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Tue Dec 7 2010 22:56:44

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

By: Ina Steiner

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Online sellers, get ready - nearly 20% of Americans plan to return at least one holiday gift, according to a Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll conducted last year.

The January 2011 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, available on newsstands this week, includes tips to help shoppers deal with returning products to retailers.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, "an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves."

It's interesting for online sellers to read what such an organization is advising consumers and to keep it in mind during the post-holiday shopping season. Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert Tod Marks advised consumers to be sure to read the current fine print, and said, "Start by purchasing gifts from retailers with flexible return policies, like web merchants that include free prepaid return shipping labels with purchase."

Consumer Reports has other recommendations, such as making sure consumers know the time frame in which they can return goods; getting a receipt; and "be sure before you open the box" ("Merchants can't resell an item as new after the package has been opened, so they impose a restocking fee, usually 15 percent of the product's cost."

As part of its coverage, Consumer Reports includes a chart containing the return policies of Amazon and eight retailers (below).

How does your return policy stack up against the big guys?




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Dec 8 05:14:33 2010

OUR GUARANTEE:

We want you to be happy with your purchase! If you don’t like it, it’s not sold. This means, if, for any reason, you do not like your purchase when you receive it, let us know & send it back right away. It must be in the same condition and packed as it was when you received it. We will refund your purchase price, less postage charges.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: look around

Wed Dec 8 07:07:42 2010

Everyone selling on Fleecebay has the same return policy. Its whatever Ebay wants at the time of return.

Anyone selling on Fleecebay with a return policy written in their description is a fool.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Kevin

Wed Dec 8 07:55:15 2010

yep, that's ours too.  We'll take anything back no questions.  Just don't gripe about paying return shipping when you won a $200 item for $4

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Dec 8 08:33:12 2010

Item must be returned within
On eBay's return policy - Money back, 7 days after the buyer receives it

On my listings - RETURN POLICY - returns accepted within 3 days of receipt if item is incorrect or misrepresented. Photos, negatives, CDs, DVDs or other MEDIA are not refundable for obvious reasons. - just to keep the rif-raff away.

So far in 14 years, I may have refunded 1 or 2 items.

I'll leave the Blu-ray copies of AVATAR to other sellers, that is not my ballywick.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Rick1313

Wed Dec 8 10:48:40 2010

If any of the above mentioned online retailers have PayPal as a payment option for their online buyers, then their return policies are meaningless, unless the merchant and eBay.inc already have exemptions in place for the big boy accounts.

For us small fry sellers, as mentioned above, eBay,inc. sets up sellers for a downfall when it comes to stating return policies.

On an eBay site, say eBay.com (USA-based site), they allow a seller to state their return policy (even, supposedly, insist that they do. But that's another story).

eBay.com. allows sellers (the option is there when you create/revise a listing) to state that they do not accept returns (or give 7, 14, whatever days). If buyer does not agree to the terms of sale, then buyer should not purchase the item. Pure and simple, right?

Wrong.

eBay.com then completely flips itself and allows a buyer to open an INAD dispute/claim in which buyer is refunded (at seller's expense) the full transaction payment.

--------------

Side Note: I am starting to see some complaints, over on eBay's forum boards, that eBay.com is automatically refunding buyers WITHOUT requiring them to return item (but that's another story).

---------------

If buyer paid with PayPal (owned by eBay,inc.) then they can file an SNAD dispute/claim and have the transaction payment refunded when item is shipped back (buyer not required to aide seller in any insurance claim. But that's another story).

eBay,inc. will wash their hands of the whole affair if seller claims that buyer did not send back what was shipped out (would this be the case if a big boy account made such a complaint against a buyer? But that's another story).

So one can see how it can be shown that eBay.inc. (parent company) is deliberately working in bad faith with users of their sites and services when it comes to seller's terms of sales.

I am not saying that stating no returns is a good business decision (I accept returns if I am at fault). Just saying that eBay,inc. ALLOWS a seller to give that terms of sale clause and then reverses itself, AFTER a sale has occurred, and nullifies it (breaching the UA as a result. But that's another story).

Any affected seller, if they feel it is in their interest, should look into having eBay,inc. explain (IN WRITING) how they allow this deliberate contradiction (when it comes to using their services) to exist. A registered letter, with signature required as value may exceed US$250 in the future, should be sent to their head office.

If eBay,inc. gives a song and dance number and does not DIRECTLY answer your concern, or refuses to reply, then this can be used in any any future remedies that one might seek that will require eBay,inc. to give an answer.

eBay,inc. is liable if seller has experienced any negativity over their bad faith UA and policies.

-------------

As to the opening post and comparing one's business enterprise against these large retailers. It is pretty much a moot point unless you have your own website (as they do) and more control of your offerings (and payment methods), than following a service provider's UA/terms of use.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Of course...

Wed Dec 8 11:01:34 2010

...you won't get many responses, Ina, since most of the posters here are not sellers, they spend they're time complaining. The successful ones are busy selling.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 8 11:41:34 2010

I have a normal return policy.

But I have to say that I wouldn't shop at a store that has a return policy with a long time frame or with no time limit. That goes, especially for stores that sell clothing. EW-w-w-w

And if a store gives customers a 90 day return policy, then what was the customer doing with that merchandise all that time? Using it, of course. So when you shop at stores like that, you are risking getting a used item, which might or might not have customer induced flaws. It is certainly not a factory fresh item. And if store are taking a restocking fee from the old customer, they are still making money if it sells again, even more so.

So many things being done now are a real sham. Free shipping--no such thing. Liberal return policies are a gimmick at best and a danger to the next customer at worst.

Items can be carefully repackaged so you would never know that it wasn't a factory fresh item.

If I want to buy used stuff, then I want to know that it was used, and want to pay less for it.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Dec 8 12:08:22 2010

@ Of course...

"...you won't get many responses, Ina, since most of the posters here are not sellers, they spend they're time complaining. The successful ones are busy selling."

You mean like you??

BTW, it's their time (plural possessive) NOT they're time (they're is a subject noun)

Of course... is, of course, SNAD.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Suzanne Wells
Web Site

Wed Dec 8 12:25:01 2010

I am a big believer in a return policy as a strategy for getting more sales. A fair return policy creates trust with the buyer before the sale. I accept returns, for whatever reason, within 30 days of purchase - with a disclaimer that the item must be returned in original condition. Buyer pays return shipping.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Rich

Wed Dec 8 15:29:47 2010

I pay for both shipping costs and give full refund.  If it's my mistake the buyer should not lose a dime.  Or I just give full refund and let buyer keep item.  Luckily, only about 1 out of every 1,000 orders do I have a problem with

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Rick1313

Wed Dec 8 17:33:47 2010

To Of Course's post...

As I posted above, to really address Ina's question, ''How does your return policy stack up against the big guys?'', one has to have their own website and know if payment processor's (like PayPal) allow unique website sellers (not those using a service provider) to have THEIR terms of sales override any terms of use that the payment processor states in the UA and/or policies.

I do not believe there are very many vendors (if any at all) of that caliber who go around and post on public forum boards.

So, it is only small potatoes that we see doing all the posting.

And we small potatoes have to go by what the service provider and payment processor says we have to do when a buyer files a complaint.

Anyone giving an answer should state if they sell strictly from their own website (not asking to give the name) and if they allow a third party (ex. PayPal) to process the transaction payment.

If you are strictly using service providers (eBay,inc., Amazon, Etsy, etc.) then what they say, not what you say, goes.

The problem with eBay,inc. is that they contradict the information they provide to sellers. Especially when it comes to using THEIR payment processor (PayPal).

I notice that the ''Of Course'' poster did not refute any of what I said in my previous post.

I also like how ''Of Course'' knows which posters on AB are actual sellers and which are not.

That's one mighty impressive crystal ball you have.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Troglodyte

Wed Dec 8 20:54:55 2010

--7 day return policy
--no restocking fee
--buyer pays return shipping on most returns. If ebay starts requiring sellers to pay return shipping, there will be a mimimum 15% restocking fee or more or a increase in my prices with an explanation why
--my error, I pay the return shipping
--Pottery Barn rule
--buyer won't help with insurance due to alleged "damage," returns a different item, or returns an empty box?" Buyer will be reported to USPS Postal Inspector for possible mail fraud and will be sued in small claims court along with ebay for promoting and encouraging mail and seller fraud.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Ima Troll
Web Site

Wed Dec 8 22:57:50 2010

60 days no quibble.
Must be in same condition as originally shipped.

Purchaser pays return postage.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Mister Tubbles

Fri Dec 10 04:39:55 2010

Why don't you ask ebay about their return policy. I'm just a seller and have no say in the matter. Some "venue", huh?

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: dowhatyoulikeimdone

Sat Dec 11 05:32:06 2010

returns accepted for any reason for a full refund including return shipping costs.
refund and move on.if you have enough happy customers percentage wise you can absorb the losses.

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: stilltheybustmyniagaras

Sun Dec 12 09:32:13 2010

bend over backwards ,jump through hoops,still they drive me crazy,i should work in a circus its easier

How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?   How Does Your Return Policy Stack up?

by: Stockmiser Hype

Tue Dec 14 15:22:04 2010

Of course... never did learn to spell properly.

Did you John z50com Osborne Ebay Pays My Bills?



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