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