Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 15 2015 21:27:29

How Has eBay's Managed Returns Policy Impacted You?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay announced in its Fall Seller Release in August that it would force all sellers who offered a return policy into its "Hassle Free Returns" program. eBay said it would begin extending its returns program on more U.S. sellers in 2015 until all eligible domestic returns were handled this way by the 2015 holiday season.

As we explained last summer, that means buyers will be able to return an item for any reason, though sellers will still have the option of not accepting returns at all (with certain exceptions of course).

Some of the highlights of eBay's new policy include the following:

- An eBay return label provided automatically to the buyer requesting a return.

- Tracking uploaded automatically with the eBay return label so you can track the status of the return - and see when it will be delivered back to you.

- Assurance that the return shipping cost will not exceed the original shipping price if you used eBay labels for the original shipment.

- Configurable automation rules to streamline your business practices - for instance, buyer gets a refund instead of a return if the item is less than $10.

- Starting in mid-September, automatic refund to the buyer after 6 business days once the item has been delivered to the seller and as long as the seller has not asked eBay to step in and help.

We surveyed readers in August to see if they had any plans to change their return policies due to the new mandatory Managed Returns policy - the results showed that while only 15% of respondents had a no-returns policy, 55% of respondents said they would institute a no-returns policy due to the policy change. See the full results in this August 2014 Newsflash article.

We're now into the middle of March. Has eBay's Managed Returns policy impacted you? Have you made any changes as a result? Let us know what you think and what's ahead.




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Readers Comments

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 15 22:30:19 2015

M/R hasn't bitten me; I am not enrolled and would "opt out" in a heartbeat if JD&Co. threw me in that steaming pile.  The "ordinary" returns/frauds are bad enough - as one poster on their "discussion board" says: "If you can't afford to lose the item don't list it!"  So, I list nothing high-value with any degree of risk.  High-dollar merchandise is listed as "Local Pickup Only" with CASH payment.  If you don't follow that strategy you're setting yourself up to be porked.

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 15 22:35:46 2015

Ina, I love the part about "automatic refund after 6 biz days…as long as the seller has not asked eBay to step in and help [sic]…

What kind of "help" would one expect to receive from JD& Co in this situation?  They've already sold you out - promising a no-Q's-Asked refund - so why would they go out of the way to "help" a seller when their general level of customer service in in the Toilet to begin with?  Trust me: there will be no "help" even if you get back a Box of Rocks, busted item, or nothing at all.  In fact the refund will be given before the scammer even posts a tracking # for the "return shipment."  

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by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 15 22:55:56 2015

When they started promoting this return program last spring, even before they announced it was going to be mandatory, the amount of returns I got increased to outrageous levels. Close to 50% of my sales were coming back in returns. For the first time since starting selling on Ebay, I went to no returns. I have never looked back. I also have never had any bogus cases opened against me to force a return. I didnt want to be a no returns seller. I feel as though Ebay pushed me into that corner by pushing returns to buyers excessively.  

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by: odona This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:16:43 2015

What I've seen happening is buyers claiming fake, broken or NASD, therefore bypassing any vetting process to my (new since august) no returns policy. In the past they could contact me and I'd almost always take something back, no prob...change? No. More Agg? Absolutely!

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:17:57 2015

when they did the 90 day return policy for christmas, the opted people into this.  i had one return where a customer said a book wasn't a first edition, not requirment for them to comunicate with me, i just get an email saying a return has been intiated.  well i conacted the buyer, explained why the book was a first edition, still giving them the option to return and they decided to keep it.  just based on that i would not opt in to MR permanently, the rare problems i have usually can be solved through communication and MR doesn't encourage that.

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by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Mar 16 00:24:04 2015

I've already had one item returned as broken or defective which was NOT broken or defective, and acquired a defect for that which is the one that will threaten my TRS status.  I would be interested in just WHAT the procedure is if a seller wants eBay to "step in an help".  I did speak to a so-called customer service rep who promised to at least remove the defect.  They didn't.

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:25:27 2015

I went to "no returns" but contact me and we can work something out. It sure keeps it down over Amazon where there is so many "oops, I didn't mean to order this"

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by: guitar1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:33:56 2015

MR has greatly increased the number of returns. The major impact besides the shear cost of shipping the item back, has been the feedback side which seems to penalize us if the buyer closes the case themselves (generally because everything worked out fine) or not if we simply issue a refund. Not sure why the buyer closing it early would impact us, but it does.

The other unique glitch EBay's management committee never thought of....we have had two buyers not capable of printing the return label because the do not own a printer...incredible that the smart folks never dream of that one. It took some time to actually work these two out, because the buyer could not actually perform the requirement to print, track and ship the product. Just goes to show the fine folks in San Jose, not every rule can be followed the way a you want it to if you do not take into account ALL of the variables.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:36:00 2015

Returns (for me) is now the #1 eBay problem for me and my company.

It used to be dealing with the criminals in eBays VERO dept, now that designation has moved to returns.

Im not yet in Managed Returns, though I dont see how it can be any worse then the FORCED returns that I was entered into in September.

With every non defective returned item I get (electronics biz)(ie use then return since the item is magically SNAD) I curse the day JD and his ilk were born, and tell ANOTHER person NEVER to buy or sell on eBay.

I have a whole pile now of items that are magically defective - whoch of course are really NOT refective - just used and in not new packaging.

eBay in each return case told me STFU.

Im glad eBay wasnt at CES this year. Seeing them LAST year turned my stomache, though I did enjoy watching them makes asses out of themselves.

I did make 3 off eBay sales this week - using eBays email system :) for contact - it gave me the warm & fuzzys.

Returns are NONE of eBays business and its a shame that this kind of bullying is what eBay has become in 2015.

In the last 10 years, my TRUE defective returns wer 3-5 items a year. Im now up to 3-5 per month and growing.

I never look at my dashboard - only god in his heaven knows what it says.

I think returns are eBay way to try and get me to say "uncle". SO far, they havent won - lets see what the Spring Seller Update will say. (It will probably have JDs Cayman account # so you can wire money into it directly - instead of going through eBay (where he has to createa  policy to steal it from you).  

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:41:25 2015

Unfortunately, there really isn't an alternative place to sell. When you have a $750 mixed lot of telecom equipment, or a $500 item missing a $75 part, its kind of hard selling that kind of stuff on a site where they expect something to be complete & fully functional

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Mon Mar 16 00:55:58 2015

Yet another demonstration of eBay's desperation to stop the haemorrhaging of its bottom line; but this will only increase the number of sellers looking elsewhere to sell ...

A "no-returns" policy will likely not solve the problem as undoubtedly then sellers will get no exposure ...

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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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 00:56:35 2015

My latest experience with the forced return system is that I asked ebay to step in because I had given the customer a discount early on before shipping, they wanted to return, just because didn't want it anymore, due to the earlier discount the ebay return had the amount to be refunded as MORE than the customer ended up paying. I asked them to step in, explaining the prior refund and the refund I gave once I actually received the items back and explained the amount was wrong and all refund was already given just close it out.  Ebay decided that I was a bad seller and that somehow this qualified as an ebay money back guarantee case and gave them all the return money back - more then they ever paid in fact - and charged it all to my paypal account. After fighting it, I ended up getting my money back, but I was told I was never to do that again by the CSR as their system is not set up to work like that. This customer never complained about the item, never asked for a money back guarantee case, never filed it as SNAD, they filed it as ''other'' supposedly this is a horrendous thing for the customer to choose and it means you are a horrible bad seller because apparently there are no words to describe how terrible what you sell is so they have to choose ''other''.

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

Mon Mar 16 01:11:27 2015

"I was told I was never to do that again by the CSR as their system is not set up to work like that."

And that's the truth. The eBay system is set up to fail, and if on the slight chance it was not deliberately so designed, it is from simple incompetence ...

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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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 01:14:17 2015

We no longer take returns, but do stand behind our items. At the end of May we will close down both store subscriptions. It does not matter who you are or what you sale, nothing you do will change the spiraling downward trend of sales and losses on Ebay, except Ebay. I hold no hope of that happening anytime soon as last week Donahoe said "Nothing on Ebay was going to change." (See last edition of Ecommercebytes). I thought he was leaving, but from what from reading what he had to say about the future of Ebay that doesn't seem to be the case.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Mar 16 01:19:27 2015

It is all pointless selling on ebay. If you have a no returns policy buyers will make up a SNAD and ebay will override your policy. If you have managed returns, ebay will screw you on the return label costs regardless of what they stated as never more than what your costs were to send it to the buyer. By the way, you have to have gone through Ebays shipping when you created the label initially. No USPS click-n-ship, no Stamps, Endicia...and probably not through Paypal.

How do I know ebay won't overcharge sellers on return labels? I had a return from a customer for an item weighing just over one pound and ebay sent the buyer a return label for 34 pounds. That is right..34 pounds NOT ounces.

Looks like sellers are going to be out the item and $10 or less. Those dollars add up to millions across the board of lost revenue if choosing this in the automation rules. Seller loses either way - cost of returns and initial shipping cost OR the $10. Buyers will soon know that ALL $10 or less items will become FREE on eBay. Buyers will be flocking to ebay at the continued expense of sellers choosing to sell on this criminal site.

What have we learned here folks?

A. Don't sell high priced items on ebay.
B. Don't sell low priced items on ebay.
C. Don't sell on ebay.
D. All of the above.

If you chose A, B, C, or D..YOU win!

 

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 01:34:50 2015

Hassle free returns is the absolute death of ebay. This is a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR problem.

First of all there are inaccuracies with the article Ina posted here. Hassle free returns, normal returns, and no returns all have the same result. A seller can not "switch to no returns" in any meaningful sense. All the damage was done the day ebay introduced the "new after sale experience" pages.

A buyer who would like to return an item clicks "contact seller" or may even go straight to the "return item" button. In either case this is where the buyer is opening a "return" which is now actually a case. If HFR are enabled the buyer can indeed click though choose and choose to either take responsibility or blame the seller regardless of what happened. If the buyer chooses a SNAD reason the defect is given and the buyer goes straight to print the label.

If HFR is NOT enabled then the return does all of the above except the seller needs to manually accept the request, where if denied ebay will direct them to escalate it to support.

If no returns are enabled then all of the above happens and ebay still opens the request stating something like "this seller does not accept returns, but most sellers want to do the right thing" and sends the same request, then if the seller denies that request again it directs them to open a case...or if the seller accepts they still get a defect when the buyer claims SNAD.

The only difference between No returns and HFR is the damage it does to a seller's standing when ebay overrules you and refunds the buyer.

I don't care at all that buyers want to return items. HRF if instituted without a defect would be a very nice feature. Buyers in any retail brick and morter or online location are conditioned to "complain" about an item to justify its return. Buyers are almost always claiming some over exaggerated SNAD reason to justify the return and good sellers are either getting banned or not listing anymore as a result. I mostly buy and can tell you that the product availability in my niche is down to bare bones.

I have always been an ebay fan boy but have actually had to start shopping at Amazon to fill the void. Even today I would rather shop on ebay, but I can't buy what isn't there or is not inline with any fair market price. Current management's path to stupid has completely thrown out a near monopoly of customers and handed them to Amazon on a platter.

No worries though because I am sure next quarter when Amazon has more double digit gains and the defect policy continues to sink the seller base.....I bet we will hear the reason has to be that darn data breech in 2014. Come back down to earth please!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 16 02:53:38 2015

@comments

To merely want to contact a seller does not auto open a claim or a request anymore.  They changed that several months ago.  If a buyer wants to send you a message, they can without opening a claim or request.

If a buyer is opening a claim in HFR, you can delay them from being able to get a label printed if you choose to.  All you need to do is in your site preferences for HFR is to make sure you check the box that you need to assign a RMA #.  You can also set that you need to determine what address the item is to be returned to.  One or both of these things will require your attention before a label can be printed.

When a seller states a No Return Policy, yes a buyer can still open a claim, you are absolutely correct, however a seller with a no return policy falls under the terms and conditions of the Money Back Guarantee Ebay offers.  Which really is not a guarantee.  It has exceptions, such as Buyer's remorse.  Sellers with a no return policy do not have to take buyer remorse returns.  Of course you have to be able to clearly prove this.

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by: Maui5150 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 07:03:55 2015

I have been no returns for a long while, even before this last pile was forced down our throats.  High end fashion has a lot more risks than a lot of things.  Thankfully as well I have some great customers, like one who misunderstood (more likely was wishful) and while I correctly gave the foreign size, what I was as the US equivalent and the measurements they still thought the size was a size bigger.  They were wrong.  When they contacted me about it and were hoping for a refund, I showed them how I listed it as the smaller size, posted a few areas in my description the size and even had all the measurements.  I also send them links to a few other popular fashion sites that my interpretation for this designer was right.  I was really expecting them to still file an ISNAD, but they accepted my consideration as valid, they kept it, and are hoping to loose that one size.  There are still some good honest people on ebay.  Not many, but they still are some

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Mar 16 07:22:21 2015

We've had a no return policy for many years and we only occasionally have a return.  We normally work with our customers when they are unhappy and there is rarely any drama.

On other sites we sell we do have a return policy because those sites let us run our businesses and are not heavy handed like eBay. The other sites are also not constantly changing the rules, encouraging returns, ableing and abetting fraud, remodeling the house, micro-managing us, disrespecting us and stealing from us as eBay does.

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by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 08:17:59 2015

It has complicated things with no value. Most returns for me are really requests for a size exchange but once caught in the Ebay return web it is difficult to get the customer what they actually want. But hey, it is their call.

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