Sellers, take note - eBay will automatically relist many types of cancelled and refunded orders on your behalf, which could lead to unexpected fees. In addition, unwary sellers could take a hit to their feedback and performance standings if they don't realize eBay has relisted one of their items that may have been damaged since they first listed it or has since become unavailable.
It's understandable if you missed the news of the new practice, which was announced on April 30, given the numerous Spring Update changes with which sellers had familiarize themselves.
With the "Relist cancelled items and remorse returns" change, eBay provides a checkbox for sellers when they process a cancellation or return. However, the default is to relist - in other words, it's opt-out, not opt in. Sellers must proactively deselect the checkbox, otherwise, they'll incur a fee and the item will be relisted.
And there's no global setting - sellers will have to remember to uncheck the box each time they process a cancellation or refund if they don't want eBay to automatically relist it.
The new policy is part of the Spring Seller Update, and even if you absorbed the first part of the announcement - "...we'll provide you with a more convenient way to relist the item,..." you would have to carefully read all the way through to discover that eBay defaults to auto-relist:
"Starting in May 2019, when you successfully complete a cancelled item or remorse return for a single-quantity listing we'll provide you with a more convenient way to relist the item, which will help you resell the item and manage your business more efficiently. Upon completing a return or cancellation, a checkbox will be preselected for you that defaults to an automatic relisting of your item."
At least one reader was blindsided by the new practice when she refunded a customer for a "something's wrong with the buyer's address" cancellation.
"Just look at the wording in the confirmation email I received after I sent the refund," the seller wrote: ""You initiated a refund of $2XX.XX on May 2, 2019. Once it's complete, we'll relist your item(s) and send you an email.""
Note that was for an order cancelled just 2 days after the Spring Seller Update announcement, which brings up another troubling aspect of this policy change - eBay committed to giving sellers plenty of notice before making changes that impact their business, a promise eBay has repeatedly broken in recent years.
One seller pointed to the dangers the policy could have on sellers who use the Out of Stock feature, but eBay failed to address his or her question in this Seller Update thread
It's interesting to read the FAQs for this policy
- clearly eBay understood it was putting sellers at risk:
Will the checkbox be easy to find? Is there a risk that my returned or cancelled items might be relisted by accident?
The checkbox will be available within each listing within the cancellation and return flows, prior to submitting the cancellation or refund.
Another FAQ indicates eBay realized sellers don't want the default to be set to relist, given the risk of higher fees or negative feedback:
Will I be able to opt out of easy relist for cancelled and refunded items at an account level?
We are aware that sellers want this functionality and we are exploring adding it in the future.
eBay outlined which types of cancelled items and returns it would now automatically relist:
Cancelled item eligibility
The easy-relist default setting will be displayed and preselected for cancelled items that:
- The buyer initiated and you approved
- You cancelled due to an issue with the buyer's address
- Is for a single-quantity listing
Remorse return eligibility
The easy-relist default setting will be displayed and preselected for remorse returns if:
- Tracking shows the item was returned to you
- You provided a full refund
- The remorse return is for a single-quantity listing
You will be able to deselect the preselected check mark in the default checkbox if you don't wish to relist the returned item.
It would be a bit more understandable if eBay put the practice in place if it was waiving insertion fees for relisting cancelled orders, but sellers are bound to see this as another money grab. For instance, another FAQ worth noting:
If there were chargeable listing upgrades (e.g., Subtitles, or Promoted Listings campaigns running on the original listing), will they automatically carry over when I relist my item?
Yes. The same settings you applied when you originally listed your item will carry over when you relist.
And remember, this checkbox would be incredibly welcome - if sellers truly had an eyes-wide-open choice about choosing to relist cancelled items. Making it opt-out, on the other hand, is a real stinker!
If you encounter other dangers lurking in the Spring Seller Update, be sure to let us know so we can alert your colleagues.