You're a liar, no you're a liar!

eBay are examining the process of Significantly Not As Described items. Buyers and sellers disagreeing over the condition of an item is always going to arise, especially as it’s often a subjective opinion.

A bigger problem is if the item arrives back damaged, broken and not in the condition it was sent out in. Even worse is the rare case where a buyer sends back an empty box or a box of junk just to get a tracking number. eBay want to hear from anyone this has happened to on The Chatter. Griff has some great tips on how to avoid Not As Described claims.

Not As Described claims are fairly rare, normally the seller and buyer are able to mutually come to a satisfactory outcome without needing to resort to a claim. In fact for business sellers the Distance Selling Regulations give the buyer the right to return an item and the seller is obligated to accept the return without a reason being given. Fraudulent Not As Described claims are even rarer.

Today however I came across a story which goes one better – a Fradulent, Fraudulent Not as Described Claim!

A buyer received an item which arrived damaged, upon contacting the seller she received a point blank “No Returns”. She returned the item with tracking and PayPal refunded her. Next thing she knows the police are banging on her door, searching her house and have arrested her! She was accused of having sent a metal bolt as a return instead of the item, a gold charm. The buyer was released without charge when she told her story and maintains her innocence. This really does sound like a seller with a grudge causing trouble.

The good news is that (in the UK at least) it’s been established that the police do and will take fraudulent claims seriously, even when the value of the item is only £14.91. Sellers who refuse returns or don’t cover items in transit should reconsider their terms of trading. Even if you’re a private seller PayPal will still insist the item is delivered intact to the buyer and business sellers have no choice.

eBay have a tough job adjudicating this type of claim. The good news is only a tiny percentage of buyers file more than one claim a year (the majority files none). If a buyer files multiple claims, particularly multiple SNAD claims, they will stick out like a sore thumb.

Sellers with too many claims against them will also find PayPal investigating their account, and with eBay enforcing the seller non-performance policy more rigorously will soon find themselves no longer able to trade.