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Wed Nov 6 2013 12:30:59

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Problems

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I have to say, I have had three "cases" opened lately for not as described. One was legit, the part number was wrong, an honest mistake which can happen on Cisco parts, too complicated! I refunded him and he was very cool.

Others, however, I have to say the eBay system now causes a weird abrasive interaction between buyer and seller. I am sure not used to it.

I just got one, the guy says the unit didn't work, which since we test those 100% we find highly unlikely. What the guy actually needs is a little technical support, but the eBay system only asks for us to give a full refund, which is not what he wants.

Why in the world would eBay make a system that demands refunds no matter what? Most legitimate buyers just want what they bought, they don't want money back, or why the heck would they have bought that?

The other one is the first actual dishonesty I have seen on eBay in a long time. A person bought a unit from us, looked new in the box to us so that's how we listed it. After he received it he said "This isn't new, the sticker is removed from the front" and he wanted a $110 refund. More than half.

We told him to return it for a full refund, sorry about the error. He demands we send him a mailing label to return it at our expense which we sent. After that he closed the case, clearly he didn't want to return the unit. He just wanted to get a 50% + Refund.

A couple days later I get an email from another seller about this guy, recounting the same story. He said when he asked the guy to verify the serial number he stopped communicating. Pretty funny. He said he had reached out to other sellers this buyer had bought from and heard the same story. So he and I both filed complaints.

It's unclear with eBay now hiding all the buyers previous transactions that we'd even be able to see other items the buyer had bought and be able to contact the other sellers.

The great thing about eBay was always that you could see everything, eBay was an open book if you knew how to look.

I have emailed previous buyers a number of times before buying something, to see what they thought of it. Dishonesty is rare, we used to marvel around the office years ago about how nice everyone was. But the eBay complaint program is heavy handed and just unnecessary.

We want to be able to deal with our selling problems in a normal way, without accusing anyone of dishonesty or demanding refunds which often is not what the buyer wants anyway.

eBay should back off on the abrasive interactions, and start treating people like human beings. Except the very few actual crooks, that is.
Steevo




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 6 14:58:57 2013

Great letter. I agree--eBay has done everything in its power to hamstring our own customer relations and has made it impossible for a seller to control our customer's expectations. They are just killing us all off--death by a thousand cuts.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 6 19:10:47 2013

ebay is nothing but a HOSTILE environment for buyers and sellers.

JD has made sure of it. unless you are a Box store or Chinese dealer you are NOT safe and it will only get worse.  Noting you say or do will help you.  JD has his agenda and destroying ebay is his MISSION.

I guess he thinks he will REBUILD ebay from the ashes.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Nov 6 21:21:01 2013

I agree with much of what you said Steevo.  This newer policy of if a buyer wants to ask us a question after the sale that pertains to the description or the delivery, then a case is auto opened is ridiculous and a complete waste of time.

It upsets buyers just as much as it upsets sellers.  Just let the customer ask a darn question without all this confrontational stuff.

Now I'm unsure of what is going on with your particular claim, but if I were you, I'd be contacting Ebay ASAP.  Unless you are in Managed Returns, it is very odd that your only option is refund.  If you are in the MRP, then you know that when you sign up for it when you review the policy.  But regular claims should not be doing that.  I can tell you it doesn't for me.

Refund is ONE of the options [at least for me on an INR or SNAD], but not the only option.  You may want to check your site preferences again.

Odd, what happened between the first claim you wrote about and the 2nd one?  The first one you said the only option you had was to refund.  On the second one you were clearly able to communicate with the and tell them to return for refund.  Have you discovered why the first one presented differently than the second one?  However I'm very glad to hear that the second one worked out for you.

You can still get the buyer's purchase history from advanced search.  Certainly not ideal, but it at least is some information.  You do however have to click on the word "seller" before the buyer button will appear.  That wasn't an accident, they did that by design the very same day they starting hiding info on FB pages.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 00:21:49 2013

I have not bought anything that I needed to ask a question post-sale on for a while.  But I think I might wander over just to SEE what I get offered on a recent purchase (I have no intention of actually getting the seller in trouble---just curious on what is "On offer"  when you DO go there.)  

Does anyone think that just CLICKING on CONTACT SELLER is enough to get some sort of NSA type interest going against a seller---even if we NEVER actually DO contact the seller????  Do you get the OPTION to NOT contact the seller?  Or is it an "automatic"  case file?

I too have had several "cases"  opened over really petty stuff that people SHOULD have been able to just ASK me a question on.  I am thinking of having something printed with my email etc to enclose with a purchase BUT--what if the buyer has a question BEFORE they get the item?  

I would think it is just the Ho's paranoia that REFUSES to TRUST anyone to communicate with any one ELSE---wanna bet he spends a good deal of his time checking Mrs. Ho's phone records  and email log etc?

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 7 02:29:15 2013

@comet
" But I think I might wander over just to SEE what I get offered on a recent purchase (I have no intention of actually getting the seller in trouble---just curious on what is "On offer"  when you DO go there.)"  I missed something, please explain further to me.  What is "on offer"?  I don't understand.

"Does anyone think that just CLICKING on CONTACT SELLER is enough to get some sort of NSA type interest going against a seller---even if we NEVER actually DO contact the seller????  Do you get the OPTION to NOT contact the seller?  Or is it an "automatic"  case file?"  When a buyer desires to contact a seller after the sale, when you click into contact seller, you will then get several options to choose from.  

Select a topic:
I haven't received my item yet.
Item I received is not as described.
Request to change an order.
Combined shipping.
Payment and checkout
Returns
Shipping
Details about item
Other

If a buyer checks off either of the top two options, an auto claim is opened.  The option to check of "return" is new.  Not sure about that one, but it would probably open a claim too.

But if the buyer checks off other, they can just ask you a question and no claim is opened.

If a buyer has a question BEFORE they receive the item, the same things apply as above.  If they check off the right box, an auto claim is opened.  The time to open a claim does not start at the time they receive the item.  What if it never arrives?

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: expertbenefits This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 03:08:08 2013

Steevo you are exactly right! It's so true. There can be some crazy buyers on eBay and it was nice to be able to see what a buyer had purchased & contact a seller particularly if an item was extremely expensive, always makes me nervous. Now I won't know if they are scammers or not. Most buyers either say nothing or are friendly and appreciative. Many do not leave feedback which is why the auto populated fields get more feedback now. People are busy & inundated with emails from every venue asking for surveys, feedback & all else as if they have nothing better to do. This week a buyer & I already had agreed she could return an item but by default she filed a claim so we had to make it process. The thing is the final value fee is not automatic. I tried to put in non pay bidder & said not eligible so you have to call to get it done manually even if you resolve it & refund the buyer & it doesn't count as a claim. Another process. How many bother?  

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Nov 7 03:14:37 2013

Once again, eBay's wrong headed attempt at a one size fits all policy fails eBay, buyers, and sellers. Then again, you can not have successful purges without a devising system where buyers are forced into a process which leaves them feeling negative from the start.

eBay's processes are such that sellers are made to appear as though they are intentionally setting out to screw buyers, and that the only friend buyers have in that situation is eBay's faulty process.

For now, we have managed to avoid issues with buyers being turned against us by directly communicating with every buyer. We send a direct email shipping confirmation to every buyer after we have processed their shipping label.

At the end of every shipping confirmation we include the following: " If you have any questions about or problems with your purchase, reply to this email and anticipate a prompt response to address any concerns." This encourages our buyers to communicate directly with us and makes it easier for them to avoid getting into the eBay system.

Do we have returns? Yes, just like every seller we have buyers who purchase the wrong part simply because they did not look at pictures or read the description but, by keeping the buyer out of eBay's designed to be contentious system, we have been able to resolve every issue without any negative problems with our buyers.

More importantly, we are better able to control the tone of post transactional customer service issues without eBay antagonizing buyers with their processes or infect them with the eBay mentality of sellers are out to get you.

Thus far we have managed to get 100% of buyers with returns to agree to cancel their transaction thus avoiding any feedback/DSR issues, and have yet to have any contentious situations with buyers over returns.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 7 09:08:24 2013

@Ric
"Thus far we have managed to get 100% of buyers with returns to agree to cancel their transaction thus avoiding any feedback/DSR issues, and have yet to have any contentious situations with buyers over returns."

Buyers can still leave FB & DSRs after a mutual cancellation.  If your buyers are not doing it, it is by their choice or they don't realize they can still leave FB.  But there is nothing that is blocking them.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 7 09:08:28 2013

@Ric
"Thus far we have managed to get 100% of buyers with returns to agree to cancel their transaction thus avoiding any feedback/DSR issues, and have yet to have any contentious situations with buyers over returns."

Buyers can still leave FB & DSRs after a mutual cancellation.  If your buyers are not doing it, it is by their choice or they don't realize they can still leave FB.  But there is nothing that is blocking them.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Nov 7 09:20:47 2013

Do you not send a packing slip with your email address on it to your customers so they can contact you after delivery without going through ebay? I know I do and that is even with ecrater allowing customers to talk to each other.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Nov 7 10:11:18 2013

@ Marie  You are quite correct in that eBay does not prevent buyers from leaving feedback after a transaction cancellation - I said ''Thus far we have managed to get 100% of buyers with returns to agree to cancel their transaction thus '' avoiding '' any feedback/DSR issues, and have yet to have any contentious situations with buyers over returns.''

My point was that buyers seem to appreciate the extra level of communication and have declined to leave any negative feedback and have not left low DSR's.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: adrian44 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 11:09:04 2013

I have asked this question so many times and have never gotten an answer. I no longer sell on Ebay and don't want to. The hundreds of problems I read about here and in other areas are terrible.

Why don't all of you sellers get together and list your items on another venue? I know right now Ebay has the traffic but you could keep your sales on Ebay but if enough of you went somewhere else I think most of your customers would follow.

Eventually the other venue you went to would have the traffic that Ebay does and you sellers wouldn't have the huge amount of problems you have with Ebay.

I know there must be a reason but I'll be darned if I know why, enlighten me?

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 7 11:29:58 2013

@adrian44

I remember you asking this question before and I remember responding to it.  But it probably was on a busy thread and just got overlooked.

There are many reasons why this this doesn't happen.  Here are just a few.

While many feel very passionate about their opinions of Ebay, some that post here aren't even sellers on Ebay and never have been.  They read and educate themselves bout the issue and then offer their opinions.

Some are sellers in high risk categories on Ebay and they experience more problems than some sellers in other categories that are not as high risk.

Some are ex-seller that left Ebay unwillingly and therefore have a grudge against them.  So no matter what Ebay does, it has to be wrong.

Some are ex-sellers that left because they decided it just was not worth it for themselves for whatever reason they may have.  Some stay open minded about stuff others, not so much.

The nature of threads is that they are for complaining, venting and possibly getting a little help as needed.  If the majority of any given thread was feel good stories, the thread would soon die as the nature of posters would get bored and move on.

Numbers, think numbers.  While there may be a few hundred different posters that regularly post on the Ecommercebyte site, that comes no where near enough to represent a majority on Ebay.  It would be a fraction of a fraction of a fraction.  Ebay has somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 million users.

Some posters post just to stir  things up. They post just to get other posters going.  For example, August purge of sellers.  Reported here by this site as being approximately 15,000 affected sellers.  Since then posters here have changed that number [with no supporting data] to 50,000 or more.  You can't take to heart everything written here.  Some people have agendas.  It is important to them to get as many people seeing things as they do and if you don't, you are wrong.  Some employ the same tactics of Ebay to try and accomplish this, but they view it differently when it is them doing the bullying verses Ebay.

There is no venue out there that has the traffic Ebay does [other than Amazon].  While to you it may seem something easy to do, moving to another site and waiting for others to come and buy, but it isn't.  

During that transition, who is going to put the food on the table or keep the heating bills paid.  Not everyone sells for extra money.  Some sell because it is how they pay the bills.  So during the transition period, who will pay their bills?  How would you do if you had to go without a paycheck for a few months.  Chances are not well.

If you are going to leave Ebay and if Ebay is a source of income for you, then it needs to be well thought out and done over time.  And it is great advice to do this or at least to start and make yourself not so dependent on Ebay for your sole income.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 17:58:56 2013

I had no idea that this was the new rule on Ebay.
Two out of the 6 last orders I have placed on Ebay never arrived, neither had shipping numbers and so I sent an email to the sellers asking if there was a delay. No response, no reply just an instant refund in both cases. At first I just assumed that the items ended at prices lower than the seller wanted to sell for but now I'm wondering if any and every "where is my item" question just gets an automatic refund.  Makes me REALLY glad I've stopped selling on the Bay back in 08.  

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 20:53:47 2013

Ebay is a ship run by morons, staffed by morons and enhanced by morons. Enough said.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: tawhite This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 8 08:52:21 2013

@Marie said:
''But if the buyer checks off other, they can just ask you a question and no claim is opened.''

That is no longer true as far as the Shipping category.

I just had a case opened because the buyer had a question about shipping status and requested Tracking Info!

To make matters worse, even though this item was sold with Standard shipping (up to 8 days delivery), eBay gave the Delivery Estimate as within 3 days. Of course, 3 days is for Expedited shipping, not parcel select. But the info apparently threw the buyer enough to make an inquiry and this resulted in an opened case.

The package arrived a few days later (within the appriopriate time frame). But the case is still open because the buyer did not respond when I sent him a link from USPS on delivery period for standard mail.

This was an entirely manufactured crisis by ebay.

Had eBay printed the CORRECT time frame for delivery, none of this would've happened.

Now I stand to get marked off on the Shipping DSR because eBay printed the wrong information.

Also... I warn all Sellers to go over your listings with a fine tooth comb. Ebay is removing info from Item Descriptions (link to my other items), changing listing prices (this just happened to me this morning), putting in wrong delivery times, and worst of all, switching item descriptions with Bulk Relists (this just happened this morning as well).

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Nov 8 10:40:24 2013

@tawhite

My statement you quoted said if the buyer checks "other".  That is not the same if the buyer checks the "shipping" box.  However, thank you for the update on the clicking of the "shipping" option.

Try not to get upset when a claim gets opened.  The way Ebay is doing these, often times it is not the desire of the buyer but that of Ebay.  

And what I'm finding is that these claims getting opened by the buyer when it really wasn't what they intended to do, all they wanted was to ask a question, they tend to abandon the claims.  

It doesn't hurt you while it just sits there.  After 30 days, it will auto close if the buyer doesn't come back before then.  OR you can escalate the claim if you want.  If you can prove it was delivered, there shouldn't be a problem with this, but there is always a risk in escalating a claim.  Simply leaving it alone is best.  Certainly annoying to know it is sitting there, but as long as your money isn't being held, it really isn't a problem.

"Now I stand to get marked off on the Shipping DSR because eBay printed the wrong information." Not necessarily.  Keep in mind that your buyer probably just wanted to ask a question, not start a claim.  They may do nothing bad to your DSRs or FB at all.

What is "switching item descriptions with Bulk Relists"?  I don't understand.  Could you please give more information as this sounds scary.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 8 11:14:53 2013

Let me offer a little more detail regarding the Ask Seller a Question (ASQ) options in closed listings:

Following the end of the listing, the function of some of the ASQ options changes slightly, if the buyer uses any to contact the seller regarding the sale. During the auction or active listing, all choices simply selected an appropriate Subject line and passed on your message to the seller. Once it's over, some of those options will now open a dispute immediately, while others remain as simple contact methods that only send a text message. I walked through each option early last month in the course of a discussion topic in the eBay forums, and here is what I found at that time:

I picked a listing in my buying account for an item that I have already received, went to the Ask Seller a Question section, and stepped down through each topic choice in turn, to see which ones would open a dispute form of some kind, and which ones would let you just ask a question. Results:

I haven't received my item yet: Brings up instructional paragraph, where the ''contact the seller'' link leads to a dispute form for Item Not Received

Not as Described: Leads to a Returns Center form to start a procedure. (The seller I'm looking at in this example does accept returns.)

Request to Change an Order: Opens a plain message-to-seller editing window.

Combined Shipping: Opens a plain message window

Payment and Checkout: Opens a lengthy FAQ section, leading to a plain message link for contacting seller if desired.

Returns: Leads to a Returns Center form, as with Not as Described option above.

Shipping: Opens an FAQ section with tracking information and a plain message link for contacting seller if desired.

Details about item: Opens a small FAQ and a plain message link if desired.

Other: Opens a message link.

So those that open a message link to the seller should be safe to use; the others may open a dispute console where you did not intend to start one, which might alarm the seller.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sat Nov 9 01:19:06 2013

Marie,

I noticed recently that some of my items had the description section switched. I was going through and doing some bulk changes and the descriptions were switched on some of the items so I just ended them.
I do not know how they were switched since I have not been able to peg if it was a re-listing problem or using the bulk editor. I did some bulk re-lists using Auctiva and I highly doubt it was them. I have quite a number of hundred items running on eBay and I can not check all of them. I am no longer going to be using anything that has to do with a bulk since eBay now likes to have everything new and not old or stale.
It is a pain but I do not pay for any listings any way since I only list when it is free. Just got a new email tonight for 300K free auctions. I guess I am going to have over a thousand listings again.

eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro   eBay Doesn't Allow Sellers to Help Buyers with Pro

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 9 11:44:14 2013

I don't see why you cannot communicate with your buyer about the "technical support" that he supposedly needs. The buyer can contact you via messaging at any time and you can also contact your buyer. Why couldn't you simply give him "technical support" via the messaging system? Also, if you want to protect yourself as a seller, take precautions such as detailed photos of your items for sale. Once I had an antique clock movement which sold to someone from my own state who returned it for a refund because he said that it didn't work, even though I never advertised that it worked. When he returned the movement, it was exactly like the one that I had sold, but luckily I had photo'd the serial number and it didn't match the one that he returned.  There were also other small details on my movement that wouldn't have been noticed had I not taken such good photos. It proved that the person had kept my good movement and returned his broken movement, which was identical to the movement which I sent him. I scolded him and turned it over to EBay, after telling the buyer that he committed fraud and that I could contact the authorities if I wished. There are ways to protect yourself as a seller and taking detailed photos is one way.

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