Resellers Beware, EBay Changes Put Buyers In Driver’s Seat

Author Chinavasion Marketing 13.7.2009. | 19:32

eBay changes

Sellers are facing more changes on eBay which could drive some to eBay alternative sites
One of the most bandied about maxims in the world of ecommerce is that the customer is always right… at eBay they are not only right they are also gods.

That’s the impression that you’d get from latest batch of changes made to eBay policies in June which are slowly being rolled out over the next three months and will prove to be both a blessing and a curse for sellers.

Some of the eBay changes include:

  • A more customer-friendly returns policy
  • Greater involvement by eBay in the dispute process
  • An A.I driven ‘smart FAQ’ system

So what will these changes entail for sellers?

More Customer-Friendly Return Policy


To improve buyer-seller trust, eBay intends to create a safer trading environment for buyers on the site by tightening up the site-wide returns rule, essentially making it compulsory for sellers to have one and make it easier for customers to get returns.


*warning, eBay’s actual returns department probably looks nothing like this
As a result there is going to be a significantly higher volume of products being returned.

This move will directly affect all eBay sellers, especially smaller ones, who will find their bottom line impacted by this move.

As a seller, you should ensure that you are able to manage an increase in product returns.

Would you, for example, be able to (successfully) process an additional 10% in returns?

Many smaller to medium-sized sellers may see this as further pressure on them to move from the site as they have less resources to deal with increased returns from buyers.

Larger, established sellers will be better positioned to cope as they benefit from more efficient business operations, economies of scale and highly streamlined logistics. They have the core infrastructure needed already set up while smaller sellers may still be developing theirs.

EBay To Take A Greater Involvement In Resolutions


EBay intends to adopt a more central role in dispute resolutions and will guarantee every transaction on the site.

What this means is that buyers and sellers now involve eBay directly in the event of a sales dispute where before they tried to avoid any involvement.

This significant move by eBay is also viewed by some as closing the “trust gap” that exists between the online giant and one of its key competitors, Amazon.

Buyers feel safer on Amazon with their level of involvement when transaction difficulties arise.

Three Simple Rules To More EBay Sales

For more tips about how to stop customers from even contacting eBay read an earlier blog on Three Simple Rules To More EBay Sales, just click on the picture.
This means that, as sellers, you are going to need to have transparent and clear policies, good customer management skills and effective working practices in order to just stay on eBay.

The Sellers’ FAQ Gets A Dose Of A.I.


This is one area which could represent a significant win for sellers.

In the past, the Q&A process was slow and inefficient, requiring sellers to devote significant resources to the area of customer service – especially for shipping questions.

EBay recently introduced Smart FAQ, a new free feature that generates answers to common questions by drawing automated answers directly from the item information on the product page.

As an example, if a buyer wants to know the current status of their purchase and asks “where is my Elegance cell phone?”, Smart FAQ will automatically generate the answer by combining multiple sources of information:

  • The payment date
  • The handling and shipping time
  • Any tracking information associated with the purchase

What this should mean is that sellers should be able to utilize their resources more effectively and minimize the time between asking a question and receiving a reply for buyers.

In this way, by collecting and referencing pre-existing information from different resources, the Smart FAQ is designed to create a more efficient online trading environment for all parties.

Sellers can change the Smart FAQ settings so that it:

  • Intercepts all questions (including speculative pre-sales questions)
  • Only handles existing customers
  • Completely ignores all questions leaving you to do things the old-fashioned, manual way

In order to benefit from this new feature, sellers should ensure that shipping, transactional and item information is updated.

Useful Sites

Get all of the spring changes direct from the horses mouth. Copy and paste into your address bar.


While eBay changes are buyer centric, this should help sellers by retaining and gaining new customers for sellers in General and eBay in particular.

The changes may even drive sellers to be more efficient at their businesses, which will build up their bottom line.

So essentially it is a little short-term pain for some long-term gain. But then it probably wouldn’t hurt to try out some eBay alternatives to reduce the risk of falling foul of eBay’s new policies.

negative eBay feedback

The secret of eliminating and preventing negative feedback on eBay Part 1 and part 2.

Learn about some of the cool new multi item fixed price listings are available at eBay, just click on the picture.

Don’t let Christmas be your customer downfall this year. Read this blog on Bulk buying hot sellers

ebay alternatives
Author Chinavasion Marketing 13.7.2009. | 19:32
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1 Comment

  1. george July 15, 14:14

    It would be a sight to behold if ebay actually had a returns department… but certainly anyone selling on ebay should have a process specially for handling ebay after sales issues due to the extreme threat of negative feedback

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