Would you speak to your eBay buyers like this?

By Dan Wilson May 21, 2014 - 1:28 am

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this eBay seller email that has been shared on Facebook.

Obviously, let’s look past the terrible grammar and spelling. The tone is slightly menacing and undeniably frustrated. But at its core is genuine feeling and some insight into ongoing problems.

And the point is a fair one: once a case is opened against a seller, there isn’t much incentive to resolve it. A case is a Defect. Defects are bad.

Obviously buyers have legal rights on returns and the like, but could this be the shape of things to come? It could be evidence that the new Seller Standards bring about some unintended consequences that eBay would do well to consider.

And now, obviously, Tamebay would never encourage anyone to talk to a paying customer like this. Would you? 😉


  • Gary
    4 years ago

    The only chance of having the defect removed is to allow the case to be escalated after 8 days . Why communicate with the buyer to resolve it?

    Isn’t that the point of the message? The language could have been plainer I guess but I can understand the thinking behind it.

    • 4 years ago

      I agree,while i would not put this myself,the reasoning is plain. Sadly now once you have that defect and cannot be giving another defect,then there is really no point in trying to resolve issue with buyer. I do know that many buyers however are completely unaware of this new defect rating system.I had a customer just yesterday,she followed ebay advise to open case for non-arrival,but was mortified when she realised that a defect would count,she just wanted to double check delivery.

  • 4 years ago

    Wow, surely if that was received by customers it would be offensive to some people. The problem these days is that expectations are high and what I find is that the customers jump up and down, rant and rave before even asking the question to us sellers – often when they get the answer they are okay.

    I had one recently, where I said your message is a little harsh – and explained why a delivery was 1 day late. The next day he sent an apology and said he was just sick of poor service.

    One question though – am I reading it right that if a customer opens a case on Ebay – then that is a bad mark regardless of if it is resolved or not ?

    • Karl Baxter
      4 years ago

      Hi Darren, yes eBay now class a open case as a defect 🙁 regardless of why its opened. Even if you get a item not received case opened. I had a item not received case opened last week du to the son signing for a parcel and forgetting to tell his Mum, eBay will not remove the defect even through we did send same day and delivery was within 24 hours of payment. that is my third defect for item not received when the item has been sent and signed for over the last 3 months.

  • Michael G
    4 years ago

    I certainly wouldn’t send an e-mail like that to a buyer, but frankly, eBay’s seller requirements just get dumber and dumber, more and more biased against sellers, and more and more complicated – and always with the promise that they’ll change again completely within a few months. I’ve given up bothering about eBay’s idiotic hoop-jumping fetish altogether. I will be de-listing most of my items and selling them in the physical world.

  • Sue
    4 years ago

    It’s absolutely right. Seller’s have no incentive to resolve cases opened for “not as described” as it counts as a defect as soon as it is opened, so why respond or resolve it? As previously mentioned you may as well not respond to the case and let it escalate to eBay customer service for their decision, at least you get the chance to provide evidence and put your side. If eBay decide it isn’t “not as described” then they will remove the defect. It’s the only way for a “fair hearing”, but not very good customer service. Obviously eBay haven’t thought that one through. The other one that counts as a defect for an open case is “item not received”. Not the seller’s fault that it was lost in shipping but seller gets the defect marker, even if they replace the item or refund and resolve the situation. It might not be a “good shopping experience” for the customer but people know that things go missing in the post occasionally. Surely it’s about how the seller put’s it right? eBay need to think about these open case defect markings and get realistic!

    • admiralhardinge
      4 years ago

      Sorry Sue, but lost post is your responsibility. Consumer law says seller is responsible until the item is delivered. You select your post service, and so if it goes wrong you take the responsibility, even if it is out of your control. Ebay are just being consistent with consumer law on that one without any special ebay quirk.

      The point about incentive is important. Incidentally, if as happened to me 3 times in the past month, a buyer changes their mind or simply made a mistake and closes the case, you can’t escalate it. So as soon as you hear from the buyer with an no-fault case opened, you need to make sure you escalate at the earliest opportunity.

  • 4 years ago

    It’s a bit proactive in threatening the customer and certainly not a strategy we’d ever recommending adopting, but makes a valid point.

    In the past if a buyer had an issue, we would prioritise this to ensure that it was resolved quickly and effectively to prevent a negative mindset on the customers part when leaving feedback and a potential low DSR.

    Now the second a case is open, it seems that the damage is done. If someone decides our product isn’t as described on the basis that their screen brightness at home could give you a sun tan, they have already affected us. Why at this point would we drop everything to resolve this quickly, with no real incentive to anymore?
    Ebay say that a bad experience leads to less chance of their buyers visiting the site again. Ask a buyer how likely they are to visit ebay again when their return, which used to be completed in 3 days, now takes 21.

    To add to this, we got into the habit of refunding by Paypal upon receipt of any unwanted returns, prior to any cases being opened on eBay. We would then simply go into the awaiting payments section and cancel thereafter. eBay never pre-warned anybody, nor mentioned that process would be important in their seller standards updates. However, 20 defects on our account would suggest otherwise

  • admiralhardinge
    4 years ago

    Yes, Darren, it is a defect.

    I think the tone of this is wrong and shows a lack or professionalism. I understand it is extremely hard not to take things personally when your ebay business is your career, and you have spent a huge amount of time and investment building it. Your business is you, so it does hurt, even if you try to control your reactions. However the tone of the message you send should not reflect this. Standard message sent out are one of the most controllable aspects of your reaction.

    At the same time Ebay have a significant amount of responsibility for this too. Why is a case opened when a customer simply wants to ask a question, how can an INR case be opened when the customer hasn’t paid, how can any issue that is not the seller’s responsibility be the cause of a defect, why do ebay demonise their sellers and not listen to their input and complaints.

    Maybe if eBay treated their sellers better and more justly there wouldn’t be the need or cause for the more emotional sellers to send out shabby messages like this.

  • paddy
    4 years ago

    Clearly the seller is hoping that any buyer is not familiar with how Ebay works in relation to disputes. Many buyers know that if they open a case against a seller there is a very good chance that they will get their money back regardless if the seller is being cooperative or not.

  • 4 years ago

    Wow. They’ve turned feedback extortion into an art form. They must really hate their customers!

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    its ebays ball pitch and stadium they are also the ref the linesmen the groundsman and the pie sellers,
    were only the worms in the pitch but we might turn one day

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    If you use the stadium analogy surely ebay see sellers as moles on the pitch not worms?

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      ebay sees sellers as football hooligans

    • Steve P
      4 years ago

      Yeah the CEO is on record as saying we make too much noise..

  • jnac
    4 years ago

    i agree – i wont be communicating with buyers on cases now if they havent contacted me beforehand since opening a case is enough for a defect and then no more defects count.

    stupid system, im moving to amazon and i have a good 500,000 items listed.

  • moo
    4 years ago

    Some sellers simply don’t have…uhhh…much nous when it comes to dealing with customers(Chinese usually have feedback provisos like this..saying if neg fb is left,then your warranty is null and void lol)..

    HOWEVER…..things like this are INEVITABLE…..

    Ebay shoves so much stress/fear and downright unfairness down the throats of its sellers…that this kind of thing will happen..

    They have set up a great divide between sellers and buyers (communication is no longer a valued DSR lol) and put so many xxxxing obstacles in the way by their incessant meddling and lunatic policies that it really is very very hard not to become paranoid and defensive…

  • Tony
    4 years ago

    I have no problem with a seller acting like this – it is understandable. I wouldn’t do it myself, but ebay have driven sellers to adopt “survival tactics”.

    I advertise I send by economy, but send by First Class post. I have to do that because the ebay delivery estimate is unrealistic (especially for someone who has to prepare items before sending). But I have various other “survival tactics”.

    I would adivse everyone to sell on multiple platforms and only rely on ebay for a modest proportion of your sales. Here’s hoping more ebay rivals appear.

  • Atif
    4 years ago

    It does sound a bit strong but we have come across few polite but similar messages. They clearly sound that eBay is a bully, and an unfair market trading place and has no concept of fair trade.

    Few had leaflets offering 10% to 12% of when you buy from their site or buy direct.

    Sadly eBay has shot them self in the foot and this is now expected.

  • 3 years ago

    I see where this seller is coming from , and i have been forced to put a similar note in with all my sales .. just cant win with Ebay ! .. I will be going from TRS with 100% feedback (power seller) to ‘Below standard’ in August .
    Ebay have made it so easy for a buyer to open a case at the drop of a hat , that its almost impossible to remain on the right side of the ‘defect’ system
    Cue August , and the buzz word among BUYERS will be … ‘Defective item’
    Of Course there is reason $$$$$$ behind this madness as every time a seller resolves an issue , privately .. guess what .. they wont get their FVF back

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