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.