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Sun Oct 10 2021 10:32:37

eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I had eBay customer service do something bizarre yesterday and was wondering if this is something related to the fall seller update.

A buyer received an item on September 10th and sent me a message from eBay that it was a different model than what was advertised on the listing and she wanted a refund. 

I don't accept returns and my listing states I don't give partial refunds. I disagreed with her (didn't tell her that) but told her she had to open up a return case on eBay.

She opened a case, I immediately accepted the return and issued a return label. She complained via several messages afterwards that she couldn't believe she had to 'jump through hoops' for the refund. I reminded her that returning an item is pretty standard with any retailer if you wanted your money back (I said it nicely). It seemed pretty clear to me she either wanted a partial refund or to keep the item and get her money back.

Two weeks went by and she still hadn't shipped the item back. She contacted eBay customer service yesterday and escalated the case for them to decide. eBay gave her a refund (eBay's money, not mine) and she is getting to keep the item. Screenshots attached of automated eBay CS messages with the case escalation and decision are attached. 

The only thing I can think of that the buyer told eBay was that she shipped the item (but the tracking number showed it was never received by the post office). 

This case just seems to reinforce with buyers that they can take advantage of sellers and eBay will back them up.

This has never happened before and I'm wondering if this has happened to other sellers as well? Is this part of the new fall update for sellers?

Thank you for considering my question,
JC



Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: Carl

Sun Oct 10 11:53:11 2021

No, not new.
It has happened to me as well.
eBay do pay out of their own pockets now and again.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 10 12:27:32 2021

“ eBay do pay out of their own pockets now and again.”

Hard to imagine, right.  

One would think they could easily afford to though, and more often, considering whose pockets filled ‘theirs’, and by what means.  Which include both announced and more often surreptitious fee increases that should otherwise not be garnered just so they can be allocated to rewarding buyers for their dishonesty in a desperate attempt to ‘retain’ them.

But instead of policy then, (either way), eBay payola remains episodic, and often inexplicable.  One would have to investigate factors (in this case; others would differ), such as buyer adherence to time constraints for proving a return (meaning seller liability expired), seller ‘history’ of service quality (mulligan eligibility), eBay ‘worthiness’ value (use yer imagination there), and the buyer’s ‘value’ too, despite their evident biotchiness exhibited during the transaction.  Consider how they may have disguised that during direct eBay interface.

Notable irony here though - as long as eBay encourages this, prices will rise, hurting buyers in the end.  Of course, eBay stands to benefit from that too.  

Imagine that.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Oct 10 18:28:01 2021

Check this one out :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMi5k2PEo6w&t=232s

And there are probably a few more...

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 01:02:54 2021

The buyer has 15 days after getting that label (or shipping their own) to get it scanned and on it's way. It never was clear exactly when that was because eBay posts "....buyer must return item BY (such a date)." It was never clear to me whether that date was included or not, but one thing that was clear is that nothing would happen (if I didn't call in) for about another week and then maybe the computer would close the request due to buyer inaction.  Until last week. For the 1st time, the computer closed the return early in the morining on the BY date. (CS always thought I had to call back after the BY date). Maybe eBay figured out they have been wasting CS time on trivial stuff.

So that's what should happene, and what happened here hasn't happened to me. But eBay paying the buyer back with their own funds is standard procedure if you understand the rules that have been in effect for awhile. It is not unpublished:
If you do free shipping - free returns you get a discount on your FV fees. If you want no part of that nonsense you may or may not missing out on saving fees.


With selling clothes, size tags mean next to nothing. There is no standard unless you measure them with a ruler, and when you do, only a small percentage of buyers understand. I'm not willing to let people try on used clothes at my expense, so I offer returns, but the buyer must pay shipping both ways.
eBay approves this and they also know there are a lot of buyer's remorse returns disguised as 'not as described', or 'defective', or (I had this today) 'arrived damaged' not by USPS but because it was too small for him and should have fit because he knows his size.
So I did what I do when they don't deserve a free round trip: I agreed to the return and when it arrived I did not approve to refund his original shipping, and I deducted an equal amount to cover the return which I had been charged for. When you do that (up to 50% of the purchase price max) you have to chose a reason and there are 4 choices, none of which are buyer's remorse. (Which has been the only reason I have ever deducted since nobody had returned anything they damaged as yet.)  Which makes no sense to me, but there's plenty about eBay which makes no sense, so I chose another reason, like "buyer opened the item" or "buyer used the item". Then I explain this is a disguised buyer's remorse return and the reasons.
What's happened every time, is the buyer sees he didn't get a free round trip and escellates the case. After a few minutes, I get an email from ebay saying they are refunding the buyer with their money, it will have no effect on my good standing (no defect) and any feedback by the buyer will be removed.
What I think happens is that ebay has allocated me an amount to spend for phoney returns, since I don't get the FV discount. They don't say how much it is. I'm sure there is a limit. I imagine that the buyer get's a hidden demerit, and that there's a limit to how many times they can pull the same scam return but that's just a guess. I've had buyers chordle back at me telling me the won the case which is what ebay wants them to think.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Oct 11 02:26:16 2021

Yes Ebay has done this for years on low dollar value claims.  Where the seller is acting appropriately but they decide to just smooth things over for everyone, buyer and seller by paying for it out of Ebay funds and not the seller.  

And yes this can promote the misbehavior of buyers except Ebay doesn't announce the do this.  It is on a case by case basis and likely is not done too frequently.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 05:53:13 2021

"eBay gave her a refund (eBay's money, not mine)"
What does this mean ^^?  Ebay holds your money correct?
I wish the OP would let us know the VALUE of the product.  If it's a widget and not worth much, then it's negligible.  But it has a high value....but I understand how he can get upset about this.  
The youtube & IG influences need to start blasting EB online.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 08:11:25 2021

eBay was NOT being charitable, nor is this new.

On eBay there is ONE and ONLY ONE thing that counts - avoiding costly chargebacks.

As Marie said, this was probably a rather inexpensive item and eBay opted to avoid the he said/she said/angry witch of a customer issue of her going to her CC company to do a chargeback by issuing a refund to make it all "go away".

eBay btw, believes that small sellers should do it to - pretending that all sellers have the same billions of dollars sitting around (eBays is offshore), has full gyms, day cares and a restaurant - so they can afford it!

Better eBays pockets then yours !

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: Ronn This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 10:13:04 2021

Interesting subject. I experienced this recently...as a buyer.  I have regularly bought a specific product from one favorite seller for many years. I purchased a new product that, unfortunately, I goofed on the specs. I contacted the seller about a return, indicating a credit would be acceptable since I would be placing an order soon on my regular product.. But eBay sent me a return label and off the package went.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 10:22:10 2021

The time from when the buyer escalated the return to a case, and when he was refunded and I was notified, was a few minutes on a Sunday night. I would say the computer did that, so perhaps it was a 'case by case' algorithm, but that's not consistant with the scope of eBay's other computer programming.
Also, from other articles and comments, it seems chargebacks are a profitable source of profit for eBay, so I doubt they would do anything to stand in the way of that happening.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 10:33:40 2021

Ronn: "I contacted the seller about a return, indicating a credit would be acceptable since I would be placing an order soon on my regular product.. But eBay sent me a return label and off the package went."
There's more you didn't mention: You filed a return with eBay before you got the label.
I'm a bit confused about how this works. As part of a recent update, I read eBay was  going to automatically approve returns and that's what's been happening most of the time. Occasionall however, I get the old method where I can message the buyer, offer partial refunds, etc. What's up with that? Does it depend on the reason the buyer chooses for the return. It was the 'arrived damaged' reason that wasn't automatic.
The new way sucks. I've had a return automatically approved where the USPS crushed the box and the item in the box had been exchanged for other junk. I certainly didn't want anybody to pay to ship that, so I had to message the buyer using the seller hub not to ship, as there was no messages possible in the returns area.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Oct 11 11:22:45 2021

"This case just seems to reinforce with buyers that they can take advantage of sellers and eBay will back them up."

You can definitely take this statement as fact.    eBay knows what sellers put up with.  In most cases they just refuse to do anything about it.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 13:14:30 2021

I have no problem with this.  Instead of losing the sale AND paying for the return shipping, I shipped the item and got paid.  So the buyer got a freebie.    Cost me nothing.  

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: AddyUp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 13:42:28 2021

I had a nutjob buyer a couple of weeks ago. They opened a return and left a ranting feedback. I called eBay hoping to get the feedback removed but instead the first thing they said was we have closed the case and refunded the buyer ourselves.

Yes I was surprised and I'm left thinking does eBay know something about this buyer that I don't. Apart from being a nutjob.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: zeek6228 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 13:47:54 2021

"Customer is always right" doesn't mean the customer is always right. It means "yeah yeah, whatever, blah blah blah please go away I have better ways to use my time"


I don't even engage with this type of customer. Just send a generic copy/paste response with (apology for the inconvenience, don't worry blah blah blah) and generic instructions on how to open a case in the eBay resoluition center (click on help, etc..). Then accept return and provide label. If not sent back by that date just close the case.



Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Oct 11 13:48:39 2021

@chicago

Ebay doesn't offer this on high value items.  It is for small value, while I don't know what that threshold is, from comments I've seen on the threads, most sellers reporting this happened for them, the sale was under $50.  Now that may or may not be the threshold, as I said before, Ebay certainly isn't going to make that public.

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Oct 11 13:50:44 2021

@ZZ

This has nothing to do with Chargebacks.  

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 14:14:30 2021

“ Cost me nothing.”

Wanna bet?  Though it may not be ‘episodically’ visible, what do you imagine they use for funds?  

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 12 00:26:05 2021

LMFAO, so Ebay funding the refund is a sign that they back up buyers taking advantage of sellers?

They funded this as a courtesy to you when it sounds like YOU should have funded it.  

Perminate Link for eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?   eBay Funds Buyer Return: Is That a New Practice?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Oct 13 14:53:23 2021

@snapped

That can be said by most any money that Ebay spends in regards to the Website.  Ultimately the money to fund marketing, ebay direct refunds to buyers, etc. is funded by the money Ebay earns from the site itself.  

Nothing new in that.  But Ebay doesn't just go around refunding most buyers out of Ebay funds.  It is a selective program that of course they aren't going to release the details too as it would then be open season for some buyers.  



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