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Tue Mar 18 2014 08:17:12

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I'm writing in regards to the latest change by eBay on seller listings. Sellers are required to select a returns policy on all listings, and one of the options in the listing process is "no returns". That is still the case as of this morning, when I listed new items to the website.

In the past, sellers who selected "no returns" had a statement on their listings, in the "Returns" section of the standard eBay listing, that stated "Seller does not accept returns. Your purchase may be covered by the eBay Buyer Protection Plan" or similar. I cannot find the actual wording as eBay has changed it on all prior closed sales, as far back as December 2013 (farthest back I could find one of my sold listings).

At some point last week, eBay changed the wording in the Returns section of the listing to "Seller did not specify a returns policy. You are covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee if you received an item that is not as described in the listing." This is wrong on so many levels.

First, eBay did not notify sellers of the changes. We found out by accident and/or postings in groups and on the eBay forums. This is a significant change that will have a major effect on many sellers. It's arrogant and condescending at the least of eBay to do this without notification to sellers. It is direct interference in our ability to do business on eBay.

Second, eBay changed closed listings, both sold and unsold, to the new wording, meaning that the policy was changed AFTER the sale was completed, and the new wording was not the wording/policy under which the buyer originally purchased the item. I found this change on closed, sold listings as far back as December 2013. This was not my returns policy at the time of sale, and for eBay to change something after the fact borders on fraud.

Third, the sale transaction is between two parties - the seller and the buyer. Last I looked, eBay was still just the transaction venue (as they are soooooooo fond of saying). The agreement to buy is between the seller and buyer, not between seller/eBay, buyer/eBay, or seller/buyer/eBay. Buyer and seller, period.

Fourth, the wording currently presented to the buyer simply states "if you received an item that is not as described in the listing", but by prefacing it with "seller did not specify a returns policy", it misleads buyers into thinking that the seller provides returns for any and all reasons.

Fifth, the seller IS selecting a return policy during the listing process from eBay's stock selection of policies (return or no return) and is listing their item with the understanding that their return policy (no returns) will be clearly displayed to buyers. There are only two options to select in the listing process; neither informs the seller that their listing will in fact state "seller did not specify a return policy". By providing the seller with an option to select "no returns", then not showing that policy of "no returns" to buyers, could possibly be construed as bait & switch.

Sixth, this may be illegal under California law. CA consumer law states that a retailer may have any return policy they wish, INCLUDING NO RETURNS, but that it must be clearly displayed to the buyer prior to the purchase conclusion (ie., signage in the store). The "policy" that eBay is currently presenting for No Returns sellers does not clearly state the sellers return policy. Again, eBay is just a venue, and the current wording presents the Venue's protection policy, not the SELLERS return policy. The buyer is not buying from eBay, the buyer is buying ON eBay from independent sellers.

I urge all sellers on eBay affected by this wording to file complaints against eBay with the FTC and the California Attorney General's office.
Thank you,
Val




Comments (48) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 10:33:00 2014

Good letter--the old "venue" does seem to be overreaching more and more into the seller's realm of responsibility. I need to go check my listings!

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 10:39:15 2014

Good grief I've seen the verbose text eBay has substituted. Leave it to eBay to make MY listings even MORE ambiguous & confusing for my customers. I'm calling to complain, for all the good it will do.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 10:59:53 2014

I cslled eBay. the reps know absolutely nothing about this significant change. WHY would eBay convert a clear concise statement of return policy to a wordy ambiguous one? Where are they heading NOW. I'm really upset because eBay MADE me choose and state my return policy. Every listing specifies my return policy. Jackasses.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: OnceuponaTime This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 11:11:47 2014

Forward the article to Icahn Enterprises. I'm willing to bet something gets mentioned about it.  Mr. Icahn, and eBay are currently butting heads.  

There's an old expression jd....When you screw with the bull, you get the horns.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 12:15:01 2014

Ummmm its sorta simple:

1) theres NO SUCH THING as "No Returns" on eBay. Is it misleading - yes, is it wrong to change the wording on it "midstream" - yes ... BUT

In eBayland, "no returns" means the customer, when theres an issue does not require the item be returned. PERIOD. Its been this way for YEARS.

You could burn up all the NSA data storage in Utah discussing the merits of this policy and why or how it works - but if you sell on eBay and its SNAD or defective with in at LEAST 14 days - you "take returns".

Putting NO RETURNS means your buyer can and will say ANYTHING and get to keep your item. Putting 14 days, buyer pays shipping back = you get it back, AND you can argue with eBay about it not comming back as you sent it.

2) Despite CA's law(s) and other states laws on these topics (and others like money holds and other illegal eBay activities) the TOS/UA you agree to when you sign in - signing in on your account is in legal speak an agreement by you that you agree to eBays TOS/UA. Its called a "shrinkwarp license". Its standard industry practice.(doesnt mean its legal though). In the TOS/UA are all kinds of nasty things, giving eBay the right to do as they please - and they can 'cause "you agree". Thats the last line in the TOS/UA "signing in and continuing to use eBay or its software or platform means you agree to these terms"

Can you fight it in court? probably. eBay knows you wont. eBay has more money then you (or me). The TOS/UA ALSO says you agree to their venue and their judges/arbitrators .. ie its a rigged card game. Good luck in front of a judge that JD paid for lock stock n barrel. JD is dumb not stupid - any arbitrator will be bought and paid for before you even start.

The real issue - and Im expanding your topic ISNT eBay listening to your listing information on returns - its what the policy REALLY is.

On eBay its 45 days, regardless of the 7, 14, 21, 30 or what ever anyone puts in the box. WORSE, it can shift to Paypal at any time - and that return policy can be up to 60, sometimes 90 days. And if you fight them - you will loose the item and the funds (since they are holding them once a case is open)(thats why Im all for seperating Paypal from eBay - they will have no more control over Paypal and its money grubbing/grabbing ways hopefully).

If all that doesnt work, Paypal WILL instruct the customer to open a chargeback against you - Ive seen it and had it done to me. It took a threat of a lawyers letter to get it resolved (delivered means delivered, white = white and new sealed means NEW and SEALED)(Stupid eBay/Paypal people).

Its a minefield set up by eBay to keep "their customers" happy (THEIR customers not yours).

eBay is hemmoraging buyers ATM - they will do ANYTHING to mollify them - your money and item(s) are of no consiquence to them ... "loosing money is part of business" (JD just lost %53!)

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 13:21:54 2014

Ebay is so concerned about buyers ''leaving ebay'' they will do virtually anything to avoid that.  Even forcing sellers to lose money for the benefit of ebay's precious buyers!  

Look, face it. Buying on ebay isn't for everyone, and it's certainly not good for selling certain items or for customers who have certain expectations, like customers who just *have to have that item today*.  No delay is acceptable.  

As I said to one guy a week or two ago, ''why in the world would you buy online if you have to have that item the same day?  You should have gone out and bought it locally.''  

Well, because it cost $600 locally and he can get it on ebay for $60.  That's the reason why.  That's also a fine reason for a seller not allowing returns.  The money you are saving, you should rightly give up certain things, easy returns, instant gratification, etc.  In exchange for the very low price.  

Something ebay is forgetting.  

Going forward ebay is going to be a place you can sell things at retail, and slowly.  Slow sales.  High prices. No good deals.  

That's what they are heading for.  

The question is, will ebay be relevant going forward?  Maybe not.  

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

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

Tue Mar 18 13:29:38 2014

I don't get many returns but when I accept them, I get the items back.  My buyers have yet to get to keep an item along with getting a refund from ME.

Many times, Ebay will find no one at fault and eat the transaction themselves. They have refunded the buyer and let me keep my funds as well. This has happened several times.

The majority of the time, the invalidating the return policy of the seller IS for an Item not as described.  Ebay is the mediator and yes, usually takes the buyer's side.  What doesn't makes sense to me is WHY they chose to do this.  Who is USUALLY going to make more money for them over the long run, a seller that sells 300 items a month or a buyer with 2 feedback entries?  The majority of my return requests and overall problems come from very new ebayers.  They really need to put as much effort in getting rid of BAD buyers as they do bad sellers.  I think that would make things more better for everyone.

Describe your items right,and you shouldn't have problems with returns, unless of course your area of sales deals with a high percentage returns.  But at that point, that's just the nature of what you're selling.  And on Ebay,that won't bode well for pleading your case in not wanting to accept a return.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Mar 18 13:59:45 2014

eBain is going to shame, goad, bully, sellers into accepting a lengthy return period with free return shipping if they bust a gut doing so.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 14:02:37 2014

RCL:    You took the words right out of my mouth.....jackasses!!!!  

I just looked at a dress I have listed and it states "seller did not specify a return policy".   Sooo, I clicked on "revise item", and it CLEARLY states "returns not accepted".    WTF is their problem?????

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 14:07:39 2014

Looks like I have to revise every freakin listing I have and manually type in RETURNS NOT ACCEPTED!!!!

Seriously considering pulling all my auctions and giving the stuff to Goodwill.

Thanx for screwin with us again "feeBay"!!!!!!

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 14:09:54 2014

PUCK:   I  need your help on posting "ebay seller bemoans....:

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 14:10:07 2014

Many of you are missing the most important point.  By changing the return policy wording on ended, sold items, eBay has changed the contract between buyer and seller.  Further, regardless of whether or not a seller can be no returns on eBay, eBay is completely misrepresenting the sellers policies to the buyer.  The contract is between BUYER AND SELLER.  

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 14:11:57 2014

Oh, and to pace306, I'm a no returns seller and I HAVE won cases and not had to refund the buyer.  OTOH, buyers who email with a request (NOT a demand) generally do get a refund from me upon receipt of item. So your logic is flawed and in parts, wrong.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 14:16:26 2014

It is pretty easy to use their edit tool to add text to all your listings. Once I had to warn all viewers that eBay's delivery times were unreliable and it worked but places it AFTER the description.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 15:22:06 2014

Editing every one of listings to include "no returns".

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 16:01:17 2014

You cannot make changes in the past, unless you have a wayback machine.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 18 18:20:18 2014

VAL :) you've been LUCKY my friend ..... your cases are the exception and not the rule.

WHat NO RETURNS means isnt "what I think" its what eBays policy is ...

Im glad you won your cases!

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: justsaying This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 19 06:27:18 2014

I just looked at my new listings from yesterday, and they are also stating that "seller hasn't specified a return policy", so I went in to revise the listing, and down in Return Policy section, it has my proper return policy as "No Returns".  This is a BIG contradictory on eBay's part, and flat out fraudulent misrepresentation and deception.  There's no way to change it--it's in their coding and it's applied to listings across the board.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

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

Wed Mar 19 06:50:12 2014

justsaying said: "This is a BIG contradictory on eBay's part, and flat out fraudulent misrepresentation and deception."

eBay is probably laughing at what us "NOISE" think ! They got their team of 100 or whatever it is Super Lawyers who know how to word everything legally to control us small and medium sellers like a puppet on a string !

I like how the new code says seller did not specify a return policy - Yes I did eBay ! NO RETURNS ACCEPTED ! Yet because we did not specify the Policy you want us to 14 to 30 to even 90 soon you chose to make a buyer think they can cry item not as described on an accurate described item because we they think we did not specify a return policy.

Free Agency, choice whatever you want to call it sellers do not have, John Donahoe has taken that away from us to run our own business, and it is just morally not right.

eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy   eBay Overrides Seller's Return Policy

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 19 09:55:37 2014

Did you all call eBay and register a complaint? You SHOULD!!

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