I've written to you before about eBay phone support wait times a couple of years ago that you ran a piece on and now I have another issue I wanted to try and bring to your attention. It has to do with return requests in eBay where there is a clear case of buyer remorse as the underlying reason for a return request as given by the buyer's return comments, but they use a different reason code when they open their return request.
As you probably know, buyers who open return requests due to what eBay considers buyer's remorse reasons - an item didn't fit, they didn't like the color or they found a better price elsewhere etc. - for those type of returns, the buyer is responsible for paying the return shipping and may also be subject to a restocking fee if it was specified in the item listing.
What we are encountering however, at least several times a week, is we are getting buyers opening return requests where it appears from the buyer's comments it's a situation which falls under a category of buyer's remorse as the reason for the return request, but they are instead using a return request reason that is a non-remorse reason - defective item, missing parts or wrong item sent, etc. - and doesn't match their comments.
If they open a return request with one of those non-remorse reason return codes, if we accept the return we are forced to pay for their return shipping and we also lose our ability to charge a stated restocking fee.
For example, we just had one where the buyer didn't like the shade of color of some patio replacement vinyl and they used the reason "wrong item sent" as their return code. We also currently have a return request open from someone who ordered 1.5" patio replacement vinyl which they received but then opened a return request saying they now realize they needed 2". However, their return request was opened as "wrong item sent" instead of the buyer remorse "didn't fit" return code, which is what they should have selected. We didn't ship the wrong item in this case, they just ordered the wrong size.
I think sometimes it is unintentional on the part of the buyers to pick the wrong return request reason code but in other cases it appears to be just a blatant attempt by them to get around the requirement for the buyer to pay for the return shipping and basically try to stick that cost onto the seller.
After having had multiple phone conversations with eBay CS on these return requests, it seems pretty clear to us that eBay does not have a good handle on how to deal with these kind of situations. They readily acknowledge when they review each case that is a clear case of buyer remorse, but we are getting inconsistent messages from them on how to handle these types of problematic returns.
Some CS agents have told us don't respond and wait for the buyer to open a case, other agents have told us to accept the return but don't provide a shipping label. Others have told us to reach out to the buyer, but then we point to the CS agent that even if the buyer acknowledges their error in the return reason, they are unable to change the return reason and if they close the return request they can't reopen it so that's kind of pointless.
The method that has worked for us has been to simply wait for the buyer to open a case and eBay always sides with the buyer (probably without review would be our guess) and refunds the buyer. Following this we have to call eBay CS, they acknowledge after reviewing the case it was a return based on buyer remorse, and they reverse the case outcome on appeal and we get refunded back.
Basically eBay winds up paying off the buyer and the seller. It's a hassle for us though having to call each time one of these problem cases is opened by a buyer, and it's happening to us at the rate of 3-4 a week.
If they would simply give us - the sellers - an option to have the return requests sent for review, a lot of this could be resolved I think more expediently or at least a better system on how to handle these problem requests should be thought out by eBay and be made transparent.
I wanted to bring our concerns and frustrations to your attention Ina and appreciate your taking the time to read this email.