When deciding on disputed cases between buyers and sellers, eBay claims to do their best to come to the ‘fairest decision.’ Sometimes, however, the case decision made can feel anything but fair for sellers.
In this situation, not all is lost yet. Sellers can still appeal a case decision to attempt to reverse eBay’s conclusion.
Of course, appealing may still lead nowhere (and many experienced sellers will argue this to be true) but procedure remains procedure. Read on to discover the lowdown on case appeals and how sellers can try and put the odds in their favor.
How to make an appeal on eBay
To appeal a case decision, a seller must provide new information to support their case.
New information can be:
- Tracking information that shows the buyer received the item. For item sales over $750, a signature confirmation must be provided
- Proof that the buyer received a refund before a case closed
- Documentation to prove that the item matched the item description before being shipped
- Proof that the item is lost in the mail system or was delivered to the wrong address by the mailing or courier company
The option to appeal a case decision is accessed via the Resolution Center. Alternatively, it is also possible to call eBay and request an appeal over the phone.
The eBay appeals process
Whether a buyer or seller requests an appeal, the process is the much the same. eBay reviews the case details, including any new information, and provides a final decision within 48 hours. It can sometimes take longer, but the majority of appeals decisions are made within this time frame.
Appeals made by phone, as mentioned above, operate a little differently. Some sellers claim it is possible to skip the 48 hours waiting time and receive an immediate decision. This varies hugely on the individual agent, however. It can be very difficult to even reach a live agent (rather than a computer) when calling eBay about an appeal.
How to win an appeal on eBay
To be clear, there is no singular procedure or technique that sellers can use to win a case appeal on eBay.
Each case is uniquely different and hence there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
eBay itself is not even consistent on how it handles and makes decisions on cases. Many sellers would argue, however, that eBay often sides with the buyer. This is true even when the source of fault is clearly not the seller.
Despite this, there are a few things a seller can do to try and get an appeal to be decided in their favor:
As previously noted, calling eBay to appeal a decision can result in a quicker decision. It can also prompt a more thorough investigation into the case that may not happen when an appeal is requested online. Some sellers claim success with this method, though others fail to even get through.
Assert lack of fault
It may sound obvious, but it is imperative to make it clear during all communication with eBay that you do not believe to be at fault in this situation.
Examine the communication with the buyer
Reread all discussion with the buyer and consider tone and language.
Did they mention being pleased with the item? That is evidence of satisfaction. At one point, they were happy with the transaction.
Did they contact you before taking the case to eBay? If not, they didn’t give you a chance to resolve the situation.
Did they take a long time to contact you after receiving the product? Perhaps they damaged the item during this time.
Were they rude or threatening? Point out that this negative behavior made it difficult to work with them.
Did they make any requests that did not match the item description? If so, this proves that the buyer had unreasonable expectations of the item.
Reassure eBay of seller professionalism
Explain, in detail, how the item was shipped in the condition and functionality it was originally described, on time and with careful packaging.
Point out how you communicated quickly and clearly with the buyer at every stage of the sale. Emphasize your exemplary sales record.
Refer back to eBay
Where possible, make reference to eBay’s own policies. For example, the eBay User Agreement states that ‘when a buyer or seller issue arises, we may consider the user’s performance history and the specific circumstances in applying our policies’
This is useful to refer to in situations in which it seems likely the buyer is trying to scam the seller (for example, in the empty box scenario mentioned here) and also has a zero Feedback score.
How to avoid disputes with buyers
Ultimately, the best way to win appeals is to avoid having disputes with buyers in the first place. Prevention is key. Here are some best practices to live by when selling on eBay:
- No matter how many items you sell, run your business in a professional manner. Take it seriously.
- Sell quality items at reasonable prices, with shipping fees that make sense.
- All item descriptions should be meticulously detailed, with any damage or defects carefully noted.
- Pack items in appropriate shipping materials and then send on time with tracking and insurance.
- Keep careful records of all sales transactions (tracking numbers, shipment dates, insurance information) in case of dispute later.
- Reply to buyers’ emails promptly and professionally, using neutral language with a friendly tone.
- Always respond to eBay communication quickly and provide all tracking numbers and other shipment details as soon as possible to the buyer.
- A flexible ‘no questions asked’ return policy is one strategy used by some sellers to reduce disputes concerning returns.
Veteran eBay sellers, what is your experience with appealing eBay case decisions? Share your own tips, tricks, techniques and frustrations in the comments below.