The eBay Resolution Process: a Guide

Not every sale on eBay is a successful one. An occupational hazard of selling, disputes and issues with buyers are unfortunately inevitable. Sellers who are prepared for these types of situations will be able to move past the problem confidently and quickly. Read on to discover the complete eBay resolution process from dispute to appeal, plus tips and advice to avoid issues with buyers.

Disputes vs. claims

When discussing issues with buyers on eBay, it is important first understand the difference between a dispute and a claim.

A dispute is the first recorded stage of an issue between a buyer and seller. It occurs when the buyer or seller opens a case on the eBay platform. The seller and buyer will then communicate via the Resolution Center to attempt to solve the problem. A resolution can take many forms, including (but not limited to) a return, refund, partial refund, replacement item or transaction cancellation.

A claim is the escalated version of a dispute. A claim is created when a buyer and seller have been unable to find a solution to their issue. When a dispute becomes a claim, eBay gets involved and acts as a mediator. eBay, therefore, has the final say on a claim, even if an appeal is requested.

Asking for help from eBay

If it is not possible to come to a mutual agreement with the buyer after 3 business days (, the next step is to ask for help from eBay. Ideally, most disputes would have a resolution before this step. By asking for eBay’s assistance, the seller no longer has any control of the situation. eBay, as the mediator, will decide who is at fault.

Once asked to intervene, eBay will assess the information available and come to a decision. If eBay closes the case in the buyer’s favor, the seller will receive a defect. Having multiple defects can have serious consequences for a seller’s performance rating.

Appealing eBay’s decision on a case

If a case decision is made against you, it is possible to appeal eBay’s decision. Additional details (such as photographs) are required for eBay to warrant taking another look at a case. These must be provided within 30 days of the case being closed.

The new information will be reviewed and a final decision will be made typically within 48 hours of the case being appealed.

Keep in mind when appealing case decisions that eBay priorities buyer experience within their online marketplace and will often rule in favor of buyers to maintain purchasing confidence.

Reporting buyers who have violated eBay policy

Sellers can report buyers who they believe to have violated eBay policy via Seller Hub, the Resolution Center or the Sold Items List. Keep in mind, however, that reporting fellow eBay users is taken seriously so sellers should be careful to make sure that their claims are accurate.

Here are some example scenarios in which a seller would be justified in making a report:

  • The buyer is taking advantage of the Money Back Guarantee
  • The buyer is making a false claim
  • The buyer is demanding an item or part that was not included in the original listing

Requesting a feedback revision

There are a couple of different way to request a revision of a buyer’s Feedback after a transaction.

The first method involves contacting the buyer privately to politely ask for an edit of their feedback. This can have mixed results, but is a good place to start, especially if there were no major issues with the transaction that you were aware of.

The second method is to send a feedback revision request via eBay. A message will be sent to the buyer from eBay and then the buyer has 10 days to refuse the request or revise the feedback. A reminder is sent after 7 days. The revision request will expire and disappear after 10 days with no response.

If all else fails, the final option is to contact eBay. It is, however, unlikely that the appeal will be investigated and upheld unless the buyer has broken one of eBay’s feedback policies 

eBay sellers can also appeal defects.

Read more about resolving buyer issues on eBay.

How to avoid future issues with eBay buyers

Without a doubt, the best way to reduce negative situations with eBay buyers is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:

Maintain accurate product descriptions

The easiest way to prevent issues with buyers is to ensure that item descriptions in listings always remain as accurate, informative and descriptive as possible. If the buyer knows exactly what they are getting, there is less likely to be any room for debate.

Communicate with buyers in a professional manner

When messaging with buyers, keep it simple. Use straightforward, easy to understand language. Keep a neutral tone at all times, even if the buyer uses insults or argues with you.

Consider revising your return policy

Some sellers find that having a flexible return policy makes eBay selling more straightforward. It certainly reduces the need to discuss and debate each return request, saving both time and stress.

eBay believes that generous return policies offer a better purchasing experience for buyers and can increase sales up to 25%. 

Blocking specific buyers from making a future bid or purchase

A common response to a negative transaction is for the seller to block the buyer from bidding or purchasing other items from them in the future. This prevents future issues and allows the seller to get a little closure.

Stay calm

As frustrating as these disputes can be, one of the most important things to remember to stay calm throughout.

Received a negative email from a buyer? Take some deep breaths and wait at least an hour before replying. This helps to avoid making a knee jerk response that may exacerbate the situation.

When challenged, try to find creative solutions

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for buyer issues. Think about every problem individually and try to find a creative solution. Some buyers may be happy with a partial refund, while others may just need more information about how an item works.

Read more about preventing issues with buyers on eBay.

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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