Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 25 2017 22:14:18

eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

By: Ina Steiner

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It seems eBay sellers are talking a lot more about returns these days. The latest comes from one who's no stranger to ecommerce - she's been selling on eBay since 1998. 

She said buyers no longer bother to read the description but purchase by looking only at the photo in the listing, and some freely admit it.

She wrote because of a recent return request in which eBay included her handling charge as the amount it asked her to refund her customer. "This has NEVER happened before. We called eBay 3 times because we could not believe their answers."

Some reps insisted the handling fee was normally included in the refund amount - "that is not true, it has not been included ever before," the seller told us.

She did issue the refund for the return for the amount eBay displayed, which included the handling fee. "If this continues, the dollars will add up," she said.

"We are wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if eBay will now give the buyer back the H/Fs they paid."

Not all sellers charge a handling fee - if you do, have you ever experienced a case like this?

Do you think it's fair for eBay to require sellers to refund handling fees for buyers' remorse (or any other type of return)?




Comments (41) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 25 23:01:11 2017

For buyers remorse shipping should not even be included in refund. Why should a business payment for the mistake of the buyer?

That goes for handling fees as well

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu May 25 23:36:19 2017

Did the seller charge a restock fee to cover his / her shipping costs in case of a buyers remorse return?

If not, wouldn't the refund include all money paid by the buyer at the time of sale (including handling fees)?

The number one pitfall of selling online is buyers who do not read the details before making a purchase decision. I had a return just today for just that reason.

Stated in eBay policies is that buyers are responsible for reading and understanding the terms and details spelled out in a sellers item description.

But, of course, the site does not practice as they preach. Even when someone admits they failed to read important attributes before buying an item, eBay is afraid to punish them for their obvious misdoings.

Amazon will ban a problem customer, because they take ownership of their business. On eBay, sellers are expected to take the loss, even if they are 110 percent in the right.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri May 26 03:11:09 2017

I'm with extinctbay on this one.  I've been on Ebay just as long and I've never had Ebay say I can keep my handling fee.

With that said, Ebay shouldn't be involved if you are handling the buyer while it was still in the REQUEST stage.  You don't have to get Ebay's permission for anything during this stage.  It is all between you and the buyer.  If your buyer agrees in writing, you are fine.

But if you don't take care of the buyer while it is in the REQUEST stage and then the buyer escalates the request to a claim.  Then Ebay is going to make a decision for you.  As an added bonus it will go against your stats.

It just isn't a good idea to get it escalated to a claim.  I've always managed to take care of my customers without any escalation.  Sometimes my buyer gets a full refund, sometimes not.  It depends on the specific situation.

If you are just talking about numbers being displayed on your screen during the REQUEST stage, those are MERELY suggestions from Ebay.  Ebay has NOTHING to do with your negotiations with your buyer during the REQUEST stage.

But in all my years on Ebay I've never had Ebay even suggest that I could split my handling fees out of the S&H I charged the customer.  I've never heard of this before either.  But certainly there are many things I've never heard of before.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 26 08:09:22 2017

Leave it to eBay to figure out yet another way to screw sellers

I don't do remorse returns, PERIOD. I ALWAYS do no returns, so I don't get buyers remorse issues.

Again this is another issue that eBay should stay out of. Unless the seller made a mistake, it should be the sellers choice on what and how to refund.

Busy body eBay always trying to burn the seller, even whey did nothing wrong.

"Alexa, please explain to eBay what ecommerce is!"

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri May 26 09:44:48 2017

@mcposty

This is why a restocking fee needs to be applied. Otherwise, you as a seller must refund all of the original purchase price (including shipping & handling fees) upon return of the item.

Of course, this only applies to returns initiated and processed through an official return request. Otherwise, you will not be able to be reimbursed for shipping costs to the buyer. Or collect any restock fees.

And if you refund without going through the correct channels (via PayPal and not eBay), you will not be refunded your Final Value Fee. PayPal will give you back their fees according to how much $$ you hand back to the buyer.

This would be a great subject for ECB to take on. WHY CHARGE A RESTOCKING FEE ON eBay??

I find buyers are turned off by seeing that if they send something back, a percentage of their refund may be held back. I only use it on high return rate items, such as clothing and electronics.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 26 10:31:18 2017

A return policy lots of times says that shipping and handling will not be refunded. But a restocking fee is a good way to get around all that on ebay I think they have to honor it on remorse returns right?

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri May 26 11:11:10 2017

I have a return coming, haven't had one in eons.

To my surprise eBay is offering my FVF fees back to me.

Of course I have to pay return shipping and lose money on shipping both ways but at least eBay is giving me back my FVF fee.

Is this normal for all returns?

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri May 26 14:22:51 2017

Some of the posters are blaming Ebay for the subject addressed by the OP.  So does that mean that in the past you were allowed by Ebay to retain your HANDLING FEE when processing a return?

I'm just trying to get clarification here as this is nothing I've ever seen.  That certainly doesn't mean it hasn't happened, I'm just trying to understand how and when Ebay allowed this!!!

@mcposty

You are correct.  You can charge a restocking fee.  Ebay does allow for that as long as the claim wasn't a SNAD.  They don't allow a restocking fee if the buyer filed the request as a SNAD.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri May 26 15:07:14 2017

@Tool

If a return is processed through an official request, eBay will refund the Final Value Fee. PayPal will also give your commission fees back, but not the transaction fee. This applies to both buyer's remorse and SNAD returns.

If you issue either a full or partial refund through PayPal (without involving eBay), you will not receive any refund of fees from eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri May 26 16:28:26 2017

Every seller, no matter what marketplace you sell on, should charge a restocking fee (unless the return is based on a mistake by the seller).

The majority of the items in my store are a quantity of one, so if I were to sell something, and then get it returned, I have to take new photos, and make up a new listing. Each seller deserves to be compensated for the time they have to spend to post an item for sale for a second time.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri May 26 16:58:53 2017

@jack

Why couldn't you revise the sold listing and then post it?

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri May 26 17:31:59 2017

@Marie - I don't sell on eBay, I sell on eCrater. As far as I'm aware, they don't retain listings of sold items. When I sell something, I delete it from my store as I don't want it to remain searchable on Google. There's nothing I hate more than finding something in a Google search, clicking on the listing, and then finding out it was sold months ago.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri May 26 17:41:14 2017

Thanks Jack.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 26 18:47:03 2017

Maybe I need this explained to me ...

"Of course" if its a SNAD case (we are all going to assume its a REAL case (which in eBay land is not guaranteed) then there should be no refund for a handling fee.

HOWEVER, if you as a seller take returns - even if you have a restocking fee - if the return is buyer remorse - why should the buyer get his/her handling fee back? It STILL cost the seller time/effort and money to ship the item out to begin with - does a sellers time and effort mean nothing? What it says is "we dont value a sellers time, and we dont value the seller".

Thats a refrain I know eBay loves to get behind.

SO, again I ask - if you accept returns and the case is BUYERS REMORSE - why should you get ANY money back???

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri May 26 18:56:37 2017

A Handling Fee is not the same thing as a Restocking Fee.  Similar in nature, but still not the same.

A handling fee is added onto the cost of shipping to cover packaging material and labor directly related to shipping.

A restocking fee is a percentage charged to a buyer for the return of an item or items to cover the labor and costs of re-inventorying the item.

Ebay has NEVER had any way for a seller keep their Handing Fee when refunding a buyer.  While there is good argument as to why a seller might be able to hold back and not refund their handling fee, Ebay gives a seller no way of doing this.

I don't charge restocking fees, I do understand and respect why others do, but for me, I don't.

I've explained before on this site how I process a Request from a buyer to return something and their reason is clearly buyers remorse.  First I don't always accept these returns, but if I do, I do not pay for return shipping and when I refund the buyer it is LESS the original shipping charge.  This is known to the buyer before the return the item as I keep them fully informed.

If this type of return is on something I offer Free Shipping on, I inform the buyer what the cost of the shipping was and their refund will be reduced by that amount.

This has worked for me since the beginning.  I keep all correspondence with my customers polite and professional and my customers remain happy.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat May 27 17:01:59 2017

@Marie

Though I only charge a restocking fee on high return items, this is in place to obtain a refund of my shipping costs. And it may discourage a buyer from a remorse return.

When the item is safely in my possession, then they receive their refund, less the fee. And eBay informs them of the total they will receive before returning the item. Of course, this does not apply to SNAD claims.

Since the return was processed through an official eBay request and authorization, eBay will refund my Final Value Fees when I complete the return. If you withhold the shipping costs from the buyer and just refund the difference via PayPal, eBay will not give you a FVF refund.

Guess if the item is not expensive, the shipping fees would be more than the FVF, so I understand where this works in some cases.

If the restock fee is more than my actual shipping cost, I may, in some cases, refund the buyer the difference, explaining that the fee is not in place to punish them, just to ensure I get my mailing fees back.

Since the buyer is receiving a rebate of sorts, they feel better about the transaction. I have never had a problem with this, or not had a Buyer Protection claim filed against my account.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat May 27 17:37:56 2017

@extinctbay

I completely agree with you.  Everything you've said is correct.  And a very good way to handle things IMHO.  

But I was really trying to understand what the OP is really complaining about.  I have never known Ebay to allow a seller to keep their "handling fee" when processing a return.  So I was trying to get to the root or actual reason the OP had an issue.

It appears even seasoned sellers on Ebay are getting a handling fee and a restock fee confused.  And they aren't the same thing.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

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

Sat May 27 22:19:20 2017

What else would one expect from a criminal enterprise that finds new and reprehensible ways to reward bad buyers, punish good sellers, and line their despicable bottomless pockets with money stolen from sellers.

My advice? Build handling charges into your listing price.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun May 28 02:14:04 2017

Details, Details.  As long as we can complain about Ebay, that is all that seems to matter.  Don't let facts get in your way.

Ebay has NEVER had a way for sellers to retain their handling fee specifically through the refund process.  The OP is mistaken.

Perminate Link for eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return   eBay Refunds Handling Fee for a Buyers Remorse Return

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 28 08:07:23 2017

Marie - eBay keeps giving people what to complain about so it's only natural that it happens (here) over and over again.

Surely you won't stand here and take the position that eBay is seller friendly or that it is even fair and impartial in its affairs - geez it says in its TOS "we may hide your listings" ..... what more does anyone expect?

As for the OP, right or wrong eBay SHOULD return a sellers handling fees when it's a non SNAD case - yet another money grab/theft from San Jose just because "they can".  

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