DOTD Watch : why set terms that put your buyers off?

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Well, another day, another deal of the day with a questionable returns policy.

We accept returns if the item does not fit or if the item is not 100% as described by us.

As we’re all well aware by now, buyers don’t need a reason to return goods under the Distance Selling Regulations: they can return them for not liking the colour, or the envelope being creased, or any reason they like or no reason at all. Terms like this seem designed to put buyers off.

But not as much as the terms earlier in the listings:

eBay members with a feed back of 0 or less please send us a message including a contact number before bidding. New eBay members with feedback of less than 5 will be restricted to one purchase per ten day period until their feedback raises above 5.

A few questions:

  1. Why is eBay allowing promoted sellers to discourage new members like this? We all start at 0, after all.
  2. Buyer blocks will let you block members with feedback less than 0; why put in grumpy T&Cs like this when you can just stop them buying?
  3. Buyer blocks will also let you stop buyers with less than 0-5 feedback buying more than xx in a 10 day period… but why would you do this? If you’re selling one-off, super-expensive items or items with a high fraud rate (mobile phones spring to mind), I can understand it – but £15 women’s shorts of which you have hundreds in stock? It makes no sense.

Terms and conditions tell your buyers a lot about you as a seller. If you’re concerned about putting off potential frauds, protecting yourself at all costs, including the cost of lost sales – then that tells me you’re not going to be nice to deal with. If your T&Cs are bothered about my rights as a buyer, and my happiness as a buyer, then I want to deal with you. Because let’s face it, the old “don’t bid if…” clauses never put off anyone who was going to rip you off: they only discourage the genuine buyers.

21 Responses

  1. Plus, of course, it’s pretty hard to be a buyer with less than zero feedback these days. T&Cs like these should be thrown out with “non-paying bidders will be negged”, which I do still see sometimes too.

  2. This seller has been pretty smart with their wording. There is nothing wrong with their return policy.

    They say they will refund item cost and postage.

    By saying “We accept returns if the item does not fit or if the item is not 100% as described by us.”

    …Is absolutely fine, it doesn’t say “we ONLY accept returns etc…”

    I think Superdry have got it right, just about.

  3. I have never understood the clause of 0 feedback buyers having to contact the seller. So I send a message “umm…hello I want to buy your item”. Shorts in this case, not a car, not some expensive gadget but friggin shorts… Or the same thing over the phone. Firstly, I would never buy from seller who wants me to ask permission to buy because he has assumed that I might be a crook or what else. I don’t have to prove my innocence or anything. Secondly, how does it deter real crooks or problematic buyers unless a seller is prophet maybe? It sure deters some buyers, mostly genuine.

  4. Personally I think eBay should make it against the rules to actively discourage new and or zero feeback users with wording like that. What the hell kind of message is that sending out.

    I feel rather chuffed if a new member buys from me, to think that they’ve taken a look at my item, feedback, etc. and to trust me enough for their first purchase on eBay to be from me.

  5. Echoing the above thoughts – With T&Cs like the above, not only does it restrict new buyers but puts off some seasoned buyers.

    I tend to welcome Newbies as the ebay feedback to them is a gimmick, they tend to feverishly buy to try and get their fist then second ebay star. Not only that, New buyers spend longer in the ebay shop and tend to multi-purchase.

  6. We’ve always stated in our ‘terms’ that ‘New eBayers are very welcome’. They’re usually keen to please, pay quickly and if we give them a bit of help, eg with setting up Paypal, then it often leads to glowing testimonials and repeat purchases.

    I wish more of my competitors would put up terms like this DOTD – then even more new ebayers could head my way!

    I do have sympathy for ebay in this respect – some of the crazy terms that are in listings must drive them mad, too. But they could do better with vetting DOTD listings as these will reflect much more on the ebay brand. eBay needs to invest in technology to fix this on a wider scale.

  7. Another eBay Outlet DSR Refund Dodger
    “Please note that delivery charges will not be refunded unless goods are faulty (fault not stated at time of purchase) or the wrong item has been shipped.”

    “Hot Deals From the Best Sellers, Every Day!” pull the other one eBay.

  8. Sue, I really admire your diligence in pointing out the ILLEGAL returns policies that are frequently seen in eBay’s DOTD.

    What I cannot understand is why they continue to allow this to happen. Aren’t they remotely embarrassed??

  9. I’m a big fan of highlighting issues too, however teh DRS’s are not written in stone and do not apply to every situation or business.

    In fact it even says this within the DRS’s.

    So whilst the majority of these issues may be in breach of the DSR’s, don’t assume they all are and don’t assume the DSR’s are here to stay (in their current form).

    The regulations were put in place, at a time when buying online was new, people were unsure. This will not be the case soon.

  10. Bigpoppa, I know you told me once already, but would you be so kind as to confirm again for me when it is *not* against the rules to decline to refund return postage costs? 🙂



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