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Thu Feb 9 2012 11:59:29

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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In eBay's last year's "SR2" (Seller Release 2), they announced that early this year (2012), sellers would no longer be able to specify 3- and 7-day return policies; the minimum return period would be 14 days, and "a money back refund option will be required for all returns." Sellers will be able to select from the minimum of 14 days, to 30 days, 60 days, or "no returns accepted." Also, the refund methods "Merchandise credit" and "Exchange" will be retired. Sellers will be able to select from "Money back," "Money back or exchange," or "no returns accepted."

And, it said, "As always, even if you specify 'no returns accepted,' buyers may still return these items if they don’t match the item description and the buyer files an eBay Buyer Protection case."

Some sellers on eBay's discussion boards say this new policy will kill them, and with a 14-day minimum return policy, this means buyers will be able to wear the clothes before returning them.

"If you get rid of the 7-day return policy I will have to go to NO RETURNS which will pretty much stop my eBay business," wrote the seller on the 2011 Fall Update discussion forum. "I have tried it in the past and my business stopped up. But I cannot have people wearing items or returning them a month later, as my profit margin is way too small to afford to keep that much money on hand for refunds."

Another seller compared eBay's auction time to the preview period of an offline auction house, and said those venues do not allow returns: "I go to auctions regularly and have never attended an auction that had a return policy of 3, 7, or 14 days. All sales are final, always. Even if the item is damaged. That's the risk you take for maybe getting a great deal on an item," the seller wrote, adding, "Does eBay want to continue being an auction site or do they want to become the next overstock.com?"

Another compared the new policy to turning eBay into a "free rental site" and said that "as a buyer when that item comes through the door, I look at the way it was shipped, make sure it looks alright, and in the next day or 2, try the item on. That's all it takes. ...I have heard so many stories of buyers wearing the item whether it be a bridal gown or underwear and then returning it after use. This is not a rental site."

While several of the posters sold clothing on eBay, there was also an OEM remote control seller who said some of the buyers open the remote and "switch the circuit board from their old one and file a claim SNAD. 'Does not work' is enough for ebay or paypal."

And a seller of books worried, "What is to keep me from becoming a library? You 'buy' the book, read it, and then return it within 14 days for a full refund."

When asked when eBay was planning to roll out this policy, eBay Spokesperson Johnna Hoff said, "I don't have a specific date at this time, but certainly we'll notify sellers when we do."
 
What do you think? Will this 14-day minimum return policy hurt your business? Do you expect to get a big increase in returns, or not? Or do you plan to go to "no returns accepted"? Post your thoughts here.




Comments (26) | Permalink

Readers Comments

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Thu Feb 9 12:45:29 2012

I think you're mixing a few things here - the buyer-concentric return/refund policy in general (which has been in affect for some time), and the elimination of the 7 and 14 day return timeframes.

If someone wants to wear clothes and return them in a month, they can do that NOW, regardless of any 7 or 14 day policy.  They just file a SNAD if the seller refuses to voluntarily accept the return.  Same with books.  There really is no impact at all to changing the timeframes.

If a buyer wants to return an item on ebay, you have to agree or you get filed against, and then you end up giving a refund anyway PLUS you get the ''cases filed blackmark'' which can not only kill your TRS, but also your ability to have a store, or even end up with a PP payment delay.  

Same is true for ''no returns'' - that just scares away buyers who actually have the option of returns regardless.

If you really think about it, Ebay might as well just standardize all items as ''30 day returns'' since their highly visible ''buyer protection policy'' tells buyers they are covered no matter what.

The sellers that are complaining are under the illusion (delusion?) that their TOS has any real meaning.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 9 12:51:18 2012

If eBay had any sense (which we know is not possible) auctions, formal wear, costumes, books, cds and dvds (I am sure there are more) would be exempt from adhering to any extended return policy.

Also, eBay places its obnoxious message about returns still being accepted with their Buyer Protection when a seller states No Returns.

It is one thing to having a reasonable policy but advertising Buyer Protection, extensive return periods over and over is just IMO increasing the corruption on eBay. If eBay wants to become the internet version of Sodom and Gomorrah, they are well on their way.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: fvh This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 9 13:06:33 2012

I currently have a three-day return policy. I sell coupons, among other things, which are extremely time sensitive. I believe three days is plenty of time to decide you've changed your mind or made a mistake.

With a minimum 14-day return policy, what's to keep a buyer from returning their coupons because they simply didn't get around to using them before they expired? Once expired, they would be worth nothing to me as well. In fact, eBay specifically prohibits the sale of expired coupons. Now, I will have to prohibit the returning of them.

What effect this will have on my coupon sales remains to be seen. I do know, however, that it's much more difficult to establish buyer trust when you don't offer a return policy.  

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Sayre's Stash This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Feb 9 13:30:42 2012

I have to agree with some of the other Ebay sellers.  I've yet to be at an auction where all sales are not final.  We currently offer 7 day returns and most of our items are books. 14 days seems a little extensive but let's be honest, if we're going to deal with Ebay, we're at their mercy.  All things aside, I would think the 'paperwork' involved for refunding fees would be a headache but I'm sure they have a way around that too.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 9 13:32:52 2012

If a buyer has a problem with an item and sees a no return policy, I feel they are more compelled to open a SNAD case instead of first contacting the seller. Ebay seems to be pushing buyers in this direction and for obvious reasons - to remove the 20% discount on FVF for TRSs, to rid the site of small sellers and to have all sellers be placed in their cookie cutter, one size fits all, forced  vision of the new, disruptive innovated eBay.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri Feb 10 02:56:49 2012

eBay talks and Sellers listen.

eBay knows better than you.

eBay has an obligation to their shareholders to make money for the shareholders.

Are you a shareholder?  

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Romberry This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 05:13:51 2012

I'm not sure I understand eBay's reasons here. I am all for making the return policy for listings highly visible and explicit so that there is no good reason for buyers to be confused, but beyond that I'd tend to think that the market (the buyers) could make their own decisions about return and exchange policies by choosing which sellers they want to buy from and which they don't. Personally, given a mandated 14-day money back policy if I choose to accept returns simply means that I will not accept returns.  

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 11:48:22 2012

@romberry

If you chose to not accept returns and the buyer files a claim YOU WILL REFUND THE BUYERS MONEY and quite possible not get the product back.

There is no such thing as NO RETURNS in Ebay speak.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 15:39:18 2012

I just think showing No Returns is setting up an adversarial relationship between buyers and sellers even if seller states in their description otherwise. Buyers may not see that in the description. What buyers do see is No Returns and eBay's buyer protection.

It is just not right forcing a one size fits all 14-day minimum return policy. It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't, set up policy for the sellers.  

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

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

Fri Feb 10 21:18:39 2012

Instead of respecting their customers (sellers), ebafia prefers to delude itself into thinking that their TOS and UAs are bullet proof.

THEY.ARE.NOT!

This is another example of bait and switch -- 'allow' sellers to think they can set their return policies and then springing the mousetrap when a buyer complains.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: TomT This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 22:30:39 2012

Ebay Buyer Protection is worthless. The seller can send you the wrong item and they make you ship it back at your own expense if you want your money refunded.

TomT Schenectady

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 11 15:20:02 2012

I sell antiques. At one time I considered allowing returns on eBay, but that was already after eBay had announced their new 14-day policy.

I also sell on Ruby Lane, and their 3-day sitewide return policy is A-OK by me (sellers must adopt this 3-day policy, but it allows sellers to specify a restocking fee, and the return verbiage is both very specific and well thought out).

I will stay NO RETURNS on eBay, and if (when?) eBay does away with that option, well...

I WILL DROP EBAY ENTIRELY, and go solely with Ruby Lane.

- Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: mjbocanegra This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 12 09:29:50 2012

I think eBay's rules are totally outrageous.  However yes, what keeps a buyer from going to JC Penny or any other clothing store locally and buying something, wearing it and then returning?  It be easier to do locally.  That's the give and take.  eBay should remove NO RETURNS.  Whats the use.  They determine whether the seller is allowed to even though you specify NO RETURNS.  

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 12 13:25:29 2012

As much as ebay wants to get away from it ebay is an AUCTION site, even the wall streeters articles still call it that.
At an AUCTION a buyer gets a BETTER DEAL as there are no returns. At an auction a buyer has to ask all questions before hand and they must take a RISK- LIKE SELLERS DO LISTING ITEMS IN THAT FORMAT- AN AUCTION- and they get a good or bad buy depending on how much they want to RISK to try to get a better buy.
That is the DEFINITION of AUCTIONS- to offer ANY return policy increases risk for sellers and decreases risk for buyers and this is AUCTION INTERFERENCE.
Anybody who THINKS they can return an auction item, when the item is as-described really is abusing the system- if you want to return a retail item- BUY IT NEW and return it to the store.
Allowing returns defeats the purpose of offering items up for auction which is ALWAYS as-is, where is, no-return sales-
Get with it- why else do you think we accept such low prices folks? There is no $$ left for returns- the ''profit'' isn't there, especially with 'free shipping''!
If you folks want a bargain- go to a Neimans sale- stop trying to return auction wins.
Every time I accept a return there is ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM WITH THE ITEMS and the customers measurements are wrong and my original measurements are right STOP LYING BUYERS TO FACILITATE A RETURN. No more returns over here- these are auction items and if a buyer wants to go on the record with a forced return at least there is some record of it so honest buyers who have a problem can file a claim and the folks who don't tell me what I need to know too. Great system ya set up here mr dingerhoe. If the bids were here it MIGHT be worth it but NO BIDS FORCED PP, FORCED RETURNS, dishonest buyers, TRICKY POLICIES, manipulation of EXPOSURE, constant FEE ''DECREASES'', Shop nearby, Shop China, DSR's and no way to fight bad ones, multiple ID's, hidden ID HISTORIES.
JD: is the board really thinking that these were good moves by you?
Never ever before in any business on the planet can a man ABUSE his paying customers to this degree.
When GSI commerce kills all of us sellers how many MOUTHS DO YOU IMAGINE JD WILL BE OUT TELLING EVERYBODY what a SHISTER COMPANY YOU ARE RUNNING.
How many seller releases this year, how many changes to the TOS, How many glicths, will we even KNOW ABOUT THEM as they are not posted on the systems announcements board. How many weekends do we have to sit still when Turbolister isn't working? are we going to ever be compensated for all this down time? Is ebay just a venue? Are you ever going to clamp down on folks leaving negatives because we didn't leave FB?- I thought it was voluntary?!?
This is just 10% of what JD has done to sellers, we could go on and on. Do you think that the anger you have produced in MILLIONS OF SELLERS can ever be corrected. It can't.
We will not let you win JD as too many of our honest BROTHERS and SISTERS have been damaged by you.
Howler

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Henry This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 13 10:28:13 2012

Comparing a live auction to buying online is like comparing an apple to a donut.  As the commercial says, here's the difference. At a live auction you may look at and touch the item.  Online that is not possible.

Jim Cokcrum, in his book ''Free Marketing'' says, ''Insane Refund Policy Profits. Give speedy refunds to those who request them. Refunds are no longer only for those who deserve them, but for anyone who requests them, and often even for undeserving customers''.  I agree.

We sell in the media category among others.  When a buyer contacts us about returning a book we usually let them keep the book and issue a full refund.  You would be surprised how often they return and purchase more books and never again ask for a refund.

We once had a buyer purchase a golf club from us and played with it all weekend. He then wanted to return it stating it did not hit as well as he had hoped. I guess he never considered the player hits the ball using the club - a golf club never hits the ball  without the player.  He was kind enough to let us deduct the shipping cost as we had shipped it free.

My 2 Cents,
Henry

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: TheCuriousPhoenix This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 13 11:25:01 2012

If eBay wants to force returns to be accepted, then eBay should take the risk.

If a buyer wants to return something, fine, then eBay can accept it and eBay should refund the money with no cost to the seller.

Since, obviously, eBay is not willing to do that, than eBay needs to get its nose out of its sellers business.

If I rent a physical property and open a store, does the landlord have the right to dictate to me a return policy?

If a landlord tried to dictate to renters as much as eBay does and also punished its renters, how many people would rent the building?


New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: julie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 13 14:53:09 2012

Why is anyone still selling on Ebay?? I walked away years ago...

Ebay is just following Amazon's lead from last year. Amazon removed all the seller's return policies and only their policy is in effect, 30 days to return an item. At least Ebay is still allowing a seller to state their own policy and giving return options, at least for now.

Why is anyone suprised by this?  

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: tb This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 13 15:01:15 2012

EBay is simply playing catch-up with what Amazon is doing. Amazon has taken so much of their business away that all EBay can do is chase Amazon's tail and TRY and mimic what they do. The big problem is that they're doing it in such a pathetic way and pissing off the very lifeblood of Ebay (the sellers). Probably the buyers too with their crazy rules and constant changes that don't work right half the time anyway.

Amazon is one hundred times cleaner and easier to use. Ebay just gets muddier. How long before Ebay buyers & sellers realize this and abandon ship?

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: SparklingWaters This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 13 22:08:36 2012

''Sellers will be able to select from the minimum of 14 days, to 30 days, 60 days, or ''no returns accepted.''

I think this decision by Ebay sure is flighty (duh). What's worse, a No Return Policy or a 3 or 7 or 10 day Return Policy? As a consumer I would gladly choose a 3 or 7 or 10 day Return Policy over a No Return Policy.

New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?   New eBay 14-Day Minimum Return Policy Unfair to Sellers?

by: Fruity This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 14 20:54:24 2012

look, you need to get some plastic ties or tamper proof stickers and mark the product. Then you include in your listing that any attempt to defraud you agree to pay court and legal fees...etc. If they screw you, then you sue them.. heck, you will win more than what you sold the item for. In fact, it would be very lucrative to sue buyers who are commiting felonies. you get burned, send them a bill go google one of those collection notice letters. Remember you're a business, you can send them to a collection agency over a quarter. lol. but all you need is a letter that says here is your bill, pay or else. if they're engaging in criminal behavior do you really think they'll pitch a fit? Nooo.. they're gonna be too scare the postmaster will stop delivering mail to their house and that they will have a felony on their record and have to disclose that when they apply for a job. haha. sweet revenge. How ya like them apples ebay? Great for YOUR REPUTATION no doubt. lol

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