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Tue July 18 2017 16:00:15

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Uptick

By: Reader

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Dear Ina, 
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.
Thanks, 
Jeff




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Tue Jul 18 16:45:24 2017

Someone commenting on this post on Facebook offered a suggested solution. "All items are sent back to EBAY and then back to the seller which allows eBay to verify the concern if applicable. Basically a reverse GSP style hub." What would you think of that idea?

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: TrickyMick This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 18 18:35:46 2017

I have the same issues as the OP. I have tried the wait and open case techinque. The seller ends up paying the return shipping and 80% of the time I get a damaged item back.  With no chance to even collect my restocking fee. I sell car parts, new and used... Id imagine it's a higher fraud return category then others.

My antique sales... great buyers, never a problem.

Ina,  I received a questionnaire from ebay 6 months ago.. about if I would like the option to have ebay be the middle man, I would have to send my item to ebay 1st, then they send it to the buyer... they wanted a hefty fee for this service.

If you had your returns only through ebay the buyer would still win everytime.  Example with the chair straps... buyer would just cut 12'' off and claim they were short, or put old cloths in the box and claim the seller sent cloths instead of straps. Like a cracker jack box, mystery prize.

I have a suggestion for ebay... bring 2 way feedback back, and give sellers the right to refuse a sale without penalty. Someone has a 70 feedback score with 2-3 negatives from sellers.

Sale canceled. Winner winner grouper dinner.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: DTSM

Tue Jul 18 19:19:21 2017

The only real solution would be for eBay to eat the return shipping cost on every return. You would have a happy seller and a happy buyer. More sales would result benefiting all. But it will be a cold day in hell before this happens.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 19 08:25:17 2017

Having EBAY or Pitney Bowes get in the middle is a NON-STARTER on multiple levels. I started to LIST how this would fail, but the REAL REASON I see it as unworkable is that  it would mean that any PURCHASE that was returned would "generate" THREE different mailing/shipping events. Once OUT to buyer, Second Back to EBAY, and the Third from EBAY to the Seller. Entirely too easy for EACH one of those to be $$.  $$ is bad enough but THREE TIMES $$ would be a crusher.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

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

Wed Jul 19 08:27:02 2017

We are part of the eBay returns pilot. We are allowed to select the amount of refund (return postage deducted from refund, restocking charges, initial postage refunded)for almost all types of refunds.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 19 08:33:53 2017

Leave your return requests in the ''request'' stage. Explain to them (Through the send message to buyer choice in the request) how whatever they said does not match the return reason they chose and then explain your return policy and restock fee.  Give them your return address and whatever other info you need to provide.   Then report the buyer for sending in a false return request and block them from purchasing from you again (or make this step one if you want!). Ebay won't do anything but maybe it will make you feel better.

Now, if they send it back you may have to forgo your getting the ebay fees back and just refund via paypal or you can do refund without return if everything else works for you so that will skip the part where you need to send them a label.

Just wondering if your sizes are written clearly, if the buyers could be ordering online and not be able to see what they are clicking to purchase, if any of that could also be part of the issue or maybe it is just your busy season that you have so many now.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 19 08:44:39 2017

Don't believe that the ebay returns pilot helps if the buyer does not agree.  You can still get a defect if they don't like what you gave them back. Ebay won't back you even if they lied in the reason or they just repeat what it says in your ad for the usual reason from before the pilot program because you cannot prove the buyer lied (unless the buyer says I lied and I just wanted a full refund on ebay message). Just be wary of trusting that program to assist you!

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: wwb2016

Wed Jul 19 09:29:40 2017

I think you're missing the underlying concept that as an industry, buyer's remorse happens. The companies that don't offer free returns and pre-paid labels are few and dying quickly. Victoria's Secret, Wal-Mart and Amazon don't charge restocking fees or return shipping and that's the standard buyers are coming to expect. It shouldn't matter why the buyer is returning the item; accept the return, resell it if you can, budget for the ones you can't and move on.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

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

Wed Jul 19 10:08:11 2017

You really need to just try different return policies and live with whatever works best.  We are all playing by the same rules, and plenty of sellers are doing fine.  I would first remove the restocking fee unless it was there for a very exceptional reason. If you allow 30 day returns, maybe try 14 day--yeah you'll lose FVF discount but maybe you do the math and it's worth it.  

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed Jul 19 10:32:35 2017

@wwb2016 (eBay employee)

You can charge a 20% restocking fee on Amazon, and 50% if a new item has been opened. And they do not force a third party seller to pay shipping both ways on a buyers remorse return.

The company you work for, unlike Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Victoria's Secret, does not own, warehouse, or ship merchandise. And a great deal of the goods sold are used, vintage and collectible. WM & VS do not sell pre-owned items.

This is the reason there are so many complaints about bogus SNAD returns- eBay allows this type of behavior because they can place the costs right into the backs of their sellers.

And now they want to introduce FREE returns?? Guaranteed that this would never happen if eBay actually owned the merchandise that is sold on the site!!

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: DTSM

Wed Jul 19 10:44:42 2017

@ wwb2016- If buyer remorse happens and is expected, why does eBay treat it like is a slam against my seller account? Sellers should not be penalized for accepting returns.  

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 19 11:06:24 2017


@fleecebay employee. just like your bosses, make stuff up and lie.

you need to take a look at amazon. they do NOT pay for returns on a buyers remorse return.not do they make 2rd parties pay return shipping on buyers remorse returns.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 19 11:16:03 2017

@wwb2016  I think you missing the point that I'm not Victoria's Secret, Wal-Mart or Amazon and I can't absorb the shipping/restocking fees like these companies because these companies make millions of dollars to off set returns.

When will the rest of us be able to use the pilot program? I'm dealing with the same thing the person from this article is talking about. You call ebay and get the run around with 3 different people each time you call. Can someone in management please give them the proper instructions on how to handle this? A lot of times when it is a clear case of buyers remorse and the 3rd ebay rep will be able to help me but its a good 45min-1hour phone call and then wait 5 days after process.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: QueenMab

Wed Jul 19 13:22:18 2017

I just had an item returned due to what I strongly feel is Buyer's Remorse. The buyer claimed that the color in the photo was not the same as the item received. I had only one of this item. There is no way that I altered the color of the item. I take all photos with a professional Nikon camera on a white background. The buyer waited nearly 2 weeks before returning the item & only used the mailing address without using my name or my eBay ID on the package. This is the 1st return I have ever had in over 14 years of selling on eBay. I blocked the buyer. Trying to talk to eBafia would only fall on deaf ears.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 19 16:41:43 2017

Wwb....

I think you're missing the point that while buyer's remorse has existed since the first hand axe was traded for the first string of seashells, it was eBay who enabled it as a monetized profit center for themselves and PayPal.  And THEN claimed to justify it as 'industry standard'.
And it is only the 'companies' (aka sellers) who use eBay only as the VENUE it advertises itself to be, who do not kowtow to eBay's 'free returns and ship labels' (unwritten edicts) who are thus being decimated from the site because of this unsubstianted 'standard'.

Comparing eBay sellers to Amazon, wMart and VS, who sell at volumized retail is not only an innacurate analogy, but is very revealing (but not surprising) as a description of eBay's current myopic 'vision' of themselves - despite having no ownership rights to the inventory they deem to control, nor take financial responsibility for.  
And it does indeed 'matter' why a buyer wishes to return an item - particularly since eBay will hold it against a seller and apply any number of undeserved sanction and penalty for it.  Even when it can be proven beyond doubt that the buyer has lied to advantage eBay's 'industry standard' return process edicts.

And just WHO is eBay to condescendingly dictate a given seller's (i.e. ''Company's'') return terms - despite differences in REAL 'standard' expectations that differ with business model and marketplace niche?  

Move on?  Isn't that just eBay kool-aid (tm) speak for 'be quiet'?  How do you ppl sleep at night knowing you've been singlehandedly responsible for shuttering thousands and thousands of entreprenures who were sucessfully operating just fine - AND with '5-star quality', until you took it upon yourselves to edict them into bankruptcy so to appear streetworthy and afford absurdly extreme corporate salaries?

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Wed Jul 19 17:23:14 2017

FWIW, 9/10 eBay returns are the wrong reason.

Yes, I can also adjust refunds.  But every time I do, I'm terrified the buyer will do something retaliatory.  However I believe that the majority of people that select the wrong reason are entirely unaware that it will put the seller between a rock and a hard place, and they have no idea the irreversible gravity attached to each menu choice.  Which is why eBay should do a double validation check on these when they chose the reason that shackles the seller with all of the blame and cost.  e.g. ''Are you sure?'', and ''Are you sure you are sure?  This reason code means the seller sent something entirely different than what was listed.'' ''If this is not true, incorrect reason codes selected to avoid return shipping and restocking fees are considered abuse of the TOS, and may result in limits or suspension of your account, adjusted refunds, and a rejected return in some cases.''  Even if no one never did any of that, the in-your-face awareness would be a huge deterrent to fraud and stupidity, or even an honest incorrect menu selection.

The ''consumerist return culture'' we've bred is also used to walmart or target telling them they are always right, and taking back their return of used underwear no questions asked, for a full refund.  Big problem, that should be addressed by these retailers.  They don't have to take EVERY return to stay in business.  People are going to come back regardless.

Most of the 'return culture' are people that are basically on the edge of being poor, can't commit to the smallest of things, and want to rent stuff.  Losers.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Wed Jul 19 18:26:27 2017

@DeathFromAbove said:
''Most of the 'return culture' are people that are basically on the edge of being poor, can't commit to the smallest of things, and want to rent stuff.  Losers.''

You may be right, but I know a lot of low income people, that all work, and work hard.  None of them happen to be that way.

Personally I see it in the middle class.  In fact, in my own family, among the HIGHEST incomes, are a whole BUNCH of CAREER BORROWERS & RETURNERS.  Too bad there is no real penalty for this behavior, as it costs us all.  

Buyers Remorse is non-existent among them.  In their case they would call it ''Consumer Entitlement''.   I would post their names to a BBL but they don't BOTHER with the internet (Fortunately for all of US). Shopping for them is an ALL DAY, weekly affair, at Indoor Malls, Strip Malls, and Tarzhaaay.  Then return 1/2 - 2/3 of it next week.  Hopefully they don't find out about Prime.

I don't stand for that kind of carp among my own personal kin,  but unfortunately I want to stay married..................

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 20 06:24:28 2017

Ina says ""All items are sent back to EBAY and then back to the seller which allows eBay to verify the concern if applicable. Basically a reverse GSP style hub." What would you think of that idea?"

I think that eBay would never pay for the manpower that it would take to run such an operation to verify.  Such an operation would have to be global as well.  I find that the CSRs who are currently in place very poorly trained, and as I've said before, if you speak to three different CSRs they will all advise you differently.

When you have an ill advised or poorly trained CSR making subjective decisions, such as the one that Ina is proposing, you may be no better off than you are now.  At least when I've had to appeal, it might take a few calls, but eBay normally does side with me.  I have also provided photos of what I sent and what I received back and those seem to carry a lot of weight when appealing a case.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 20 06:30:19 2017

One more point--I had a buyer file a SNAD.  I asked him what the issue was.  He messaged me back stating that the item was exactly as I described.  I called eBay, the viewed the buyer's message.  eBay told me that when I received the item back to refund the buyer via PayPal minus the shipping.  After I did this, it still did not close the case.  I called eBay back.  I had to escalate up the chain but the case was closed in my favor with no dings on my account.  Buyer still avoided my restocking fee but I felt it better to let that one slide. eBay also told me that if the buyer left negative feedback that they would remove it.

eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt   eBay Returns Due to Buyer's Remorse Are on the Upt

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 20 06:35:12 2017

DTSM says "Sellers should not be penalized for accepting returns. "

I will tell you that every time a return case is opened, no matter what the reason is and no matter what the outcome is, my sales fall.  It's happens every time. It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but that is my experience.

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