eBay's new dispute resolutions process in action
In eBay’s announcements of site changes last week, one of the things promised was more direct involvement in disputes between buyers and sellers. Just a couple of days after the announcement was made, the new system was already being rolled out. I heard from a TameBay reader we’ll call Tom, who had purchased a camera on eBay but had it delivered minus several of the promised components. Tom told me, “having got no joy from the seller and nearing the 45 day deadline, I went to PayPal to file a dispute, but was redirected to an eBay screen with a customer support number to call.”
The eBay rep said that eBay themselves would process a payment for the cost of the replacement parts, took Tom’s PayPal email, and sent him the cash! Tom comments: “as a buyer, it’s a much cleaner process to get resolution to a problem transaction. If they look to recover this from the seller, my concern would be the the level of safeguards built in to the process.”
Mine too. I asked eBay for some more information on exactly how this kind of refund would work: were they not encouraging some buyers to make fraudulent claims, and how – when it’s a buyer’s word against a seller’s – were they to judge who was right?
eBay told me they have a number of fraud checks in place, and will also look at buyer and seller history when getting involved in disputes. Perhaps most importantly, they will have access to claims history – something that sellers don’t currently have – so will presumably be able to see serial claimants.
As for the question of who is funding the refunds, “we may seek to recover the funds in the future – just as PayPal does today for all claims in the buyer’s favour”. The significant difference is, of course, that PayPal require a buyer to return the SNAD item to the seller, whereas eBay haven’t yet mentioned any such requirement; potentially this leaves the seller out of pocket for item plus refund.
Sellers will be given “a certain number of business days” to provide prove that the item *was* as described; if the seller doesn’t respond, then the buyer will “generally” be refunded and eBay will seek to reclaim the funds from the seller. eBay add:
We understand that there will be times where both buyer and seller may be right. In those cases eBay may absorb the cost to reimburse the buyer without any impact on the seller.
Over to you – is this the reassurance that buyers need, or just asking for trouble? Leave us a comment.