Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Nov 17 2021 20:29:53

eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud

By: Ina Steiner

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An eBay seller suggested a way to reduce returns fraud, which is a major problem on the marketplace. The seller, who goes by the name "Glasser" on the eBay boards, made the suggestion during today's weekly chat session.

Glasser's idea: eBay should create the option so sellers could provide a return shipping label in the original shipment, and the seller would only be charged if the label is used and the return authorized. "With the label could come some reminders like eligibility for refunds is predicated on using this unaltered label," the seller wrote, "and other things like encouraging the holding onto original packaging and using it for the return, or if the seller has a replacement policy how to activate that."

The seller explained, "This idea might help at least alleviate one of the scams we see here (returns to another address in the sellers zip code that show delivered but the item not returned), would make it super easy for buyers to initiate return ( no check the reason and then pick one that’s not true), and be a big plus for sellers who have the strongest return policies."

Note that the seller called for the feature to be optional and acknowledged it wouldn't eliminate all fraud or incidents where returns are damaged due to poor packaging - "But might stop some," they wrote.

There didn't seem to be much reaction from fellow sellers attending the chat session - do you think including a return shipping label with your orders - one that a buyer would have to use if they wished to return the item - would be a good idea?

Here's a link to the seller's post on the eBay Weekly Chat thread. Let us know if you would use the feature if eBay made it available to sellers, and if you have other ideas on how to reduce returns fraud, or returns in general.



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Perminate Link for eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud   eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 17 22:43:55 2021

The only concern I would have with doing this is the buyer never using the label and if I was using Ebay for that return label is them charging for it even though it was never used.  They are so desperate to show any kind of growth I can really see them creating a glitch in the program to charge for those labels and then if you do fight it and win trying to get the money out of them as they have gotten so cheap that they put it to a credit to your account at the end of the month so they can still show the revenue and then if you still want it refunded they take at lleast another 30 days before the will issue the credit back to you, and that is only if you call them and complain.

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by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 00:14:57 2021

I don't know if this seller's solution would help, but we're facing fraudulent returns - buyers claiming "not as described", "doesn't match photos or listing", etc. when the item MATCHES EXACTLY WHAT IS SHOWN AND STATED.

As eBay's Filipino help is actually lying about how to handle it, they're really no help at all.  After calling and having them promise to close a request in our favor since the buyer never responded at all, they close it in the BUYER'S FAVOR despite "promising" us it would be in our favor.

Such a policy isn't going to protect against lying buyers, or even lying "Customer Service" reps who either deliberately lie to sellers or simply are clueless about how to do what they've promised.

After over two decades on eBay, we've pretty much had it with eBay's willingness to look the other way for buyers who grossly violate eBay policies in any and every way they can, with eBay doing nothing at all.  The site is now a very hostile venue for sellers, and eBay still wonders why they get low scores on the "Would you recommend eBay for selling?" surveys.

We've had our own website for over 20 years, and have less than .05% problems there, while website sales have now more than doubled daily eBay sales!

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by: TDAKS This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 01:09:29 2021

In Australia some post offices have packing stations where you wraps pack and send the item down a chute. All that is required is the addition of a video camera. You would then have a record of the item ( rotated every which way ), the packing and the sending. If bait and switch is suspected then the item can be returned via the same packing station, unpacked and all aspects shown on the video. No more bait and switch.

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by: wrslss1222 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 05:39:29 2021

Don't agree.  It sounds like that is equal to free returns which I do not do.  There will always be fraud and eBay is probably an easy target for it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Nov 18 06:48:41 2021

No Go!

I spend enough on paper and ink as it is

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by: Actual Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 07:02:53 2021

Terrible idea that should have never even been repeated.

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by: DTSM This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 08:08:55 2021

The only way to reduce fraud is having the item returned to a third party site (not related to ebay or the buyer) who can verify the return. If the item is never received, no refund. If the product is different then sent, no refund. Of course, no method is going to be 100%. But it would be a deterrent to a majority of theft issues that occur.

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by: HarveyG This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 08:58:36 2021

Sending return labels would not help anything.  And, I am in the corner with Mazdaman, above.  I recently had a buyer open a new, second eBay account and purchase an item.  They then wrote from another account stating they wanted to return the item because they purchased the wrong item.  Among other things, I told them that I have a no return policy.  They then went back to the purchasing account and opened an item not as described return request.  eBay representatives acknowledged that the buyer had two accounts and admitted in messages that they purchased the wrong item.  Nevertheless, eBay representatives repeatedly stated that because the buyer opened an item not as described return request, I had to accept the return and refund the buyer.  This, of course, is contrary to eBay policies that seller's are not required to accept a return when it is fraudulent.  I communicated with at least four overseas representatives on the so called "Escalation Team."  The last escalated the return request and placed it on hold with a statement that additional information was being sought from the buyer (they did this immediately after I had put in a response, directed at any reviewing representative, in the return case that eBay representatives had acknowledged that the buyer had stated in their other account that they had purchased the wrong item).  No additional information was ever received;  Because of the "hold" I could no longer interact with the return request or buyer and was deprived of five days that I was to be allowed to accept the request and send a label; eBay, without additional comment or notice closed the case in the buyer's favor late in the evening of the last day of the "hold."  I appealed, receiving the same regurgitated statements.  Also, that I had been given plenty of time to respond to the request and provide a return label.  And, of course, eBay forced a refund and allowed the buyer to keep the item.  .  .  

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by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 10:35:26 2021

You wanna do what !!!! My entire office is laughing on this suggestion

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud   eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 10:46:48 2021

I think free returns probably already does this. The seller is responsible for a return label when free returns are enabled and the buyer is directed to use your label and attaches that tracking number to the return when the return is accepted.

As noted this this story that labels can be altered. If you supply a label though it could just as easily be scanned/copied and doctored as well.

It would be helpful if ebay mandated that returns come from the buyers delivery location, not from China or a known Amazon shipping center etc.

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 10:47:38 2021

Also sending a return label would just encourage more returns.

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by: ThebigR This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 11:28:36 2021

Allow checks and M.O.s as a accept form of payment and for sellers that select that option all fraud pertaining to internet transaction would stop instantly....  

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by: fusgeyer This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 12:21:47 2021

Adding in a return label is already an option if you use services for shipping like PirateShip or Shipstation. You are not charged unless the label is used. It is addressed to you, so the buyer cannot use it to send something to someone else. I do not believe that adding in a return label will do much to reduce return fraud.

There is a way to reduce some fraud. It is with tamper proof labels/tags on your merchandise. It will not work for everything, but it will work for jewelry, watches, shoes, accessories, eyewear and clothing. All of those have a high rate of return fraud. If combined with the return shipping label, it can greatly reduce fradulent returns.

The tamper proof tags, like the ones found here https://www.360idtag.com/
cannot be reattached once removed. It cut or damaged, it is obvious.

Lets take a  high end watch, for example. You would put the tag through the space on each side of the watch where the band attaches. It goes on tight enough so that it cannot be removed if the band is removed. This tag has a unique ID printed on it. This ID goes in your listing, on your packing lists and invoices, on all communication about the item and on the enclosed return shipping label. If the customer claims not as described, damaged, etc., they must return the item with the intact tag before a refund is issued. They cannot wear it to an event and then return it, because the tag covers the watch face. If they send a counterfeit item, there will be no tag. They cannot send it to the wrong address, because you sent the label (which must be used as a condition for return). It will not prevent all fraud, but it could help reduce a good amount of it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Thu Nov 18 13:40:23 2021

Dear ThebigR :
"Allow checks and M.O.s as a accepted form of payment and for sellers that select that option all fraud pertaining to internet transaction would stop instantly...."

Yes, it would.
35% of my clients pay by check or money order.
SMOOOTH sailing the whole way....

My website , My business, My way.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud   eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud

by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 14:13:40 2021

I disagree with automatically including a return shipping label in orders. I think it would greatly increase returns.

Returns are a component of online selling.  We don't like them but  like any store, you'll get them.

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by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 18:19:41 2021

Like was mentioned previously, third party shipping platforms lie Stamps or Pirate Ship offer the option to print a return label which can be included with the package. The postage is not charged unless the label is used. I use Pirate Ship and I just figured out and set up the ability to print return service labels a couple of days ago.

I have not decided if I would go so far as to insert one in every package. I know that some sellers do, and it is commonplace with some Amazon purchases. I am not the suggestion in the article is anything new as many already do this. I am not sure what it will do to deal with fraud. If somebody wants to steal from you, they are going to find a way. It is a risk of selling anywhere.

The problem is, eBay makes it easy for buyers to it. The automated returns process, and strong armed tactics to accept free returns, really put sellers at a further disadvantage. And eBay does not want to be bothered with monitoring these things so sellers take on a greater risk. Bottom line, you factor it into your margin, if the margin isn't there, you give thought to whether selling on eBay is worth it.

A side note...as I was setting up my return label process from Pirate Ship, I discovered that a first class package returned to me, through eBay returns is one full dollar higher than Pirate Ship. That should erase any doubt that eBay profits from returns.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud   eBay Seller Suggests a Way to Reduce Returns Fraud

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Nov 18 18:26:04 2021

If a seller includes a return label, what's to stop a scamming buyer from using the label to "return" something other than what he/she received?  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Nov 20 10:29:13 2021

I've seen a lot of dumb ideas over my 20+ years of selling online but this is clearly one of the dumbest.   This sends the message "here's the label, ship it back".   It also sends the message "we know that you are not going to be happy with it" or "we know that something's wrong with it and we are expecting you to ship it back.



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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 20 18:48:35 2021

The way to lessen returns fraud is to have eBay not be involved in the process to begin with.

In its zeal and hunger to please every buyer "no matter what", eBay goes "round the bend" to hurt the very people on whos items THEY depend.

For years eBay has never had to worry about it because there was always a steady stream of new sellers with new hot items and so eBay did care "if you left or not".

PLENTY of large independent sellers left - post card sellers, jewelry sellers, poster sellers and so .... ? eBay soldiers on and now the stock is in the 70s - they are hardly hurt in any way.

To make matters WORSE - now that Paypal is gone, sellers dont have an ice cubes chance in h3ll to get an even shake. At least - as bad as Paypal was - you could at least 1) get an American cs agent 2) get one that would actually be able to do something and 3) Paypal from time to time took the loss itself - it was prepared to do so because of how its business was structured.

In todays eBay EXACTLY because of MP, eBay isnt going to loose 1 thin dime - NOT 1. Thats why sellers still can and do loose when a buyer does a chargeback. "I'm sorry - once a buyer goes to his/her institution theres NOTHING we can do" ... aka theres nothing we are going to do - since they will have to eat all associated charges and/or a loss ont he item itself.

There are people (here) who stupidly believe that eBay is altruistic and honest - hogwash. Ive been here since 1998 and the WORST politician (any party) is more honest then eBay.

eBay (therefore) has its finger on the scale - each and every possible loss gets "fixed" by eBays cr@ppy overseas front line agents and even if it should get to a US agent - they still tell you that "taking losses is part of business" ... its just not part of THEIR business.

It SHOULD be Caveat emptor my friends, but then it would become the wild west - and just as there are bad buyers there too are bad sellers .

But eBay HYPES returns, pushes returns, "bravely" asks to step in and force the issue - until eBay "knows its place in the food chain", involving them in any way - can only make you a looser. (the game is rigged!)



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