Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Apr 22 2013 12:17:37

eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers are experiencing a dramatic rise in the number of opened cases filed against them by buyers, thanks to a major change eBay implemented as part of the Spring Seller Release. Similarly, eBay buyers are reporting that when they simply try to ask their trading partners a question, they discover to their surprise that eBay immediately opens a case against the seller on their behalf.

Sellers have sent emails to EcommerceBytes and have opened threads on eBay discussion boards reporting the problem. "As of April 9th the "Contact the seller" option automatically opens a case if you don't choose Other," wrote a seller. "It doesn't escalate the case to the resolution center, but it's an automatic case. Lots of threads about it in the past few days!"

Another seller wrote, "WHAT A MESS THIS IS GOING TO BE!  eBAY fooled around with the Contact Seller function really screwed it up. Now thousands and thousands of buyers who just wanted to ask a question will find themselves in the middle of INR Disputes! What is even worse is that thousands of sellers will then file UID's (Unpaid Items)."

Buyers and sellers say eBay has not provided any explanation telling buyers they are going through the Resolution Center when they click try to contact the seller.

An eBay seller who had never had a case opened against him until two days prior to writing to EcommerceBytes wrote, "So I guess eBay started their new turn everything into a Case Report 2 days ago. I have customers sending me questions after purchasing items and cases are being opened left and right. I have contacted the customers about opening the cases and they all told me they had no idea any kind of case was opened. All they were doing was sending me a message. So all of the buyers had to go in and close the cases." He said he received multiple cases over the past few days.

Previously eBay had counted all open cases against a seller, and last year, the company told sellers it would require buyers to contact them before opening a case. But in March, eBay announced it would reverse both policies: opened cases will not necessarily count against a seller, and buyers will have to open a case in the Resolution Center rather than contacting sellers via My Messages.

One person saw a possible positive outcome: "I think this new process will help protect sellers against scamming buyers. A person will be far less likely to make unreasonable demands if the have to go through a "dispute" process."

But another said, "at least in some cases, funds are being automatically frozen, too" whenever a case is opened - and that can put a serious crimp in sellers' operating cash flow.

Sellers say their buyers are confused by the new process. A reader said one of his buyers closed his case within minutes after he found the answer. "He regretted filing the case and said it is very weird he has to file a case. All he wanted is to email me."

Have you seen an uptick in cases filed against you? In those cases, does eBay/PayPal freeze your funds? Are there positives to this new process?

Comments (60) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Apr 23 14:14:51 2013

@Basset

As you are aware, when you send an email you have a few options you can pick from regarding subject.  I believe if the buyer picks, item not received, returns or questions about description, it triggers the claim.  I'm not sure on that.  I honestly haven't seen anything that completely spells this out.  It sure is a fine question that deserves an accurate answer.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Tue Apr 23 14:41:31 2013

Here's something we sellers need to stress to buyers: please do not use the eBay messaging platform for communication.

Today I had a buyer ask questions about an item he had just received. Fortunately he used my personal e-mail account for this.

Thus, since his message was "off-eBay", no case could be opened and all this weird stuff was avoided.

With every sale, I send an e-mail to the buyer as a confirmation (every seller should do that).

In each package that I ship out, I send a quick note along with the packing slip, asking the buyer to please contact me right away with any questions or concerns.

Now ... it looks like I'll need to super-stress the use of personal e-mail ONLY as the conduit for any communication.

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

Tue Apr 23 15:16:53 2013

None of us should ever forget for even a second that the septic tank scum who run ebafia use any means necessary to achieve their ends.

ANY means necessary.

That includes using their fake bank  to steal money and merchandise from sellers to placate criminals.

It includes using their fake bank to still more money from sellers with their phony 'holds' and 'delays' in processing echecks.

They chronically lie to sellers and willfully fail to disclose the full terms of 'seller releases.'

They encourage, promote, and participate in criminal fraud including their criminal buyer theft protection policy and protection of shill bidding rings.

They create an unconscionably high fee structure and lie about what it is really is.

They hire consultants to conduct destructive psychological warfare against sellers.

I believe they pay 'sellers' to post ebafia often deceptive propaganda here.

They pay an outside company to delete, sanitize, and demote in search anti ebafia comments and reports on the internet.

They pay off politicians via campaign contributions to look the away at their constant illegal trade practices.

Ebafia pays a squadron of Washington lobbyists to protect their criminal empire including the CIA.

They employ sophisticated bait and switch schemes to force sellers into complying with requirements that make ebafia money and cause sellers to lose money.

Their criminal enterprise includes The Ho's quarterly appearance on gullible CNBC and their idiot 'experts' to promote his latest work of fiction.

Their goal isn't to make ebafia succeed in the long term. It's about doing whatever is necessary TODAY to increase the value of their stock options which may or may not be in ebafia's long term best interests.

This latest betrayal is about eliminating more seller discounts and more TRS sellers.

It's ALWAYS about the money. ALWAYS.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Apr 23 16:58:10 2013

Since I always assume there is an ulterior motive behind anything eBay does, I wonder if this will ultimately cause many sellers to be suspended for excessive claims being opened against them. If 50 or 100 bogus claims are opened against a seller in a month, how long do you think that seller is going to continue selling on eBay? I can only assume this new policy is either to get rid of more small sellers, or to end a lot of 20% discounts.

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by: LJM This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 23 21:44:14 2013

I want to thank Ebay for this latest change.I opened a case (unknowingly) against a seller and I had one (unknowingly) opened against me..and my funds were held.This was the final straw, after 13 years of 100% feedback and straight 5's across the board.Both cases got closed,funds released and I listed on Etsy..got more views in one day then I had in three weeks on ebay and the morning after I listed..I woke up to..(OMG!)..sales! Thanks ebay..that was the push I needed.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Wed Apr 24 08:32:18 2013

Hey eBay - how hard is this:
1. Buyer contacts seller through My Messages for any reason
2. Seller responds
3. Buyer receives the sellers response with a note at the end from ebay "did the seller answer your question sufficiently and in a timely manner?" and a Yes and No button.
3a Yes = seller receives an automatic 5* for communication
3b No = buyer NOW has an option to open a case if they need to.

Sheesh!  Why in the world ebay has to over-complicate every single thing, I'll never know.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 08:43:28 2013

I didn't know that Pay Pal can hold funds every time a claim is opened against a seller. THAT would explain the automatic case-openings.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 10:01:40 2013

Ebay is abusing again its control of the community.   Fooling buyers who want to send not to sellers into filing a dispute is LEGALLY WRONG!  

Hey, Consumer Advocate Group.  Thousand of merely surviving small American sellers need your help.  Sue ebay for us.   Make us believe you are here to protect the small people against these Titans!

When replying to Dispute case, re-educate your buyers. Tell them the truth in 2-3 sentences.

Tell them this...

Buyers and Sellers are against ebay's new filing dispute process.   Buyers and sellers prefer email or ebay message.

If we all do join hands to re-educate our buyers, we will succeed to beat this bad ebay Titan!

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 10:06:26 2013

Could ebay be targeting small American sellers in selectively choosing which seller get disputes whenever buyer select inquire to seller?   Lawsuits!!!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Forestt

Wed Apr 24 14:19:20 2013

@LJM, I don't think anybody here believes you got more views or sales at Etsy. Also, if you're having problems with buyers, simply switching venue isn't going to insure you don't have problems elsewhere. As long as you accept Paypal, as an Etsy seller, you're still required to the same obligations as selling on eBay.

As a seller, I will always advocate other sellers, however, 9 out of 10 items I buy on eBay from small sellers are either inaccurately described, are packed poorly or the seller takes 2 weeks to get the item in the mail. In that case, I choose not to leave feedback or DSRs even though I should.

If you follow the simple rules of accurately describing your items, taking adequate pictures, packing them safely and securely, you will have minimal problems.

Unfortunately, most of the issues i see come from people selling used clothing, not NWT clothing. That should be a head's up. If your business model is hitting the thrift store or yard sales to find clothes to resell on eBay, you might need to adjust your business model.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Island_Sam

Wed Apr 24 18:33:26 2013

We tried selling on Etsy about 6 months ago, was a total waste of time. Not enough sales to fully jettison our ebay business. Also started web site about the same time, same results. We hired a professional to build our site, SEO, etc. Invested a good deal of capital. Beware to those thinking of starting their own website. Since Google changed the way results are presented on search. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your site is critical. It seems whoever has the largest ad budget wins. Favoring the big boys of retail.

3 ventures, Etsy, Web site & Bonanza yielded same results: Less than 8% of our ebay sales (Total). I am about to try selling on Amazon, fingers crossed. We all complain about ebay, but at the end of the day they still dominate the online "Mom & pop" sellers market. Sad but true.

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by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 19:14:55 2013

I have 3 opened just yesterday. 2 only wanted to ask a question and one just wanted to tell me about some missing parts which I would have quickly taken care of even without the dispute. Not one of them intended to open a case. Another bonehead decision by eBay.  

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by: LJM This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 22:47:36 2013

Forestt..you don't have to believe me if you don't want to..I mentioned I had more views..which is true and I never said more sales,,it's only been 5 days but they are coming in. And I don't have problems with my buyers,as a matter of fact I like my buyers and they like me..its ebay policies I have issue with.
And thanks for the selling tips,after 13 years of 100% feedback and straight 5's I'll take it to heart and try to improve.Oh..and Etsy..it's like ebay was 10 years ago..fun and yes..sales.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 25 00:50:43 2013

Ebay Sees Dramatic Rise is Manipulated Open Cases Against Sellers.

How can we open cases against ebay and Paypal?  

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 25 00:55:01 2013

Ebay calls out small American sellers to write to our Congressmen and Senators... to protect foreign Mega Sellers from tax collection.   Ebay has no shame.

If you write to your Congressmen and Senators, Ask them to pass it and provide loop holes for small American sellers to get tax refund.

Since the Foreign Mega Sellers don't file tax with the IRS, then they won't get refunded...  Only American sellers WITH a certain threshold income would qualify for any refund.

Don't give ebay a blank check!!

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 25 01:02:43 2013

@LJM
    My sales is like ocean waves.... maybe that is an overstatement.  It is more like low lakeshore waves...  
Transaction comes and go.   I could conclude that Cassini is against FREE MARKET.  It is ALL about market MANIPULATION.  

So ebay could be a good marketplace... if you could become a Mega seller and live outside the US.

Ebay has no patriotism.  Ebay don't like small American sellers. I suggest JD change his nationality.




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by: rly3065 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 25 19:42:11 2013

You just have to be smarter then Ebay when you want to contact the seller. under the menu it comes up with other as a reason to contact the seller, click on that and you can still send the sell your email directly.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen

Fri Apr 26 06:18:28 2013

Ebay don't want contact between buyers and sellers because they might try and do some sort of deal outside ebay. According to them we are all cheats. Suspicious lot aren't they?.

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by: Reds This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 26 07:15:36 2013

I have to put the bad sellers somewhere LOL. I have had no negatuve effect from using ebuyer.com

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 26 14:03:58 2013

This clearly shows is that there is a huge need for a "hands off" on-line auction platform..... a working reciprocal feedback system would be o.k. and I would gladly pay a 5% fee ....... eBay reminds me of the Target or Penny's sunday flyer with lots of glitz and "deals" but mostly crap.
I sell and buy used stuff and am adult enough to make my own decisions .... anybody listening ?

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