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Tue Feb 9 2010 10:33:52

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

By: Ina Steiner

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This month, eBay began prominently displaying messaging about its new Buyer Protection Plan on the eBay.com website. eBay responded to some questions I had about the dispute process, which it had announced in April (see "eBay Resolutions FAQs").

Before getting to Senior Director of eBay Resolutions Lynda Talgo's responses, here's some background on the program. Previously, buyers with a problem would use PayPal's resolution center. Now, the new on-eBay resolution process serves as the primary entry point for buyers, regardless of the payment method used in the disputed transaction.

eBay told sellers on January 26, 2010: "We're making a big move to bring buyers and keep them on eBay with the new eBay Buyer Protection program. All over eBay, the message to buyers will be loud and clear: "eBay's got you covered," so buy on eBay with the confidence and satisfaction you expect from a trusted retailer. As always, direct communication between buyers and sellers to get issues resolved will continue to be encouraged."

Here are our questions about the program, from the sellers' perspective, with responses provided by Ms. Talgo.

We're hearing from some sellers that eBay's protection plan does not necessarily honor seller's stated return policy; eBay may refund a buyer for a claim even if the seller says no returns, or returns within a certain time period, or store-credit only, etc. And if eBay reimburses a buyer counter to a seller's policy, what recourse does the seller have?

Lynda Talgo: eBay's buyer protection program does honor a seller's stated return policy when the item arrives within the expected delivery estimate and is described accurately in the listing. In addition, eBay encourages buyers and sellers to work together to resolve disputes.

If the buyer and seller are not able to resolve the issue, and we find that the item is not accurately described, eBay will cover the buyer through eBay Buyer Protection and seek reimbursement from the seller.

It's important to note that eBay Buyer Protection's claims decisions take into account all communications between sellers and buyers, including listing descriptions and other information that help determine the appropriate resolution. If a seller feels the wrong decision has been made, we want the seller to contact eBay Customer Support to file an appeal.

We think last May's AuctionBytes Blog about best practices in ensuring buyer satisfaction outlined some key takeaways.

(Here's a link to that blog post.)

eBay is requiring sellers to set up a payment method to fund disputes in the eBay Resolution Center and for any future reimbursements owed to eBay. Why not take out of PayPal if it buyer paid via PayPal?

Lynda Talgo: eBay Buyer Protection includes several options for sellers to settle their eBay claims. First, eBay encourages buyers and sellers to first work together to solve any disputes. In the cases where this happens, no reimbursement is needed.

In the unlikely event buyers and sellers aren't able to resolve the issue, and the seller is found responsible, the seller can settle the claim via either PayPal or an alternate payment method such as credit card.

eBay does not credit PayPal processing fees that sellers paid for in the original transaction?

Lynda Talgo: eBay always encourages buyers and sellers to resolve disputes together. If a seller takes care of a buyer's issue - for example, by proactively providing a refund - eBay refunds both the eBay fees and the PayPal fees. In a case where the buyer or seller asks eBay to get involved and decide the case, the eBay and PayPal fees are not refunded. This is consistent with the PayPal Online Dispute Resolution process.

With the eBay Buyer Protection Plan, a buyer can file a claim with eBay, and it may refund the buyer without waiting for the seller to say the item has been returned to him/her. The seller is out the item; the cost of the item; the packaging costs; the shipping costs; the eBay insertion fees, and the PayPal processing fees (and possibly the eBay Final Value fees?).

Lynda Talgo: The buyer must return the item to the seller to qualify for a refund unless the buyer obtains manufacturer's or law enforcement certification that the item was not authentic. In most cases, the buyer will pay for return shipping. In some cases, eBay will pay at its discretion.

Here are the criteria for return shipping:
  • Buyers must return the item using trackable shipping with delivery confirmation and signature confirmation for items over $250 or risk not qualifying for a refund if the item is lost in transit. (These are the same requirements sellers must abide by for item not received claims.)
  • If tracking or delivery confirmation is not provided by the buyer returning the item and the item does not appear in a reasonable amount of time, then the seller is not obligated to refund the buyer.


If you have specific questions about the Buyer Protection Program and dispute resolution, please post them in the comments. Let's keep this post on topic, so I can follow up with eBay on additional questions sellers may have.




Comments (48) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Julie

Tue Feb 9 11:19:22 2010

Linda is lying through her teeth!!
Buyers are calling ebay continually to use any excuse to get their money back. Ebay automatically believes buyer, goes into sellers paypal account and immediately refunds buyer.
By ebay doing this, it is the same as breaking into someones bank account, which is against the law!
Read the ebay discussion boards if you don't believe what I am saying!!

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: dimes

Tue Feb 9 11:21:00 2010

Is this new scheme supposed to replace the existing paypal dispute process?

What happens if buyers go directly to their credit cards to get a refund for unsatisfactory merchandise?

Buyers have no particular incentive to bother filing a claim with eBay or paypal unless they paid with a paypal balance or paper payment.

How will eBay's buyer protection deal with payments that are reversed by credit card companies without any prior contact - will they simply pull the money from sellers (ie, no seller protection whatsoever?).    

Is this eBay's attempt to abolish paypal's seller protection, or will that remain in place?

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Hardrock Rules

Tue Feb 9 12:22:12 2010

@ DIMES - John Donhaoe just wants to abolish sellers less than Diamonds in my opinion. If your a Gold Seller or Less I think JD is trying to get us to take the hint. He never keeps to his own sick plans
Since 2008
1. Did away with Feedback towards rotten buyers.

2. Counted Neutral as Negatives till he changed it

3. Best Match 1 then we got used to that, ABRA CADABRA Best Match 2

4. TRS then in April 2010 Standards get stricter ( still 2 more seller releases )

5. Final Value Fee increases during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with Spin Doctors at ebay saying it is growing, on track etc. That fees decreases are awesome, when really a back end fee increase

6. I love the old "YOU SPOKE, WE LISTENED" Yeah right ! The Majority of us speak than Donahoe needs to get his Golden Parachute ASAP, and Best Match needs to go

7. I am TRS and my income has been slashed by 50%, my fees I pay eBay are microscopic compared to what I paid before John Donahoe reared his head announcing he is New CEO

8. This is unreal that eBay thinks new sellers will join and become top sellers, that Top Rated will still stay, the Search will soon be flooded with junk from Store Inventory cluttering it up more than it is, many of will pay, and NEVER get exposure, I love being Top rated, and after a 10 day auction seeing I got 4 views, and 2 actually with my own counter.

9. I want my Divorce from eBay when I say, which will be in the near future. I am sick of thenm deleting sellers comments that tell the truth about the crap that goes on for us sellers.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Fruity

Tue Feb 9 12:59:53 2010

It's a scam to get the sellers paypal funds on their balance sheet. ie use it as their own capital reserve so they dont tie up their own money. What you do is file in your state file as a consumer with about your DEPOSIT ACCOUNT being seized and accessed and violating the FDIC pass through protection you have. Make sure you state that customer accounts are being used to support the corporations risk taking and not on behalf of the customer deposit accounts.


Uriah Heep

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Fruity

Tue Feb 9 13:05:52 2010

and its clear Lynda Talgo is more interested in the buyer protection and how to get more money judging by her linkedin profile ebays centering it all on the Net Promoter Score system. ie Feedback. I think that shows clearly just how much of a "beta" ebay the NPS is

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: kelly

Tue Feb 9 13:24:20 2010

''YOU SPOKE, WE LISTENED''   ROFL

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Gail

Tue Feb 9 14:06:10 2010

"If the buyer and seller are not able to resolve the issue, and we find that the item is not accurately described......"

Who is "we"?  Just how exactly does eBay discern what has been accurately described and what hasn't?   Does the buyer submit photos of the item to eBay?  A buyer can submit a photo of a completely different item, saying it's the one he/she received.   In essence, eBay has to choose who is telling the truth and who isn't.   Unless eBay has experts who will examine the item themselves, this is a completely subjective call.  eBay has a well known tendency to ignore the facts in favor of the buyer.

What dollar value will actually trigger an investigation into the transaction, rather than simply refunding the buyer?  At what value point will eBay actually take the time to do some research into the seller's reputation, the BUYER'S reputation, etc.?  There has to be a minimum...  whether or not eBay will admit is another thing.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Rich

Tue Feb 9 14:18:49 2010

As a seller and occasional buyer; this change I view as positive.  It's completely bogus for a buyer to win an item that is described wrong and then to have to waste time repacking and shipping and then get stuck with the return shipping cost.  I sell media and almost never have returns but when I do I always reimburse the buyer for my mistake. For higher priced items though I understand the possibility of fraudalent buyers.  For me; all of this means nothing now as I'm in the process of transferring my 2.500 items from my Ebay store; onto a spreadsheet for the specific music sites of GEMM and Music Stack.  1/4th or 1/5th the sales but zero upfront fees, never the doubling of fees, no neurotic DSR's and never any wholesale changes that can completely ruin what used to be a fun part time side business. Due to the doubling of fees; I also won't buy anymore on Ebay; so buyer protection makes no difference to me and others who stop selling and also stop buying. Does Ebay understand that many sellers also buy and when they quit selling they also quit buying???

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Smitty

Tue Feb 9 14:19:53 2010

Ina,

I second the questions that Dimes proposes and especially the last one.

In reading the FAQs about the ebay resolution process, they often mention comparisons to the PayPal process. Because of that, you might ask Ms Talgo if ebay is also going to have a ''ebay seller protection program''.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Smitty

Tue Feb 9 14:22:59 2010

@Dimes

The FAQs for the ebay resolution process contain this sentence.

''Moving the process from PayPal to eBay also will allow us to better monitor and prevent buyer fraud or abuse and adapt quickly to seller needs.''

I take that to read,

We are moving the process from PayPal to eBay in preparation for the divestiture of PayPal.

The day is fast approaching, when the sale of PayPal will become a necessity.

I'm digging around now, trying to find my Billpoint password.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Patricia

Tue Feb 9 16:45:46 2010

Sellers need to go here and speak your mind:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/ebay-asks-its-us
ers-for-help-building-new-search-tools/#preview

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Tue Feb 9 17:31:43 2010

Don’t ever forget that to have any chance of understanding anything that eBay says you have to reverse the meaning of what they appear to say a random number of times; only then might you have a still less than 50% chance of knowing what they actually mean.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: J.G.

Tue Feb 9 18:30:54 2010

I am a TRS seller with over 800 feedback. Last fall, I purchased a collectible item from another seller.  It was described as 'mint.'  It was far from being 'mint' when I saw it in person. I contacted the seller who accused me of trying to get it for free, and was quite nasty.  I felt that I HAD to go to Paypal to make the claim that it was 'snad'.  I had never done that before.

 I called them and the customer service rep asked me to describe what was happening and I told her.  After a moment, she asked 'Did the listing say 'mint'?  I said, yes.  That seemed to be the end of the conversation. I was to work out the return with the seller and the seller would return my purchase amount. The seller said she didn't want me trying to replace her 'mint' item with one of my 'broken trash items'.  I paid for shipping it back and upon receipt, she was to issue me a refund.  I think I waited 10 days for the refund after tracking showed delivery of the item.  I then had to contact Paypal again and they almost immediately credited the original sale amount to me.

Sometimes there are bad sellers.  I was shocked at the abusive treatment I received from this seller, so I am of mixed feelings about buyer protection.  It's not all black and white.

Moral of the story:  Never say 'MINT' in your listings!

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Kathy

Tue Feb 9 19:11:36 2010

See eBay's lips moving? Lies. Falsehoods. Untruths. Smoke and mirrors.

I will NEVER believe anything eBay has to say. This is a miserable, lousy, greedy, corrupt company that is run by a management staff of IDIOTS.

Thanks for ruining my small business you jerks. It was doing just fine until YOU John Donohoe came along. Now I have to pay the most because my volume doesn't support a ''subscription''? Whatever happened to the ''Level Playing Field''? Oh, that's right, that was a LIE too.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Chris

Tue Feb 9 19:40:33 2010

I appreciate Ina's effort with putting eBay to task for specifics. With that said, I'm averaging 500 sales a month and buyers rarely ask for a refund. And when they do, I refund them promptly. One bad apple is not an issue with me, and I move on.

On a totally different issue: When are we going to get more posts on Amazon? I started selling on the river and it is by no means perfect. Is this site simply for eBay issues and rants?

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Ron

Tue Feb 9 20:43:55 2010

My question would be, with the millions of transactions that occur on eBay on a daily basis, even a small percentage of problems represents most likely thousands of conflicts that need to be resolved - Will eBay have adequate staff to thoroughly investigate claims in a way that is just for both the buyer and seller?  Or will they simply side with the buyer without proper process or investigation, examples of which we've heard of posted here in the past

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Just One Seller

Tue Feb 9 21:08:15 2010

Ina,

We sell about 35%-40% of our products outside of the USA and with USPS First Class International being the only reasonable and affordable international shipment method available and selected by 99% of our customers over Priority Mail International or any other service we offer there are several issues we face every day.

1. How will the eBay Resolution system deal with premature buyer INR claims?  We put in all of our listings that FCMI takes 3-8 weeks or longer for delivery and that it offers no door to door tracking.  We have buyers filing INR claims as quickly as 7-days after shipment.  What exactly is eBay's process for these situations and how long will they make buyers wait for delivery?

2. We have shipments lost or stolen in transit, both domestic and international.  If we have online proof of shipment/acceptance by the carrier and the item is lost or stolen by the carrier are we as the seller still found ''At Fault'' or will these cases be handled as ''No Fault'' and if so who pays the buyer.

3. We sell technology items and these can be a challenge for technology challenged users.  We offer a 1-year warranty on our products that includes a free exchange for any defective item.  Buyers many times file SNAD claims when they are unable to get an item to work when in fact there is nothing wrong with the item.  To keep costs and our prices down we do not offer refunds as our eBay ad posting Terms of Sale make clear.  If an item is returned and is ''No Trouble Found'' we work with the buyer to help them get their item working in their application without the need for a refund.  Will eBay accommodate a ''RETURN'' for exchange or evaluation process instead of ONLY a refund as the old PayPal system had?

4. We have many buyers use our items for several weeks and then if a problem does come up file a SNAD claim when in fact what they need is warranty service.  We offer a 1-Year warranty on our products as well as a 6-month direct factory warranty on other items.  An item is not SNAD if it arrives and works as described and then fails weeks or months later.  The buyer needs warranty service NOT a refund.  Will there be any process within the new eBay resolution center to accommodate and track returns for warranty service that do not require a REFUND as is the case with the current PayPal system?

5. Some of the items we sell come with a direct manufacturer warranty only.  That is made clear that all service and support will be provided by the manufacture only in the eBay ad posting.  Will eBay hold buyers accountable to abide by those types of return policies as well?  Or, as is the case with PayPal now, will sellers be forced to accept items back after up to 45 days of use for a refund when the buyer had agreed with their purchase to send any item with a problem back to the manufacture for warranty service and support only?

Those are just some of my questions that I have been asking eBay and PayPal for many years and never received an answer.

JOS

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: J.G.

Wed Feb 10 00:38:19 2010

This last entry by Just One Seller has made me realize that I can't think of another retail establishment that I would purchase from with the same attitude that I have towards eBay.  

I knew that, in the above example of mine, that the seller was vulnerable because of feedback.  I held all the cards.  A negative feedback could have cost her her monthly discount or lowered her appearance in search, or taken away her TRS if she was one. Even though I had a valid claim, I was given too much power just for buying a $20.00 tchochke.  So buyers, not all of them, know this going into these purchases -- that if they don't like something they can stomp their feet and squeal to the teacher.

Why is eBay so stuck on the feedback issue that they can't move forward and get their seller's businesses out of The Big Feedback Trap.  It pits buyers against sellers and sellers against buyers, it pits sellers against eBay and Paypal. EBay threatens the businesses of all sellers with the spectre of the feedback guillotine.  It's an unnatural way to live, much less to do business in.

Another question I would want to know from eBay is whether the mega diamond sellers are subject to the same stringent feedback rules as the rest of us. And if not, why not?  Probably because they wouldn't tolerate it. They have the upper hand on eBay now because they represent the new, unimproved eBay.

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: Patricia

Wed Feb 10 01:40:23 2010

I hope you sellers find this whole thing funny cause I sure do.  When has Ebay ever done anything like this?  Ebay with its automated half-a$$ed policies - and its "throw the baby out with the bathwater" attitude - they would NEVER get involved to this extent.  Its just another case of Ebay trying to act like Amazon and just another case where they'll fail miserably because they won't want to put in the sweat equity to run this program properly.  We all know it...I doubt one poster here believes this program will be fair to both buyer and seller!  Just another rip-off for the sellers!

eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program   eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program

by: rudeatroves

Wed Feb 10 07:27:39 2010

As a Buyer I was happy...I guess
As a Seller I was MORTIFIED.
I recently purchased a new item, SNAD. I filed Dispute, Ebay got involved. I then Said I was not returning the item as 13$ TO RETURN A $30 item wasn't smart on my part.  
Woke up one day, EBAY had refunded my full $30 purchase price which included shipping AND they rewarded me with an additional $10 coupon on top of the $30.
I still have the item, guess I'll sew the belt loops on myself.  I have my full purchase price, and an additional $10.00. Too bad it has to be spent on Ebay.  I feel for the seller.

As a seller I was mortified...which is partly why I no longer sell on ebay.  As a buyer...that just opens up a whole new venue for the ebay scammers.
I couldn't believe it.  Ebay wonder's why Sellers are flocking elsewhere looking for better venues.

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