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eBay False SNAD claims have to be accepted before appeal

By Chris Dawson September 26, 2018 - 7:00 am

What do you do when a buyer requests a return and you know it’s a false SNAD (Significantly Not As Described) return and want to appeal it? Currently there’s nothing you can do until after the event and with eBay rolling out auto-accept returns there will still be nothing you can do until after the return takes place.

The issue with returns is that eBay either won’t (or possibly can’t) change a return request reason once a buyers has selected an option. Even if you call eBay and the customer support rep agrees that it’s clearly a case of buyer remorse but they claimed a false SNAD they won’t be able to intervene.

When a false SNAD is claimed you can report it before the return takes place to eBay, but you’ll still be advised to accept the return, pay for the return postage, and only when the item arrives can you contact eBay and ask for a refund of the return postage costs. (If you do speak to eBay, make sure you keep a note of the SR 1-XXXXXXXXXXXX phone call ID).

As eBay auto-accept returns roll out, sellers won’t even have the opportunity to speak to eBay before the return is accepted on their behalf. Whether a genuine return reason is selected by the buyer the return will be accepted, you’ll pay for a postage label, and then have to claim for a refund if you can provide evidence that it was a false SNAD claim.

From hearsay we believe that eBay support may be receiving hundreds of calls a day from sellers appealing false SNAD returns and requesting a refund of the postage costs. Each time the issue has to be escalated for a decision to be made and it will be costing eBay time and money to do so. If the number of false SNAD claims continue to increase, which is perfectly possible once auto-accept returns roll out, then eBay may be forced to take action to reduce their workload. In the mean time it would appear prudent for sellers to continue to claim when they have a genuine false SNAD claim as otherwise it’s they who will foot the bill for postage.

The issue here is an ingrained one of blame. Buyers need to be educated on their rights which are that they can return any item purchased online without having to give a reason. Setting aside the small number of buyers who will falsely claim an item is broken or doesn’t perform the function described, when wanting to make a return it’s natural to think you have to give a reason.

“Doesn’t fit” for example isn’t SNAD – especially in fashion it’s well known that sizing between manufactures can vary enormously. Colour a different shade to the image is also not SNAD – different screens will display colours differently so it’s not surprising you can’t get an exact match between the item and the image. There are countless reasons someone might want to change their mind that aren’t due to the description not matching the item.

What’s needed is a very clear “Why do you want to return this item?” question with a “No reason, I just don’t want this item” no fault return option. There’s no need to find blame, it’s not the seller’s fault, it’s not the buyer’s fault. It’s just them exercising their right to examine the item on receipt and decide if they want to keep it nor not. If they don’t want to keep it part of their rights is to return the item but also part of their rights is that the buyer foots the return postage costs (so long as the seller specified this up front in their terms and conditions).

No one wants false SNAD returns (except dishonest buyers). Genuine buyers will simply be happy that they can change their mind and return the item. Genuine sellers will be more than happy to comply with the law and accept returns for no reason other than the buyer wants to return the product. eBay will be happy because they’re not inundated with false SNAD claims taking up their support time.

But how do we educate buyers that it’s OK to return something on eBay without saying there’s something wrong with the item? That’s something that eBay themselves will have to do.

  • Simon E
    3 months ago

    I am not sure if it’s still the case, but ebay used to lead the buyer down the route of opening a case, rather than communicating with the seller.
    I think that ebay should not allow any return or case options UNTIL there is shown to be communication between buyer and seller.

    As to whether ebay will bow to seller pressure, I don’t know.
    It takes me back to ebay’s order refunds.
    If a buyer overpays on postage and you refund, unless you refund the entire order, ebay will keep some of the fees paid. Just like if a buyer orders 5 items on one order and returns one item, you can’t AFAIK refund the one item via ebay to claim your fees back, ebay keep them.
    I am sure ebay could sort the “issue”, but as they must get quite a bit of money from it, best to leave alone and most just accept as “One of those things”
    Maybe that will change with the Adyen venture, we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Rob
    3 months ago

    The best way to educate buyers is to make them pay for the returns. If it is buyers remorse as they have not read the listing then they should be made to pay for the return, get so many returns where they have not read the listing and clicked not as described only for their reason to match the item condition or description.
    ebay keep telling us that buyers are using the app more and more yet the app does not display a lot of the important information as they have to click to see more information.
    When returning an item there are 11 different reasons they can choose, yet could be condensed down to 5 or 6.
    Had a return the other day where buyer had clearly not read the listing and then opens not as described case. Have to the contact ebay twice to get things sorted and wait 24 hours between the returning closing and then appealing to get the return postage back.
    No wonder they are trying to hit sellers with an extra 4% fee for very high service metrics to pay for all the return postage. With the buyers ebay has can see them increasing it to 10% soon as ebay seem to encourage this type of behaviour

    • Simon E
      3 months ago

      I am surprised that ebay changed the return mid case.
      They have told me a number of times recently that they cannot change the case but will have to wait until the return arrives and then deal with it.

    • Rob
      3 months ago

      Simon, they don’t any longer. They did at the start of the year then stopped doing it around April this year as it confused buyers by showing a different reasons.

  • Tom
    3 months ago

    It varies month to month however around a 1/3 of all our SNAD returns are customers opening returns for the wrong reason. Much of the time buyers even stating in the comment “doesn’t fit” or “didn’t like it” when opening a “not as described” case. We will often just pay for the return postage and not bother involving eBay as it’s not worth the time.

    The issue with the the new service metrics “consequences” is that sellers have no way of controlling and appealing false claims. With no method of removing false claims a lot is left up to chance. Our peer average has jumped around significantly since we started monitoring it.

    eBay stated that the peer assessment takes into account that sellers will be subject to some “false claims” however why not just remove the false claims from the metrics and adjust the peer assessments accordingly. Leaving false claims as part of an assessment means anyone can be prone to an unfair string of false SNAD claims.

  • 3 months ago

    Why can we not appeal false claims especially as it effects our seller metric?
    This leaves a seller open to abuse from buyers or even competitors. If there is no appeal process how can this be right. I fully accept any errors on my part but why should I be judged on something I haven’t done. Why is this large company not protecting its customers? And seems willing to drive them away

    This is just wrong
    And I have to say the finally straw I will be closed by the end of October
    I no longer want to put up with the increasing sticks they use to beat their customers with

    I have on average a 35% repeat buyer rate with some regulars for over 10 years. I support a number of small businesses. That’s on average over 1200 buyers a year that will be disappointed next time they try to find my shop. This has really upset me as I am proud of my customer service which is reflected in these figures but it’s time to ditch the stress and time wasted jumping through hoops

    • Emily
      3 months ago

      I felt exactly the same and left ebay. I would love to speak to someone who knows about UK law as I can’t believe that it can be legal to charge a business a penalty and openly admitt that not all the cases that make up the calculation are legitimate. Also surely by law if you are charged a penalty you should be allowed an appeal.

      Ebay are condoning fraud, their customers services openly admitt all sellers have false SNAD cases. So why not tackle the buyers who do this don’t tell me there or not repeat offenders who regularly return items and make false SNAD cases.

      The contract of sale is also between the buyer and seller. Why should ebay be judge and jury and take parts of the sale process out of the sellers hands. Surely the seller should by law be allowed to say if a return is the right course of action, and authorise it themselves if the buyer claims the return is due to a SNAD claim.

  • Toby
    3 months ago

    oh no…. don’t get me started! The root of this is that once ebay has your fees… they simply don’t care. They know that to cover losses you will increase prices and so they will rake in more fees. To the buyer it is always the seller at fault and so ebay comes up smelling of roses. It’s a win win for them.
    Now some say this is driving the smaller sellers off the site, well yes it is, but i doubt they see this as an issue. The large volume sellers proberly never question anything as its not cost effective to them. So ebays easy fees systems works great.
    This is why nothing changes, its because ebay never gets tarnished with anyone but the sellers, and those sellers that do take it to them, are quickly leaving due to being fed up of or simly unable to keep taking the hit.
    All i ever here from ebay is that as they have not been able to see the item that was sent or the item that was received, that they feel the best thing is for the seller to accept the item back and be out of pocket. I have had cases where the buyer has admited the wrong reason was given – 3 emails and ebay never once even acknowledged that part of my mail. I have had cases where the buyer has provided pictures which actually backed up my appeal…. still lost as they said they couldn’t be sure. In fact the appeals process is generally nothing more than an excercise that at the end of it you can say to yourself ‘atleast i gave them some hassle too’..
    Reasons for return should be. Defective, not as described, nolonger wanted. Simple. Then a box for reason why if one of the first two. This will help with appeals etc.
    The long list of reasons at the moment is beyond a joke.
    …… New one in today. Reason for return not as described. Buyer message, ‘I needed it for Monday and it turned up tuesday’ . Checking the details… paid on Sunday, paid for royal mail 48. Other options were RM24 and 24hr courier. If i appeal… i will proberly lose as the buyer didn’t get it ‘on time’. Yes I have had that thrown back at me before!
    I rest my case.

  • 3 months ago

    Ebay will also then deny the appeal. As this has happened on several occasions.

    When customer opens a return they have to then purchase an ebay return label to get the case open. No option to sort out another courier
    The only other option is to open a not as described / damaged case so they can get away with out purchasing a label. Which we as sellers have to pay for.

    Even if they say in the message they do not fit you have to sort it out and then appeal which is what I was told in email from eBay customer representative.

    I did this customer returned at my cost I then phoned and appealed and asked if partial refund could be authorized as per email conversations with customer and eBay customer service. They told me that the appeal was denied and found in favour of the buyer and promptly refunded in full even though the previous communication told me to appeal and I would get the marks removed and refunded the costs of label.
    So this is now a black mark on returns and black mark on Cases closed without seller resolution.

    Just another way Ebay is trying to get sellers to pay more to them as they now force everyone to pay for there return label despite them charging £3.05 even when the item will go in a large letter.
    They also force you to refund even the postage cost when they have requested a special service like next day, or sat delivery.
    Charge you and extra 4% on top of the 10% fees which includes the special postage charges which they tell you have to be under a certain amount despite them taking some of this to.

    Then suggest you should sell your item cheaper what do they think will happen all anyone can do is to put prices up to combat the increasing costs eBay force on to sellers. Wouldn’t be surprised if they try to get all sellers to do free returns regardless of reasons as they can then get the fees from this additional costs.

    • james
      3 months ago

      absolutely correct Frances.
      the whole “take it back first then contact us when it arrives” is absolute tosh, they may as well say “go away and forget about it”, because when you do call them back later
      APPEAL DENIED!
      every. single. time.

    • Harvey
      3 months ago

      @ Frances -According to the Consumer Contracts Regulations, introduced in 2014, customers who return items should get a refund for the price of the goods and the standard postage costs they paid for home delivery. They are not entitled to get any upgrade they chose to have. Ebay hold back fees so that we pay the customer everything but legally the customer is not entitled to it.

      Ebay also do not have insurance on their return labels so any loss or damage to the item being returned is just lost by the seller.

      They just don’t care about sellers, it is all about how much money in fees they can get.

  • 3 months ago

    If Ebay are judge and jury then you can be as well. If a buyer abuses the system and you have to pay a postage return fee, then ban them from buying from you again. One abuse and you are out. We had one the other day on Amazon with a women saying that the item she got was useless and could not use it and had to throw it away and wanted an immediate refund. We said that we wanted it returning so we could return it to the manufacturer and she then stated that she could not find it as her son who has ADHD had moved it.(where from? if thrown away it can only be in the bin, inside or out, more like her son had tangled it to make it useless)
    Once we refused the refund she went back on and ordered it again, exactly the same item. You know what’s going to happen when she gets it, but we did not give her the chance as we refunded her item and said there was a problem with her address. She then went on one saying that we were the cheapest and she really needed the item.
    If ebay want to play funny then so can we and in the end the customer will get to know what the rules are. I don’t mind a return if it’s genuine.
    If Ebay won’t help you then you have to help yourself.

    • Simon E
      3 months ago

      That’s what I do.
      I have a sort of automated Amazon order address and amazon email checker.
      If I have had a problem then the customer goes in it.
      If they try to buy again, IT’S a NO from me, and as long as I am not discriminating on the basis of ethnicity or colour or gender fluidity or age or how they wear their trainers, then I think it’s legal too.

  • David
    3 months ago

    You say ‘But how do we educate buyers that it’s OK to return something on eBay without saying there’s something wrong with the item? That’s something that eBay themselves will have to do’.

    Ebay will do nothing they don’t want to upset the buyers. They are pushing returns more and more to buyers, they want them to keep spending and if they return something ebay get return label income.

    Ebay also now have realised that due to the returns penalty fee, returns will become a real money spinner and allow them to put sellers fees up. They want the false SNAD claims left in the metrics to make sellers look really bad so ebay can justify charging them more.

    With eBay it’s just about how much they can get away with in fees, they don’t care about anything else.

  • Alan Paterson
    3 months ago

    Another problem is the peer to peer metric defect that is held against you when a SNAD is raised. Having been told these defects are appealable, then later not appealable, then later appealable – back and fourth with customer service I have been told (categorically) not appealable (and therefore not removable) in these circumstances.

    I have always found ebay to be very fair but not in these circumstances. their explanation is that because it is “peer to peer” everyone gets them in the same ratio / proportion.

    This is not true. I got 5 of these defects over the weekend. They can all come at once and then you have weeks gap. they are unpredictable and therefore unmeasurable against performance.

    • Sophie
      3 months ago

      Yes the same thing happened to me we had 5 false SNAD claims in three days. We were told the same by customer services they are not appealable. I agree when you get hit with a large number in a small time frame it makes you feel helpless and you then worry about the implication on your account.

  • Sophie
    3 months ago

    Rather than encourage a return with a big button for the buyer to press. Why don’t ebay have an ask a question button and say to buyers, if you need help with setting up the item or are having difficulties ask the seller a question.

    We find sometimes people have closed return cases when we have had chance to talk the buyer through basic set-up procedures.

    Now items will be returned that are working perfectly, because returns are being pushed by eBay, rather than allowing sellers who have knowledge of the product to offer product help and advice.

    The buyer will now have a negative buying experience believing falsely they have been sold a faulty item, when in truth they just set it up incorrectly or misunderstood the instructions. Something that a chat with the seller would avoid.

  • Alan Paterson
    3 months ago

    @ Sophie, I agree with you 100%.

    whatever team who has put this together has not realised the frustration / demotivation this causes to have defect after defect that are unappealable – even when it is clearly no fault of ours.

    we have just had yet another defect because the customer claims the footwear were not “shiny” enough – she had ordered Hi Shine instead of Patent – there is a BIG difference and we dont get an opportunity to explain that – just a case SNAD.

    and we have just had yet another – the customer ordered the wrong colour. HE ordered the wrong colour and asked us to change it after the item had been sent. we get another defect. I am getting disillusioned.

    and yet another – INR this time – customer failed to supply his flat number so the item was not delivered. we offer to resend if he lets us know full address but he opens an INR case – remember these will start to count next year too.

    ebay will tell sellers to decrease these defects by doing x, y and z but the reality is we have absolutely no control of the quantity and frequency of a defect that you cannot prevent and cannot appeal.

    a return over SNAD should only be allowed AFTER the buyer has reached out to the seller and got an explanation.

    also, there is decreased motivation from the seller to fix the problem as they already have the defect (we will off course fix).

    I only engage with business / employment I can excel at. I thought I was doing well on ebay. However, according to these metrics im not doing so well. this removes my motivation and desire to commit to the platform and encourages me to look for something else.

    at the very least these should be appealable when it is clearly buyer remorse or absolutely outwith the sellers control.

    our concern is not the postage to pay for the item being returned ……… our concern is losing our 4% in the future (I know it has been pushed back) which is ALL of our net profit. but I also dont like being told I am not describing my items properly ……… I am meticulous – according to my defect rate I am pretty shit at this.

    • David
      3 months ago

      @Alan I totally agree the metrics do make you feel so negative about selling on eBay.

      The cases should be appealable. It is frustrating when you have done all you can to resolve an issue and left the buyer happy but ebay still count the case against you.

      We don’t sell enough for a three month assessment so a whole twelve months of issues are used against us.

      I really wish ebay would sit down and talk to sellers and allow us to explain the injustice of the metric system.

    • 3 months ago

      @Alan Paterson I am sorry to hear you have lost your motivation and are disillusioned with selling on eBay and we wish you well in what ever other business you get involved in…

      Only joking, sorry could not resist…

      Buyers addresses on eBay / Amazon are a pain, I cancelled 2 orders today for addresses that are not possible to send to and have another that is due for posting tomorrow. These are buyers that have not responded to messages asking for further address details.

      1 of the 3 has a chance it would get to the right address but had no name on the order.

      Each morning we do a visual check of every address and correct any that are badly formatted, postcode with no space etc. It is a pain to do but worth doing.

      The new system is a joke, I doubt it would effect me as my returns are so low, currently zero/o but it is still a shame they can not design a more suitable system that works for everybody.

      I understand that Chris Dawson did have a bad experience with a seller and I am sure there are many of those type experiences going on each day but it is wrong to punish good sellers in a heavy handed manner. Lets hope they get to give the new system a good re-think.

  • Andy
    3 months ago

    I find that 70% of return requests that are opened are when a buyer has been sent a wrong item by mistake or has a faulty item.

    The return request comes through as “buyer X has stated a problem with their item and wishes to return the item for a full refund” but then in the comments section the buyer has written, “Hi you have sent me a red one instead of a blue one, please can you send me the blue one?”

    If that had come through as a message the buyer could have had the correct one sent out the same day without having to return the incorrect one…eg happy buyer and great service.

    Now buyers are forced to return for a refund.

    Most buyers do not realise they are opening return requests which restrict them to returning the item for a full refund rather than trying to send a message.

    It amazes me that eBay spend so much time creating metrics to force sellers to provide a “better” buying experience for buyers, but then completely have not understood from a buyers side the difficulty of trying to send the seller a message rather than misleading them into opening up a case which ironically creates a worse of experience for the buyer than simply having a replacement item sent out instantly.

    I think the returns process is a good idea in principle, however it is so restrictive in resolving problems it becomes a nightmare for both buyers and sellers.

  • Terry
    3 months ago

    Alan,

    I am a bit shocked to read your words given you usually rise above the general negativity about E-Bay.

    The fact you feel the way you do about it really validates what a truly poor invention these service metrics are.

    Whilst I don’t believe I will personally be hit with the 4% extra fees on the basis of what I can see on my dashboard at this immediate moment, the mechanism, with its built in invisible moving target, and no right of appeal, could be utterly devastating. If I were to get hit with the 4% extra, then there really would not be much point carrying on with the business. The extra fees would cost me more than my rent and business rates combined.

    My business would still be profitable but E-Bay would be making far more out of it than I would be. I have no intention of working 60 or 70 hours a week for peanuts, with E-Bay taking the lions share of the profit.

    I will move my business away from E-Bay, and given I sell collectables, that will mean reverting to exhibitions, swapmeets and so on. Its not a route I want to go down, but I do have bills to pay, so will have to do what is necessary.

    What I still cannot get away from is, given we are told that the service metrics are intended to improve the buyer experience, how charging sellers that E-Bay deem to be ‘very high’ an extra 4% of fees, and then allowing them to carry on selling is going to achieve anything of the sort. I think its most unusual to find a business attempting to dress up a money grab in such a woefully thinly veiled manner.

    I hope that E-Bays 3rd quarter results are suitably down against stock market expectations, perhaps then some pressure will be put upon the board at E-Bay to sort this garbage out, or get out themselves. I acknowledge I might be clutching at straws here, but aside from the straws, I am struggling to find much else to cling on to at the moment.

  • Terry
    3 months ago

    I should add, as of yesterday I am the proud owner of an item not received case. The message from the buyer in the item not received case – sorry, opened by mistake, item received.

    So, inexperienced buyer, either meant to open a case on someone else but selected me, then rather than backspace out of it, carried on and ended up opening the case.

    The buyer has now closed the case on my request, but you can imagine my delight at being awarded a defect, that I cannot appeal, for an item I sent to a customer in Australia, who received it and is happy with it. All that, and the item was received in Australia only SIX DAYS after I shipped it.

    E-Bay are really missing the point here, I have never met anyone who enjoys being made responsible for something they are clearly not responsible for. Yet here we are, with a new mechanism which, in my view, achieves the same as trying to put out a fire with a can of petrol.

    • Sophie
      3 months ago

      @ Terry we had the exact same thing happen last week, we got a really sharp message from a buyer saying we had ignored all his messages about not receiving an item and he was now opening a case against us to get the refund he was due. We checked the item had been delivered and signed for by him the day after ordering and he had left positive feedback. We had received no messages from him.

      An hour after sending the message, he sent another saying sorry this case was for another item, with another seller. Ebay closed the case for us and removed the positive feedback as when they close a case all feedback is lost.

      This now counts as an item not received, even though he received.

      Ebay’s systems are poorly designed and punish sellers for buyer errors needlessly. Like you we are looking for other platforms to move to before the penalty charge is enforced next year.

  • Rob
    3 months ago

    If you want to find a problem then you can always find a problem. ebay seem to enjoy finding problems with sellers and then peanilising them.

    Honest sellers try their best to protect themselves, take care of problems when they arise. Yet with the metric system that won’t make any difference.

    I did mention to one customer agent the other day I may consider putting in my terms and conditions that I will take fraudulent buyers to court to cover the cost of 4% penalty fees if they open false not as described claims.

  • Jonah
    3 months ago

    Good old eBay. If people like Alan Paterson are pi$$ed then you know there are problems ahead.
    Don’t want to tell you “we told you so” Alan but hey, start finding other routes to market ASAP.
    We have lowered our automatic acceptance value on returns so as to intercept most cases. May as well fight them all – from the “I’m returning the antique copper kettle because it’s riddled with woodworm” scenarios to “I’m returning this antique gold ring because my parrot had just died”.

  • Lucy
    3 months ago

    There are so many false SNAD claims that the odds of me being unfairly punished by ebays return metric penalty charge is very high for me. I was disgusted in June and July to be told my returns were very high by eBay via email. Like a lot of sellers on eBay I am not prepared to work for nothing, if ebay added the 4% to my fees that is what I would be doing. Ebay already make more in fees than I do in profit on my sales, I am not prepared to give them more money.

    Cases should be appealable. It is also on return requests so a closed case, or a case that resulted in no return is counted.

    Sellers cannot influence the outcome of these returns, you can make sure your listings are detailed, package an item well and deliver it on time, but if a buyer wants a free return they just select not as described and the seller is powerless to the outcome.

    This whole metrics system is not fit for purpose, unless you are a greedy market place like eBay that don’t care about anything but how much extra in fees you can get from business sellers.

  • Emily
    3 months ago

    You say “From hearsay we believe that eBay support may be receiving hundreds of calls a day from sellers appealing false SNAD returns’

    So that equates to hundreds of false SNAD returns being added to sellers return penalty metrics per day by eBay. No wonder they want them to stay on the metrics this will help them falsely claim sellers are doing a poor job so they can charge 4% extra to as many sellers as possible.

    Ebay will keep squeezing business sellers until something dramatic happens and we all take our business elsewhere. While they are making money they will just carry on, when it starts to affect their profits they will maybe look at the underlying case why sellers left the platform. I left the end of August this year due to the return penalty emails.

  • Alex
    3 months ago

    Buyers create false SNAD cases because, it is a free return for them. They don’t get any negative left on their account or suffer financially. They know ebay will let them get away with it time and time again. If you only buy on eBay you always have 100% feedback. Sellers can never see if in the past the buyer has abused the return process or claimed excessive amounts of item not received cases. Ebay just want buyers to keep spending. They see sellers as commodities, if one business seller leaves another will take their place.

    • 3 months ago

      Like I have said before. If a customer abuses the system then it’s one strike and out. You ban them from buying from your site. If we all stick together and do the same then it get rid of the customers who constantly try it on.

    • Alex
      3 months ago

      @Tony I agree with you totally. We block any buyer who misuses returns or allows an item to return to sender. The only trouble is a couple of buyers have opened new accounts to avoid the block, we managed to stop the orders as they used the same PayPal account as before, you then have to go to ebay to open a unwelcome and malicious buyer case.

      They only trouble is the damage to your metrics has already been done prior to you blocking them and there are so many buyers misusing returns.

  • 3 months ago

    It’s sad to see so many worries caused by this.

    I think my business should be OK based on metrics so far, but if the worst happened, I would not sell anything in a category that ebay slapped a punishment fee on, until it had reset. If everyone did this, they would notice a loss of sales, particularly if like my business, you’re sometimes the only seller of an item. Hitting them back in their pocket is the only way to send a message.

    • Emily
      3 months ago

      @Gav we sold in one category and were new to ebay, we had only been selling just over a year. We didn’t sell 400 items over the three month period they set so were judged on a full year. To come off eBay and allow the metrics to reset would take months of waiting. It was easier just to move to another market place and push our own website more.

    • 3 months ago

      Emily

      It’s unfortunate that it is the case for you, but larger and more established sellers would be in a different position. Can you imagine if someone like musicmagpie or worldofbooks decided to stop selling CDs or books for 3 months? Ebay would **something that rhymes with hit** their pants.

      OK, big sellers like that maybe have something in place to prevent them getting hit by poor metrics, but there are enough good sellers who could produce the same results to ebay revenue.

      I think from reading the ebay releases, they massively underestimate the number of incorrect SNADs and other types of buyer abuse of returns procedure. They seem to think it is a case of “well, everyone get’s the odd one or two, now and then, so there’s no point dealing with them, it doesn’t skew the data” But it clearly does.

      Whether people leave for good, or stop selling temporarily, it would hit them, doubly. Sellers are buyers too. So they’re not just losing the sellers’ sales revenue, they’d be losing the sellers’ buying revenue.

    • TomT
      3 months ago

      I’d just increase my price to cover the increase in fees. Then Ebay can wonder why our website and Amazon are cheaper and sell more…. aka they probably will then earn less in fees.

      For reference I have sold £1.3m on Ebay in the last 12 months. I hope that is big enough for them to notice.

    • Tom
      3 months ago

      That’s exactly the issue Gav. The false SNAD claims make up a significant proportion of the metric in some categories. No prevention methods can be put into place if a buyer doesn’t read the description properly. I’m dreading every return which is getting opened now. Its a complete gamble with how many false claims we’re getting.

  • 3 months ago

    I hope someone from ebay is reading this

    • james
      3 months ago

      quite likely a few people from ebay are, but whether any of them
      a) care
      or
      b) could actually do anything about it
      is a different matter entirely.

    • 3 months ago

      good point

      But then I’m on my way out so I hope they are for everyone else’s sake
      Anyone want to buy some stock?

  • Kyle
    3 months ago

    I can’t wait for this to blow up in Ebay’s face. I think they are unaware of how much abuse goes on and they also don’t realise that their third world support is beyond useless. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the guys in Manilla play video games all day and are scamming Ebay.

    Ebay will eventually falsely accuse a business that wants to fight back and Ebay management will be shocked when the state of their marketplace is exposed in court.

  • Mike
    3 months ago

    In my humble opinion…

    eBay are making lots of money, but will always want more.

    There is only one reason that would force eBay to change course on any decision/policy – Legal enforcement

    There is only one reason that could encourage eBay to change course on any decision/policy – A significant negative impact on their bottom line

    Without either of the two points above coming into play, it’s open season on sellers.

    With Brexit and all the political infighting taking place, I don’t see the first happening any time soon.

    Without sellers leaving eBay (or significantly increasing their prices – @TomT), in sufficient numbers, things will likely worsen; with other policy changes likely on the horizon.

  • Jay
    3 months ago

    Buyers shouldn’t have feedback for themselves, they just need a VERY VISIBLE returns rate that everyone can see.

    Sellers can then choose (within some settings) not to allow buyers to make purchases from them with a returns rate of more than X amount.

    I also think that by making buyers publicly display their own returns metrics instead of a pointless 100% feedback score and make it visible to everyone, it’ll clean up the habits of the abusive ones. It’s a really simple idea if you think about it.

    It’s unlikely to put buyers off using eBay at all however it will give each seller the ability to transact only with qualifying buyers.

    For example: you could even display a sellers required “return rate” for buyers to see on a sellers listing. If the item being sold is a better price, but the buyer can’t buy it because they’ve abused their returns rate so much so that they don’t qualify to purchase the “best deal”, then they too will be keen to improve their “performance” (i.e. keep unnecessary returns to a minimum) so that they can qualify for the best deals available on the marketplace.

    • Mike
      3 months ago

      @Jay you make an excellent suggestion, which I have no doubt could be made to work on eBay’s site.

      The only problem with it is this, you’re proposing to introduce something that would inhibit sales.

      That makes it a complete non-starter for eBay.

      I believe eBay would much rather see sales with returns, than no sales.

      A sale makes eBay money.

      A return also makes eBay money, but for that, they first need the sale.

    • Lucy
      3 months ago

      @ Jay I really like the idea of visibility regarding return cases.

      I would also like to add return to sender cases to the visibility list.

      We are getting an increase of return to sender cases, even though we state in our listings all items are tracked and need a signature. We are convinced the buyer was hoping the item would be put through their letterbox without a signature, so they could claim item not received and get it for free.

      When they get a card saying a signature is required they just ignore it and allow the item to come back to us, as they never intended to pay for the item.

    • Jay
      3 months ago

      I don’t think it would inhibit sales anymore than the current system of simply “blocking buyers” from buying from you already does.

      A blanket ban on a buyer could arguably cause more damage in terms of lost sales. It’s of course entirely plausible that a previous “blocked” buyer can clean up their act and become a welcome customer. Unfortunately as a buyer who’s already blocked, you would never know if they’ve stopped abusing the system.

      I also don’t particularly agree that eBay “make money” on returns, especially when you look at the long term damage to the brand. A bad experience for buyer on eBay can potentially lead them to never shop on the marketplace again. This is something that Amazon are particularly keen to avoid at all costs and I’m sure eBay are thinking exactly the same.

      Yes, of course, eBay have introduced a system whereby they can “benefit financially” from returns, but I bet if you asked the decision makers they’d rather “prevent” returns in the first place.

      Let’s remember, sellers are eligible to reclaim Final Value Fees on all returned and refunded orders. So whilst eBay are making a profit from returns, it’s simply mitigating a portion of what their losing in Fees.

    • Mike
      3 months ago

      @Jay the difference between an individual seller blocking a buyer, as opposed to a number of sellers blocking that same buyer, based on filters, is quite large. If one seller blocks a buyer, I’d suggest it’s not really that big a deal for eBay, but, if many sellers were able to block that same buyer, it could be.

      Arguably, eBay’s brand is already tarnished by its reputation for hosting scammers, yet it introduces policies that could work in favour of scammers, not against them. Take the service metrics and auto return acceptance; both could be used by scamming buyers to operate more freely.

      For example, the service metrics policy leaves sellers vulnerable to extortion attempts and malicious competitors. I’ve previously experienced extortion attempts that eBay refused to look at. With buyers able to threaten return requests, knowing the possible fee increase they could mean for sellers, the policy is hardly going to help sellers. I’ve also been victim to malicious competition, and have no doubt there are some competitors who will not be able to resist intentionally purchasing-to-return, for the negative impact it brings.

      Another example, without the auto return acceptance policy, sellers have an opportunity to tackle bogus returns; with the possibility of stopping them in their tracks, before a return is made. With the policy, scammers can initiate returns, leaving sellers without their initial line of defence. eBay’s policy therefore makes it harder for sellers to fight such scams. Then, once a return has been received, eBay’s focus is on the seller refunding the buyer. Any arguments the seller has to counter that refund often, in my experience at least, fall on deaf ears. Auto accepting returns will, I expect, see eBay applying pressure on sellers to refund, regardless of the reality and circumstances that should negate it. That situation does not benefit sellers.

      Yes, I’m sure eBay’s policy makers would rather prevent returns, but I doubt that will ever happen. Returns are an inevitable part of distance selling and the opportunities they present for exploitation means returns will forever be used, by those so inclined, to try and scam sellers.

      Yes, the FSF is reclaimable, but the return label brings a financial gain for eBay, no matter how small. I’m sure eBay would rather have that small financial gain than nothing; a situation that I expect will be seen many times over, meaning that small financial gain growing in size to something much larger.

      One final point, my views are biased and result from my experience, others will have different experiences and different views. I understand and accept that. It doesn’t make their view less credible than mine, or vice-a-versa. At the end of the day, we both want a fair system for sellers, how we get there is perhaps the most important view.

    • Kyle
      3 months ago

      The way we handle scammers is by dragging our heels and almost encouraging them to leave us a negative. We then get a chance to publicly respond to that negative and warn other sellers.

      Of course it only works if you get thousands of positives a month and a few negatives won’t make a dent. The problem on Ebay seems to be little sellers who allow themselves to be extorted to maintain their 100% feedback.

  • Terry
    3 months ago

    I find it rather curious that the service metrics have been delayed in the UK, but implemented in the US.

    I cannot believe the delay is down to anything monetary, ebay.com has to generate way more than ebay.co.uk. I also don’t believe that E-Bay corporate are worried about hurting the feelings of UK sellers.

    I am by no means a lawyer, so I could be miles off beam, but try googling this:

    ‘are penalties legal under UK law’

    The answer to that might have something to do with the delayed implementation.

    • FD
      3 months ago

      @Terry, in my opinion, you are not off beam. There are different aspects to the penalty charge, none of which can deliver any degree of certainty for eBay, if that penalty were challenged legally.

      eBay’s proposed penalty fee is based on return requests, which wittingly ignores the credibility of those requests. This is where eBay’s policy falls short, lacking legal traction.

      Whilst eBay ignore the difference between genuine and false return requests, they face the very real prospect of an embarrassing court appearance that would see their policy discredited and, more importantly, ruled unenforceable.

    • Alex
      3 months ago

      Ebay will also have to change the way they invoice business sellers if they impose the 4% penalty due to VAT legislation. The law states that where a payment is described as a ‘fine’ or ‘penalty’ it is treated as outside the scope of VAT.