eBay move the goal posts and test early ‘auto-close’ resolution cases

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eBay (at least in the States, we don’t know about the rest of the world) are testing a faster resolution for items not received cases. In a nutshell, if you don’t respond within 24 hours the case will be closed in the buyer’s favour.

Normally when a buyer opens a case, you as the seller have up to 3 business days to respond. In the case in question it was a $0.99 item shipped to a buyer in Japan and as you’d expect no tracking, so any rational minded seller would normally refund or replace without even thinking about it (probably refund and cut your losses).

If the case lands in the test group and the case is closed before you get to see it then not only will you end up out of pocket (the risk you take shipping without tracking) but you also get a strike for not responding to a resolution on time.

Dinging sellers with a strike seems particularly unfair as hitherto eBay hadn’t announced the test and you’ll never know if you (or the case) is in the test group until it’s too late. In this case the situation was exacerbated as the case was opened over the weekend and as a seller it wouldn’t be considered unreasonable under normal circumstances to respond on the Monday morning.

“It sounds like this situation may have triggered a faster resolution process that we are testing out. If an item not received case is opened more than 5 days after the estimated delivery date, no tracking is provided and the seller does not respond then the case will actually be escalated for a refund after 24 hours have passed, instead of the standard 3 business days. We are testing the impact of this change and while these specific triggers represent a rarer set of criteria, you may see this from time to time being reported. If a seller has concerns with the timeframe provided, we recommend they reach out to customer service to discuss the details.”
– eBay Community Team

The impact for this test for sellers appears to be that you’ll need to be responsive 7 days a week (including Christmas Day) if you don’t want to get penalised for eBay changing the rules in a test without notifying you. It would be more than reasonable for eBay to change their policy from 3 business days to 24 hours should they wish to, it is after all their site and other marketplaces already insist that you respond to buyer queries within a day.

What seems harsh is that you may incur a strike as a non-responsive seller as a result of not knowing that eBay are running a test.

46 Responses

  1. When we sell on marketplaces we hand over the control of our business to be subjected to the latest exec’s bright idea. By selling on marketplaces we see people undercut the competition, undercut the standalone businesses who operate their own websites so they are driven towards selling on these marketplaces. Rinse and repeat.

    By supporting such marketplaces, we’re ultimately funding our own demise.

  2. Attention all scammers! Open cases on a Saturday evening for your easy, free refund.

  3. Seen a few sellers complain about this on the boards. They’ve had US / ebay.com cases opened – no tracking number available – system refund to buyer within 24 hours and before they’ve been able to respond.

    I send EVERYTHING tracked and signed, its the only way to protect yourself .
    I appreciate there are many businesses that sell low value items where it is not feasible to send tracked.

    Even then I find myself fighting cases each week. So annoying PayPal freezes the funds when a case is open.. which is usually just a buyer asking for a delivery update – (last one stuck in a German warehouse waiting for them to collect -one before PERU just needed more time to arrive, and it did eventually).

    Its becoming an uphill battle to make any profit in this saturated marketplace where we are drip fed sales and fighting against its automated, buyer-orientated system.

    Despite this, ebay is still my main sales channel. Like an abusive relationship I need to get out but am yet to find an alternative.

  4. to be fair if your selling $ .99 items internationally
    your daft to offer anything other than ebays global shipping service as half the world already knows its free your not going to send it tracked

  5. After over 16 years I’m moving a lot of my listings to other sites that are more user friendly.

  6. I’m all for upping the standard.

    I recently had a case sold on .uk but bought on .com where we emailed the US CS team for a clarification as to what they would like us to do about providing a return shipping label to an uncommunicative buyer. They had given us 5 days to comply and we emailed them within an hour to ask if sending a Paypal payment of a certain amount would be ok for them.

    The 5 days expired. We lost the case. When I called, I was told that their queue for dealing with email was longer than 5 days so they wouldn’t get back to us in time and we should have just sent the money to the buyer.

    So yes. I’m all for upping the standard. It’s clear where the problem lies.

  7. yep weve sent the paypal payment, to the US usually for the expensive full fat shipping with bells and whistles, never seen the goods or the payment again, and had to refund to

  8. I had this happen to me a week back. Two buyers in Israel opened cases on a Sunday morning, I received an email saying I needed to resolve this 5 days from receiving the email about the case, however before 8 am on monday morning, less than 24 hours later, before I had chance to reply, the cases had been automatically closed in the buyer’s favour. Now, I have been given two strikes for this.
    I phoned eBay to ask about this and the customer service agent said, “it does seem very harsh and a bad decision on eBay’s part.” I asked if it could be appealed they said no and then I ask for a manager to contact me about this, I am still waiting, So reaching out doesn’t seem to work!? Subsequently, as I had taken a holiday last month and put my shop on hold, my sales were down and due to this and the strikes and the ratio of sales versus the strikes means my seller status for global is below standard?!!!!

  9. This is a horrible idea and I really don’t know what the supposed benefit is? Perhaps to humor scammers or problem buyers with zero patience. eBay needs to realise it is not the center of the world to business sellers who have other responsibilities (such as living a normal life). If eBay UK follows suit I will be contacting CS and plaguing them!

  10. This is just another poke in the eye for sellers on eBay, buyers have all the rights and sellers have none. I do very little of my selling now on eBay simply because it is not a safe selling environment. Sellers are basically treated as second class citizens. We really need another fair competitive selling platform to knock eBay off their dominant perch, I would really like to see them go down the pan.

  11. they couldnt give a flying f**k about any sellers.
    so much for ebay’s recent touting of “looking after sellers”, then shaft then yet again.
    obviously if you take a weekend off you’re scum. what kind of person would go home of an evening? ebay sellers thats who, filth the lot of them.

    this week i’ve had three cases decided against me, for no reason.
    one of them, i sent a label via ebay, then the case was decided against me for not sending a label.
    the appeal button has also magically vanished, as if it ever worked.
    think me and ebay are about done.

  12. Hello all,

    What other market place can one try cos ebay are too customer centric and even genuine seller like us are suffering with their unfair policies.

  13. If you sell on marketplaces you need 24/7 cover, Amazon has expected you to reply to messages within 24 hours for a long time so this is no different.

  14. I used to live and breath ebay as a non business seller.
    Buy stuff, use it, sell it, use the money to buy more stuff.
    Ebay took their bit, PAYPAL too but it generally worked ok. You got a scammer, you left negative feedback. Simple.
    Then the rules started changing. No negative feedback from seller to buyer and rising postal charges.
    I couldn’t be bothered to queue and get a receipt for every item I sold and guess what more and more scammers saying they had not received things. You could tell because they would leave it the exact number of days before raising a complaint. No communication before that. So I ended up just refunding more and more.
    In the end I stopped selling and pretty much stopped buying as well since my source of funds was drying up.

    The moral of the story. I hardly ever touch ebay any more for buying or selling. Simply not worth the agro. I just take all my unwanted stuff to the charity shop. They love me.

    Vote with your feet is what I say. Only when it hits the bottom line will ebay re-balance the playing field.

  15. I’m UK based and i had a case open against me on Saturday and they closed the case and refunded on Monday morning. I dont work the weekends for religious reasons so i felt quit upset by the matter

  16. eBay. What a shame. 14 years a business seller and now I am actively changing my entire business to get out of your grasps. I shall use you to setup my new business and then I shall close the door… without even a goodbye kiss.

  17. A member of a forum I’m on said that he’d left a few negative feedback marks for customers who’d blatantly lied about descriptions of items they’d sold to him on ebay. After a couple of years, they messaged him saying that they didn’t like the fact that he’d left so many negatives that they’d changed them all to positives as it was making ebay look like a bad place to sell! So much for leaving honest feedback to those who try and dupe customers.

    I rarely sell anything on ebay now because I myself have suffered from the “It hasn’t arrived, I’d like a refund” brigade, even if I’d got proof of posting and a logged dodgy signed “signature” from a certain Mr.Mickey Mouse.

    The amount of people that have been scammed due to eBay’s “buyer protection” is ever-growing.

    If I knew anything about selling websites then I’d love to set up my own. The trouble is, as soon as anyone else’s gets popular then ebay buy it up and we’re back to square 1.

  18. This company has no new ideas. Same old same old. open up everyone to yet more buyer fraud.
    This site is now in terminal decline we hardly even bother with it these days. Totally out of touch with the sellers.

  19. If they bring this in, we’re done with Ebay.

    We ONLY get INR claims from Ebay buyers, none at all from our website and almost zero from the other sites we use.

    There is no point in doing this other than to promote fraud.

    It is perfectly reasonable to make checks and ask if a buyer has overlooked items – this happens frequently.

    If they hit us with this for not responding over a weekend we will close our Ebay account forthwith.

  20. We occasionally have cases closed in the buyers favour. HOWEVER, no one seems to be mentioning the option to appeal. Ok, this works only if you have tracking information but my experience is if a case closes against you its most definitely not over.

    Without exception – if we have phoned Ebay for an appeal they have granted it – WITHOUT EXCEPTION (providing we have tracking). They are more than fair. Even when the tracking shows “entered country and is now being processed for delivery” Ebay have STILL granted the appeal.

    There is a lot of hate directed towards Ebay on the posts above. Ebay are by far fairer than any other platform and also are fairer than chargebacks from credit card companies.

    Please remember when Ebay grant an appeal they don’t take the money back from the buyer – they are paying out both buyer and seller from their own funds. You can’t get fairer than that. Admittedly this only applies when you have tracking (which we always do). I appreciate that this is not practical for some sellers with low price items.

  21. have to agree
    if you send items without tracking is the equivalent of leaving thefront door open and with burglar alarm switched off,
    we never send anything untracked though that’s open to debate considering royal mails miserable system

  22. Seller fulfilled sales in the past 7 days

    eBay: 243
    Amazon: 147

    Item not received cases in the past 7 days:
    eBay: 7
    Amazon: 0

    This happens week after week. And if you stand your ground against those customers, they tell you they will get their money back from eBay anyway and leave you negative feedback.

  23. The quality of eBay customers generally leaves a lot to be desired. As does every aspect of this boderline organised scam site.

  24. lets face it – we as sellers break our neck to post orders – the days of a seller ‘sitting on’ an order are long long over – – no one would dare to these days and why would we

    i sell items well under a fiver and send normal post – my business wouldnt be feasable to send tracked

    now – if an item is over the (ebay estimated) delivery date by 5 days all this new refund process will kick in to place

    but who are they judging – its the POST OFFICE they are judging – i can only go as fast as the post office do

    thats apart from a customer not being able to put the custard creams down and drag themself away from day time TV to answer the door to the postman – or reply to a calling card – thats if you are lucky enough for a postman to leave one – and how many customers cant even get their own address right ?

    every single order i get I post the end of that day – im playing ball

  25. Under a fiver may not be feasible for eBay either so their not concerned

  26. Everyone is complaining about ebay introducing this yet other platforms are far stricter.

    For example – if an INR case is open on Amazon and there is no tracking number the case closes in the buyers favour immediately – without the chance of the seller to respond. At least this new suggested system by ebay is giving 24 hours.


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