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Mon July 24 2017 16:12:16

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

By: Ina Steiner

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Returns are the bane of an online seller's existence. Not only is it disappointing to learn you have to take money out of the revenue column, but you may have to add to the expense column as well if you have to pay for return shipping or if the item can not be resold due to its condition.

The degree of righteous indignation on the part of the seller when confronted with a returns request depends greatly on the circumstances. 

On one end of the scale are legitimate reasons, such as the item was broken in transit (or, God forbid, the seller made a mistake and sent the wrong item, in which case the seller can only blame themselves).
Midway on the scale of seller annoyance would be various reasons known as "buyer's remorse" or buyer inattentiveness (the buyer didn't read the description).

And on the far end of the scale (instances that raise a seller's blood pressure to a boiling point): the shopper wore the item and got it stained and smelling of smoke, with some pet hair thrown in for good measure, and they clearly never had intended to keep the item (and end up returning it to the seller in a flimsy envelope).

Imagine if you sell jewelry online, how galling it would be to know a shopper is only "buying" the item with every intention of returning it after wearing it to a special event. But clearly there's a demand for such a thing - just take a look at this article from National Jeweler titled, "Jewelers Unblocked Now Offering Jewelry Rental Insurance."

National Jeweler writes, "Jewelers Unblocked recently announced that it has rolled out a formal program providing insurance coverage for the rental of fine jewelry that both wholesalers and retailers can utilize." The publication explains what the rental insurance will cover: loss, theft, damage and "mysterious disappearance," with the policy written based on how much it would cost the jeweler or wholesaler to replace the piece.

What's your most outrageous returns story, and would offering rentals to shoppers ever be an option for you and the types of items you sell online?

What would you think if marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, or Etsy offered such a service to buyers and sellers? Would it make a difference if they offered insurance?




Comments (14) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 24 17:03:49 2017

Next to useless Ebay feedback that is about the dumbest idea on this planet.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

by: Stig of the Dump This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 24 19:07:44 2017

Ina, this looks suspiciously like a paid editorial.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Mon Jul 24 20:46:30 2017

Ina,

I expect they (Ebay)  WILL offer it.  Surprised I never heard of the idea before.   Of course, remember, Ebay doesn't OWN anything.  I understand that today, someone high up in the organization did comment (on the assurance of anonymity) “We will be taking applications from sellers, who would like to have a “PART OF OUR ERP”, which will be “ROLLED OUT” in the very near future. (Ebay Rental Program).   The source continued:

● Buyers will be carefully screened, to insure a high quality experience for both buyers & sellers.
● Rules will be tightly supervised “In order to protect sellers and insure their continued success”.
● Sellers will be able to purchase insurance, to shelter from any “unforseen” circumstances.  (WHAT??? UNFORSEEN???  ARE YOU KIDDING???) HAHAHAHAHAHA !!!
● Insurance rates can be seen here: _____________
● Class action suits can only be instituted by members of the Graduation CLASSES doing the renting.
● A new AIA (Artificial Intelligence Algorithm) will mediate ANY disputes.  (Part of the new TOS).
● As always, if there is a problem, Ebay and IMF will disavow any knowledge of these rules.

My own personal opinion is that I would be willing to participate with my Tiffany, Loetz,  and Steuben Glassware, and certainly with any Horner, Seymour, or Stickley Antique Furniture needed for Weddings and Parties.  However, I think regarding my collection of 100 year old Lace & Silk Wedding Gowns, they would have to be off limits to any Weddings OR Parties, that are using the services of Limosines.

This has DISASTER written ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL..... over it.  This WILL be fun!

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jul 25 01:31:45 2017

My items are TOTALLY rentable!

The thought has crossed my mind many times over the years.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

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

Tue Jul 25 08:34:36 2017

I have been in the jewelry business for many years, and this is an ongoing problem. I got a $4400 return of a gold chain and expensive timepiece last weekend because the customer wore it to Las Vegas for the weekend and decided that it "just wasn't him".

There are companies that make a lot of money renting both jewelry, watches and purses for special occasions. All of them that I am aware of are self-insured.

This product seems useless to me. If the customer loses or damages the item, the store already has received their payment, and the client can claim it on his own insurance.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 25 09:01:58 2017

Submarine usage improved by installation of screendoors in place of tight-sealing DOGGED closed hatches.

Hot Air Balloon safety improved by switching BACK to Montgolfier Era PAPER vs. RipStop Heat Resistant Fabric.

EBay sellers electing to RISK losing even MORE $$ on allowing / Encouraging Rental Buyers.....  OK, I don't like the idea, right?  But even worse is that if any SELLER were to put this sort of thing on even a FEW of their own listings.... how big a leap would it be for a RENTAL shopper to find ONE or TWO rental things from a seller's listings and then PRESUME they all were subject to RENTAL?

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Jul 25 11:01:26 2017

If eBay stuck to their guns and did not allow this type of behavior, the subject of rentals should not even be discussed.

But in the race for buyers, they have aided and abetted those with less than honest intentions to either borrow or steal merchandise for free. And why not? They have established rules with loopholes where a seller can be completely taken advantage of.

And If you don't like it, try and get top dollar on another site. Or, in other words: JUST GO AWAY.

The real kicker is when the ''buyer'' files a SNAD claim, and gets to rent your item for no charge at all. Appalling and disgusting.

When someone is caught red-handed blatantly stealing something bought on eBay, the canned Seller Support response is ''You can take the buyer to court'' or ''Maybe you should have them prosecuted''.  Not ''Mr. Seller, we will get your money and item back, and punish the buyer'' as it should be.

Soon it will be ''Sorry, you did not purchase the scammer insurance, so there is no recourse. We at eBay appreciate you, though''.  

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 25 16:29:26 2017

Yeah.  Appeasement and capitulation to abhorrent - at the very least ethically vile - behavior.  

How's THAT worked out in the past?

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 25 17:43:43 2017

If I wanted to be in the rental business - Id open a Blockbuster ... LOL

eBay seems to think sellers are Pawnbrokers/Rental agents as it (described above perfectly).

Its ALWAYS the same story - these things dont happen to the people that have "skin in the game". If eBay lost money each time a seller did - the bad behavior would stop "yesteday". But since eBay cares only for itself (the greedy bastards) they dont care.

I SELL things, I dont RENT things.

Want to rent something? Go to Hertz or Avis.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: blueribbon1844

Wed Jul 26 08:04:18 2017

Ha!! rentals. That's exactly why I closed the ebay store I opened 3 years back, we sold vintage jewelry. So much fraud, returns, abuse, and no seller protection. Women are the worst offenders IMO of these rentals...and... That's why I have several buying accts, when I actually use ebay to buy anything. Not a very common  practice in this household anymore, but perhaps renting a few items is in the works. I can sell them at the flea market for 30 days, and if they don't sell, I'll click the "Item not as described" button and back it goes....  

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 26 11:23:28 2017

This isn't a proposal, this is reality on eBay.  Wear it and return it on the 29th day of the 30 day return window. Soiled, wrinkled, and smelling of smoke, deodorant or perfume.

And per another reader's comment, this does look like a paid editorial.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jul 26 14:13:12 2017

I read the entire article on the National Jeweler site, and the way I'm understanding the article, the insurance is not for eBay sellers, it's for companies that are in the business of renting jewelry.

Maybe eBay could set up a category on the site strictly for renting jewelry, clothing, purses, etc. But that might prove problematic for the rental company since how would they convince eBay there is an issue with the returned items since it would again be he said/she said just like with the SNAD claims since eBay won't consider photographic proof.

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

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

Thu Jul 27 09:32:37 2017

I don't sell anything that I would consider rentable.

I've had a few returns, although they have only been in the last couple of years ... after having sold online since 1998!!! The items do not appear to have been used and I wouldn't accept them back if they did look used.

I know Amazon sellers (particularly those selling in Handmade on Amazon) who get returns for any number of reasons. Amazon requires sellers to accept returns for any reason for 30 days (except on customized items, I think); it's a rough place to sell but, if you're lucky, you'll find a niche which allows you to sell SOOOOO much that the occasional return isn't a big deal, even to your metrics.  

Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?   Rental Shopping: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them?

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Thu Jul 27 10:18:03 2017

I accepted a return a little over a year after it sold on eBay. Vintage item, he said an expert (whose name I recognized) gave it a thumbs-down so took it back for a full refund. Many items I offer outside of eBay come with a lifetime guarantee of authenticity so no big deal, but interesting that I have never had an item returned for any reason on a sale done outside of eBay.



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