Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Feb 25 2013 23:35:31

eBay Changes to User Agreement Raise Questions from Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Earlier this month, I wrote about eBay changes to its User Agreement, and the ramifications of some of the new provisions are starting to sink in with sellers. The one I find most interesting is the requirement that buyers must contact sellers before filing a claim - at least, that's what eBay had originally promised last July.

Sellers are realizing that what eBay is now doing is requiring buyers to open cases in the Resolution Center rather than contacting sellers via My Messages. In the February 5th EcommerceBytes article, eBay's Ryan Moore confirmed this and said sellers would receive a notification in My Messages when a buyer had opened a case, which would also show up in the Resolution Center.



This decision to change the requirement of buyers using My Messages to using the Resolution Center instead must have happened quite recently, because in mid-December, eBay's Director of Seller Protections had reiterated eBay's July announcement that it was going to require the buyer to contact the seller through the member to member communication.

In a discussion about the issue on the eBay boards, someone wrote yesterday, "This is the exact OPPOSITE of what they promised 6 months ago, which anyone with a brain should have been anticipating. Instead of requiring contact BEFORE opening a dispute, they're going to have everyone open disputes first, and the "dispute console" is GOING TO BE the contact - buyer must "contact" the seller before they can ESCALATE the dispute for an eBay decision."

And, on this EcommerceBytes Letter to the Editor published today, a reader noted that the changes appear to give sellers only 3 days to respond to an opened case instead of the current 7 days.

On this eBay board where users discussed the new changes, one seller wrote, "I'm not looking for problems before they actually happen, but ... The majority of my customers (95%), who contact me about a problem, just want to make an exchange for a different size." The seller went on to explain the process can take several back and forth letters to make the customer happy. "This type of customer service creates VERY happy and returning customers. I suspect that doing this through the eBay "dispute console" will not work as seamlessly."

Another wrote they believed the new policy "it will result in hundreds or thousands of unnecessarily opened cases - over simple issues that could have been easily resolved by contacting the sellers."

The changes to the eBay User Agreement are found here, let us know if you spot anything else of interest to sellers!




Comments (46) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Feb 26 00:35:05 2013

Now we know why implementation of the new program was delayed by eBay.

Someone in San Jose woke up and realized that requiring buyers to message sellers before opening up a claim was too reasonable, and would not provide eBay with the ammunition they desperately seek to eliminate sellers from the Top Rated Seller Discount program.

eBay wants to eliminate as many sellers as possible from qualifying for discounts. Messages that resolve issues between buyers and sellers which would eliminate the need for cases being opened simply did not suit eBay's needs, hence the delay and change to a more draconian process.

eBay knows they need to find new sources of revenue, and it seems as though the process will be to hold revenue instead of rewarding buyers and sellers.

In Canada, eBay has announced the elimination of the eBay Bucks program, this will keep lots of money in eBay's pockets. US Buyers should be prepared to hear from eBay that the program will be discontinued here as well.

This spring, thousands of sellers will see their 20% Top Rated Seller discounts evaporate before their very eyes as every nit picking little issue which was once easily resolved becomes a case which will count against sellers and eliminate them from qualifying.

eBay sellers should have known all along that the original announcement was too reasonable, and too fair to sellers, and that eBay would rejigger the policy to make it more negative.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Feb 26 02:47:38 2013

I just responded to this same subject in "Letters". Completely, of course or as usual, agree with Ric.

Why would ebay have anything reasonable, simple and streamlined when there is no money to be made in doing that? Remember ebay operates on greed alone. This policy will work to accumulate more cash from both buyers and sellers. Buyers will get a refund or partial refund from sellers who probably won't ask for a refund of FVFs and will relist item upon return generating more fees for ebay. If in "favor" of sellers, don't kid yourself if ebay doesn't use "case" and/or "claim" later against the seller in a NEW policy, to be as yet named, in the future as "retroactive". I really do thing ebay loves that word since it brings all sellers into their dolphin's net. Oh, and of course, funds will be placed on hold, DSR's will be affected and 20% discounts will be eliminated.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we try to deceive."  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Feb 26 03:16:36 2013

''..result in hundreds or thousands of unnecessarily opened cases - over simple issues that could have been easily resolved by contacting the sellers''

which is precisely the point

and

JD's disruptive innovation continues into its 6th year of the three year plan

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Feb 26 08:28:30 2013

Why do they even have this TRS program? They clearly don't want sellers to have it.  They do everything in their power to take it away from sellers.

This company is despicable.  Wasn't it Ming who said you know that they are lying when their lips are moving?

So when Little Miss Impatient doesn't have her widget in 3 days will she be opening a case simply because she wonders where it is and simply wants to ask about it?

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 09:13:08 2013

TRS is a bait gimmick to enrich ebay management.  ebay can take it anytime they want it.  The trick is to keep everyone on the borderline so they could trip the wire anytime they want to.   ebay is most unethical company on earth.  Search your competitions' feedbacks.   Block all NEG givers before they attack you.
Ebay takes commission irregardless good buyers or bad buyers buy from the sellers.  They even take 12% commission on the postage fees we paid USPS.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Feb 26 09:16:53 2013

That is if their "Resolution Centre" works properly.

I got notices that there were disputes closed in my favour - but I never received any notice of them being opened in the 1st place.

Ebay programmers - the Bain of eCommerce.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 09:24:45 2013

I question this stupid TRS program!  So, if they don't want to give discounts to TRS sellers - why even have the GD thing?  The problem being they take all the small sellers along with their various ploys to try to rid the site of TRS sellers....AND they lose good sellers besides!  Everyone seems so adamant that their rulings are aimed at not paying discounts to TRS sellers, but I see it as mismanagment and sheer stupidity on the part of management!  Too many cooks spoil the broth so to speak!

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by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 09:40:12 2013

Sellers have to remember that their stores are ebay store. They control the search, they want to control the return, they want to control what pictures you list, they want to control your profits, they want to control your shipping.

Why would ebay want any one to fail, this is America a place where you can own and build your business. They tell congress how they help small business buy allowing them to sell on ebay.

This policy is not a big deal, they have been moving this direction for the past several years. ebay will tell you PROFIT is not a dirty word, its just BUSINESS.

(Quote)If you don't like what you have find another site.

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

Tue Feb 26 10:08:04 2013

Seeing constant discussion like this about ebay reminds me of what some advertisers keep in the forefront of their minds, "even bad press is good". The more we see these mentions of ebay like it is the only game in town just makes more and newer sellers think it can't be so bad at ebay even with what they read here.

Folks, there are venues besides ebay! Find one or two and make them work for you! The other day some nice lady in the UK left me a neutral in my feedback with the comment "pattern has arrived". Knowing the mindset of some buyers, they would assume that it took a very long time for the pattern to get to the buyer. Not really. It was sent on the afternoon of the 12th (the day it was purchased) and arrived in the UK to the customers by the 19th. Since it went first class and the USPS gives Priority 6-10 days to arrive in the UK, getting a neutral for less than a week in transit  didn't set well with me. So I wrote the ecrater team and asked that they would just clarify the shipping and received dates inside the FB since we can't respond to FB ourselves in ecrater. They went one better. They changed the neutral to a positive! When is the last time ebay did that for you, knowing that a seller's reputation is paramount?

Now where would you really like to sell? On a site that has the sellers at heart or at ebay where they are trying to make a money grab on everything they can and will do anything to screw a seller? It is never too late to change.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Feb 26 10:51:57 2013

Like Moonwishes, I am a supporter of eCrater. Recently, my sales there have been beyond belief awesome. I don't know if it's that buyers are finally sick of eBay and looking for other venues, or if buyers are starting their searches with Google organic, Bing, etc., instead of going directly to eBay. Whatever the reason, I'm loving it.

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 10:57:03 2013

I don't think this hass anything to do with the 20% discount, they could just discontinue that next week if they wanted to.

They are discontinuing the ebay bucks in Canada, they will dump that in the US soon.  

They can do whatever they want.  That discount was a carrot and stick approach to getting sellers to do what they want.  Now they just changed the user agreement to force that.  They don't have to pay anymore.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Feb 26 11:19:36 2013

@Ed, I thought that eBay are just a venue.  Oh, I guess eBay are just a venue when they are in court with a luxury retailer.

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 11:30:10 2013

Ebay totally messed up. Rec'd notice that I qualified for TRS. Congrats the whole thing. Problem is I don't qualify. I do not accept returns.  This is not the first time. Last time I had it for a little over a month then notified I no longer qualify.
They are just a big mess. The only thing they have is traffic and that is dwindling down fast. That is why they are desperate - free listings etc...

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by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 12:15:26 2013

@Freddy The only thing they have is traffic and that is dwindling down fast.

Your wrong ebay has every thing, they have control of the search, they control what you sell, they control how you ship, they control every policy. The TRS tag was a bone to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

You are nothing more than a place for them to have inventory and ship it. Traffic may seem to be dwindling but the facts are they have added many more sellers and that means the new sellers have to get some sales or they will leave.

Ric hit the nail on the head a few weeks ago when he said ebay makes more money off of 10 new sellers stores than off off only one.

Don't you just love ebay

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by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 12:25:56 2013

@FREDDY - "Ebay totally messed up. Rec'd notice that I qualified for TRS." I received the same thing this morning. They switch mine on and off every couple of months. I feel like Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall. 100% feedback with a few bad dsr's here and there, 1000's of transactions, no refunds and a ton of happy customers, yet I'm still not 110% perfect according to Ebay, so I'm sitting on the edge of the wall about to fall and crack my egg.  haha.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Tue Feb 26 13:32:21 2013

''We are moving to a world where we are going to require buyers to contact sellers prior to making a claim. Now, we strongly encourage it, encourage them to do the process of the buyers giving up that claim, but because that communication can happen outside of eBay, we often have to take the buyer's word for it that they contacted the seller.

So now we're going to require the buyer to contact the seller through the member to member communication. We're going to know the contact happened. That's one of the changes that will take place.''

eBay's Director of Seller Protections Rich Matsuura

EcommerceBytes Blog

December 12, 2012

Did Mr. Matsuura ''misspeak'' or just lie?

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 13:49:27 2013

 It's all MY fault.  

Last week when I was out searching for things I thought might sell on--ebay--silly me!!!--I got a call from---ebay.

The person claimed that they wanted to speak to ME about SELLER ISSUES and HELPING SELLERS.  Now since I was out SHOPPING the very places I GET these items to RESELL I really did NOT want to be overheard talking this up.  Seemed kinda--rude ya know?  And I had  limited time so I couldn't just step outside.

I asked the person to CALL ME BACK.  This got me shocked protestations that this was a sELLER issue--didn't I WANT to make things better for SELLERS?  And it would ONLY take a few minutes!  Well I STILL couldn't take the call so I once again asked her to CALL ME BACK.  I finally had to hang up as she would NOT get off the phone!!!

Gee this is the polar opposite of OUR calls TO ebay now ain't it.

So--I AM truely SORRY and I apologize to all of you.  If I had only been able to take that CALL I could have FIXED all of these problems.  I could have fixed the UID situation;  the seller to buyer communication issue;  no negative feedback to buyers issue;  the failure of ebay to be fair and kind to the people who make their payroll issue;  the failure of ebay to hire English speaking CSR issues--

Well I AM sorry and it won't happen again.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Feb 26 15:13:10 2013

@mercythemingless says: Did Mr. Matsuura ''misspeak'' or just lie?

Yes, I'd love to hear him try to save face on this one.  Ina, will you be interviewing him about this?

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by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 26 16:34:35 2013

I had reason to call Ebay CS recently. I NEVER return anything I buy from Ebay as I am careful about what I buy. I bought an item from a very reputable doll dealer that I have both bought from and sold to on Ruby Lane. To my surprise the item was VERY SNAD. I returned it and she refunded me my purchase price but kept the original shipping cost (I did NOT ask her to pay return shipping-I am very aware that this is something the dealer can OFFER to pay but is not obligatd to). I tried to tell her that Ebay rules are that my ORIGINAL shipping cost was also to be refunded. I called Ebay to make sure that if the situation couldn't be resolved, that seeing as I'd been refunded the bulk of the money, that I was still covered under buyer protection to recover my  one way shipping cost. I was ACTIVELY encouraged to open a buyer protection case-the rep offered to open one for me on the spot. I declined saying that I would rather give the seller a chance to rectify it herself without Ebay being involved.I was VERY disturbed that the rep was a little taken aback by this idea-give the seller a chance to sort it out? Whatever next!
My point is-if I wasn't aware of the ramifications on a seller of a case being opened, I would have been talked into opening a case by Ebay, rather than being told that a case is a LAST RESORT-not the first step to take! The seller, after a series of emails DID realise she was in the wrong on this one and refunded my original shipping cost. If left up to Ebay, communication would have been severed-a case would have been opened at EBAY'S BEHEST and that seller would now have had a black mark on her record.

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

Tue Feb 26 16:46:11 2013

Did anyone really expect ebafia to tell the truth?

Misspeak? Misspeak??

The predatory sociopaths who run ebafia are lying pieces of scum who belong on the bottom bunk of the worst prison in America.

I never expect ebafia to do anything favorable for sellers. To do favorable things for sellers usually would mean a few pennies and a handful of stock options less for these greedy, despicable liars and thieves.

Resign, Rich Matsura. You're way out of league unless you measure your own sense of business ethics in negative numbers like the criminals you work for.

Ebafia can't seem to grasp that it's dictatorial, anti small business policies that began the seller and buyer exodus from ebafia  and will continue until new leadership re balances this rudderless, massively incompetent organization that prefers to text and play Angry Birds than running a business.

To give you an idea of the Silicon Valley mindset and work ethic, I encourage everyone to read the reaction to the Yahoo CEO's new policy of eliminating telecommuting.

While obviously not about ebafia, the article provides a great deal of insight into the Caifornication macro mileau of ME, ME, ME which apparently is the Silicon Valley default.

Several years ago here, I used to blog about ebafia's lips moving equated to lies, but Phil Cohen expropriated the phrase so effectively that I surrendered it to him though I take no credit for inventing it :-)

If there ever was a reason why American citizens need to wrestle control of this country back from corrupt politicians and the Korporate Kriminals, ebafia provides one of the prime examples of the ethical and moral depravity that drives the Wall Street banksters, their prostituted business media, their hired government guns, and their whore CEOs like THE HO.

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