Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu June 13 2013 23:22:39

eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay made two announcements today in areas of critical concern to sellers: fees and returns. The first announcement was that it would lower final value fees in two collectibles categories - Coins & Paper Money and Stamps.

Sellers who don't have a Store continue to pay a 10% final value fee in all categories. But Store sellers will see a decrease in the commissions they pay for items that sell in the Coins & Paper Money category from 7% to 6%, and in the Stamps category from 9% to 6%.

It would be interesting to know what data prompted eBay to decrease those fees after just having set them in the spring. And it would be just as interesting to know what the data showed eBay that made it only change fees in those two categories and not in any other categories.

eBay also announced today a promotion to encourage sellers to use its managed returns program. This is an area of great sensitivity to sellers - returns are a major issue to all retailers, online and off, on eBay and off.

It's one thing for sellers to deal with returns for items not as described or damaged in shipment, but otherwise, there is no one-size-fits-all policy for returns. There are many variables that make some sellers less willing to accept returns - the category in which they sell, the condition of the items they sell, the price point, etc.

If you've used eBay's Managed Returns program, let us know how it performed for you, and let us know what you think of eBay's changes in fee structure in Coins and Stamps!




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Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 00:09:10 2013

eBay pushing so hard to manage seller's items, this tells me that GSI is a bust, in regard to small sellers.

Why do I get the feeling, that eBay wants me to feel warm and fuzzy about the sale/return process, so they can try to lure me in with their GSI crap?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Jun 14 00:17:44 2013

We looked into eBay's managed Returns Process and made up our minds to manage our own returns. eBay's managed return process is ripe for seller abuse much like so many other eBay anti-seller policies. We do not want to be subject to eBay's latest nanny state rule over sellers.

We succeed on eBay by offering the best prices we possibly can on the items we sell.  Our clearly stated 14 day return policy clearly states that buyers pay the costs for return shipping, which seems to discourage buyers from auditioning our items.

On the rare occasion when a buyer claims an item is damaged, we ask the buyer to send us a photograph of the damage, and after inspection of the photograph to confirm the damage, we offer the buyer their choice of a full refund or a replacement item without the need to return the damaged item.

If the buyer can not photograph the damage, we have the buyer return the item, and confirm the condition upon receipt. We reimburse them for the cost of return shipping as displayed on the label in addition to refunding their purchase once the item is received.

If we were to offer free shipping for returns, our prices would have to go up to cover those return costs, which certainly explains eBay's real motivation.

Bottom line, thanks but no thanks to eBay's managed return process.

If eBay has not run us off with some other anti-seller policy and they make Managed Returns mandatory, we will close our store the day the requirement goes into effect and will close out both our buying and selling accounts forever.

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by: ever-on This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 00:58:30 2013

We tried using eBay's managed returns a while ago, and it was not a fun experience.

However, we are still working on figuring out the best way to do our returns.  We offer free shipping on most of our BIN items, and have a note in our listing that states ''For items offering free shipping, refund amount will be sale price minus standard shipping charges'' (we would, of course, refund in full plus return shipping for any item that we made a mistake on).

This is mainly in there to discourage buyers who would just buy to try, but we have instituted it a few times with buyers who purchased the wrong size, or just plain didn't want the item.  Luckily, we haven't had any issues with upset buyers, but we're just waiting for the first ...

We're considering just refunding the full amount, to save any potential hassle, and chalking it up to one of the costs of offering free shipping.

Anyone have thoughts on this (our) return policy?  We'd definitely be interested to hear ...

Thanks!  

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

Fri Jun 14 01:02:41 2013

"It would be interesting to know what data prompted eBay to decrease those fees after just having set them ..."

Seriously? Only in their utter desperation to maintain their revenue did they last “decrease” fees, and now, just possibly, they have finally realized that they have finally squeezed the sellers dry—even the fraudsters … http://bit.ly/174aqVA

So typical of eBay decision making …

“The band continued to play on, even as the bow dipped lower and lower.”—The Titanic/eBay Story …

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

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

Fri Jun 14 02:19:30 2013

Ebay screws up everything they touch. Anyone who trusts eBay to handle their returns is stark raving mad.

Unless you have a strange masochistic desire be treated badly stay far far away from the managed returns.  

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

Fri Jun 14 03:01:25 2013

What the largely astronomical fee increase, global shipping, and managed returns means is really very simple.

They spell F-A-I-L-U-R-E.

As predicted, The Ho's mindlessly draconian disruptions translated into fewer sellers, fewer products, fewer buyers, more fraud, more lies and secrets, and a marked loss of sales on ebay.com which The Ho and his minions so carefully conceal from Wall Street and investors each quarter.

If managed returns become mandatory, I like RIC and probably several others major non Diamond sellers will be leaving ebay for good.

The incessant, relentless greed, utterly incompetent 'customer service,' and their sheer tech incompetence has ruined ebay.

And whoever it was in another thread longing for Pierre to intervene, he's far too busy being a philanthropic angel to the third world to take much notice of the The Ho.

He's the one who enthusiastically endorsed The Ho's plans in 2008. Go back in the AB archives and read all about this sell out's love fest with The Ho.

John Donahoe has failed to revitalize ebay. But he's made his failure complex and difficult to see, but it's there and getting so large soon everyone will see it.

John Donahoe made at least 28 million dollars in 2012 for destroying the world's once most vibrant online marketplace.

How much did YOU make?

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 08:04:20 2013

Pierre willlove anyone who increases the share value. That's all that matters now. He has no influence or control.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 14 08:44:48 2013

What don't they just run our entire businesses?  And that includes taking photos, listing items, shipping our items and paying our fees.

Complete control freaks.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

by: Jim S. This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 09:19:30 2013

I have a pretty liberal return policy so I tried the managed returns earlier this year. In theory it's a time saver. In practice, a nightmare. Buyers quickly figured out they could claim ''not as described'' and I ended up paying the retun shipping no matter the return reason. Not sure if that's been resolved. If so, I'd try again.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 09:36:03 2013

When the women from eBay called me yesterday to try and talk me into this program, I told her "No, Id have to be on crack to let eBay have anymore control over my company and its policies then they already do. eBays bad management choices and polcies are hurting my business as it is. Thank you but no way."

Marie didnt believe me, but one day this WILL BE MANDATORY, just like use of the GS program for overseas shipping will be the mandatory method.

Why? Amazon. Despite eBays lame attempts to fix their selling platform, sales numbers are dropping, sellers are leaving and the chinese $5 junk isnt enough to keep eBay afloat. Now more then ever (at least in my categories) the manufactorers are insensed at eBay "allowing" thier products to be sold on thier platform.

Between fake VERO issues (suing false copyright/trademark claims), letting people like NetEnforcers to get wholesale access to thier platform (Hi SONY), and other sneaky tricks - all these things are lessening the amounts and kinds of items being sold on eBay.

So, what to do? Lower fees? NO they just raised them. Tiddy up the place (aka the stupid picture July 1 pet trick?) no that wont do it either (notice your first pic cant be a catalog pic)(so much for thier brilliant idea to have sellers flesh out thier catalog. SO whats left? RETURNS. Amazon has a VERY liberal return policy, so "why cant eBay"? Of course Billions and Zillions of buyer will come flocking back if we just force sellers to take crap back.... but how to do it. Hence this roll out. They pay for the first 2 months and then after that "you eat it". 'Cause nothing says "seller protection" or what ever then forcing sellers to take crap back. Let THEM eat it, right?

My manufactorers have SPECIFIC return amounts (percentages) allowed per year. Just cuase a pink watch isnt pink enough, or they dont look good in stripes, or after using the headphone for thier trip they want the money back, isnt a reason to take things back. Macys can afford it, I cant. They sell close to list, I cant. They get back end monies, I dont.

eBay in general is "King Midas in Reverse", I wouldnt let them touch ANY part of my business.

Nope, you wont see me volunteer to be part of this debacle!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Jun 14 09:37:21 2013

Like Ric I manage my own returns. It is not hard. For my category, 14 days - or even less - is plenty of time to decide if an item fits you, matches another item, or has good or bad karma, etc….


As a buyer I have used both managed returns and non-managed returns. Both work & are not difficult. Free returns are nice, but not a deal-killer for me - I don't EXPECT them.

IMO, the potential cost of a return is the price I pay to get to eyeball or try-on an item in my own home. That process has value to me and  I am willing to pay for it.


Asking a buyer to be responsible for return costs seems to encourage them to read the  listing - I do notice more questions from buyers now about specific measurements, color opinion, policy, etc….  IMO, these questions are a good thing.

On the occasion that an item is seriously flawed or not as described - then yes, a seller should offer to refund return costs - asking for a photo is reasonable.


After initial hesitancy to accept returns for any reason, I do find my self-managed 14 day policy as a positive - and as a bonus it seems to have taken a lot of drama & emotion out of the process that happened on occasion with "no returns".

Do I want to mess with this "happy place" in my business - NO.    

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

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

Fri Jun 14 09:41:04 2013

Got a call from eBay yesterday about (to paraphrase) "an important feature you should know about". I wasn't sure what it was, so I allowed the call to proceed. After about 2 sentences, I interrupted her & said I'm aware of Managed Returns from a previous notification and am not interested.

Normally, the caller would try to continue or give the alternative speech, but she just said "I understand" & hung up.

How refreshing!

But it begs the question of how many "no"s she had heard that day.

As for the stamp/coin fee revamp, the answer is right in eBay's face - competition in Del*Campe and BidStart who specialise in that area.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 14 12:30:21 2013

The company that won't give us good visibility in search wants to manage our returns.  That's rich.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 13:41:50 2013

''The program also saves sellers times and protects them with built-in seller protections, eBay promised.''

eBay promised, that's funny

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Fri Jun 14 15:10:08 2013

I would consider trying the program if I could specify only for certain items. No way am I going to use it on larger, heavier items or international items that cost a lot in shipping. For the smaller, lighter stuff that is cheap to ship, I would consider it. Otherwise, they can stuff it.

Example: I just sold an item that ended up costing almost $44 to ship overseas. I don't do free shipping on international sales, but do subsidize part of the costs. But it would cost far too much if I had to eat that kind of return shipping cost. I wish Ebay would understand that we sellers are not all huge and overflowing with cash and can't afford even bigger bites out of our margins. As it is, Ebay/Paypal make more money on some of my items than I do. That's just not a sustainable business model.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 18:12:56 2013

ever-on, I think your policy of deducting shipping the buyer never paid is outrageous and probably against the rules.  Maybe illegal too.  

I had a guy do that to me once and I have to say it was dishonest on his part.  

He shipped me some stuff that was not as described, would not work and was not usable, totally his fault- misdescribed.  

He charged me no shipping but thought it made sense to deduct his cost to ship the items to me from my refund. What a crook. Why should I have to pay for a seller mistake?  And I had to pay to return it.  It ended up costing me $30-$40 for a seller misdescribed item.  Not really fair, it is.

I am a big boy, I pay for my and my employees mistakes. It's our responsibility as businesspeople.

When I buy something if I have a choice of buying with or without shipping and the cost is the same I take the free shipping, so if I should have to return it I would get *all* my money back.

That is the seller cost of that free shipping thing.

FWIW I use free shipping on some light weight ebay items and I don't like it.

But ebay is forcing us.  

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Jun 15 02:22:19 2013

Ebay is nothing more than a high tech buttinski. An encroacher. A leach. It is a toxic entity.
It is a misfit in the world of eCommerce. It should be euthanized immediately.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 15 12:12:42 2013

Here is the problem, it is not, I repeat not healthy for the bottom line. Many huge brick and mortar retailers have tried this and have found that every shoplifting con-artist thief was in their stores returning items non-stop. Ask a csr at Walmart who works their customer service counter what happens daily. You have droves of people returning clothes they wore for a special occasion returning them the next day, people who buy tools who use them and return them after they are done, people who buy a canopy for a graduation party returning it when they are done. You have people returning items who use half the product and return the rest. You have thieves shoplifting and returning those items.
Now there is a crackdown on all this because the retailers found out you cannot do this wide open return policy.
The problem with ebay is "their research" or is it what Amazon is doing? So since Amazon does it I have to.
Is their a executive at ebay who actually is qualified in retail and loss prevention.
At this point I am totally frustrated with ebay, it is clear that policies are coming out which benefit large sellers only who can afford it and to make matters worse policies that would be very detrimental to some categories. Instead of all this does not really matter stuff, why not concentrate on the Google and Bing search engine placement of ebay items? "My" research shows that ebay is doing a very poor job of that.
If you want more buyers you have to show the items to them!!!
Common sense!!!
I guess they did not teach the basics of retail at stock broker and law school.

Perminate Link for eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns   eBay Tweaks Fees and Wants to Manage Sellers' Returns

by: SleepyTime This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 15 14:00:52 2013

Why doesn't Ebay just buy their own inventory, close down the site to outside vendors and be done with it?  They want to handle everything about the sales process anyway.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Jun 15 15:50:03 2013

@ebay refugee camp

I was on the receiving end of one of the "great" people of which you speak. I went to Fry's Electronics to buy an HP color laser printer. It turned out that store only had one in stock, which was a return. Since I couldn't believe anyone would return such an awesome printer, I said to the salesman, "Are you sure the person didn't just take it home, print out a term paper or something, and then return it?" The salesman's response: "It has the ink cartridges." Which wasn't what I asked. Anyway, I bought it, took it home, and plugged it in. I immediately saw in the status window that the black ink cartridge was basically empty, and the three color cartridges were not to the top. I printed a diagnostic page which showed over 300 pages had been printed. I packed it back up and went back to the store, and basically told them they were idiots for not doing even the most mundane check. End result: They gave me a free black ink cartridge.

Then, one time I was in Home Depot looking for a particular power tool that I needed for a project. The salesman tells me after I'm finished using it, to bring it back and I could get my money back. I gave him the most disgusted look I could and told him I would never, ever do that as that was no different than stealing. What chance does a B&M store have when their own employees are suggesting scams?

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