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Thu Dec 6 2018 14:06:21

eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I wanted to pass along to you, something I learned today that may be of interest to others that I don't believe has already been covered. 

Back when eBay really started pushing sellers to offer "free return shipping" (seller's to bite this cost), I think they referenced the return policy of both Overstock and Wayfair who, at the time, offered free return shipping. 

Well, it has recently come to my attention, that both Overstock and Wayfair no longer are giving their customers this "free return shipping"! 

Hmmm, interesting that two of the biggest online retailers are no longer offering this, yet eBay wants its sellers to offer "Free Return Shipping"! I personally tried the free return shipping for a month, and quite honestly, saw "no increase in sales" - in fact my sales are down over 50% in the last 30 days not due to my fault...

Thanks so much,
Patty



Comments (35) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: 1st Armored Division 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 14:33:06 2018

I offer free return shipping and it was a no brainer. I looked at my past returns which were virtually non-existent and all I had to do was get one extra sale per year because I offered free return shipping and it would pay for my costs plus leave me something left over for the hassle.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 14:41:45 2018

Other major retailers (Macys, Penney's, etc) also have items sold as "All Sales Final - No Returns."  Return shipping combined with free shipping is a risk I am not wiling to take.  

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Dec 6 14:45:34 2018

I'm guessing that Wayfair and Overstock found out what so many eBay sellers have known for years: free return shipping is an open invitation for buyers to use and return what they purchased. By making a buyer pay to return an item, the buyer is less likely to want to return it.  

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 14:52:01 2018

Bestbuy doesnt offer free return shipping either - unless it was their mistake.

Which is how it should be.

The "begging" to get buyers by using/abusing returns/free shipping/free returns shipping only hurts the buyer in the end anyway.

Costs forced onto sellers, causes them to raise prices/give worse service to offset those costs .. ie cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Some people have it easier then others - they ship light things - some (like myself) do not.

Its not much different then eBay pushing 60 day returns. Most makers dont give 60 day returns to sellers to start with and have STRICT rules for items you can return (completeness, insuring its the same serial number, same item).

When you sell t-shirts like Hone-Evil - its not an issue - when you sell electronics and other items - it is.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: Just Plain Irritated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 15:02:53 2018

Free shipping might be feasible if you sell light weight items that are not sold by size.

However, if you sell something heavier that is size specific, free shipping can result in the seller paying the return costs for people who just didn't read the description, check to be certain they were ordering the right size and then using a false reason for the return.

The same thing applies to free returns. We sell items priced from $9.95 on up to $199.95 or more. Many of the $9.95 items can cost as much or more to ship.

Free Shipping sounds great until you get a return and pay out more for a return label than what the item was priced at. Same for Free Returns.

It simply isn't feasible. So many people are playing the price war race to the bottom and sell so cheap that it also isn't feasible to add those extra costs to the price of the item.

Once our merchandise is gone, we will probably be gone from eBay too. They just expect way too much from small sellers. Things that many of the big guys are finding out "don't make sense for their bottom line".

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 15:05:30 2018

1st Armored Division   This is commentary and CONTRARIAN advise.  You made the DARN ODD contention that only ONE Additional Sale PER YEAR would cover the costs you anticipate of ADDITIONAL RETURNS now that you CHANGED your return policy from BUYER PAYS to Whoo-Whee FREE RETURNS for ALL of your buyers.
It is not logical to compare a FEW returns with a BUYER PAYS with the number of returns you can reasonably expect to START SEEING once you give every Tom, Dick, and Harriet the opportunity to just take a LACK  of LOVING for your product(s) and start BANGING them right back at you on YOUR DIME ... oops, make that your DOLLARS for Return shipping.
Tattoo this on the back of your hand.... Returns are expensive and EVIL.  Seller PAID Returns are all the above, but in SPADES, too boot.
Trying to use your PAST experience is like standing at your front door on Halloween and holding out your own BUCKET of candy for kids to PICK which one they most want vs. LEAVING said bucket on your porch with NO EYES on the bucket and expecting Candy Craving Children to ONLY TAKE ONE.   Free Return shipping is like CANDY except for being MORE $ expensive.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Beanie

Thu Dec 6 15:39:13 2018

I don't sell on Ebay or anywhere else for that matter. Only a buyer. What I'm confused on is if a seller offers free shipping on an item and the buyer decides they don't want it and want to return it, will the buyer have to pay shipping back to the seller since the seller offers free shipping? I'm just asking because I never return anything I buy online. Or does Ebay reach into the sellers account and remove money for the buyer to print a return shipping label. This has probably already been discussed, but I must have missed it.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Dec 6 16:14:24 2018

@Beanie - What you're asking involves two different things: a seller offering free shipping, and a seller offer free RETURN shipping. Free shipping, means that if you buy a widget for $20, you don't have to pay anything additional for shipping. The $20 covers everything. Free return shipping means that if a buyer wants to return an item, the seller will cover the cost of the return.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 17:22:58 2018

if fleecebay paid for the return labels they would not be pushing for free returns.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 6 19:36:08 2018

On a related note...got this from the ebay wunderkids:
"Free shipping is table stakes in the ecommerce industry today. Remain a competitive seller by offering a compelling shipping policy."

This is not even read-between-the-lines.
It's telling me I have to pay to play...no free shipping=reduced visibility.
My shipping cost can vary $7 to $12 for the same item because I'm in the middle of the country.
Screw 'em.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Dec 7 08:50:09 2018

The free shipping demand really irritates me.  Shipping cost is non-negotiable.  So are eBay fees.  When the two of them on top of acquisition outstrip the selling price of an item, that's it.

Before I quit ordering cases, I could barely make the eBay fees on paid shipping.  Eating $7 "free" shipping on every $20 sale was/is out of the question.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 09:02:31 2018

See heres where the comparison that people love to make (between eBay and Amazon) falls flt.

Amazon can afford to eat the shipping (both ways) due to scope, size and the fact that they actually own transportation infrastructure.

I doubt that anyone here owns a cargo plane.

eBay (aka the dopes that run the place) dont seem to grasp that.(Making/forcing/punishing those who dont).large corporations and small sellers ARENT the same.

Free return shipping is a boondoggle that I personally cant get involved with. If there are people here who can afford it - great - more power to them.

But DONT punish me because I cant, dont hide my listings cause I cant.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 11:16:38 2018

Amazon doesn't offer 'free shipping' - you pay $119 a year for Prime and some SOME items, not all, are shipped with 'NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE'' shipping. If you buy 30 a year, you break even with the $3.99 basic charge. Buy less than 30 and you pay even more than the basic charge.

In the case of most other merchants on Amazon, you pay the flat rate of $3.99. NO discount for multiple items. NO combined shipping. If I order 20 widgets from the same buyer at the same time, they charge the $3.99 shipping per item on ALL 20.

So, once again, NO FREE SHIPPING ON AMAZON. It's a lie and we need to put it to rest.

FREE SHIPPING IS NOT THE ECOMMERCE STANDARD.

Way different than EBay, where I have buyers trying to dicker over a $1.99 shipping charge.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Dec 7 13:27:42 2018

About the only thing "NEW" about the Free Returns is it's name.  It is the SAME thing as has always been known as 30 or 60 day returns with Seller Pays Shipping.  Those options for a return policy have been available for a very long time.

The only thing new about this IMHO is the protection that is available for sellers that issue partial refunds within the perimeters of the program.  That is a nice perk of the program.  But other than that, not a big change.

For sellers that offer 30 to 60 day returns with Buyer Pays Shipping, the ONLY time a buyer will pay for return shipping is IF they properly file a Buyer's remorse return.  It does NOT apply if they are less than honest and file it as a SNAD.  

No matter the seller's return policy [to include no returns], sellers are not allowed to have the buyer pay for return shipping on a SNAD.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 13:46:26 2018

it is so easy for eBay to dictate these policies when they have absolutely nothing at stake here. eBay has nothing at stake when a buyer uses "free returns" and what they fail to realize (or care) is sellers can not afford this feature. However eBay is quick to condemn sellers who do not cater to the buyer who, as example, purchases 3 pair of shoes and keeps the 1 that fits best.

If eBay had any negative stake in the functions they ask sellers to do, the outcome would be different. If eBay realized some of their decisions only benefit eBay in the short term and cause them to loose in the long term, maybe they would think a little harder here.

When eBay looses more and more sellers over their dumb ideas, does anything think they will ever "get it"? I don't think they ever will.  

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Dec 7 13:49:19 2018

"When eBay looses more and more sellers over their dumb ideas, does anything think they will ever "get it"? I don't think they ever will."

I agree, but it is important to remember that while some seller do leave, others join.  This is clear from the member growth over the years.  But I still think you are correct in your assessment.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 14:19:56 2018

Sellers are cows to ebay.
ebay will milk them even if they're dying.
That will change only when the stock price changes to $18-$20.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 16:26:05 2018

@marie....
Gimme a SWAG...how many new, clueless sellers will it take to replace ONE 20-year, 5-star vet?

And what's the retention rate?

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 16:32:22 2018

@hopeforthebest

you have a few inaccuracies in your post.

Perminate Link for eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping   eBay Push to Offer Free Return Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Dec 8 02:10:03 2018

@ebayout
I have no answer for your question, but I'm not sure it is all that important.  A 20 year vet can be a casual seller, micro seller, small seller, etc.  They come in all sizes as do the new sellers.

@hopeforthebest
Amazon does most certainly advertise / show Free Shipping.

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