When buyers return an item because it arrived late - even if it's the fault of the shipping carrier - it can grow eBay's coffers. That's because of "penalty" fees eBay charges sellers. This week, a seller said eBay customer service reps contribute to the problem and called it "self-dealing."
The seller said they have talked to buyers who requested returns because they no longer needed the item, but return requests show up as SNAD claims (item not as described), which incur a 5% penalty fee if they reach the threshold established by eBay.
"Today, I had a buyer TEXT eBay for the return. I shipped an item and it took 10 days to arrive (USPS FirstClass) and in the mean time, they opened an "ITEM NOT RECEIVED" case. When the item arrived, they TEXTED eBay to close that case and explained they no longer needed the item and to help them do a return.
"The EBAY EMPLOYEE opened the new case with SNAD, when clearly it was NOT!"
The seller posted a screenshot that showed the text exchange between their buyer and an eBay rep. The buyer said, "I did not need it after all. It arrived too late for us to use."
The seller then posted a screenshot of the claim notification they received:
Reason for return: Doesn't match description or photos.
Comments: It arrived too late for us to use.
It appears the buyer never stated the product didn't match the description or photos, despite what eBay's notice to the seller stated.
Note that eBay displays the estimated delivery date to buyers, which can differ based on criteria such as the buyer's location - the delivery date is not part of the seller-provided product description.
The seller noted, "If I get enough of these defects over the miniscule threshold, they can make thousands in additional income."
eBay implemented the practice of assessing penalty fees in 2018
(it started as a 4% fee and rose to 5% the following year). At the time, eBay said claims for Item Not as Described and Item Not Received would count in its calculations.
But in 2019
, an eBay moderator wrote, "The estimated delivery date is considered a part of the item description,..."
Should sellers pay a penalty fee when packages don't arrive by the estimated delivery date eBay displays - even during the busy holiday shopping season when carrier backlogs are common? Have you ever been hit by an eBay penalty fee?