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Wed Feb 18 2015 19:34:52

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-scoring Defects

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
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.
Jason
Ebay volume seller 
50K+ feedback since 2001




Comments (35) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

This user has validated their user name. by: MeTech

Wed Feb 18 19:57:19 2015

Unfortunately this is what JD wanted all along.  
He has created a system which sets the sellers
up for failure.

I also sell computer parts and know exactly what
you're saying.  I have given up on calling to have
things fixed since it is just a waste of time.  You
can keep calling and will continue to get the run
around. Before you know it the defect is so old that
it's ready to drop off and they haven't done a thing
to fix it.

This will continue to get worse for sellers and those
not looking for alternatives will get caught with their
trousers down.

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Feb 18 20:38:09 2015

With policies and systems like this.... with customer service agents who are better trained at obfuscating issues instead of satisfactorily resolving them... with a company that is desperate for revenue and views the TRS discount as money they need to retain....and with all the allegedly educated MBA's pulling down million dollar paychecks despite being incapable of understanding what is wrong with this picture, eBay wonders why it can not grow sales.

When sellers have to swim against the tsunami that is eBay's morass of policies, it is little wonder that sellers throw up their hands and simply stop selling on eBay.

Until eBay learns how to prove they truly value their fee paying sellers, the abandonment of the eBay marketplace will continue and sales will wither and die.


Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Feb 18 20:47:05 2015

First, you actually may find that the loss of the TRS ribbon actually increases your sales, so try not to get too concerned over some significant sales loss.

The loss of the discount with the amount of sales you have could hurt.  But it should be a temporary problem.  I am assuming you are eval'd on the previous 90 day period since you do a lot of transactions.

Run sales if you can, run some lower $$ items that sell well.  Stuff like that to increase your transactions so they dilute your numbers.

Run your defect report and see if there are any others you can go after and descore if you can.

Your CSR # 2 seems to be the closest to accurate.  It is never in the best interest of a seller to communicate regarding problems off Ebay.  Those can come back to bite you has you found out.

That last CSR was just being bull headed.  I've certainly had my share of those.  This back and forth along with multiple calls to get stuff resolved is beyond ridiculous yet Ebay continues to let it happen.  So much time and money is wasted on both sides and it has always made be scratch my head as to why they allow it.

I don't believe this is what JD wants or wanted.  While I'm certainly not particularly fond of his management style, this type of issue defies logic.  It doesn't serve Ebay to do this.  It doesn't increase their income or bottom line.  It does decrease their bottom line by increasing costs.  Which is why it makes no sense that they don't do anything to improve customer service.

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Feb 18 22:58:28 2015

@Marie, JD has his own backpocket in mind. He came from Bain and is an asset-stripper. Carl Icahn called him "asleep at the wheel or willfully blind" and Icahn called for JD's removal as CEO (which is happening this year). Today, Icahn dramatically increased his stake in eBay yet again. Icahn pushed for the spin-off of Paypal (and that's happening this year also). Icahn also called JD's management "the worst corporate governance I have ever seen".

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: michaelsams This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 18 23:28:49 2015

It's this crap that pisses me of as well. You are running a business on ebay. It's obvious there is a clear cut error on the buyers end. Why not make it easy instead of arguing semantics? So ebay tells you to bend over backwards with customer service, and then endlessly argues with it's own customers about stupid things. Great role model. It's like Ike Turner narrating a Lifetime movie.

I got a call from my account manager on Monday that I could go below standard this month! He wanted to go over all my defects this week before the 20th. I said I was not interested in more time wasting ebay exercise. He mentioned that if I went below standard my sales and visibility would drop!

My answer: Oh well, more time to sell on Amazon.  

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 18 23:41:23 2015

All this and it goes hand in hand with the OTHER article Ina posted a day or 2 ago about how eBays resolution process is some model for something ....

Actually the egg head that said that comment said it was a good model.

ANYONE with 1/2 a brain knows the process is like trying to deal with the IRS once they assume you owe back taxes. Forfeitures, bank account holds, harassment, wage stoppages - thats the IRS and eBay isnt far behind.

Once a customer opens a return - for ANY reason - and thank the moron JD & co for it - you are going to get a defect since the transaction was flawed in eBays eyes.

Calling eBay is like going to your local zoo and walking over to the monkey cage and asking THEM for help - its the same level of customer care. Actually, the monkeys are useful and entertaining. They are gods creations and deserve respect from people - not so with eBay and its employees.

If you called a 6th time - you'de get MORE BS from the next person in line.

They are trained to confuse, script read, mislead and told that it doesnt matter what they say - job one is to please the buyer, job 2 is to NOT pay out any kind of claim or reward anyone any monies.

Thats the ONLY 2 things that eBay cares about.

That it harms a great seller is not important to them - Sashee C SWEARS theres a zillion more just like him waiting to take his place at the fountain of youth aka eBay.

eBay is in trouble and this is the defense they have - its their one and only card to play.

Retail execs confered at TWICE's annual closed-door gathering at .ast month’s International CES.

Well lets see who was there and who wasnt ..... ANY TAKERS?

Walmart
Amazon.com
The NPD Group
Sears Holdings
Staples
DHgate
Nationwide Marketing Group
D&H Distributing
The Little Guys
ProSource


Notice a certain comapny MISSING from that list?

Its called ... becomming obsolete ..... everyone join together and thank JD for killing eBay.

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Thu Feb 19 00:20:25 2015

This has been happening because Johnny Ho is a fool and had surrounded himself with hand-picked similar fools ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 00:22:16 2015

It's sort of like dealing with the IRS, you are guilty until you can prove otherwise. Once you prove otherwise, the issue is resolved at the discretion of the IRS, or in these cases Ebay. I agree with Marie, I don't think this is what Ebay management wanted. They really aren't talented enough. This and so many other ''policies'' are the culmination of many different ill conceived reactions to various problems as they came along. Over time they have come together into an unwieldy, bureaucratic mess. This would explain why one receives 4 different answers to the same problem. Nobody really knows how to handle unique situations. I suspect nobody has any authority to handle them either. It is unfortunate because the majority of sellers on Ebay are very good about service and serious about their businesses. The managers of Ebay seem to be only ones to think otherwise. I attribute this to their own lack of experience and limited ability. If they would just stay out of the way and focus on providing a quality service themselves, the Ebay marketplace would be the top destination for online sellers and buyers at all levels. In the meantime, sellers will just lose their TRS status, evaluate their businesses, and choose to go elsewhere.  

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 00:41:37 2015

The big problem==as always!!!!--is WHERE to GO.

You can spend HOURS on the phone with ebay CSR's--in the USA or not--and get NOWHERE.  

You are left feeling that nothing you could do or say will make ANY difference;  that the CSR is acting like this because they not only don't care but they are instructed to not interact; not to actually EVER give any thing to anybody that is helpful.

This is not ONLY for sellers at this point;  try calling with a problem as a BUYER.  

The entire system is and has been broken for a long long time--and it seems that there is no evidence that any one plans on FIXING it anytime soon.  

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: Carol This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 01:49:28 2015

When I first learned years ago that ebay would not consider info in off-ebay emails, I began a procedure that, although cumbersome and irksome, prevents that problem.

If a buyer sends me an off-ebay email that could possibly be needed to back me up later, I send my reply through ebay (beginning by saying, On ______ you sent a message to my private email which said...'').  Unless the buyer replies through ebay that he didn't send an email saying that, this process effectively moves the discussion to ebay.

Yes, it is maddening that ebay has this policy, but the rep I talked to when the policy was first introduced said that it was instituted because ebay had encountered some instances where the seller changed the wording of off-ebay emails before submitting them (something very easy to do).  I have no doubt that there are sellers who would do this - just as there are buyers who use off-ebay messages to keep ebay from seeing what they are alleging/agreeing to/etc.

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: toyspast This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 02:14:31 2015

Jason, since you appear to have a continuing problem with this type of case being opened, I would suggest you simply include a note with the item which thanks the buyer for their purchase and instructs them, if there is a problem with the part, for whatever reason, that they email you directly and tell them NOT to open a case without messaging you first. I've included notes with certain items that I would have more problems with and that has reduced the amount of cases being opened. Just a suggestion.  

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 03:27:17 2015

I don't think we will ever be able to fix buyer error. There are so many reasons why a buyer can make a purchase and then find out they bought a pig when they wanted a duck. It is not seller's fault a buyer buys something they can't use, by mistake, because they had too much wine after dinner or because they gained 20 pounds and won't admit they need a larger belt. And, it is most certainly not the seller's fault that Ebay has turned Buyer's Error into a strike against the seller that can and does resort to economic punishment.  

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Feb 19 07:16:10 2015

In light of this post and the comments, it is particularly humorous when you get those "upgrade your store" and "grow your business" messages from eBay. Years ago we added two additional eBay stores.  Sales for our main store fell and was made up by the other two.  I think Ming called it a rigged card came.  Of course sales continue to fall and 2014 was a downward spiral.

Would you like to know how we grew our business?  We opened our own website and an eCrater store.  Both are doing well.  There is no limit on how much you can list on either and eCrater is free.

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 08:26:10 2015

Just wondering,
Has anyone try recording these calls and put the on the internet like they do with Comcast?

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: JLS This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 08:49:52 2015

I too am close to losing my TRS because I have TWO defects for the same buyer!  Every agent I talk to in eBay agrees that this should not be so because one supposedly can only have one defect for one buyer (no case opened, just a buyer return!)  I also have gotten the eBay rep routine of ''computer frozen but I should see the defect removed in a few days & that it has been noted on my file blah blah''  Of course, after 7 calls to eBay, all with different answers, I gave up...just like they want us to do!  

Too bad we can't record the calls but for that we'd need to inform each of the agents that we were recording the conversations....and they would instantly hang up on us!

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 08:58:23 2015

@Comet go ANY WHERE or NO WHERE as long as it's NOT ebay

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: extremetm This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 09:55:44 2015

ebay is the most hated, most disconnected, most immoral company on and off the internet today. What does anyone expect?

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 10:28:18 2015

Defects that are not defects forget it they will not remove them start listing elsewhere today and move on.
100% buyer guarantee on ebay so ebay finds in favor of the buyer every time so they do not have to pay. Defects that are not defects.
Customer service that is a complete and total sham.
Buyer fraud at an alarming rate.
Constant glitches.
Defects that are not defects.
Favortism to Chines and large corporate sellers.
Site unsecure.
No Communication from CEO or President of ebay about the mess they have made.
Defects that are not defects.
Bonus checks for executives in the tens of millions of dollars for doing a horrible absolutely irresponsible managing of ebay.
I was in retail for 45 years, I have dealt with thousands of companies and I have never seen this sort of abuse of customers like ebay is doing. Sellers are ebay's customers you pay ebay fees for services.
Defects that are not defects they will not remove them.
Steal from the poor and give to the rich, ebay's motto.
Bain and Company management techniques are responsible.
Defects that are not defects


Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 11:12:51 2015

@Marie
I respect you, but these policies that JD instigated are unfair to sellers and a huge waste of time.
Yes, there are bad sellers, but most of these policies are biting good sellers. TRS is not about the "banner" it's a significant discount to many of us.
Case in point about defects.  I had a buyer open a case, "item not as described"  comments "seller please contact me"  when I did all she wanted was feedback. She did not want to return the item, she was happy.  I got a defect.  3 calls later to cs, defect is still there.
Nothing will happen to the buyer for abuse of return process, but I'm paying for it.

I agree with ding-dong, it's about time we started recording cs and posting them to a website.

Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s   Five Calls to eBay, Four Different Answers on De-s

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 12:29:33 2015

op is correct, these are the new rules that e bay decided to place in force, I have encountered the same exact issues and 6 months later still there

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