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Mon June 13 2016 08:41:14

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I have had a terrible experience with a buyer, who badly damaged an item I sold him, then returned it, claiming I did the damage. He has now managed to have eBay convinced that I am at fault, and I have been notified that I must refund. The item is badly damaged, making it impossible to resell. 

I have talked to several eBay Reps, who almost automatically "side" with the Buyer.

Is this an "impossible situation" that I am in?
Thank you,
Alice




Comments (14) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jun 13 10:29:56 2016

If you're a long time seller in good standing with good feedback I would not give in and I would keep contacting eBay. If you are persistent they will foot the bill and take the loss.

Don't be rude and prepare your speech. I always like to use the term "partners" when I talk to ebay customer service.

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

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

Mon Jun 13 11:09:42 2016

Unfortunately, he probably didn't need to do much, if anything, to "convince" eBay that the seller was at fault.  The only time I can remember a buyer opening a claim against me and eBay sided with me (as the seller) was when a buyer said they never received an item and the tracking shows that they did.  Otherwise, you have no recourse.  If it was insured, you can try to open an insurance claim, but that's a whole different problem (getting a claim paid out).  Just don't tell them that you feel the buyer damaged it.  Ask the buyer for pictures and submit them with the claim.  Just tell USPS (or whatever the carrier is) that you shipped it in good condition and the buyer claims it arrived damaged.  That way they can't accuse you of fraud, as you're just telling them the facts as they were reported to you.

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Jun 13 13:06:42 2016

Ebay never gets involved in a he said / she said situation.  In such cases when a SNAD claim is involved, they will side with the buyer.  Ebay has always been like this.  

If you had insurance on the package and if the buyer is saying it was damaged during shipment, then you could file a claim with your carrier.  However Ebay doesn't force a buyer to work with a seller in the insurance claim process.

If the buyer is saying you shipped it damaged.  Well that is hard to get around.  I'm sorry this happened to you.  Fortunately for all of us, buyers like this are just a very small fraction of the buyers out there.  Most are good honest people.

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jun 13 13:59:21 2016

@ Marie

You are right, most buyers are honest.

In the 16 years of selling on eBay (over 30,000 transactions) I've had only a handful of dishonest buyers (less then 5), in fact I can only think of 2.

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jun 13 19:29:47 2016

@Alice (OP) - I think you should consider videotaping everything you sell as you pack it. Even though I no longer sell on eBay, I tape everything as it's being packed to prevent anyone from stating that I sent something that was other than I described. You can get a camera that will do video at WalMart for about $80. At least if you have video evidence, you can tell your buyer what what you sent him was not damaged, and if he persists with his claims to eBay and PayPal, you will file a mail fraud complaint with the Post Office. Often just knowing that you have video evidence will get your buyer to change his/her mind about the erroneous claims that are being made.

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: ladyincleveland This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 20:36:44 2016

How many photos are in the listing? Do these photos show the item is in good condition? What is damaged on the item? Do they have photos?

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: ladyincleveland This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 20:36:45 2016

How many photos are in the listing? Do these photos show the item is in good condition? What is damaged on the item? Do they have photos?

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Tue Jun 14 00:36:57 2016

It would be *most* helpful if writers would offer specifics so we can tailor our responses accordingly.  

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: printersmithcom2 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 14 01:13:27 2016

This is ''Online Shoplifting'' at its finest.  These are the risks you take when selling on Ebay and a normal cost of doing business.  Retail stores are ripped off every day when customers go buy new power tools and then return their 3 year old beat up one 29 days later.  

There is NO way around this, the only thing you can do is haggle with the buyer and make it very difficult for him to get away with it.  I am very emphatic, require pictures, and I will call out them on it.  I am not shy about letting them know I think they are lying, and that I will be reporting them as a bad buyer and submitting photographic evidence to Ebay Management.  If I truly experience a ripoff artist, I will not issue the refund, I will force them to go fight for it.

Thieves are always lazy, they do not want to get in trouble, and 9 out of 10 times if you don't just ''lay down'' and let them walk all over you it's easier to minimize fraud.  I ask a LOT of questions, and dig deep into how the damage occurred.  The point is I try to make them VERY uncomfortable about what they are doing so they may think twice about it next time :-)

It is such a tiny fraction of the overall whole picture.  Out of $200,000 in sales, we might lose a few $100 to this nonsense each year.  

Don't get me wrong, I love my buyers and work with them.  I would say 95% of all claims are legitimate and something really did go wrong that is not the buyers fault.  Today I had one freaking out on a missing package, then later I got a really nice email apologizing for all the meanness stating that their account had been hacked.  Go figure!

Ebay Sellers can get WAY too defensive and I always have to check myself and remember to be courteous and professional (that's hard I know).  We all need to realize there aren't any other marketplaces, so we still need to work hard to build a better marketplace and not accidentally turn off the good buyer just because we suspect something.  After 20 years I totally operate on instinct, I always know the truth.  Sometimes I just let it go and smile anyway :-)

The FACTS are the ''average'' online buyer is incredibly lazy, selfish, and under-educated.  They don't want to do anything themselves and take responsibility for nothing.  Many just want refunds, they don't even want to do a free return shipping label, duh!  I say only 1 in 20 situations do I even suspect a really bad buyer and my gut tells me every time when to push back.  It's not worth fighting over $20, just approve the return and move on....

But when most of the buyers are selfish and lazy if we fight all those, we just don't do business after awhile.  They aren't ''bad'' they are just being their normal selves.  It's unfortunately the world we live in now :-)

I have literally had the Ebay Rep tell me on the phone that the buyer can send back a box of rocks and they will still get a refund.  That same Rep also told me they won't accept any photos or even a video of me opening up the package!  They really don't care, the buyer always wins.

With the new Ebay Return and Resolution Center systems, I just ''send a message'' I do not immediately approve the returns.  I ask for pictures and keep replying every time they do something to drag it out as long as possible that keeps it out of escalation.  If I really want to fight it, I will let them escalate it to a Case where ebay steps in and then a couple things happen.  1 - Sometimes if it's under $50 ebay will just refund the buyer and not require a return.  2 - Ebay may approve the claim and force the buyer to return it, no refund issued.  3 - Sometimes if its under $25 and the goods are really low cost then issue a refund early to avoid the Metrics hit.  

The only time you get a Metrics Hit is if Ebay steps in and forces the Return or provides an Ebay funded refund and closes the case.  I have talked for weeks on some of these and then the buyer just went away and eventually the cases drop off.  Sometimes the buyer makes a mistake and chooses a Reason that requires them to pay shipping.  I always approve those right away.

This is not going to change, Ebay & Amazon will always side with the buyer 100% of the time, regardless of the condition of the returns.  We simply do not sell valuable items on those sites any more and have very little hassle.  But when selling Plumbing Fixtures or Power Tools we would get shady stuff every week.  Electronics are the absolute worst!

Ebay and Amazon Sellers (I am both) need to face the REALITY of online selling.  There are MILLIONS to be made and I've made several of those.  Everything is a Business Decision what you do on these buyer-centric sites.  You have to have high profits, you need to select products carefully, you need to have well-oiled Returns systems in place.  

We just got Endicia Professional with unpaid return labels and Cubic Pricing.  This bypasses paying for labels that might never get used and cuts shipping in half on items that don't fit Flat Rate but are heavy and expensive to return.  

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 14 06:51:21 2016

Not enough info in the first post. For all we know, the OP could have badly packaged the item so it arrived damaged.  

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: Clothing Seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 14 10:26:57 2016

In the state of California there is currently a class action law suit in progress regarding this issue.  Last I heard the attorneys will then go to Florida and then Texas.

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 14 10:40:50 2016

@printersmithcom2

Yours was a well written post with a good dose of realism.

Thanks!

eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 14 13:11:57 2016

Printers said "Ebay & Amazon will always side with the buyer 100% of the time, regardless of the condition of the returns."

THAT statement is %100 true - as true as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

Both eBay and Amazon want/need buyers, NOT sellers.

Sellers are correct that they pay all the fees - but those online sites dont care - for them - its the "price of admition".

In a perfect world, Printers comments are sound and true - but NOT in this case.

In Amazons case - all 3p sellers do is fulfill sales AMAZON makes. 3P sellers dont make sales. EVERYTHING belongs to Amazon and its their sandbox. To play in it, you MUST match or meet THEIR standards.

However, when it comes to eBay thats NOT the case. eBay said it MANY times to many people "we are ONLY A VENUE". THAT changes the ball game considerably.

You cant say on one hand say "you arent involved" and then on the other "wink wink nod nod condone wholesale returns fraud. Its an oxymoron and boarders on illegality - its fraud. If you tell people (in your help pages) that you will step in to help - that DOESNT mean always find against you.

Not every one here or anywhere else, sells cheap things - I for one certainly dont.

I expect my business partners to have MY best interests at heart. If you cant - tell me UPFRONT. Dont say you'll help, dont say you can add pictures to emails that DONT get seen or ignored - that too is fraud.

Amazon can decide for itself the level of fraud it wishes to "tolerate", as can Macys, Sears, Kmart or ANY other retailer.

If you buy a 55" 4K UHD TV and then return something else, Best Buy will NOT credit you "ad hoc". You cant return to them a box of rack either. That too is fraud.

Either eBay wants to be a venue OR a managed marketplace - you cant be both. If you take FVF on shipping - YOU have skin in the game. If YOU make the sole decisions on returns issues then YOU should have skin in the game.

In eBays universe - as long as THEY dont have to eat the fraud - all is ok - and its NOT.

I pay eBay ALOT of fees (when they feel like showing my items and letting me make sales). For that I have a certain level of "expectation of service" - and UNLESS THE TOS says otherwise - they need to abide by it (or again its FRAUD).

I do more the 200K in online sales - not all of it on eBay and ONLY on eBay is the attitude this bad.

Being that Ive been in retail since 1984, I believe too have perspective on the issue. Returns fraud, cc fraud all kinds - are things retailers/sellers try to avoid. We shouldnt need to wait until things "time out" or have to play games to try and get our own money back.

If I want to gamble - I'll go to Vegas. I get compt on rooms and food and I can go see LOVE again (for the 4th time). Online selling for eBay sellers SHOULDNT be gambling. If you a "professional seller" and you live off selling online, have excellent feedbacks and a great reputation - theres NO reason eBay should allow people to steal from you - PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

eBay gets paid to be the middle man - boo hoo I dont feel bad for them. If they dont want to make the hard choices - take LESS FVFs, make search organic and sit back and just advertise for buyers. BUT if you are going to take money on all these things - then eBay needs to step up its game - and soon.

All the AI in the world wont help when sellers who get ripped off tell EVERYONE they know - DONT buy or sell on eBay since the condone fraud.


eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product   eBay Sides with Buyer over Damaged Product

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

Tue Jun 14 15:37:40 2016

@iheartjacksparrow Not sure ebay, Fedex, UPS, or USPS would honor it... yet, but, this is one of many reasons I created and use ''VisualConfirmâ„¢'' on all packages that ship from our Florida warehouse. What is it? Ultimately, it is a Order Confirmation email on steroids, that includes pictures (or video) of the shipping label, packaging and actual product being shipped. It takes about 30 seconds extra per order to do this, but again, well worth it on so many levels. And our customers love it, think of it as added customer service, while also creating a point of reference for yourself if a customer claims to have received an incorrect item, color, quantity, etc. Take for example the above issue posted by the seller above. If you take pictures and send them in a confirmation email to the customer, customer sees actual product and condition before it ships. Customer also ''knows'' that you have a copy of the picture and know that the correct item, color, size, quantity shipped and in what condition. Again, nothing is foolproof, but our customers love it, and it gives us a record to refer back to if any issues arise. You can only make so many notes on an order, but a picture is worth a thousand words! ;)



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