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Sat Dec 7 2013 14:30:11

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I had an interesting conversation with eBay regarding the 14 day return policy. I had called eBay at least twice to report a member for having a contradictory return policy as well as watermarking their pictures with a web address. They had a 14-day return policy listed. However, when you looked at the return policy details, it stated:

"RETURN ACCEPTED ONLY IF ITEM IS NOT AS DESCRIBED AND IF I AM ALERTED THE SAME DAY THE GUITAR WAS DELIVERED, FAILURE TO ALERT THE DAY OF DELIVERY WILL RESULT IN REFUSAL OF RETURN! GUITAR MUST BE SHIPPED BACK WITHIN 3 DAYS!"

Beyond the obvious time limits and hoops needed to jump through to qualify the return, the biggest red flag was stating that they would only accept returns if the item was not as described.

It's just plain offensive to me that someone could have this wishy washy fake return policy that appeared to violate eBay's rules and also get a 20% discount. As it turns out, it appears to be completely within eBay's rules. And this seller will continue to get top rated status.

I have spoke to eBay 3 times about this. For what it's worth, the first agent I talked to said that this seller's return policy details WERE a violation and they would do something about it. After checking a week later and noticing the listings were still up, I called again and was told he broke no rules. A seller can basically make up rules in the return policy details including stating that they would only take a return if the item was not as described.

As that was extremely surprising, I requested an email be sent to me summarizing what we had discussed and putting this policy into writing. I then called again a few hours later to see if another rep would confirm what the earlier rep had said. He did and assured me an email would be sent. So far, a week later, and nothing has come in.

Here's a link to the listing that set me off: (redacted by EcommerceBytes editor)

All of the seller's items are set up this way. Returns accepted only if the item is not as described.

That runs completely opposite of how the 14 day return period was presented when it was basically forced on sellers. Not to mention the spirit and intent of offering a return policy.

When 14 day return periods were rolled out, I spent several hours on the phone clarifying the policy. I was basically told that we could impose restock fees and put in some language regarding shipping costs but otherwise this was a regular 14 day no questions asked return period. You couldn't limit who could return or why. I wasn't happy about it but went ahead, like many sellers, and added it to my listings with the promise of better exposure and a 20% discount.

As it turns, the eBay reps now say you can come up with your own rules. And we'll reward you for being a scum bag.

So what's the point of having a return period? If I can state that I will only take a return if I screwed up and the item is not as I stated, what's the point of buyer protection and a significantly not as described case? There's already a buyer protection program in place to take care of customers and basically offer a return avenue. Why allow sellers, like the one in my example, to basically offer a meaningless and frankly dishonest service?

It's really, really made me angry to see how I was ignored by eBay on this issue as another seller basically advertises his website in listings and offers a BS return period and gets his 20% discount.
Thanks,
S.




Comments (44) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sat Dec 7 14:52:36 2013

The seller's TOS on returns means zip...less than zip.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sat Dec 7 15:43:24 2013

And this double talk from eBay CSRs is a surprise to who?

As Orwell/eBay long ago said, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others …

The "Shiller from Chicago" and just about every other professional seller that uses nominal-start auctions on eBay have been knowingly aided and abetted by eBay to get away with massive, and usually blatantly obvious, wire fraud on consumers since the beginning of time …

Ultimately, it’s all about the amount of FVFs—that’s all that counts, folks—if you did not already know …

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sat Dec 7 15:43:59 2013

And this double talk from eBay CSRs is a surprise to who?

As Orwell/eBay long ago said, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others …

The "Shiller from Chicago" and just about every other professional seller that uses nominal-start auctions on eBay have been knowingly aided and abetted by eBay to get away with massive, and usually blatantly obvious, wire fraud on consumers since the beginning of time …

Ultimately, it’s all about the amount of FVFs—that’s all that counts, folks—if you did not already know …

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Sat Dec 7 18:55:06 2013

The statement in the listing might not be a rule violation, but if a buyer opened a case, it would be completely ignored.

The website address on the photos however, are certainly a violation that will eventually catch up with this seller.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 7 19:11:03 2013

If a buyer opened a case, this seller's return policy would be ignored. It is true though, that large numbers of high volume sellers ARE allowed to ignore many of the rules that apply to the rest of us.  

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 7 21:31:00 2013

ebay only enforces their rules when it is n THEIR benefit and if there is no rule when they need or want one, they make it up at that time.

ebay is equivalent to POND SCUM. They are as enjoyable as stepping in a pile of dog dung or changing a dirty diaper.

There is NOTHING decent, honorable or ethical about ebay.  Everything that APPEARS good is really evil once you peel back the MASK.

JD comes from a world of corporate CORRUPTION and LIES. DECEPTION is all that he knows and understands.

PR SPIN and LIES is how they play the game for public consumption.

Scammers loves ebay because ebay welcomes them and evil loves it's own.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Dec 7 22:31:10 2013

OP

If you shop much on Ebay, it would be in your best interest to update yourself on the Buyer Protection policy.  It doesn't matter what the seller puts in their listing in regards to how long you have to return an item, that is really governed by the Buyer Protection policy which is 45 days.

Sellers have for a long time been able to put whatever they want in their return instructions / explanation.  This is not new.  

I don't know why anyone would spend "several hours" on the phone with Ebay in regards to setting up a return policy.  They are really pretty straight forward and not complicated or at least they shouldn't be.

As to the TRS status and/or discount for being TRS.  There are two levels of TRS.  One with discount and one without.  Simply having a 14 day return policy does not qualify ANY seller to the TRS discount.  it is more envolved than that.  

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: Jane Dough This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 7 23:38:00 2013

"S"-If I were still bothering to sell on ebay I would want your user name so I could block you.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 7 23:57:52 2013

eBay provides you with the options of a 14 day,30 day or 60 day return time. Per eBay's Buyer Protection Policy, these are absolutely meaningless.
Typical.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 00:18:24 2013

There are some rules that eBay lets people get away with and some NOT.

If you are a manufactorer, a Platinum, or a major chain store, you get to ignore your DSRs, your feedback numbers and your position (what you need to get top of the page) in Cassini, and listing issues (picture quality, missing pictures, boarders, text etc).

Its a simply pay for play event on eBay who is the whore of the industry - you pay them - they look the other way.

Its sheer numbers - ignoring the FVFs and store dollars from THAT group is too much for eBay to ignore. They wont miss my FVFs, but they would miss TRUs.

Would you like to be the one to tell JD that theres no fuel for the Lear because RU was slapped on the wrist for "silly violations" (you know - the ones they claim are SO important?)

The rules that eBay doesnt bend are VERO (real or imagined), returns, charge backs and catalog mistakes that THEY make - that creep into your listing so you can get punnished.

eBay has alway only told me - you need to take things back in 4 days - you can impose a restocking charge (too bad on you though if you get a negative out of it or a low DSR) and that the item must be complete. But even that last one slides from time to time - people try all the time to return USED items as new just recieved.

Maybe call your store SRUS and se what happenes :) ?

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 00:19:54 2013

oops typo 14 days not 4

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Dec 8 01:01:53 2013

eBay is notorious for selective enforcement of policies regardless of the sellers status.

For the past two years, I have been watching a seller who lists their auto parts in the computer category. Their listings violate eBay's search manipulation policy as well as circumventing final value fees.

They have been reported more times than I can count. eBay CSR's feign concern, claim they will escalate, and of course, after over two years nothing has been done as the sellers listings still appear in the computer category.

Last week, I found a seller who had stolen my photos, and cut off the watermark. I reported using the report item form, waited 2 days and nothing.

I called eBay on day 4, spoke with CSR, who transferred me to Trust & Safety. T & S viewed the sellers listing and my listing from October. T & S confirmed that the photo was copied from my prior listing. They promised action.

On day 6, the listing was still running with my photo. I called customer dis-service (again), explained the issue (again), was forwarded to T & S (again), confirmed the pictures were stolen (again) and was promised (again) that that eBay would enforce their policy.

Needless to say, the listing closed on day 7 with a sale, eBay never did a damn thing despite their promises.

While I have become accustomed to and fully expect the eBay Peggy's to lie, I was rather surprised that the staff at Trust & Safety lied, not once - but twice - about taking action to enforce policies.

I guess the staff at eBay has adopted the traits of their CEO, as it seems they will lie to sellers without fear of consequences or repercussions of any kind.

The lack of seller protection/support from eBay is atrocious and it is apparent that this company is more interested in kicking sellers to the curb than they are in enforcing their own policies in support of sellers who have thus far managed to follow the rules and avoid their executioner.


eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Dec 8 03:20:27 2013

What rule have they broken?  What policy did they breach?  While I certainly don't agree with what they did, I don't see anything in the rules that prevents it.  Can anyone find something that says you can't do this?

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: alfabarn This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 04:24:11 2013

The OP is upset because items can only be returned if No As Described!!!!!!
What possible reason could you have for returning this item, other than not as described? As an Ebay seller I would like to know why you have a problem with that policy?  

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: bereal This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 04:58:02 2013

I myself don't agree,if your going to purchase a item as a guitar,you know what your buying,there should be no reason to return it unless arrives damaged & buyers should contact seller same day or next to report damage why hold on too it longer,only if buyer has other intentions,sellers get the raw deal & receive items back & cannot sell as new,because someone purchased something to use for a few days & decide they get tired of it or just want to try it out,buyer should always pay at least a 20% restocking fee,just the way I feel about it.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 06:27:31 2013

Item not as described is the only real reason for a return. Of course ebay lets customers return stuff for any reason.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 10:36:39 2013

HMMM! As a retailer I do not think I have to do what you want me to do OP. Retailers lost 112 billion dollars to fraudsters and shoplifters last year.
We all know what ebay's policy is maybe the seller is just tired of being ripped off.
However it is none of your business what this seller places in his TOS unless your a buyer.
I am assuming your a competitor, get a life and pay attention to your own.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Sun Dec 8 13:59:09 2013

@refuge camp - exactly.

Way too many busy body sellers on all sites. No one made you deputy dog for a day.

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 15:51:26 2013

Ebay is forcing rules that are illegal!!!

I sell used goods. For the type of goods I sell the legislation in my country is very clear. I don't have to accept returns although I'm a business seller.

So I do exactly the same as the OP mentions. In my retrun policy I clearly state that we give a full guarantee on all items to be working and that they can be returned if this isn't the case. But we don't just accept a normal return because a customer changed its mind.

The reason I didn't react to this to Ebay is because even before this forced 14 day return policy I've never had a return request. The first time I get one, I refuse and Ebay refunds my customer out of my pocket I'll get some governmental instances involved.

Ebay can't just shove illegal rules in our *ss (although they would very much like to).

eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules   eBay Allows Some Top Rated Sellers to Flaunt Rules

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Dec 8 16:47:36 2013

I think what the OP is stating is a bit more involved than some are noticing.

For example, I have my listings set up with a 14 day return & I go on to explain my return policy.  I don't accept returns just because a buyer changes their mind and a couple other reasons.  Pretty normal stuff and NOT against Ebay policy.  

But my take on what the OP is stating is the seller is stating they have a 14 day return policy, but in the description of the return policy they state they have a 3 DAY return policy.  So in reality they do NOT have a 14 day policy of ANY kind.  Obviously the written description is in direct contradiction each other.

To me, that is a problem and I believe the seller to be very wrong in doing this.  However I don't find a policy they have broken.  There may be one, but I just never found it.

I further don't think the OP is trying to return something just because and/or they don't appear to be a problem some buyer.  To me they seem to be an aware buyer that reads the listing, which is what most sellers want buyers to do.

Sellers complain all the time that buyers tend not to read the listing completely.  Then when one does and raises concerns some sellers here say they would block them.  So what is it that you want?  Do you want your customers to read your listings and ask questions if they have any?  Or do you prefer that a buyer just purchases and everyone can just cross their fingers and hope everything turns out the best for everyone?  Cuz you can't have it both ways.

I think the OP is just being a responsible buyer.  Didn't like something in the listing and asked questions.  I wish more buyers were as responsible.

And let us NOT forget that the OP states that the seller is watermarking pics w/ their web address.  If that address is anything other than their store @ Ebay's address, they are in direct violation of policy.  That is a huge NO NO !

In fact, just 3 days ago a new seller was booted completely for Ebay for putting a web site address in the body of their listing.

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