eBay announced a new program today, but it is scrambling to answer a simple question, but one that is crucial for sellers to understand.
As we reported in the previous post, eBay will roll out Guaranteed Delivery in the US this summer - at launch, eBay will guarantee delivery in 3 days or less on 20 million eligible items, millions of which will offer free shipping.
If a guaranteed item arrives late, the buyer can request to have their cost of shipping refunded. If the shipping was free, then the buyer will receive a coupon to be used towards their next eBay purchase. Alternatively, the buyer can also choose to return the item at no cost.
The first question we had upon learning of eBay's Guaranteed Delivery: who pays for the refund (or coupon) if the package arrives late. But eBay doesn't have a clear answer to this obvious question it should have expected, and representatives are giving conflicting responses.
eBay's Hal Lawton told Cnet that eBay and the seller would split the cost:
"Under the new eBay program, if a product doesn't arrive in the guaranteed time, both eBay and the seller will chip in to refund shipping costs. If an item was shipped for free, eBay and the seller will provide an eBay coupon, expected to be $5, Lawton said"
"What happens if an item does not arrive by the guaranteed date?
If a guaranteed item arrives late, the buyer can request to have their cost of shipping refunded. If the shipping was free, then the buyer can receive a coupon to be used towards their next eBay purchase. Alternatively, the buyer can choose to return the item at no cost."
On Facebook, eBay gave yet a different answer:
eBay Newsroom: So long as you meet your handling time, you are covered if an item arrives late. It will be eBay's responsibility, not yours. Let us know if you have other questions.
On eBay's special thread set up to answer questions, no response at all.
And no response from eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore to my inquiry.
Not only is it embarrassing for the company, but it's causing undue stress among sellers.
Update 3/21/17: eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore provided us with the following response last night:
"As long as sellers meet their same-day or one-day handling time commitment, eBay will cover the buyer recompense for guaranteed items that arrive late (which is either free return of the item, or reimbursement of shipping costs).
"If sellers do not meet their handling time commitment and an item arrives late, the seller will be asked to cover the buyer recompense.
"eBay will protect sellers and pay the buyer recompense in the event of delays caused by major and unexpected weather events.
"In all cases eBay will manage customer service for buyer recompense, so it will not cause a time burden for sellers."