eBay hints at changes to Returns

By Dan Wilson July 20, 2015 - 6:40 pm

sweetnamOn the first day of eBay trading as an independent company without PayPal, Jordan Sweetnam, Vice President of Seller Experience at eBay, has written about some of the changes that might be coming to sellers in the not too distant future.

You can read the full blog post here. But it’s the third major point that he made that really leapt out to us:

Sweetnam writes: “Lastly, I’ve heard loud and clear that returns are not working in a way that respects the vast range of verticals and business models on eBay. Working closely with sellers we’ve identified a series of changes that will streamline the returns process to help you efficiently manage returns based on your specific business needs. We’ll start with our first set of improvements this fall and will continue to enhance this into next year.”

So what exactly does that mean? As he says there will be more details in due course but this is an encouraging acknowledgement from eBay in the first instance. But without knowing exact details, it’s certainly too early to rejoice.

Several aspects of the post also sound promising but, again, it’s difficult to get too excited without all of the information.

Regarding defects, Sweetnam says: “We’re looking at how we can adjust seller performance standards to ensure we recognize when sellers deliver a great buyer experience. As part of this, we are continuing our journey of relying less on subjective buyer inputs and more on objective metrics.” We wrote about this idea a few weeks ago.

And other positive news is news that improved seller tools are on the way. And if you’ve been struggling with the cruddy analytics tool eBay has recently rolled out, this will be good news. Sweetnam notes: “Starting this year, many of the tools, insights and reports used to run your eBay business will be brought together in one centralized, easy to access spot. We want to make the right tools more discoverable and make data more readily available. This is an example of our tremendous focus on efficiency improvements going forward.”

We’d expect such changes mentioned above to be reflected in the UK but, again, that’s not confirmed.

All of this is heartening news but anyone who has been involved with eBay will know that they are very good at fine words. So we’ll wait and see. We’ll keep you posted.

  • tinker
    2 years ago

    yeah returns will be changed
    sellers will now need to collect in person

    • Tony
      2 years ago

      Its not even an LOL matter….that’s what they may expect sellers to do!!!

    • Neil
      2 years ago

      You both have it wrong.

      Returns become “Issues”.

      Issues get an instant refund for “buyer experience”.

      No one ever deals with a return, ever.

      eBay can then say “We have no issue with buyer returns”.

      “As part of the Issue-handling process, you may at your discretion request that an item is returned to you, but this will not be a requirement on the buyer’s part. Please work with your buyer to form a satisfactory outcome, where you are shafted royally and they enjoy the fruits of their fraud.”

  • Richard
    2 years ago

    The last sentence sums up my feelings, heard it all before and changes on eBay are very rarely good for sellers.

    • 2 years ago

      The proof will be in the pudding. But I think I am hopeful.

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Minor tweaks is what to expect bigged up and spun , buyers will still be favoured

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    typical ebay, retail waterboarding, they let you breath occasionally then find new ways to torture

  • derek duval
    2 years ago

    Ebay managed returns what a joke, Its simply to easy for a Buyer to return an item and thus wipe out your initial profits. I wanted to extend my business in clothing but cant as any items where a Buyer dosent read the sizes creates a return and thus 0 profits

    At the very least Buyers should not be refunded for postage costs for an item that dosent fit them cos they where to stupid and brain dead to read the item sizes

    • 2 years ago

      But that’s European law on returns nothing to do with eBay, if it is for wrong size and not for SNAD you should ask eBay to step in.

    • derek duval
      2 years ago

      Well the law needs changing, A seller should not be made to return a Buyers postage costs for an idiot Buyer who cant read sizes. End Off

      Roll on getting out of Europe if this is the kind of crappy laws they create

    • james
      2 years ago

      zero profits from eBay’s shambles of a returns system would be a blessing for us.

      – we cant re-sell flat pack furniture that customers didnt bother following the instructions for.
      – we cant refuse the return on ebay. ever.
      – we can either pay even more (up to £80) to pick up now-worthless scraps, or give away £500+ items for free.
      – try and contend it, and the customer wins every time. ebay give them £500 and tell them to keep it.

      what kind of repeat customer does this encourage? the kind nobody wants.

    • tinker
      2 years ago

      more than once when we have been justified in refusing to refund, ebay refund from their own pocket,
      making us look wrong and unreasonable,

    • 2 years ago

      If the buyers choose doesn’t fit you, will not pay the return postage or get a defect, if they choose SNAD then you need to report a problem with the return.

      Also put the sizes in the Item specifics and eBay are more likely to back you.

    • Derek Duval
      2 years ago

      I still loose out on initial postage costs resulting in a net loss on the sale

      Example Item costs £7.94, postage and Packing is £1.99.

      Buyers returns item I loose the £1.99 cost the buyer gets that money back because they didn’t or couldn’t read simple numbers.

  • Richard
    2 years ago

    One change I’d like to see is eBay’s message boards brought in-house rather than run by a third party. Too many clueless power mad fools in charge banning folk for no good reason. An acquaintance of mine has just been banned and I’ve also been on the receiving end of them in the past too.

  • 2 years ago

    The line that worries me is that ebay see a need to “streamline” the returns process. My vertical doesn’t need streamlining of returns. We need a process that allows technical support queries and extended warranty claims. 90% of SNAD claims that come back to us are fully working. Buyers either are mistaken about the fault (we sell recycled mobile phones) or are gaming the system to avoid postage.

    If we resolve the problem quickly, we should not have a defect. I imagine a simple fix would be to allow a seller say 7 or 14 days to resolve a problem to avoid a defect.

    • Dave
      2 years ago

      You’re in the same boat as me – the current returns system doesn’t fit our business sector at all. We sell refurbished CE stock also.

      Same results, less than 10% of ‘returns’ are actually faulty and probably half of them are damaged by couriers, for us that’s a handful in the last 90-days. Returns sit there open for months as it’s just a basic technical/usage query or setting change that resolved the problem that never was, without a hope in hell of getting the defect removed.

      I’ve got 4 open at the moment, 3 are resolved and aren’t coming back (user error etc.), 1 came back as something came lose in transit so the customer wanted it back. No doubt he could escalate it with ebay, get his money back and keep the item, but we do what our customers want even if it means I pay for shipping 3 times.

      Before starting out on eBay, I’d spent 10 years working for a large refurbishment house, specifically in returns management and 10 years prior to that in customer support. I can’t tell you how frustrating this godawful system is that they’ve come up with…

    • 2 years ago

      After 30 days I ring ebay and ask for the return to be manually closed. They achieve this through escalation to a Resolution Centre case, and then find in favour of me.

      Then some time later (weeks or more) I call again and ask for the defect to be removed because I won the case. This part doesn’t always work, but sometimes – I guess it depends on who I speak to on the day. At least the return case is cleared off.

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    We understand the need and purpose of the defect system but wefeel there is too much stick , not enough carrot

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