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Mon Mar 26 2018 20:21:16

eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are upset about an email eBay sent them on Monday about their return rates, in some cases couched as warnings. There are various versions of the email depending on the recipient's rate of returns, but they all indicate that returns impact the visibility of their listings.

Here's the text of the letter warning sellers their returns were too high:

Your Returns Are Too High
(Name redacted), we've noticed that the number of your returns marked as "item not as described" is high.*

High returns have a negative impact on your sales and listing visibility. Take action now to improve your buyers' confidence.

*Compared to other sellers in Collectibles with a similar average selling price $10-$20.

How You Stack Up
This chart shows how your rate of "item not as described" returns compares to other sellers.*

*With a similar average selling price $10-$20 in Collectibles.

Your Returns 
From March 23, 2017 - March 23, 2018, (Number redacted) of your items did not meet buyer expectations - here's a breakdown of the reasons they gave.

(Pie chart showing reasons for returns redacted)

Note that eBay measures a seller's performance for either the prior three months or the prior 12 months, depending on their volume of sales, as follows: "If you've had 400 or more transactions in the last three months, you're evaluated over that three-month period. If you've had fewer than 400 transactions in the last three months, you're evaluated on the past 12 months." So some letters referenced a period from December 23, 2017 - March 23, 2018.

Another version of eBay's letter for sellers with better-than-average returns started out:

Get Ahead of Returns 
Good job, (Name redacted). The number of your returns marked as "item not as described" is about the same as other sellers.

Did you know that reducing these returns can help improve buyer confidence, sales, and listing visibility?

On an eBay discussion board, a seller wrote, "This means that eBay is treating INADs as defects despite their policy change from a year ago that said only two things would result in defects (seller canceling a sale and returns that were not resolved)." (INAD stands for Item Not As Described, aka SNADs.)

Some of the comments we've received from readers about eBay's warnings and advice about returns:

- "All but ONE of these claims buyers made were blatant, coercive attempts to get me to pay for return shipping and were reversed by eBay as either false or buyer's remorse. Yet even though I won these cases after escalating them, apparently they remain on my record and influence search placement. Moreover, the one claim of wrong item sent never happened nor did missing parts claim ever happen!"

- "I was shocked to get an eBay email today, warning me that my returns are too high. This is after my FIRST return request in a YEAR, of a $XX blouse the buyer claimed was damaged (which I do not agree with, but chose to refund rather than dispute it, due to the low cost.) ... I also wonder if the opening of a INAD Return Request on Friday evening has anything to do with the screeching halt of my sales... not a single sale over the weekend (when I usually have 4-6 items sell), and still nothing today (Monday)." 

- "First off there is not a reason out there that eBay does not accept a return for - it's a wonder all of us don't run around 20%. So if they are going to make returns so easy, they need to lighten up on sellers. But I have had 2 not 4 and my percentage is .4X% not 1.9X%. I have a feeling this is why my sales have dropped drastically the last 2 weeks because they have the wrong metrics on my account somewhere."

Did you know your return rate impacted the visibility of your listings? What kind of letter did you get today?



Comments (62) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 21:45:58 2018

Fortunately my not as described returns are not high but the few I do have a mostly just buyers remorse, many of which would have qualified for defect removals when they were called defects.

I just don't understand why this company works so hard to stunt its own growth.  

Every attempt to cut, paste, and copy amazon's policies have been an epic failure and yet they persist

This is a game with no winners that goes on endlessly.

Ebay should worry about amazon and walmart drop shippers. Get some sellers who own their own inventory and get back to the marketplace it was. Any growth in the last decade is been purely from raising fees. Now that you are pricing out a lot of sellers you are just flooding the site with amazon reseller script sellers.

The reason I don't shop on ebay anymore is simply because I go directly to amazon and cut out the ebay middle man and the collectible auctions I used to bid on have all moved to 3rd party auction houses. Now I am forced off the site simply because there is no more "unique" items on ebay.

I stopped shopping on ebay simply because there is nothing to buy NOT because of petty of silly boycotts or the like.

I will shop anywhere the deals are and currently that is not ebay.......... Ebay has become the myspace of eCommerce.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

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

Mon Mar 26 22:25:10 2018

I also received one. I'm not in trouble, but once against ebafia demonstrates its propensity to do what it does best: lying.

Ming's Ebafia Law #1:

Ebafia lies. Always has, always will.

They LIED to us about the impact of returns on defects and search results.

They LIE to Wall Street.

They LIE to their Board of Directors and Pierre.

They LIE to CNBC.

Just one damn lie after another.

Wake up, SEC, FTC, and alleged financial analysts!

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Mon Mar 26 22:34:25 2018

Yes, I am one of those ''riled'' sellers. This notice (at least in my case) is uncalled for, and hurtful.

My feedback is 100%, and 5-Star across the board. I work very hard to maintain an honest, profitable business on eBay.

I have had two (2) SNAD returns out of 400 transactions in the last 3 months, and I just got this same notice. Both SNAD returns were for BRAND NEW & SEALED merchandise which had factory defects (and not from my factory).

THIS IS THE PART I AN INFURIATED ABOUT:

''Did you know that reducing these returns can help improve buyer confidence, sales, and listing visibility?''

So this is how they rationalize hiding of listings, rolling blackouts, etc.- if you complain that your items cannot be seen, they can say ''Well, you didn't meet our standards, so we reserve the right to bury or not show your items. It is in the User Agreement you signed when you agreed to use our site''.

This type of flogging reminds me of the Seller Defect program of 2015, where a seller could not have over 2% returns for ANY REASON, or lose their TRS discount.

Two returns in 400 transactions is not, it seems, out of line in any form of retail sales. But eBay wants the world to be perfect, and now returns are not tolerated, I guess.

Time to finally take a serious look at other options for selling my merchandise. There is, more now than ever, the feeling that I am not working for myself, but for eBay. And I am not being respected and rewarded for my efforts.


Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Mar 26 22:47:34 2018

This has got to be an early April's Fools' Day joke. eBay practically begs every buyer to return what they've purchased. How could they not possibly expect sellers to have high return rates when eBay seems to do everything in their power to facilitate returns.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 23:22:36 2018

I got this too - I was below "their average" ... "so Im good".

All this of course wouldnt be needed if eBay didnt push returns all day, every day.

Personally, I dont need eBays "reassurances" on returns.

MYOB and show all my listings 24/7/365. Stop "turning off the faucet" (like you are doing now)(since I must have met my magic quota for the month).

Stupid stupid stupid eBay

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: songe-d-automne This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 00:07:32 2018

I was rated as .034% and my "peers" with similar merchandise were rated as .032% so I was on par with them. Whoop-de-do.

Now I have to sit and worry about buyers using the SNAD BS in order to get freebie return shipping more than ever I guess.

When will they realize that sellers are the actual customers and that they are driving them away with this nonsense?

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 01:18:05 2018

I didn't get an email. I'm a no returns seller. After reading this stupid email (and reading between the lines as to what impact it will probably have on sellers who did receive the email), I won't be going to returns accepted any time soon (if ever).

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 27 01:54:48 2018

I was initially concerned when I got the email even though mine stated I was below average in my SNAD rates.  Well I hope so since that items I do have showing as SNADs were actually Buyer Remorse claims that the buyer LIED on to open as a SNAD.

No where did I see anything about that.  Even when we prove to ebay through other emails inside of Ebay that the buyer lied when they opened the SNAD, they don't change it.

So if Ebay isn't going to help us keep these stats accurate, what hope is there for sellers regarding this matter?

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 06:38:19 2018

We got the same notice. BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS WE JUST DON'T CARE ANYMORE.

If fleagag doesn't want us on the site all they have to do is tell us. We will go elsewhere. Until then WE DON'T CARE as we are to busy sorting, packing and shipping and don't have time or the energy to whine about some notice.

HEY FLEAGAG GET SERIOUS.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 06:57:05 2018

@Marie,

I read most of the posts on the discussion boards and many of the posters said that what Ebay was using was the case opened not the actual returns or how the case was resolved.  Some had won all the cases and still were shown as having the returns as SNADs and one seller in PS boards said they had 3 different numbers in 3 different places where Ebay was showing this information.  They had 1, 2 and 3 and Ebays email stated it was 3.

Ebay also sent out erroneous emails to tons of TRS sellers that they were in danger of losing their TRS status and finally admitted that was done in error also.  Seems Ebay is getting ready to make a big push for these free returns while also punishing the sellers for having the returns in the first place.  

I guess Ebays resolution to all the buyers lying about remorse returns was to basically try to force sellers to accept free returns rather than make the buyers be truthful.  I know that sellers can deduct up to 50% for damages or whatever other reason they feel they can justify, but Ebay already said they will be watching to see if the sellers abuse that option.  In other words if the seller tries to recoup the shipping cost or restock fees they will probably be punished somehow.

BTW - did you ever see Ebay answer the question that was posed about the buyers just going to Paypal and claiming the 50% that can be withheld as a SNAD claim or withheld in error?  Personally I can see that is going to be the next step that they will do as some have even started to claim restocking fees that way.  But i can definitely see buyers still claiming SNAD as soon as they get anything withheld from them going forward and/or even filing chargebacks with  their CC companies for anything not refunded.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 07:19:02 2018

I received this email. EBay has doesn't know jack about selling and what it takes to give great customer service. Of course, eBay still thinks that the buyers are their customers and not the sellers.

When I logged into my account, I was notified that I fell below my TRS for INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. I don't do international sales.
I am close to what they consider good TRS ratings, soon that will improve because of a return (wasn't a return) will fall off from last April.

eBay is so discouraging, I am so glad that things are starting to pick up on eCrater and that I am now concentrating on that site more. BUt I will sell on eBay with notes on packing slips that I sell lower on the eCrater.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Mar 27 07:24:53 2018

iheartjacksparrow says " eBay practically begs every buyer to return what they've purchased."

Bingo.  I get about one return every six months on the other sites that I sell on.  eBay? Quite the opposite. What do they expect?    I haven't gotten the warning......yet.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: topseller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 07:35:34 2018

I believe ebay is already lowering the visibility of ALL sellers who have return rates above their matrix. Someone let the cat out of the bag with these messages



Ebay's message claims that returns for clothing and shoes catagory average is .7% anyone believe that? Industry statistics show returns for shoes and clothes north of 20% it makes no sense so my 2.12%  return rate is too high?



I think ebay is trying to increase sales with with free returns to move stock prices up and show FAKE growth in sales while returns will increase significantly and fees they earn from sales will be refunded. Maybe they will add a return processing fee on the back of sellers once the take control of the payment system to cover those loses.


Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 10:36:10 2018

What imbecile writes these communications at ebay?  Is he/she of this world?!   I'm a long time seller with a stellar ratings.  Over the 3 months I had 11 returns, and they said that 6 were INAD or bad returns (even though later in the email it was detailed as 4) and that my return rate was .55% whereas my competitors were .34...  And the link to show me these returns displayed a blank page.....

Well, once I searched to find them, it turns out that only one of these returns was a true INAD (I accidentally sent the wrong item and corrected it so item was never returned), and all the others were don't fit or don't want it... SO, my true correct rate is less than .10%, 3 times better than my competitors.... And they have the nerve to tell me that they will lower my items in search and impact my sales....  Sales have been slow, so no doubt they are penalizing us for BS like this... SAD SAD SAD company!  

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 12:06:19 2018

Got it and it said I was good as my percentage was about half that of my peers (I had one return during the period).  I didn't take it as anything but information, and had the email been different (ie had I been above the average) I would have taken it as a learning tool.  I guess i'm just not paranoid (and yes, been selling as long as pretty much everyone else so I've been in the trenches of all the changes).

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Mar 27 12:25:04 2018

"I would have taken it as a learning tool."

Can you elaborate?  How exactly does one control a situation that is almost entirely created by a company that never misses an opportunity to encourage a return, and never misses an opportunity to chastise their sellers at every turn.

As I stated in my earlier post, eBay is the ONLY place that I sell that I have this issue.  It is also the only site that I sell on that treats me like pond scum.

I don't trust eBay enough to have confidence that they could teach me anything.  eBay is all about their own bottom line--nothing else matters to them.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 27 12:53:25 2018

@Silver Ice King
You are correct.  I'm not sure what I said made you feel differently, but you are correct.  But once a buyer opens a SNAD, the buyer can't change it to a BR request, it will remain a SNAD unless Ebay changes it.

There are two sections on the Seller Dashboard that sometimes get confused.  The section called Return Rate is NOT currently held against a seller in the stats used to determine your Seller Level.

The other section called "Cases closed without seller resolution", that is the section that is held against the stats of a seller.

The Return rate section is merely statistical at this point in time.  As we know that could change, but as of now it is statistical info and it is the information used to determine how or what the email Ebay sent was arrived from.

"I know that sellers can deduct up to 50% for damages or whatever other reason they feel they can justify, but Ebay already said they will be watching to see if the sellers abuse that option."  You seem to be saying this as if it were a bad thing.  So you were prefer that Sellers could do this whenever they wanted without concerns about abuse?  Just as there are bad buyers, there are bad sellers that would and could abuse this.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Mar 27 13:30:22 2018

The funny thing here is their stats they post about "peer return percentages", and how your % is compared to others.

There is NO WAY that there is a 0.7% rate of return for clothing and shoes, which probably have the highest return percentages of any category. This is a lie, plain and simple. How can they come up with this number??

Another example of this company turning the screws even tighter, and blaming sellers for their own corporate shortcomings. And also for things that a seller has no control over.

MEMO TO EBAY: Selling online is not puppy dogs, rainbows, and unicorns. Returns can and do happen. And if a seller accommodates their buyer by issuing a refund, there should be no penalty. They need to concentrate on those who refuse to answer e-mails or refund (and there are many) when there is a problem with an item.

In essence, they are attempting to squeeze blood from a rock here, and the end result will be a broken rock. If eBay succeeds in ridding themselves of most all small to medium volume sellers by enacting more silly policies, they will come to regret it.  

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

by: yesmikan This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 27 13:55:52 2018

I got an email and was extremely annoyed by it. For a company whose latest dumb crusade is "FREE RETURNS," they need to back off, especially when I'm forced to eat the cost for it. You can't have it both ways.

Doubly annoying since the return % is, at least as of right now, not one of the official metrics that they publicly CLAIM they use to gauge sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns   eBay Riles Sellers with Warning about Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 27 13:57:03 2018

@extinctebay

"There is NO WAY that there is a 0.7% rate of return for clothing and shoes, which probably have the highest return percentages of any category. This is a lie, plain and simple. How can they come up with this number?"  I certainly agree that it is a category that gets more than its share of returns.  And that it is among a handful of categories that have higher risks of returns than many others.  For me, I don't know if it is the category that gets the highest returns, I always thought that was electronics, but I certainly could be wrong.

With that said, it is hard to determine if the percentage is right or wrong.  To determine that, you'd have to know what the numbers are that you need to do the calculation.  So we would need access to the total number of transactions so we could divide it by the total number of Return Requests filed.  

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