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eBay Sellers Weigh in on eBay Mandatory Managed Returns

eBay is making a major change to the way buyers return items to sellers, and the overwhelming majority of sellers surveyed disagree with the policy. When asked, “Do you think eBay should institute the managed returns policy for all sellers,” 94% of survey respondents said no.

By next year’s holiday shopping season, all sellers will be forced into eBay Managed Returns, also known as Hassle Free Returns. And while the new policy is meant to make it easier for buyers to return items for any reason, the change may result in more listings offering a no-return policy to avoid the Managed Returns program, according to a survey of eBay sellers conducted by EcommerceBytes.

While only 15% of respondents currently have a no-returns policy, after Managed Returns becomes mandatory for listings with returns, 55% of respondents said they would institute a no-returns policy.

One of the reasons for sellers’ attitudes may have to do in large part with the types of returns they deal with on eBay. 62% of respondents said they have experienced returns due to buyers remorse, while 36% of respondents said they have experienced returns as part of an attempt by buyers to scam them.

Over the past 12 months, have you experienced any transactions where the buyer has requested to return an item? (Check all that apply)

No, I’ve had no return requests 23.3%
Yes – due to buyer’s remorse 62%
Yes – due to an error on my part 25.2%
Yes – due to an error by a third party 11.9%
Yes – as an attempt to scam me 36.2%

Another reason for disliking eBay’s mandatory managed returns is due to the type of item sold – sellers gave additional perspective on eBay’s new managed returns policy in the comments section of the survey, a small representation follows:

No returns on Health and Beauty products.

Sellers who sell pre-owned items particularly in the clothing, shoes and apparel categories should not be forced into the managed returns process. Of all the thrift, resale and consignment stores I shop at, only 2 large chains allow any returns.

If you are seller listing items like vintage car parts, antiques, etc. it is not appropriate. If you are selling items that you could list on Amazon, then it makes sense since it’s a new item for resale.

Anything custom made should not have a returns policy and if they are paying actual cost of say 4-500.00 for freight on cabinets, why should I pay for return shipping because they changed their mind on stain.

Right now, eBay policy interferes with carrier insurance claims because returns void the insurance and causes the seller to lose money.

Don’t push a no-hassle returns policy on your sellers until you’ve worked out all the kinks. Last night I wasted two hours on the phone with eBay customer service, merely trying to clear up a mess my buyer made unintentionally in the process of returning an item.

Leave sellers the option to opt out or amend your outrageous postage costs.

eBay are continually shouting about how they monitor the track record of buyers and sellers. So this time they should consider the sellers track record. Those who have received complaints for their returns should be opted in, those that have a properly functioning and acceptable alternative should not. eBay should also consider the costs.

I opted in to managed returns and have had 4 returns through it. 2 were for buyer’s remorse, and 2 falsely claimed SNAD to get their shipping paid both ways. The former 2 count against me as defects, and there is no way to remove them. Because of this, I am planning on not offering returns at all in the future, since the managed returns system makes it too easy to get defects.

The vast majority of sellers know what they are doing and already provide great service. Trying to shoehorn all of us into a 1 size fits all returns service is idiotic and just makes things that much harder for sellers.

Managed returns will only leave sellers even more open to dishonest buyers who will select that the item was damaged etc to avoid paying to return items.

Almost 20% of respondents were unsure how they will handle returns when eBay’s new Managed Returns policy goes into effect and the same percentage said they were uncertain whether they would change their selling behavior.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.