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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?
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Readers Comments

Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: mrsc5inla This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 10:59:11 2012
Good sellers would pay the return shipping.  But, from what you stated about the sellers feedback would have made me say, No Thank You and move on. If there are that many negatives and neutrals, stay away from the 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 11:01:39 2012
@justthefacts

I really disagree with you.  It was the sellers responsibility to ship exactly what was described in the listing.  It's really quite simple.  And if they don't, then they need to take care of their customer and fix the problem.  PERIOD.  This isn't about who made more mistakes.  While the buyer could have looked things over a little closer, that does not change that they did not ship what was purchased.  The seller shipping a different blanket overrides any other perceived mistake by the buyer.  The seller needs to step up and be responsible.  If this is the way they choose to run their business, then I hope they are ran off Ebay very soon.  As it is sellers like this that give the good ones bad names too.
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 11:21:16 2012
Marie @ just the facts..... thank you so much... you're absolutely right and I appreciate your stance.  I looked at the photo, it's the same as what I wanted and what I expected.  Am I as a buyer, expected to write to the seller to ask if the item that they're shipping is identical to the one in the photo?  For example, if a person buys a silver cat charm for a bracelet, should they contact the seller to make sure they're getting a cat charm and not a dog charm?  The photo is supposed to be what is received.

SHAWN.... I didn't open the case until after SPEAKING by phone to the seller and it was obvious they weren't going to cover the return shipping (AND I might even be charged for a restock fee)!!

I sell and if I sold an Egyptian cotton set of sheets and instead sent out a no name set of cheap sheets, I'd expect FLACK!!  That's basically what this seller did.  IN FACT..... the package itself DOES NOT say ''Sherpa''.  Why jump all over me when you don't have the facts?  
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 11:32:36 2012
@valencia57

Your claim will protect you from having to pay a restocking fee.  Your seller, at this time, has no way to enforce that.  With your claim, once the item has been returned, then a refund will take place and it will be for the full value you paid originally.  Have you called Ebay yet?  What did they say about the label?

Come June, there is something in that Opt In Refund Management program regarding restocking fees.  It hasn't been fully explained to my knowledge yet.  Not sure how it will affect claims, we will just have to pay close attention to the new method.  And keep in mind that while this new program is an Opt In thing come June, Ebay has openly said that at some unannouced later date, this program will be manditory.  so we need to stay educated on this subject and voice our opinions to Ebay BEFORE it is manditory.
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 12:58:12 2012
@Valendia57, I think you are jumping on the wrong person here. I am totally on your side and I had quoted someone else's comment.

And to the other poster's suggestion that you are wrong because you got a Sherpa, that's ridiculous. You should get what the listing says you get. The law also would say that you should get what you paid for.
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 20:40:33 2012
This is the first I've heard of this Opt In Return Management - what is it ? Is it only for stores, or is it all sellers ? Where can I find information about it (on eBay) ?

I have sold on eBay for 15 years and also sell on my Ruby Lane shop. I stand behind all my sales in both places.

If I make a mistake I expect to pick up all the buyer's costs in making it right along with issuing a refund of purchase price. Depending on circumstances I sometimes additionally offer a discount on a future purchase as a further apology.

eBay used to be so much fun. It seems to have evolved into very unpleasant games, with how to beat the scammers always in mind.  
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 20:49:44 2012
@timeaftertime

It was in the spring update announcement.  Here is a link to Ebay help pages that describes it.  And they do say that some day in the future this will me manditory.

New way to manage returns right from My eBay
Starting the week of May 28, eBay will begin introducing a new optional way to manage returns that is intended to be the long-term return solution for all transactions on eBay. This new process virtually automates returns for you and your buyer—even automatically refunding your final value fees.

Here’s how it works:


•To initiate a return, your buyer simply clicks “Return this item” next to the transaction in My eBay, chooses a reason, and prints a return shipping label and packing slip. You’re automatically notified.
•eBay pays for the return shipping upfront and then either charges the buyer’s PayPal account or adds it to your next invoice, depending on who you specified pays for shipping.
•When you receive the item, you simply click a button to issue a refund. Your final value fee for that transaction will show as a credit on your next seller invoice and a portion of your PayPal fees will also be refunded.

http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/returns.html
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Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 21:36:42 2012
@ Marie,

Thank you so much ! I must have missed this somehow. I very much appreciate your providing the link.

It sounds wonderful in print but I have strong reservations about people misusing what should be a reasonable system.

I did hear about the "partial refund" plan, and am guessing this is related.

Thanks again !!
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Jane Dough This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 21:53:20 2012
I've got a buyer returning a $32 Gucci bag cause she says there were two dead bugs in the box. Is it fair that she pay both way shipping?  I think so.  
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: Just My Humble View This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Apr 25 23:32:03 2012
Considering the wide variety of merchandise sold on eBay, there is no ''one way fits all'' answer to the question of whether the buyer or seller should pay return shipping. I buy AND sell on eBay.

I feel that any time the seller makes an error or omission in the description, the seller should pay return shipping. If a broken item is asked to be returned, the seller should pay shipping.

However ... when there are multiple photographs of an item, and it is thoroughly described (all measurements are defined, all materials are defined, any defects pictured and noted in the written description including dimensions of the defect) if the buyer decides to return the item, the buyer should pay return shipping.

If a buyer who purchased an item described precisely (such as 8'' Tall x 9'' wide x 2'' thick) wants to return it because they didn't think it would be 'that big' it is the buyer's error, and they should expect to pay return shipping.

 
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
       
Thu Apr 26 01:39:09 2012
@timeaftertime

With all respect, if you feel that new Return Management thing is good for sellers, I strongly suggest you re-read it and digest what it is saying.  This thing is terrible and will significantly hurt some small sellers.

With this new thing, buyer can notify Ebay that they want to return an item, get the shipping label printed and then the seller is notified.  So in other words, the buyer opens the claim and gets authorization to return it to you BEFORE anything at all is said to you.  The label Ebay provides the buyer could be at your expense, depending on what Ebay has decided to do.  This new policy has some very bad things in it and just pretty much gives the buyer way too much authority over a seller.

@JustMyHumbleView
Unless I overlooked it, I don't think anyone on this thread even suggested that it was like a one size fits all.  From what I've read, people have been pretty specific.  If the seller is at fault, then the seller should step up and pay the returned shipping.
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.
       
Thu Apr 26 02:20:20 2012
I agree this return label thing has nightmare written all over it. So eBay is going to be judge & jury, giving free reign to buyers. If sellers are charged for the return label, how will eBay know the shipping cost to charge? The same one used in shipping to the buyer? If that is the case, will all sellers have to use only eBay's shipping? What if someone bought multiple items from a seller but wants to return one? I can see scammers having a field day on this.
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
       
Thu Apr 26 09:21:48 2012
Ebay's going to provide the buyer with a shipping label.  Therefore, they will know how much the shipping costs are.  It will probably work much like many other large retailer's return labels work.  Once the carrier has it and weighs it, they then calculate the charges and that is what is paid.

And yes, this new system is down right scary.  My advice when this comes into play is make sure when you set it up [as there will be some options] make sure you check that you require an RMA number.  Even if you really don't, make sure you say you do.  That is the ONLY way you will be notified BEFORE a label is created by Ebay.  They will give you about 24 hrs to respond with a RMA number and therefore during that time you may have a chance to work things out with your buyer.  If you don't require a RMA number, you will NOT be notified before the label is created.  

As to partial shipments being returned, that will be interesting in how they handle that.  Ebay has also announced that in certain cases, they will force partial refunds.  Now this one really got me.  Ebay is going to determine the value of whatever problem there is.  OMG talk about SCARY !!
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Apr 26 10:35:05 2012
As a seller, I'd refund you 100% and tell you to just keep the blanket.
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.
       
Thu Apr 26 10:57:59 2012
We blame ebay for their BAD policies and creating a HORRIBLE environment for both buyers and sellers and we SHOULD because they have done exactly that but Amazon is no different when it comes to these things.

Both venues have created an unrealistic ENTITLEMENT and AGGRESSIVE buyers who are being taught that they can treat sellers like dirt, claim anything they can imagine to get refunded and the product and because they are a "buyer" the seller is FORCED to sit back and take it.  All while the venue get the glory and makes more and more money regardless how much their own customers/sellers LOSE because of their BAD FAITH policies.

PROOF which is required by LAW with any claim is not even in ebay or Amazons vocabulary.  All the buyer has to do is CLAIM it and that is enough for them.

What buyers REFUSE to understand is that THEY are a BIG part of the reason costs are going up.  Just like B&M stores have to account for shop lifting in their prices, online sellers are forced to do it as well, but now ecommerce sellers have to account for shipping costs two ways on top of the THEFT, especially if they sell on ebay and use paypal.

But what I still find even WORSE than ebay and Amazon is the fact that a majority of SELLERS even on this board alone are THE HORRIBLE buyers we all complain about.  Many who sit here and complain are the EXACT type buyers THEY complain about.

The OPS issue is the perfect example.

They did so many things wrong, which so many of us complain about buyers not doing such as read the policies etc then COMPLAINING later about it.  Besides, they got FREE SHIPPING to begin with so it isn’t like they are out shipping both ways.

But because they mention they are also a seller, the board seems to jump to her aid and IGNORE all of the things she did wrong, and immediately BLAME THE SELLER, NEVER asking to SEE the blanket she says is "TOTALLY DIFFERENT" than the picture.  Was it a totally different color or just a different SHADE of the color?

How many of you supported her opening up a claim without ANY PROOF to back up her clam. TOO MANY!

Her claim may be true but unless we see PROOF we do not know for sure.  But again, NO ONE even asked questions about her claim, everyone just IMMEDIATELY blamed the seller.

What this proves to me is most of you are HYPOCRITES!  You cry FOUL when it happens to you but then SUPPORT it being done to others.

I know this post won't win me "friends" but that is okay, I am too busy for friends anyway, I am willing to spare time for trying to get FAIRNESS and TRUTH into ecommerce.

It is time for people to LOOK IN THE MIRROR before they start pointing fingers at others.  Besides, I am personally TIRED of you HYPOCRITE SELLERS! I BLOCK you every time I find you.

So many sit here and tell us how WONDERFUL they are as sellers but I am sure that if we see your actual FN and ratings, many of you are NOT as WONDERFUL of sellers as you claim.

I know this because I have had MANY sellers DEMAND same or next day shipping which I do NOT offer but am often able to do and do when possible but yet when I look at their own feedback and DSRS they show very LOW stars in shipping and pretty much everything they demand from me.  I also find that buyers will try and DICTATE the shipping price to me as well.

But in FAIRNESS, I do also have a large amount of GOOD, HONEST and VERY nice seller/buyers as well.

You HYPOCRITES know who you are, so just know that you are NOT going unnoticed and what comes around goes around.  So the next time you get a ROTTEN buyer, don't cry FOUL think of it as PAYBACK!  And remember, every time YOU are a rotten buyer, EXPECT to get AT LEAST one rotten buyer in return on top of the average rotten buyer we all get no matter how good and honest we are as buyers and sellers.  The extras are thanks to ebay.

I will again make my position clear. I DO believe that SELLERS are responsible for THEIR mistakes and SHOULD pay for return shipping and even resending the correct item, I do it EVERY time I make a mistake (thankfully that is not too often but does happen).  

However, if the BUYER makes a mistake I am NOT willing to pay for it.
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.
       
Thu Apr 26 11:07:44 2012
@AngelaTC.. This is WHY ebay creates the HORRIFIC policies they do and WHY buyers are CONSTANTLY cheating sellers.

ebay and BAD buyers know there are many sellers like you claim to be who will just give the buyer whatever they demand no questions asked.

This may sound like a good policy but it is not, it just creates bad buyers and behavior which infects ALL sellers.

But then my queston to you is.  If you are this "nice and honest" why would you even be selling such crappy items in the first place and selling them as something they are not?
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.
       
Thu Apr 26 11:42:39 2012
TO JUSTTHEFACTS!!!!
I'm the buyer you've bashed. Let me reiterate for you (and if YOU'D like photos, I'll be glad to send them to you). The blanket is not the same - not the same edging, NOT SHERPA, NOT PLUSH MINK (both as stated in the title). I AM NOT THE ONE WHO MADE A MISTAKE!!!!!!!  I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY THE RETURN SHIPPING. You say, the initial shipping was free.  So What??  This still doesn't mean I should have to pay to return the item that in no way is like the one in the ebay listing.  You don't know me and I RESENT your implication that I'm trying to scam a seller out of anything.  I did nothing wrong, except not look at the seller's feedback.  I AM NOT A HYPOCRITE SELLER!!!!! I am an extremely HONEST person and for you to say that you hope I receive payback is so telling of you as a seller!  In fact.... do you happen to be the seller of this shoddy blanket.... how is YOUR feedback?  Am I hitting a little too close to home for you?
Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's   Should Buyer Pay Return Shipping for eBay Seller's
by: jb5710 This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Apr 26 12:40:31 2012
I didn't read all the comments but the one about going to the resolution center is what one can do because there it states about receiving an item that wasn't what was described, something like that and you can then submit a claim through ebay and see how it is resolved in that way.
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
       
Thu Apr 26 22:07:11 2012
@justthefacts

I understand your anger, but the oP here is not at fault.  This OP really should have the seller's full attention and the seller should be stepping up and taking care of their buyer.  This one is completely the seller's fault and it even appears that the seller may have done it on purpose.

I do not mean to take away from you anger as it is important and has merit.  I right now have a buyer that apparently gave me a bad address to ship to, the items were returned to me.  I'm still waiting to hear from my buyer, she hasn't responded to my email yet, but I've been in situations like this before.  Some buyer get mad as heck at the seller for not shipping it to the right place and some don't.  Some think we should have known they moved some don't.  It can be a mess.  And I agree that Ebay does breed buyers that feel entitled.  It's a battle sometimes.  

That is why I'm very grateful that most buyers are like the OP.  Good and honest.  Most of my buyers are wonderful, just like this OP.  Valencia tried to work directly with the seller to resolve the issue.  That didn't work out well for her, so she had to file a claim to get stuff fixed.

By the way Valencia, did you call Ebay about a label?  What happened?  Update please.
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.
       
Thu Apr 26 22:54:07 2012
@Valencia57....I clearly hit close to home for YOU I SEE.

No I am NOT the seller who sold you the blanket.  Nice try trying to MISDIRECT attention from yourself though.

I see things for what they ARE no matter WHO is right or wrong.  If the seller is wrong then I will defend a buyer, if a buyer is wrong then I will defend a seller, it is that simple.

The fact that you IGNORE the part where I say that if it is the sellers error then yes the SELLER should pay return shipping says a lot.  It also makes me understand better how you chose to IGNORE to read the sellers return policy as well.  You seem to pick and choose what you want to read and hear.  But the fact that I even QUESTIONED your claim set you OFF, speaks VOLUMES!

I did not say you were lying I just QUESTIONED your claim and said everyone else should as well BEFORE telling you to go file a claim.  This is what these boards are often FILLED with complaints about.

Just because you CLAIM something does NOT make it true.  You are absolutely right when you say "I do not know you". And for that reason alone I have NO reason to just take you at your claim or word.  But I guess it does not matter that all of the sellers who agreed with you do not know you either, it just matters that they sided with you and that is good enough for you because that is what you WANTED all along.

I also was NOT calling you personally a hypocrite.  I was addressing ALL hypocrites and reminding them what comes around goes around.  The fact that you took it personally says maybe the comment HIT HOME to YOU!  I also did not say” I hope that YOU receive payback”.

Here is what I actually said…

“You HYPOCRITES know who you are, so just know that you are NOT going unnoticed and what comes around goes around.  So the next time you get a ROTTEN buyer, don't cry FOUL think of it as PAYBACK!” And remember, every time YOU are a rotten buyer, EXPECT to get AT LEAST one rotten buyer in return on top of the average rotten buyer we all get no matter how good and honest we are as buyers and sellers.  The extras are thanks to ebay.”

Isn’t the TRUTH of why you are lashing out at ME is because I am not jumping on the bandwagon to just AGREE with you without question.  After all, I made it CLEAR that I agree a seller is responsible for giving what is PROMISED and paying for their mistakes.  So if you are entitled to return shipping then I agree but until I seen some proof, I am left with questions based on your posts.

But instead of just answering my questions and showing us a picture of the item you received and the one the seller was selling, in a CALM and HONEST PERSON manner, you chose to try and turn your anger on me, TWIST what I actually said, and even try and make it as though I am the seller because I questioned your claim.  What HONEST person does that?

You know good and well I am NOT the seller but you would rather people believe that I might be in order to try and discredit my comments and questions to you.

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