Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 10 2013 17:11:18

eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay is forcing some sellers to agree to pay for return shipping for buyers who are unhappy with their purchase for any reason, no matter what the seller's return policy states, and despite the practice going against the default eBay Buyer Protection policy.

Only a percentage of sellers are impacted, causing some to believe it is a technical glitch on eBay's part, but one seller believes it's a sign of eBay's intent to eventually force sellers into offering free returns.

Sellers notice the problem on Saturday when listing items on eBay when they were confronted with the following message:

"If your item sells, you will be charged a Final Value Fee based on a percentage of the item's total cost to the buyer (less any sales tax). If your buyer returns this item because the item is not as described in the listing, you'll be charged return shipping on your seller invoice as a fee, which may be charged to your automatic payment method on file, if any. By clicking the List your item button, you agree to pay the fees above, accepting the listing conditions above, and assume full responsibility for the content of the listing and item offered."

It took sellers a bit of sleuthing to figure out what was going on - it appears eBay changed some sellers' settings to show they were part of the Managed Returns program and had opted to pay for return shipping. eBay launched the optional program in September.

A seller on this eBay discussion board pasted a link to information about the returns program, but couldn't figure out how to opt-out after having been forced into it. Other sellers who were impacted agreed, saying they were unable to find a way to opt out of the Managed Returns program. The fix appears to be to sign out of eBay, sign back in and then try to opt out.

"I know without doubt WE NEVER opted in. I wonder how long I have been opted in without knowing...," wrote a seller on the eBay board.

Have you been opted in to the Managed Returns program without your knowledge or permission? Let us know by leaving a comment.




Comments (50) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 18:04:04 2013

So .... where is the neutral third party deciding whether  the item is indeed "not as described"?
.... as we all know any sleazy buyer can play the "not as described" card for any reason, and now its going to cost the seller 2-way shipping ......?

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 18:35:57 2013

The only problem I have with the surmised policy is that eBay never ever makes a call respecting ''not as described''. EVEN when the seller states NO RETURNS. SO far, I have always been charged to return items that were not as described--you know, like a ''sterling silver'' brooch that is pewter. Even as a buyer I lose at eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Feb 10 19:16:00 2013

You really can't run a business on eBay.  Ebay runs your business.  Nothing they do surprises me anymore.  The seller is their customer and with this said they are about the most "seller unfriendly" company that I have ever encountered.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Feb 10 20:47:52 2013

Seems like sellers should do a regularly scheduled check of their settings these days! I prefer to manage my own returns - hopefully this is just one more glitch.

If the listing adequately describes the item, then in most business models it is reasonable to expect the buyer to bear responsibility for all shipping costs not included in the price, including returns if the seller accepts them.  

More sellers are taking unconditional returns within a given time period.

IMO, Shipping costs are the price buyers (including myself) pay for the value of handling, viewing, trying on, or plugging in the item up close and personal instead of looking at it on a computer screen.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sun Feb 10 22:52:52 2013

“If your buyer returns this item because the item is not as described in the listing, you'll be charged return shipping on your seller invoice as a fee, which may be charged to your automatic payment method on file …”

Yeah, who determines this question of “not as described”, and how many continuous NADs is a scamming buyer allowed? Secondly, how would eBafia know what the actual cost of the shipping was? Thirdly, what then is eBafia’s mechanism for reimbursing the buyer for this return shipping cost that they are going to charge to the seller?

And who’s to say that eBafia won’t simply pocket any such return shipping charge for themselves—things at eBafia are getting desperate, after all …

‘“I wonder how long I have been opted in without knowing...," wrote a seller on the eBay board.’

Well, that could possibly be as long as you have not known that it is no longer a breach of eBay’s rules for a “related” person to bid on a seller’s auctions. But this waiver only applies to those (residents of the US?) who list on the US site; the rest of us overseas “related” people are still technically considered to be probable shill bidders—even if only nominally so … LOL

@Basset, such “glitches” don’t usually come with an explanatory note—only at eBay—LOL

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Ron This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 23:09:58 2013

I don't know why anyone bothers anymore, certainly people selling in certain categories, like the more traditional eBay categories of antiques, collectibles, vintage and the unique and hard to find.

Auction prices have plummeted like a rock, if you can even sell your item, plus you have to subject yourself to their clueless nonsense.

We used to be Gold Powersellers, but we've moved on for the most part - the only thing that I'll offer on eBay are cheaper items or rejects as eBay management has masterfully changed the site so as to encourage that type of selling.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 23:46:32 2013

I wonder if we DO go and check to see if we have been "opted in" against our will do we really think that "Opting OUT" will mean we WON'T get hit with these fees???

I worry that one day I will wake up and there will be a large sign outside my house--EBAY WAS HERE.  BE READY TO MOVE OUT IMMEDIETLY.  WE HAVE A BUYER WHO IS INTERESTED IN THE PROPERTY.

And we will have no recourse because somewhere hidden in the "fine print" there was an ebay clause to cover just such a hostile takeover.  

My "secondary payment" is my Paypal "credit card" in which I have little money at any given time so let 'em go try and get blood from a stone.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Big Dog This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 23:48:00 2013

you can just about count on a NOT AS DESCRIBED claim for eBay does not give the buyer very many options to choose from beside NOT AS DESCRIBED so what do you expect the buyer is going to pick, just another example of eBay setting the seller up to take the fall

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Feb 10 23:50:49 2013

Who decides whether an item is not as described?

Why the typical ebafia omniscient, omnipotent, prevaricating buyer of course!

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Big Dog This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 23:50:52 2013

comet ... you better check again any account you have ever had associated with your eBay is subject to eBay trying to get there money from, you said it read the XXXX-SMALL print..... lol

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Big Dog This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 10 23:52:14 2013

Ming the buyer decides because that is pretty much the only option eBay gives them. Once the case is opened NAD it is put into auto mode and it is a finished deal....  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Feb 10 23:53:00 2013

Well ebay is definitely in desperation mode. They want everything to be on the sellers without ebay paying a penny out. I can see ebay in the not too distant future wanting all sellers to pay for return shipping.

Ebay also is enforcing free shipping on sellers whether they realize it or not. I had in the auction format about 25 listings ending around the same time. Of the 25 listings only 5 had free shipping. I sold only 4 items out of the 25 to different buyers. You guessed it, the 4 were all with the free shipping. This was so obvious that my listings were being made invisible in search unless I offered free shipping. Anyone else with a similar experience?

This tells me that listing on ebay is a big waste of time unless you offer free shipping when listing and free shipping to the buyer on any returns. No way can small and medium sellers be able to accommodate this coercion and still make a profit.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Feb 10 23:59:15 2013

Forgot to mention that all the items were used and in different categories.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: innerpuppie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 11 00:06:13 2013

Here's the MAJOR flaw in the eBay return system. If you buy more than one item from a seller and want to return all of them you have to process each separately even thought they were all shipped in the same box. How does eBay react to that? Why, they process a separate shipping label for each and charge them to the seller. How do I know this? Because it happened to me. My customer knew she had to choose NAD to get the return shipping paid for by me. She processed three returns for three different items. I called eBay and they suggested that I contact the buyer and politely ask her to send all of the goodies back in one box with one shipping label. (How nice.) Well, she did. Want to know the kick in the gut. She wrote to me later and said all she wanted was to get the items in her home to 'check them out' to see if she was interested in them. Nice, I got to pay for her 'lookie see'.

How does eBay know the weight of the package to process the label? They look into your items shipped and those will show weight, type of shipping and final payment to your processor if its one that they use.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Just My Humble View This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 11 00:10:45 2013

Since reading several months back about ''seller settings'' being changed without the seller's knowledge, I began to check all of my settings regularly -- at least once every 2 weeks. It only takes a few minutes, and could potentially save me a lot of grief. I use a 3rd party listing service, so would not even see the message advising me of the potential charges as those who are listing directly on ebay would see.

So far, none of my settings have been automatically changed. I have a 14-day return policy -- buyer pays return shipping. However, on those occasions when I made an error, I refund shipping both ways. I just think it's good business, and have had many of those buyers return to buy other items from me. I find that customers still appreciate integrity, and that is how I would hope to be treated when I am the buyer. I DO NOT refund return shipping for people who change their mind, or who don't read the description to notice that the item is 12 inches tall rather than the 6 inches tall that they assumed it would be. ;-)

I'd be interested to know whether the settings are being changed only for those sellers who do not accept returns, to protect buyers from genuine SNAD items. I've purchased a few of those, and now will only buy when some sort of return policy is in place. I hate to get stuck with a tool that is rusted in an area not photographed, and the description says ''mint condition'' or advertised as a valued brand name and it turns out to be a junk brand.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Feb 11 00:14:44 2013

Slightly off topic... but when Ron mentioned that he had moved-on, it triggered a thought I'd like to share.

For the longest time, the only time I will list on eBay is during their ''free-listing'' promotions.

As it turns out, I was away visiting someone for the duration of the most recent ''free-listing'' promotion and I wasn't able to take advantage of it. --- This means that my eBay sales for the past 30 days have been ZERO (no listings, no sales... of course!)

But something else remarkable has happened. I'm busy enough with my own web site that I don't miss eBay. Seriously, I don't miss it!

I continued to list during the free-listing promotions because I thought I ''needed'' to... because it was my habit... because I just couldn't let-go of eBay (something that had been an important part of my life for over 12 years... and a regular part of my daily routine.)

Even though eBay had become a mere fraction of my overall sales, I figured that I might as well make a half-hearted effort and get SOMETHING instead of NOTHING, right?

I guess eBay had become an addiction for me... and recently, an unhealthy one at that. --- And just like the smoker who has severe withdrawal symptoms during the first week... it gets easier over time.

Well... it's now been a month of NO EBAY sales for me, and I AM LOVING IT! --- Stress-free! I look forward to checking my email for new sales. When my office phone rings, I'm eager to answer it. I'm enthusiastic about selling again.

As it turns out, my philosophy of ''getting SOMETHING instead of NOTHING'' was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! --- I'm now discovering that the small ''something'' that trickled-in from eBay just wasn't worth the aggravation or the APPREHENSION about who the next bottom-feeding eBay scoundrel would be.

I'm fortunate that I have my own web site and that it's working very well for me. And it's only by ACCIDENT that I discovered the JOY... the PURE JOY of being eBay-FREE!!

eBay doesn't want me... and I don't NEED eBay.

Wow! It's been a GREAT MONTH!! :-)



Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Feb 11 00:28:41 2013

@Just My Humble View,

Where did you get the "S" from on SNAD; the word "significantly" is not mentioned in the quoted eBay explanatory note, only NAD ... eBay would not want to enter into any debate about the meaning of the word “significant” … that might require human intervention … and that is never going tor happen because it might affect this cretinous corporation’s bottom line …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Just My Humble View This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 11 00:29:34 2013

@ bitbybit - I did some shopping on ebay this evening, and my searches returned listings both with free shipping and with shipping fees.

Maybe, in this instance, it was merely coincidence? Or perhaps buyers really are more interested in the free shipping listings for those items you had for sale?

I don't know, but in the categories I searched, both returned in search results.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

by: Just My Humble View This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 11 00:31:43 2013

@ Philip - My bad, I reckon. Terminology from our previous ebay life.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping   eBay Forces Some Sellers to Pay for Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Feb 11 00:40:15 2013

As "bitbybit" mentions above, eBay is showing once again how desperate they are to keep every buyer, no matter how rotten, to keep making purchases and thus look good in their financial reports. And you know when the information becomes widely known that sellers are now paying for return postage, sellers are going to be seeing more of what "innerpuppie" describes above because there will be no cost whatsoever to the buyer. "Order, try out, and return" will be the new mantra for buyers as sellers continue to hemorrhage money following eBay policies.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.