|Tue Feb 9 2010 10:33:52|
eBay Provides Answers on Buyer Protection Program
By: Ina Steiner
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.