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.
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?