Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 27 2016 17:49:04

eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues

By: Ina Steiner

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This is one of the strangest examples of an eBay return mix-up that we've seen in some time - and it's worrying in case the glitch that involved two sellers could be happening to other users as well.

For those who don't know, buyers who want to return a product to a seller go into eBay's system and generate a return shipping label (details are explained on this page).

In this case, a reader wrote to us today and explained that instead of receiving back the pocketbook he had sold to a buyer, he received a faucet instead.

Some of you might be thinking, "buyer returns fraud" - but that does not appear to be the case.

Even though the label has the buyer's return address on the package sent to the seller, checking the USPS tracking number shows that instead of being sent from Texas where his buyer is located, it was sent from Georgia.

The seller then looked inside the box containing the faucet that he received and found a sheet for a return involving two other eBay members - the buyer and seller of a faucet! And sure enough, the buyer of the faucet was located in the same place in Georgia where the tracking number shows it had been mailed. The return slip was correct, but the return shipping label contained addresses of a buyer and seller of a completely different transaction.

To summarize:

Seller A sells a pocketbook to Buyer B.

Seller X sells a faucet to Buyer Y.

Buyer B sends back the pocketbook, but Seller A does not receive it.

Instead, Seller A receives a faucet - from Buyer Y.

Seller A is waiting to see if Buyer B will provide the tracking number of the package they sent to see where the pocketbook may have ended up (Seller X will check tomorrow to see if he received the pocketbook).

It's a lesson to all users to check eBay-generated shipping labels (and compare them to the return slips) before affixing them to your packages and putting them in the mail.

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Readers Comments

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by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 29 00:29:59 2016

I think the entire ecommerce world is going mad these days.  I ordered something from Saks and indeed, received the item ordered but it was gift wrapped with a card attached to the gift box "To XXX from YYYY"-- people I had never heard of.

Then, I got a chargeback (my very first) from a buyer who purchased the month before.  She had never contacted me so it was a surprise.  I contacted her to find out what was going on.  She apologized and said her Citi card had been replaced by Citi due to suspected fraud on the card and she thought that the item she had purchased from me had cleared before they yanked the old credit card.  She said she loved the item from me and had no intention of returning it, spent an hour on the phone with Paypal, then Citibank to figure it all out.  I called Paypal and the rep said I should get a check from the buyer then click on "allow liability" on my Paypal account and it would all go away.  Really?

Somehow, I don't think it's just Ebay these days.  The morass at Etsy, however, is unforgiveable.  Home addresses should never be given out unless the seller approves it.

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by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 29 01:46:50 2016

@queenfloraday

That is what my earlier post in this thread was about - NO shipping amounts filled in on invoice forms, which, if you don't pay attention, and just click Send, the Buyer will then get free shipping.

I posted this to Ina's EKG section, and seems other people are seeing this, too.

As you mentioned, from what I've also been seeing, this is only with Calculated shipping, both Domestic and International.  I've got more orders going out tomorrow (3 International [all calculated] and 1 or 2 calculated Domestic), and will see if it's still continuing.  Flat rate amounts do not seem to be affected.  

@quovadis12345

Please keep updating us on this bizarre problem you are finding.  While I don't think too many (if any) others on this Forum may be directly impacted, this certainly has wider implications.

Combined with the problems I've been experiencing, it speaks of a breakdown (big surprise?) in eBay's/Pitney-Bowe's USPS shipping processes in eBay labels.

I hope this isn't the straw that broke the camel's back, and we'll be experiencing a major meltdown soon.

I've got other ways to ship besides eBay labels, but all are more complicated, or cost me more money, and I don't want to use them if I don't have to.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Mar 29 03:36:25 2016

@quovadis12345
Maybe you are now eBay's official return center. Hope it doesn't snowball into returmaggedom.

Unfortunately one data error can go on for years and years. Several years back a cashier at a b&m store tried to get my daughter to sign up for a card to get a discount on her purchase. The cashier keyed her first name wrong with a weird spelling for a common name. Fast forward 5-6 years later and she still gets mail with the wrong spelling from other companies. American Express, Chase got her information from being in the ''system'' sending offers several times a month with the wrong name. Who wants to do business with a company if they can't even get the spelling of a first name correct? By the way, she has never gone back to that store since the first purchase.

I really hope you can get this straightened out. Make sure eBay doesn't bill you for all these returns and re-shipments. I would keep a close watch on my account.      

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 29 08:52:41 2016

It's obvious to a blind person that eBay's IT department, which has been in an apparent shambles for several years now, is getting worse, not better.
IOW - the trend is NOT our friend.
The mind boggles at what kind of screwed-up database code could have caused an error like this. It's very likely that the eBay code base has been mangled by so many "improvements" over the years that it's devolved into an unmaintainable mess. They'd probably be better off freezing what they've got and starting over again.

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by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 29 09:31:56 2016

ME TOO!!!!! Invoices are coming up with blanks in the shipping. This is not just a .com problem because while I am registered on .com I list on .ca now  by choice because that is where I am located and I need the postage calculator for my listings.
Was away for a week so store was on vacation. Turned it back on Friday night and all sales since then that I have sent an invoice for have had postage MIA.

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 29 09:52:48 2016

I had been having the problem of multiple items being invoiced for just the cost of the first item for a few days, it seems to have corrected itself yesterday.  Mine are almost all flat rate.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Mar 29 11:45:43 2016

@quovadis12345  --  This whole thing could have been handled better with just having had the buyers actually pay attention to and read the return slips and addresses. This goes along with the problem of them not reading the listing as well. We are living in a land of illiterates. Sorry also for you getting a return on a Coach bag. I assume that it had a decent sale price. I don't know why people pay such great amounts of money for purses with someone's brand on it, but they do. You would think if they can afford the price they should also know how to read.

Perminate Link for eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues   eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 29 13:51:20 2016

This is just an outrage, along with the mistakes on their shipping times,handling times and delivery times, missing photos and lack of any helpful customer service just is making ebay look really really bad.
Who is policing ebay? Who is going to make them pay for the losses incurred. They have the nerve to judge sellers using their mistakes, it makes you just sick.  

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by: notbananas This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 30 08:20:51 2016

I live only a few miles from Ebay's Campbell, CA headquaters. I deal with the imported Indian and Chinese software developers who's second (some are third) language is English.

They get their Masters in Computer Science in some un-accredited third world university and come to work in US with an H1B Visa. They are the nicest people otherwise, but completely clueless about our culture or the big picture of a complex system.

They are assigned a specific micro-section of the website to "improve" a certain part of the system. When their task is complete by testing only the part they are responsible for, they go on to the next assignment. If something fails later down the line, someone else has to fix it.

When I had my contract software business on the 80' and 90's the joke was that my software engineers fixed one problem and created two others so they can be guaranteed future work.

BTW, back in those days, my software engineers were graduates of US universities with real MSCS and were paid 4x-5x more than the current Indian or Chinese imports.

I'm waiting for the day when there's a total meltdown of Ebay's software spaghetti code. It's like a nuclear chain reaction that will implode.

Perminate Link for eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues   eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 3 16:54:34 2016

One more reason to not trust ebay to run your business.

Idiots

Perminate Link for eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues   eBay Mixes Up Addresses on Return Labels, Chaos Ensues

by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 4 12:53:28 2016

And THAT is why i never trusted ebay to handle my shipping.

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