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EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor – October 13, 2019

Letters to the Editor column
Letters to the Editor column

In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From shipping issues to payment processing, from fees to online marketplace policies, EcommerceBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.

Dear Ina,
I have had a chance to review the eBay Fall Seller Update. Two items greatly concern me:

1) The migration of Terapeak to Seller Hub, with the intent of shutting down Terapeak.com.

It is clear that the intention here is to eventually tier access to Terapeak, first by charging for visibility beyond 90 days, then eventually eliminating it altogether. Eliminating eBay’s “trail” beyond 90 days was likely the impetus for the acquisition of Terapeak in the first place.

2) eBay’s generosity in “allowing” sellers to offer 60 day returns.
Anyone who has been with eBay longer than a couple of years will know that this is the first step on a road to making 60-day returns a de facto requirement on eBay. (Consider that all sellers have a 30-day return policy on SNAD, regardless of their stated policy.)

There is much more to discuss in the Fall Seller Update, but these were the two glaring changes that caught my eye.

Dear Ina,
I recently sold a very unique item to an eBay Buyer who identified themself as “(redacted)”. The sale followed several emails from (redacted) asking various questions about the item, then all of a sudden, they purchased the item at the listed price of $350.00.

Just after the sale, I stumbled upon a warning about selling to this buyer. I decided to go ahead with the sale but I took what I thought were certain precautions to protect myself against any foul play.

I took ten photos of my packing process, showing the item box with its molded foam protective packaging along with each stage of my packing. The first photo showed the shipping box with padding in the bottom, then after placing the item box in the shipping box I showed a three-inch space around all sides of the box. Then I showed foam blocks protecting the item box from the wall of the shipping box and finally the completed package.

Then I shipped the item with a signature required upon receipt. Additionally I added insurance for the total value.

The box was delivered on June 4, 2019. On June 11th, I received a request to return the item along with six photos, four of which showed broken items supposedly from the shipment. The last two photos, however, showed the item’s original box which was undamaged along with the shipping box also undamaged.

Since the item was completely contained in a molded foam protective package, and allowing for my protective packaging, I questioned how the item could possibly have been damaged. It could have fallen off a tall building and survived the impact.

I called eBay and voiced my concerns which as usual, fellow deaf ears. After much research into who the buyer really was (Shop Airlines America) I first checked their BBB rating which was an “F”. There were about six complaints against them, all unanswered.

Then I did further research online and found literally dozens of complaints about this company along with how eBay refused to rule on the side of the Seller in every instance.

I am strongly considering a Class Action Suit against this company and eBay. Even though eBay supposedly will not respond to Class Actions, I found several instances online where they paid several million dollars in damages to eBay sellers over the past several years.

I am currently corresponding with several to Philadelphia Class Action Attorneys and hopefully one of them will agree to take this matter to court.
Sign me,

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Send your letter to the editor by emailing ina@auctionbytes.com with “Letters to the Editor” in the subject line (remember to include your name as you would like it to appear).

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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/.

One thought on “EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor – October 13, 2019”

  1. Regarding Shop Airlines America: I’ve never had problems with them, but they are one of the larger freight forwarding agencies.

    Forwarded items are specifically excluded from the eBay Money Back Guarantee (see “• Items shipped to another address after original delivery” under exclusions in the T&Cs for the MBG.

    I’m not sure based upon the dates whether the items had been forwarded overseas by the time that the claim was raised or whether they were still at the US re-origination warehouse. If you can get them to state that they had been forwarded then you can call eBay CS and have them close the case on the basis that it is not covered regardless of who may be at fault. That removes the threat of negative feedback (although usually the freight forwarders only ever leave generic positive feedback it seems) and you can then negotiate an equitable settlement. You would want to bear in mind that the buyer can probably still have another couple of dips into the dispute process via PayPal and/or a Credit Card recharge request.

    When dealing with items that I believe are being forwarded (usually easy to spot with delivery locations very close to LGA, JFK, MIA and LAX airports etc) then I ask where the item is now so that I can prepare a prepaid return label. If they go on the record and say that it’s been shipped somewhere else then I can get on the phone to CS to try and close the claim as far as eBay is concerned.

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