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Wed Nov 12 2014 16:50:46

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volume Seller

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
We're a high volume, top rated powerseller on eBay, 500-1000 transactions per month.

I wanted to update you on something in the hope it gets some coverage. eBay's rolled out their new "cancel transaction" workflow. On the surface, it's a great, streamlined process, but there's a HUGE issue underneath it.

Most of our items have free shipping, and we're opted into eBay's managed returns process because, in reality, it's a huge timesaver. We have a 10% restocking fee on returns, mostly to recoup the cost of free shipping in the event of a return.

Under eBay's new cancellation process, if the buyer doesn't go through eBay's managed returns, there's no way to issue a buyer a refund and keep the 10% restocking fee - you either give them a full refund, including shipping, or you lose your FVF to eBay.

We have a dedicated account manager and access to merchant support - merchant support's official word is that they'll make exceptions on a case by case basis, but officially, there's no eligibility for a FVF without a full refund.

This is a huge headache for us, and we have a dedicated team that responds to email over on the eBay side. I can't imagine someone that has to go through a phone call every time to get an FVF - it would literally be hours out of their day to try and convince someone that they should get the credit, even though the transaction hasn't been completed.

Of course, we frequently have situations where a buyer can't be sent through the managed returns process. This is usually due to a "customer service" situation where we are trying to provide a positive customer experience - extend our return policy past the stated 14 days, etc. Other times, a buyer can't figure out how to use the managed return process, so to streamline it for them, we would issue them a manual refund minus our 10% restocking fee, then send the buyer a cancellation notice to recoup our FVF.

None of this works now. The implications are ridiculous - if we want to provide a high quality of customer service, we eat additional FVF fees, or eat the shipping/restocking fees.

In the runup to Christmas, which is where we frequently make the most "outside-our-return-policy" exceptions, it looks like we'll be losing the FVF (or our restocking fee/original shipping charges) for every single item that we can't send through the managed returns process.

Hope you can provide some coverage on this, it'd be great to get some community support to hopefully effect a change. If you do, I'd like to remain anonymous.
Thanks,
B.




Comments (33) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: Stanislav This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 17:43:07 2014

No offense but I don't consider 500-1000 transactions a month, high volume. I am doing around 2500 transactions myself and I don't consider myself high volume seller either. I would say anything above 10k transactions and up could be considered as high volume.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Nov 12 19:15:39 2014

Have you tried:

To issue your 90% refund through PayPal,

Then go to the ''Sold'' items screen to find the item

Wait until the Dollar Sign icon changes to reflect the refund (in my case it took about 10 minutes)

At the Drop-Down on the right, choose cancel transaction (for me, this choice did not appear until the icon changed)

Choose ''buyer returning for refund''  


I recently did this on a full-refund (I no longer do a re-stocking fee) and it worked like it did before the recent changes. Not sure it will work with a partial. If you try it, let us know.  

I was glad to find that method. For some sellers, the first time they see the new screen with the 2 (sometimes 3) choices is AFTER they have just refunded the buyer through PayPal.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 12 23:44:40 2014

@bassett
i had one of those and that option does not appear for me. the icon is showing refund
They're keeping fvf.  I even had a mutual, 100% refund, I haven't been able to get my fvf, buyer said she agreed twice.
this is how they are going to boost the bottom line

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Nov 13 00:38:11 2014

This is ebay's final money grab before the parting of the ways so to speak. Regardless of the sellers status, large or small, any monies due to sellers will become a hard or harder fight to the end. The end being ebay sold off maybe to the lowest dollar since ebay will be stripped of all assets including Paypal.

OP needs to decide what is more important these final months - your time or expected loss. Sorry to be such a downer but ebay has battered my business enough and have the bruises to prove it. Ebay is becoming less and less relevant to me. It is a has been. Even Google doesn't show ebay as relevant. Without knowing what you sell, your best bet would be to create your own website. All I am saying is to not count on ebay, since most sellers have already or will be disappointed.  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 13 03:26:24 2014

You aren't allowed to charge the restocking fee on any claim that is a SNAD.  If it were Buyer's remorse you could get the restocking fee, but not when the claim is considered a SNAD.

As for the FVF, file for a cancellation of the transaction.  Go through your sold items from your My Ebay page.  It does make a difference on the options that appear.  It is different than the resolution center unless Ebay has corrected that in the last few days.

Ebay has, to my knowledge, ever given a FVF refund automatically when a seller does not fully refund a buyer.  And Ebay has no method for a seller to file for a partial refund when they partially refund a buyer.

However, what I do when I refund less shipping is I file a cancellation and I've always gotten my fees back.  Now this may become a bit more complicated with the ever changing cancellation process.  But for now, you can still file from the May Ebay page like we could before they started changing things.  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Nov 13 08:54:01 2014

Maybe... Raise the restocking fee to 15% and don't worry about getting refunded on the FVF's?

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 09:01:01 2014

No cancellation on partial refund.

Never has been.

If you keep the shipping (original shipping) because it was "buyer's remorse" you get to pay a final value fee.

DON'T ASK THEM TO FIX IT.

Whatever 9 year old they give the job to will break the ENTIRE SITE.

Thank you.  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: Soggy Dollar This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 09:34:26 2014

Ebay is scraping the bottom of the barrel to increase revenue.  It is ALWAYS at the seller's expense.  Truth is, giving up the FVF is less costly than the time it takes to try to circumvent this crazy new return/resolution system.  Ebay,s attitude is ''too bad... if you don't like it, you can leave''.  A Customer Service Rep in the appeal dept used that exact phrase.  And that, my friends, is exactly what I am in the process of doing.  Another TRS bit the dust.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: DVDsandMore This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 10:36:35 2014

eBay can't survive as a site catering to consumers who want a Nordstrom's level of customer service with bankruptcy sale pricing.  eBay policies want both, and as long as sellers try to keep these buyers on the site, we will all lose.  

eBay's rules and policies now discourage good customer service, and encourage enraging a mildly unhappy customer so much that the customer violates policy, such as threatening negative feedback, so you can have the defect removed.  The once a defect always a defect policy removes any reason to fix an issue.  

eBay wants to find things that keep customers from coming back, but the methods they chose make us, as sellers, better off now if those customers never come back, encouraging us to drive them away for good.  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 11:28:08 2014

Desperation smells like---what??

The San Jose Stink?  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Nov 13 11:29:18 2014

@OP - Since you are a high volume seller, I have to ask: What are you still doing selling on eBay? Why do you continue to give them FVFs each month, which must be substantial, when you can be using that money to create your own web site? In reading your letter I can tell you are an intelligent person, so you need to use your brain and move on from the place where you're been abused and stolen from.  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 13 12:06:29 2014

@frustrated

That may be true with the new and improved cancellation system, but in the old one, I could and have filed for cancellations on transactions that I refunded everything except shipping.  And I got my FVF back on every single one.  

I was also truthful when filing for the cancellations as I always put in the comment field about the refund less shipping.

Which may be why Ebay decided they needed to change the system.  They may have realized that some sellers had figured this out and were actually getting FVFs back.  

I never felt bad at all for getting my entire FVFs back as I've never thought Ebay had any right to collect FVFs on S&H in the first place.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 12:22:54 2014

@Marie
As you know I have posted these last few weeks about the broken returns, well, last night I got a "normal" cs rep
First, I've had 5 requests this past month, more than the whole year, 4 of the 5 were wrong size, one accused me of selling a fake.
Ok, the "fake" after going back and forth with the buyer and proving to her it was not a fake, I agreed to a small credit (as the returned item used would have been basically worthless to me) I don't like doing this, but it was what I had to do. NO DEFECT. 2 of the others returned the item, I refunded less my original shipping, I did not get an automatic fvf, the cs rep last night credited both. One never returned the item, nothing happened, one wanted an exchange, that was a nightmare! Really complicated, when it should have been the easiest. I did not receive a defect for any transaction.
The cs rep admitted to many problems with the new system, and agreed with op, that this new "return request" overlaps the "managed returns" which it shouldn't. They've also made "mutual" cancellations a nightmare, buyer has to agree twice. He said they are working on changes.
Bottom line, it's a very poorly thought out policy, released at the worse time of the year.  He hinted they are "working" on it.
Who knows.
There is no clear cut pattern on "defects"  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 13 12:40:00 2014

@fashionista

As I said above, Ebay has never given sellers auto FVF refunds on partial refunds to a buyer.  That is when you have to file for the cancellation.

The OP had some problems that so many sellers are running into.  However I think some of this has happened to them for a long time, they just recently realized it.  More specifically the lack of getting their restocking fee.  That has been part of the policy for as long as I remember.  On a SNAD claim that is for description problems or some other reason other than Buyer's remorse, Ebay doesn't allow the seller to get the restocking fee.  The only time it applies is on buyer remorse claims.

And I completely agree with you.  This system is in flux and changing faster than we can keep up with.  

Mutual cancellations really aren't mutual in some cases anymore.  Sometimes when you go to file one and issue a refund at that time, the cancellation does not have to be agreed upon by the buyer.  It closes right away.  Now for me, it is unclear as to exactly the perimeters when this happens.  But that goes back to what you said.  They are still changing how this function works and it is all messed up.

I don't know if the same is true about the claims process.  If they are working on it and changing it without announcements like they are with the cancellation process.  

To me it seems that we are at the mercy of the luck of the draw on what CSR you get when you call in.  Some know what they are doing and how to work WITH the system to help the seller.  Others could care less and just spout off whatever they want to without regard to the well being of the Ebay member.  

By the way, I am VERY happy to hear you got to a GOOD CSR and were able to get your issues resolved as they SHOULD HAVE BEEN resolved.  That offers a ray of hope to those that are battling things as you have.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 12:45:58 2014

Honestly I still cannot fathom why EBay continues to ignore their ridiculous customer service problem.  If I were an EBay exec I would commence a huge crack down on customer service (except for that I would have done that many years ago). That change alone would immensely help EBay's reputation and seller satisfaction levels.  Seriously, the way that the EBay customer service reps talk to and treat sellers is grounds for being fired in almost every business or company around the world.  I have never in my entire life encountered such ineptness, rudeness, and outright abuse as I have from EBay customer service.  I have for 5 years continuously read believable and unsurprising horror stories about the way that EBay customer service treats sellers, and the way that they are allowed to speak to sellers is appalling.

Soggydollar, here's two that I heard from an EBay customer service supervisor: "it's Business 101 that you should expect to have loss due to theft", and "Walmart would gladly give a refund for any returns."  ;)

Why is it that most of the problems at EBay  are as obvious as the nose on your face to the average lay person, yet Execs who are supposedly educated cannot see them?  I'm shocked that in an era where good customer service has been the main focus for most successful businesses that EBay continues to fail miserably.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 13:15:18 2014

I just want to add this about EBay's terrible customer service and EBay's upper level management's ignorance of the depth of the problem.  Being a Top Rated Seller with 100% positive feedback for 5 years, every time that I have had a problem with an obviously dishonest and bad buyer, always with clear evidence that is apparent on EBay's own site to prove my case, EBay's customer service  department drove me to the point of tears, and to the point of completely removing my entire store from their site.  Twice I went through two weeks of tears, mistreatment, and actual abuse from EBay's customer service (including supervisors) and I was ready to leave them for good, when suddenly walla, while making a last-ditch effort to give them the opportunity to do the right thing, after two weeks of calling and calling only to get told to shut up and take it in the shorts, I got a level headed, English speaking, seemingly normal customer service rep who instantly fixed the problem, leaving me dumbfounded.  

I would not be one bit surprised to find out that the actual statistics regarding the number of very good sellers who have been permanently driven away from EBay simply because of how poorly customer service handled their problem(s) is extremely high.  I am guessing that it would be shocking the number of sellers who have left EBay simply because of the errors of customer service.  Any half-awake business person would see that as a huge problem and fix it yet EBay has never ever changed their customer service policies or procedures.  To this day EBay's customer service is so far below acceptable that I cringe at the thought of ever having to call them, and that is nothing short of insane business practice.  Not only that but the mere fact that EBay continues to ignore their extremely poor customer service problems and clearly refuses to address the customer service problem makes me realize what a bad company EBay is.  That fact alone gives me a very bad impression of EBay.  What type of successful business would allow this to continue for so long?  None that I know of, except for EBay, and from what I see they are no longer considered "successful".  Personally I think that EBays number one problem is their Customer Service, who are lacking knowledge, who are clearly mismanaged, and who are extremely inept.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Nov 13 14:53:54 2014

Tornad0sRul, I wish someone within eBay's organization who gives a flying fig would read you post. Well said.  Horrible customer service.

Many of these good sellers whom they have run off were also buyers.  Would we guess the number to be in the 100s of thousands, or even higher?

Based on what I read here everyday the trend continues.

I don't think that I have witnessed such management arrogance and malfeasance since Enron collapsed.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 15:34:02 2014

Yes you are right Rexford, most if not all of the sellers who left EBay were also buyers.  But EBay has proven to me that there is no one there that "gives a flying fig" because I have seen the constant complaints online about their customer service and their customer service has actually gotten worse, not better, which clearly indicates that no one there cares. EBay is scrambling to save their company while overlooking the biggest problem(s).  It makes no sense.  EBay will implode because of their bad customer service policies and procedures.

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 15:38:11 2014

@marie
I had a mutual, wen't through resolution center, fully refunded the buyer, buyer replied to mutual, left glowing fb, case still open, no fvf, i called, what happened, they said buyer has to agree they received refund. I said they already replied, she said, she replied to the mutual, not that she had received the refund. I said, you can clearly see she's been fully refunded, you can see it here, balance due 0.  There was no timeline, "if buyer doesn't respond by xxx you can close the case" it just remains open until I guess it times out with whatever result.  This shouldn't happen, fees should be credited right away, ebay has no right to keep them.
On the return, the cs rep had to escalate the case, and when he sees the item has been delivered, he will close it. Now, this is idiotic, since the rep has to personally keep track of it. It's a waste of time. Exchanges are a normal way of life, why make it so difficult? It's a waste of our time and cs.
I've always gotten fvf credited pretty easily, now if you don't call you don't get them!
I must say, the agent I got was amazing, I haven't been able to say that in years!  

eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum   eBay's New System Results in Losses for High Volum

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 15:46:11 2014

I'd just like to mention, I've never had a foreign cs rep, I don't know why, but they're all very fluent in English. The lack of service and ignorance I don't think has anything to do with overseas cs.

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