06/07/2018 at 6:54 pm #41930
First off, let me apologize for the whining and complaining I’m about to do.
I’m turning off free returns on ebay because I just can’t emotionally deal with it anymore.
I turned on free returns about a month ago and I’ve had 7 returns in my main store over the past 30 days and have 6 currently pending returns. I’m starting to completely dread that little noise ebay makes on my phone. The increase in my returns, and having to pay shipping there and back, and the number of “I just didn’t like it” or “it didn’t fit” reasons has just been enough for me.
My sales are down and my returns are up. It feels like I’m losing money. Granted, I need to do my numbers for the past week – but I know that they are down – which could be summer and could be that I haven’t listed a lot lately. I will check my numbers and post them on the podcast comments thread.
But whatever the reason for the increased returns, I just don’t want to do them anymore because of the discouraging feelings I have when I get another return request. I’m not trying to be a total pity party over here, but I do just need that pleasure of complaining to people who know what I’m talking about.
Ok, so going forward I’m not doing free returns on ebay anymore. I’ve got a bunch of clothing drafts on ebay now, I’m going to get those listed and then stop listing clothing on ebay. I’m going to switch my listing of clothing to Poshmark instead of ebay. Additionally, I’m going to try to focus on just listing hard goods on ebay – which will probably mean less listings for me on ebay.
There, rant over. Thanks for listening.
- This topic was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by KatieScott.
06/07/2018 at 7:28 pm #41932
We’ve had free returns for about month as well. We had our first two “free returns” this week. Not bad enough where we’re going to stop the experiment, but your experience is my worry.
The cost of Free Returns is supposed to be balanced by more sales. But if we have the same amount of sales, but more cost of shipping, then it’s just bad business math.
We sell about 25% clothes and deal with those headaches of flakey buyers. Having a large majority clothing store would be a nightmare for us. It’s just the nature of the beast that people want to try on and return clothes.
Do you think Poshmark buyers do fewer returns? If so, why?
06/07/2018 at 7:30 pm #41933SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Got it. No problem. We’re here to listen.
I have one listing (an item I have multiples of) with free returns right now. I haven’t sold one of them yet. I’ve been waiting for other sellers to offer their experience before I decide to turn it on. I’ll be taking your experience in as one data point.
06/07/2018 at 7:41 pm #41934
I don’t think you are alone. Whether they share it or not, I think more and more sellers are going to be in the same position. Free returns are good for ebay as a market place and not for sellers While they market that free returns are going to increase sales, what they always leave off is that it swings the door wide open on returns causing them to increase whether they admit it or not. Really, what is going to stop people from returning if they have free returns? Just look at what happened at Amazon with a loose return policy.
I think more sellers will find the need to turn off free returns.
I don’t think ebay would be offering sellers a free returns promotion if there were not issues like these with the free returns policy. Sellers are going to need to let ebay know their experience with free returns and the level of loss being experienced. This is especially true for Top Rated Sellers and those with Anchor stores because as a collective, they have a very powerful voice.
06/07/2018 at 7:43 pm #41935
I remember when eBay started pushing Free Shipping about five years ago. We tried offering free shipping on hats, ties, and lighter items. After a couple month, it was obvious that we weren’t selling more, but spending more on shipping. I think many eBay sellers realized the same thing. Thankfully eBay never made Free Shipping a requirement of Top Rated Seller.
I have a feeling Free Returns will be the same way. (though this is now a requirement of TRS)
06/07/2018 at 8:10 pm #41936
1. Yay, I’m glad to see the feedback to this thread; I’m glad I’m not being a debbie downer here. I really like that this forum is positive and optimistic and scientific method-y, but the free returns thing on ebay has been a real downer for me and I wanted to share (but not get lost in a negative space).
2. I did leave one message on the ebay forums about my feelings. I think my one and only post ever over there.
3. I did call ebay today and told them about my feelings in a polite way. The sales rep kept telling me all the things I could do to change my listings,… but I told her I really just wanted to call and say that I since I turned on free returns, my returns have been up and the whole thing really feels unfair to sellers and I just wanted to give ebay my 2 cents on that feeling, that’s all.
4. Jay – Poshmark – yes, return rate is something like: none. I had one person return a Cole Haan coat once, they said it was covered it cat hair. It was not covered in cat hair when I shipped it. I lint roll everything and I don’t have a cat. It was when I got it back. I resold the coat on ebay no problems. But I think that is my only return ever on Poshmark and I think I’ve been on it for over a year, with not the number of sales I have on ebay – but still a decent amount. Returns are not an issue on Poshmark.
And, Just because I’m a little frustrated with ebay right now – I switched my SAME DAY shipping to ONE DAY shipping. I feel like I’ve been jumping through every hoop ebay puts in front of me and I’m just kind of emotionally tired of it right now. I don’t want to get all jaded and stop all together. I’m just a little frustrated now.
Thanks everyone for all the positive vibes and constructive sharing.
06/07/2018 at 8:19 pm #41939
I’m glad that we all hash out issues here. We just strive to figure what the problem is and figure out a solution. I think eBay does a bunch of dumb stuff. We do what works and ignore the rest.
I wonder why Poshmark buyers dont return items for fit. Maybe Poshmark as a platform doesn’t make it easy/obvious to return? Maybe eBay has just gone too far to with shouting out “return here! return now!”
06/08/2018 at 4:21 pm #42020Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
First, I like eBay, I makes lots of money without working much but eBay is dumb.
They never get updates correct, the mobile apps are different depending on platform and listing glitches occur all the time.
Customer service is outsourced and no one knows the rules (except most sellers). They really come off as a bunch of Silicon Valley baffoons. Take their radio host, Griff didn’t even sell anything until a few years ago and it’s just a few men’s dress shirts yet he’s the voice of authority for eBay sellers. I think he learns more than anyone listening.
As for returns, in the eyes of a buyer returns are a negative, why keep shouting about returns, buyers don’t want to think about that unless they have to.
We used to think of eBay like a mall and we are just renting space, I never heard of a mall where management dictated how you deal with customer returns, why doesn’t ebay stay out of the return management, let sellers manage their own stores how they wish, bad sellers will always get weeded out.
They aren’t Amazon and never will be as Amazon is perceived as an online store, eBay is a collection of online stores and individual sellers and they do auctions.
I appreciate all the feedback everyone is giving on the free returns, I never jump in on stuff, I like to evaluate it first and as someone else mentioned, if you’re selling weird one off types of items, do good listings, people will buy regardless of return policies.
06/07/2018 at 8:44 pm #41945
That is exactly what ebay is doing!!!!
06/07/2018 at 9:01 pm #41947
The real problem here (in addition to the loss of funds) is that ebay has swung the doors wide open on returns and they are going to try to put it on sellers in order to explain returns. I believe in July (check the Summer Seller Update) they are going to start seller metrics where sellers can see how they compare to others who sell the same items. Then they are going to start dinging sellers by putting longer shipping times and/or more fees on their accounts if their returns rates are too high. And of course, all of this will be passed off as a seller issue instead of an ebay decision making issue.
06/07/2018 at 9:09 pm #41950
sorry to hear about your negative experience. As I’ve said (all too often, I’m sure) I’ve been offering free return shipping for several years, and it hasn’t been a problem. Some of that, I’m sure, is just luck. Some of it is I’m small, have a low return rate history, and clothing is not a huge part of my inventory (and most of the clothing is mens, and I suspect they aren’t as fussy as women).
However, as I’ve also said before, I see it, for me,as both low risk (due to my return rate and inventory type) AND low reward (because I have never thought offering free returns was likely to drive a big increase in sales for my type of stuff. I suspect it is more likely to drive sales for sellers of new merchandise, especially in certain categories.
So, I think , like many things on ebay, it is going to be a good fit for some sellers and not a good fit for others. That’s how I feel about free shipping as well. I offer it on a few things, but not much…in part because I don’t think it’s a big factor in whether I make the sale or not. Again, I suspect that’s very different for many commodity sellers and certain categories.
I’ve heard good things about Poshmark, and hope you’ll report back on your experience there.
06/07/2018 at 9:18 pm #41951
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Poshmark is very much a consumer to consumer platform, with most buyers also selling there. (Like ebay in its early days). Today, I think the percentage of ebay buyers who also sell there is small, and so the average buyer is just like an average buyer at WalMart or Amazon—no real hesitation to return something. I’m guessing on Poshmark, buyers are more reluctant to return stuff because they know they don’t like getting returns when they are selling. ebay buyers see ebay sellers more as faceless businesses, and poshmark buyers see Poshmark sellers more as “someone just like me”
Does that make any sense? I’m writing on way too little sleep tonight LOL
06/07/2018 at 11:29 pm #41960
Oh, and this could have something to do with it—all sales are final, except INADs:
What is Poshmark’s Return Policy?
All sales are final on Poshmark. However, we take an active role in each and every purchase made on Poshmark to ensure both the buyer and seller have a great experience. A buyer may open a case with us if they don’t receive their item or the item they receive is not as described within the listing. This means a buyer cannot return an item they purchased on Poshmark if the item simply does not fit or they no longer want the item – as long as the seller accurately described the item in the listing.
If the buyer receives an item that is not as described within the listing, is sent the wrong item, or is in some other way not as described, the buyer can report their problem to us within 3 days of delivery through the app or on the web. When a case is opened, the buyer is asked to upload photos and offer details of the item. If the return is verified, we assist the buyer in returning the item to the seller and offer them a full refund.
To avoid a problem with a sale, we advise sellers to be as descriptive and detailed as possible when creating your listings. We encourage buyers to review the listing photos, description and item condition, and if you have any questions, please ask the seller for additional details, measurements or photos. Sellers are usually more than happy to provide additional information.
06/07/2018 at 11:35 pm #41961
Poshmark’s return policy helps protect sellers. Maybe Poshmark will become the new ebay as sellers see thier sales and profits drop!
06/08/2018 at 2:39 am #41969Anonymous
Aren’t FV Fees less with free returns on ?
06/08/2018 at 7:05 am #41975
Free returns are necessary (with a few category exceptions) to get the TRS Plus FVF discount (10% off your regular FVF). THis is why some sellers first look at the dollar value of their TRS PLus discount before deciding whether to take a chance on free returns. If you are saving $1000 per month with TRS Plus and anticipate free return costs of $100/month, it make sense. If it’s the other way around, probably not….
06/08/2018 at 7:31 am #41982cmtellaParticipant
I thought I’d add my 2 cents to this discussion. I’ve been on eBay for over 10 years and I have never and will never accept returns in any form for any reason. The whole idea of losing money because someone decided they no longer wanted something just doesn’t work for me. Despite not accepting returns, I still sell just about everything I list and only get around 1 or 2 INAD cases a year, most of which were my fault and can usually be worked out with partial refunds. I think I’ve only ever had 2 things mailed back to me in 10 years.
I think returns are a lot like free shipping. For most people, if they really want the item, it doesn’t matter if returns are free or the shipping is free, they’ll still buy it and be happy with it when they get it.
An important caveat is that I sell antiques and collectibles. I would probably not have had the same experiences if I was selling clothing.
06/08/2018 at 7:47 am #41983T-SattParticipant
MyCottage: thanks for the info on the Poshmark return policy. We still have very few returns (less than 2%) even with Free Returns. The majority of our returns are for “did not fit” on clothes. That would potentially be reduced on Poshmark.
I’m really going to have to get a plan to get set up on a Poshmark trial in the next few weeks…
06/08/2018 at 9:17 am #41986apertureParticipant
- Location: ARVADA
KatieScott, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I sell mostly hard goods on eBay, but just in the last week started putting clothing into my resourcing stream. With your shared experience, I am going to try listing some clothing on Poshmark. I just downloaded the app. We’ll see how it goes. Best wishes, Daniel.
06/08/2018 at 1:55 pm #42014
KatieScott – I hear you. I am also considering turning them off soon, but I made a vow to myself that I would try it until June 30th. I have just a small store, right around 1000 items at all times. Since I began selling clothing and shoes a few years ago, I have averaged 6 – 10 returns in an entire year. I turned on free returns on May 8th. I have now had 3 returns for “doesn’t fit”. Those items were one heavy coat and two were women’s shoes. On these three items, I have paid nearly $30 for free return shipping. I have not seen any increase in sales and that $30 is much more than the piddly 10% FVF discount I might receive. I am not at all concerned with losing my “Top Rated Seller Plus” rating, but I was concerned with being dropped down much further in the search rankings if I didn’t participate. As it is, I have to promote about half of my store to get sales, and that of course is another big expense that SHOULDN’T BE NECESSARY since we are already paying a store subscription to list and paying final value fees on both the item price and the shipping cost. I’m also getting very frustrated trying to keep jumping through all the many hoops put in front of me and wonder how long this small business will be able to hang on. I don’t know the answer. I just feel like eBay is trying to force smaller sellers right out of the picture. I get a chuckle out of their “inventory recommendations” message…yesterday they suggested that I start selling safety hoists, winches and fork lifts! Sure, I’ll get right on that. Just wanted you to know that I certainly feel your frustration and you are definitely not alone in this!
06/08/2018 at 2:57 pm #42015Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
I turned on Free Returns yesterday for all items that can ship for under 1 pound. I’m using the eBay promotion that promises to reimburse me for all postage on free return shipping through August. I believe the return shipping reimbursement is capped at a certain dollar amount. A metric provided by Ebay said that a person with a 30 day return policy can expect to see a 5% increase in sales if they elect free shipping. A 5% increase in sales is not worth it. That metric is so pathetic I don’t know why eBay even provides it. Once the free return shipping promo is over I’ll probably switch Free Returns off. Its been turned on for 28 hours so far and I’ve had 0 sales (I usually have at least 2 sales per day during the week, more on the weekends). I’ll see how sales go over this weekend.
I have been interested in starting to sell on Poshmark lately. It seems to require more seller involvement on the platform than Ebay, which is why I haven’t started it yet. Some youtube Poshmark sellers I watch note that certain clothing brands do a lot better on Posh than on Ebay, which is tempting me.
06/08/2018 at 3:55 pm #42018thriftster doofusParticipant
- Location: New York
I’m with KatieScott! As a seller of Clothing/Shoes/Accessories, I didn’t even bother turning on Free Returns. Further, knowing I’d be losing my TRS+ status and 10% FVF discount, I went ahead and extended my Handling Time to 2 Days.
Relatedly, I also did away with the Guaranteed Delivery program eBay auto-enrolled me in as soon as the Opt-Out became available.
Combined, these decisions save me time spent trekking to the PO every single day, and waiting in line for items to be scanned to Beat the Clock. The reduction in current stress and future fru$tration are also not to be sneezed at. I feel thoroughly liberated!
06/10/2018 at 3:01 pm #42077
Good for you! I have a no-stress-for-me 3-day handling time and have no plans of turning on free shipping, free returns, or guaranteed delivery anytime soon. My store is 420 items.
06/08/2018 at 4:43 pm #42022
So this comment cheered me up “I get a chuckle out of their “inventory recommendations” message…yesterday they suggested that I start selling safety hoists, winches and fork lifts! Sure, I’ll get right on that.”
Thanks northernpinesgallery for the smile 🙂
06/08/2018 at 5:53 pm #42023
If you invite someone to take advantage (eBay, free returns) they most certainly will. That’s what’s happening. Unfortunately I added free returns (and probably Katie did too I’m guessing) before they offered the promotion so we won’t be getting our return shipping reimbursed. Happy to have gotten you to smile KatieScott! 😉
06/08/2018 at 10:10 pm #42030buytikiselltikiParticipant
This is a great discussion, very heartening to hear these quality perspectives!
Not much to add – I do miss the glory days when it was obvious that you were using eBay as a way to connect with people who had something that you wanted. And, often shared interests.
All the tweaks that have come down “lo, these many years” have tended to create more of a distance between buyer and seller.
Of course, people have businesses now, with costs expectations and one of my least favorite words, “scaling”.
I’ve mostly ignored them all, unless forced ( you must use PayPal because buyers hate money orders! You must pay fv fees on shipping charges because some sellers are avoiding fees with expensive shipping)
I abhor returns, in life as well as eBay. So whatever incentives are offered, not worth it. And there is no way any alleged upturn in business would even out a single cross -country return on a heavy item.
Cool items – described with wit and affection – shipped at buyers expense with obsessive attention to safe arrival, shipped within one day ( even though handling time is set for 2 days to avoid silly guarantee blather ) at postage rates which are not marked up- and so far thousands of happy customers whose expectations have been exceeded!
Have loved selling on eBay since 1997 and will keep on until they force me too!!!
06/08/2018 at 10:32 pm #42032NancyParticipant
Katie how many returns would you normally get in a month prior to free returns?
06/09/2018 at 3:41 pm #42049RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
just a quick tidbit from my free returns from this week-
one person opened INAD but clearly said it was for color (buyers remorse)
and when i was giving them a refund, the page allowed me to dispute the buyer’s reason, which i did and quote their return reason as being for color.
anyone else able to do that with an INAD?
06/10/2018 at 3:05 pm #42078
When you disputed the reason for the return, were you able to choose to give them only a partial refund?
06/10/2018 at 8:57 am #42065T-SattParticipant
Ryanne: I have never seen that ability on any return. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
PS – Regarding the cost of the returns. We had 4 returns in May, 3 were first class and 1 was Priority. All rates were the same rates that I paid to send it out to the buyer. Total of $19.73, so our cost was about $5 per week for the month.
06/10/2018 at 5:24 pm #42085LAwomanParticipant
No. Free. Returns. Clothing/shoe/vintage/odds&sods sellers… it makes no business sense. And I love a Debbbie Downer now and then… we keep the optimists in check around here. 😉
06/14/2018 at 8:47 am #42459ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Free returns is making me nervous this week. I just put it on all first class items and a few higher end items. I got an email from a woman explaining that she is slim with a big rack and would the workout top I’m selling (free shipping & returns) be supportive enough? Another lady says vintage sheets might not fit her deep mattress so she’s making a best offer – but new in packing item requires return in package. I have a business mind for the big picture, but emotionally I don’t feel great about offering free returns.
I’m unhappy that Ebay has not offered a prominent toggle filter for FR like they did for guaranteed delivery. Sellers are really taking more of a risk offering FR, so should be rewarded. Arguably, for most buyers free returns is probably more important than guaranteed delivery. On the other hand, I do like the TRSP ribbon symbol and extra FR notation. I just don’t think it’s enough and who knows what kind of treatment you are getting under the algorithm? It doesn’t seem like all of their best practice stuff necessarily puts you on top.
Incidentally, I added a .75 handling fee with bulk editing to help cover returns but noted that it doesn’t work with free shipping items.
06/14/2018 at 9:40 am #42466Retro Treasures WVParticipant
3 day handling and no returns on most of my items. I did eventually start offering 14 day returns on clothes listings – buyer paid.
My policy has always been that I accept returns I have approved every single return request. In just over 3 years of serious selling I’ve only had 3 phony INAD cases. Off the top of my head I may have had maybe 20-30 buyer paid returns? They are very rare.
My customers have been quite happy paying for shipping and returns so far. I got positive feedback on most of those buyer paid returns as well.
As for handling time, I also have no intention of bumping it up from 3 day handling time. I love the flexibility to only have to ship 2-3 times a week. If I get a customer that requests quicker shipping through a message I will accommodate them. Otherwise, I ship when I’m good and ready and not a moment sooner.
06/15/2018 at 4:47 pm #42595Tina FParticipant
You also lose that handling fee when the item is returned. As far as poshmark goes, I’ve sold 300 items there with only 2 returns which were my fault. It is understood there are no returns and because of that people dont try it. With free returns on ebay it is understood if it doesnt work out, no skin off their back, just return it. No restocking fee either. With clothing never make the mistake of doing free shipping and free returns. You will get burned very badly. As far a people who want to do posh, its a different type of buyer and the social aspect of it is really annoying. I have a bot who does my sharing. Yeah I said it. Its a dirty word on poshmark but if you want to free up your time doing things that make you money like listing you have to. And totally worth it.
06/27/2018 at 2:18 pm #43742
As an update on my experiment with free returns (May 6 – June 27), I have decided to turn off free returns. First and foremost, it is not good for my psyche. Secondly, it is not good for my small business. I have had 4 returns, costing me $38.98, (of course they were all heavy items sent priority mail) for buyers changing their minds or doesn’t fit. I feel like a weight has been lifted since I made the decision!
06/28/2018 at 8:46 am #43800
You bring up a good point that pertains to us. From a numbers perspective, we’re still not losing money on Free Returns. But it does hurt the emotional part of our brain. Paying for a return just because someone changed their mind feels bad.
06/28/2018 at 11:22 am #43830AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
I turned on FR on my First Class items only. It seems to have opened the floodgates, with two returns in the first week. I’ve had maybe 5 returns in two years, so this is not a good feeling. To add insult to injury, one return was a high-ticket item, so that took a nice bite out of my PayPal account!
From watching this carefully for a while, I’m beginning to agree with the burgeoning opinion that eBay is teaching buyers a return mindset that they didn’t used to have. Not happy. 🙁
06/28/2018 at 11:44 am #43834TerriParticipant
I never planned on joining in on free returns, but I got the offer from Ebay that they’d cover the return postage for items listed or relisted before a certain date in June, so I figured I had nothing to lose by switching over. So far, I’ve only had one return and it was a FC package, so not a big deal.
I list 30 day FP and recently had a bunch of listings end. At the last minute, I remembered to change back to buyer pay returns or I would’ve been stuck with free returns with no Ebay reimbursement on the relists.
Honestly, I doubt that free returns will help me much in search for the hodgepodge of items I sell and, even if I don’t lose money, I just don’t want to deal with it. I’m transitioning away from clothes and have a lot of breakable stuff listed that I’m sure would come back damaged and/or would be a PITA to repack.
Haven’t listened to any of them, but judging by the number of webinars on this subject as well as the offer they sent to reimburse me for costs, I’m guessing the number of sellers jumping on the bandwagon is less than they projected.
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