A reader sent me a link to a blog post
he recently discovered about returning items on eBay. Our reader felt the advice offered by the blogger to buyers about eBay's Money Back Guarantee was harmful to sellers.
"Basically he is saying "If it's junk, or you don't like it, or if you have buyer's remorse, just return it and get a refund regardless of whether the seller wants to accept returns, ignores you, or whatever". I've never had a return, but this guy should be banned from buying on eBay!"
In his blog post, the blogger said buyers can ignore a seller's return policy:
"If you bought it over eBay and it isn't right, it's the seller's problem - not yours.
"If the item isn't as described, if it's damaged or was damaged in shipping, if it's just plain junk or never arrived, it goes back at the seller's expense and you get a full refund of the original price and your shipping charges. It costs you NOTHING!"
(I should note here that the blogger is an eBay affiliate - he makes money if you click on his link to eBay and go on to bid and buy there.)
Although the blogger strongly encourages buyers to utilize eBay's Money Back Guarantee policy, he doesn't explicitly say buyers should abuse the policy.
What raised my eyebrows was this line further down in the post: "10% of what I get over eBay is defective." Would you keep ordering items from a marketplace (or from any retailer) that you're so unhappy with and advise others to shop there too?
Interestingly eBay keeps all of its seller fees if a buyer makes a SNAD claim. As long as a return-happy buyer keeps coming back, eBay makes more money than if it banned such buyers from its site.
Meanwhile, sellers on eBay must deal with the negative consequences of returned items including significant costs of SNAD returns (shipping both ways and eBay's commission fee), even if a SNAD claim isn't justified.
On the one hand, buyers who read the affiliate's blog post might feel reassured to know that they can get their money back if they encounter a bad seller, leading to more sales for sellers.
On the other hand, it might encourage readers of his blog post to take it as an invitation to abuse sellers' returns policy.
What do you think?