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Tue Nov 11 2014 16:39:01

No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I sold a gray leather handbag to a buyer. She got it and filed a return request complaining about the color. She said it was more metallic "than she realized." When filing her return request she checked the box that says "item not as described."

I called and spoke to a customer service rep about how to handle the request so I wouldn't get a defect. She said since I have a 14-day return policy, just tell the buyer to return it and I won't get a defect. When I asked the rep for the service request number of our conversation she said she had to refresh her computer screen first so she would write up our conversation and email it to me. Of course she never did.

Last night I saw I have a defect for the transaction in my trending data. I called eBay and spoke to a rep in the defect de-scoring department. She said there is nothing she can do for me because the buyer checked "not as described" and she has no way of knowing if that is true so the defect stands. But, she said she will make sure the rep who gave me the bad advice is retrained. That makes me feel SO much better about everything.

I had always thought that buyer complaints about color - or shade of a color, don't count against a seller. Not now. Everything counts against sellers now. So despite the fact that I had six photos and an accurate description of the handbag in my listing, I get a defect because the color isn't what the buyer expected.

I've gotten to the point that I will no longer call eBay customer service for advice. When I do I spend literally hours on the phone on hold and then I am given incorrect information that ends up negatively affecting my account.

It also seems odd to me that eBay pressures sellers into having a return policy and then when we process a return we get penalized with a defect.
Thanks from,
Another disgruntled seller



Comments (37) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 11 17:36:15 2014

The ONLY reason you won't get a defect is if they "changed their mind" or "they no longer want the item"

NO MATTER WHAT.

If they submit a REQUEST instead of opening a case, it's A DEFECT. So there was no reason for them to even change the terminology.

If it makes the creeps at ebay money and takes away our discounts, they will KEEP ON DOING IT.

They have decided it's better to make money by STEALING from the seller than to actually improve the site and make it easier to sell.

And I seriously doubt the change in leadership will so any different.

GET WORKING ON YOUR EXIT PLAN.

Find another venue, and start building your own website. The peace of mind alone will be worth it.

After all, what good is 1000.00 a month (and falling every day) if you're 6 feet under?

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 11 18:07:28 2014

@frustrated / reader
they certainly are winging it with this new return policy, I had several "return requests" all were for "didn't fit" and none have shown up on my "defects"  I was told by cs, that they don't count. I don't know if they will show up, but the last one was over 2 weeks ago, so it should have shown up.
I have to add, I did not get my fvf's back, I called once, and they said it was a "glitch", but I haven't called back since I don't have 2 hours to waste.
A request I received 2 days ago was worded differently, it encourages you to communicate, and it clearly says "you don't have to accept this return"
I don't the new ceo will be any different, but I do know that they did a big turnaround on the 3 month holiday returns because nobody was signing up.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Nov 11 18:46:58 2014

An example:

I have returned an item for a color that was quite off from the photos. The photo and the item's actual color was apples and oranges.   Seller accepted 14 day returns.

I chose ''return item''.  The list of several choices included:
- No longer want....
- Does not fit or .....
- Not as described...
- Etc....
*sorry, I don't remember all the choices or exact wording of each.


To hopefully prevent defect: I chose the ''Does not fit...'' choice, then in the provided info box I explained the color issue.

Once submitted, eBay sent a message to wait for the seller to contact.
Seller did and I received an email from eBay that request was approved.
There was a link for ME to purchase a label to return item that clearly stated the cost to be deducted from MY account. Pretty easy.


The thing to bear in mind:
I KNEW to look for a return reason that did not give the seller a defect. Since color is not mentioned, I used the ''Does not fit...'' choice.  I'm sure many buyers would simply choose ''not as described'' for a color they did not expect based on the photos.  

There is also nothing to differentiate the choices (in a non-selling buyer's eyes) that indicates one choice hurts a seller and one does not.  


Given the known issues that occur with color - between the screen and reality - a lot of grief for sellers, OP included, could be avoided if the words ''color shade'' could somehow be inserted, maybe with the ''fit'' choice - where the buyer pays for return shipping.

''received wrong item'' could be still used if you order a black shirt and receive a red one.

The automated returns process still seems to be a work in progress based on other experiences reported here.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Tue Nov 11 19:13:18 2014

Color subtly  complaints can be  protected from defects. I would appeal it.  It could take you  5 calls before you have success in getting it removed, but that should be removable if your description was ok. You may want to try asking the buyer to send a good photo  that represents her complaint in color.  I supposed if it was fairly metallic and it was not noticeable from your photo, you could have a problem getting it removed. If   a rep feels that the word 'metallic' should have been in the description, then you could be out of luck.  

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 00:09:47 2014

Color should never be the cause of a defect. Sellers cannot control the color adjustment of every computer monitor on the planet and have no control regarding the actual color as it appears to the buyer.
I am still stuggling for more time to move listings over from ebay to another venue. Got to get that store closed. Ebay. Who needs the old thing anyway?  

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Nov 12 03:16:17 2014

Ebay has this returns system so complicated and dysfunctional when it just doesn't have to be like this.  I don't get why they don't get that this mess literally costs them a whole bunch of money.  If for no other reason, customer service time.  But of course there are more costs than that.

For the OP, they can't remove any defect that is sitting on a seller's account for a claim that is currently open.  Your claim will remain open until the item gets returned to you.  At that time, you will then refund and the claim will get closed.  

Now something you might try BEFORE you do the refund.  IF the buyer stated in the claim that they wanted to return the item for color, this is VERY important.  IF that was stated in the claim, CALL Ebay before issuing the refund.  Have a CSR on the phone with you.  Have them notice what the buyer has written.  Let them know you now have the item and are willing to refund, but want the claim closed as either a NO Fault or in your favor.

That will remove the defect.  But know that it can take your dashboard up to a week to catch up, so don't get upset when you don't see it fall off right away.

Part of the problem here is that Ebay continues to insist there are only two types of claims SNAD or INR.  They did update the SNAD process to add reasons for the SNAD and the buyer needs to select one.  If the buyer selects one of the first three choices, the claim is NOT counted against the seller.  But buyers are also learning that if they do that, they can't get their return shipping paid for.  So they will check one of the other boxes that does allow for the the return shipping to be prepaid for them.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 12 06:56:57 2014

"But, she said she will make sure the rep who gave me the bad advice is retrained."

Do they train any of them?  Each one you speak to gives different advice.

Keep driving your sellers away eBay. If you haven't been reading, sellers are fed up and are going elsewhere.

Only a fool drives customers away.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 12 07:03:19 2014

Marie says "Ebay has this returns system so complicated and dysfunctional when it just doesn't have to be like this."

Amen to that.  So convoluted that the CSRs can't even keep it straight, and some are giving advice that ensure that sellers receive a defect that could have been avoided.

If I return a shirt to Macy's for fit, does Macy's get a defect?  A big fat no.  Retail businesses get returns. It is part of doing business. Why are defects received for returns?  This is pure lunacy!  If anyone knows and creates an environment of lunacy, it is eBay.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Wed Nov 12 08:42:13 2014

REXFORD SAID: "Retail businesses get returns. It is part of doing business. Why are defects received for returns?  This is pure lunacy!  If anyone knows and creates an environment of lunacy, it is eBay."

Yer damn right it is LUNACY !
1. Retail Stores make enough with their over inflated price to cover returns

2. We eBay sellers give our stuff away WELL BELOW retail stores to entice the buyer to shop on eBay rather than pay high price of retail mark up !

3. So when we give stuff away we are making a very low profit margin, yet we are expected to take abuse !

This is actually fun now watching eBay die from John Donahoe's destruction, I am making my plan B and eating a big bucket of popcorn and soda relishing watching eBay implode !

They ruined my business since 2008 adding to my already fragile health issue, and now I accept eBay is over for me, and I cant wait till the day eBay is irrelevant and out of business !

There is NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING Weni or eBay can do to undue this lunacy John Donahoe has created for eBay, there is NOTHING eBay or Wenig can do to restore the trust and loyalty of seller, those bridges were burned FOREVER !

Like I said before when John Donahoe took over eBay in 2008 he said he was "ASHAMED" of it !

Devin Wenig, how can you not be ASHAMED of what your taking over ? The site is a helluva lot worse off then it ever has been in the history of it !!!!!

Your not fair to all sellers, you guys appear to use Best Match to steer buyers to the Chinese and the items you can get a bigger FVF from, sellers have to navigate a mine field booby trapped on every angle just to get through 1 sale, eBay is a DAMN JOKE !!!!!

This site CANNOT SURVIVE with this current unfairness to it's sellers, it is a decaying carcass and GOOD RIDDANCE !

Close it down Pierre ! Donhoe has finally destroyed it to the point of no return, don't embarass Mr. Wenig by letting him take over this lunacy !

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Nov 12 10:36:48 2014

With eBay soon to become a stand alone company, the company return / defect rating policies will need serious review and rewriting if eBay stands any chance of retaining their brow beaten sellers.

One has a hard time understanding how and why a company that is totally dependent on sellers to bring goods to the marketplace continues to maintain an extremely adversarial relationship with those very sellers.

The customer service agent in this case seems to have intentionally influenced seller actions with the purpose of intentionally manipulating the seller into action which resulted in a defect scored against the sellers reputation.

Additionally, the CSA blatantly lied to the OP when they stated they would have to refresh their screen  and complete their report which would be emailed to them.  The fact of the matter is that each and every call is issued a service request number when the call is initiated, the CSA's line of carp that they would have to refresh and email that information is an intentional act by the agent to prevent the seller from being able to reference the exact conversation.

All this subterfuge, obfuscation and outright lies which eBay customer service deals on a daily basis is obviously a sign of how desperately eBay needs to raise revenue using the defect policy to eliminate sellers from receiving discounts.

eBay seems to believe that sellers have no recourse with regard to the defect policy.  The problem for eBay is that sellers do in fact have a solution - abandon eBay and eliminate the relationship with an abusive trading partner who sees their sellers as nothing more than a revenue stream to be squeezed and taken advantage of at every opportunity.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 12:20:39 2014

@bassett
thanks for sharing your experience "on the other side"
I think they are evolving as they go. When I received the first couple of ones, for "did not fit" there were only a couple of options, refund and let them keep the item, or refund when returned and I pay return shipping. That seems not to be the case now, you also have the option to communicate with the buyer.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: Enough Is Enough! This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 12:38:19 2014

Wait until buyers get wind of the new ebay system which allows buyers to merely state "Not As Described" to avoid paying return shipping costs.

And how about the fact that all items under $10 are not subject to a return. Wonderful. Now they will running off their valued Chinese sellers as well as the Mom-&-Pop collectibles and used goods sellers who built their site.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Nov 12 13:13:51 2014

Sellers lose TRS 20% discount on FVF..sellers leave ebay..ebay loses 100% FVF.

For example, ebay saves $2 million but when the sellers abandon ship...ebay loses $10 million including the $2 million they thought they were saving. Oh and don't think that ebay is not losing millions upon millions of dollars with sellers leaving ebay. Does ebay think they are making the loss up with ads on sellers listings and clicks? Maybe making the loss up on the big boys stores where they ALL have their own web sites and take their ebay buyers to? As I see it dollars are flying out of ebay, not TO ebay. My prediction for 2015 is the ebay marketplace will be sold within the first 2-3 months and not mid-year.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 12 13:17:47 2014

babybit says " My prediction for 2015 is the ebay marketplace will be sold within the first 2-3 months and not mid-year."

It is the only way they can save face, if you can even call it that.  Otherwise, it is down the toilet. Things are headed in that direction anyway.

The stubborn CEO still can't admit he's wrong.  What a piece of work.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: jgagent This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 13:27:42 2014

I wish we could rate eBay like they rate us...and every time they screw up our fees would get lower....

After about a week- they would owe all the sellers money and be out of business....Talk about the pot calling the kettle black

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Nov 12 13:40:12 2014

@ I mean the ebay marketplace will be split and acquired within the first 2-3 months of 2015.

By the way, this whole return-defect thing is so ridiculous and childish for serious sellers and businesses having to endure. Along with DSRs and feedback ''opinions'' being used to inflict damage to sellers businesses. Ebay is out-of-control and the only solution at this point in time is to get rid of it any way possible - by hook or crook.

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Nov 12 14:27:59 2014

Providing a ''returns'' tab or link along with space for the seller to include THEIR policy seemed to work just fine. It did for me for the last couple years.

What would have been nice - an OPTION of printing a return label to appear in a drop down box next to each purchase that the BUYER could opt to purchase to return the item.  If there was an INAD issue with the item, the seller could opt to refund that postage to the buyer when issuing the refund.


As Rexford says, returns ARE a part of doing business. Reasons and volume of returns can vary quite widely from category to category. Accepting returns in an online selling arena, is a positive thing for a seller to do. It should not involve defects or drama.

I also believe most buyers are good people. If they knew their checkmark for a return could harm a seller's business they'd likely be upset.


Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

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

Wed Nov 12 14:30:01 2014

"All this subterfuge, obfuscation and outright lies which eBay customer service deals on a daily basis ..."

So, what's new?

When you deal with eBay you are dealing with ill-thought out policies implemented via poorly written algorithms—I doubt even that anybody at eBay know what is really going on. eBay is a "machine" being directed by a bunch of incompetent, disingenuous, criminal sociopaths that care not one iota about anyone but themselves; indeed, demonstrably, no fraud on consumers is too gross for eBay not to be involved in, and the only difference between eBay and the Mafia is that some naive eBay employees are unaware that they are working for a criminal organisation … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 14:34:45 2014

@ basset

do you have an option to close the request at any time?

Perminate Link for No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect   No Shades of Gray on eBay: Return Equals Defect

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Nov 12 17:39:12 2014

Fashionista,

On the Buyer end I am not sure if there is a way for to cancel it - everything is so new it involves a lot of hunting and looking for the right link!


On the seller end, when seller gets the returned item and refunds I think it automatically closes.  

I know recently, on a different cancellation due to damage - I received a notice from eBay worded quite differently than in the past. I don't think it mentioned cancelling the transaction at all.  I had to click on a link to verify that I had received a refund and I had to key in the date received.  I am guessing that the transaction was  then cancelled - On my PURCHASES page, near the item in question it says ''order has been cancelled''.

As a seller, it has been interesting going through the return process from the buyer's end.  Trying to avoid causing defects makes it twice as interesting. Of course, the process may be completely different the next time I have to return something.  

Oh for some stability and consistency!

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