A $1,300 Return Request On Ebay!? How To Handle Returns

What To Do If You Get A $1300 Return Request On eBay

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What would you do if you got a $1,300 return request from eBay? What steps can you take to protect yourself as a seller? 

It happened to us, and we figured it out. We’ll dive into what we did to handle it. 

Set Realistic Expectations

The first thing to prevent returns is to under-promise and over-deliver. 

Now, what does that mean? It means that you’re showing any imperfections in the pictures you’re listing and the description. If it is a used item, you’re telling them this is a used item; please expect normal wear for the item that it is. Don’t use words like “mint,” “perfect,” or “new.” You can list if it was tested and in good working condition. Note there may be scuffs or scrapes, so people have the proper expectation when they get the item. 

Keep Money In Reserves

We mentioned this in another episode, but keep money in your reserves if you get a large return request. It’s good to keep that cushion of money if you have to fight a shipping claim and refund the buyer. It gives you a little wiggle room. 

What To Do If You Get A $1300 Return Request On eBay

The $1,300 Return

Last year we had a $1,300 sale on a Duplex escalator cleaner. It retails new for between $3,500 and $4,500. 

After we shipped it out, the buyer said, “Hey, there’s a broken piece inside this unit.” Right away, that threw red flags at me. The biggest thing is don’t panic. When somebody does something like this, when somebody says they need a return request or want to return the item, you have to go into detective mode.

You have to figure out what the story is with this item. Why is somebody trying to return it? Learn everything you can so you don’t have to take the return. Start by being very polite and asking questions. 

Take Time Responding

You don’t have to respond to them immediately, so you can take a little time you don’t panic. Most people get flustered and panicky and might try to give the money back right away. And you don’t want to do that. 

It is good to have good communication. Figure out if it was damaged in shipping because you may need to make a shipping claim instead. 

Ask For Photos

When I asked the buyer what was going on, he said there were damaged components in the unit, and he started sending me pictures of the unit pulled apart. 

This item was considered a high-value item, so it went to a different department on eBay. Had it been an item under $1,000, I could have had eBay close out the case because he pulled the item apart, and I had pictures of it. 

When you buy an item on eBay, you cannot take that item apart. If there’s something wrong with it, if it’s not working correctly for whatever reason, you open a claim and return it without pulling anything apart. When you start pulling stuff apart, the seller doesn’t know if you’re putting in bad pieces or taking pictures of a different unit.

I immediately told him, “I’m so sorry, but it looks like you have pieces of the unit. You’ve pulled it apart; you’re checking the unit out. I can’t issue a return because of that. If you had not done anything, the item didn’t work like you thought it did.” eBay calls this altering the item. 

Because it was a high-value item, eBay wouldn’t close the case out for me immediately. They had to let it stay open for 30 days. 

What To Do If You Get A $1300 Return Request On eBay

Is It A Shipping Claim?

This was not a case where I could’ve filed a shipping claim in good faith because I knew he took it apart, and I told him that. I could’ve filed a claim with the shipping company if it was damaged in shipping.

That started a whole mess because the guy was very upset about it. And, as I said, I didn’t know if he was being honest. I didn’t know what was going on, if it was damaged in shipping or not, so that started us down the process of, okay, what’s going to happen from here out?

Next Steps

eBay did close it out in my favor. As soon as he got the email that it closed, he got so upset with eBay. He stepped out of eBay and went to his credit card, and opened a fraudulent claim with his credit card.

But it didn’t work in his favor because he had signed for the item. Plus, eBay has proof of him communicating with me before he bought the item (another reason to keep communications within the app). 

eBay said they would back me because all I needed was proof that the item was delivered to him because he claimed it was a fraudulent charge and didn’t get the item to his credit card. They put the funds back into my account; it wasn’t immediate. I had to call and get a supervisor, but I got them back.

Each situation is going to be different. Returns will happen because it’s a business. The simple steps to dealing with a high-dollar return are: Take time responding, be polite, ask questions, and problem solve.

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Robert Stephenson

I grew up in Central Florida and have lived here my whole life. I first got into buying and selling items when I was 16 years old, and have been hooked ever since. It has mostly been a hobby that makes some extra cash, but sometimes it serves as my main income as well. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I find too many fun toys for my family (or myself), and just love the whole process.

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