Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 14 2014 19:50:23

eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

By: Ina Steiner

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The head of eBay Feedback can't even keep the new defect policy straight, so how can anyone expect customer service reps to give clear, consistent answers to sellers?

During last night's Town Hall Meeting there were a few instances when managers were uncertain of the answers to give sellers who called in asking about new eBay policies. And at one point, a Director had to backtrack on an answer he had provided, and in another case, two top executives contradicted each other.

The first instance occurred after a question about defect removal. The seller asked:

"I would like to ask about the manual defect removal, or de-scoring. The policy states that "we remove defects when we have objective information in our systems." What are some examples of objective information?"

Brian Burke, Director of Global Feedback, thanked the seller for her question and said:

"I'll give a really clear example. A seller files an Unpaid Item claim. The buyer doesn't respond to that claim. The seller closes the Unpaid Item dispute. That's very clear information from an eBay perspective that the buyer didn't complete the transaction. If the buyer then leaves a negative feedback, or opens a claim, of if they already tried to leave a negative or neutral feedback, we just automatically, as soon as the case is closed, the unpaid item process is complete, any feedback that's been left, is automatically removed. And so, objective removal of feedback."

The moderator, Griff, started to provide another example of what eBay considered objective information, when Burke interrupted him:

"The only thing that I'd caution there is, you know, I was, uh, I was probably speaking out of turn on that one, so you know,..."

Griff tried to bail him out as Burke verbally stumbled. Burke continued, "Depending on what information was there, it may or may not be removed. It's less objective than something like that, or, another case of objective information is, we choose to suspend the buyer. At that point, we might remove defects as well. Or, we make a decision around...," and he went on to give an example of a postal strike in the UK being objective information.

At another point earlier in the Town Hall event, Burke had been uncertain about his response to a question, saying, "I may have my head handed to me on a platter later, but I don't think so." He told a seller that if she could show she mailed a package and the reason for its late delivery was due to it sitting, stalled, in a USPS postal hub, that that was "objective information that an agent could look at" and said she should call eBay.

Yet over the past several months since eBay implemented the defect policy, many sellers have said eBay does blame the seller for mistakes due to the shipping carrier and will not remove defects when a package is late due to the fault of the shipping carrier.

In fact, in May, I wrote about sellers who reported eBay customer service reps were faulting them for using the U.S. Postal Service when shipments went awry.

In another case, when answering a seller about buyers who unintentionally open a claim when they wanted to ask the seller a question, Griff pushed Burke to state what a seller could do in that situation to get a defect removed - "so what should that seller do," Griff asked Burke pointblank.

"So I think, part of it is yes, so that, no. I don't want the seller spending time, 3 hours on the phone calling a CSR agent. I would much rather the seller step back and say, what else can I do. If they do spend that 3 hours, I think they're going to be disappointed at the end of the day."

Burke emphasized that sellers should look at their business "holistically" and improve their performance before it got to the point of having a 2% defect rate, advising sellers to look at resources on the eBay website about selling.

At that point, eBay Vice President of Merchant Development Michael Jones stepped in, apparently not wanting to leave the impression (or acknowledge?) that it was futile for eBay sellers to try and get unjustified defects removed by its customer service reps, and he reassured users that they should call if they ran into problems.

"In the scenario you painted, I can understand what Brian is saying, and that is the way we should be looking at it, which is, make sure you're doing everything you can to not get to this point. But if you do, you should call us so that we can help you out. And we will."

Jones went on to say eBay was learning like everyone else and was looking to see how eBay could improve the flows as well.

While Jones provided the answers sellers wanted to hear, Burke was probably more accurate when he acknowledged the long wait times to speak to a rep only to be followed by disappointment. No wonder sellers say they receive different answers from customer service reps as their calls are handed off from one rep to the next.

With sellers already in turmoil as the August 20th deadline approaches, eBay brass showed during the Town Hall meeting a deficiency in understanding their own policies, which only adds to the confusion described in eBay discussion boards, EcommerceBytes Blog comments, and letters I receive.

This week, eBay heaped on even more changes with its Fall Seller Release that sellers now have to absorb and conform to. As Jones stated at the beginning of the Town Hall Meeting, the holiday shopping season is nearing. Sellers need clear answers on what they can expect from eBay, and they need eBay to follow up on what it promises.

eBay has had months of hearing from sellers about their experiences with the new defects. With exactly a week to go before the new Defect Policy kicks in, it was hardly reassuring to hear eBay executives confused about how the system works.

You can find the 1.5-hour recording archive on VoiceMarketingRadio.com, the service eBay uses to broadcast the meetings.




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This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Thu Aug 14 20:00:23 2014

LOL ! Brian Burke and Uncle Griff the BUYERS ADVOCATE !

These 2 are hereby the New DUMB AND DUMBER it appears !

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Aug 14 20:42:08 2014

Ina, that was the best article title I have ever read here, and points out exactly what a mess eBay has become. How can any seller expect to conduct a thriving business on eBay when the people in charge don't even know what their own polices mean.  

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 14 21:12:22 2014

"Burke emphasized that sellers should look at their business "holistically" and improve their performance before it got to the point of having a 2% defect rate, advising sellers to look at resources on the eBay website about selling."

These douchebags should "holistically" look at all the obstacles and BS Ebay is putting sellers through......when buyer traffic and sales on Ebay are 50% less in 2014. They don't have a clue....Burke and Griff should push themselves away from their food bowls.....they look fat and arrogant.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 14 21:25:29 2014

Ebays own town hall meeting cannot be orchestrated in a manner to offer clarity to worried sellers?

Maybe one of our own regular posters here (well versed in ebay policy) could go there and straighten these struggling ebay spokespersons out?

The ambiguity of their message leaves little security for those who have invested their hard earned money in inventory with intentions of distributing on ebay.

Is it any wonder so many have become disgruntled with ebay?

How can a straight thinking person establish confidence with ebay when they themselves don't really know how various problem scenarios might play out?

I don't know about anyone else but I could not live with the way ebay is run today, nor could I live with it before it reached this point.

Good grief, never have I seen such a obvious cluster before.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Aug 14 21:28:43 2014

''Burke emphasized that sellers should look at their business ''holistically'' ....''  


HOLE-istically speaking - and I'm looking at the great yawning ''Hole'' in sales - waaaay down in the pits.

Many of my buyers were sellers. Perhaps sellers have been so gobsmacked by Spring and Fall 2014 changes that they are laying off buying activity en masse.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Aug 14 21:46:31 2014

''holistically''..what the heck, not a word I would use when it comes to business and certainly not when it's ebay. I want to just sell my items not take a therapeutic approach. Hey Burke what is your word-of-the-day for tomorrow?

I guess disruptive innovation was getting old so now we are on to objective information. What a bunch of BS! These arrogant talking heads are not fooling anyone.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Unicorns and Rainbows

Thu Aug 14 21:54:21 2014

That's certainly not the first time Burke has ended up confused and confounded by eBay's own policies, so there's not much new about that.

But I have to say, the exchange Ina recounts between Burke, Griff and Michael Jones sounds like something right out of a Three Stooges skit.  It's too bad we're talking about peoples' businesses here because this makes a much better comedy routine than an example of competency.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 14 22:28:49 2014

How much confidence can any partner that eBay has - sellers specifically - when they tell you upfront that you will have a LONG phone wait time (maybe use some of the 9 billion sitting offshore to hire the REST of the Philipeans?) and then after that wait - he tells you UP FRONT - they wont help you.

He's (eBay) already judged the "case" against you, and is now going to stretch the truth so that you as a seller will loose.

THAT is a crime. When it happens in criminal court, the case gets thrown out - usually malicious prosecution. Here on eBay where breaking the law is encouraged and eBay participates in it daily ... everyone just yawns.

Me? Im truly amazed at the lies and the depth of deceit from this company - it seems to know no bounds.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

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

Thu Aug 14 22:53:26 2014

Think about it. If there is logic to a process then probably anyone can keep track of it and explain it to someone else; if there is no logic thereto, as is usually the case with eBay updates, then undoubtedly it would be impossible for cretins such as Burke and Uncle Grief to explain same; even if they learnt it all by rote, they would not then understand it well enough to explain it anyway …

The eBay executive suite, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ...

The difference between eBay and the Mafia is that most eBay employees are unaware that they are working for a criminal organisation ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 14 23:28:35 2014

>>>He told a seller that if she could show she mailed a package and the reason for its late delivery was due to it sitting, stalled, in a USPS postal hub, that that was "objective information that an agent could look at" and said she should call eBay.

Not true at all.  I shipped a 52 lb box Media Mail and it took 6 weeks to get there.  When I called eBay, after the case was opened, I was told by a US rep that eBay considers 2 weeks without a scan to be a lost package.  When I explained that Media Mail is different and there is no guarantee at all how long it could take she said so sad, too bad.  She refunded the buyer her money, the buyer ended up with the shipment and I'm out the cost off the sale and the cost of buying these rare vintage books to boot.

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by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 14 23:29:45 2014

BTW, the only USPS product with a guaranteed shipping time is Express Mail.  All other classes have a suggested shipping time.

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

Fri Aug 15 00:02:26 2014

What was that song by Paul Simon?  Oh, yes... Slip sliding away, ebay is slip sliding away... And amazon is as well...  Has anyone seen the new way that Amazon is promoting it's ''Hassle Free Packaging'' (in english that means, repackaged customer returns) that they are selling? If someone clicks on a product where they have a repackaged customer return item, all other sellers of the product are hidden.  Unless they click another tab to show the New product.  Click on my website link above to learn about a project I have been working on.  Hope to see some of you there soon.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 15 00:08:43 2014

With this latest update, eBay has killed any desire I have of giving good customer service to any buyer who opens a claim, intentional or accidental. Ebay management is so *^^## clueless.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 15 00:10:13 2014

Ebay needs a better PR team. Half of their issue the last few years is they might have some very smart people at the top....but these morons don't know how to publicly speak nor properly reply to questions they know are coming. How can you be so poorly prepared? These guys remind me of some athletes....they just shoot themselves in the foot with things they say.

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

Fri Aug 15 00:36:24 2014

These jackasses epitomize the Peter Principle in more ways than one.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 15 00:41:00 2014

Multiple Choice:


[a] Liars that can't keep their own nonsensical lies straight.


[b] Deliberate, purpose driven cognitive foggery, combining psycholigical warfare technics with plain old fashioned con-man tactics.


[c]  It's beyond 1001 words, but this illustrates things fairly well.
http://www.lukechueh.com/images/paintings/paintings-whole/Monkey-G
rinder.jpg

(add your own ebay-centric visual elements)


[d]  The Monty Python angle: http://youtu.be/pXw7LYWNi5E  
(1& 1/2 mins long)


[e] All of the above


[f] None of the above. Ebayers are just noise so it doesn't matter whatever staff says.

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

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

Fri Aug 15 00:43:25 2014

Wonder why organized small seller protesters never hit one of the "Q & A" events- of course they've eliminated most live events nowadays I guess- but why isn't there an organized attempt to protest anywhere and anytime Donahoe makes a TV appearance or what have you?

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by: smotty1 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 15 01:23:18 2014

I spoke to ebays resolution team about some defects and to be fair she did remove each one. One was the buyer said that we had said the item was a demonstration model and opened an SNAD case, it was not listed as such and so was removed.   The second and third were low shipping DSR where we could prove via tracking that they were delivered on time.

Whilst talking to the rep she told me that I shouldn't worry that any defect before the new policy comes in place would not count as it was for ''information only'' as the current DSR policy was still in place and that ebay would announce this before 20th.  

This point was discussed on an ebay UK thread and one seller was taking ebay to task over this.  They suggested that ebay could not legally ''backdate'' a policy when its sellers were operating under the current DSR policy rules, he cited policy wordings such that opened cases would not count against you, only closed cases would count towards your performance.

The CS rep also stated that when any of her colleagues got a call about defects, they treated it with dread, since they didnt have any clear policy for removal nor did their supervisors, even if it was clear the defect was unjustified.  She said they planned to have a meeting to bring up all of their concerns with management.  

I am not sure why she removed my defects, or if she was supposed to given the above, but I am glad she did.

A few days later I got a neutral feedback from a new buyer who had meant to leave it for another seller since he left the same feedback from them and didnt even buy our item as he cancelled the sale.

I spoke to a CS rep in Ireland and said quite bluntly that new buyers should be given a tutorial before they can leave neutral Feedback, the CS rep rebuffed me like a naughtly schoolgirl for saying such a thing as it would discourage buyers.  Before I could launch into anything he said that he can see that it was the buyers mistake and that they had a ''very clear policy on defects'' (whaaattt???)  and that he would remove the neutral immediately.

At this point I asked him when the announcement was going to come that prior 20th August defects were for information only, and he said what announcement.  I explained clearly exactly what the other CS rep had said and what the UK discussion board (powerseller) had talked about the legality.

His answer was that because they had given us ''advance warning'' of the defect system in March, that the defects would stand.  

He said he would have to refer my comments to the managers on the resolution team as the information I was given was incorrect.

It was at that point I just gave up and put the phone down!

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

by: Ania This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 15 01:35:53 2014

ebay Town Hall Meeting - Truly impressive display of gross incompetence, ignorance and pure stupidity

Perminate Link for eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules   eBay's Own Team Uncertain of New Defect Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Aug 15 03:01:32 2014

Certainly not surprising since they collectively decided to change the sold item emails the way they did.  On BIN or GTC, they don't feel we need to know the buyer's ID or how many they purchased.  Apparently that is unimportant information anymore.  Oh and the email address went poof too.  Then they decided that the really important piece of information we needed to have was what our original inventory was on the item.  

The only thing of value on this email is the item number so you can put it in Ebay and find out what the heck you sold, how many and to whom.  All of which use to be on the email.

The auction purchases are much the same other than the inventory thing.

Ridiculous, senseless, useless changes that only create work for sellers.  Ebay wants us shipping faster and faster yet they keep doing stupid unnecessary changes like this that slow us down.

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