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Wed Sept 10 2014 19:57:53

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an eBay Defect

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
eBay's reasoning behind their defect policy is supposedly that buyers who have a concern spend less on eBay in the future, regardless of whether the concern is real or the fault of the seller.  

I currently sell in the electronics category, where a lot of buyer "concerns" end up being user error, or their inability to figure out how to properly function an item. In every situation, I'm always happy to help, but often incur defects as a result of eBay's case-opening messaging system.  

I recently asked three Resolution Center representatives for advice on what to do in these types of situations, and they all mentioned that I should include direct contact information in packages so that buyers could contact me in a way that would not result in a defect. This leads to some interesting questions:

- If eBay really is focusing on buyer concerns (defects) as being a problem, wouldn't they want all concerns to be documented via eBay instead of direct, outside communication?

- If the above question is true, why would the Resolution Center reps offer ways to circumvent defects in transactions where "concerns" exist? Could it be that because they think that it's an inane and impractical policy themselves?

Food for thought.
Anonymous




Comments (30) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Sep 10 22:38:49 2014

The OP asks: " why would the Resolution Center reps offer ways to circumvent defects in transactions where "concerns" exist? Could it be that because they think that it's an inane and impractical policy themselves?"

Anyone with the exception of those individuals who collect seven digit eBay salaries knows that eBay's defect policy is inane and impractical!!

Remember, the defect policy was NOT PUT IN PLACE TO INCREASE BUYER SATISFACTION. This lame justification is trotted out with every anti seller policy eBay announces, and despite the voluminous number of these kinds of changes, sales on eBay are barely growing.

eBay implemented the defect policy because management felt there were too many sellers who qualified for and received eBay's TRS Plus 20% discount on final value fees, and the defect policy was their way of thinning the herd.

Even the non English speaking Peggy's at eBay customer service realize the defect policy abuses eBay's best performing sellers.  Based on this one CSA's recommendation, one could assume that customer service agents are battle weary from dealing with sellers constantly calling in to complain about the abuse eBay is leveling against their best performing sellers.

CSA's have no talking points to satisfy aggrieved sellers because eBay management frankly does not give a damn about "noisy" sellers, so they are 'punting' and attempting to offer advice in order to lessen their own stress.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Sep 10 22:56:17 2014

eBay management: masters of equivocation and talking out of both sides of their mouth.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 10 23:41:49 2014

I was on HOLD, again, with ebay and my dog Poppy (Teeth cleaned & HAPPY- thanks to Julie) and they were playing that da*n music and I thought, why not do WHATEVER?

What can I do? Let me walk poppy- walked poppy, came back 35 min later and STILL ON HOLD.
I can walk my little pug dog 2/3 of a mile while I am on HOLD with ebay.

What can YOU do when YOU are on hold with ebay?

As for how to provide CS witout getting a defect it does not WORK the way THEY say it does, so lets just make it a game. Digging out the details of how they SAY it will work and then having it not work at all is just too upsetting.

I also RESENT this ebay JARGON that I have been forced to become such an expert at- it is so worthless- dsr's stars, all this GARBAGE for no $$$$
Our ebay vernacular is as valuable as PIG LATIN because for all our work it brings us NOTHING- Take your JARGON back from me ebay as I cannot STAND it- you have made me the DULLEST I have EVVER been in my life- for no money!

I will not try to convince anybody anymore- if folks don't get EBAY by now there is not any hope for them.

My mind is so clusterCONFUSED by all the clutter and complications.

Some contest ideas: Wash your car, do laundry, make love to your spouse, fix the roof- no handhelds folks- you must be away from the PHONE.

I will start.

I walked my dog and came back and was still on hold- 35 minute walk. (MH) :-)

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: feline This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 01:02:21 2014

Out of both sodes of their mouth


not sure thats correct orifice

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 11 02:28:11 2014

It is surprising that they said that to the OP since Ebay goes to such lengths in discouraging us from communicating off Ebay.  However their advice is sound no matter what their motivation was.

But something VERY important to remember.  If you do this and if the time comes when you need to refund a buyer fully, make sure you also file for a cancellation.  If you do not.  If you ONLY do the full refund, you WILL get a Defect.  Any full refund without a cancellation request filed creates a defect.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 08:51:27 2014

That sounds to me like one smart representative who is thinking around eBay's barriers.... I'm pretty sure eBay doesn't want sellers circumventing their utterly repressive, inefficient 'communication system'.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 08:58:15 2014

Marie, can a seller cancel a transaction after the payment?

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: racecarguy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 10:39:28 2014

@RCL,

Yes, you can. I did just the other day.
The key here, is, as Marie has said in the past, make sure there is a cancellation email sent (through your eBay Resolution Center) and request your buyer to agree to the reason being ''Buyer changed his mind.''

You won't or, at least, I haven't, gotten a defect from that type of transaction cancellation.
Hope that helps.  

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: racecarguy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 10:40:46 2014

Of course, now that this is posted, I imagine that that loophole will close as well.

;>)

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: jdbok This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 11:08:09 2014

I spent about a week trying to contact CS over this issue
while I was trying unsuccessfully to wait beyond 40 minutes on hold many more cases opened
I believe that since Aug 20 ebay has made it even slipperier for buyers to make contact
by the time I finally reached a rep 7 cases were open 4 of which in the buyers statement mentioned not being able to contact me any other way than opening a case
2 were items not received that had been delivered with tracking and one was from one of those unavoidable angry crazies that can't be pleased which is the only one that was a legitimate dispute-- the others were just contact questions.
after an hour on the phone the rep was aghast at how many of these-- for instance the item not received which clearly showed received by USPS tracking had counted against me-- one buyers response in the dispute was " oh I found it waiting in my mail box thank you"
rep filed things and said she would get back to me within the day and see if some could be taken off my record
its day 3 no call back no surprise
the thing I need know and don't understand
what do these defects affect? if its just knocking me off TRS and taking my discount I could care less --but does it affect the search algorithm?
does anyone know?

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 11 12:04:18 2014

@RCL

Yes as Racecarguy says.  However you can use any reason EXCEPT Out of Stock or Sold to Another.  It is extremely important any time you issue a FULL refund to do the cancellation too or you WILL get a defect.

If you are doing a partial refund, you are fine.  You do not need to do any kind of cancellation and partial refunds do not create a defect.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 11 12:06:58 2014

@racecarguy

It actually isn't a loophole.  It is by design.  Not a good design, but a design nonetheless.  Ebay thinks if you are fully refunding a buyer it is because the buyer is unhappy with something.  And if a seller is willing to eat their FVFs [which is what they do if they do NOT file for a cancellation] this is further evidence that they buyer was unhappy.  Therefore do a full refund without a cancellation request, then get a defect.  A flawed way of thinking on Ebay's part, but then Ebay does a lot of that.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 11 12:20:04 2014

@jdbok

OK, you certainly have a serious problem.  Lets chat about the INRs first.

Ebay is suppose to BLOCK buyers from opening an INR when tracking shows it as received.  But the glitch as been there awhile and it is allowed.  However what you should do each and EVERY time you get one is log in the tracking to the claim and then call Ebay.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it is what you need to do.  Ask for a Claims Specialist.  Calmly and professionally explain to them that you have an INR filed but the item is received and you can prove it through online tracking.  The CSR should review the matter and are able to close the INR in your favor so that a defect is not created.  But unfortunately this is the process you need to do and as you know it does take time.

As for the SNAD claims.  On the ones that buyer buyer just wanted to ask you a question, contact them and resolve any question they have.  Once you've done that  let them know that you need the claim to close in your favor or Ebay counts it against you.  Stay professional to not whine or disrespect Ebay.  That just makes you look bad.  Just be on point.  It is their policy period.

So you just need them to log into the claim that they are happy and have no need for return or to be otherwise unhappy with you or your service.  Then let them know that they will get other emails from Ebay regarding the claim, but they are free to ignore them.  You will handle it so you can get it closed in your favor.

Then in three business days you should be able to escalate the claim.  Sometimes that darn button does not appear however.  Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not.  So wait 72 business hours and if it doesn't appear, call Ebay.  You would have needed to call them anyways.  So you call, escalate, have the CSR see the notes that your buyer is happy as a clam and close the claim either no fault or in your favor.  Either way will not create a defect.

I know what you are thinking and I completely agree.  This is a horrible way to have to do business.  What a time consuming unnecessary process.  But it is what we have to deal with if you are going to sell on Ebay.

Now there MAY be a light at the end of the tunnel.  While the INR process will remain the same, the SNAD is changing on the 15th.  Ebay is going to allow buyers to contact us before a claim is filed when they have a question about the description.  Not much else has been said, so we will have to wait and see how this plays out.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

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

Thu Sep 11 13:30:07 2014

DO NOT opt into "Hassle Free Returns". ANY TIME an inquiry is made through this system, for ANY REASON, you will eventually receive a (non-removable) order defect. And ebay knows this.....

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 11 13:38:25 2014

@enough

It is the same for everyone.  With or without HFR.  When a buyer sends or tries to send an email to a seller, there are several subjects they have to choose from when doing so.  They have to pick one.  If they pick either of the top two option, kicks the buyer to a screen where they will open a claim whether they like it or not.

In a couple of days Ebay says they are going to allow buyers to contact us before opening a claim, but we will just have to wait and see how that really is going to work as Ebay has not offered any details about how this is going to work.

Now in the coming months Ebay has announced they are going to force everyone to be part of HFRs.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 13:51:48 2014

Not going to be forcing THIS non TRS gurl to do HASSLE FREE RETURNS.

Nope.

Bad enough the abuse we go thru NOW with people trying to return UNDERWEAR and other items--often worn used reeking of perfume or worse smoke stained broken---need I go on?

Nope.  

I WAS a TRS and REFUSED to drink the Returns KoolAid.  And--20% of NOTHING is still--NOTHING.  

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 13:55:31 2014

In the unlikely event that I should actually HAVE a sale from ebay---I am going to include an even BIGGER contact note--as of now on one item I sell I include my business card which has so far--on a few hundred same-item sales--had not ONE contact and in fact---has NOT helped any of the buyers to actually contact ME if they thought they had any issue whatsoever.  Not even to get another of the SAME item!

How BIG and how BRIGHT do you think I need to go here?  Poster board in neon? They won't or can't READ the listing--what makes us think they will or can read a NOTE?

Sheeeesh

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: shabbychick

Thu Sep 11 18:11:15 2014

I sell vintage postcard prints and I send them 1st class to save my buyers on shipping. 1st class does not get scanned. Will I get a defect since these items are not scanned? I think I remember Marie saying that scanning times only effect TRS, not defects but nothing would surprise me.  

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

by: slocode This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 11 18:39:22 2014

I would like to offer my thoughts on two areas of interest that both relate to this discussion. The first relates to the title of this letter.

I have placed into my auction templates a hyper-link which opens the eBay message screen that would be opened by going to a sellers profile and clicking the ''contact member'' link.

I have labeled this link, ''Click Here To Ask Me A Question About This Item''. It opens a blank message screen, addressed to my eBay messages.

This link is located within my listing description and is the very first available point of contact between me and a potential buyer.

I believe that it has helped my stay in touch with my buyers, within eBay's message system, without accidentally leading a buyer into inadvertently opening a case that would cause me a defect.

This is a common occurrence when the ''Ask a question'' link located at the bottom of every listing is engaged and a number of ''case opening'' options are provided by eBay.

My second thought regards eBay's Detailed Seller Rating system,

As a seller, I understand and agree with the standards being measured and recorded in eBay's DSR (detailed seller rating) system. I believe that the DSR system is a very valuable tool that potential buyers can use to make purchasing decisions from a specific seller.

The fundamental point of contention, I assert, is eBay's use of this system to penalize sellers in an area that should be between the buyer and the seller alone. If a seller's DSRs fall too an unacceptable level for buyers and those buyers stop buying from sellers with low DSRs, as I do, the penalty will have been appropriately handed down by wary buyers. The penalty for low DSRs is a loss of sales and income. That is the only penalty that is needed to motivate sellers to improve their business practices.

DSRs are a valuable system that eBay need not meddle in.

How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an   How to Provide Customer Support without Getting an

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 11 20:37:20 2014

@shabbychick

Tracking and verification has NOTHING to do with defects.  While you will never be TRS Plus it has no negative affect on your account.

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