Thursday, May 25, 2017

Is This Buyer Just Renting My Item? 30 or More Day Returns On Ebay

I don't get many returns. My return rate is 0.61%. That's not too high. I rarely ever get a return. I especially don't get returns at the 30 day mark. Until today. Someone requested a return for an item I had listed as like new condition 1 day before the 30 day mark. Let me make clear before I get into it, I'm not buyer bashing. I don't like buyer bashing at all, but some buyers do aggravate me. It's very rare, it almost never happens, but it does on occasion. So bare with me.

I have had 30 day returns for a year, or however long we've been required to offer 30 day returns in order to keep our top rated status. I have only had a few return requests, and no item not as described. All were because item didn't fit. That I can remember, that is. 

The pants in question. The photo might look a bit distorted
because they are a glossy pant, my camera makes them look funny.
You can see the dry clean tag still attached. These were well cared for and
only worn a couple times.
This person waited until they had one day left on a 30 day return to say their item didn't fit. That was their reason for requesting return. But in their comments section, they claim the item "seems extremely worn and faded." Well, now I know how my item is going to be returned to me. 

I remember the pants well. They were a pair of Old Navy black dress pants, that had only ever been dry cleaned. They had never been washed. They had a sort of shiny or glossy look, not like cotton that fades after a couple washes. They looked brand new when I shipped them. Brand new. No flaws at all. No fading, no pilling, no nothing. Perfect. I am very careful to always list any fading or pilling, even if it's very, very minor and barely noticeable. I do it for this exact reason. I don't want anyone saying there was the smallest amount of fading that I didn't list in my description. I tend to undersell the condition of my items to play it safe. I hardly ever list anything as very good or like new condition, even if it is. But sometimes an items looks brand new and I want my buyers to know it looks really good. These pants had no signs of wear other than needing a lint roller. They had a little lint because of the type of material it was, lint or "fuzzies" would want to stick to them. I'm not saying I'm perfect and never make mistakes, but this isn't a case of that. 

So, this is, in my opinion, a case of the buyer using the 30 days to rent a piece of clothing. I've had this happen once before with a blue leather jacket. It was returned with noticeable scratches in the leather that weren't there when I listed and shipped it. I think it was worn for a weekend event. But how could I prove that? They didn't screw me on shipping or claim item not described. Just that they didn't like the color. But it came back noticeably marked up.

I've noticed a trend with my returns. They always wait until the month is almost over. I wonder if it's buyers remorse. They spent too much money that month and now they have to return stuff so they can pay their bills or whatever. My returns have almost always been at the end of the month. I know this because my Ebay fees are due between the 30 to 31st of the month. So I'm always trying to make my fees back the last week of the month. When I have a return to issue, I'm thinking, "Oh, nice, right when I need that money to pay my fees."

Why would someone wait a month to return something that doesn't fit? That is my question. I've never understood this. I get why Ebay wants sellers to offer 30 day or 60 day returns to the point that they are competing with other retailers. They want to stay relevant. I want them to stay relevant! But at what cost. I understand if it's electronics that might stop working 30 days later. But used items? Used clothing? It's really hard to prove that the buyer is lying about a used item. It's all perception. I might think something looks good but the buyer sees things differently. So Ebay sides with the buyer because it's their opinion and they are free to not like what they purchased. But is it really my fault? And does it take 30 or 60 days to make that decision? I don't think so. If I buy something, I try it on right away and if it doesn't fit, I want either my money back or a replacement.

I don't think all buyers are lying. Not at all. But I believe this particular buyer added the faded part to cover their ass. So if I call Ebay and say, "hey these were returned to me in a different condition" they will say, "well, the buyer claims they were faded when they got them." It's my word against theirs. Or Ebay will think it's been so long that I won't remember what that item looked like. I've had Ebay side with me on several things (I rarely ever have to call them). But in this situation, I don't have much faith that they will side with me.

I am grateful that the buyer didn't claim Item Not As Described, so I don't have to cover shipping, but why claim they look extremely faded and worn? 

So I recently heard that Ebay is wanting sellers to offer 60 day returns now in order to be ranked higher in the algorithm. I never got an email about it from them, that I could find, but I saw it on a YouTube video. So I added 60 day returns about a week or so ago. I don't know if we have to have it to keep our TRS, or if it's just to help us rank higher. I probably need to call Ebay and ask. If I start having people request returns after 30 days on a regular basis, I might rethink the 60 day returns. I'll see if it actually helps me get more sales. Though I don't think I will be able to really tell, because I am listing more than ever. I won't know if it's the 60 days helping my sales or just simply all the listing I'm doing.

This is my first and only return request at the 30 day mark, so I don't think it's a trend by any means, but maybe the 60 day returns will attract the wrong buyers? I sure hope not. I think 99% of buyers are honest people. I think sellers are too quick to assume the buyer is lying, myself included. Because we never make mistakes, right? But sometimes we just KNOW. Obviously, my return rate is very low, so I'm doing something right. But those few bad eggs can just make me so frustrated. 

We'll see what happens next. I love Ebay and I just pretty much roll with whatever changes they decide to make. I have no choice, if I want to remain a Top Rated Seller and this job is extremely important to me. So I will do whatever I have to. I always pride myself on excellent customer service, but I won't let buyers jerk me around either. I've had a few buyers try to get me to issue partial refunds over the years and let them keep their item. I did that in the beginning because I was so afraid of negative feedback. My feelings have since changed. I won't let buyers dictate what kind of business I run. I have no problems issuing refunds, but I don't do partial refunds anymore, except for very rare occasions, or if I think maybe I did actually miss something in the listing. That almost never happens, though. If a buyer doesn't like the item or it doesn't fit, I have no problems issuing a refund, but they have to send it back. I don't just give money or stuff away for free.

I just wish Ebay would keep the small seller in mind, the seller who still sells used items. I'm a very honest seller. So it sucks when you come across a seemingly dishonest buyer. But as I said, at least they didn't state not as described as their reason for return. At least they were that honest. This sort of thing is inevitable in the resale business. I don't let it ruin my day anymore. I get irritated and vent about it, then I get over it. It's just business. Nothing I can do about it.

I'll update on how the pants show back up to me, faded or in the same condition they were sent. It'll be interesting. 

Thanks for reading and please come back!

What experiences have you had with people seeming to "rent" your items? Has Ebay sided with you when you say it showed up in different condition than you sent it, or you disagree with the buyers reason? Do you sell new or used items? Talk to me! :)

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