Topics in this issue:
- eBay 101 – Returns.
- Royal Mail OBA barcodes.
- Re-listing – two options.
- Ask Molly – Can I duplicate on different IDs?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
I am certainly looking forward to the introduction of ‘Product identifiers’ scheduled for late June as the summer is historically a quiet period so this will keep me occupied and away from garden maintenance. I will report back on this as and when I get to grips with it.
In the bulletin this week a warning about taking returns and when to play hardball, also a few thoughts about duplicate listings.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY 101 – RETURNS
The subject of returns crops up a lot at HQ and although Molly doesn’t get very many the Elves do; selling clothes online will always generate returns.
” Hi mollybol,
I am looking for some advice on eBay. I have been thinking about opening an eBay store, alas my thoughts are waning now with regards to eBay returns.
I recently sold an item and the customer complained to eBay saying he found a flaw with it. eBay requested I refund the payment in full stating the buyer would be allowed to keep my item. The payment was frozen in my PayPal account. I emailed my customer on three occasions these were not returned.
Is this the case if you complain to eBay you will have the right to keep the goods by deceiving me the seller and eBay the selling platform.”
No, the buyer is not allowed to keep the item and no refund should be given until the correct item has been returned. I say correct as some naughty buyers send back a cheaper item, obtain the proof of delivery and keep the more expensive item. By the time the seller realises that a different item has been returned the tracking details are in the system and the refund is given.
The new refunds process works really well but refunds should not be given outside of this process or the buyer may not return the item. If you are not happy with the outcome of a refund request you can appeal and if the item was not returned then eBay will reverse the decision and return your payment. Well, they should do.
This exact same thing happened to one of the Elves this week. A pair of jeans didn’t fit and after a while the buyer’s payment was refunded. I am not sure why exactly as I wasn’t really involved in the beginning. The angry Elf asked the buyer when the jeans would be returned to which they replied that they had given them to a charity shop. Now I became involved and appealed the case, within a few minutes the decision was reversed:
“We’ve reviewed your concerns and have reversed the outcome of the case. Within 48 hours, we’ll credit the PayPal account used to provide reimbursement for this case. If you used another payment method, please open a PayPal account with the email address we have on file. This will enable you to claim your money.
Because we decided in your favor, this case, any feedback left, and all detailed seller ratings left, will not affect your seller performance. In addition, any feedback left for this transaction will be removed.”
Most buyers are fine but of course there are a few bad apples out there, don’t let them get away with it.
2. ROYAL MAIL OBA BARCODES
For everybody out there who does not use the Royal Mail OBA system this item is going to be very boring but judging by the number of e-mails to HQ last week quite a few readers are concerned about planned changes.
With reference to your reader who asked about the changes to Royal Mail 24/48 I’ve had the same call from my Royal Mail account manager.
When I told them the extra admin burden wasn’t appreciated given the amount of money we put through them each year they offered two alternative products which don’t require the barcode but are 10% more expensive!
Therefore, I told them to let me know when this becomes mandatory and we will switch to UK Mail, but there was an indication that this isn’t a 100% definite move so it might be worth OBA customers hanging on to see what happens.”
Quite right, why worry about something today that may never happen. Watch this space for more updates nearer the time.
3. RE-LISTING – TWO OPTIONS
Over the past few weeks the topic of re-listing items has been and gone, come back again and then faded into the background. However it was brought to my attention this week that there may have been some confusion over the term ‘re-listing’ as the process is different for shop inventory and standalone items.
I do have some serious concerns about re-listing on eBay as this has been a problem for me with the current process.
Fortunately I became aware of it very quickly and no damage was done other than an order for one item I did not have in the size.
There is currently a process where eBay will re-list an item once for free, however I sell items with a variation in sizes and what I discovered is that they re-list the item with the original quantities it first listed with, completely ignoring all the ones that have been sold.
So if you have sold out of a size it is suddenly re-listed as if it was back in stock. A total nightmare averted because I realised very quickly what was happening.”
You are quite right: when you manually re-list the available quantity reverts to what it was originally and there is the problem of overstocking. There is nothing else for it, you must be vigilant and check the quantity still available.
The option available to shop owners is known as ‘good ’til cancelled’ and can be used to automatically re-list an item after 30 days. In this case any sales since the last listing date will be taken into account and the available quantity adjusted if necessary. This is not for everyone but works well with my items as I list them and forget until one sells or eBay flag that no sales have resulted in a 16-month period at which time I’ll revisit and adjust or remove accordingly.
4. ASK MOLLY – CAN I DUPLICATE ON DIFFERENT IDs?
Something I hope you can help with, the use of multiple eBay IDs.
I’ve read many convincing arguments about the benefits of selling via multiple eBay accounts. And also spoken to many advocates of the practice. And it was convincing enough for us to set up a second account earlier this year.
However, we contacted eBay directly to ask about a minor technicality (linking a duplicate SKU to our inventory and order management software), and they informed us that it was against eBay policy to duplicate product listings on different accounts. So this of course stopped us in our tracks.
The thing is, though, the practice is clearly rife. None of the competitors we know of who use more than one eBay ID have ceased to do so, and by chance, I even noticed a major UK brand (and I mean very major, at that!) doing it today – exactly the same product images and description on both listings.
So is this a mere technicality that’s unofficially overlooked (i.e. akin to driving 71mph on the motorway), or is it a more serious eBay rule than that (95mph), that we shouldn’t even be giving any further consideration to?
Your guidance would be much appreciated, as ever.”
I do use multiple accounts but to list different items so don’t fall foul of the eBay ruling. The main reason for this rule is the restriction on the number of fixed price listings for the same item. The official blurb:
“Sellers can’t have more than one fixed price listing of an identical item at the same time. Note: Auction-style listings with Buy it Now are considered fixed price format listings for the purposes of this policy.
Sellers can have more than one auction-style listing for identical items. However, only one duplicate auction-style listing without bids will appear on eBay at a time. Separate listings may be created for the same item on different eBay sites, as long as the international delivery options don’t result in the listings cluttering the search results of any individual site.
These restrictions on duplicate listings include listing an identical item in different categories or listing an identical item using different user IDs.”
If you try to list a duplicate item on the same ID then up pops a warning but of course putting the same item on two sites wouldn’t prompt this warning. There are a raft of sanctions that eBay could take if they find out and it is quite likely that a competitor could report you, then again you could also thin out the competition in a similar way.
Personally I wouldn’t take the risk.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. I will reply personally to every email I receive and, remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips or stories.
– END NOTE –
Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
The topic of ‘auction demise’ did stimulate quite a few comments from occasional sellers who are not keen to see the loss of the traditional auction. As a buyer I am also very interested in their continued use.
I love to see auctions end mid-afternoon at a fraction of the item’s true value, especially if I am sitting at my PC with a coffee. This is still a great way to find stock or buy the item of your dreams.
I remember buying a Ford Galaxy people carrier for around £2,000 below book price, a smiley face day at Molly HQ. The auction ended at 3pm when most of the potential buyers of this type of vehicle, i.e. mums or dads with kid,s were on the school run. My Elves had to walk home and lump it.
Long live the humble auction.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook, available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
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