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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2776 - April 05, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 2

eBay Confirms Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds

By Ina Steiner
April 05, 2012

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eBay confirmed it is adding a provision to its Buyer Protection Policy in which, in some cases, eBay may refund part of the cost of the item to the buyer and receive reimbursement from the seller to cover differences between the item described and the item actually received, such as small parts missing or minor repairs needed.

eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff said eBay is currently notifying all users about the policy updates, sending them in a staggered fashion. Hoff said that regardless of when users receive their notifications, they will have 30 days before the updates go into effect.

Hoff added, "It's important to note that the update is meant to streamline instances in which high-priced items that arrive not as described can be repaired or have parts replaced for a fraction of the original cost - saving both buyers and sellers time in the resolution process."

She said there are strict criteria to qualify for this policy update, and it does not allow any of the following:

  • It does not allow eBay to force a partial refund for subjective differences in price (i.e. Buyer purchases s a VS-2 diamond and it appraises as a SI-2 instead; a partial refund to cover the difference cannot be applied. The only option is to have the buyer return the item for a full refund.)
  • It does not allow eBay to force a partial refund for anything that was not part of the original listing, or any damage caused as a result of the transaction or item (i.e. Buyer purchases an AC adapter for a phone, but the seller sends the wrong adapter, and the adapter damages the phone when plugged in. We cannot reimburse the buyer for repairing that phone; the only option is to have the buyer return the AC adapter for a full refund.)
  • It does not allow eBay to force a partial refund for any costs incurred by the buyer that were not part of the listing (i.e. We cannot force a partial refund to cover a buyer's customs fees on CBT items).

Sellers have expressed grave concern over eBay's ability to dictate their refund and returns policies.

The new provision takes effect on June 19, 2012.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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