eBay's policy of siding with buyers in disputes is under scrutiny once again, this time in the New York Times. An eBay seller asked the Times columnist "The Haggler" to look into a case in which a buyer claimed his item, a $1,400 doughnut fryer, was defective. And it's clearly touching a nerve with EcommerceBytes readers, who are sending us emails linking to the article.
The seller claims eBay overruled his return policy and wrote to The Haggler, "eBay demands I pay return shipping and refund the buyer, or the company will give her the refund and let her keep the machine."
Despite the columnist's best efforts, he says he failed to help the reader.
"The Haggler emailed eBay on Mr. Erike's behalf in the hopes of persuading the company to re-examine its conclusions. That didn't work. It only produced the following bit of email boilerplate:
"While the overwhelming majority of transactions go smoothly, eBay has designed a set of robust polices and standards geared toward fairness in cases where eBay needs to step in to adjudicate. We've reached out to this seller to provide best practices to avoid similar scenarios in the future.""
The seller told The Haggler he had provided eBay with proof the item worked while the customer "declined even to send a photo of her electrical setup" (the item requires a specific electrical environment - the right wattage and amperes - in order to work, information he said he had included in the listing description).
The Haggler said eBay's response to the seller's case "underscored that evidence was kind of beside the point."
You can find the column, titled, "Lesson From a Doughnut Fryer Debacle: Let the eBay Seller Beware," on the NYT website
. What do you think, and have you run into problems with eBay overriding your returns policies?