More information on Resolution Center changes

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Communicate with sellerWe noted a few days ago that eBay had changed how buyers communicate with sellers and have been looking into the reasons behind this change and how it affects sellers.

One of the problems sellers have told us is that My Messages are often handled through their third party software applications but resolution center cases are difficult to manage via third party software as you have to use the eBay console.

Why eBay has made the change

There are some advantages to the new system, for instance sellers can refund direct from the resolution center rather than logging into PayPal and get their final value fees back automatically.

There’s a centralised place where all customer post sales queries can be handled and eBay has visibility of them. Also open cases won’t be counted against seller performance unless they’re escalated to eBay and customer service decides in the buyer’s favour.

Buyers will also be unable to perform a PayPal chargeback if an open case has been logged.

What is eBay’s reasoning behind the change

Sadly it’s as normal a case of poor sellers impacting the best. Some sellers don’t monitor their messages and miss the first contacts from a buyer with a problem, or simply ignore them hoping that the issue will go away. By having all cases in the resolution center eBay can monitor those sellers ignoring buyers and will be able to track the issue from the first contact.

Sellers will still be able to access tools to make any issues right prior to the buyer escalating the case to eBay. Sadly the solution often appears to be simply refund or replace – the new resolution flow doesn’t make it easy to choose options such as “Check your local Royal Mail delivery office”, and the flow is definitely easier for sellers who include tracking on all their shipments to prove delivery.

How does the new resolution flow work for buyers?

It doesn’t matter what part of the site a buyer is on if they have an Item Not Received or Significantly Not As described issue – resolution center, My eBay, View Item Page, Ask Seller a Question – they’ll be directed to the same flow with a set of six questions to select from.

Both buyers and sellers will be updated via email (yes you need to check your email!) and all details will be stored in a centralised location. Sellers HAVE to respond via the limited set of responses and message field within the resolution center.

It’s also important for the case to be closed, we’re hearing that some cases are left dangling as once a buyer is happy they don’t necessarily add any more comments to the case and close the issue.

When do eBay get involved?

eBay will only intervene if the buyer escalates the case after eight days. For Item Not Received cases eBay will ask buyers to wait until the estimated delivery date before they can open a case. Hopefully this will reduce questions for sellers, although it does mean that you need to enter accurate shipping handling times and select the correct delivery service for this to work, as well of course as marking items as despatched and enter tracking numbers on to eBay.

Is it working?

As with all site changes it’s too soon to give a definitive answer. Both buyers and sellers need to become accustomed to the new flow, but one thing is certain – sellers need to become accustomed to more cases being opened in the resolution center and deal with them there.

Most of the really good sellers that I know have great customer services and have routinely handled any issues without ever having cases opened against them. That will no longer be the case, but don’t worry – the cases won’t count against you unless they’re closed by eBay in the buyers favour.

All sellers need to do is to monitor the resolution center closely (not forgetting that email is notoriously unreliable) and respond to case updates promptly. The good thing is that if you have an unreasonable buyer then eBay will now be able to see all communications from both you and the buyer in one place.

The obvious downsides are that delayed items aren’t generally considered lost by Royal Mail for 15 days, eBay’s delivery estimates are now next day for 1st Class and 2-3 days for 2nd Class. Also sellers have limited options in the flow rather than being able to discuss a resolution and come to an agreement between two reasonable people – sellers now have to go down the official eBay resolution route as soon as a case is opened.

14 Responses

  1. I’ve recently had a seller who ‘overlooked’ quite a lot of damage in his description telephone maybe to avoid using eBay communications (I had clicked no in the resolution centre). He promised to pay return postage which was about £13 using the same method he used, Parcelforce 48 for reasonable size package of 2.5Kg, (First Class recorded was about £16 IIRC).

    The upshot is no postage refund and eBay doesn’t have an email record of seller’s promise.

    If I leave neg feedback does it get removed because he refunded?

    I do get pissed off with it as a buyer, having the hassle of repacking and posting and paying for return when the seller has either misdescribed on purpose or couldn’t be bothered to take reasonable care when describing. It’s easy to lose half an hour dealing with a rogue seller transaction, come out of it out of pocket and feeling dissatisfied.

    On the rare occasions I cock-up I always refund a few quid extra for buyer’s time taken and inconvenience.

  2. Using the ebay website directly is the worst part of this for me, it will hurt sellers with multiple accounts as you will have to keep logging in and out of different accounts.

    It prevents us from using third party software to answer things efficiently and with better service. Ebay’s options are very very limited and are in favor of the buyer from the outset, basically provide a tracking number or lose the case.

    If you try to argue anything like i tried to in one case i got continual generic responses from ebay saying that if i need to provide tracking for a £1.99 sale, totally unrealistic and it proves to me that ebay have no idea about the logistics of running an eCommerce business.

    I have seen that the ebay resolution center does have an API so it could be possible to work via third party software more efficiently in the future, but however you handle the cases, via the direct website or third party software (when available) you are likely to lose the case and it will encourage buyers to cheat the system more than they already do.

    There seems to be no timeframe between the sale date and when the customer can open a case, i believe you could sell something to a customer today and they could open a case today, giving you 7 days to get the item to Italy or Brazil for example?

    All in all i see this as a bad change and the negatives outweighing the positives such as being able to refund without logging into paypal.

    Generally we avoid refunds as much as possible anyway via exchanges and replacements so the ability to refund via the resolution center is not that much of a bonus as we do not want to refund any purchases for reasons such as not received, we only want to send a replacement unless we absolutely have to refund, this system basically forces you to anyway.

    I have not been too bothered by most of the recent changes in ebay fees and updates but this was not announced and is the worst change i have come across this year.

  3. Well as a buyer I’m not at all happy with it. I’ve just managed to open a case when all I wanted to do was contact the seller. I haven’t received my item but there is no way I would have escalated this to a case without contacting the seller first. Oh and apparently I’ve asked for a refund when I didn’t.

    I now see if I’d gone right to the bottom to the “Other” box I could have just sent a message to the Seller.

    Frustrating and far from enjoyable is how I would describe buying on ebay this week!

  4. This is stupid in the extreme from ebay. Just to be safe from future abuse and until ebay see the error of their cheap solution to a simple problem, we have taken to placing any and all buyers who claim non-receipt by this means without first contact straight on the blocked bidders list.

  5. Hey Tamebay! I just tried to send a ‘tip’ to your contact addy but got rejected as it didn’t like my valid and functioning email addy. That’s as bad as eBay rejecting valid stuff because of faulty algos!

  6. eBay havn’t got time to look at stuff so they junked that and automated it.

    Sellers havn’t got time to deal with eBay’s automated carp so they junked eBay.

    Way to go? No joking.

  7. I’ve just had a case opened yesterday (11th) for a parcel to Portugal that has not been received – the order was placed over the bank holiday weekend and shipped on the 3rd. According to the case notes, the buyer wants a refund.
    Thankfully we did use a tracked service for this particular item but it seems the new set-up is going to lead to a proliferation of cases like this.
    I rang eBay customer services to register my displeasure and I think we should all keep pestering eBay so that they can see that the floodgates have been opened.

  8. The new system seems to be hacking off buyers & sellers.

    There isn’t the facility to request an exchange for instance & apparently if the buyer leaves a long message it gets truncated so the seller doesn’t get the opportunity to resolve the buyers’ issues.

    On the plus side eBay will be able to monitor serial INR / SNAD claimants & serial NPS & sellers who habitually send trash.

  9. This really is bad for the good sellers who already try to work things out with genuine buyers.

    The upshot for us is that we are now receiving far too many ‘cases’ from buyers under this new system. I’m afraid I sense SCAM in many cases.

    All that will happen is that sellers like us will be forced to increase prices further to cover increased fraud.

    It would really help if eBay confirmed that they actually were using information on multiple claimants to actively block them. I hate to be cynical but…

  10. I had a round robin message from my marketing manager in Thailand which states that open cases will be counted towards BBE.
    International sellers quoting economy delivery can have a case opened anytime. Ebay will advise not to open but that is no good.

  11. I have just gone through this as a buyer. Just wanted to return an item but as the seller was ‘not signed up to eBay’s returns process’ and I hd to manually organise a return with the seller (they were avoiding letting me do a return) – I was forced to open up a case.

    My advise is sign up and make it automated or buyers are forced into the route of a case if you can’t cope with the manual returns process.

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