What happens when two challenges online sellers face collide on eBay? On a recent discussion board post, a seller said they were getting some claims for item not as described (SNADs) because of late delivery (arrived after Christmas), regardless of the estimated delivery date eBay displayed at the time of order. "Sellers aren't supposed to get SNAD penalties for "late items" right?" the seller asked.
This holiday, shipping carriers got backlogged over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and there were reports of delays all the way through Christmas Day. And returns are always an issue for sellers, especially around the holidays. So it's not surprising to hear that some shoppers would want to return items if they arrived too late for gift-giving.
The discussion board thread shows that the problem is compounded by confusion over eBay policies, which have become more complex over time.
There was back and forth among sellers about whether late delivery was a valid reason for a "Not as Described" claim. Whether or not a seller offers "free returns" is also a factor in how a seller should handle such a claim, according to one seller who said, "The Return System changed significantly in October of 2018" and pointed to a page on eBay
describing "simplified returns."
The seller also pointed to a page on eBay
that describes new seller protections for Top Rated Sellers who offer a minimum 30-day return policy that took effect on October 1st.
On page 4 in post #64 of the thread
, an eBay moderator chimed in with information about buyer protections, called the eBay Money Back Guarantee, and also threw in another factor: eBay "Guaranteed Delivery":
"A buyer is eligible for protection through the eBay Money Back Guarantee if an item arrives late. The estimated delivery date is considered a part of the item description, and a seller can make changes to the shipping services they offer if they find that their deliveries are not arriving on time consistently. Many shipping couriers do factor holiday delays into the estimated delivery date that is generated so while there may be an increase in these types of return requests at this time of the year, there are steps taken to help minimize such occurrences.
"For Guaranteed Delivery shipments, we do provide additional protections which can be reviewed here. Additionally, we do offer certain protections if delays are due to natural disasters, widespread weather events or other service outages that are outside of a seller's control (details available here)."
And in post # 72, the moderator added:
"eBay Guaranteed Delivery will show to the buyer if the item is estimated to arrive within 4 business days. This is calculated with factors such as the item location, the shipping location, the shipping service selected, and historical information."
Believe it or not, the thread is now on page 6, for what had appeared to be a simple question about what a seller could do if a buyer claimed "not as described" because an item was delivered "late."
Whether or not an answer about a policy is palatable to sellers, it should at least be clear.