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Sun July 10 2016 20:28:39

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International Sales

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
We've been selling on eBay for 19 years now, but this is a new one on me.

We sold a rare Beatles LP to a buyer in Germany, and after he received it he sent a request for return through eBay, citing multiple skips in the record (only one of which occurred on my turntable and was noted in the description). 

Problem was, the buyer sent the return request through eBay Germany, so when I clicked on the "See Request Details" button in the email eBay sent me, I got a page all in German with the "request details" also in German. 

I ran the buyer's message through Google Translate and got the gist of it, although it came out somewhat garbled. It seemed from the translation that the buyer was offering "a compromise," which I assumed would be a request for a partial refund, but to confirm I wanted a proper translation and hoped to carry out any negotiations in English.

So I called CS. I was astonished to learn that the best eBay could offer was to do exactly what I did - run it through Google Translate. The CS rep said eBay has no way of its own to translate a foreign site request.

I had two questions which the rep could not answer, and I asked that they be escalated up the line. 1) How can someone purchase an item on eBay USA and file a request for return on eBay Germany? and 2) How can I be expected to respond to a return request that is in a language I don't understand?

To make matters worse, while talking to the CS rep, a message from eBay appeared on my screen stating I had accepted the return, which I had not, at least not intentionally. I apparently inadvertently clicked the Accept Return (in German) button while I was trying to navigate to an English translation. Question No. 3 to escalate, How can I accept a return when I can't even read what it says on the button?

Now the CS rep tells me she sees no such return accepted message in my messages file, although I'm staring at it on my screen, but then she tells me what she does see in my file is a message that the customer has closed (canceled) the return request, a message I do not see in my message file, even after refreshing several times (it did show up about a minute later).

I'm extremely lucky he canceled the request because in addition to the return shipping, he wanted me to reimburse him for the duty (there shouldn't have been any) and VAT he had to pay after I declined his request to mark the package as a "gift" (I make this clear in my TOS). 

I have no doubt eBay would have upheld his request because of his claim of NAD. Even though he kept the record, he did leave negative feedback - sort of. He marked the feedback as positive, but left a negative comment. But since the comment was in German, with three exclamation points at the end, I suspect anybody who doesn't speak German would perceive it as enthusiastically positive.

All and all, I got off very lucky, but eBay should never have put me in that position by allowing a foreign site to be used to file a return request for a sale on the US site. And I should not have been required to have to navigate that foreign site in an effort to find out what the complaint was or how to respond to it. 

From what the CS rep told me, translation is done when the conversation is conducted on the US site, but not when the buyer responds via a foreign site. eBay needs to either fix that or make it impossible to do.
An original eBayer




Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Sun Jul 10 21:19:02 2016

Ah, sorry, that one falls into the too hard basket (and we don't care anyway)—eBay Inc ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent, the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ...

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 10 23:10:12 2016

This is becoming quite common. We had one from a buyer in Spain do the same thing. Opened a request on Ebay us while registered in Spain. When we tried to settle it all we got was some form in a foreign language. We called Ebay and they told us to just sign in on the foreign site. Told them to kiss our backsides and they could do whatever they wanted but we were not doing that.

We don't sell outside of the US. We don't ship outside of the US. This idiot signed on on a foreign site, bought something from someone who doesn't sell to foreigners nor do they ship to foreigners.

As normal we lost the case but don't care.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 00:44:01 2016

I  have used  Google  Translate  to  write  Messages and  C&P'ed  them  to clarify  things  and  for  me this has worked well;  however  I  have  not  had  to  use  this  on Returns.  

It  seems  typical  tho  of eBay  to lie  and have  no  legit  way  to  actually FIX  something.  

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: skyhooks This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 00:45:15 2016

The very same thing happened to me. I am in Australia and a buyer from a foreign country opened a dispute for an item not received. Mind you the item had to go to the other side of the world and the buyer had paid for economy shipping which is between 10 -14 business days and only waited 4 days.
I could not understand what they were saying as it was filed on another eBay site in another language and google could not translate it neither could eBay. I did the best I could to realise what this was about. Without any knowledge albeit a few words I had to open 2 windows and basically guess where to click. I finally got to where I needed to be and uploaded all the tracking information, the receipts and the paperwork regarding this sale. I then, daily kept updating the tracking and sending emails to the buyer who did not reply once so I had no idea what was going on. Finally after 15 days the item arrived and I contacted the buyer and eBay again to let them know. EBay’s response was “we cannot close the case until the buyer responds stating they have got their item”.
By this time I had quite enough and demanded to speak to someone higher up in the food chain that could understand the language and what had happened. Then just as quick as it was opened the case was closed.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: salukisal This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 01:05:55 2016

NO ONE should be surprised by anything devious Ebay is involved with.  C'mon folks.  Pull the ripcord already.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: cwpdist This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 01:05:59 2016

Had a buyer from an eBay USA listing purchase from Germany. Buyer claimed item was not received. When I checked tracking, it showed the item was in customs in Germany for 30 days. I had to respond on eBay Germany with everything in German. I tried to upload tracking in the eBay response and a USPS tracking number was not an option eBay Germany allowed in their response form. Only DHL and some over service were options. I also discovered that the tracking number that was uploaded to eBay USA when the item shipped was not updated with eBay Germany.
I was able to get the message to the buyer his item was in customs and he needed to contact his postal service. The item was delivered and everyone was happy in the end.
As usual eBay is not very good at what they do.

I have found that the European are much more polite and nice when compared to USA buyers (Walmart generation) who complain and try to get partial refunds - which I never do.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 01:22:07 2016

@CWPDIST---There are virtually  no  ways  to  "Track"  items  once  they  leave the US  using  USPS.  They  might  track  to  Idlewild (Customs  in  NY)  (there might be  West  Coast  mail  Customs  places;  I  do  not  know)  but  other than MAYBE  Canada  these will then go  dark.  Even  IF  you pay  the insane  Insurance  AND whatever  "Class"  of mail  ebay DEMANDS  you  purchase--often  for  more  than  the cost  of  the item!!!---it  will NOT  TRACK  altho  ebay claims  it  will.  

This is one  reason  I try  and take  these sales  OFF EBAY---it is insane for me to sell a $35 lightweight item  that  then  needs $32 postage  that  will NOT show  where it is.  

One  way  I have been successful  doing  this is to give  the potential  buyer my cell number and ask them to TEXT  ME---I  have had  great success  with  this on  both  International  sales  and  just  moving  something off ebay---I offer  a discount  if  they  will do  this as it removed  fees  and also  the potential  feedback  etc.  I  have not had a SINGLE problem  doing  things  this way  and  I just use a combination  of spelling out  numbers and actual  numbers  to convey  my  number.  

I wish  I felt  more  "Loyal"  to  ebay  for providing  me  with  these potential  buyers;  but  they  have proven  over and over that  they are  NOT  my friend  or my partner  and def do NOT have my  interests  in  mind.  

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: older but not wiser This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 07:23:27 2016

This is one of the reasons why I no longer ship to Germany. The other reason being too many ''INR'''s, which I had to try to deal with in German.  

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 07:27:28 2016

I offer far fewer items with international shipping today. Now I see this was  a good move.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 10:12:29 2016

There are 2 cardinal rules on eBay .... stupidities they create...

1) eBay Germany and eBay Uk etc are all "technically" separate companies with slightly different rules. eBay never tells anyone this - they expect people to figure it out on their own.

2) since EVERYTHING is the sellers fault, when a problem arises, eBay is no where to be found and plays dumb when you call.


International sales was supposed to be their savior ... but regardless whether you use GSP or you do it yourself - theres ALWAYS an issue - and eBay is ALWAYS MIA.

You would think that a company of that size, with "all that expertise" could get it right, but alas they cant.

When %99 of the company either doesnt speak english, has no real world ecommerce experience, has never sold on eBay and is told by management to make sellers "eat it" when an issue arrises, its no wonder eBay is in the place that its in.  

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: luxe1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 10:36:36 2016

I had the exact same thing happen with a buyer from France.  eBay customer service ran the message through Google Translate as did I. It was a successful extortion by the buyer.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 11:44:56 2016

@PACE306---

"But  alas  they  can't"

I  think  you  have a typo  there--should  read---

"But  alas  they  WON'T"

FIFY

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jul 11 12:58:53 2016

@ pace306

"When %99 of the company either doesnt speak english"

I don't use eBay Germany. . .

And I would venture to say that 99% of eBay UK speaks English.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 14:19:20 2016

@ comet :)

ty - you are right - they refuse to ....... (cant may be right since they are brain dead and therefor CANT) but yes you are %100 right!

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: zigziglar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 11 16:03:47 2016

This is so common! And to my friend @FeelingFroggy
your post is classic I just love it and your attitude!
It's to bad though that these idiots can ruin a sellers account!!!  

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jul 11 22:18:45 2016

The sensible thing would be for eBay to make it a policy that if you purchase through eBay U.S. (or whichever site), all communication has to be through that site and in the predominant language of that site. If a seller is based on eBay U.S., then he/she is probably not going to be fluent in German, Russian, etc.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

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

Tue Jul 12 03:46:16 2016

It seems to me Ebay no longer owns its own name in other countries and so has no say over what goes on with buyers on those sites. Best to stick to English speaking countries. That way, at least you know where you stand. In the old days I sold all over the world and had no problems. Once Ebay decided to get involved in the sale, the entire site took a dive both in sales and safety.  

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 12 11:30:50 2016

@FOOLGUY

"And I would venture to say that 99% of eBay UK speaks English."

Yes, an I JUST won a case where the guy from the UK DIDNT speak english.

Dork, England just left the UK (Brexit) due to (their claim) of the HIGH number of NON english speaking people pouring into their country.

While Ina's blog is NOT the place for politics - the point is - alot of NON english speaking people (migrants from many countries) have come into the EU for some time now.

Germany alone took in a few MILLION.


At least next time TOOL - understand and thnk about what you are saying BEFORE you comment - let the adults in the room make their points PLEASE.

eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International   eBay Seller Finds Unforeseen Risk in International

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Jul 12 12:07:14 2016

toolguy writes: "I don't use eBay Germany..."

tool, put down the bong and reread the OP's letter. He sold a rare Beatles' album through eBay U.S., and his buyer went through eBay Germany to request a return. It would be the same if you sold one of your rivet gun riveter sets, mailed to the buyer in Germany, and then he opened a SNAD claim on eBay Germany. True you didn't use the German eBay to list (or sell), but your buyer chose that site as the avenue through which to request a return.



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