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Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010
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Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

Hi there,

 

I'm a casual seller, and a few days ago sold a brand name SD card to an interstate buyer.  It's a brand new item, still sealed in the manufacturers packaging, and I posted it via registered mail on Tuesday.

 

On Wednesday afternoon (yesterday), the seller messaged me saying, "If this card doesn't fit a GoPro, don't bother sending it - I'll be returning it".  They've obviously realised they've ordered the wrong item (they need a microSD card, not an SD card) so want to back out of the purchase.

 

I replied that it had already been posted so was too late for me to "not send".  Didn't say anything else as I wanted to check out my options.

 

Now, I don't have a returns policy in the listing other than "No reutrns accepted", and haven't had to process a return before, so just wanted to know the best way to handle this?

 

Obvsiouly I want the item back, unopened and in new condition still.  The selling price included free shipping, but as the buyer is simply changing their mind on the sale, is it resonable to request that I refund them the sale amount less the cost of shipping it to them to begin with (~$5)?  And if so, how do this properly through the eBay refund process?

 

Looking through the buyer's eBay history, they seem to regularly leave petty feedback comments, and I'd like to avoid having my feedback history marred by an seemingly unreasonable buyer.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Cheers!

Community Member
Posts: 2,513
Registered: ‎06-24-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

Firstly, don't worry about your feedback. If they write something bad, you have the right of reply & can always leave a factual comment to describe the transaction & what happened.

As you said, this sounds like a change of mind return. You have already posted it so if I were you, I would do nothing unless they contact you again, after they receive it.

 

If they receive it and don't want it, they will need to contact you to ask about a return. As far as I am aware, you do not have to accept a return at all for change of mind unless you had specifically agreed to that in your ad, and you did not.

 

If you do decide to accept the return though, it needs to be as a buyer change of mind & they would need to pay for return postage. I would make it clear that a refund for original price would only be given if the item was received in original condition and that return postage costs would not be refunded. They may argue that the item had free shipping & you could add that shipping was included and was paid for but that was for delivery to them & does not include return postage.

 

Keep everything polite and keep a copy of the messages. It could be that the buyer will try to make it into a not as described claim & you may need to get on the phone to ebay to explain it was exactly as described, just that the buyer made a mistake in what they were after.

 

Good luck.

Community Member
Posts: 16,002
Registered: ‎02-27-2008

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

[ Edited ]
in reply to tazzieterror

As springy has said and if they come back wanting a refund, lay out the terms as springy suggests and tell the buyer that they can resell it on eBay seeing as you and eBay don't accept returns on buyer errors.

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Community Member
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

[ Edited ]
in reply to kopenhagen5

Ok, thank you both for the suggestions.  In the event that I do decide to allow them to return it, does the returns process include the ability to offer the buyer a partial refund (i.e. the total less my cost to ship it to them to begin with), so that I can at least stipulate that to the buyer ("Ok, I'll allow you to return it provided it's still in new condition, and the refund will be for $95, not $100")?

Community Member
Posts: 3,063
Registered: ‎11-13-2011

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror
If you have a restocking fee defined you can also deduct that from any refund you provide if the reason is change of mind.
This allows you to recover outbound postage costs. For change of mind returns the buyer needs to pay the return postage.
Since you have no returns specified it is up to you to choose to accept a return for change of mind.
Community Member
Posts: 445
Registered: ‎01-26-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

[ Edited ]
in reply to tazzieterror

tell the buyer soon as it arrives to put on parcel "return to sender" without opening etc. wont cost anyone postage return costs. also maybe tell them not to leave feedback and visa versa.

you will lose original post costs but at least you get the item back new.

Community Member
Posts: 445
Registered: ‎01-26-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to 4green2000

4green2000 wrote:

tell the buyer soon as it arrives to put on parcel "return to sender" without opening etc. wont cost anyone postage return costs. also maybe tell them not to leave feedback and visa versa.

you will lose original post costs but at least you get the item back new.


PS...dont forget to block that buyer from buying from you again.

Community Member
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎10-18-2006

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to 4green2000

Stick to your guns and as you have "Returns not Accepted" on the listing you do not have to accept a return. The buyer has already stated that he/she is an idiot by comitting to the sale thinking he can just send it back if it doesn't fit.  Ebay will agree with you if you keep calm and don't say anything insulting. If he tries to bully you by threatening negative feedback, Ebay will remove it on application. If he just leaves negative feedback Ebay WILL remove it on appication. Ebay do protect sellers against this sort of thing.

Community Member
Posts: 16,002
Registered: ‎02-27-2008

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

tazzieterror wrote:

Ok, thank you both for the suggestions.  In the event that I do decide to allow them to return it, does the returns process include the ability to offer the buyer a partial refund (i.e. the total less my cost to ship it to them to begin with), so that I can at least stipulate that to the buyer ("Ok, I'll allow you to return it provided it's still in new condition, and the refund will be for $95, not $100")?


Well what you are hoping for is that they don't come back to you but in the event they do, then hopefully they don't open a request in eBay and give you the opportunity to rectify it. Then you simply wait for the item returned and provided it's in the same condition then refund the agreed amount by going into PayPal and do a part refund.

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Community Member
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

Thanks everyone, I think I've come to a satisfactory arrangment with the buyer - thanks for all your input!

Community Member
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to kopenhagen5

Ok I thought I had this sorted, but my silly buyer has gone and stuffed this up...

 

I asked the buyer to post the unopened SD card back to me, and lieu mucking around with return postage reimbursements (given that all my sales have free shipping so no actual P&H figure displayed) to instead just purchase and return with the card a pre-paid DL sized Registered Post envelope, to replace the one used to send him the card.

 

He's done that, and I received the card and replacement envelope a few days ago.

 

Next I sent him a message telling him I'd received the card back, and now needed him to put in a return request through eBay and I would process the refund (and get back my FVF).  I gave him step by step instructions, including specifically telling him to select "Ordered by mistake", since I don't want a defect recorded against my seller account for his change of mind.

 

Instead, he puts through a return request saying "Wrong item sent", which I believe records a defect notice against my selling account.  I message him immediately and asked him why he's done that, but haven't received a reply as of nearly 24 hours later.

 

So, new questions:  

 

1. If I agree to a refund with "wrong item sent" as the reason, how am I potentially affected in my ability to sell on eBay?  

2. Can I get the buyer to change their reason and resubmit the request, or...

3. Can I have eBay review and potentially dismiss the request since it's on record (recorded in eBay's messaging system) that the buyer  stated they'd be returning the item before they'd even received it?  In that case I'd refund them the total via PayPal, less my eBay FVF.

 

Thanks for any replies!

 

Community Member
Posts: 23,653
Registered: ‎08-21-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

Why on earth did you get them to involve ebay?

 

You got your item back.  You should have just refunded the buyer and used

change of mind.   There's no defect in that.

 

I'd just refund.   Don't think you'll get a defect for 'wrong item ordered'.

 

But one defect won't stop you selling.

 

 

Community Member
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to imastawka

Thanks for your reply.  TBH I didn't realise I could cancel an order from my end and get the FVF back - I've never had to do it before.

Community Member
Posts: 23,653
Registered: ‎08-21-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

[ Edited ]
in reply to tazzieterror

*edited reply

 

You should have taken  notice of the advice you were given on this thread

Community Member
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to imastawka

Which advice is that, imastawk?  Looks like you haven't even read through the replies in this thread properly.

Community Member
Posts: 23,653
Registered: ‎08-21-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

I thought Kopes gave good advice at post # 9

 

 

Well what you are hoping for is that they don't come back to you but in the event they do, then hopefully they don't open a request in eBay and give you the opportunity to rectify it. Then you simply wait for the item returned and provided it's in the same condition then refund the agreed amount by going into PayPal and do a part refund.                              

Community Member
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to imastawka

Not good advice since a direct partial refund through PayPal still leaves open the posibility of the buyer initiating fraudalent return request through eBay, since eBay would have no record of the return and refund.

Community Member
Posts: 20,536
Registered: ‎07-23-2006

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

The worst that could happen if the buyer opened a dispute would be that the seller would have to refund the balance of the original payment.  I don't think the seller would have too much trouble convincing ebay that they had already responded to the buyer's requests.

Community Member
Posts: 23,653
Registered: ‎08-21-2013

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

What?

 

Partial refunds are done through Paypal all the time.

 

How do they do a fraudulent return request?   It has to have tracking for a return.

 

 

Community Member
Posts: 9,871
Registered: ‎05-25-2010

Re: Buyer wanting to return an item before even receiving it...best way to handle?

in reply to tazzieterror

tazzieterror wrote:

Not good advice since a direct partial refund through PayPal still leaves open the posibility of the buyer initiating fraudalent return request through eBay, since eBay would have no record of the return and refund.


Partial refunds are recorded on eBay, I do them quite often for people who buy and pay for multiple items individually, so go in and refund excess postage almost daily.

 

The main problem with partial refunds via PayPal is the amount that is refunded - if I am just refunding a small portion, all is well. If I refund an amount equal to or greater than the item price, I get a defect (so I only ever did that once!). This is because eBay assumes I'm refunding because I was out of stock, so, if you are intending to refund item price or more, doing it through eBay is actually recommended.

 

With the request, you will not get a defect at all due to the reason the buyer selected, as long as the case is not escalated to eBay, it doesn't affect your account standing or ability to sell on eBay.

 

As lyndal mentioned, though, whatever your change of mind return policies are pretty much go out the window when the buyer selects an INAD reason instead of a change of mind reason, and you will be forced to refund 100% of the original payment (if there was a separate postage charge that you don't want to refund, you'd need to convince the buyer to close the case, issue the refund via PayPal, and then fight eBay to remove the defect if you get one - I have one right now for doing that, but there's a million other unpleasant things I'd rather do that talk to eBay CS about removing an erroneous defect that will go away soon and is not currently affecting my selling. I am assessed every 3 months though, so my volume can handle the odd defect here and there, as long as it's not one caused by an escalated case).