Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Sept 1 2019 14:50:31

Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers concerned about bad buyers asked eBay about its seller protection policies during Wednesday's weekly chat session. eBay made two announcements this year related to better protecting sellers who encounter bad buyers. However, eBay limits many of those protections to Top Rated Sellers only - and only to those top sellers who offer returns. 

It's interesting to review the kinds of abuse sellers deal with on the eBay platform. The company outlines some of the unacceptable buying behavior that sellers endure in its Abusive Buyer Policy on an eBay.com help page.

Example of behavior outlined in the "abusive buyer" policy include the following:

- Requesting a shipping service not offered by the seller
- Requesting the seller ship to an address other than what you included in checkout
- Requesting to use a payment method not offered during checkout
- Requesting the seller hold your item so you can pay later
- Requesting a partial refund without returning the item
- Request additional items or services not included in the original listing or asking for a discount
- Finding an item on eBay and taking the sale off eBay
- Claiming an item was not received when it was delivered
- Claiming an item was not as described in order to return the item when the seller did not offer free returns
- Returning an item other than the original item received
- Using or damaging an item and then returning it
- Returning an item with the reason that it was not as described when it was described accurately
- Bidding for any purpose other than to purchase the item
- Sending messages to force or intimidate the other member into something outside of the original agreement

And then there are buyers who abuse policies meant to protect them (the buyers) - eBay provided the following examples of such prohibited behavior:

- A pattern of excessively opening eBay Money Back Guarantee requests or PayPal Purchase Protection cases or external payment disputes or chargebacks
- Opening claims or harassing sellers about an item not received before the latest estimated delivery date has passed
- Opening an eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Purchase Protection case or external payment disputes or chargebacks:
1) When you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider
2) When you haven't paid for an item
3) As retaliation against a seller following a previous dispute

One of the first questions from sellers out of the gate during the chat session was from a seller who said bad buying behavior impacts him not only for each incident, but when they add up, eBay then penalizes him by classifying him as a bad seller.

In Message #10, an eBay staff member responded:

"Service Metrics measures a seller's performance with returns and open claims from buyers. We are aware that it's possible for buyers to falsify or exaggerate claims. The performance evaluation is designed to account for these false claims. Sellers will be treated fairly on their claims through our peer profiles so that all sellers are evaluated on an even playing field. Additionally, we are actively protecting sellers from claims and negative impact to sellers from abusive buyers."

The staff member also addressed questions about whether eBay would retroactively offer seller protections - here's the exchange:

Seller: "I've reported all my abusive buyers - is this a lookback where you will now correct my seller metrics for the false SNADs I wasn't allowed to fight since last April when Ebay made a SNAD return mandatory whether correct or false?"

eBay Staff member: "No. Going forward when we find that a buyer is in violation of the abusive buyer policy, we will remove any feedback and defects, including opened cases in service metrics."

eBay also addressed concerns about buyers who have been blocked by a seller but who purchase from the seller anyway using a different account. The eBay staff member responded with the following:

"It can be frustrating when buyers circumvent your block and return to buy items from you on another account.  We are currently working on a solution to correct this problem.  This solution is not yet live and we are working with our customer support teammates to ensure you get the right answer when this happens to you and you call in about it.  

"It is against eBay policy for a buyer to circumvent your block.  In the future, if you have a buyer who is circumventing your block through another account and you can see that it is the same buyer, you can cancel the sale.  When you do this we will remove any negative feedback or defects on the transaction."

An eBay staff member also advised sellers to look out for eBay's Fall Seller Update announcement on Wednesday "to learn more about these upcoming seller protections.  Our plan is to begin protecting sellers starting in October."

As to concerns about why the new protections only cover Top Rated Sellers who offer returns, a staff member wrote, "Our intention is not to leave non-TRS sellers in the dust. As we gathered feedback from sellers regarding protections, we had a lot of really great feedback. We chose to start improving our protections with Top Rated sellers because they have a track record of delivering great buying experiences." He thanked the seller for their feedback regarding some of the disadvantages and said eBay would do its best to make its protections fair and available for its sellers.

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Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 15:31:27 2019

Just more Greedbay double speak. If they wanted to protect all sellers they would have done it years ago. Using the excuse of having to gather feedback in order to protect other sellers is just that A UNBELIEVEABLE LIE AND EXCUSE.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Sep 1 15:47:17 2019

@froggy

So because they didn't step up and do this years ago they shouldn't do it now?  Or they shouldn't start moving that direction now?

Absolutely the upcoming protections are not perfect and only time will tell if they are actually effective.  But at least it is moving in the direction of helping seller get some protections.

It's kind of like Health Care.  it was talked about for years and years and decades about we need a universal Health Care system in the US.  Yet for so many years nothing was done.  Then we finally did get a plan in place.  Certainly not perfect, but one that helped many that would not have been help otherwise.

Should we have waited for the perfect plan before starting it?  

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 16:08:47 2019

eBay's answers to the questions are all lies and smokescreens as always. Particularly funny is how they claim service metrics are set up to account for bad buyers. What a joke. If a buyer even opens a return (and doesn't return the item) or opens a claim (and loses), it still will permanently count against your seller metrics. eBay does not remove it even if requested. They need to keep the seller penalties so they can get closer to stealing more money from you for being a "bad seller". What a two-faced fraud of an operation this company runs. They only do what suits themselves in the form of money. There is no protection. What's needed is protection from eBay!

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 16:20:36 2019

This has nothing to do with healthcare - its not even close to the same thing.

If it wasnt for the few specific carve outs for a few senators, and the changing of the definition from penalty to TAX, and of course the stealth midnight vote - it never would have happened. Why? cause its money - billions of dollars that no one wants to really pay for.

Arguing about Obamacare and comparing the need for universal healthcare to eBay seller protection is a %101 bogus.

eBay has stated MANY times that they have no idea what item got shipped, what the buyer received and what the seller got back - if anything. They said it IN COURT - so where they lieing then or now - or both times?

Without being able to see what goes on behind the eBay curtain a seller cant figure out what eBay is doing if anything. They say they are - but is that like "if you like your doctor you can keep him/her" when it wasnt true?

At least for Obamacare - you could pick your service level and cost - on eBay you cant pick anything.

eBays business model is the OPPOSITE of any kind of seller protection - which is why when eBay releases its mumbo jumbo - you just laugh and call them LIARS.

If the buyer is always right (and or you are afraid they will do a chargeback and cost you money) then whats changed? Nothing.

eBay said they would charge people $20 to cover chargebacks - the true cost is north of $200 and please - tell me HONESTLY if you think eBay will continue to eat $180 at a time - just to please some TRS that they dont know/care about.

If you believe your sellers (at least the ones who have perfect or almost perfect records and have been with eBay for 20 years or so) then SAY IT. Dont say we are evaluating, dont say blah blah metrics - say straight out what happens and SHOW us what you do.

The argument of only rolling it out to TRS sellers too is BS. Its a piece of software - and you can easily write the algorithm so that it works properly from the get go.

What does "Sellers will be treated fairly on their claims through our peer profiles " mean when eBay decides returns cases against sellers - regardless of it saying otherwise, then add on a %4-5 TAX (like Obamacare did to people who wanted no part of it) just because they are "bad sellers".

Take myself for example. I sell alot of Amazon RB tablets. You would be surprised at what buyers expect those items to be. The list for $250 new, we sell them for $89.99 RB ... "what they arent new in box?" "how come mine has a slight scratch on the back plastic?" "why does mine have special offers, cant you get rid of it for me?" "is this gen 3 or gen 4 (cant tell unless you open the box, charge it, register it then look at what it says in settings) 'cause if I get a gen 3 and not a 4 ... Im gonna file a SNAD (even though I list the ASIN so you can look it up if you arent to lazy of a shmoe). And yet - they come back "SNAD/defective". Wanna bet how many were really defective???????? - out of 120 pcs or so? 1, UNO, ONE.

So then I got an email after all that from eBay that I have too many returns ... BUT THEY WERENT DEFECTIVE - and eBay told me - STFU the buyer is always right - too bad. So what "metrics"?

I even had a guy that gave me a positive feedback stating IN THE FEEDBACK "excellent works great", then opened (3) cases against me for the same item a month later stating it was defective. Took me 6 calls to get it right ..... But why?????

So (marie), eBay can say what ever BS they want - but because theres ZERO (actually less then zero) transparency and theres ZERO reason to work for the seller - easier to tell the seller to drop dead isnt it ? I for one - dont believe ONE GOD DARNED WORD - cause I know them better.

I know them for VERO (fake claims, made up laws, back end money for opening up a Platinum store in exchange for removing sellers/items, I know them for GSP (changes in the policy visa via snad claims from other countries) - I know the enemy - aka Uncle Griff.

Will it change in Oct? maybe. Maybe the teeny tiny change they make "evaluating service metrics blah blah" will make you happy - I hope it will, but when your business model is the EXACT opposite - you cant convince me ONE BIT - that there will ANY substantive changes.

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 17:36:15 2019

still no seller protection. but, i never thought that fleecebay would do anything that's fair to sellers

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 19:19:54 2019

"we're just a venue"...Like Castro saying "I'm just the head of state"

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Sun Sep 1 19:46:44 2019

"We are currently working on"  Famous last words.

"Our plan is to begin protecting sellers starting in October."  Key word here being 'begin.' Even their own buzz-word employees admit there is no seller protection.

The whole platform is one giant lying mess.

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 19:54:14 2019

ebay...the Sgt. Schultz of e-commerce

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 19:59:42 2019

"Everything is going to be great! We will protect you from scammers and you'll make money starting very soon, trust us this time"

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 20:35:24 2019

@Marie, eBay has lied to us ever since the Donahoe reign, why should we believe them now? First DSRs were for sellers to judge themselves, they would never be held against us. Then defect were an internal metric, they would never be held against us. Then returns were encouraged, they would never be held against us.

Every single person that works at eBay lies. From the CEO, to the "seller advocate" to the blues on the boards. I bet even the janitor there lies, did you clean the toilets, of course I did.

Why should we believe anything they say about anything? If they told me the sky was blue, I would assume its is now red.

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 20:55:27 2019

ebay has no rule book...it has 500,000 sticky notes and counting.
Too lazy to research the old ones? Write another.  

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

Sun Sep 1 23:19:40 2019

@Marie

The biggest problem is that most of these policies have been on the Ebay books for years already, but they just refused to enforce them unless you could pull up the exact policy and force them to look it up.  Even then it was still a crapshoot as to whether or not you would get your money back.  I mean remember the blocked buyer policy has been the same for as many years as I can remember.  Then a couple of years the Discussion Board Staff started stating that we really should go ahead and ship the item to the buyer because they evidently really wanted it.

During this time I had a buyer make a $1000 purchase from another account because i had blocked his wifes account.  I had done my research on them and found that they moved to Colorado from North Dakota because they both had multiple Fraud charges filed against them and they chose to run home to mommy and daddy to avoid prosecution.  They had also been buying and selling very expensive lighters online but had to change  categories after so many complaints and negative feedback that nobody would deal with them anymore.  So they changed to my category and immediately only went for the very high end items and only purchased from Sellers who offered 30 days returns.  

Luckily I knew somebody at Ebay that was higher up on the chain of command and my email to that person was forwarded to the Head of Trust and Safety who stepped in and contacted the buyer to accept the cancellation and refund, end of conversation.The buyer had been threatening to do all in their power to still cost me the $100 Ebay fees and that they would never accept a cancellation, period. A few minutes later I received an email asking how quickly they would be receiving their refund as they really needed that money back to pay for food for their family..lol.  I handled everything professionally and its a good thing because he also tried to leave negative feedback which was instantly removed.  

If I had not happened to know that person at Ebay the Buyer would have been able to to not allow me to cancel the order for anything other than OOS as there was no way I was going to send that item to them.  My research paid off as they later filed SNAD cases against all of the Sellers whose items they were not able to resell at the ridiculous prices they wanted for them.  Needless to say these Sellers wound up having to refund them even though they sent back nothing of value and kept every item they had purchased.  They then also left negative feedback for every last one of them. None of those Sellers were able to collect a cent back from the buyer and the amounts totaled approximately $30K.  I do not know if the Sellers filed Mail Fraud charges or not as that would have been very hard to prove.  

This is how Ebay has operated for years, especially since Donohoe took over and even more so under Wenig.  So just saying that now we are going to enforce the rules that we already have had on the books when we determine a buyer to be abusive is not nothing more than another article for Ebay to try and show Wall Street and its Shareholders that they are really trying to assist their Sellers.

I am not sure if their have been any buyers actually removed from Ebay but I kind of doubt it as i have not seen any posts proclaiming Ebay had the Sellers back and removed an abusive buyer.

 

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 1 23:56:43 2019

You're all so right about Ebay's decades old culture of lying. One would be a fool to expect them to change now

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by: smallstuff This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 2 00:37:32 2019

One thing for sure -- I am not expecting anything new.  Nor will I waste my time calling eBay when I have a problem.  I'll just move on and create more listings in hope of offsetting any loss.  It works.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Sep 2 01:35:33 2019

@Shanna

I'm not asking anyone to "believe" Ebay.  I've said we need to see how this plays out.  It isn't in my best interest to hope this fails.  For my business I'm hoping this will help and Ebay will continue to improve the Seller protections.  But only time will tell if they will and if these new protections coming will have any real value.  On the surface they look like they will, but the proof will be in the application.

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

Mon Sep 2 06:02:26 2019

I don't understand why they have to wait until October to start these "new' seller protection policies..

Perminate Link for Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers   Sellers Ask eBay How It Protects Them from Bad Buyers

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

Mon Sep 2 06:42:35 2019

@Judy F

Ebay needs to wait until October to implement these changes because they know it will cost them even more money and they do not want to make the 3rd Qtr results look any worse than I believe they already are going to look.  I have been getting constant Ebay bucks offers on all of my accounts all during August which means they are hurting big time on sales.  I have also been getting  up to 10 emails a day from Ebay to my personal email account trying to get me to go back and buy every single item i have looked at in the last 2 months and there is no way to stop them from coming.  It has gotten to the point of complete desperation on Ebays part to try and get anybody to spend some money on their site.  Even my FB group has been joking about all of the offers and that they will wait until it is at least 10% so they can get a bunch of free items next quarter.  A few of them have already maxed out quarterly Ebay Bucks and are creating new accounts so they can get more money from them.  If i remember correctly the max amount is $500 a quarter but i may be wrong as i do not keep up on this.  Every one of their purchases has been made when the Ebay bucks was at 10% and they share it with all the others so that they maximize their savings.  

With all of this going down I am not surprised that Ebay is waiting until the 4th quarter to implement their protections for sellers and for some strange reason I truly think the success is all going to depend on how sales are doing.  If sales continue to plummet i doubt very much that Ebay will truly implement the new policies.  I am sure their excuse will be that they are not finding any truly abusive buyers so nothing can be done.  Remember that all of these so called protections only come into play once a buyer has been classified as abusive, so if there are no abusive buyers then there is nothing to be protected for the Sellers.

Once again Ebay is speaking Weasel speak that leaves them lots of wiggle room to do absolutely nothing and blame it all on the Sellers not understanding what an abusive buyer really is.   If sales actually improve, which I am not holding my breath for since Ebay does not want to spend any money on marketing, then we might see some of their larger Sellers get some protection, but i highly doubt that there will be anything left for the smaller sellers even if they are TRS members.

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by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 2 06:49:19 2019

it will never change. the giant businesses and titans rule the greed , lies , threats , manipulation , deceiving , pay offs , and phony punishments , against the honest working peons. look at history. just keeps repeating only with different names.

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by: Windkissed This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Sep 2 07:42:37 2019

I get frustrated with the mistakes that ebay makes?  I listed an item yesterday and checking on the feed found they were advertising it with FREE shipping when I did not include FREE shipping on that item.  I have also found they have relist3ed a couple of my items when they sold when I only had one item. What is that all about?  I was shopping yesterday and tried to buy an item and it would not go thru so I bought something else.  Then a day later they want me to go in an pay for the other item??????????What is that all about?  I had to go back and forth with this seller several times to get the message across that I did not want the item anymore because it would not go thru the first time and I bought something else.  Why did it not go thru when I was trying to buy it in the first place????????????   So many mistakes from ebay that makes extra work and extra attention from me to my items.  

I do not want to sell something to someone that I don';t have.  And if something does not have free shipping on it, abide by my decision.  I know what I can afford in paying for shipping for an item.  Its my business, keep your nose out of my finances.

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by: wellspring This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 2 07:43:00 2019

@marie
Healthcare? You’re bringing “universal” health care into the conversation? In TN, I had no choice but to sign up for ACA (Private Insurance is unavailable and I’m too young for Medicare) and I could hardly  find a doctor to accept ACA for a simple endoscopy! However, comparing ebay to ACA might just be appropriate. Neither one fully supports the people who pay the bills and you can’t believe what you hear.  

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