eBay Goes Live with Advanced and Automated Return Options
eBay announced today that new initiatives outlined in the 2017 Fall Seller Update and introduced at eBay Open 2017 in Las Vegas are going live this month.
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These two new programs will make returns easier to manage and should increase the efficiency of running your eBay Store.
However, both features also face a lot of blowback by sellers that feel eBay is forcing new policies upon them. And while voluntary, eBay’s search functions will likely improve ranking in results for sellers that accommodate these return functions.
In defense of eBay, the company is looking at the eCommerce landscape, and faster shipping and improved returns are much more significant factors now in converting sales.
Let’s dive into what eBay has added to the platform.
Automatic Acceptance of Returns When Buyer Pays Shipping
This new feature enables faster return processing when a buyer decided they no longer want the item. Typically this falls into the category of buyer’s remorse.
When a buyer makes the return request, the return is automatically accepted, and eBay will provide the buyer with a return shipping label. The buyer is entirely responsible for return shipping costs.
If your return policy enables buyers to return products on your dime, then you will receive three days to email the buyer a prepaid return label.
If you do not mail a return label in the allotted time, eBay will create one for you and send it to the buyer, but your account will be charged for the return shipping.
Obviously, this might be more expensive than you sending a return label to the buyer as most volume shippers will have negotiated shipping discounts.
The last function can also occur if a buyer claims that the item is not as described. This process is already part of the eBay system, so it isn’t particularly new.
eBay states that no return requests are automatically accepted for items that do not have a return policy. Do remember, that not as described claims are exempt from this policy.
Partial Refunds for Free Returns
To avoid needlessly sending products back and forth, eBay is also providing the option to offer a partial refund to a buyer if the item was listed with free returns. Buyers may provide up to 50% off the purchase price for a refund.
This function may be a limited use case as this would mostly make sense in a situation when there are missing parts, pieces, or cosmetic damage to the product that does not interfere with function.
New Refund and Replacement Rules Options
Not precisely spelled out by eBay in the announcement, but it appears eBay updated their refund rules to allow for providing automatic full refunds to purchase if the refund request meets specific criteria.
This could be an option for low-value products when the time and cost of the product to deal with a return is not worth the effort. Providing a full instant refund to buyers on low-value items may increase buyer satisfaction and avoid negative feedback.
And eBay also added a function to offer an automatic replacement in the new “Create advanced return rules” options screen.
Check out these new Advanced Return Rules to see if any of them work for you.
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.
I’m fine with giving reasonable returns but eBay is forcing me to considering making “no returns” my official policy for the first time.
Since the last year my return rate skyrocketed about 30% – because ebay now encourages buyers to just open cases instead of contacting sellers like they used to.
And now, they have decided to just automatically let buyers send the item back without talking to me.. and without allowing me to decide the return address, which is a problem since I have multiple suppliers.
Basically, eBay just wants to screw sellers in all scenarios – well guess what ebay – I will now say “No returns” and then that forces the buyer to communicate with me to get a reasonable return.
You make some fair points that many sellers would agree with. On the other hand, eBay is also trying to create a more unified shopping experience in order to compete with Amazon and other marketplaces. There is a bit of a trying to balance both sides and deciding how to handle it best.
I know of a seller that routinely wins his cases, but he is also very diligent to follow the rules exactly to the tee. And he spends a lot of time arguing with eBay customer support until he finds someone that “gets it”.
It shouldn’t be that way and depending on the margins and price points involved, I am sure some sellers just write off the loss and move on. But that is not an option for many.
Thanks for your comments