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No final value fee credits for postage refunds

By Chris Dawson August 5, 2013 - 6:15 am

A Tamebay reader asked the question “If a buyer overpays on postage rather than requesting a total when I make a partial refund would I get a final value fee credit”.

The answer from eBay support was “No”.

We’re not surprised by this at Tamebay, eBay generally only give final value fee credits for entire refunds under limited circumstances (mainly for cases in the resolution centre in which you agree a full refund with the buyer before the case is escalated to eBay.

It doesn’t matter if the buyer didn’t pay, you and your buyer mutually agree to cancel the transaction, or the buyer opens a case and you agree a refund, the case has to be opened in the resolution centre. You won’t however receive a final value fee credit for any cases opened on PayPal.

So as eBay don’t give partial final value fee credits for partial refunds, it’s understandable (but regrettable) that they also won’t give final value fee credits for partial postage refunds.

That being the case the it’s now time to start using eBay’s postage rules to ensure that any postage discounts you wish to offer are automatically applied at checkout. There are two main options:

Flat Postage Rules

You can choose to charge for delivering the item with the highest P&P cost, and then add an additional lower cost for each additional item that they purchase from you. You can also subtract P&P costs for each additional item purchased, or offer free P&P on additional items.

Promotional postage rules

You can offer buyers special discounts if they buy multiple items or spend a certain amount. For example, you can create a rule that gives buyers free P&P as long as they spend at least £25 and buy 2 items. You can also charge a maximum P&P amount for a single order. For example, you can specify that a buyer be charged no more than £5.00 for P&P if the buyer purchases more than one item from you.

What should I do?

We understand that many sellers have routinely refunded overpaid postage. We also know from experience just how hard it is to set postage rules which cover very light weight items sold alongside much heavier products. We also know from a buyer perspective that it’s much easier to be able to click to buy and click to pay without having to request a shipping total and hope your selling is online sometime soon to send you an invoice.

The options available to sellers are pretty simple – set up your postage rules; charge as normal, pocket any overpayments and hope your Detailed Seller Ratings don’t get too many hits; or refund overpaid postage and accept that you’ll have paid final value fees on the refunded overpayment so build it into your costs.

There is of course one other option and that’s to have everything free (included) postage so there’ll never be overpayments to refund, but we know that won’t work for all sellers and typically the sellers who have the most postage partial refunds to do are the very sellers for whom free P&P wouldn’t work for in the first place.

What’s it going to cost you?

If you want to know the potential final value fee overpayment then download your PayPal history and sort by refunds for the last few months. Then apply the typical final value fee for the categories you sell in and then you’ll know the additional fees you’ll need to budget for.

  • Weeze
    4 years ago

    Thanks for discussing this on here. I asked this question because despite having my ‘flat postage rules’ set yesterday I still had a buyer who purchased everything separately. I took the time to ask them why and they responded that ‘the system wouldn’t let them combine’. I went in via my private acc to my business acc and ran a test and it combined, I phoned ebay and they checked and said it was fine too.

    I’ve read similar comments from similar sellers saying that sometimes they get the same problem, the items simply won’t combine.

    Now this could’ve simply been user error, not clicking basket and clicking BIN and at the moment I can simply refund them. However, in the future if it is a system error and it becomes my responsibility to refund them a postal overpayment and I don’t get a refund on fees that seems unfair.

    I’ve been considering the other options BUT adding postage to the BIN price means the customer pays postage on every single item, mighty unfair on the buyer.
    Circumnavigating this using promotional rules would be difficult for me as I deal in a lot of vintage china and tableware and estimating where the ‘cut off’ would be for free post (due to the potential weight of the items) would be really difficult.

    Any advice on how I could build in a manageable postal system to fit round this would be much appreciated.

  • JD
    4 years ago

    eBay will be upsetting a number of buyers and sellers over this very issue.

    eBay seems to be expecting sellers to tell buyers to use the basket for combined orders but I am not sure that it is either reasonable or practicable to make sellers responsible?

  • Gemma
    4 years ago

    We have been using promotional postage rules now for around a year now, with instructions to buyers in our listings to use the shopping basket to access combined postage benefits.

    This however has not prevented a large number of buyers purchasing items separately and buying postage multiple times – overpaying by as much as £10 on one occasion! – nor does it stop the steady stream of messages asking “can you combine postage?”. We have found that buyers who purchase separately fall into two categories: Those that don’t read descriptions, and those that don’t know that apps need to be updated and so don’t even know that the shopping basket exists.

    It seems that the only way that eBay can resolve this problem is to to remove the Buy it Now button completely, leaving just “Add to Basket” and force obsolete apps to be updated before purchases can be made.

  • Toadlady
    4 years ago

    This issue is further compounded by current test, soon to be site wide, enforced immediate payment on buyers – with no opt out for sellers.

    Not all non-UK sites even have the basket – so eBay won’t remove the ‘Buy Now’ button. Many international buyers pay at once because they trust me to refund the overpayment and don’t want to delay their order by waiting for an invoice – time difference plays a big part in this.

    I’m an experienced buyer, but I still almost got caught out buying 2 items from the same seller last night. I added one to basket, went to seller’s shop and selected another but hit ‘buy now’ instead of ‘add to basket’. I managed to back track and add to basket, but I have no idea if the discount would have been applied if I had confirmed the buy now one.

    The current postage rules provision makes it impossible to cover all orders no matter how hard you try. Especially for international sales because you can only ad one rule but there are 3 postal zones with very different costs involved.

    I am routinely refunding £10+ to non-UK buyers simply because of eBay’s inadequate tools. eBay aren’t doing anything to help reduce the number of times this will happen and will happily keep the £1.00 they overcharge me each time.

  • Alan Jones
    4 years ago

    AS far as I can see , this is beginning of the end for ebay– or at least ebay for private and small-time business sellers as it has been the last decade or so. Mark my words , it will fail big-time in due course unless it changes its unrelenting policies of unfairly charging fees to sellers for circumstances outside of their control such as post and packing costs. It will be a case that most sellers will be forced to either partially absorb the extra fees thereby reducing their profit margins , or hiking up the P&P rates to cover ebay’s extra commission demands. Personally , I would not be surprised if it all backfires and in the long term , ebay’s business suffers as a result of its short term greed and ill-thought out measures. OF course , what it could all be about is that ebay have realised they’ve had a good run , the writing is on the wall and they’re just grabbing what they can whilst they STILL can !!

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