Posted by Alex Jackson on May 26, 2017
A large portion of our clients make a living selling on eBay which is why we keep our eye on upcoming eBay changes. We want to make sure we take the necessary steps to help our buyers and keep them informed. Before we dive into this week’s main topic don’t forget to remove active content from your listings! eBay is going to disable listings with active content this June!
Reports have been coming out of eBay in the last few weeks of some long overdue changes coming in the fall seller update. Sellers will be pleased and relieved to hear that they have to do with two of the thorniest problems that sellers deal with regularly nonpayment and returns. Nonpayment can be a frustrating and time consuming. An item sells and you send the invoice but the buyer does not respond and days go by. Adding to your frustration you have already been billed by eBay for final value fees and other costs a loose-loose situation. This is particularly frustrating in the event of an auction item with multiple bids. You had other customers willing to purchase that item but in a week or longer when the unpaid item case closes they may not still be interested. There are certain precautions a seller can take like clearly stating in your terms and conditions when payment is due, demand instant payment on buy it now items and when that auction ends send that invoice early and often. Another option to reduce your exposure to potential problem customers is to block buyers with strikes on their account or low feedback ratings though many will feel uncomfortable about blocking any user and it’s not a foolproof solution.
Now finally we are getting some strong words from eBay specifically from their CEO Devin Wenig on this problem stating "We are beginning to roll out a more aggressive solution to minimize unpaid items on behalf of our sellers." While it’s still light on specifics it’s a very promising statement that this issue is on their radar and that it will be addressed. Now specifics on the next subject returns are a little more detailed. Back in 2015 eBay rolled out a returns handling test program its purpose was to reduce the amount of fraudulent returns resulting from significantly not as described claims. The scam is fairly straightforward seller gets a claim the item is not as described and the buyer sends it back. Now what the seller gets back is another matter altogether. Used or broken items, completely different items or items missing parts worst of all totally empty boxes! So what do you do? With the returns handling program as a seller you have the option to ask eBay to step in this essentially freezes the claim while eBay investigates.
Now as we have said previously its always important to document the discrepancy so be prepared to provide backup documentation in the form of pictures of the item before and after the return. Also a good idea to document the package being opened so there is no room for doubt what the customer sent back. In my personal experience with situations like this is that the more information you are able to provide the higher your credibility and the likelihood that they will decide in your favor. Having this program permanently installed for all transactions is a great idea and absolutely needed. eBay needs to have a more active role in oversight and ultimately this will be beneficial to both buyers and sellers in the long run while having the added benefit of weeding out some unsavory characters attempting to rip off sellers.
My big takeaway from these snippets of seller news is that eBay may just be realizing how important the rights of both buyers and sellers are and that the buyer is always right philosophy of the last few years may just be undergoing some tweaks. Buyer seller rights are still not in parity but this is a big step in the right direction.