Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 10 2014 14:30:09

Should Buyers Be Able to Cancel eBay Orders within 1 Hour?

By: Ina Steiner

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There's a new eBay policy that may have gotten lost in the shuffle with all the changes the marketplace announced on August 12 as part of the eBay Fall Seller Release, and that's order cancellations.

eBay is making it easier for buyers to cancel orders. Previously, buyers had to contact the seller directly in order to request an order cancellation. Now, says it is streamlining the cancellation process to make it easier for buyers and sellers to cancel a transaction directly from My eBay.

Buyers will be able to request a cancellation if they change their mind within an hour after the sale (as long as the seller hasn't already shipped the item).

Upon learning of the new policy, one irate reader wrote, "Obviously they know that smaller sellers like myself can't possibly stay up 24/7 uploading tracking numbers within one hour."

Another seller wrote a letter, published on the Letters to the Editor blog, expressing dissatisfaction with the new policy, writing, "eBay used to tell buyers that when they bought an item they were entering into a legal binding contract to pay for it."

In addition, eBay states, "Sellers will also have the option to cancel transactions directly from My eBay instead of the Resolution Center and, if the buyer paid with PayPal, sellers will no longer need to wait for a response from the buyer."

Don't forget, however, that seller-initiated cancellations are counted as a Defect.

eBay provided a tip to sellers for avoiding defects for cancelled orders: "If your buyer asks you to cancel a transaction, just be sure you do so through the eBay cancellation link in My eBay and select the "buyer requested" reason for the cancellation. This lets eBay know the buyer requested the cancellation. Remember, cancellations requested by your buyer will not count as defects."

Pay special attention to what follows: "However, if you issue a PayPal refund without a cancellation request from the buyer, eBay may conclude that you have cancelled the transaction, which would count as a defect."

We found a Youtube video published by a seller that shows the process he goes through for cancelling the order without getting a defect - screenshot follows.



To demonstrate the uncertainty sellers often have around changes, someone left a comment for him on YouTube stating, "From what I understand about the new Seller Policies and defects, and reading the eBay community board, if the buyer does not cancel the transaction by their own initiation, and without you the seller initiating the cancellation on behalf of the buyer, the defect will still count against the seller."

We've asked eBay to confirm that the video correctly outlined the method a seller should follow to avoid getting a defect, we'll let you know when we get an answer.

So, on one hand, sellers are concerned the new policy will lead to an increase in buyers making purchases without a commitment to follow through - this can be quite burdensome particularly for auction listings. On the other hand, many sellers say they'd rather have the buyer cancel a transaction before they ship the item rather than afterwards.

What do you think, and how will you handle this change?

Update 9/10/14: Here's what eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said:

Yes, that video is accurate today and is similar to the video that is available on the eBay YouTube page.

However the returns best practices will change slightly with the After Sale changes we announced in the Fall Seller Update.   When the after sale changes start going live starting next week through the end of the month.  If a buyer contacts a seller directly for a return, the seller should advise them to request the return in My eBay. Doing so helps safeguard both the seller and your buyer by giving eBay visibility into the transaction in the event that we need to step in and help. It’s also important to remember that if sellers issue a PayPal refund without a return request through the eBay returns process, eBay may conclude that the seller has cancelled the transaction, which would count as a defect.

We will be updating our videos to reflect the appropriate best practices soon.




Comments (63) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Should Buyers Be Able to Cancel eBay Orders within 1 Hour?   Should Buyers Be Able to Cancel eBay Orders within 1 Hour?

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

Wed Sep 10 15:23:47 2014

No.
MH

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by: HarmonyGroveAntiques This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Sep 10 15:36:05 2014

We have a 5 day processing time on Ebay purchases. We could care less if the buyer cancels within an hour. We are better off with no Ebay sale then having a disgruntled buyer.

Odds are we'll be selling it on Etsy anyways!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Sep 10 15:42:23 2014

eBay will not listen to sellers objections on this as the process allows them to artificially inflate their GMV figures.

eBay counts everything toward GMV including, BIN sales, and winning auction bids. What eBay does not account for are cancelled bids, unpaid items, returns.

With this policy, eBay is enabling themselves to inflate their GMV by simply making Buy It Now purchases and then cancelling them within an hour.

In this scenario, eBay could literally complete hundreds of BIN purchases, and then immediately cancel these purchases within the 1 hour time frame.

They will then count the purchase toward their GMV, despite the fact that they are not receiving revenue for the transaction due to cancellation.

If eBay intends to proceed with this unannounced policy change, then there should be a limit as to the number of 1 hour cancellations available to each ID, say 2 per month and every additional becomes a strike against the buyer.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Wed Sep 10 16:39:43 2014

Always remember when dealing with eBay that you are dealing with ill-thought out policies implemented via poorly written algorithms; it is a "machine"; it has no feelings, and cares not one iota about you or your feelings ...

Well, at least they have added "buyer requested" to the reason for a cancellation, although I can’t see that reason on the screen shot …

I agree with Ric; eBay will probably write an algorithm to place and cancel hoards of phony “sales” all over the eBay Marketplaces; just like they possibly do on penny-start auctions. eBay is the greatest generator of hot air that the world of ecommerce is ever likely to know; too bad for them that that hot air will eventually cool …

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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

Wed Sep 10 16:47:50 2014

If buyers will be allowed to cancel orders within an hour, then sellers should be allowed to deduct actual shipping charges from refunds.

I've had enough of buyers not reading product descriptions or item specifics for size information and returning items. The problem has increased 400% in the last year.

400%! This is unsustainable.

Sellers should not be required to refund buyers who return damaged merchandise THEY damaged, swapped out items (fraud), rocks, empty boxes, etc.

I don't give a damn whether WalMart or Best Best Buy or Target allows the above or not.

It's MY business, ebay by their own admission is "only a venue," and this "venue" should butt out of MY business.

Can you imagine mall managements dictating the kinds of policies to their tenants that ebay dictates to us?

Can you imagine their management running around covering up a tenants' display windows for 21 hours a day for three weeks and for 24 hours a day for one week? Except, of course, for their anchor stores.

Can you imagine mall management telling their tenants that the length of the lease contract the tenant is paying for "may or may not" be honored?

The Ho wants to gives buyers a "more retail like experience" in a mail order environment.

How about giving sellers a more retail like environment?

I certainly hope and pray the hackers aren't done with this massive criminal enterprise.

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

Wed Sep 10 17:03:28 2014

Normally, when a seller refunds a buyer (for whatever reason) the buyer gets 100% of what they originally paid, but the seller is still on-the-hook for PayPal's transaction fees.

MY QUESTION: If a buyer has paid and then cancels within this one-hour window, will the seller still be charged for PayPal's regular transaction fee?

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Sep 10 17:47:36 2014

I noticed something new today. As you all have probably seen, the look of the My eBay Summary has changed. Yesterday I left feedback for a transaction, so today I was trying to figure out how to remove it from my Summary page (you used to be able to select something and Archive it). So I clicked on the More Options drop down, and the first selection was "Return this item."

And to answer the question from this article, No! Online buyers need to start taking responsibility for clicking on a BIN or placing a bid. If they have doubts about an item, then they shouldn't be committing to buying it. Buyer's remorse is not an acceptable excuse for not following through with a purchase.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Wed Sep 10 18:04:30 2014

@Ming,
Actually, mall managements to try to control much of what a tenant can do ...

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

Wed Sep 10 18:39:43 2014

@Phillip

You might be correct about some mall management requirements, but the specific things I mentioned would not be tolerated by retailers.

Malls are failing in the United States -- many empty store fronts, high rents, overrun by teens in who far too many cases are poorly behaved Valley girls and boys who drive away customers, parking problems, etc.

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by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 18:52:14 2014

As is the case with HarmonyGroveAntiques we've never had a problem with prior to ship cancellations for their stated reasons. However, we offer ''By next business day''. What this will do is stop us from processing and shipping any order placed near our ship venue pick up times and all with a shred of intellect should do the same. How does that fit for your ''Customer Experience'' FLUFF John Donahoe & Co.

With respect to any defect scores over such and/or loss of any portion of Paypal fees for customer cancellation after payment, we'll have to see how that shakes out.

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by: DiscosDeVinilo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 19:25:33 2014

Buyers should be given a limit to the number of transactions they can cancel in one month as stated by another comment on this forum.
The scammers will come out of the woodwork with this 1 hour cancellation. For example, my competitor has someone place phony bids on my items so they can sell similar items on their site. Then they cancel their bids within an hour.
It will be a nightmare.

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by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Sep 10 20:32:38 2014

I see different points of view on this from other posters and they are all valid.  

However, while I rarely agree with much ebay does these days, I would much rather have a buyer cancel before I ship than have an unhappy buyer later.

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by: joshua This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 21:48:53 2014

Why don't they just hold the payment for one hour "Sale Pending". They purchase, pay and have one hour to change their mind. I am prevented from printing a shipping label and the money does not show up in my account. When an hour is up, and the purchase has not been canceled, the payment is released to my account.  Nothing for me to do. Hey this reminds me of when I first became a seller. Payments received were held for several days until the package was delivered. Once I proved I was a trustworthy seller the payments went straight to my account.

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by: dogsgottaeat This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Sep 10 23:04:00 2014

I think the four most important aspects of this whole scenario are as follows:

1.  Does the item still show in My eBay straight away, or will it only show info once this absurd 60-minute cooling off period is finished?

2.  Does that item instantly become unavailable to any other seller, perhaps one that isn't gonna have buyer's remorse?

3.  If the customer cancels the transaction, does the BIN listing either automatically relist the item, or bump the quantity back up 1 in the case of multiple-quantity listings?

4.  Can I pay my eBay fees at the end of the month and then within an hour if I decide I'd rather keep the $6000AU, decide to take my money back?  I'd like it if this scenario worked!

Cheers,

dogsgottaeat

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by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 23:18:53 2014


joshua has a good idea but


we really have no choice as long as eBay maintains its micromanage, dictatorship ways however as professionals I think we should and the most the buyer would be responsible is shipping cost.

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by: ee This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 23:26:16 2014

NO!!!  Anyone bidding in an auction should make an informed decision before they, rather than drive up the price for other bidders.  Changing your mind is like saying Im sorry after you do something you know was wrong.

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This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Wed Sep 10 23:26:37 2014

If you ship within that hour,they can not cancel it themselves.

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by: toyspast This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 23:44:22 2014

From what I understood, and I may be incorrect, they buyer has to REQUEST to cancel the transaction. The seller still has the right to refuse to cancel. The only differences I see is that instead of a buyer messaging me and requesting to cancel, they now have a choice they can click on. The time-frame is irrelevant. My policy is NOT to cancel transactions anymore. Until eBay does not allow buyers to leave feedback or ratings on cancelled transactions (like they have for unpaid items), I will not cancel transactions. Most people who want to cancel do not typically go ahead and pay, so I file as an upaid item. Yes, it takes longer to get it back up and running, but I am protected from poor feedback or rating defects. I began this policy when a buyer purchased one of my items and paid for it, then realized it was used and wanted to cancel the transaction. I cancelled and she left me a 1 or 2 in ''item as described'' even though it was listed as a used item. I was not able to get it removed. When eBay protects the seller in that regard, I will allow cancellations once more.  

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

Wed Sep 10 23:44:59 2014

Well I don't know...
As a seller, can I cancel in the 1st hour if it doesn't go high enough?

There's your answer.
MH

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by: tb This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 23:49:30 2014

My 2 cents? If a buyer EVER wants to cancel, I let them regardless of their reason. If eBay builds this in, better for me. But I am fixed price. It would be ridiculous for auctions.

Now the big story is how to handle cancellations on eBay. I once had a buyer that changed his mind. I went to do a buyer requested cancel, and the buyer said he wouldn't agree until his PayPal fee was returned. I called CS and they said that YES this was the correct way to do it.

With all these new rules every week, I am clueless on how to run my business on eBay. I don't understand how everyone is doing it!

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