Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Christmas spirit does not extend to returns!

Happy Holiday season! Are you going crazy posting all your holiday inventory? I' ll bet that you are! Add to this mayhem, eBay's "one-cent" and "free" listing days and I am sure it's a nutsy time around your computer!

As you slowly go crazy posting listings, you may want to consider a strict "no return" policy for most items. That's what I am doing. While I do except returns during most of the year, I turn into old Ebenezer Scrooge during the holidays. Let's face it, most buyers haven't a clue what us sellers deal with when moving holiday inventory. They think we're all Wal-mart or Sears and can just take back returns with no problem. What they don't realize (or care) is sellers only have a four week window to get their stuff sold. If we except returns, more then likely that item will not be returned in time to be re-posted for a second auction. The seller is left "holding the bag" and usually ends up being stuck with the merchandise until the following year!

Take for example this Dept 56 New England Village school house. I paid $5.00 for this at a garage sale. Dept 56 buyers are always looking for additional pieces for their Christmas display, so I held it until the holidays to maximize it's sale potential. My selling strategy panned out, because this this school house sold for $36. Waiting until Christmas boosted the sale price and I made a profit of $31 dollars.

While all went fine with this sale, what if I permitted returns for this piece and the buyer decided to ship it back to me? There's no way would I have enough time to re-post this school house and sell it in time for the holidays! Frankly, do you know anyone who is buying Dept 56 Christmas January? I sure don't! In fact, that's when collectors are boxing them up and throwing them back into the attic. So by accepting returns I'd have to sell it for much less, or be forced to store it on my shelf where it would sit for 11 long months. Not a good scenario, so my listings are all no return.

Have you ever been left "holding the bag" on a holiday return? Tell us about it in the comment section.
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  1. I agree its a good idea to not take returns on Christmas items but a buyer can simply force the seller to take the return by opening a item not as described case. As per Ebays policy, the buyer returns the item and the seller has to refund them. So really there is no "no returns accepted policy"

  2. Yep - sellers really have no choice but to accept returns so it is easier and more buyer friendly to have a return policy. Per ebay, the item must be returned via a trackable method and the buyer must pay for the return.

  3. I don't sell on ebay, but I do have an online store. I recently had someone return an item saying they didn't know it was used. Everything I list is marked as used, was well described in the listing as to how used it was, I wasn't contacted before it turned up on my doorstep, and it was 7 MONTHS after the sale. I did return her money with a slightly nasty note about reading the description, and sending it back after 7 months was really unacceptable. Love your blog!

  4. I agree, a slick buyer can "game" the system and falsely state the item was not as described. In many cases eBay will side with the buyer. However, you can still try to enforce a "no return" policy on your listings. Here is what eBay explains to buyers on the return issue:

    "Your ability to return an item depends on the seller's return policy, which you should be able to find in the listing or by asking the seller.
    While we encourage sellers to be clear and specific about their return policy, it's up to them whether they accept returns."

    So during the holidays, you should never state you accept returns. Start from the beginning with the no-return policy and hope they don't play you or eBay with a bogus claim.

    MidCentury- I don't blame you for avoiding eBay and selling independently on-line, good for you! Wow, 7 months? That's just obnoxious on the buyer's part.

    Thanks for liking the blog!


  5. This is off topic-but, is it to late to list items for Christmas on ebay-not neccessarily Christmas ornaments but just stuff-toys, vintage ect.
    And what day of the week do you suggest starting my auction and ending them?
    I'm a bit strapped for cash and I thought I try to get some by selling on ebay.

  6. pmj - It's not too late. You have about a good ten days left to list. But you have to allow about 3-4 days shipping time. If you're concerned about running out of time, make your auctions 3-to 5 days. This gives you more time to get it mailed. Around December 18-20th you should be dropping your last item in the mail (First class or Priority).

    Buyers are looking for toys so if you got em, list em! Good luck and Merry Christmas!

  7. I also have a no return policy on every item I sell on E-Bay. Just recently I had a Buyer, with a score of 48, file an "item not as described" case. After I received lots of nasty e-mails, she wanted me to pay for the return shipping for the item. When I refused, she moved the case up to a resolution status with E-Bay.
    Within 24 hours E-bay refunded the full purchase price, the original shipping and they allowed her to keep the merchandise, AND she filed negative feedback!

    I have over 2200 positive feedback with a 100% score until she showed up.
    So, a no refund policy with E-Bay is meaningless!
    Talk about Buyers using the system!

  8. I hear ya, the deck is stacked in favor of the buyers for sure. The unscrupulous ones can blackmail mail you into providing a refund by holding the negative feedback sword over your head! This is a further discussion worthy topic. I think I'll expand on this in a future blog. Thanks for your comment...Dude