My company sells computer parts. Even with clear advertising, confusion occurs and customers may buy the wrong part in error. When they do, we take care of it. That in part explains our 99.9% feedback rating.
However we are coming close to the 2% defect threshold of eBay's new defect policy and are in jeopardy of losing our Top Rated Seller status. Though we do make mistakes, most of our defect scores are due to buyer error.
Recently I reached out to eBay to get a case de-scored that was buyer error. Here is my experience with five different eBay reps.
Quick case background - buyer bought a part that was advertised as working with a specific device he did not own. He opened a return, citing the product as defective. After communicating with him he realized his error and simply wanted to exchange for the correct part. We did the exchange and even covered new shipping for him.
Ebay rep #1: said de-scoring the defect was no problem at all, but explained his computer had frozen but he had a record of everything and would remove the defect shortly. We should see our defect count change in a few days. One week passed, score unchanged.
Ebay rep #2: reported seeing no details in their system about my previous call/case number. They could get the defect removed only if I could prove that the buyer had stated they were in error. My emails were not proof enough, only correspondence through the eBay Message Center counted. I was told to get the buyer to confirm via Message Center it was his error and they would de-score it.
Ebay rep #3: Not wanting to get the buyer involved, I called back to eBay for clear-cut guidelines about when reps can remove defects. I was told it depended on the case and when given the details of this case again, she backed eBay rep #2's explanation.
I decided despite the lack of professionalism in asking a buyer to restate what they already said, I did want this de-scored, so I sent him a message through eBay summarizing the initial reason for his return and explaining the issue. He kindly replied "Yes it was my error and I am so sorry about it. I hope this helps you out with eBay."
Ebay rep #4: After recounting all the details, I was told this could be de-scored but only if I reported the buyer to eBay on eBay.com, it could not be done over the phone. I hung up and tried to do this. In the report-buyer wizard when I tried to view transactions over 30 days I received the same error throughout the day.
Ebay rep #5: I recounted the whole story, including that the buyer did clarify by eBay Message Center and the online reporting tool was not working. She put me on hold to review, and then told me the buyer did not specifically state that the return was due to their error, they just made a general statement that "it" was their error, and they did not detail what "it" was. I pointed out they replied to my message where I outlined the whole issue, so obviously that was to what the buyer was referring. The rep said the buyer would need to state outright in complete sentences what the error was. She became more ambiguous by telling me that once that was done I could call back and they could consider de-scoring it after further review but they still probably could not, since the fact the buyer had opened a return - regardless of reason - indicated something went wrong with the transaction.
I dropped the matter here, not wishing to involve the buyer. eBay does not have a clear policy for their representatives about descoring defects, and it is clear eBay does not follow the same positive customer service guidelines they expect sellers to follow.
We continue to sell there because of buyer demand, but will need to re-evaluate based on how losing Top Rated Seller status impacts our volume.
Ebay volume seller
50K+ feedback since 2001