eBay published a tutorial on how to issue refunds through Managed Payments on December 22. Good to know, but it doesn't appear the timing of the video was coincidental. Buyers were frantic over late packages in the run-up to Christmas, and as sellers reported, some buyers insisted on getting refunds even when the seller had met their stated handling time.
In this thread on the eBay discussion boards, a seller described a situation where they were pressured to refund a buyer before Christmas, just days before the item finally arrived. The seller asked, "So What Happens When Refund Issued Item finally gets Delivered?"
"Item was shipped on 11/26 and finally out for delivery today 12/28," the seller explained. "Delay was caused by USPS. I had to refund the buyer several days ago as per eBay Dictator rules."
"So," the seller asked, "am I just out the money unless the buyer decides to step up and do the right thing? Or is eBay on the hook? I am sure I am not the first this has happened to. Thanks in advance for advice."
As buyers like those were pressuring sellers to issue refunds, eBay published a tutorial on YouTube, writing:
"Need to refund a buyer? You can start a full or partial refund in the eBay Seller Hub. Search for the "Refunding buyers as a managed payments seller" help article in the eBay Help Hub."
It would have been helpful if eBay had also published a video explaining how sellers should deal with antsy buyers demanding refunds for packages delayed due to the USPS logjam.
eBay did announce enhanced seller protections in this YouTube video, but it would have been helpful if the company had provided more details. Did it expect sellers to ignore such requests and trust that eBay would do the right thing?
It's disheartening to read about sellers' experiences like those described in the discussion board thread above. There was a lot of support offered to sellers and small businesses in messages in the spring at the beginning of the pandemic, but will corporations like eBay step up now? Keep us posted on what you're experiencing in the coming weeks.