Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Apr 22 2013 12:17:37

eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers are experiencing a dramatic rise in the number of opened cases filed against them by buyers, thanks to a major change eBay implemented as part of the Spring Seller Release. Similarly, eBay buyers are reporting that when they simply try to ask their trading partners a question, they discover to their surprise that eBay immediately opens a case against the seller on their behalf.

Sellers have sent emails to EcommerceBytes and have opened threads on eBay discussion boards reporting the problem. "As of April 9th the "Contact the seller" option automatically opens a case if you don't choose Other," wrote a seller. "It doesn't escalate the case to the resolution center, but it's an automatic case. Lots of threads about it in the past few days!"

Another seller wrote, "WHAT A MESS THIS IS GOING TO BE!  eBAY fooled around with the Contact Seller function really screwed it up. Now thousands and thousands of buyers who just wanted to ask a question will find themselves in the middle of INR Disputes! What is even worse is that thousands of sellers will then file UID's (Unpaid Items)."

Buyers and sellers say eBay has not provided any explanation telling buyers they are going through the Resolution Center when they click try to contact the seller.

An eBay seller who had never had a case opened against him until two days prior to writing to EcommerceBytes wrote, "So I guess eBay started their new turn everything into a Case Report 2 days ago. I have customers sending me questions after purchasing items and cases are being opened left and right. I have contacted the customers about opening the cases and they all told me they had no idea any kind of case was opened. All they were doing was sending me a message. So all of the buyers had to go in and close the cases." He said he received multiple cases over the past few days.

Previously eBay had counted all open cases against a seller, and last year, the company told sellers it would require buyers to contact them before opening a case. But in March, eBay announced it would reverse both policies: opened cases will not necessarily count against a seller, and buyers will have to open a case in the Resolution Center rather than contacting sellers via My Messages.

One person saw a possible positive outcome: "I think this new process will help protect sellers against scamming buyers. A person will be far less likely to make unreasonable demands if the have to go through a "dispute" process."

But another said, "at least in some cases, funds are being automatically frozen, too" whenever a case is opened - and that can put a serious crimp in sellers' operating cash flow.

Sellers say their buyers are confused by the new process. A reader said one of his buyers closed his case within minutes after he found the answer. "He regretted filing the case and said it is very weird he has to file a case. All he wanted is to email me."

Have you seen an uptick in cases filed against you? In those cases, does eBay/PayPal freeze your funds? Are there positives to this new process?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Apr 22 13:27:37 2013

"..opened cases will not necessarily count against a seller, and buyers will have to open a case in the Resolution Center rather than contacting sellers via My Messages."

Reminds me of "neutrals will count as negatives because they aren't positive" and don't forget ebay's love for making things retroactive when it benefits ebay and goes against the seller.

Looking down the road I can't help but see these cases, regardless of outcome, all retroactively counting against the seller. Am I being too paranoid? Maybe. Do I have reason to be? You betcha.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon Apr 22 13:32:11 2013

Let's get one thing straight here please. It is the ebay SELLERS that continue to ruin other ebay sellers reputation as their buyer!

MOST severe unfair disturbing ridiculous case/feedbacks continue to arise from SELLERS that know exactly what they can do ''as a buyer'' in order to discredit a good ebay seller.

Most, new buyers that are not sellers do get caught up as bait for ebay tackle because they either don't know how ebay is designed for them or they just do not read the seller terms and find themselves blaming their sellers until they become experienced.

Last month I purchased an item from a seller and found myself deciding if 10 days was too long to ''Ask Seller a Question'' being that the weather, a holiday, the weekend connect days were all involved, so, I just wait to see what arrives on the 18th day since seller never sent nor provided tracking. On the 19th day, I asked seller for the tracking and the date item was shipped.

Keep in mind: it was only an inquiry! Five minutes later, I received an automated email from BOTH ebay and Paypal reminding me to CLICK ESCALATE anytime before the time limit expires.

This was never a dispute. It was just asking a question from the OTHER option since I applied that option WITHIN the ACTUAL paid listing.

Seller replied within 2 hours with tracking to inform it was sent slow economy since it was free shipping. All that was fine with me because I KNOW as a seller how things happen but those EB & PP date reminders to escalate to a case continued to arrive every day until the seller asked me on the 5th day to please CLOSE the dispute pending against him. There was NO Escalated Dispute nor was there any evidence on both the PP Case side nor EB Resolution side BUT THE EMAIL from both PP and EB still continued to remind me to ESCALATE it. I did no such thing because the item arrived. On the 45th day, I then get an email from BOTH eb and pp informing me that my time limit had expired and can no longer escalate to a claim.  To date, that seller has nothing listed prior this mess. My situation with this mess left plenty of evidence that PP and EB strongly tried to persuade me (or anyone other (buyer) to ESCALATE because the inquiry was programmed (by EB) to be sneaky.

Also, about this new April 9th date where buyer is now REQUIRED to contact seller about an item prior leaving NEU-NEG feedback is not effective because one crooked buyer purchased 2 items and left 2 negatives and no previous contact seller was initiated. They were reported to EB using the Report This Buyer link and all that was received was a dumb stupid automated EB reply thanking you for being a role model to the seller community.

Ebay SELLERS can and will ruin other good EB sellers too. Let's all remember that so that we just don't blame the non-selling Buyers!  

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 22 13:39:56 2013

IGNORE that ebay does not want you to communicate with YOUR buyers.

After you package SEND THEM A MESSAGE that you appreciate their business and THEN they WILL HAVE AN OPEN communication LINK to you to ask you questions.

You have to not do what ebay wants- communicate with your buyers like you used to and then your buyers will have an easy way to simply contact you without the case being accidentally opened.

We have always ignored the no communication rule just because of this- we write buyers after packaging so they have a link to easily contact us.

We have a perfect 5 in communications- buyers APPRECIATE that ending email too- it PERSONALIZES the deal.

Use their NAME- re-PERSONALIZE the deal and remind them you are a PERSON and that you GENUINELY appreciate their business.

I write on every package- hand-written (in addition to an email):

''THANK YOU very much for your KIND business~ my Family and I greatly APPRECIATE it and we hope you wear it in GOOD HEALTH, Peace and Joy''.

Then I write thank you SIR.

Then I write: I RESPECTFULLY ask you for 5-stars.

This is how I give buyers a LINK and try to personalize the deal.



MH

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This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon Apr 22 13:49:54 2013

''We have a perfect 5 in communications- buyers APPRECIATE that ending email too- it PERSONALIZES the deal''

That's way too much HOWLING!
All sellers that input the tracking on either the PP or EB end still earn potential rating for Communication because either site will follow up (on your behalf) with the tracking provided by seller.

Asking for JOY and providing a LINK is something some buyers frown upon. Way too much HOWLING!

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Forestt

Mon Apr 22 13:50:38 2013

I agree with SandyMenu, most of my worst buyers are other sellers, however, with over 9000 transactions in the last 4 years, I've never had a case opened against me on eBay or Paypal.

Then again, I do include a little insert with all packages telling the buyer if they have any issues, please contact me via eBay messaging system, email or phone.

I've had a few people contact by phone, which I love because I can turn on the charm, make some lonely person feel good about themselves and half the time, not even give a refund and get a repeat buyer. You'd be surprised how many ''problem buyers'' are just lonely people, looking to chat with another human, which is why they buy on eBay. They think they're buying from a person, not Walmart. Put that idea in your head as a seller on eBay and you can avoid 99.9% of communication problems. Plus, I actually like talking to people. Don't mind hearing how they're upset grandma died, discussing why their eBay sales are so bad, etc.

Other times, I just kick them a refund, no questions asked. Small price to pay but they are few and far between. Think I've given 3-4 refunds in the last 4 years (all to other sellers) but then again, I go to great lengths to accurately describe my items, pack them the best I can and communicate with buyers when their item has shipped, leave feedback after payment, etc.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Forestt

Mon Apr 22 14:03:42 2013

Forgot to mention, on the insert I include in all packages, beside my email and phone number, I also include my website address and a 10% discount coupon for future purchases.

I send each buyer a unique coupon code specific to them so I can track my repeat customers.

I also offer them the opportunity to get on my e-mailing list for special promotions. I use Aweber and have over 1,000 confirmed subscribers. Every month I send out my emails with links to new items, etc. I get a rush of sales and on my own website. In particular, I do have a lot of buyers who like to pay by check or money order, so driving them towards my own website allows me to avoid Paypal and eBay fees.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: ridware This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 22 14:24:21 2013

I had a case opened by a buyer on Friday, saying item not received.
I asked the buyer why he didnt contact me first. he said he had wanted to ask the question but it automatically opened the case
I provided tracking which showed the post office had tried to deliver , but he had not been left a postcard it seems. he went to post office and collected parcel. since left positive feedback
thankfully case now closed, but funds were frozen meanwhile
this could easily have been resolved without a case being opened
lunacy !!!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Apr 22 15:24:00 2013

This is how eBay is increasing seller protections?

eBay's embarrassingly inept management believes this is an improvement?

OK, so maybe open cases against sellers no longer count, but is this any reason to waste sellers time by automatically opening cases as a result of a buyers post purchase inquiry?

This screw up reflects how disconnected C-Level management is from the every day life of an eBay seller.

Worse yet is the fact that when sellers contact buyers after an errant case has been opened, the buyers end up embarrassed since they had no intent to open a case against their seller.

Buyer embarrassment is not conducive to a good eBay experience, and the numbskulls who devised this new process should be auctioned off to the lowest bidder.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Island_Sam

Mon Apr 22 18:12:50 2013

I've seen an increase in cases filed. But the shocking development is the huuuuge increase in returned items. Buyers are now returning items for no reason whatsover, sometimes after they've used them (clothing) Total chaos for my business. In the last 3 or 4 weeks alone, I get 4 to 6 returns per week. I do lose money on returns because the items have to be relisted (For auction, waiting another 7 to 10 days for the sale) &  accounting has to be adjusted. Just filled out an ebay survey regarding one of the returns, I won't mention the scores that ebay received.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon Apr 22 19:22:26 2013

'' after they've used them (clothing) ''

Prom Night: Beware!

I list my prom dresses in January-February then again after Prom season is over.

I've read where seller moms buy these dresses for their daughters, then return them after worn.

Make sure to ''increase the list bid-price prior going to auction ''for dry cleaning'' should it be returned and off to the cleaners your pretty little fancy goes to next!

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Apr 22 20:41:23 2013

Right now I take returns (any reason) and I get a few here & there for fit, color, or an honest ''just plain don't like it on me'' reasons. It seems to go in spurts.

So far I've been fortunate:  since I have started taking returns I've only had one slightly damaged clothing item returned to me that was an easy repair. All returns have been with a friendly demeanor, some  turned into repeat buyers, and some buyers have even sent gifts with the return (I know, ''gifts'' was a different thread!).

I don't do ''managed'' returns because I prefer to establish a trust relationship with the buyer since more than one has returned to purchase from me again.

When set up as ''no returns'' it was a different story. Some (not all) buyers felt the need to go into combat mode with criticism, return clothing worn & reeking or even damaged. My listings even hinted I was lenient about taking things back since I DO make errors, but yes, some buyers were definitely abusive.

I know that not all sellers can do returns. The above has just been my experience of before & after. It may or may not cut down on claims under the new format. We'll see.  


On the buying side - I've just recently received an item (new) that did not work. It was broken. Seller accepts returns and the item was returned - DC shows delivery to seller. No response to emails.  Almost 10 days after delivery, still no refund. So YES, I have opened a case. Totally could have been avoided!

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Mon Apr 22 21:13:56 2013

Hey this is ebays sneaky nut shell game. They came out with new lower prices for seller fees and free listings but many sellers are about to loose their TRS status & loose their 20% discount. ebay did not drop prices they are dropping the sellers! It will soon be obvious and nearly impossible to qualify as a top rated seller. This tactic is a 20% fee hike! We lost our TRS on 4/20/2013 by .02%. I am pissed off at eBay. They are intent at destroying me and my family financially. going on 500 phone calls now since August 2012.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon Apr 22 21:30:40 2013

''going on 500 phone calls now since August 2012''

Dear Ring-a-ling, after 1,2,3 rings = you're out! That should be your wake-up call for sure.

I do feel for the loss of income for you & your family but 497 calls (thereafter) would make me want to change ''servers'' heh?

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 22 22:45:25 2013

My bigger issue is it seems they are letting buyers from open cases for items that ended more than 60 days ago.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: TheUglySweaterShop

Mon Apr 22 23:45:49 2013

I just refunded a buyer half her shipping costs because I could ship it cheaper via flat rate as she was in Hawaii. I told her why I was refunding via the notes section in the PayPal refund screen.

She emailed me through ebay to thank me.

Now I have a case open against me.

This doesn't make any sense!

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

Tue Apr 23 00:15:10 2013

Ive had one yesterday, where a repeat customer wanted to ask me if I had shipped yet, as he wanted to add another car. Yet it opened as a dispute, and was now being asked by ebay to answer or escalate or refund him. So i replied since you opened a claim, ill refund you. I was pissed off. He replied I did nothing of the sort, I want what I purchased and I want more.I didnt believe him, but now reading this, i guess ebay figures they know best for my business. As usual.Thanks ebay.

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by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 23 00:26:32 2013

Be careful. Use good judgement when buttering someone up... Keep things professional and only discuss business making them feel good in that process. I recently had a repeat customer call me to discuss an order and 2 days later they drove all the way from NY to MN to see where I live. I was totally shocked, and they were all decked out! I never led them on or gave them any ideas as I am strictly professional. Just sending a reminder to everyone here is all.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 23 01:04:33 2013

I haven't seen any uptick in cases filed against me. (Yet) Complaints are rare. (So far) I have seen a huge increase in non-paying buyers and e-checks though.

Perminate Link for eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers   eBay Sees Dramatic Rise in Opened Cases Against Sellers

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 23 01:11:00 2013

@sandy
   I have many of cases of ruined sellers trying to drag down other sellers.  So I told ebay to hide my TRS.  

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 23 01:13:54 2013

Till now, I have 4 open cases that were closed.  All buyers dissaproved ebay opening case without buyers' knowledge.    EBAY, this is BETRAYAL and COWARDNESS!  

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