EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
Your emails to EcommerceBytes
For consideration, send your email to ina@auctionbytes.com with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line! Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear in the blog.
Tue Jan 24 2017 11:46:55

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
We have recently, over the past three months, run into many issues with the automated returns process and are curious if other sellers are having the same issues. We have been with the automated returns process since the beginning and for the most part have been very happy with it. 

As a clothing seller on eBay, you can expect a higher percentage of returns. Managing those returns prior to the ARS was very challenging. The ARS seemed to streamline the process for many years. 

However, in October eBay seemed to make a bunch of changes to the ARS or rolled out a new version. Since then we have seen a tremendous number of glitches and issues that have negatively impacted our account. For the first time ever we have lost our TRS and have been dropped to Below Standard based entirely on Returns escalated to cases and closed out. 

Here are the glitches we are continually seeing:

- Auto Approval Settings not working. We have a list of return reasons set to auto approve. The system is randomly not auto approving and waiting for the seller to accept the return. We did not realize this and customers were escalating when the return should have been auto accepted. 

- Tracking not populating or showing delivery. Return is constantly stating awaiting shipment even though buyer has returned item and it is delivered. Once buyer escalates to a case, the system verifies delivery and closes in favor of the buyer. In our case, returns are delivered to a PO Box we checked every week or two. We relied heavily on the system showing delivery to refund buyers. Now we can not.

- Refund glitches where the system states either a timeout error, a Pay Pal ID error, or some other tech error. 

- Previous version of the system would automatically process a refund after 6 days of delivery. Now the system sends multiple emails to the buyer suggesting they get eBay involved and no longer automatically refunds. While most of our refunds are processed within 3-5 days, vacations, life, sometimes get in the way and the automated refund was great and kept everyone happy. Currently 3 of our return/refund cases came in over the Christmas Holiday while we were on vacation. Previously this would not have been an issue. Additionally, eBay did not notify ARS users of this change. 

We have spoken to several eBay reps who have verified that there are issues. eBay knows about them and in some cases eBay will remove the defect. However, in most they will not. 

For example, where the tracking update is not showing, eBay has yet to remove one of those defects. They can see in M to M messaging that we have been working with the buyer to get a tracking update or delivery update. They can see that the buyer and we are seeing the glitch, but they state that ultimately while the system is automated it really comes down to seller managing it regardless of the technical issues eBay is having with the system. WHAT? REALLY?

Here is the kicker. If you are bumped down to below standard due to this eBay then views every return or requested return as a case and puts the entire transaction payment on hold. Regardless of the buyer's reason, the payment is place on hold. Multiple issues with this:

- Often buyers open a return for reasons like doesn't fit, changed mind, color etc. and ultimately never returns the item. The return is open in your dashboard for 60 days or longer and the payment will be on hold the entire time. 

- Multiple Item Orders. A buyer purchases 20 items. Wants to return 2 out of the 20. The entire 20 piece transaction is on hold until the buyer returns to the 2 and you refund.

- Say you have a restocking fee (we do on suits and sport coats as these items are often "rented" items). The hold does not account for this and the entire amount again is on hold. 

I am interested to see if other sellers are seeing these issues and, if not, be on the lookout. 
B.




Comments (16) | Permalink

Readers Comments

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 24 12:18:22 2017

Seriously? You TRUSTED EBAY??!!! to take care of a critical aspect of your business for you?

And now you're surprised you're being mistreated?

A lot of things in business are a pain to handle, but letting Ebay automate your processes then grade YOU on the result of their work is asking for trouble.



A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jan 24 13:25:15 2017

I want to run my business (or the little that is left of it) with as little interference as I can get from eBay.  I don't let them handle anything that I can handle myself.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 24 13:40:20 2017

NOTHING good EVER comes from letting the criminals in San Jose get involved in your business.

You wouldnt let a 5 yr old run it, dont let people in CA who have no background in ecommerce run it either.

That you expect/get so many returns is troubling as well. The idea is .... (shh its a SECRET) that the items STAY SOLD, and NOT come back.

There is NO part of eBays returns process - automated or otherwise that HELPS anyone but eBay - which (to quote Guns 'N Roses) "is the way they want it" (From their song Civil War).

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 24 14:02:21 2017

Gesh with 6 anchors stores and hundreds of sales each week the last thing we would do is let ebay take care of our returns.

Asking for trouble. If I wanted to get really lazy I would allow my 16 year old to pack all the orders each day. NO GOING TO HAPPEN.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 24 17:37:49 2017

fleabay glitches always screw the seller.

amazing never a glitch that helps sellers.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jan 25 02:57:13 2017

I can see for a seller with a high number of return request why a program like this would be inviting.  But with Ebay I think an abundance of caution would be in order.

Ebay has never gotten their calculated shipping program to work properly and it has been around for many years.  It constantly has a glitch or two going on.  So depending on Ebay to keep an automated return system in good order seems a bit optimistic to me.

Personally I would much prefer to have control over this subject and would never trust Ebay to continually handle this for me.  It is way too important to the health of my account and it seems like suicide to me to think Ebay would have this program in perfect working order at all times.  They can't get other programs to do that, so why this one.

While it may take a lot of time to deal with a high volume of returns, either make time for them or hire someone to help spread out the workload.  Having Ebay do it can be very costly because of their lack of attention to the details as this OP has found out.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: pebbles This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 25 09:33:30 2017

Honestly, I tend to my business every day, not every 3 days- 2 weeks. I take the initiative to stay on top of my account daily. I do not rely on eBay to tell me what to do when, I just take care of things on my own. I check my mail daily and communicate with my buyers accordingly. I have had only one escalated case in a year.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jan 25 10:34:48 2017

I agree with Pebbles. If the OP is getting such a huge amount of returns, he/she really needs to check the post office box every day, not every two weeks.  

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

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

Wed Jan 25 10:41:43 2017

Stamps.com is a viable solution for returns that will link up to your eBay shopping cart and print US Postal Labels as well as offer a few returns options. Rates are discounted, and in most cases, their monthly fee is waved. Orders are automatically populated from your shopping cart, straight into stamps for outbound shipments with the ability to print a Return label for packing immediately. (for business's with a need for a returns program).
There are other ways to accomplish this as well but I would strongly recommend contacting a sales rep to help custom these solutions to your online business.
** Copy and paste the link below to fill out a questionaire, and a your local sales rep will contact you.

https://prodpx-promotool.usps.com/promoreg/campaignView.do
?campaignId=SLGF&origination=slgfbussol
 

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: CayenneCat This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 25 11:59:50 2017

Please stop blaming the seller!  Where's the frustration over ebay's role in this?

The ARS system used to work, then ebay ''upgraded'' it, messed it up, and hasn't fixed the bugs.  The ARS system is now penalizing the seller.  Sounds like it has become unusable.  

Thanks for the warning to not trust the ARS system!

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 25 14:54:21 2017

As of right now ebay is failing everyone, there are glitches everywhere with no fixes in sight, the seller gets blamed and ebay skates along with its farmed out IT department to foreign countries who simply could care less.  

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 25 22:39:04 2017

I do not see why anyone would scold this seller or think they are not properly running their business.  

They sell clothing.  Clothing and Electronics have the highest rate of return in all of e-commere and actual retails stores period.   Do not assume the seller is doing something wrong because they expect a high rate of returns on clothing.  That is simply knowing your business.  

Additionally, the clearly state they rely on the system to show delivery in the return system to show buyers.   Quite frankly, that is efficient and the way the system is supposed to work.  If the system is working you would not need to waste your time going to the PO BOX to pick up returns everyday.  Waste of gas and time.  

The issue as I see it, is once again, eBay breaking something and letting the seller take the blame or lose money.   Interesting they state reps are confirming the issues, but not doing anything about it.  Didn't Wenig promise better communication and transparency?  

Also, I do not think you can even opt our of the eBay system for returns any longer.   I think you can say no returns, but then eBay drops you even further behind all of the chinese sellers and mass retailers.    

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Jan 26 13:44:06 2017

@CayenneCat and @ebayisscrewed - I'm certainly not blaming the seller for eBay's glitches. Even if Automated Returns was working correctly, why would anyone want their returns to languish in the post office for two weeks? Wouldn't you like to know that what you sent originally was what you got back? Wouldn't you want to know immediately if what was returned was dirty, smelly, torn, whatever? I sure would. We know for a fact that a lot of clothing buyers are "renters," so unless the seller throws away all returned items, it just seems like a good idea to inspect everything as soon as it gets back.  

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 16:02:51 2017

That is the point, we do not know why they do it, but I bet they figure the renters are just the cost of doing business and either throw away the stuff or perhaps the renters make up a small portion of the returns they get so they do care.   Additionally, I sell clothing and I will say that it does not matter if someone rents, damages the item, etc . . . if you accept the return or the return is automatically accepted as a SNAD the seller can not do anything to change the return/refund regardless of what they get back as eBay will say they can not take sides and have no way of knowing who was right.  Seems to me the seller is just trying to spend as little time on returns as possible.  Who knows, but I am sure there is a reason for it.   For me, I could care less why the seller does what they do though I agree with them that ebay should fix their crap and stop pawing the fallout onto the seller.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: fashionista This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 17:40:08 2017

i agree with others that you shouldn't leave things up to ebay, you should also check the items returned,  having said that, my biggest problem with the letter is this: "returns are delivered to a PO Box we checked every week or two."  that seems like a very long time to check your po box, besides that, many times it won't show "delivered" until you actually pick it up from the counter agent,  they leave a slip in you po box. So while I think ebay has lots of blame, I think that one is on the seller.

A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags   A Fan of eBay Automated Returns Sees Snags

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 31 10:40:25 2017

B&M clothing retailers eat an awfully high percentage of returns. When a small seller factors in shipping costs, selling such items just doesn't make sense. You lose money on a return even if you get it back in original condition.



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.