|Fri Aug 15 2014 09:19:50|
eBay Seller Honeville Gets Defects even with Hassle Free Returns
A few years ago you did a story about my departure from eBay. With this latest fall seller release not solving my main concerns, I thought I'd write you and bring you up to date on my business.
For nearly a year after the article I had turned my back on eBay and focused all of my attention on my website. While I never closed down my store, I never added 1 new listing to eBay, nor did any updates to any products I had on the site. I literally didn't spend one minute working eBay for nearly a year.
Then eBay announced "Hassle free returns". I loved it and thought it would be the solution to all of my problems. I opted into it on day one and remain a HUGE advocate for it. Within a couple months of HFR I turned my attention back towards eBay because I saw a marked difference in buyer behavior. Buyers were still lying to get a free shipping label, but rather than oppose that I decided to embrace it.
Last fall I began going with a "Free return model." Which means I not only accept returns but I ALWAYS pay return shipping... regardless of the reason a buyer wants to return the item.
This past spring I was very alarmed when eBay announced its defect program. Having presented my case I honestly believed eBay would do the right thing and expected to see some bigger changes in the defect program this fall. Specifically, I'm in the HFR program which means buyers don't even have to ask for a return. They don't have to beg, or anything... all they have to do is simply "DO IT".
That is just so awesome for me in terms of buyer friendliness and one of the biggest reasons I remain hyped about eBay's hassle free return program. My preferences are set for 30 day returns, as well as for "Zero restocking fee" and of course all listings are marked as "Seller pays return shipping".
My Free Return model is being embraced by others in the industry as the main solution to the whole "touch and feel" weakness in online shopping. We're moving to a place where if a buyer isn't sure if they want a design on a blue shirt or a pink shirt we're recommending they buy them BOTH and return the one they don't like. Or if they're unsure of their size buy them both, try them on at home and replace the one that doesn't fit. Our vision is to literally turn people's homes into dressing rooms and increase online shopping for clothing by overcoming the touch and feel weakness.
We viewed eBay as a huge partner in this venture because they gave us such a great tool in the HFR process for us to transform our business in this manner. When they announced defects for certain returns we were very alarmed because the buyer, while always right, isn't really always right. For instance, I recently had a buyer return an item as SNAD because it "wasn't like the Irish shirt I bought last month". I'm not even sure what that means except that it undermines my business by resulting in a defect.
eBay has given us a dispute process, but that process robs the buyer of a refund. We have zero desire, or intent, to deprive our buyers of a refund they want. In essence we have no way to protect ourselves from frivolous claims of SNAD short of disputing the actual return. We find this unacceptable.
I went to the boards to try and reason with these folks. I've asked them If we have the highest level of performance standards, such as we're opted into HFR's, we accept returns for 30 days and for any reason, we charge 0 restocking fees and we ALWAYS pay return shipping, why can't you stand behind us and protect us from description issues... or at the very least frivolous claims while letting us take care of our customer.
To protect my business on eBay, I shouldn't have to "go to the mat" with my buyer and deprive them of something I'm perfectly willing to give them. If my customer wants to return for a refund let them do so, at no cost to them, without them even having to ask me or beg me... HFR does that, and I love it for that reason.
I'm confident I can dispute several returns and "win the battle" but at what cost? Not giving my customer something I promised them... something I'm perfecting willing to give them?
Letting buyers who are getting top customer care that includes free returns run us over makes no sense to me. In a world where we can't touch or feel an item, and where we have to depend on such limited things as words and pictures instead of touching and feeling, let us overcome any misconceptions with a great return policy.
Those who have that shouldn't be ran out of business by frivolous, one sided, opinions that can't even be disputed without running over our great customers. If my customers want a refund that's what they're going to get... PERIOD. I will not dispute these wrongful claims or low DSR's in description and rob them of a refund just to protect my business on eBay.
If eBay wants to punish my business model and drive it off of its website, well... that's their stupidity and their right to do so, but for the life of me it sure looks to me like my only wise move, beyond voicing my concerns in an attempt to draw attention to this, is to diversify and protect my business model by finding safer ground to build my business.
Danny Hone, DBA HoneVille