RecognizingHow eBay’s Buyer Protection Policy Modification Hurts Dropshippers
This piece covers eBay’s recent provisions to the Buyer Protection Policy and how it immediately affects eBay dropshippers. The new variations are facing a colossal uproar among the eBay community, and are intensely controversial in the way it will negatively affect dropshippers.
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Dropshippers, more-than-others, face the most danger, as eBay is adding new incentives and approaches around shipping and handling fees and policies. This is a huge cause for concern, as suppliers that allow dropshipping on eBay are extremely rare, and thus-overflowed with dropshipper interactions. This leaves dropshippers particularly vulnerable to lack of communication within their eBay postings, and must be addressed properly, in order for dropshippers to maintain a steady flow-of-business on eBay, regardless of the Buyer Protection Policy changes.
You’ll discover the difficulties it bestows to dropshippers fighting to keep their business, regardless of the magnified ability for buyers to request major refunds. You’ll also realize tried and true adjustments to implement in order to stay as safe as possible as a dropshipper in eBay’s new marketplace.
eBay has several amendments to its Buyer Protection Policy, many of which could severely hurt sellers who are using dropshippers. In the recent notification of the fresh changes, eBay states:
A provision has been added stipulating that in some cases we may refund part of the cost of an item to the buyer, and receive reimbursement from the seller, to cover differences between the item described and the item actually received, such as items received with small parts missing or minor repairs needed. Buyers may be asked to provide written proof from an authorized third party detailing the cost of such repairs. In these cases, we will not require the buyer to return the item to the seller.
Rather, if a buyer discovers an item she purchased to be missing a part or needing a repair, they can open a case with eBay, get a refund from eBay to cover that portion or repair, and then eBay simply bills the seller for the cost.
Regretfully, there seems to be no means of appeasement, or peace agreements in the event of an irregular stuff-up in shipping or any other related case. As the basis of the transaction is established through eBay, whereby eBay is compelled to quickly issue refunds the buyer, then charge the seller.
This should present a particularly emphasized issue for eBay sellers who are dropshipping, since they maintain no direct control over their inventory. In electronics, computers, phones and similar markets, this can have nightmare-ish consequences, as suppliers in these industries can be notoriously tough to work with--on a daily basis, and it opens a very real opportunity for selfish consumer-scammers to manipulate the process.
eBay is additionally placing a seeming vice-grip on dropshippers, as it is incentivizing free delivery (which is often the bulk of profit a dropshipper receives) and 1-day handling in order to inhibit buyers from grading sellers a shipping rating lower than 5 stars.
Although eBay is trying to mitigate sellers with some exceptions to buyer claims, the lack of clarity in how exactly eBay plans to add the necessary steps to keep sellers at lesser risk is disconcerting.
Cases with any of the following scenarios will be automatically removed:
Cases that have been escalated and closed in the seller's favor or no one is found at fault.
Cases in which a seller issued a full refund before the case was escalated to eBay; and the seller is registered on eBay.com and meets performance standards; and there are no prior emails in eBay Messages discussing a problem with the item.
Cases opened as a result of fraudulent activity.
Cases in which the buyer is found abusing the eBay Buyer Protection program, or found to be opened by a competitor with the intention to negatively affect a seller's performance standing.
Cases in which the buyer has been suspended for a severe policy violation.
For dropshippers familiar with PayPal’s buyer claim policy, the resemblances sound eerily similar, which is disheartening about the end result of circumstances; Not only are claims handled under an archaic “he said, she said” back-and-forth discussion, the new policy also allows buyers to open multiple claims on both eBay and PayPal.
So what’s the change needed for you--the dropshipper--to keep yourself clear? Here are some ways:
Always list any and every single item with amazing attention-to-detail. List your policies clearly and completely, take as many pictures as possible, and list every single flaw you may see (if you dropship, this can be executed by buying a sample product from your dealer, and selling it once you are finalized with product images).
Have and archived store policies template that can be automatically injected, or copied and pasted into each listing.
Work with a great dropship-dealer. Regardless of how long it takes, no matter how difficult they are to find.
Speak with any buyer ahead of time. Establish with them full disclosure that you’ve shipped the item, you hope to keep them happy, and you are their buddy!
Be prepared for the worst: Save copies of emails, receipts, inventory, pictures, anything you can to help yourself in the event that you are charged with a buyer dispute.
There is no question that these differences are a bit backward for many-many sellers, especially dropshippers. However, it is imperative to always remember that a solid business can muscle through anything and adapt with the times. Good luck!