eBay CEO Devin Wenig told Wall Street analysts on Wednesday that eBay had extended seller protection "by making it easier to identify and take action against abusive buyers." He was speaking at eBay's second-quarter post-earnings call on Wednesday, but he didn't elaborate.
Nor did Wenig elaborate in late May at eBay's shareholder meeting when he said: "We've taken some steps already to provide enhanced protection to the sellers that utilize our marketplace. And sellers can expect there'll be more to say as the year progresses, as we try to give them better and better protection when they sell on the eBay platform."
Word that eBay would launch new seller protections this year first came during a January 1st podcast with two top executives. While they pointed to the problems of fraudulent returns and false claims from buyers, they didn't explain how eBay would counter that behavior. (The pair - Scott Cutler and Bob Kupbens - are no longer with eBay).
eBay announced seller protections as part of the Spring Seller Update - but again, details were lacking. Under "Seller Protections
," eBay stated:
New abusive buyer protections and reporting feature update
We're implementing stronger measures against buyers who don't follow eBay's abusive buyer policy. We're introducing new measures to proactively find abusive buyers, prevent them from filing return requests, and in some cases suspend them. When we find that a buyer violated the policy, we will remove any feedback and defects, including opened cases in service metrics.
We've also made it easier for you to report buyers who violate eBay policies. Now when you report a buyer, you can more clearly describe what the buyer is doing to help us investigate potential policy violations and take actions to protect you.
The announcement generated some questions from sellers about what eBay had been doing to identify abusive buyers prior
the initiative announced in the Spring Update. eBay made similar promises before - for example, see this post
from 9 years ago, "eBay Launches New Hub for Reporting Bad Buyers" (Oct. 21, 2010).
Part of the frustration evident from sellers' reactions has to do with a lack of transparency. And an exchange between a seller and an eBay moderator
during the June 26, 2019 eBay weekly chat session shed further light on sellers' skepticism. (Message #37 shows the thread.)
The seller pointed out that the process eBay instituted to crack down on buyers could take months from the time a seller first reports an abusive buyer. In the meantime, eBay could put the seller in the penalty box until it has gathered enough evidence by multiple sellers for eBay to take action, the seller noted.
When the eBay moderator confirmed the seller was correct in their understanding of how the new seller protection program worked, the seller replied in part, "Then this is NOT any kind of seller protection at all. It was very misleading of eBay to put this in the Update and call it protection as it offers none."
"Stuff like this hurts eBay's credibility with sellers," the normally staid seller wrote.
Since eBay doesn't report on how its seller protection or buyer crackdowns are performing, outsiders must depend on anecdotal evidence. Let us know if eBay has been doing a better job of protecting you as a result of the spring update, if it's apparent to you.