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Fri Apr 24 2015 22:36:48

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buyer and Seller?

By: Ina Steiner

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Dear Ina,
Thought your readers may want to know that eBay, as many of them already know, created this adversarial relationship with the seller, now they - as you published earlier - are going to 10 photos for returns, etc.  

Why not instead of telling the buyer over and over they are protected, and they will not have to pay return shipping as long as the item isn’t described etc. - why doesn't eBay state that the marketplace sells new and vintage items, and in this digital age it is important to be sure on used or vintage items to read the item descriptions?

Reinforce this over and over with different ways of stating this, no instead they focus on money back guarantee. "Didn't get what you paid for fine we will take care of you."

Somethings such as, "we really like your experience as a buyer to be positive therefore we recommend you read the product descriptions, if you don't read them especially on used items we find that buyers can be less than satisfied so to avoid that negative experience,..."

Furthermore I believe that eBay should also start taking the cost of doing business and allowing two returns at eBay's expense per year, after that no matter the reason the buyer has to pay return shipping. 

I purchased an item on eBay, and to my surprise what did I get an email for, are you ready? eBay money back guarantee, and it also went over hassle free returns and if the item isn’t as described (it touched on if the seller doesn't take returns but I get an item not as described I can send it back).  

Why? Why not, "thank you for your purchase, we hope you enjoy it." Why keep creating a relationship whereby many buyers do not read at all, and just click and then blame the seller for their circumstance, and let buyers over and over do an item not as described so they do not have to pay return shipping?  

This is why Amazon to me is just trouncing them, as Phil has noted in the boards here, the stock price alone over the last five years tells us the story of what company is providing the best ROI.

This marketplace in my view is becoming wrought with fraud, had three scammers in the last week alone, everyone wanted a partial refund. eBay needs to reevaluate the way they approach this subject. 

You don't see Amazon on repeated messages telling buyers about the A to Z claim process do you? You don't see Amazon telling the buyers over and over if item isn't described.

eBay has copied most of everything else that Amazon has done, why not the part that makes sense?
Allan




Comments (38) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

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

Sat Apr 25 03:43:59 2015

So, what's new?

You are asking someone at eBay to apply logic to their decision making process—it's not ever going to happen; the simple fact is the decision makers at eBay have long ago demonstrated that they all are clueless ...

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  

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 06:36:44 2015

I buy and sell at eBay. I LIKE the "money back guarantee" because sellers were not savvy enough to back their merchandise for YEARS. eBay used to do NOTHING when a buyer was ripped off. It's a better buying environment, plus I always allowed returns anyway. I treat my customers the way I want to be treated. So I haven't the same viewpoint.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 07:24:32 2015

Telling someone to read something before buying is funny. How many people in this world have bought a house and not read all the fine print in a mortgage.

Being able to read, and understanding what you are reading is not just a Ebay problem.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Sat Apr 25 08:48:17 2015

Getting people to read is the problem - and that will never happen.

Anecdotal evidence - when you use Amazon for 'stuff', you get a 'bought' message, then a 'shipped' message, then a 'how was it packaged' message and finally a 'are you happy' message. The 1st few times, I replied or opened the e-mail. Now - yeah, yeah, yeah..... only if I have something really good to say or not will I waste my time.

I will read the description, but that is me.

Same thing with eBay.

Except the average user, er- customer (sorry old school term) is an undetermined variable.

It is up to the seller to up-front provide a description to avoid ambiguity and that still won't be 100% foolproof.

That is why there are return departments in brick&mortar stores, even supermarkets that sell consumables - Trader Joe's for example (you don't like it - bring it back!).

What us sellers see is the front lines of the conflict between seller and buyer. Each seller has a particular set of 'returns' problem but through this forum we tend to see a large cross sectiond of the problem.

I can understand eBays' logic in catering to the buyer since the alternative is Amazon for 'new' merchandise which probably is their largest segment of their market. You, the buyer gets screwed on eBay, you move to Amazon with its A-Z guarantee. You, the general unwashed buyer do not go to a website off the 1st page of a Google search which is made even less varied with the advertising taking up valuable search result space.

That leaves the 'used' merchandise where in my view, the onus is on the seller to provide adequate assurances.

The other piece of the puzzle is what is the real rate of return/exchange on eBay, Amazon, other platforms in relation to each other and brick & mortar stores? Are there statistical anomalies there?

Unfortunately, on this forum, we only hear of anecdotal evidence - impossible to confirm.
I can jump up and down, raise the dead because I had a return last  year and make it sound like the Gods in Valhalla are conspiring against me. I am making no accusations in saying this, it is just a possibility . Read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlin for more insight into being an observer.

So how can we answer the question about eBay's position on buyer/seller relationships?
1. People don't read - eBay can't force them, nor can the seller. Relationship goading - A draw.
2. Ebay will offer returns - so do most other selling platforms WHICH HAVE A SIGNIFICANT MARKET PENETRATION. A draw.
3. Can we get real information on the real rate of returns so we can make an informed decision as to which platform has the lowest returns VS sell-through rate? No. A draw.
4. Is there anything a seller can do to minimize returns? Yes, but probably ineffective. Offering no returns just diminishes your potential buyer population. But still a draw for adverisarial relationship.

Does anyone like being placed in the position of being forced to accept returns? No, but the alternative is not to sell on that platform - your decision. Your decision to decide whether x% return rate is acceptible for your business model/merchandise.

--------------------------------------------
---------

This
does not address the issue of eBay being stupid/greedy/uninformed/mismanaged/etc. It's just my view that the adversarial relationship for vis-a-vis returns is more a perception than reality.

-----------------------------------------------------<
BR>
And
when it comes down to it - most of the sellers on eBay are whistling past the graveyard when they say they want eBay to fail. Cut off your nose to spite your face? That'll work for people who have a life after eBay, but for the other 99%? What then. Complain about not having sales at all???

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Apr 25 09:04:09 2015

RCL, what you are failing to acknowledge is that when a savvy seller, one who follows the rules and gives great customer service, is cheated by a fraudulent "liar buyer" and not protected by eBay, then eBay is throwing that seller under the bus.

Do you really think that it is fair for a buyer to lie, steal and cheat a seller.

Money back guarantee does not mean money back guarantee to liars and thieves.  Don't lump all sellers into one category.  You are by far not the only seller who treats buyers fairly, but there really are no seller protections on eBay.   The system needs to be more balanced. The buyer is not always right, especially a lying thieving buyer.  I've heard enough horror stories from sellers over the years that it is apparent that eBay have created an environment that invites this type of buyer.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 09:27:48 2015

I agree with Rexford
I was a top rated seller 100% feedback over 13 years, 14000, feedbacks no naturals no negatives .20 defect rate (because I let someone return something "the child 12 purchased") and left ebay for SpeediTrade
1)because I sold Cartier watch buyer stole the insides (movement) of the watch for parts for another they clearly purchased that was at auction and seller left feedback movement was beyond repair, buyer clearly abused system ebay rep stated that Just wrap it up into cost of business,

2) following week china buyer same thing purchased rolex dial with scratch for 60.00 then purchased mine new 299.00 opened case claiming dial got scratched up in international shipping this time I used ship center so e bay covered me and right away buyer was "no longer registered user" only because e bay had to eat the bill

however the Cartier user still to this day is registered user and thru his feedback left this year for sellers 12 negatives  
this was the straw that broke camels back I have now been on SpeediTrade and was slow to start but now sales are growing no stress no final value fees love it! ebay just keeps robbing sellers with fees (the honest ones pay for the bad people ebay fosters)
and with the new picture returns so the item is damaged or used by thief buyers ebay will still force the returns, as OP stated ebay plays the buyers against the sellers even if the buyers are wrong,
now I understand things can get lost or damaged most all sellers take care of their buyers no matter what it is but to play them against each other is simply wrong, and to promote free returns and "ebay money back guarantee" should have some sort of limits.
as Phil states this is only going to become worse before it becomes better  

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sat Apr 25 09:31:29 2015

eBay allows, permits and condones rampant abuse of the return process and operates under the misconception that sellers have the deep pockets and thus can afford to be ripped off.

In a recent return initiated through eBay, I had a buyer claim that they did not receive the driver CD detailed in the listing.

eBay accepted the word of the buyer and billed me for the cost of the return.

When the return was delivered, the "missing CD" was somehow included in the  package.  It was obvious, at least to me that the buyer did not read the description and did not realize that the software would not install into their operating system.  Had they read the description, they would have known that the unit was not compatible and would not work for them.

A quick call to eBay revealed that eBay is unwilling to accept my word as a fee paying seller that the claim as filed by the buyer was false.  eBay flat out refused to accept my word that the CD had been returned even though the buyer's claim was based on the fact that the CD was not included.

eBay refused to refund or credit the fee charge for return postage.

eBay refused to remove the defect placed against my seller reputation.

The only thing eBay was willing to do to "support" me as a seller was to allegedly place an invisible strike against the buyer - something the buyer will never realize happened if in fact the agent actually filed the strike.

Needless to say, I reported the buyer myself for abusing the return process and blocked the buyer to prevent future abuse.

So, eBay's return process encourages buyers to lie in order to avoid paying return shipping costs and the company does not care if sellers are alienated by the flawed policy and the failure to accept the word of their fee paying customer.

The buyer now allegedly has at least one meaningless and invisible strike against their account.

The adversarial nature eBay fosters is as detrimental to the marketplace as their defective search engine, and eBay is doing nothing to resolve the problems.

Their sagging marketplace is destined to implode under the weight of management's any failures on so many levels.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Apr 25 10:48:34 2015

I include a note in every package that has a contact number if the customer isn't COMPLETELY SATISFIED.

We pack everything with care and do the best we can for our customers.

I have NO idea what Amazon does or doesn't do because I DON'T sell there or BUY there. . .  

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 11:16:20 2015

I just got a e mail WHAT A JOKE
"How eBay protects you

For the rare times when something goes wrong, seller protection is here to defend your interests.
"
rare my hind end!!! daily people trying to receive part refunds!!!
ebay teaches thieves!

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: MissyS This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 12:36:12 2015

I'm longtime, sometime seller on eBay.  Mostly I buy.  But I'm concerned about all the fraud that's reported in these letter.

However now I find myself wanting to return an item and the seller doesn't take returns. I bought a new, unopened laserprinter cartridge for an old printer. But the cartridge gears are frozen up (it's about 12 years old), and just makes a long smear. Does ''new'' imply it should be working? Should I file a SNAD or just eat the $24.00. I contacted the seller but haven't heard back.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 15:06:30 2015

@MissyS . Don't fret it. YOURS is exactly the sort of reason that BUYERS should Reject and Return for full credit.  YOU are in the right on this.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Sat Apr 25 16:50:37 2015

I think buyers should get exactly what they pay for and they ought to be thrilled with the experience.

That is why I quit buying "eCommerce" services from eBay.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Apr 25 17:03:57 2015

On the other hand, you knew the cartridge was old and you knew the seller had a no returns policy.  And I would guess that you passed up other sellers who accept returns to get that lower price.  If it were me, I'd eat the $24 just like I'd have to if I had bought that cartridge at some computer show.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Apr 25 17:04:01 2015

@MissyS - That's the big problem with buying items with moveable parts that are that old. If the seller represented that the cartridge was fully functioning as the manufacturer intended, then if it's not, that's a SNAD case. This is a perfect example where the "no returns" policy should be overridden. And you should not have to lose $24. I suggest you send him another e-mail, and say if he will not resolve this issue with you, you will be filing a claim to get your money refunded. It's not like you're asking to return it because you found it cheaper somewhere else; you want to return it because it's defective. You might also want to look into refilling a cartridge you know will work.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 22:13:44 2015

I'm a long time seller (since 1998) and I feel more then abused due to this new returns policy.

After the VERO crap, this is second on my list of reasons why I would tell ANYONE and EVERYONE who wants to sell on eBay - to stay FAR FAR AWAY.

Are there bad sellers? YES.
Do bad sellers rip off buyers? YES

I dont fit into EITHER category.

I have been at %100 positive feedback and no defects for over 2 years - but to eBay that means NOTHING.

I have become a rental unit to eBay.

My returns - the buyers give me postive feedbacks - tell me IN the feedback how great the item is, then 3-5 days before the 30 returns period is over - the items MAGICALLY become defective.

ANYONE at eBay can see it - the dates and times are clear - after all its all computerized.

eBay told me STFU - eat the returns or leave.

eBay doesnt care and "theres no reason in their minds" why they should.

In forcing the policy - they make YOU the seller eat the item (funny how when my items come back they arent defective) and pay for its return postage.

eBay is SO afraid of buyers leaving (eBays reputation makes Monsantos look like they are choir boys) to go to Amazon that they will do ANYTHING and everything to insure a buyer is happy - seller be damned.

I disnt sign on to be a rental place or a pawn shop - but this is what eBay has become.

Last I looked (since Im a corporation) eBay didnt have a seat in the board room, doesnt own any stock and is my new UNasked for business partner.

Except they get all the gain and I get all the pain.

Nothing here is anecdotal - its fact pure and simple.

For eBay its good to keep buyers and sellers "wary" and not get to cozy. They want to control EVERY part of the sale - before, after and during.

Thats why I get an extra thrill making off eBay sales. Id rather that then a winning lotter ticket - because I get to get EVEN from eBay stealing from me.

Ive been in the electronics biz since 1984. I was there during the hey day before the internet - when it was just "mail order". I've bought (as a buyer) from companies as big or bigger then eBay (Apple, Lotus, IBM, Word Perfect, D&H, Ingram, Wynitt and many others) - I dont need $2 cockroaches telling me how to run my business.

Before eBay FORCED returns, I got 1 defective every few months. Now I get a few a month - funny.

eBay isnt honest in ANY part of its business dealings. With back end deals for exposure (Pay for play), back end deals with VERO, adverts on your listing page, shill bidding, forced returns and many other things - you cant expect eBay to be upfront about how it treats buyers - never mind sellers.

Sellers are an expendable resource in eBays eyes. They are the VAMPIRES on the hill ..... sitting there until they get hungry enough to swoop down and bite a fat cow (seller) to satisfy their hunger.

Why do you think that EVERY single "Seller Update" is higher fees and more onerous devious plans to hurt sellers?

"Cause they can".

Despite eBay loosing money in the Marketplace month after month, they are still #2 as a selling platform after Amazon.

Since they know that not every one is cut out for Amazon or that their items fit Amazon - they take advantage.

Not Sears, not Rakuten, not 11main - not even Walmart through Channel Advisor, NONE of them is enough to make up for sales on eBay - when eBay allows them (doesnt hide you on page 3). eBay knows this and takes advantage.

After all - whats better in life for them to create programs that make them money (on the return label) but doesnt cost them anything (bad feelings between parties and no loss from dead inventory).

eBay is the WORST kind of people/platform - they PURPOSELY take advantage of smaller sellers and squeeze them until they are "dry" (used up) then move on to the next.

JD left with $23 million of MY hard earned dollars as well as every one elses here.

I dont see DUMB@$$ WENIG doing any better - or even caring. Its purely about monthly numbers. He and JD would push your aged granny in a wheel chair off a cliff if it made the numbers look good. Dont believe me? Look at the USPS deal that they cooked up with Chinese sellers AGAINST thier own US based sellers! (along them not having to take returns).

A pox on eBay and the sum that run it.

(eBay - if you read this - I DARE YOU TO SUE ME - COME TRY)

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: Joey4711 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 25 22:31:51 2015

Ebay allows rampant abuse of the returns and knows it.  Look at Hassle Free Returns, give buyers what they want.  Here is what buyers want...to be able to return an item for any reason on the sellers dime.  Ebay wants to give that to them because they believe the buyer will continue to purchase other items and not return them on Ebay plus it costs ebay nothing to do so. But it gets even better.  

They (ebay) can give you a defect now and get you off the top seller program, see it works for them.  I have had 9 returns in the past year, and all magically are seller not described.  Yet, they were all returned and were described and fine. Ebay told me I should be happy the customers returned it.

What a bunch of horseshit....simple Ebay say 25.00 a year for returns or two returns for any reason on you Ebay.  After the customer can suck it.  Or more and more sellers are going to keep running to Amazon.  

How many customers return stuff and lie, the seller gets dinged, pays for it. How is that working for you Ebay?  

Go to the return process, the first thing Ebay states if the item isn't as described guess what?  You don't have to pay, click this button and your free label is there.  

How many people are honest enough to do the right thing? On top of that you get a defect so Ebay can be punitive. Yet, if you mail something and the buyer says it is a box of rocks you are screwed, because they are going to refund the buyer.  Yet, if you get a return with a box of rocks instead of your product, ebay will tell you that is the cost of doing business.  

Really?   Yet, please report the buyer so we can deal with it if we aren't making enough cash off them....going to look more into Amazon.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 26 08:06:10 2015

Ebay promotes potential problems instead of the items being sold.

Ebay will protect you from the evil sellers that are there to rip buyers off.  Ebay shows the ''shield'' of protection.

Ebay says it is easy to return an item when the evil seller sells something not described ''correctly''.

Ebays says return shipping is free to the evil seller.

Ebay should be saying something good about the items listed. Not constantly promoting the seller as the bad guy and ebay as the good guy.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Apr 26 09:27:52 2015

Like the OP, I have always thought getting an email about the returns process after a purchase was foot shooting behavior.  Then there are the screen boxes that pop up in the buying sections. For the past couple years eBay has over-emphasized returns, IMO.

(Pace appears right-on about eBay relishing the profit they make on returns. Greed.)  

All the online retailers I buy from accept returns - they just don't stick the policy in my face every time I turn around.

As a seller, the  'after purchase' email I send, along with a package insert should give buyers confidence to contact me if there is a problem.  Nothing more is needed besides the original stated return policy on the listing.  



MissyS issue -

This is an example of where a buyer's buying feedback left by sellers COULD have value IF allowed.  

The seller could look up the buyer feedback & FB left for others and see that this was likely not a scam-prone buyer.

The seller could then take the buyer at their word and say - ''Hey, sorry about that - I wasn't aware it would not work when opened. Here's your money back and just pitch/recycle the item.  It is not worth the postage to return it. Sorry for your inconvenience''.


It is far easier to digest your refund and postage if, based on research, you are fairly certain you are not indulging scammers, but that YOU have likely made an honest mistake in selling an item that does not work.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Apr 26 09:30:07 2015

Here's a thought. Why doesn't eBay place all of the money that they take as a percentage of sellers' shipping into an account and refund unhappy buyers from that account, as opposed to stealing from sellers twice.

It is completely unacceptable that a seller has to pay a liar buyer's return shipping.

And Ric, your post was on target as usual.  I think that you should be a personal adviser to Wenig.  eBay is failing big time as it relates to fairness.

eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye   eBay Fosters Adversarial Relationship Between Buye

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Apr 26 11:12:20 2015

@RKTOYS - If I bought a cartridge at a computer show, I would still expect it to work as it was supposed to. I would also get a receipt with the seller's name, address, phone number and e-mail address. And if the cartridge didn't work, I would contact the seller. If they wouldn't resolve the problem to my satisfaction, then I would be filing a complaint with the AG about the seller.

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