More details are emerging on the theory and practice of eBay’s new ‘dispute resolution’ process, and frankly, they are not good news for sellers.
Firstly, we see the process in action. I heard this week from a TameBay reader we’ll call Bob, who bought a mechanical item through eBay which arrived with an important component missing. Bob had checked with the seller before purchase that the part was included, and so was extremely frustrated when the seller failed to put things right. He’d opened a SNAD claim with PayPal, but was contacted by eBay and offered a full refund if he closed the PayPal claim.
I asked Bob what eBay had done to verify his claim. He told me: “I contacted the seller through eBay messages. All contact with him was through eBay messages and I had the impression that eBay customer services had access to all this when I was talking to them. I was asked if I was able to buy a replacement part, but in this case I have been unable to identify the machine maker to source one.”
And what had they asked him to do with the goods? “I still have the machine, and nothing was said about what I should do with it.” This is significantly different to PayPal’s policy, which did require buyers to return the item to the seller.
Changes to eBay UK user agreement
to make allowances for this new procedure.
Under eBay Buyer Protection … there may be instances where a seller doesn’t resolve a claim and we find in favour of the buyer, in which case eBay will pay the buyer and invoice the seller for the transaction amount. Where a seller fails to comply with the eBay Buyer Protection policy, eBay may also remove any special status associated with the account … and/or restrict or suspend the seller’s account.
The threat of negative feedback used to worry eBay sellers, but the threat of losing your money, your goods *and* your seller account under this new policy is a very real one. My advice to sellers in dealing with unhappy buyers has always been “don’t let it get as far as a PayPal dispute”: this now goes double under eBay’s new dispute procedure.
The best advice for sellers now is to be upfront about your own dispute resolution procedures: dispatch emails, packing slips and/or invoices should carry at least your contact details and advice on what to do in case of any problem. And if buyers have a problem, deal with that problem: if someone contacts you with an issue post-sale, don’t fob them off. Most buyers, most of the time, will go to the seller before they go to eBay – make sure you take that chance to put things right.
The new UA is effective from 8th July for existing eBay UK members. If you don’t want to accept it, you can, of course, close your eBay account.