Unannounced NO eBay final value fee credits

By Chris Dawson September 25, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Following the last few days issues with invoice layouts and random refunded listings reappearing in waiting to ship items we’re hearing that pretty much everything is fixed (at least we’re hoping so, please let us know if that’s not the case for you).

eBay have undertaken to remove defects for any sellers who refunded customers through PayPal whilst the cancel feature option wasn’t available.

Unannounced NO final value fee credits

Cancel a transactionNow however we’ve discovered an unannounced fee charge from eBay when canceling items. eBay were up front telling us that if you cancelled an auction you’d be charged the final value fee you would have paid if the highest bid placed had won the listing. We’re all in favour of that, whilst sellers might make the odd mistake it punishes sellers who happily sold items off eBay and let buyers down.

What we’ve now discovered, courtesy of Lee at Inspiration Giftshop, is that eBay will NOT refund the final value fee if you cancel a sale. That include canceling fixed price sales.

eBay say that you can cancel an order if “The buyer requests to cancel the order” or “The item is no longer available”. eBay have announced that they’ll make it easier for you to cancel an order without having to wait for the buyer to agree. What they haven’t announced (unless anyone can find it in the small print) is, if you cancel an order because the item is no longer available, you will NOT get a fee credit.

No seller intentionally oversells, but it will inevitably happen sooner or later. Sometimes an item will be broken when you come to despatch it, occasionally it’ll have been put on the wrong shelf in your warehouse and you simply can’t find it, if you sell on multiple platforms it may sell before you multi-channel management software updates (it can take up to 30 minutes for an Amazon order to update on multi-channel software), and sometimes to be honest we make mistakes and it’s our fault as we got our stock count wrong.

We’ve all heard of sellers who have a disaster, their warehouse floods or burns down, they have a break in and stock stolen, their multi-channel management software goes wrong (or through human error) they upload a load of listings that don’t exist. Not only if you cancel resultant orders could you lose your account through defects, you’ll also cop for all the final value fees from the disaster.

What do do and what not to do

Option 1

No seller likes to mark an item as shipped and wait for the buyer to ask why it’s not arrived, but seeing as you get a defect for a lost in the post but get a final value fee credit but if you’re honest and admit you’re out of stock you get a defect and no final value fee credit we know which option many sellers will choose. We really don’t recommend you do this.

Option 2

Of course if you have an out of stock item there’s nothing to stop you telephoning your buyer and offering them some options. Perhaps you could say “We’re really sorry but the item is out of stock, we want to offer you some options. We’ve a similar product in a different colour/with more memory/identical function from a different manufacturer/higher value that we could send, you can wait for more stock to arrive, if you like we could cancel the order and refund you. Which would you like us to do, or is there another option you’d prefer as we want to make it right for you?“.

You’d probably ring your customer with those options anyway rather than cancel without letting your buyer know. Of course if the customer then says “Oh don’t worry, just cancel the order and give us our money back“, you can then select the “The buyer requests to cancel an order” option as that’s what they’ve asked you to do. And you’ll get a final value fee credit and the buyer won’t complain that you cancelled the order without them asking you to.

It’s all a bit of a mess and we certainly wouldn’t advise you to oversell and say the buyer asked you to cancel an order if they didn’t request it. If they do ask you to cancel an order though, so long as it’s a VERY occasional occurrence, you’ll probably get away with it.

eBay probably won’t thank Tamebay too much for suggesting you offer buyers a choice of resolutions as any decent retailer would and then doing what the customer asks of you, (especially if they decide to ask you to cancel their order rather than you deciding to cancel it for them!), so we only offer this as an example of great customer service.

Option 3

This is of course the eBay approved method. Take it on the chin, apologise to your buyer, take the defect, swallow the loss of final value fees as punishment for getting it wrong.

  • Stuart
    3 years ago

    Perhaps more reasons ebay are giving us as businesses not to sell on the platform.

    There is fast becoming to many rules and little updates, changes and general checking and double checking for a business to manage.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just you selling as a business, but now I have 20+ staff trying to get them to keep up and understand all these little bits here and there is far to time consuming.

    Ebay….I just want to sell stuff please

    • JD
      3 years ago

      Just for me as a 1 man band eBay has already got far too complicated. I do not envy you at all.

      Yesterday’s debacle of cancelled transactions re-appearing as ‘awaiting despatch’ may well have resulted in larger operations sending out dozens of ‘free’ orders.

      The future looks quite bleak as the continuing attempts by the site to micro-manage sellers will result in yet further complications.

      IMO eBay needs to overtly re-focus.

    • Martin
      3 years ago

      KISS – Keep it simple, stupid

      Far too complex, ebay don’t manage it successfully, ebay don’t develop it successfully. They give a great impression of a company running to stand still. Everything, including changes, is fire fighting.

      Yes, make it as like an easy retail transaction as you can, but for goodness sake keep it simple and stable.

      If I was directing this company I’d be freezing development, dereleasing processes that don’t work well or are problematic, cutting support staff as a result, and concentrating on building profitable business.

      Is it even a valid aim to make it as much like a standard retail experience as possible? Given the huge online business now, the struggling high street, and the growing number of confirmed online shoppers who won’t physically go to a shop, I suggest online shopping is itself the norm.

    • Agatha Butterfly
      3 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more Martin. Do eBay look at these comments? They should, they may learn something! Nothing works properly. I can’t access any of my listings from Chrome or IE! Another day off for me! My business is coming to a standstill!

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      Tesco became overcomplicated and bloated allowing competitors with a lower cost base to enter the market and grab market share. Same could happen to ebay. Alibaba maybe?

  • Martin
    3 years ago

    Had a discussion with a ebay support staff member yesterday, and I commented that Ebay testing procedures clearly were not robust enough – changes don’t work properly, stupid errors, unintended consequences. It must cost ebay a fortune in additional support staff too, handling the call volumes.

    I was told that this issue is raised in staff meetings by the support staff themselves.

    Sounds like ebay doesn’t listen to either customers or their own staff.

  • Dave from Trumpton
    3 years ago

    How can Ebay not have a competitor yet ? surely the time is ripe for someone to step in ?

    Seriously ? The guys at the top who invent this stuff could easily waltz into any governments Tax department and do a sterling job.

  • Lee Pearce
    3 years ago

    On opening up this morning, it seems that ebay have removed the “Cancel Order” process from the drop down list, they have gone back to the “Open Unpaid Item case/Cancel transaction” process and the blurb in ebay help has gone back to the previous version and now does not show the information in the screen shot above.

    It seems that they have rolled back the changes introduced two days ago, but have they reversed the non credit of FVFs?


  • Steve
    3 years ago

    Hey, wake up!! eBay is all about transparancy, community, and responsibility. I have to advise option 3 every time.

    PS: I have shares in eBay. 🙂

  • zina
    3 years ago

    I think ebay have just earned another defect on their account for system ‘not as described’ for the mess up with lots of items re-appearing waiting for dispatch that we could have sent to the customer free of charge!

  • James
    3 years ago

    Well that’s the final nail in the coffin for me, I’ve just removed all listings from ebay and shut my shops down, I’ll now concentrate on Amazon and my own website.

    • jimbo
      3 years ago

      Cancel too often an Amazon and you will loose your account.

  • boardsurfer
    3 years ago

    there is an option 4 which i would highly recommend.

    Don’t sell stuff you don’t have.

    It really isnt that difficult.

  • Ian A
    3 years ago

    I think its wrong of ebay to charge final value fees before you even see a payment. I had 3 auctions end without payment on Sunday. ebay happily add £75 to my bill, I’ll get it credited eventually if I put the effort in and get sellers to cancel but its not right.

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