Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Nov 13 2016 21:00:48

eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

By: Ina Steiner

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A false SNAD claim is not allowed on eBay according to its Buying Practices Policy. (Not allowed: "Claiming an item isn't as described in the listing when the item condition is consistent with the listing description").

But when a seller described a clear case of a false SNAD, an eBay moderator was unsympathetic and said because the seller had a return policy, they should accept the return and eat the cost. The moderator further implied the seller would get a defect if they did not do so. This despite the fact the seller was not refusing the "return," but was fighting the false claim that the item was not as described.

The eBay moderator wrote in part: "we do ask our sellers to be prepared from time to time to take a short term for long term gains. Creating positive and memorable experiences for your customers builds a stronger community and helps increase sales for everyone."

What makes the situation more galling is the fact that the very same day the moderator was telling the seller to eat costs in order to make the customer happy, eBay was sending an email to sellers telling them it had made a mistake by undercharging them. Rather than eating the cost itself "in order to make the customer happy," eBay informed customers it would bill them in their next invoice.

The moderator in the SNAD-claim case wrote, "Some sellers I have spoken to added up all the losses they experienced in a quarter to determine how much they would need to add to their prices to cover these losses. Countless sellers only needed to increase their prices by a dollar or less to cover these losses and grow their business."

The posts by the eBay moderator are real head-scratchers - he would not acknowledge the difference between a false claim and a request for a return. "In instances where a buyer opens a return for the wrong reason, we ask that you take ownership of the transaction and work with them on a return as well as cover the cost of return shipping to provide the best experience possible for your customer. Sometimes customers make mistakes and, just like in a brick and mortar store, creating positive and memorable experiences is the ideal resolution."

But as one commentor on the thread wrote, "what's happening to this OP is in direct violation of several stated in writing policies on eBay's own policy pages." 

Many believed the buyer had filed the SNAD claim instead of a return request so they wouldn't have to pay the cost of return shipping, which was required of the buyer according to the seller's return policy. Indeed, the seller said the buyer filing the claim was a seller him (or her) self.

The thread is a must-read for every seller. The reader who sent us a link wrote:

"If you read the entire thread you will see that Trinton, an eBay rep just confirmed that SNADs are now being handled in a new way, and the new way violates eBay's own policies.

"If a buyer opens a SNAD and the reps can clearly see that the item is not a SNAD, rather than closing it in the seller's favor, they just keep encouraging the seller to "work it out" with the buyer. This is because even though they know the SNAD is false, they will close the SNAD case in the buyer's favor... Force the BUYER to pay return shipping, and give the SELLER a defect."

Another poster said the new practice by eBay would encourage sellers to change their return policy to No Returns - "If you want all sellers to offer returns, the defend them when the abuse is blatant. You will see the Return policies disappear when you go around them and force your seller to take fraudulent cases and suffer the consequences of such, with no recourse and no backup from eBay."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: phantom This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 13 23:52:42 2016

Time for a class action lawsuit

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 00:06:26 2016

"The thread is a must-read for every seller."

If only ebay setup their boards to enable reading by actual people. I can't 'read' ebay's boards any more. The font they've forced on us gives me a splitting headache after 2 minutes. I guess they just want the millenials to post emojis and videos to one another on the boards now. I dunno even what a freakin emoji is.

Get off my lawn!

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 00:09:25 2016

This frustrates me as do returns in general. However, fake SNAD and friendly return request make little difference. If you have a return policy ebay does make you honor it regardless of the reason for return.

I just had a buyer lie to me about an item being not as pictured. Accepted the return as I must. Refunded him as I must. Then got a super friendly email from him saying he would give me a 10 star positive feedback if he could etc. Buyers are trained to feel the need to justify returns. Ladies and gentleman that is just the way the world works.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: ck This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 00:25:21 2016

This is the exact reason I quit selling on Ebay 5 years ago. I went to Etsy and never looked back. The 3% sellers fee is pretty sweet too.  

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

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

Mon Nov 14 00:38:06 2016

To me it is not a must read. This has been Ebay's policy for many years now. Seller's are expected to take every loss handed out to them as part of doing business on Ebay. Raise your prices by a $1.00 each item? That won't help. The minute your items go up, down go your views and your sales. It is a "Catch 22" business selling online and it does not matter whether it is Ebay or Amazon or other venue, we have all taken our share of hits of one kind or another. I just shake my head and list something else, cross my fingers, and hope all goes well this next month.  

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

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

Mon Nov 14 00:51:32 2016

This has the rank odor of one Brian Burke.

Ebafia doesn't give a damn about any of us.

Is it any wonder they're ebafia is among the most reviled corporations in this country?

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: cash4clothesbozeman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 01:03:02 2016

eBay has pilot programs addressing this issue.  I am involved and it is working to gather information on returns.  I had a month when I had 30 returns come back.  I had losses.  The biggest loss was re-handling the product to put back into inventory.  I believe eBay is going in the right direction.  Regards  Bruce Wendt

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

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

Mon Nov 14 01:23:57 2016

It's a mess.
It's such a mess that I can't find a thing worth purchasing.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: Elaine This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 02:04:19 2016

Back in the stone age, I remember being told by Ebay, that they do not involve themselves in transactions and that they JUST provide the platform as a 3rd party, but, HOW that has changed. In this particular issue, when many brick and mortar stores accepts returns no matter what and also a major competitor "Amazon" so, then Ebay decides that is what their Sellers should do as well, even when it is blatantly obvious that it is untrue, ESPECIALLY when a Buyer asks to return an item, learns they have to pay the return shipping and then SUDDENLY they is something wrong with the item, that was NEVER mentioned before. There are no programs or studies needed, it does not need to be looked into, we all know it is happening, but, so many times I heard Sellers admitting defeat and refunding. Yes, you end up with a satisfied Buyer, but, you also end up LOSING a GOOD Seller. Over the years I have seen SO MANY good Sellers leave Ebay, they cared about what they sold, they cared about how it was sent, they cared that the Buyer was happy and every day another leaves. Ebay is NOT Walmart, it is NOT Target, it is NOT Amazon. Ebay was UNIQUE and slowly bit by bit that is being chipped away. Ebay was so much better than this and could be again, but, letting it carry on this way and it will continue to sink into the abyss and in years to come, people will mention how great Ebay WAS and look back on it as just a Memory :(    

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 02:09:56 2016

Time to complain to the CA attorney general (again).  Plus the AG in your respective state. And Utah's AG since eBay uses that for arbitration. Only takes a few minutes and often you can do it online.  Be sure to specifically reference the ebay policy. I'd screen shot it while it's still available for viewing. Ebay has been quietly rewording the policies in the last year or so.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 02:30:15 2016

They seem confused. We are here to provide ''positive and memorable experiences'' to our good, honest customers, including processing their returns promptly and with friendly CS.

How is providing cheaters ''positive and memorable experiences'' improving business...exactly?

I think this is just more scripted nonsense and CorpDerp. They just don't want to deal with it. Fine - drop your FVFs back to 5% as they were when you were ''just a venue'', and we'll work it out for ourselves.  

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 14 06:45:53 2016

The statement " "we do ask our sellers to be prepared from time to time to take a short term for long term gains" should be changed to "we don't give a damn about you or the fact that the buyer is lying. Suck it up. You will take the return and if you don't take the return under these circumstances go take a hike. The buyer, even the lying one, is always right".

At least that would be more honest than that ridiculously phrased verbiage that they currently post.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 08:18:20 2016

The official term at eBay is

"Faulty Return"

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 08:25:41 2016

All policies like this do is encourage buyers to file false claims. If one can get free shipping for SNAD, and face no consequences when it's not, why would we expect them to do something else? I'd go as far as to say that they are essentially telling the honest buyers that they're suckers if they follow the rules.
EBay might as well just officially change the policy to what they really want it to be - free return shipping for ALL returns, regardless of the reason. And why not? They reap the benefits of the extra sales this would bring them, while making the sellers foot the bill. It's easy to be generous with someone else's money!

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 09:08:49 2016

Theres more **bleep** in Trintin's response then there is in all the pastures in Iowa.

The ENGLISH version of that statement is REALLY this:

1) we dont care about our sellers - never have and never will. The BUYERS needs always come first

2) we lied in court in the Vitton case when we told them that we were "just a venue", we are as our 10k filing says "a managed marketplace". If we can lie under oath in court, we can SURELY lie to you our sellers and do as we please regardless of what the TOS/AU says

3) we know most of you "have no where else to go" therefore we can abuse you as we see fit. The rules (such as they are) are only there to PUNISH you the seller, buyers get off scott free - always.

4) we know you dont believe us when we say "ask us to step in and help", and for good reason - Its a trick we put in to satisfy the consumer watchdog groups in each state. Why? because OF COURSE, asking us to step in - even when we let you WIN once and a while -you will STILL get a defect for "case closed without seller resolution". Its all a game - its Russian Roulette with 5 out of the 6 chambers loaded.

5) we are 1000000x bigger then you and even if you are right, and even if you could sue us - we would just wait you out. Why do you think we dissallowed (made a big stink about) Class Action suites - on your own you are an insignificant peon - who wouldnt last 5 mins, together MAYBE you could win - but we fixed that so that wont happen

6) we dont like taking losses. Its easier to give the undeserving people at the top $23million golden parachutes and STEAL the money from you. "Asking you to absorb it in a NICE way is the same thing as saying THEFT - its just prettier". Proof in the pudding? Call eBay and tell them that you willl LEAVE if they dont "eat" this months seller fees - "cause you just arent satisfied" ... watch them laugh as they tell you to go (and then ruin your credit rating and send bill collectors after you). Loosing is for SELLERS - NOT buyers, not eBay. HA HA HA we spent your money on some stupid welcome/rest area in California.

7) we are quite aware that year to year our stock value is EXACTLY the same - ie NO growth. eBay also is ASHAMED of its measly %3 growth when Amazons was %58 ... and so as the maxim goes - if you cant make it on your own, STEAL it from your seller.

8) Theres NO SUCH THING AS SELLER PROTECTION. Never was, never will be, never can be. BUYER is always right, even when they arent, as eBay is DESPERATE to try and have a functioning platform.

9) eBay CS agents - even the ones here - are trained to lie and ignore WRITTEN eBay policy. eBay has ANOTHER famous policy that gets shredded all the time - ITEMS CONDITION RETURNS POLICY. Want the link? Basically it states that items MUST COME BACK IN THE SAME CONDITION (NEW UNOPENED ETC) AS WHEN THEY WERE SOLD. Ever see eBay back ANYONE on that one? NO and YOU WONT.

10) lastly. Every time eBay steals for a buyer it alienates that seller. That seller tells the next 1000 people to NEVER buy on eBay. Stupid people in San Jose (%99 of whom have no experience in this field) think that by saving 1 buyer - the scammer will come back another time and all will be well. Yes, good, but you lost that seller and EVERY SINGLE PERSON he/she knows.

NO ONE likes to be stolen from. Paypal (eBay leg breakers) doesnt like it, eBay doesnt like, no one does - but in "holy name of buyers" its ok to do it to your "supposed partner" the seller.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 09:32:03 2016

I have a theory that there are many buyers on eBay that have learned how to game the system. These people are repeat offenders and use the same methods over and over to rob the buyers or rent an item. It would be an easy fix to mark those who are doing such a thing and restrict or ban them from the site. However eBay doesn't seem to want to do that.

My guess is that these people make eBay a lot of money so it's a conflict of interest to do so for them.

They only see things in a short sited way. The harmony and safety of the site for sellers also benefits the buyers in many ways. And makes for a more satisfying experience for all. These gaming buyers only do this because they know they can if they were called on the carpet for it I think it would change things in a great way.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 14 10:03:39 2016

Jester, it isn't a theory, it is fact.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: Pennsy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 10:46:02 2016

This is why I offer 30 day returns with me paying the return with no questions asked. But I put a 10-20% restocking fee and it actually cut down on my returns. Even if you don't offer returns eBay will tell you to take it back and refund, it's their sandbox that we're playing in. The other thing is to look at what was the reason for the return, sometimes I've been able to cut down on return request by tweaking from a previous return.

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Mon Nov 14 11:35:20 2016

I am fairly closae to offering 14 day returns with a 20% restocking fee, and a 4 day hanlling time, and saying "screw it" with regards to the "Top Rated Seller Program"
The 20% discount just isn't worth all of the extra returns and carrot jumping... Anyone else feel this way??

Perminate Link for eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy   eBay Double Standard Reaches New Height of Hypocrisy

by: Alma St. Goods This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 14 11:43:58 2016

Feebay, I dumped the 30 day returns and went back to 14day/2 day handling when the 30 day returns was announced. I don't get my TRS discount anymore. The Discount used to pay for my store fees and dry cleaning anything that came back after a clothing rental (aka, false SNAD). I don't feel I can ever go no-returns anymore because it encourages false SNADs to force a return.

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