Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 28 2015 23:23:07

Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

By: Ina Steiner

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Merchants think a lot about the problem of returns this time of year, but another problem online sellers must deal with is an increase in claims of undelivered or damaged packages.

It can be difficult to get the buyer to cooperate in a claim with the shipping carrier, since the carrier needs to see the damaged packaging.

For marketplace sellers, the issue is more complicated. eBay has designed its system so that buyers who want to return an item can file a "SNAD" claim to get around a seller's return policy. By stating an item was received damaged, buyers can force the seller to accept the return through eBay's system.

A couple of sellers emailed EcommerceBytes today to report such instances - see Tuesday's Newsflash (available here now).

The Christian Science Monitor recently published an article, "Five little-known Amazon price hacks" containing a tip titled, "Get a Replacement Item Without Sending Back the Original." It advised readers:

"Most shoppers are unaware that if delivered goods are damaged or broken, you can contact Amazon customer service and they'll immediately send you a replacement item. Better yet, if you politely ask, they'll often send it via overnight delivery. Even better than that, if the item is valued at less than $50, they'll often tell you to keep the broken or damaged item. This is really a sweet deal if the item is still useable or can be salvaged with a little elbow grease. It's important to realize this will only work if the item is sold directly from Amazon and not a third party seller. If the item is from a third party seller, you'll have the option of either getting a full refund, or a replacement item delivered to your home in three to four business days."

The article doesn't recommend buyers lie, but you can see how it could plant the idea in readers' minds.

How do you handle cases where a buyer says an item was received damaged? Have you ever had difficulty getting a buyer to assist you in filing a claim with a shipping carrier, or had difficulty winning a claim where you could prove the buyer was filing a false claim?




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Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 28 23:49:23 2015

Both eBay and Amazon "steal" for their customers aka the buyer - ALWAYS.

Yes there is that super RARE case where they find for the seller - but you have a better chance of digging up your back yard and finding the Hope Diamond then that happening.

Amazon as bad as they are, make no bones about it - and EVERY seller knows how it goes. Amazon ALWAYS finds for the buyer - but gives you STRICT rules that you must abide by to be a seller. If you can weather the constant storm of returns (Amazon quietly goes along with buyers sending ANYTHING) you can break even or get ahead with the sheer number of sales they provide. You can move HUNDREDS of an item if you have "the box".

Amazon does this to make buyers happy - plain and simple - but its a toss up - high returns and customer abuse for alot of sales. If you have a home for the returns OR you have the profit margin to absorb them - you can come out ahead.

Of course I have my own way of dealing with Amazon returns - not worth discussing here.

eBay? eBay just lies to you and TELLS you that they give YOU control over things - but then NEVER EVER abides by it.

eBay has an item conditions return page, one they ignore at will. Dont like it? "sue them" - thats their attitude - or dont sell on eBay.

eBay says "When an item is returned to the seller, the buyer must return the item in the same condition in which it was received." THAT is something eBay ALWAYS magically never seems to enforce. AND, unless you can convince, coerce, or trick a buyer into specifically stating he or she damaged the item (which will never happen) ANY other condition is considered to be "in the same condition as received" REGARDLESS of what your own policy says.

Removal of shrink wrap, removed or changed serial numbers, missing extras, switched items (same item but different color/size) are all considered OK for a return. And since you as the seller cant PROVE any of this, and because eBay ALWAYS rules against sellers .... you are SOL.

Amazon rules are tough - but mostly worth it, since you can at least most times "make it back on the upside".

eBay has little to no sales and always lies, always. They will do ANYTHING to keep buyers happy - even when they admit to breaking the rules.

In my experiences so far this holiday - Amazon has been helpful and straight forward, while eBay has continued down its path of lies and deceit.

Since I need both of them ATM, Im moving more goods to Amazon and branching out vi a feed to other places.

eBay can drop dead - I wont be a target of their theftacular ways.

Due to issues and losses incurred due to eBay lies this holiday - I am again stepping up my campaign to malign them as much as possible - starting with the new czar for consumer affairs, my congressman's office and the office of Elizabeth Warren. Additional info will be sent to as many people financial and otherwise as possible.

I aim to give eBay the blackest eye possible - and eBay (or Tool) come and sue me - I dare you!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 29 07:11:53 2015

Ina writes "eBay has designed its system so that buyers who want to return an item can file a "SNAD" claim to get around a seller's return policy."

Yep, and they can run to PayPal if that fails.  This creates an adversarial relationship between not only the seller and the buyer, but also the seller (eBay's customer) and eBay.

Filing a SNAD to force a return is nothing more than a big buyer lie.  eBay has no problem with this and supports the liar buyer which is why sellers don't trust eBay and why you hear the words "lies" and "eBay" in the same sentence so often.

eBay will never be "just a venue" as long as they keep inserting themselves so deeply into sellers' businesses. And they will never be trusted by their sellers as long as they continue to throw them under the bus.

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by: 1beck3 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 09:05:27 2015

@Rexford Do you really believe, when you have your "seller hat on", that you're eBay's customer? I mean, if you think it strengthens your argument, knock yourself out.

Yes, return fraud sucks and, yes, ebay is going to side with the customer, the *actual* customer in the transaction, *YOUR* customer, most of the time in these situations.

While you and I are an honest sellers, there are many on eBay who are not. (After a couple purchases I made this season, there are many sellers who frankly just don't care about the customer.) eBay has an obligation to protect those buyers, too, so they return to make multiple purchases each month, year, etc. You don't build and maintain business by being known for having hard ass, less-than-buyer-friendly policies and reputation.

As a seller on ebay, you're a renter, a lessee of space on the site, not a "customer". There is a difference and it is distinct. The way you pose yourself as a "customer" above is simply disingenuous.

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 09:08:32 2015

So, Amazon will give Liar Buyers a "free" duplicate item, No Q's Asked, for items under $50? Now, you might figure this policy is No Biggie since it applies to Amazon's own goods, not 3rd party, BUT who do you think ultimately pays? Hint: It isn't The River's CEO, management, or stockholders!

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 09:25:50 2015

In the last 6 months on eBay Ive had 2 actual defectives out of ALL the items I sold (ie in all categories).

Yup, I got the items back, checked them and they were defective in some manner. %100 legit the customers were correct - and the items were either refunded or replaced, PERIOD.

The remainder? Not broken in any way. They were ALL buyers remorse - under various lies.

What did eBay do? well, eBay did what it does best - lie.

See eBay knows you wont sue them in court, so they tell you BS when you call and ignore you when you ask them why they lie.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/return-policy.html


eBays
OWN WORDS state "This is true as long as the return meets your return requirements, for example, returning an item within your stated time frame, and meeting item condition requirements."

"meeting item condition requirements". For eBay that statement is wide enough to drive a truck through. For them when you call to speak to them - they will GLADLY tell you that they wont enforce it (as I did YESTERDAY).

Buyers know it too. They know how desperate eBay is to keep buyers onsite, and simply LIE to keep them happy. Unhappy buyers go somewhere else and then where would poor little Devil Wenig be? Who will pay for HIS golden parachute (besides TOOL) ?

Amazons season was GREAT due to 3P sellers .... eBay had "piss poor sales" - most people report them being DOWN %35 ....

eBay will do or say ANYTHING to keep buyers - and sellers will still always "take it in the shorts".

Sellers hate eBay, the industry hates eBay, Icahn dumped his shares and eBay cant EVER get more then $29 for their shares .... its no wonder .... EVERYONE whos not on the eBay corporate tab hates them (and Tool).

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 09:31:09 2015

As a larger seller I have to say that I don't think most buyers claim SNAD to circumvent restocking fees or to get free shipping.

I think it is actually that buyers are conditioned to feel like they need to justify the return and most buyers are not willing to admit fault or take responsibility. Instead they exaggerate some minor flaw or make one up all together. That is why the defect returns policy was a nightmare. Most buyers feel a need to justify the return regardless. I even offered free return shipping with no restocking fee (I have never charged a restocking fee) and buyers were still doing it.

Most recently I had a buyer buy the item and I shipped it on time. He messages me a few days later when the item is in transit and asks me a question about the item. It was an attribute I never described, but one he assumed and it made him think the item was worth much more then advertised. So I answered his message telling them that it does not have that attribute and it is not the more expensive item you think it is. They respond that they will probably be returning it. The buyer receives the item and opens a return request. The stated reason was spots on the item that did not exist. They just felt the need to justify the return. That is just the way it is.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 29 09:40:44 2015

@ pace306

Such "BITTERNESS" is not healthy, maybe you should step away from eBay and let it go. . .

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 10:00:24 2015

It's a crock of B.S.

Every shipping carrier offers insurance against damage, Amazon and Ebay have made the buyer hold no responsibility in purchasing what so ever.. and that's a joke.

The buyer should be given the option of purchasing insurance or not, if they chose not to purchase insurance it should be at their own risk and quit making the sellers suffer for damage done by the shipping carriers.

If an item gets damaged the shipper will determine if it was packaged properly before granting a claim, if they say it was packaged poorly the claim should be denied and then and ONLY then should the seller be liable.

It's become a joke

Amazon has gotten completely out of hand in forcing sellers to take returns for any reason, I am currently in a spot where a customer purchased a used rare out of print DVD for $100.00, he got it, watched it and now wants to return it because he didn't like the movie... that's not my problem, there were a ton of product reviews from people who both liked it and didn't like it.. he should have read the reviews before making the purchase. It's more likely he got it, copied it and now wants to return it.. at this point I am denying his return, but he gets pushy about it and files an A-Z claim I won't have a choice but to refund it and he'll get to keep it for free. If a customer like that were to come into one of our retail locations and try to pull that crap he'd be shown the door real quick.

I for one am just about done with Amazon, we will be opening a new retail location about mid year next year, once it's up and running it'll be so long to the River.. and if eBay doesn't shape up they'll be next.

We generate about 200k in sales on Amazon a year, this year has seen profit margins drop drastically because of Amazon undercutting the products we sell.

I can not wait to have that monkey off my back.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 10:29:11 2015

TOOL

Theres no "BITTERNESS". NO ONE likes to be stolen from.

If you wish to DONATE money to Devil Wenigs retirement fund - the please do so - BUT DONT steal from me to pay for it.

I can read english, I know what they help pages say. I also have been doing THIS (sales - internet, mail order, retail) before you even knew what a computer was.

Ive had a computer since late 1978 (Rockwell AIM 65) and was using the "net" in the early 90s. Where were you ?

Ive been an eBay and Amazon seller since 1998 - when did YOU start?

Because eBay has stolen its way to be 100000000000x times bigger then me - it DOESNT give them license to steal, does it?

If eBays THEFT-TACULAR ways benefit you then great. SOMEONE has to benefit - might as well be you I suppose.

But that DOESNT negate what happens 24/7 on eBay when they lie cheat and steal.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 10:41:37 2015

Amazon has ALWAYS had the seller pay return shipping for SNAD items.

And the three returns I've processed there in the last year were all for "Item not working."  The items were too expensive to just let the buyers keep them, so I always told them to return them for a full refund.

Two out of the three items were NOT returned. And the one that was worked fine.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 29 10:55:43 2015

I had my 1st computer in 1981, a IBM we played Dungeons and Dragons on from a 5.5 floppy.

I think I got on the net in 1995 with Web Crawler.

I started eBay in January 1998 (eBay ID vw)

My eBay store doesn't seem to have the same theft problem yours does, why is this?

Not every seller has the PROBLEMS you do on eBay. . .

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Dec 29 11:16:50 2015

There is a way to get buyers to help sellers with damage claims, and that help would come from the venue.

eBay, Amazon et al should all REQUIRE buyers to upload photographs of damage to packages and items when filing a damage claim.

A few years ago, venues such as eBay said this would have been unrealistic given that digital photography was not readily available to most buyers. That has all changed now that cell phone usage is at all time highs.

Requiring photographs as part of damage claims would not only assist sellers in filing claims, but would go a long way toward defeating those buyers who file false claims of damaged goods to perpetrate fraud.

It is time that eBay, Amazon etc... make the move and require that in order to open a claim for damage, photographs of the packaging as well as photos showing the resulting damage be uploaded as part of any claim filed.

Then the venue should make sure that the system allows sellers to download those images in order to facilitate filing claims with the carriers.

This is yet another very workable, seller positive change that eBay, and other venues seem to be resisting and it is hard to understand why.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 29 11:24:58 2015

1beck3, yes I am eBay's customer. Does eBay see me and treat me like a customer?  No.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 29 11:39:46 2015

In a perfect world a certain tool would adopt a New Years resolution to stop being so holier than thou, to stop sounding like a broken record, and to stop assuming that all other sellers are flawed in some way.   A little humility please, but I guess one would have to have an ounce of self-awareness to accomplish that. Karma can be cruel, but it almost always comes around.

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: maxheadroom

Tue Dec 29 12:03:01 2015

@ ebays "TOOL"guy. I have yet to find an euphoric seller such as you happy in ebays utopia but i have met many and known few unhappy sellers. Before my banishment on ebay , for refusing to refund a scammer, selling was disappointing slow to non existent and getting far to risky to sell ooak or exspensive items anymore. i had far too many ebay legal auctions ended because the employees or bots    would read one word in my title or description and end it. An example would be 'magazine pouch" or "ak47 or thompson sling", i would get the usual ended email stating that these things were prohibited or illegal to sell, which they are not. Plus the times i had tracking proof of delivery and people filed an INR which ebay granted their refund on my unwanted behalf. And i am surprised tool that ebay doesnt pay you for all the free support and extremely positive advertising you give here.Ebay started out as a place for good antiques and collectables but now it has the same new chine junk you can find at any walmart sears target kmart. I used to work for sears hardware and paint dept back in the 80's and the quality american made tools they sold back then will far outlast the chinese cast metal tools you praise so much.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 29 12:07:01 2015

@ maxheadroom

I'M INSULTED

99.99% of the tools I sell are NOT made in china!

I pride myself in selling AMERICAN made products.

Where did you get the impression I sell chinese junk?

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Dec 29 12:58:17 2015

NOW I understand ToolGuy's eBay partnership: his wife works while ToolGuy posts comments on sites that generate no revenue for the "partnership".  

Perminate Link for Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items   Christmas Seller Hangover: A Rise in Reports of Damaged Items

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 29 13:11:04 2015

TOOL - 8" floppys and CPM (Kaypro and older)

In a game of whos been doing this longer - trust me you'll loose.

Ive worked for 47th street photo, Computerland, Datavision, Tristate Camera, BHPhoto, PC Computer Solutions, Wall Street Camera and a few others.

Ive sold more copies of Lotus 123 then you've had plates of pasta - now can we please move on?

If I wasnt being ABUSED by eBay, I wouldnt be here clogging up Ina's message boards. Not that it gives me the right to do so - I appreciate Ina's (and David's) patience when topics like these are mentioned and I comment on them.

Again - I understand Amazons issues GOING IN. I know that they mandate 30 days, I know they decide for you on returns, I know they force sellers to pay return postage REGARDLESS of the issue.

So why eBay? Because eBay says the exact opposite then LIES about it.

If I dont like Amazons policies, I dont have to sell on Amazon (or Walmart or Jet or anywhere else) - its that simple.

When it comes to eBay - their help pages say one thing, but their CS agents LIE about what the pages say and tell me "too bad".

Is it REALLY necessary for eBay to steal from me? If the help page for returns says "subject to your selling conditions: and I write in "MUST BE SEALED (shrinkwrap)" what is so hard for them to follow? The customer (in my last case) said IN HIS EMAIL IN EBAYS SYSTEM "I wasnt sure I wanted them (buyers remorse) but I opened BOTH (he bought 2) items just to see.

They were 2 of the same item - they are exactly the same - why open them both? Was it going to be MAGIC the second time 'round?

I dont steal from you - dont steal from me. That you are a publicly traded company DOESNT mean you have license to do so.

I put NO RETURNS on every item at this point - I wont accept (1) buyers remorse return EVER - no matter what the discount they promise.

eBay (in general) is NOT AS DESCRIBED. Between VERO abuse, between listing abuses, between ads in your listings, between returns abuse - they are the WORST company to sell on.

Its my New Years resolution - to continue to be a thorn in their side as much as possible, to make as many Amazon sales as possible, to dissuade people from buying or selling on eBay as much as possible - and thats JUST TO START with.

Tool - I hope eBay steals millions for you this year - it seems to not bother you - just please make sure it only comes from Jordan Sweetbuts pension, Devil Wenigs golden parachute etc and NOT from any fellow seller or any honest buyer please.

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

Tue Dec 29 14:12:21 2015

"The buyer should be given the option of purchasing insurance or not, if they chose not to purchase insurance it should be at their own risk and quit making the sellers suffer for damage done by the shipping carriers."

Ebay requires sellers to purchase insurance if insurance is purchased at all. Sellers can't charge buyers for insurance.

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

Tue Dec 29 14:14:28 2015

A customer is someone who pays for a service or product regardless of whether it's purchased, rented, leased, etc.

Sellers, therefore, are ebay's customers.

End of discussion.

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