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Mon May 7 2012 15:52:14

eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All

By: Reader
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Dear Ina:
I sell jewelry on eBay and some of it is quite pricey. I was looking at ecommerce sites like Bluefly and others and even though they have a 60 day return policy on many items they also have a no return policy for estate items, fine jewelry and no returns if their tag is removed from these items so the item cannot be worn or tampered with..it is a special security tag. They say that if the tag is removed and they receive a return, the item will be sent back immediately and not accepted.

Under the new mandate, eBay has no final sale and no way to segment the market between high end valuable items that should be treated differently 4, 5, 6 figures and more vs the less expensive items and no differentiation in return policy between the "crown jewels" of ebay and other items.

My items are not as pricey as some sellers that have items over $100,000 at times. I suppose those sellers will not offer a return at all.

We are not talking about shoes here or trinkets. Ebay has to differentiate between expensive items that are at risk for cons and less expensive items. I am not worried about less expensive items either but to treat all items as if they were at the same risk and have no final sale items or some way to tag them. I guess these sellers will have to do their expensive items on websites and the less expensive items will have to stay on eBay?

I do not think that eBay has thought through this policy very well. We are both going to try this out but are a bit concerned that this could be a huge disaster. We have already had one loss that I do not want to get into here only because I don't want to give anyone any ideas.

I don't think that eBay realizes that Amazon is not selling the same high end items, estate items that eBay has been selling and eBay may be risking the loss of a large market...However that is what happens when you have an investor focused short term view vs a visionary running a company that is looking long term and working on the infrastructure and long term strategy and how to differentiate themselves.

eBay has not thought this out too well. It is fine for some items but their high end items that give them some cache may be disappearing. We shall see how they protect sellers on this...
Rachel




Comments (17) | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon May 7 17:29:31 2012
Wow! Just reading that letter made me nervous! There's absolutely NO WAY that I'd ever consider selling something so expensive on eBay.

In my opinion, eBay is a shoplifters and scammer's paradise. The risk is just too great to contemplate putting MY ''expensive'' items on eBay. (And my most expensive items are less than $100.)

As a rule, I'll never list anything on eBay that I can't afford to have stolen from me.

With regard to the OP's topic... she's correct. eBay's OSFA policies make things much more difficult for sellers. Smart sellers of high-end items will likely move on to other venues, and just list their low-end trinkets to attract attention and to build their customer database.

That's pretty much the only thing I use eBay for. Just a few low-end and ''core'' items. Many sold with minimal profit... just so that I can introduce myself and siphon-off those customers to my web site where the REST of the REAL merchandise can be found.

eBay is doing themselves NO FAVOR when they come up with policies like that.
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 7 19:59:45 2012
At this point a return policy is not mandantory, it is only if you want to play CHASE THE 20% CARROT game.

Just give them anoteher change or two and they will come up with another CARROT to chase for the 20%.


For me, giving free shipping and reurns is not worth the measly 20%.  If it were 20% of ALL fees, then MAYBE, but even that, I cannot take returns and then resell them. Besides i do not sell USED items.

People are going to end up with a LOT of USED and BROKEN items with the return policy.

I still for the ife of me CANNOT understand how saving only 20% on your FVF is worth even free shipping let alone one day handling and returns.  You have to sell HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars a year MIN to make it even pay for ONE extra person but if you are selling that much you need MORE than one person unless of course you are selling a very expensive piece like the OP mentioned.

I think ebay thinks every country has SLAVES like in china working for them.
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 7 20:46:00 2012
I don't really understand what ''returns'' means.  Does that mean a free trial period, and if you don't like it send it back and we'll give you back your money and throw that item out?

Who's gonna pay for that?

A year or so ago eBay said they had surveyed customers and that ''returns'' were very important to their buyers.

I find that very hard to believe.  I am sure it was how they asked the question:  

''Would you rather buy on eBay and pay twice as much and get free shipping and 14 day returns, or would you rather pay half as much?''

Ask that question, eBay.

Mail order returns are so ''messy'', only a fool would buy online or mail order if they wanted easy returns.  

That's why BestBuy complains about people coming in their store, selecting the item they want, then buying it for half as much online.  Why is it twice the price at the store? It costs money to put the item in the store and staff it.  Online, there is a possibility of it costing much less to run that business.  Less overhead.

That the eBay company wants all it's sellers to accept returns for 14 days is so silly I can't imagine how stupid they think their customers are. There's a cost to free shipping, a cost to easy returns, a cost to express shipping, a cost to end to end tracking. People don't want it if it's gonna be on their bill!

It's already started, by the way.  I was looking for a blender, and the same one you can buy for $20 at Walmart is $37 with ''free'' shipping.  Only a fool would think that shipping was actually free!

Why would anyone pay $37 for an item you can buy at Walmart for about half?  Ridiculous.

eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Mon May 7 23:32:33 2012
eBay is sending sellers a message.

Do what they want now and you will get your 20% discounts. It will not be long before 30 day returns will be required to maintain the 20 % discount.

By this time next year, I am betting eBay will require all sellers accept returns with a 14 day window and their goal is to mandate 30 day returns across the board.

Make no mistake, eBay does not care if they decimate categories. They do not care if small sellers pack up and leave,... at the end of the day, that is their goal.

As eBay attracts more big brands and large retailers, they care less and less about small sellers. As the brands and boxes move in, small sellers become expendable in increasing numbers, as evidenced by the small seller killing policies that continue to be implemented.

Policy and system changes happening now are designed to let small sellers feel as though it is their idea to leave. The onerous policy changes will continue, each round as odious as the last.

Eventually, the ability to sell on eBay will be determined by annual sales volume - if you do not generate enough sales volume for eBay's liking, they will simply shut you down.

Seller revolts mean nothing to eBay. Buyer revolts...now that would be a different story entirely. The only thing that will turn heads in San Jose is if buyers suddenly stop buying.

eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: ibs This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 8 07:55:31 2012
From what I have experienced.....A no return policy, specified by the seller, is negated by EB & PP buyer protection. A 14 day return policy is more like 45 day for claims to EB/PP  or even 60 day for charge backs from credit companies.  
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Tue May 8 08:50:42 2012
--- ''...or even 60 day for charge backs from credit companies.''

Although nothing is guaranteed, I think it's important to note that most merchant CC processors will not make an instantaneous, unilateral default decision in favor of every buyer who comes along with specious claims that they have a problem.

Apparently this is the eBay/PP way of doing things: No investigation. No arbitration. No review. ~ The eBay/PP heavy-handed anti-seller and pro-scammer/pro-shoplifter policies are a nightmare on steroids.

Sadly, the scammers and online-shoplifters are learning about this and the trend continues to grow. Not long ago someone posted a link to someone's blog where they were BRAGGING about the free stuff they could get on eBay... and how easy it was to do. (I forget if it was this site, or one of the other other auction-related blogs.)

I'd rather take my chances with a traditional CC/merchant account. Even though there is a longer window of opportunity for potential charge-backs... I feel more confident that everyone (including ME) will be given a fair shake, and that ALL of the fact will be considered, and that my own published return policies will be respected and taken into consideration.
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 8 14:33:10 2012
I remember seeing on The People’s Court Judge Malian saying, "I do not go by a decision made by credit card companies or processors, I rule on the law and that many often tend to rule for their customer (buyer) because it benefits them (the cc, paypal, ebay etc), which is why she does NOT even consider their decisions".

I believe she stared to mentioned ebay and paypal directly when mentioning them ruling for the buyer because it benefits them but stopped herself.

As we all know, she is absolutely RIGHT!  But the main point here is that what the ccs and paypal and ebay do is not usually LEGAL or follow the LAW.

The LAW says, BUYER BEWARE and that it is the sole responsibility of the BUYER to know exactly what they are buying regardless if it is new or used.  It does not matter if they only looked at a picture, the price or read every word in the description.

Yes the seller MUST give exactly what was promised but the BUYER has very little wiggle room.  A seller is not held accountable for shades of color, size or quality UNLESS, they were promised SPECIFIC shades, size or quality.

They are also held to the SELLERS store policies even if they are not good policies and buyers do not like them, unless those policies violate a law(s).

The law goes on the premise that the buyer is not being forced to buy from a particular seller so if they do not like the policies buy somewhere else.  It is that simple.

This is the same premise ebay works off of.  Yet they feel that their sellers should not get the same benefits that they enjoy from contract law.

Returns, exchanges or refunds are NOT required by law.  These are added benefits provided by te SELLER if they so choose to offer them.  And even then they can place strict rules on them, such as the OP mentioned of another seller who says the item MUST be returned WITH the original tag attached to them.

What ebay, PP and most ccs have on their side which they EXPLOIT is the fact that most sellers will not take the buyer to court to get their decision thrown out.  This of course is because of the time and costs involved not to mention they would have to travel to the buyers state.

However, when a buyer is taken to court which some have been, 9 out of 10 buyers LOSE even after ebay, paypal, amazon or the cc side with a buyer.  Again, this is because these companies do NOT base their decisions on the LAW, they base them on a BIAS for the buyer in order to try and keep the buyer at the sellers expense.
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: adrian44 This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 8 23:23:52 2012
Annie!
"In my opinion, eBay is a shoplifters and scammer's paradise. The risk is just too great to contemplate putting MY ''expensive'' items on eBay. "

You are so right on target with that remark!
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 8 23:33:27 2012
Well, This reminds me also of how it won't matter what your policy is. Especially after what I just went through.
I had a customer purchase a food grade item recently. They said they purchased a similar item from someone else and liked the other persons better. They said they opened it and tried 5 spoonfuls and didn’t like it. They wanted a refund. I said I am sorry but my policy states that if it has been opened it cannot be returned. So then they changed their story literally THREE different times. The 4th time they said: ‘If you will not give me a refund do I have to open a case?’ So now threatening me. So I am supposed to go against my policy as they opened the item and literally said they opened it when they initially contacted me, that's how they could try the product so they could decide they didn't like it. I called eBay, they said they had my back. They said they could see she was changing her story and making excuses... They suggested she go ahead and open a case and that they would cover me and uphold my policy. Well they didn't cover me and decided to put it under the category of item not as described! I don't even think they read the info I provided... So now our policies don't matter either. So if you plan to sell anything of worth I would hold your breath because obviously anything goes for the buyer to eBay, and I am a Top rated power seller with a 100%. What good is a policy if they will not uphold it?
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: expertbenefits This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 9 01:30:55 2012
It's not just discounts on FVF - remember about being in the search and also that TOP RATEd designation is important when you sell higher end name brands because buyers are worried too. You hear this every day - so if sellers are not high enough in the search and who has not lost patience with the ebay search - and have a lot of competition - PLUS if we don't sell as much and also get hit with higher fees then they are not much of a write off either. TRS helps a seller in the search and you can't be TRS unless you follow the 14 day edict.

On a related topic the other day I called ebay CSR to ask about emailing a return label to a customer. They told me that there is no way to do that on ebay since we don't require that a seller pay return shipping on returns YET. Before they copy other websites and Zappos they have to look at what products they are selling first and use common sense - like Rachel said. A very smart girl...
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 9 02:28:49 2012
Ebay Inc. is nuts.  

Zappos is very expensive, so naturally they have free shipping and free returns.  You are paying for it!

On eBay buyers want a really good deal, they don't buy if the price is too high.  I get emails about that all the time and we are usually the cheapest in our category.

Ebay wants sellers to pay for shipping both ways so people can try things out.  But that makes cheap prices impossible.  Why would anyone buy from an unknown eBay seller for high prices?  It just never happens.  
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed May 9 10:08:32 2012
I can't even imagine someone selling a piece of jewelry on ebay for $100,000 nor can I imagine someone paying that sight unseen from some one on ebay. Perhaps if Tiffany's had their own ebay store, but not too many others. So once you sell and ship that $100,000 piece the buyers has it in their grubby little hands and can say SNAD keep it and get their money refunded as well! Anyone with that kind of expensive stuff to sell needs their own top of the line website  with our own rules, including what is needed for a refund.

I don't accept returns even for my lower value items. Historically what I sell has never been eligible for returns or refunds, even if done in person at a B&M, so why do it through the mail? So glad to be out of ebay and it's whacky ways!
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: BsTs This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 9 11:29:40 2012
My small company updated our returns to 14 days from no returns unless item not described. We sell costumes and vintage clothing along w/ hand made items. I've had 4 returns in 2 months w/ 2 @ a full 30 days. Both opened eBay Buyer Protections against me, one for ''New with Tag'' mistake. Buyer wanted a manufactures tag on an item so he could resell, claimed that his buyers would never believe it was new and not used with out that tag. We make that item and only tag is a care tag. Second return was a buyer/seller who bought solely on picture of a top hat that she claimed was green and not black. Selling this item for over a year, Black is in title and 6 other places in listing along w/ 4 other pics of said hat. Buyer wanted me to replace something I don't sell and waited over the 14 days return to address the problem. I wanted to charge a restocking fee of 20% because both were over eBay required new return policy update. I'm not a rental. I have seen restocking fees of 20% on other listings, including eBay's new sponsored TV show about a high end clothing seller. I lost both cases....eBay claimed my hat looked green to them and that to recoup my restock fee I had to reopen the cases. Wow! What will Halloween season be like! Yikes! Thank You eBay!
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: RCL This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 9 15:01:59 2012
I enjoyed Rachel's letter. I guaranteed satisfaction since I started at eBay 1n 1996. The freedom of a buyer to hold a pricey item for 14 days and then email me on the 14th day to return it, is a window my small business can't afford. It virtually makes every sale conditional. So now, I no longer allow returns and will soon be demoted to ''above average'' :)
I worry that eBay is really skewing buyer expectations in a way detrimental to the site. Who ships every day, for free, and allows 14 day returns? Sellers with 500 of the same item.
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 9 17:37:05 2012
Ina's interview with ebay's new man is the key to the whole thing, ebay cannot make the changes work for everyone, but ebay can make a elaborate return center , a massive buyer protection program and a paypal hold program to support that 100 percent buyer guarantee. However ebay cannot sit down and decipher that this is not going to work for some of our selling categories, common sense either does not exist at ebay or they are just plain stupid. It is already been established that they are criminals it seems as though some judges and justice department employees may have become very wealthy.
I cannot comply with ebay's return policy on my items because they are made for the buyer who bought it after the sale, it cannot be used by anyone else. The ebay buyer protection program is costing ebay a bundle because honest sellers are being caught in the trap and are able to prove the buyer is wrong and ebay is having to pay hence more adjustments to the buyer protection and paypal holds. Buyer fraud is creating this problem and ebay's reluctance to stop buyer fraud is growing the problem, they know they can get the item for free  even when the seller was correct and honest.
The TRS policy is designed to end the 20 percent discount for many, and that money will be used to pay for the buyer fraud that JD didn't count on, he didn't look into it that far.He decided it was okay because he is always right and never wrong and is going to ram ignorant policies down your throat because he is a bully, plain and simple a bully!! HE IS RIGHT!!! NEVER WRONG!!!
Ebay executives are leaving because he is a bully.
I am tired of being bullied aren't you!!!
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed May 9 17:52:03 2012
If all sellers were to change their listings to no returns accepted, change their handling times to five days and use another processor for payments this would stop. If sellers were to tell the buyers paypal is holding your payment I cannot afford to ship it, what would happen? List elsewhere people get prepared because another mass exodus is going to happen on ebay.
eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All   eBay's Return Policy Can't Be One Size Fits All
by: ilkrm This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun May 20 08:29:01 2012
I just sent some bullion silver items to buyers yesterday.  I am hoping the price of silver holds up for 14 days.  I fear that if silver drops, the buyers will want their money back so that they can, essentially, short silver and take advantage of a price drop.  I, like many others, will probably use e-bay for only things I don't care if they are stolen.


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