Buyers Beware … Websites Have Rules for You, too

As mentioned in an earlier post, I sell items on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

And, yeah, I screwed up an order. It happens. I’m a big girl … took responsibility, apologized, offered a full refund (that was how the customer asked to have this resolved), and even told the customer to keep the item.

Trouble is, though, I couldn’t give the customer a refund. See, they’d already filed a claim with the web-site.

Wait. What?

Yep. Less than two days after finding out about the mistake, after sending the customer at least one email apologizing and trying to figure out how to best fix it, they already ratted on me.

Except.

Turns out that’s a violation of the site’s terms and conditions. Ya know, the basic expectation that you know you’re dealing with someone who may have other things to do, such as a day job.

There’s also the expectation that you’ll be an adult and reach out directly to the other person if you have an issue with sale. And then if you don’t come to an agreement on how to work things out in a reasonable timeframe, you can file a claim.

None of the three sites listed consider 48 hours or less to be a reasonable timeframe. Especially if the other party already responded and began the olive branch or mea culpa process.

Thirty days, yeah. Two weeks? Maybe. Two days? Nope.

If that’s your expectation, go to Walmart. Except they might not have the antiques and such you’re looking for.

The customer is going to be absolutely thrilled to find out they have to wait until the claim process is completed before they can get a refund. Granted each site handles things a bit differently, but this is generally how things go.

The site is going to email me and ask for my side of the story. I’ll have one week to respond. Then they’ll email the customer who’ll have one week to respond. And back and forth it goes until we agree or someone misses their response deadline.

The first person to miss their timeframe loses. If it’s the seller, the refund happens. If it’s the buyer, the refund doesn’t happen.

In other words, the claim process often takes one to four weeks, and has to be completed before a refund can be issued. And some sites won’t even start the claim process until the “reasonable” time period has passed. And some sites will cancel the refund if the buyer doesn’t respond to a request for more information after the seller has responded.

Short version is that the customer will get to wait a few weeks for their refund because of filing the claim. If they hadn’t done that, they would’ve had the refund by Friday.

On top of that, these sites really don’t appreciate it when folks don’t play by their rules. Meaning the sales site is now going to send the buyer a nasty-gram reminder of how to play nice in the sandbox.

I dunno about you, but I wouldn’t want any of those sites ticked at me.

Just sayin’.

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