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RPS #125 – This Weird Loophole Is Screwing Over eBay Sellers…

This Weird Loophole Is Screwing Over eBay Sellers

So here is the issue. Let’s say, for example, a customer buys a large Ralph Lauren shirt. They pay for it, maybe $10 plus $5 shipping. They get the item. And they’ve inadvertently ordered the wrong size. There is something that eBay buyers are doing that is kind of screwing over the sellers.

First of all, let’s say I was the person who sold that particular shirt. The buyer gets the shirt and realizes he made a legit mistake. Now, I accept 30-day returns, no questions asked. The correct procedure for that buyer would be to click on “wrong size, doesn’t fit.” Then he would print a label through eBay at his expense because he made the mistake. He would just ship it back to me.

But There Is a Loophole
The problem is one of the choices in the return field is “not as described.” Now anytime—and I mean anytime—a person clicks the “not as described” button, you are going to be paying for the return shipping even if you did nothing wrong and it’s a clear case of buyer remorse.

This happened to a buddy of mine recently. He sold hubcaps to somebody. The buyer got them. He loved the item, but he said to my friend, “I ordered the wrong size. Will you take them back?” My friend said yes. And what did this buyer do? He clicked “not as described.”

My buddy suspected that he did it to avoid paying the return shipping. So he called eBay concierge and explained everything to them. They looked in his eBay messages and saw he was telling the truth.

Here’s Where It Gets Crazy
You would think they would say, “We’ll close the case, rule in favor of the seller, and make the buyer ship the hubcaps back.”

But if they do that, the seller automatically gets a defect, even though he did nothing wrong.

So they said to my friend, “Go ahead and accept the return and send the buyer a label at your expense. Once you get the item back, call us up and we’ll reimburse you for the cost of the shipping.”

What’s the Takeaway Here?
So what’s the lesson learned? What can eBay sellers do to protect themselves? Is there anything they can do?

I don’t think we as sellers have the power to do anything in this case. We as sellers need to talk to the higher-ups at eBay and let them know that this is a serious issue and sellers need better protection.

Now, luckily most of my customers are honest. But occasionally even I will get a conniver, someone who doesn’t want to pay for his mistakes. And if you are selling  clothing, the shipping won’t cost much. But if you are selling hubcaps as my friend was,  then you’re talking $40 to $45 for shipping. No one needs to be losing that.

What You Can Do
So what’s my advice to a seller who has a buyer who wants to return a heavy item when it is obviously their fault in ordering the wrong item? Do you say, “Hey, listen. Can you send me some money because I think you clicked the wrong button”? No, I would never ask them that question. It’s a bad idea.

I would just say to the buyer, “Hi, I’m sorry that you can’t use the items that you bought from me. Did you make a mistake and buy the wrong size? Do you maybe have 15-inch wheels instead of 14?”

Once they admit it, it’s right there in eBay messages. You will be protected. Your communication with the buyer is huge. Then you call concierge. It’s all there in black and white.

First, you have to agree to accept the return and pay the shipping, even if it’s $45 or $50. Once you get the item back, you inspect it to make sure everything’s OK. Then you call concierge again.

It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of time wasted.

Things Should Change
To help the sellers, eBay needs to change that loophole. They know it’s there.

But at the end of the day, selling on eBay is still very lucrative. Everybody buys and sells on eBay. But this loophole has got to go.

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