What do you do when a buyer requests a return and you know it’s a false SNAD (Significantly Not As Described) return and want to appeal it? Currently there’s nothing you can do until after the event and with eBay rolling out auto-accept returns there will still be nothing you can do until after the return takes place.
The issue with returns is that eBay either won’t (or possibly can’t) change a return request reason once a buyers has selected an option. Even if you call eBay and the customer support rep agrees that it’s clearly a case of buyer remorse but they claimed a false SNAD they won’t be able to intervene.
When a false SNAD is claimed you can report it before the return takes place to eBay, but you’ll still be advised to accept the return, pay for the return postage, and only when the item arrives can you contact eBay and ask for a refund of the return postage costs. (If you do speak to eBay, make sure you keep a note of the SR 1-XXXXXXXXXXXX phone call ID).
As eBay auto-accept returns roll out, sellers won’t even have the opportunity to speak to eBay before the return is accepted on their behalf. Whether a genuine return reason is selected by the buyer the return will be accepted, you’ll pay for a postage label, and then have to claim for a refund if you can provide evidence that it was a false SNAD claim.
From hearsay we believe that eBay support may be receiving hundreds of calls a day from sellers appealing false SNAD returns and requesting a refund of the postage costs. Each time the issue has to be escalated for a decision to be made and it will be costing eBay time and money to do so. If the number of false SNAD claims continue to increase, which is perfectly possible once auto-accept returns roll out, then eBay may be forced to take action to reduce their workload. In the mean time it would appear prudent for sellers to continue to claim when they have a genuine false SNAD claim as otherwise it’s they who will foot the bill for postage.
The issue here is an ingrained one of blame. Buyers need to be educated on their rights which are that they can return any item purchased online without having to give a reason. Setting aside the small number of buyers who will falsely claim an item is broken or doesn’t perform the function described, when wanting to make a return it’s natural to think you have to give a reason.
“Doesn’t fit” for example isn’t SNAD – especially in fashion it’s well known that sizing between manufactures can vary enormously. Colour a different shade to the image is also not SNAD – different screens will display colours differently so it’s not surprising you can’t get an exact match between the item and the image. There are countless reasons someone might want to change their mind that aren’t due to the description not matching the item.
What’s needed is a very clear “Why do you want to return this item?” question with a “No reason, I just don’t want this item” no fault return option. There’s no need to find blame, it’s not the seller’s fault, it’s not the buyer’s fault. It’s just them exercising their right to examine the item on receipt and decide if they want to keep it nor not. If they don’t want to keep it part of their rights is to return the item but also part of their rights is that the buyer foots the return postage costs (so long as the seller specified this up front in their terms and conditions).
No one wants false SNAD returns (except dishonest buyers). Genuine buyers will simply be happy that they can change their mind and return the item. Genuine sellers will be more than happy to comply with the law and accept returns for no reason other than the buyer wants to return the product. eBay will be happy because they’re not inundated with false SNAD claims taking up their support time.
But how do we educate buyers that it’s OK to return something on eBay without saying there’s something wrong with the item? That’s something that eBay themselves will have to do.