 2012
If the seller makes a mistake the seller should be willing to pay the return shipping.

I find that ebay is making it harder for sellers to request pictures from buyers when you can't give the buyer your email address any more for them to send you a picture so you can give them their credit. If an item is broken we would like to have some thing to get our credit from the insurance.

Should the seller have to pay the return shipping on fragrance product when it have the manufactures description in the listing and the buyer does not like the scent they purchased?

We feel it is buyer remorse not the description on the listing.  
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Wed Apr 25 10:55:26 2012
@shawn

You are right, I take no issue with what you said, but I was specifically addressing another poster that said they have opened several claims and they do not contact their sellers first.  I wasn't addressing all issues with the claims system.  My posting wasn't intended for that nor was it all inclusive of perceived problems on Ebay.  My post would have been much longer if I had.
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