I have concerns about a recent incident involving eBay. I sell full-time on eBay. I am a long-time PowerSeller with Top-Rated status, a consignment seller, and an Education Specialist (primarily teaching classes on how to sell on eBay). I pride myself for knowing the rules and following them.
I recently sold a consignment item to a woman in California. She informed me after the fact that she had "forgotten" to let me know that she wanted me to send her purchase to a different address in another state. Since I ship within 24 hours of payment, the item was gone, and it was already destined for California.
She became very testy with me, and she demanded that I refund her shipping cost because now she would have to go to the additional effort (and cost) to send the package elsewhere. I told her that I would not because I had done nothing wrong and should not have to bear the cost of her shipping.
I told her that I am required to send her purchase to the address that she provides through PayPal and that is exactly what I had done. We went back and forth via eBay Messaging.
Before the package even got to her, the woman filed a complaint in the eBay Resolution Center (RC) claiming "Item Significantly Not as Described". I responded in the RC that postal tracking was indicating that the package was still several states away from its final destination. I advised the woman that I would accept return of the package but that she would have to absorb the cost of shipping in both directions because there was no error on my part.
Of course, I called eBay Customer Service several times during this process, and several representatives over the course of several days assured me that I was correct and that eBay would back me.
The buyer and I remained at a stalemate for several days before eBay intervened and closed the case in her favor! I was informed by eBay via email to refund her money including postage. I was stunned because this was a consignment transaction, and I would be responsible for reimbursing the consignee.
I immediately called eBay Customer Service (on a Sunday), and I was put through to someone in "the Appeals Department". I told him what was going on, and he expressed surprise. Among many things wrong with this case, he further pointed out that it was not possible to file a case for shipping costs. He reversed the decision and ruled in my favor. He sent me a follow-up email indicating that I would not be responsible for shipping costs.
Fast forward to two days ago when I was reconciling my books, and I discovered an online screen that indicated that the customer was refunded 100% of her purchase! She had been asking for $9 shipping, and she was given $51 - the cost of the item and shipping - and she was allowed to keep the purchase.
I called eBay, and they advised me that the money did not come out of my account but from eBay. I was dumbfounded. I told the representative that I have two concerns: 1) That this customer is going to boast about her conquest, and it will breed more incidents of fraud, and 2) That eBay should consider putting this surplus of mad money into an effective advertising campaign or reward sellers in good standing with lowered fees.
I'm pretty disgusted with eBay at the moment. Their action in this case is possibly one of the most bone-headed moves that I have seen in my 36 year business career.
Since I'm not out any money, I can't really do anything but sit back and marvel at their stupidity. I truly have lost faith in eBay.