Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun May 21 2017 20:39:16

eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

By: Reader

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eBay will crack down on bad buyers in the fall, according to UK newspaper the Guardian in a follow-up to a story from last year. The reporter talked to a number of sellers and describes specific cases where eBay failed to protect sellers from bad buyers. 

One problem is when eBay refunds buyers before it's even shown that the buyer has returned an item to the seller. And even when sellers get return packages, the Guardian points out they don't always contain the item, including cases that sellers refer to as "rocks in a box."

The article leaves readers with the feeling that eBay's policies are contributing to the problem and that the company shows a lack of responsiveness to sellers' reports of troublesome buyers, including those who make threats of violence against sellers.

eBay promised the newspaper to do better - but not right away:

"According to eBay, it will announce permanent policy changes in the autumn. "Learning from the experiences of the 50,000 UK and US sellers in the pilot, we have created a different returns experience, including putting obstacles in the way of suspected fraudsters to prevent refunds, or even blocking a buyer entirely when we suspect fraud before they've been refunded, it says."

Need a refresher on the program? eBay first launched it in 2015, and here's a post we wrote last year following up on the pilot.

eBay advises how the program works using a number of scenarios. Here's one return scenario:

"You've already approved a return request but when it's delivered back to you, the item is in a different condition than how you originally sent it (for example: obviously worn, stained or broken)."

And here's what sellers participating in the pilot can do if such a situation arises:

"Choose "Don't refund now - ask eBay to step in and help." Just make sure you have supporting documentation/proof of the issue. All cases during the pilot will be reviewed individually by eBay customer service."

Why it doesn't work this way for all sellers already is a mystery, and there's no guarantee anything will change once the new program rolls out as promised this fall.

Bad buyers have been a problem on eBay for many years (something it acknowledges), especially since it changed its feedback system to prevent sellers from leaving candid reviews about their customers. If you've participated in eBay's pilot returns program, let us know what you think. Does it help you get eBay to deal with bad buyers? Are you optimistic that eBay will crack down on bad buyers?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 21 21:03:18 2017

......total BS.   Donadick ruined my business on ebay.......I will not ever buy nor sell on ebay ever again......

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sun May 21 21:20:11 2017

I have actually had a threat of violence perpetrated by a buyer who wanted to return a no returns item, and was politely refused.

Still, I was forced to take a return on the item (after calling eBay ''support''), even though it was very specifically listed for parts, and AS-IS.

The merchandise came missing parts, and, of course, we all know what happened next. I was told by a rep to ''take one for the team''. WHOSE TEAM??

I was never invited to any pilot program, but have read that buyers still could send back rocks, old phone books, bricks, etc., and obtain a full refund.

Do not think this will change. Amazon will block buyers who are proven fraudsters and serial returners, or at least make things very difficult if a problem customer wishes to continue buying on the site.

Difference here, of course, is that Amazon owns and sells a great deal of the merchandise offered, while eBay does not. Also, the Bay does not follow or enforce their established rules regarding fraudulent returns, as mentioned many times before on ECB.

In other words, no money comes out of eBay's pockets when cyber shoplifters are allowed to flourish. And until they purchase and warehouse their own items for resale, scammers will still continue to rip off more small businesses.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun May 21 21:39:51 2017

So bad buyers are going to be (finally) addressed in the Fall Seller Up-Date?

I won't hold my breath waiting for something substantive. We already know that eBay thinks that getting ripped off is the sellers' cost of doing business.  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 21 23:26:04 2017

I'm the OP on this (thank you Ina! for publishing this) ... as everyone knows its my biggest problem with eBay.

The article of course only scratches the surface of what goes on - and eBay last BS tinkering with it - changed nothing. "Im so glad they let me decide how much to refund - its so nice of them!"

eBay knows the fraud exists and keeps creating new ways to keep it going.

Until eBay becomes a fair mediator and puts a stop to this - they will NEVER grow.

Lets not pretend though that its ONLY eBay - Amazon is as bad or worse. HOWEVER - on Amazon - when you sell there - you are in THEIR sandbox, on eBay its supposed to be YOUR sandbox.

eBay still sux, they still dont know about ecommerce and they still run eBay as if its the Sopranos and not a million dollar company.

Shame on eBay for their behavior!

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 00:39:39 2017

Talk is cheap but I am a relentless hopeful.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Mon May 22 00:43:21 2017

Hogwash.

In 2010, Kristin Darrow, eBay's former ''Manager of Buyer Abuse and Consumer Trust'' from the ''North America Trust Team'' appeared on eBay radio a number of times.  She said that running into bad buyers is ''very, very, rare'' and there is ''just a really small number of truly bad buyers''.  She added that buyer mistreatment of sellers ''...feels unfair.''  Ms. Darrow told sellers that bad buyers are ''nothing to lose sleep over.''  With reference to a bad buyer damaging a seller's feedback, Darrow said, ''When it happens to you it feels, really, like the biggest problem out there.''

As to how eBay polices bad buyers, Darrow said that eBay looks for them with an ''algorithm'', by ''monitoring buyer behavior on a pro-active basis'' and eBay is ''trying to develop a holistic view of (bad buyer) behavior''

She suggested that when it comes to bad buyers, sellers may not be recognizing the ''actions of a choosy buyer''.

Let's see how much of Darrow's foul effluence shows up in eBay's autumn policy changes.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: Gemz This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 01:08:27 2017

Ebay isn't cracking down on ANYTHING! This you can be sure of. Anything they do about this will turn the buying experience negative for some of the people and that scares the hell out of them. I would like to see everyone here come up with solutions for ebay since you can be damn certain they aren't going to be able to come up with anything themselves. If they were going to, they already would have! If there was some great idea they had, it would already be implemented and we wouldn't be here expressing our dismay on this particular area of Ebay and have to go back to the standard rancid areas like the way the company is run as a whole all the way down to the way they make you take signature on delivery for fedex and then hide the 4-5 dollars they charge for this in the shipping fee they charge you and not tell you! Yes, ebay needs help. Unfortunately it needs the kind of help someone with a 100+ billion dollars has to buy the company and get it away from the morons that are at the helm now! There has to be a better way!  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 01:52:13 2017

I am/was in the pilot program for return issues.
LOL, TOTAL BS!
They did NOTHING to help me.
Customer returned 5 of 7 quantity and the 5 returned were used.
I had to pay the full return shipping price AND the criminal accomplices ebay refunded all my money to this thief.  Why?
1) I can't prove they did anything wrong.
2) There is no way for ebay to provide a refund for only a portion of the amount of items returned.
There was no help what-so-ever with the program and I was still the guilty party. So much for that program. And the buyer is still buying so no action taken on her either.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

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

Mon May 22 02:53:52 2017

The Comedy Hour.

Their pilot program was sheer BS.

No pilot program was needed; it was a sham and delaying tactic. Ebafia knew then and knows now what needs to be done to stop bad buyers, but they deliberately choose not to. Too much of their buyer base would disappear if they actually took appropriate action against these scammers.

Ebafia has nothing to lose by encouraging and facilitating fraudulent transactions because they lose absolutely nothing when fraud occurs and actually gain a few benefits.

I report EVERY bad buyer. Every one. It may be a fruitless activity, but the records could be subpoenaed.

I've filed three postal fraud cases with the Postal Inspector over the years, and every one of them was investigated. I don't know how they turned out because of the confidentiality of the results.

I've also told bad buyers that I would be delighted to visit their city and file small claims court cases against them regardless of the cost.

Ebafia is directly responsible for the fraud.

Those of us who belong to credit bureaus should also report these scammers so it will affect their credit.

Those of you who live in New York state should complain to your Attorney General. This office seems to be one of the few willing to take action against their mobster run corporation.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 06:18:08 2017

Fortunately I haven't been victimized for a while but when you're ripped off for, say, $150, which HAS happened to me it's a kick in the pants. That's money that goes toward rent and utilities. You have to make a lot of sales to offset that and on feebay these days it just ain't happenin!

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: deb19 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 07:03:58 2017

And when you have ebay step in for returns that are not the same item sold, or used, stained etc. does this count against your account. Every time I have had ebay ''step in'' my sales drop and it's evident why they do.  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon May 22 07:08:27 2017

In the last few months I had a buyer return a different item that what I sold to him.  I was suspicious the minute I heard from him as he was claiming that the item that I sent him was used. That was not possible since the item that I sent him was new in a sealed package (sealed as in you had to cut through the package to open it, which was industrial packaging and not easy.)  Not only did he return a different item, he went as far as to paste a phony UPC sticker that appeared to have been printed on a ink jet printer over the original UPC label. The original UPC label was actually on the inside of the sealed package, and on the packaging itself, not on a label.  The label he printed stated that the item was used.  What I got back from his was a mess in crumpled packaging, and the item yellowed with age.

Here is the good news, though it took a lot of time and 6 or 7 calls to eBay, I did when my appeal. I actually called eBay the minute that I got the bogus complaint because I knew something was amiss. I had to call them several times after I got the item back.  My photos clearly showed that the item that he sent back was not the item that I sold him. I provided both before and after photos to eBay.  Even though I won the appeal, eBay still refunded the buyer.

eBay's stance has been to make it easy for buyers to commit fraud.  I've never understood this, especially with sellers who have been on their site for many years and have great selling records.  I won my appeal, but it was money out of eBay's pocket.  I just don't know what they make it so easy for buyers to steal from their customers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon May 22 07:09:54 2017

and I meant "I did win my appeal", not "when my appeal".  Coffee please.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon May 22 07:16:43 2017

*Ms. Darrow told sellers that bad buyers are ''nothing to lose sleep over.'' *

If money fraudulently disappears out of her bank account, and she had no way to get it back, you can bet your bottom dollar that she would be losing sleep over it.

This is a prime example of when something doesn't directly affect someone in management, they are likely to do far less in addressing the situation than if it affects them directly.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 07:18:15 2017

Barbbie, Ebay only makes rules to help themselves.  I agree with you -- Ebay has no way to refund a partial return to a customer.  Why can't they put that in one of their procedures?   Because it will COST them money.  Add another .1% selling fee to all store sellers, why not?  We are stuck for a year.  Then leave the fees the same for the non-store seller because Ebay can't afford to lose them.  A year goes by and store sellers have slowly adjusted to the new fees and Ebay makes some other change that lowers our return and increases theirs.  That's the cycle.  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 07:18:16 2017

Barbbie, Ebay only makes rules to help themselves.  I agree with you -- Ebay has no way to refund a partial return to a customer.  Why can't they put that in one of their procedures?   Because it will COST them money.  Add another .1% selling fee to all store sellers, why not?  We are stuck for a year.  Then leave the fees the same for the non-store seller because Ebay can't afford to lose them.  A year goes by and store sellers have slowly adjusted to the new fees and Ebay makes some other change that lowers our return and increases theirs.  That's the cycle.  

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 07:25:18 2017

The only reason Ebay would do something is that more and more sellers are finding other ways to sell high value items. The ''long time'' never list something on Ebay you can't afford to lose is sinking in. High end items are being sold successfully on other new micro sites. How many $1.99 Chinese phone cases sales does it take to make up the  FVF on the sale of one vintage stereo; gold ring; coin; new high end dress?    

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon May 22 08:19:07 2017

Bad Buyers, I've had a few, very few!

30,000 transactions and I would say out of all of those I've had maybe 6 bad buyers.

One stiffed me, 3 returned their product and the other 2 just whined & cried but never returned anything.

6 out of 30,000 ~ I can live with that. . .OK, maybe I'm a little off.

Perminate Link for eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers   eBay Makes Promise to Crack Down on Bad Buyers

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 22 08:49:43 2017

It simply starts with eBay tilting the playing field so that its %90 buyer vs %10 seller - ALWAYS.

Its easy (as every one has said) for eBay to find for the buyer since the seller is POWERLESS to do anything about it, eBay gets to keep certain fees or parts of them, and it doesnt hurt eBays bottom line since a "vindicated buyer" will come back and "shop eBay again"..... which is ALL eBay wants.

eBays traffic is garbage. Hiring all the know nothings from big financial companies only made eBays sales grow %3 ....

If eBay lost on each return/bad transaction - things would be VERY different.

eBay empowers bad buyers with the strongest tool (no not you - sit back down plz) possible - the fake SNAD.

Buyers can say ANYTHING, do anything, return anything and eBay sits there like a mute OR worse if you ask them to "step in and help".

Most sellers ask eBay to step in and help, hoping that sanity and normalcy will occur, ehen it only ends up costing you a defect. Right or wrong - why punish a seller for only trying to help or solve an issue - isnt the loos enough? Why be a vindictive bastard too?

In my case - and I believe it should be this way for others (at a minimum) it should be INVOICES over opinions.

Opinions are like noses, every ones got one - but "do you have" the invoice from the dealer/distributor/vendor (and I dont mean Alibaba) ???

This month alone Ive had 2 of them. Buyers destroy the packaging then make claims. "FAKE" they cry - yeh but I have the receipt/invoice for it from the distributor who is the makers authorized agent! (eBay told me sorry - too bad)(but Im still fighting it).

My next one said IN HIS EMAIL (that eBay can read) ... SNAD. I asked "why?"  "'cause I thought it had a slot for a SIM card, but then I realized it doesnt ...". I said "NO, it says WIFI and the card is for a SD/MMC memory card" says so here in the listing AND on the manufacturers label.  eBay told me "its misleading even though its there as plain as day". So how many times does a spec have to be listed before a buyer can read it? Am I a literacy coach now too?

eBay simply doesnt care, the article while nice is only the tip of the iceberg and eBay will continue to ignore the issue, and the "upcoming changes" will mean nothing, since eBay needs buyers and not sellers.

eBay brass are no better then street thugs and low life scum - and I DARE any of them come and try and sue me for defamation :)

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon May 22 09:04:20 2017

@pace306

I'm happy eBay had growth of 3%

It could've been -3%

I'm OPTIMISTIC not pessimistic

My glass is 1/2 full not 1/2 empty

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