Unusually high number of eBay resolution cases?

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Communicate with sellerWe’ve been hearing from a number of sellers who have seen a large uptick in the number of resolution cases opened against them. Previously it was normal for buyers with a transaction problem to email the seller through eBay My Messages, but a new contact flow appears to encourage buyers to go through the resolution center.

In My eBay the “contact seller” link leads to a set of form to fill out rather than the more familiar member to member communications. Even if you click on the “Contact Member” form, if you’ve had a transaction with the seller then eBay will direct you to the new communication flow unless you say that the message is not connected with a recent purchase.

The problem is that rather than quickly resolving problems such as “Please check the Royal Mail Delivery Office”, once a case is opened sellers have limited options (refund or replace). There’s also no way to negotiate the “I’m sorry it’s gone missing, I do have another that’s slightly different would you like that instead?” easily. Again the simple refund/replace is your only real options.

We’ve also heard from sellers who in the past have very few or no opened cases who have refunded by mistake. Instead of replacing an item. If you’re getting an unexpected number of opened cases make sure you read them and click the right response.

We’ve also had one (so far unconfirmed) report that if a buyer types an excessively long reply that it may not make it through the system and the comment itself will be missing. It’s normal for an unhappy customer to be verbose and give a long rant in comments so if true this is particularly unhelpful.

Have you seen a large increase in opened cases? If so our best advice as always is whenever possible pull the buyer’s telephone number and speak to them in person. Also keep a much closer eye on your opened cases as well as eBay messages to make sure that you don’t miss any opened cases.

We would suggest that all sellers click the contact seller link (without sending a message) for one of your own recent purchases just to see the options presented to your own buyers.

43 Responses

  1. “our best advice as always is whenever possible pull the buyer’s telephone number and speak to them in person.”

    I would advise against this, the new cases are perfectly innocuous unless the buyer escalates them in which they become a massive problem. If you have only contacted a buyer by phone there is absolutely no proof or trail for ebay to follow.

    On the plus side it does not count against metrics unless a customer escalates and it does mean that ebay can keep tabs on buyers claiming INR should they wish to do anything about excessive claims.

  2. Yes – I have noticed this over the last few weeks – from customers who have not contacted us previously, when I asked them why they did not contact us before opening dispute -they said this was the way they had been shown / told to fill in a query – I believed these customers, – I managed to get one redelivered and they closed the case, the other one I had to explain I could not resend and that I had to refund -(otherwise if I resend and they close case against me I lose again) –

    so not sure if something has changed on the flow forms – both of these were newish buyers if that makes a difference,

  3. I had several last week, nearly one everyday. Some buyers were demanding a refund without dialogue.

    I think some buyers will soon abuse the system to get free items delivered by us through eBay (if they are not already).

    If eBay insists buyers use the resolution service like this, I hope they can find those buyers who are always opening claims for refunds over and over again, and then strike them off or even give them a warning to say they are being kept an eye on.

  4. As a buyer I have had two experiences with sellers who did not provide tracking in both cases and then made lame excuses about why I had not received the items I paid for. I got a lot of excuses but had no choice but to use E-Bay’s resolution procedure. The problem isn’t always the buyer.

  5. I called Ebay Customer Services to complain that I felt pushed into selecting Refund ? replace option eventhough the buyers did not give a reason for their wish to return the item.
    Ebay Customer Services advised me to use the comments box at the bottom to ask for details.
    He said that this will ensure that communications are monitored. I siad that CS could always access previous convesations in any case. He hinted that the new procedure was to speed up the process which I am all for.

  6. For us this is a massive step backwards. We have only a handful of cases per year usually. Over the past couple of weeks we have had this much & more. In the past most of the problems are sorted quickly and easily with a simple email to the customer.

    Now that cases are being opened it is taking much longer to resolve problems whilst taking up more of our time.

    Even when a case is resolved we are having to chase up the customer to close the cases!

  7. “The problem is that rather than quickly resolving problems such as “Please check the Royal Mail Delivery Office”, ”

    Let’s say I am the customer, and as a customer, I want the goods to be delivered to my doors. I don’t want to go outside checking my local post office. This is seller/courier responsibility to make sure that the goods arrive safely to the destination (unless it’s tracking service and I am away from home). If you can’t provide the tracking number then you have to take a risk, and I may do or I may not receive the item. And I can abuse the system and open the eBay claim as the seller can’t win in this case because he can’t provide the tracking number.

    So yes, you have no choice but to either refund or send the replacement if you as a seller can’t provide the tracking number. Usually only cheap items are sent without tracking these days anyway. However, if buyer is trying to abuse the system and he will open to many cases and claim the refunds few times in a row, eBay will block their accounts from both buying and selling

  8. Just a thought, now that eBays new message flow system encourages buyers to open a case against a seller instead of using their good old method which was ‘try and contact the seller first’ how will this affect a sellers TRS rating? As im sure the last time i checked the opened cases thing was a factor which was influenced in the TSR rating.

  9. This is an ebay promise fullfillment; they are going to deal with fraudulent buyers who make repeated claims for items not recieved. Of course, in implementing this ‘improvement’ – we listen to sellers – it means sellers have to bear the brunt of the cost of this ‘research’ into a buyers behaviour. It also nicely sidesteps the issue of ebay involvement. Only ebay can find these dubious methods of yet again shafting sellers.

  10. As always, Ebay and Paypal promote their business at the Sellers expense. It doesn’t matter one iota that there are crooks who abuse the system. And lets be honest, it’s very easy to abuse.

    Nice one Ebay

  11. When a case is opened, the only way to read and reply is to login your account.

    Getting free item from eBay was easy, now it just got easier and better.

  12. We’ve seen more of these recently as well.

    The steps that eBay take with their engineering mind-set is to set up people against people like they are cogs in a machine, clashing against each other and having a “policy” to govern the interaction.

    I can see why they do it: they are petified of the numbers of interactions which occur in the marketplace and can’t possible manage and intervene in each of them unless it is all automated, inflexible and obeys simple rules. Command and control style.

    However, this results in a marketplace where the seller and buyer are pushed into constant conflict: report a seller, report a buyer. Complain about this that and the other. Fight. Fight. Fight. As we used to say in the playground.

    This is made worse by a system of communication which reinvents email, but makes worse and less reliable. I can’t even clearly communicate the nuances with a buyer any more. It must all fit in one or two boxes dreamt up by someone who have never sold anything on eBay, who has been in their role for 18 months and will never stand up and fight for a vision of how it should be.

    This isn’t my vision for e-commerce. I resent eBay making my customer contact worse. Please get out of the way guys: let us do business and you can clip the ticket on the way through. You are now getting in the way.

  13. Another change apparently come in at the same time. I bought an item collection only on eBay.co.uk when logged in to ebay.com, I had previously arranged with the seller to have a courier collect. When I went to pay eBay refused to accept payment unless seller sent an invoice with added postage. So seller did, added a fiver, I’d already offered to pay a bit extra for packing and seller would have to pay PayPal fees rather than have cash so not really bothered about the money but it was more hassle, I had to message seller to explain what was happening and got the impression that seller was initially going to let the packaging extra go and the extra hassle of dealing with eBay made for a fiver added rather than a couple of quid.

    EBay also blocks even viewing items on .com if you are in UK when seller hasn’t added an international postage option. Lots of sellers don’t they include it in the description, with the range of postage options/destinations worldwide it’s not possible to give universal options anyway and most sellers in USA sell to USA, there’s much fewer international sales than from UK. Also even when sellers will only post to USA I have contacts there that will take things in and forward to me.

    I buy about a thousand items a year on this account, have been on eBay 13 years even since before there was ebay.co.uk, have worldwide contacts and am familiar with buying stuff all around the world, eBay is just making things difficult and creating more form filling in for sellers.

    I was blocked from buying a painting from USA because it was of a swordsman and the item description had swordsman in the title. It sold for $100 less than my bid so everyone is pissed off about it. It’s illegal to import swords in to UK through the regular mail etc so eBay refused to accept my bid. It was a damned painting! Stupid bad keyword searching/algorithm from eBay. I complained to eBay and got drowned in the usual corporate BS starting by wasting my time telling me that my account was in good standing and showing a few links why eBay had the policy of not allowing swords to be bought from USA.

    EBay always has been retarded, it’s getting worse. We are being micromanaged by dumb computers programmed by the power crazy. These guys who were laid off from the US military PSYOP by Clinton in the mid 1990s, a deliberate policy to seed the burgeoning internet with military intelligence operatives. It’s true, look it up although you’ll have to be clever at searching because most such things have gotten removed or well buried.

    Look forward to more and more form filling on eBay which really disadvantages sellers of one-off unique and antique items, disadvantages real people trying to sell some second hand stuff and get a few quid rather than give it to the charity shop for free (so the charity bosses and advertising agencies can make a bundle) or throw it out because second hand shops have closed and charity shops only take stuff thats virtually good as new and nothing that may freak out the H&S idiots.

  14. If eBay does not sort some of this out they will lose buyers of interesting stuff. Sellers will follow.

    The site remainder will simply be sterile, banal and of little interest to peeps paying good prices for good things.

    Over to eBay.

  15. Also whilst I’m having a moan communication is getting out of hand, thankfully most of the Auctiva bought/sent messages duplicating eBay messages have stopped but now sellers seem pressured into sending messages via eBay saying “Thanks for your payment I’ll post later today”. I’m not interested what sellers intend to do just what has been done but I have to check the message just in case there’s a problem. EBay communication messages are full of their usual corporate BS, I’ve turned html off to minimise the junk but still have to scroll down the page just to find “Your item is marked as dispatched”.

    My seller id, I only sell a couple of hundred items per year mostly broken/repaired and other junk I bought on eBay but all described properly (I don’t say junk but top three faults described and great pictures), I send one simple, polite and proper English message to the PayPal address. I send the message when the package has been sent which is usually next day from payment received with an estimate of when to expect arrival, one average length sentence. My communication DSR = 5.00, others are 5.00 too except postage which is 4.94. I charge £1 – £1.50 more than the actual postage stamp but package compact and secure, easy to open, minimum packaging material to dispose of, mostly bubblewrap folded not cut in to small pieces so can be reused, no newspaper, no shredded paper and only polystyrene fill in large boxes. No excessive amounts of tape, I use coloured tape that can be easily seen rather than clear tape on clear bubblewrap which is a pain to find and undo/cut on delicate items.

  16. I sell weird and unique stuff on eBay, things you can’t get anywhere else and I have very little competition as I’ve got most of it (evil laugh)

    I’ve had enough of eBay taking thousands of pounds each month in fees off me and then telling me how to run my business – it’s the most bizarre business model.

    I’m off to a web developer tomorrow to turn my website into a full-fledged sales operation which has “buy-it-now” “best offer” and “auction” facilities (just like eBay) and it’ll cost a tenth of what I shell-out now, but more importantly no more eBay BS…

    I will still use PayPal though as I actually quite like them…

  17. Chaps.
    Having never had a case opened against me in the past, mid march I had five opened within the space of days.
    Unofrtunately I was away for a couple of weeks so couldnt resolve them and the cases seems to be automatically refunded to the buyer within a few days, which is annoying. The problem now is that my ‘Closed cases without seller resolution’ is now FIVE and a percentage level of 0.49% for Jan – March 31st. The evaulation is the 20th April , and im dreading it becuase it looks like my business is going to die.

    From what I can see, if you go over 0.30% for ‘Closed cases without seller resolution’ your seller performance drops to ‘below standard’.

    So im going to go from Top Rated for years to Below standard.

    Fuming, can anyone help? Im literally in tears here.
    Cheers all

  18. I wondered what was going on, had 2 in total last year, we’ve had loads lately.

    We are quite capable of dealing with any issues ourselves in a professional manner without eBay inciting conflict between buyers and sellers.

    A backwards step.

  19. I haven’t had any cases in over 12 months. However I got a not as described case last week. The customer said a part was missing and would like a replacement. However the options were replace or refund. After contacting the buyer through this system I sent a replacement. Now a week on, the system still has “awaiting you action” and only gives me options to refund. Theres no option to close the case or anything else. Even though the buyer said in the last communication that they were happy with the results.

    Now I have contacted yhey buyer again asking the to close the case efen though I feel a bit rude to do it. But it still has that I have till the 14th April to reach a solution even though we’ve already reached one.

    The system is definitely flawed.

  20. Estimated delivery times advised by eBay are diabolical.

    I’m sure this is adding to the problem of resolution cases recently.

    We would advise a customer outside of the UK of a 7-10 day delivery time for most parcels sent by International Signed For.

    I’ve just had a look at one of our listings and selected the postage option with ISF postage to Portugal.

    eBay have advised me that the package is likely to arrive between Monday 15th and Wednesday 17th. But it’s the 11th today. I can’t ship it until Friday 12th, so that’s a 2 working day estimate !!! I wouldn’t give such an estimate for an order within the UK.

    This is exactly the reason that many of our overseas customers are opening cases. Since most of the items we send overseas are not tracked, I have no option but to offer International Signed For as the only shipping option, so at least I have some proof.

    Or maybe we will just stop selling overseas. It’s not worth the hassle.

  21. yes, previously I had none now I have some. And back to the bad old days of customers opening cases when goods are not even late yet.
    Ebay are profiling rogue buyers and I think this problem will settle down. It will dissuade some from fraud at the outset and others will be blocked as it becomes obvious they are opening too many cases, hope so anyway.

  22. 3 cases this week for me, here is a response from a buyer…

    Thank you for the offer and quick response. I actually didn’t realize I was opening a case with ebay. I apologize for that. I don’t want anything refund wise. Thanks. Good luck selling

  23. This piece explains a lot. We usually get around 3-4 cases a week opened for Not as Described. We are now seeing around 25-30 cases opening a week, mostly for items not arriving.

    We asked a few customers why they had opened cases instead of just contacting us to say their item hadn’t arrived and they have all said when they followed the communication ‘flow’ it took them to opening a case.

    Why o why have eBay made this change. A ‘Case’ has such negative connotations where as normal communication is much easier and allows us to provide far better customer service.

  24. Have noticed a dramatic rise in the number of cases open thanks to the new changes.

    eBay you really need to revisit this change. This has made it such an easy pathway for scammers now. No need to open cases now as it does it automatically.

    On another note it is very poorly executed if my buyers are sending me messages like,

    “sorry I really didn’t realise I had just opened a case, I was just asking for a tracking number”

    Not to mention the time involved in dealing with the cases etc.


  25. As a buyer I have just went through this open a case process. I didn’t want to open a case against the seller, i just wanted to know if they had sent it yet as its been 2 weeks since my payment.

  26. I continue to have cases opened that are not even late.

    I have also discovered a fraud and when reported to Ebay they did nothing, zilch,not even a reply to me, even though the evidence was plainly there online.

    This is a really poor move by ebay.


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