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Sun Sept 13 2020 17:08:14

eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I received an order from a customer and I found an error in my listing right before I was to ship the item that would have guaranteed a return. I reached out to the customer, explained the situation and I profusely apologized. 

I never received a reply from the customer. I had no choice but to cancel the sale, which was as painful for me as it likely will be for the customer because it was a nice sale.

When I went to cancel, and I looked at the reasons for canceling, there is no option for "error in listing". The closest choice is "item damaged or out of stock" which in this instance, are both untrue. Regardless, this is a defect on my account and I doubt that the customer will understand. 

I was hoping that there would be an additional field that would allow me to explain, but no, just three options, and none of those options remotely relevant. 

It would also have been nice to have an option to offer a coupon to the customer, paid for by me, as a gesture of goodwill.

I have taken issue with eBay "defects" since they rolled it out. Even when mistakes happen and we try to do the right thing, we receive a defect. In my mind this is just heavy handed. I rarely receive a defect, but I believe that they stay on your account for a full year. My guess is that there is a link to the algorithms that eBay uses that affect sellers' visibility. The term "defect" just seems wrong.

I expect my sales on this account to nosedive for a few weeks, as they always do when I receive a return or have to cancel a sale. 

If you publish this, please do not use my name or anything related to the actual print screen below. I'd prefer not to have be punished by eBay for continually calling them out publicly. I've read about what they are capable of.
Best regards!



Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 13 21:44:36 2020

Always use "customer cancelled" - never let eBay railroad you for trying to do the right thing.

eBay has no business telling you or anyone else how to run their business (eBay doesnt like it when people do it to them) - yet they feel (like people here) that its ok.

On eBay - being honest and doing the right thing cant ever happen - since eBays existence is the exact opposite of that.

When in doubt - do the wrong thing, blame the seller, steal his/her money then go to Walkers and buy a few rounds for the dopes you work with.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: ByeByeEbay This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 00:32:11 2020

It seems pretty normal for Paypal and Ebay to give different stories and to blame each or to say contact the other.  Also, I lost a claim on Amazon where the shipping name was a bunch of numbers.  According to most shippers a name has to be on the package.   I rarely ship an order without a name.  It just opens up the door to drama and you can't win

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: Actual Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 01:52:12 2020

The option IS there.

Item Out of Stock because you do NOT have IN STOCK what the listing claims the in stock item to be.

You earned the defect.
We don't need an extra option for buyers to demand coupons and stuff.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Sep 14 02:14:22 2020

A single defect is NOT going to affect your account in any negative way.  So there is no need to worry about that.  If your sales drops, it will be for some other reason completely unrelated to this problem you described.

The only thing that actually matters when filing a cancellation, is it the buyer's issue or the sellers.  The exact reason doesn't really mean much in the process.  In your case, your human side showed up and you made a mistake.  So you had the need to cancel the transaction.  That was the right thing to do.  

You can always send your buyer an email or a note in the mail and explain the issue to them and apologize.  With a note that if they would like to purchase something else, to let you know before purchasing the item and you will extend a discount to them, whatever it is that you are wanting to extend.  There are ways you can handle this without having a formal coupon system available in Ebay.  Just get a little creative.  It's doable.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: Oberon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 03:32:52 2020

When this happens I send a message offering the buyer two alternatives:-

#1 pick another item in my shop with a discount

#2 cancel and get a refund

If they go for #1 I have still made a sale. I sell collectables and most buyers have a bucket list.

If they pick #2 I choose ''buyer cancelled order'' and escape the defect.

There are also other ways around the problem.

Just get a bit creative.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 03:43:37 2020

Defects should be for sellers who repeatedly fail. Not for making a single simple mistake and trying very hard to rectify it within the slim parameters available.

If I were a customer that had been let down I would much prefer a coupon or some form of goodwill over a cheap apology. All eBay ever offer when the fail is a cheap apology of words.

That's not what we want to offer our customers and eBay should learn from it. This is just another example of eBay failing to help anybody but themselves.

90% of eBay sellers want to offer more than an apology but trying to do so leaves us open to all sorts of grief from eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 03:53:28 2020

Alternative Theory of the "CRIME".     I think the poster RUSHED TOO QUICKLY to GIVE UP on receiving a reply from the BUYER.

Shipping one extra day "LATE" would not have had nearly the same level of RISK for getting a BEAT DOWN from eBay's Mindless A.I. computer.

Also did you not receive the BUYER's PHONE NUMBER as part of eBay's report to you "Your Item Has Sold" message?  ALL of my recent orders have that right there in BLACK and WHITE.

How about a WHITE LIE to start the shipment then CANCEL the LABEL for that reason "Problem with Buyer's Address".  That would (should) change the Timeline and allow more opportunity to REACH and communicate with the Soon To Be Unhappy Buyer.

Example:  Would any SANE person take their car to a reputable auto repair shop for an Expensive Alternator replacement  and be informed by the mechanic that FAN BELT or belt tensioner is the real problem?  I seriously DOUBT that your buyer was STIFFING YOU by not responding.  More likely it is a buyer who RARELY checks their "Old-School

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Mon Sep 14 08:48:44 2020

@Marie

eBay has said they do not want personal notes send to buyers. They are moving towards complete anonymity between buyers and sellers.

I wouldn't exactly call that helping people make a correct decision?

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 10:15:39 2020

If the customer does not answer within 24 hours I use customer requested cancellation. But clearly this is your fault and should be using out of stock or damaged.  

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: zeek6228 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 10:48:26 2020

Never allow your personal morals to get involved with your business. It is a recipe for failure. Always use the rules/laws to your advantage.

In this case NEVER EVER select "out of stock" even if it was 100% your fault.

It is like the police pulling you over going 100MPH and they give you a choice "do you want 12 points on your license or do you want to get let off with a warning".

Losing your ebay account costs more than a 100MPH speeding ticket.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Sep 14 12:45:58 2020

@Jono77

That is why it takes multiple defects from multiple buyers to have a negative effect on a seller.  So for those sellers that one get a couple will have no negative effect at all on their accounts. Which accomplishes what you stated.

@angryllama

A single defect doesn't give any seller "the same level of RISK for getting a BEAT DOWN from eBay's Mindless A.I. computer" whether it is a defect for a late shipment or for a cancellation.  The only way it would be a bigger risk would be if they had other defects in cancellation or late shipments.  

A cancellation for the reason of a bad buyer address doesn't change any timeline.  I'm not sure what that even means.  But it does prevent the defect if the seller uses that choice.  

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Sep 14 12:50:20 2020

@CanBrit

I'm sorry you have had that experience with Ebay.  I have not received anything from Ebay that has told me I can't or shouldn't communicate to my buyers.  Besides communicating with your buyer is usually not a personal note but a business need.  If you had a CSR tell you this, they were simply wrong.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: Carl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 14 13:06:54 2020

Honestly can't believe people are using the "Buyer asked to cancel" as the cancel reason, especially when it was the sellers fault.  
You know they pile up against a buyer right?
Too many of those and they face restrictions/bans.
Look for a reason where the seller was to blame. Even though they aren't out of stock, that is the only option that lays the fault with the seller.
Twice in the past few weeks, I have has sellers cancel as 'Buyer Requested'
I never, and it p***ed me off. Reported them.
Wait until you receive an eBay message as a buyer warning about cancellations when you have never, ever once cancelled one. See how you feel.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Sep 15 08:26:49 2020

Why can't there be an "error in listing"  option?  Would that be so difficult?  As a buyer, I'd rather be told of it. I can handle the truth. Mistakes happen.

I won't even get  started on the ghost listings that eBay relists from time to time. Instant defect if they sell, and be sure to choose "out of stock" so you can get slapped with a defect that you had no control of.

Perminate Link for eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture   eBay Prohibits Seller from Making Goodwill Gesture

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 16 15:36:11 2020

‘Defect’ has a negative connotation any way it’s accounted. Derailed maybe, incomplete, something less passion stirring. Crack a thesaurus why don’t they?

Regardless, if it were only applied as means to describe the fact of an unconsummated transaction without regards to cause or ‘blame’, that’s fine.

But when lack of establishing ‘fault’ by due process is replaced with an impersonal automated charge, conviction, and instant application of sanction (even accounting toward a potential future one), and also obfuscates appeal while ‘coincidentally’ enriching the accuser, that’s the problem.

And this problem is particularly egregious when ‘returns’ are categorized as ‘defects’. Especially when no questions returns are effectively compelled by threat of throttling. In fact, this situation is not indicative of the aforementioned ‘defect’ because the sale was consummated. Guess that makes it a defective defect. How eBay-ish.

In this case of course, it’s an unfulfilled order, the ‘defect’ applicable. And being a ‘business’ not only means owning that, but having a plan in place and executing it to do whatever ‘goodwill repair’ is deemed required. eBay or no eBay.

Which has no bot programmed for goodwill.



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