12/28/2018 at 12:13 am #54064
Ok…so where do I start with this one. This has been by far the most frustrating experience I’ve ever had with ebay. I thought about calling this whole story in originally to the podcast…but it got WAAAYY too long and complicated for a call. I’ll go bullet point to try and speed things up.
• Buyer bought Stereo that had known as-is defect with CD Player
• Buyer didn’t read description – opened INAD case…for as-is defect with CD player
• Spent 2.5 hours on phone with ebay…almost went insane and possibly developed PTSD from the experience. I was repeatedly lied to, mislead, mis quoted…you name it they tried it to get rid of me. At one point a CSR was literally just repeating a line from her script no matter what I said.
• Escalated twice and landed with manager with common sense who agreed I was correct and agreed to fully refund me original shipping and return shipping. I in turn agreed to fully cooperate with buyer so buyer would not be jaded with their first ebay experience and leave ebay for good.
• Manager agreed to call me back the following Tuesday to allow the buyer time to ship item back.
• Manager did call back…at 10pm on Monday while I was bathing our youngest child – missed the call buy literally one second.
• I have spent a month trying to get back in touch with this manager. Multiple messages were left by CSR’s I talked to.
• This evening on yet another call to resolve this, the CSR informed me the manager never recorded in the notes that she would be refunding me. (Note, she has been dodging my calls for a month)
• CSR then hung up on me…they did not call me back due to an “accidental disconnection”…
• Called back and went through the whole thing again with another CSR. They reviewed the call and agreed the manager promised me the total refund…Then pointed out that I was ineligible for a credit because I refunded the buyer already (which the manager clearly told me to do on the call). After I balked on that they put me on hold again. When she came back she apologized and told me the original manager was wrong and would be investigated for improper behavior. They would not be giving me the promised shipping credits.
• I somehow managed to not blow a gasket, and demanded to be escalated to a supervisor.
• Waited forever and eventually was promised a call back from the supervisor…they didn’t call back…big surprise!
• I called back again… tried to bypass the whole 45 minute BS rehash with the first CSR. Surprisingly,this CSR actually tried to credit me back no questions asked but their system wouldn’t allow it. Transferred to billing specialist.
• They couldn’t resolve things…transferred me to an escalation specialist.
• Escalation specialist agreed to refund return shipping…but couldn’t do original shipping.
• Another 30 minutes explaining the entire case to this point. He verifies everything.
• He checks with supervisor to see if he can push through the already promised “courtesy refund” of original shipping.
• Lots more B.S. talk waiting on yet another supervisor review. Things looking up…
• Success!!! Oh. My. GOSH!!!
• The specialist also gave me a lengthy apology for the entire experience.
• We had a very good conversation about returns in general as a followup.
• Hallelujah! Holy Sh**! Where’s the Tylenol!
So why am I fighting this one so hard? How much money is at stake here? This was a LARGE item that required 2 18x18x24 boxes to ship. Total original shipping and return shipping added up to $138.54. It wasn’t really about the money though – no matter what I knew the time invested wouldn’t be worth the refund. I had to prove to myself that I could get ebay to do the right thing.
Through this experience, I have questioned my business relationship with ebay, and even was seriously considering contacting a lawyer if they didn’t resolve my case today. I was THAT pissed that I would absolutely be willing to spend a couple grand to sue ebay. I have been lied to, hung up on, mislead, called a liar…I’ve forgot more than I remember at this point in regards to the crap ebay CSR’s pulled on me to try to get me to give up. I honestly believe that when I’m put on hold that the CSR is only checking with a supervisor or more likely another co-worker to get advice on how to simply get rid of me. It happened so many times through all these calls that it is the only logical explanation of all the “holds”. And through it all, I FINALLY won! I finally got to that one CSR who said “ok we’ve put this guy through enough – lets fix this properly”.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. Know that it is possible to get the correct outcome with ebay, but it likely will cost more time and enery than it is worth. Occasionally, you have to take a stand purely on principal though. This was one of those times for me.
12/28/2018 at 9:17 am #54065
#1: Congrats you got your refund! Not always easy to deal with large corporations, but your perseverance paid off.
#2: Anytime we have an item that causes us a lot of grief, we ask ourselves if its going to be a continuing problem. I know broken electronics are a category we learned to stay away from. And if we do feel a broken electronics is worth selling, we always put FOR PARTS or BROKEN in the title. We’ve learned it’s not enough to disclose the issue only in the item specifics or description. Obviously declaring an item broken devalues it, but this warning usually scares away casual buyers. In the end, the broken item has to be really valuable for us to even consider it. Too many perfectly good items to sell to waste time on items that dont work.
12/28/2018 at 11:30 am #54068ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
@Retro, ugh. Sorry you had to go through that experience. I too loathe calling Ebay’s customer service and really I value my time and my seller rating more than being right sometimes. Most buyers are honest, but I’ve had a few email complaints for lower dollar stuff that I just refunded and blocked on the spot despite not having proof. It just wasn’t worth the frustration of calling Ebay.
So, I feel like I need to budget it “shrinkage” for events like this. But it doesn’t help that Ebay is pushing programs that eat into the profits. So one needs to weigh potential issues with items at the sourcing point, and the cost of just eating some problems if your time is limited. I’m definitely considering cutting loose free returns this year and possibly free shipping on the some brand new items I was surprised to get returns on. Also, if I come across death pile items that are damaged, I donate them because I’m lucky to have plentiful sourcing here.
12/28/2018 at 10:43 am #54066almastyParticipant
Yikes. I can’t even believe they put you through that. They probably thought you would’ve given up at some point out of frustration, because that is just nuts.
Ebay has the worst customer service. I’m actually more surprised that you were able to get through to people so often in order to discuss your issues. Even with anchor support (whatever that is), there are still sometimes up to 2 hour waits. I don’t even bother calling them anymore unless it’s absolutely necessary. I know you can have them do the call back feature, but even with that, it feels like a whole other job just trying to get in contact with them in order to resolve issues.
Buyers that don’t read…eh…I never understood that. If you’re going to buy something expensive, don’t you want to know exactly what you’re buying? Especially with shipping that high? People have become so accustomed to brand new/buy it now/free shipping from Amazon prime and other websites that they don’t really understand there are items for sale out there that are used and may have defects.
12/28/2018 at 1:37 pm #54078
One other thing I got from this call was we had a conversation about refunding original shipping.
If you talk to an ebay rep about original shipping, they will tell you that no matter what, you have to refund original shipping. It doesn’t matter if you have free returns, INAD case, or standard buyer remorse case, ebay claims you must refund original shipping.
Here’s the catch – Nowhere in the rules does it say you have to refund original shipping for remorse returns. Also, in a remorse return there is a checkbox for refunding return shipping. I never refund original shipping and ALL of my remorse return buyers are a-ok with that.
I pointed these FACTS out to the helpful ebay rep, and he admitted it is not an official rule, but it is an internal memo – they have quite a few “unwritten rule” memos according to him. Their official memo states that the checkbox is only intended for when a buyer returns the item in an altered condition.
He did tell me that I’m not doing anything wrong and that I’m free to keep doing it but eventually ebay will change the rules to make it impossible to avoid refunding original shipping.
So this entire issue is set up as a conflict because ebay don’t even follow their own written rules. a multi-billion dollar international company that can’t identify and resolve such a basic flaw in their returns system…
We talked about Pareto analysis on here recently. I would bet big money that if ebay ran a pareto analysis on their Customer service case root causes that “not refunding original shipping” would be over on the left of the chart. Low hanging fruit indeed!
And for the record….forcing sellers to always refund original shipping is NOT an acceptable resolution… that’s a cop-out.
12/28/2018 at 4:15 pm #54083
One thing I learned a while back is that trying to fight a return reason before I have received the item back is a no-go with ebay customer service – it just leads to maximum frustration. The way I have been avoiding this type of hellish experience recently is by waiting until I have received the item back AND the amount of return shipping has shown up on my ebay activity, then I go into paypal and refund original item price (not including original shipping) minus return shipping. Then I send a message to the buyer explaining why their refund is the amount that it is. So far for 3-4 returns, the buyer has either just not responded, or has responded telling me that they don’t like it. The return then auto-closes 2-3 weeks later. I started doing this on the advice of ebay reps.
I imagine that if a buyer calls ebay to fight these, that they would get the rest of their money back, at which point I could then appeal.
If my number of INAD/damage returns starts inching up towards 10 (thus risking being rated “very high”), I will start calling ebay to try to get the return reasons changed on the bogus INADs.
12/29/2018 at 7:30 am #54096
Since you originally posted your method, I had the most blatant false INAD I’ve ever had (seller claimed item didn’t work that was sold as-is/broken/for parts or repair). I did exactly what you said.
I told the buyer outright I know they are abusing the return system. I told them I would only refund original cost minus return shipping if they sent it back. They waited until literally the last hour of the return window to print the label and send it back. I refunded them in paypal and confirmed what I did through another message.
I never heard a peep out of the buyer once. The “issue refund by” date was 2 days ago, so I guess I’m good to go.
Also, this buyer didn’t return the lens body cover and kept the battery. I reported them for both reasons. First time I’ve ever reported a buyer.
12/29/2018 at 5:38 pm #54107
I hope the buyer continues to stay silent and that the return auto-closes for you.
12/30/2018 at 10:28 am #54135
They opened a case this morning and it was promptly closed in their favor to get them their $16.15 in shipping back. I called to appeal.
I laid out the case, the CSR checked with their supervisor quickly and came back with the judgement:
The buyer was wrong and was abusing the return system. They refunded me $7.50 for the return shipping, and then considered the $16.15 as damage that the buyer caused to the item when they didn’t return the cover or the battery.
So the case was reversed to me, the defect removed, and I got an even better refund of $23.65!
I wish they all turned out this well.
12/30/2018 at 4:05 pm #54172
That’s a great outcome, Retro! Yay!
12/28/2018 at 10:24 pm #54094ZachParticipant
- Location: Kansas City
That sounds like a nightmare, but your persistence paid off. I’ve had at least a couple experience similar to that over the years (although maybe not quite as severe), but I’ve also had times where eBay was quick to understand my reasoning and rectified the situation.
In fact, just this last week I called eBay about a return where the buyer clearly was lying about an item being damaged in order to avoid paying for return shipping. The initial rep understood my argument and agreed with me, but the “system” would not let him refund the return shipping. He directed me to a supervisor, who called me back in about 20 minutes. She issued me a refund for the shipping and told me to report the buyer. It wasn’t worth the time to get back the $4, but it was nice that they actually did fix the problem.
I think eBay has too many rules (often conflicting) for the CS reps to follow, so some simply follow the golden rule of retail (customer is always right) and refuse any solution that harms the end customer. Also, the language barrier does not help things. My preferred strategy is to be totally calm when talking to a rep, avoid emotional language or excess details, and try to spell out the issue as simply and clearly as possible.
In my cited example above (a pair of high-powered reading glasses), I laid out that the customer indicated the magnification was not working properly. They did not say it was broken or the lenses cracked. These are reading glasses. They have no mechanical or electrical parts that can be broken. I received the item back and it is in perfect condition. Therefore, the customer created a false reason for the return to avoid having to pay the return shipping.
12/29/2018 at 9:51 am #54100bcfol440Participant
How annoying! And THANK YOU for taking the cause. They are NOT set up for managers to be calling people back/following up , are they? It’s like, you get your one shot and after that it’s pin the tail on donkey with getting a good one.
So, if I am selling something for high end parts or mis-functioning as soon as it sells, I send a message to buyer thanking them and then I copy and paste the condition to remind them and I am only too happy to cancel if needed before X time (shipping time). I usually get a response “Nope, I know what I’m doing I am an engineer/ I tinker/ bla bla..” Fantastic!
Yes, it’s overkill. yes, they COULD open a return of course. But, It has worked for me. I learned this from selling cameras when I first started. I was constantly being asked for partial refunds in spite of listing for parts/ broken/ as is, didn’t matter.
12/29/2018 at 10:00 am #54101
That’s a good technique to get the buyer to respond to your message that the item is broken BEFORE they get the item. Even if they dint respond, eBay sees that you sent the message.
12/31/2018 at 7:39 am #54200
I used this method last night for a blazer that had known flaws. It’s an awesome Pendleton women’s plaid blazer, but it does have a few spots on it. I went ahead and it listed cheap since I had already done most of the listing work before I saw the flaws.
Anyways, got an offer and accepted it. Buyer paid promptly. I sent them this message:
Hello. Thank you very much for the purchase. Before I ship this, I just wanted to make sure that you are fully aware of the condition. Please respond so I know that you were aware of the flaws in the item. It will save us both a lot of trouble if you get the item and are not happy.
The person replied back quickly stating that basically they didn’t read a darn thing, and thanked me for pointing it out to them. I cancelled the sale.
I will used this tactic from here on out. Thanks for the tip!
12/31/2018 at 1:22 pm #54232MDC Galleries & Fine ArtParticipant
- Location: Atlanta
RTWV: I hear you loud and clear. But in the case of real old vintage decorative items, dinnerware, glasses, ashtrays, fishing lures, old tools, old pottery, etc., etc, there is something that can be called a flaw on some level by anyone.
we have expensive pieces but they have crazing in the glaze, Royal Doulton pieces from England that has a couple of flea bites in some of the intricate detailing.
we have an “eye” here at MDCGFA that in most cases find flaws that many buyers don’t even know about.
So with all this said, we would have to send a message such as yours out to every buyer who purchases or makes an offer on a whole lot of our very old items. Especially when it comes to glaze crazing.
But I hear what you are saying. You are trying to create a clean seller-buyer delivery stream in an effort to minimize any type of negative response in any form from a buyer. Man, I wish we could send something like that automatically via Ebay to every interested party.
And to the meat of the issue, we do describe flaws we find on every item that we see them on, but what I would really like to say to every buyer, “READ THE DANG DESCRIPTION AND ITEM SPECIFICS!!” We daily get questions about something that is 99.5% of the time already answered in the listing at some place.
Your statement about the buyer saying they didn’t read anything just reinforces what Jay has said a couple of times, Some buyers just see the one display photo, the Bold Face Price and then they buy. Many don’t see that the item is on Sale at 20% off, they don’t see the original price, they offer an amount that in their mind is 40% less but in reality is 60% low because they don’t see the original price.
Add to that, that Ebay on cell phones chops off a certain amount of the title, and many people don’t know what “blue links” are, then we are in a world of just buy it fast and then I will send it back if I don’t like it, and will blame the seller some how to get out of any responsibility for not seeing anything we have posted or paying for any of the shipping.
Ok, I get a small, partial rant out. Whew I feel better. 🙂
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art.
12/29/2018 at 4:56 pm #54105buytikiselltikiParticipant
Just when it seems as if you are all alone, turns out someone else has suffered through the same nonsense.
After years with no hassles, smacked with three ZERO FEEDBACK buyers who decided their ELECTRONIC items didn’t work. Other commonality, VERY high shipping charges.
And eBay reps that aren’t interested in helping much, canned responses, reluctant involvement.
One guy wrote openly threatening emails, never responded to any message I sent, promised to leave nasty feed back and to never use eBay again.
Best rep I got on the phone seemed shocked at the buyers behavior and promised to overturn any feedback as long as I took the return , freight at my cost and refunded the buyer.
Did the math, pair of small hifi speakers purchased for $5, $25 shipping, this bozo would certainly not pack well, then argue over shipping refund?
Forget it, just refunded the guy and moved on.
At the end of the day mainly lament the continuing institution of “automatic” policies which, while you can rationalize or justify them , still represent real hurdles to the regular seller.
And, note that the speakers were thoroughly tested, insanely double packed, and listed as is no returns.
So glad you were able to fight and win, my rep thanked mev profusely for helping the customer to be happy!!!
12/31/2018 at 9:32 pm #54271bcfol440Participant
I am not saying contacting every buyer when a flaw/ imperfection is the answer. However, with ebay’s new Return Policy, the game has changed. Nearly everything I sell is used. But I use a combination of high risk categories, highly flawed / as is /parts items and 0 feedback buyers to navigate those pre-shipment contacts.
01/21/2019 at 10:32 pm #55548
Ok…so I’m gonna try real hard not to put any curse words on here…just know I’ve said quite a few of them this evening.
So the two different credits I was supposed to get I’ve talked about in this post? Yeah, neither of them ever showed up in my account. I’ve been waiting until I had another reason to call in order to open this can of worms again. I’ve tried to just put it out of my mind in the meantime because I know how much it affects me. I’m actually proud to say I did mostly block it out…but tonight I had a small issue that needed fixed so I dove off the cliff into madness once again…
Anyways, so after another hour sharing the same recap again to two people, I find out that the $138.54 credit is apparently still stuck in “pending”, even though the rep told me he had approval before we got off the phone.
The second camera credit of $23.65 also never showed up. I got an email acknowledging the appeal, but nothing else ever happened.
The best (worst) part of all of this is that these MOTHER F*&#&^$#$ CSR reps do NOT actually place any notes in the log!!!
Polite words cannot express the level of absolute hatred and disgust I feel for ebay at this moment.
I’ve been promised a call back on both issues. I won’t hold my breath… until then I’m gonna let this all go…again.
01/21/2019 at 11:42 pm #55551ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
Retro, I feel your pain… $160+ is a lot of money and you have invested a lot of time on this one.. I hope ebay comes through for you… No notes? Really?? This is insane. Have you been dealing with US reps? I hope you get in touch with someone who can actually help you SOON!
01/22/2019 at 9:34 am #55568
Yes, US reps.
01/22/2019 at 12:04 am #55552
Yes, the thing about them not recording any notes defies logic.
01/22/2019 at 8:51 am #55559
UGH, I am sorry that you went through that. I think we’ve all had Ebay customer service experiences from H@ll at this point. What a huge waste of time. I love when a rep says that they will refund you, that they are finding in your favor, etc. and then there is “no record” of that when you call back. At this point, if it’s not something that is getting resolved while I’m on the phone (closing a case, removing a neg, something I can SEE), I request an email from the rep so that I have that in writing and I stay on the phone until I get it. I explain that this is because I’ve had too many experiences where there is “no record” that a rep has found in my favor.
Ebay needs to get it together. Between the additional fees (promoted listings to even get seen in a decent position), hiding items per this week’s podcast, slow sales overall for a lot of folks, and treating sellers the way you were treated, people will leave for other platforms.
Until last year when I had an experience from h@ll also (account suspended for 30 days for selling I “adult” items…even though that wasn’t the case), I never considered other platforms. While I was able to get my situation resolved with “only” 3 reps and an hour of my time, it was enough to turn me off to Ebay bigtime. At this point, I’m just waiting for my store subscription to expire and then I’ll probably only list my really longtail, esoteric stuff on Ebay. Ebay’s algorithm has issues (that’s how my account got taken down, must have been some keyword but they never could tell me what), the system is set up to encourage dishonest buyers to file fraudulent INAD cases, etc. They really need to work these things out because they are hurting good sellers while encouraging scammers.
01/22/2019 at 9:18 am #55565
If you only sell the long tail items on eBay, where else will you sell?
01/22/2019 at 5:02 pm #55614
Jay, right now I’m listing on Etsy, Poshmark and I just started with Mercari so those 3 unless another good app emerges in the meantime. For the past month I’ve been transitioning off of Ebay. My sales are still about the same overall, but split now between other platforms. Etsy is cumbersome to list on in my opinion, but the other 2 are a breeze and the markets are good. It takes a while to build up a Poshmark following but so far I’m finding it to have been a worthwhile investment of time.
What Ebay did to my account scared me into finding other avenues. They still to this day cannot tell me what keyword caused the system to suddenly remove nearly 100 of my listings and then suspend my account. They can only say that it was all automated, it was in error, etc. I’ll still sell on Ebay for sure, but more ephemera/longtail type stuff and less of everything else (clothing, hard goods, vintage, etc.). I’m not sure if I will drop to the lowest level of store or close my store. It just really depends on how much I find myself listing on Ebay overall once my store subscription runs out.
01/22/2019 at 5:34 pm #55621
Make sense. I know there’s a lot of fear when platform has so much power. Do you think you’ll be able to recreate your eBay income on the other platforms?
01/22/2019 at 6:31 pm #55627
Yes I definitely do think I can replicate my Ebay income across the three platforms. I’m not fully giving up on Ebay, but I just don’t want to depend on it as my main reselling platform going forward. They really need to just redo the software instead of patching it periodically, and they need some new policies to eliminate situations like the one described above.
01/22/2019 at 9:37 am #55569
Were you able to successfully get them to send you an email?
Every time I have asked they act as if they’ll get fired for even hearing the request.
My thought is that it must be a very hostile work environment, and the CSR’s want as little of a papertrail as possible to keep from getting in trouble.
01/22/2019 at 5:07 pm #55615
I’d say I have about a 75% success rate with the email request. Sometimes they will say they will send it and then they don’t so now I try to stay on the phone until I get a message/email. If they are going to do something that I should be able to see, I keep them on the phone until it’s done. I don’t want to hear that they will close a case in my favor and then find out subsequently that they didn’t do so and there is no record of them ever saying that. I agree, it must be a really hostile work environment, and I’d add that there must be tons of turnover because the reps generally seem uninformed.
BTW, I’ve had one rep tell me to refund the buyer only to find out that that caused them to not be able to refund me or find in my favor or whatever subsequently. Now I do not refund or even respond to fraudulent INAD cases. Even communicating back can work against the seller in my experience. I try to run out the clock and then call Ebay to escalate on the phone. Huge waste of time, but literally the only way to protect your account.
01/28/2019 at 1:20 pm #56013
This weekend I FINALLY got the credit applied to my account. They actually followed through for once. Also, the lady who resolved it sent me an email recapping everything. I’m in shock, I had given up hope that ebay was truly capable of providing customer service.
01/28/2019 at 1:47 pm #56020ElleParticipant
So happy for you Retro Treasures! 🙂
11/13/2019 at 9:18 am #70595
Quick update since I brought this up in another thread. I never did get that credit for the camera issue. I was told there was “no record in the system of a refund”. The case stood as is with no chance to appeal.
11/13/2019 at 9:50 am #70601debitendcreditsParticipant
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
That is the stuff that nightmares are made of…
Thank-you for investing the time in getting your money back. It helps all of us. The more sellers present a united front, the more it will force Ebay to address our concerns. This is the dark side of the “gig economy”. The people who do the actual work, are always saddle with the highest amount of risk. It’s b*llsh*t.
While the following technique may not apply to your situation, let me share something that I have found useful:
I never accept an offer without countering for 1 cent less.
If someone offers me $18.00 for an “AS IS” radio. I counter with an offer for 17.99 with a message that states “I agree to your price as long as you acknowledge that this item is sold, AS IS, cannot be returned, and you agree to pay immediately”.
While I am sure people can still open INADs and cause trouble, I do find this weeds out a high number of flakes (especially people who don’t pay).
11/13/2019 at 1:17 pm #70609TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
I have not had the opportunity to use it yet, but Mallybills posted this link to a beta test that is supposed to be open to all sellers that provides a written record of the status of various actions: https://www.ebay.com/sellerhelp
If it’s actually functional, it would help tremendously in these types of situations.
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