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When eBay Sellers Should Escalate Item-Not-Received Claims

While it might seem counter-intuitive, there are some cases where eBay recommends sellers escalate claims buyers have filed against them. We heard several instances during a recent eBay Town Hall meeting where eBay panelists advised sellers to escalate cases in which buyers are asking them about about the status of shipment or saying the item hasn’t arrived. Such cases are worrisome to sellers, because eBay counts opened cases against their seller performance record.

One caller who said he gets about 3 – 4 inquiries a month from buyers asking where their packages were, said customers open up a case instead of asking him thanks to eBay’s new system set up within the last year or so. (The seller also noted that sometimes the eBay tracking showed no delivery when the USPS website showed the package delivered.)

The caller said he had two cases in which customers opened claims against him for non-delivery when the tracking showed the packages had been delivered. eBay managers told the seller to escalate the claim in those cases, but the seller said he wanted to be a good seller and not put buyers through that. eBay’s Jim “Griff” Griffith said when sellers escalate cases, the buyer wouldn’t have to do anything. However, eBay’s Brian Burke said if the seller was well within the threshold, he should not feel he has to escalate everything, “and I would actually encourage you not to.”

We checked in with eBay to learn more about escalating claims when buyers open claims for item not received.

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore explained, “If valid tracking is used and the item arrives, then the buyer cannot open an “Item not Received” case (because eBay can see that the item was delivered.) If no tracking was used, or if the tracking shows that the item has not been delivered, the buyer must wait until one day after the last day of the Estimated Delivery Date window to open a case. Thus, our advice to sellers is: Ship with a trackable shipping method, and upload the tracking number upon shipment.”

Moore provided the accompanying screenshot, explaining, “When a buyer selects “I haven’t received my item yet” and it is on or before the expected delivery date, they see the message below and are unable to open a case. Therefore, there is nothing to escalate because no case exists.”

Moore continued, “If the buyer has opened an “Item Not Received” case, and the seller has proof of delivery, then the seller should escalate the case to eBay for help, providing the delivery information. When eBay reviews the case and sees the valid proof of delivery, we will find in favor of the seller, and the seller will not have a “case open” defect recorded for this transaction. And finding in favor of the seller means we “erase” the original “open case” defect.”

In explaining the new Defect Rate metric that eBay will use to measure seller performance beginning in August, eBay states, “Just as today, sellers can have a maximum of 0.3% of eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Purchase Protection closed cases without seller resolution over the most recent evaluation period. That means the buyer opened the case, you weren’t able to resolve it, the buyer reached out to eBay or PayPal to review it, and eBay found you responsible.”

Therefore, it would seem crucial for sellers to escalate cases filed against them to show proof of delivery in cases of Item Not Received.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.