World biggest Internet based auction eBay has finally started to realize what impact some of their policies have. Recently vice president of eBay has made and announcement that the company is changing policies to remove negative feedback left by customers for sellers because they would not mark item as a gift in order to avoid customs fees.

eBay will be removing feedback if listings meet Customs Requirements and seller gets negative feedback that talks about customs delays or customs fees. To qualify sellers must advise customers that customs fees and taxes are not included in price nor in shipping fee and those fees are buyers responsibility.

eBay also announced that it is going to include two competing online payment services Moneybookers and PayMate.

The feedback policy was on the list of most biggest frustrations for eBay sellers. Let’s see what else we have on that list so eBay could start working on it.

  • CEO John Donahoe – many have commented negatively regarding him. The significant drop in eBay stock is associated with Mr. Donahoe being in the office. There is even a petition online to get john Donahoe resigned.
  • eBay deal with – many small businesses just can not compete with huge corporation list
  • Lack of communication and customer service.
  • Payment policy practically eliminated any other option than PayPal. Many look at this is as unfair and just because the company also owns PayPal.
  • High listing fees.
  • Unwarranted Account Suspensions – they are a lot of complains that accounts were disabled simply because it looked like there was a security concern without any justification.
  • Glitches and lack of innovation.

So if you have a eBay business what do you think about the changes? Do you feel like it is going to help you a lot or not?

via Ecommerce Journal

Several months ago I wrote about the how easy it was for one dishonest customers to initiate a chargeback and get money from our PayPal account. It seamed like we as merchant did not have any rights at all. Majority of people who we talked to about the situation was saying that chargebacks are just another cost of doing business and the rest of respondents blamed PayPal. They were saying that it was really the PayPal’s fault and it is very unfair to just withdraw money from merchants accounts. At the time we thought about looking for  alternatives to PayPal, not taking credit cards at all and quite a bit of other crazy things.

It has been a while since then, but today I am very pleased to report that PayPal has actually fought for our money and won. I am really impressed with how PayPal managed to win the chargeback from VISA credit card company. It took it awhile, but after several months we actually got our money back.

So if you are selling anything online or accepting payments via PayPal or any other service follow these simple recommendations to maximize your chances for keeping your money in your pockets:

  • Ship merchandise with carrier that provide package tracking and proof of delivery.
  • In case of returns, require from clients that they use your preferred (see above) carrier.
  • Keep all record. E-mails, snail mail, tracking numbers, proof of delivery, proof that you did not receive anything (like in our case), anything that is even remotely related to your business. You will never know when you will need that information, but it could literally safe your business in some cases.
  • In case of dispute with client and if it is not going to be resolved peacefully notify PayPal promptly about the dispute. I think their requirement is like within 20 days.
  • If chargeback is actually initiated you will have a chance to present your case. Keep in mind that in most situations it is your only chance. So present all the records that you have collected with your full description what they are and how they are related. Include history of the dispute. Most likely you will not hear from them until the case is either won or lost.

So good luck to you all.

Some time ago I have written about two way to deal with returns of merchandise from business point of view. Today I would like to share how that story has developed since then.

Let me refresh how story has began. We had a customer who has purchased couple of sportswear items online. Several weeks after she received those items she claimed that she did not like them and wanted to return them for refund. By that time it was already way past of expiration of return policy. So we could not accept return even if we wanted to make an exception. Anyway she claimed that she mailed package to us and demanded the refund. She could not provide any proof of shipment and we did not receive the package. She requested chargeback via her VISA credit card company and managed to get money from our PayPal account after 5 months after the purchase.

Let me mention few things about PayPal. PayPal has become huge on online payment solution market. Sellers reports drop in sales if they stop accepting PayPal, especially on eBay auctions. But PayPal is not the bank and does not really have to obey strict Federal banking regulations so they can take money from your account you have with them, freeze account and funds. etc even without any warning to account owners.

PayPal offers seller’s protection policy and it seams like by complying with few requirements you as sellers it protected, but just take a look at this quote from the policy:

A Chargeback is covered if it was due to non-receipt of merchandise, or an unauthorized payment. A Reversal is covered if it was due to an unauthorized payment. The Seller Protection Policy does not cover Claims for Significantly Not as Described or for non-receipt of merchandise, or sales of intangible goods, services, or licenses for digital content. PayPal Claims are not covered by the Seller Protection Policy. For more information on winning a PayPal Claim see the Buyer Protection Programs section of this agreement.

What they basically say is customers have 100% chance to win chargeback if they claim that merchandise was not as described.

In our quest to fight this particular chargeback we have researched a lot of related forums, blogs and talked to a lot of retail industry gurus. And it seams like everybody agrees with saying that customer is always right and there is nothing businesses can do about it. Before that sounded to me like “of course we as a business want to be nice with our clients, but we would want fair resolution of dispute if there is one.” Now though it seams like chargeback is really just another cost of doing business, and buyers have a lot more rights than sellers.

In order to protect themselves against such situations businesses could stop accepting credit cards in general because of this and also because of fees that various merchant account providers charge per transaction. But there were too many research done that clearly indicate drop in sales volume if there is no credit card present as a payment option. PayPal says that based on their one research adding PayPal Express button can increase sales by 14% on average. So I guess we are sticking with it for a while.

As you already know we own part of retail business. it is growing slowly, but steadily. This is my first experience with specifics of retail business. One of such specifics is dealing with returns and unsatisfied customers.

Lately we had a customer who wanted to return merchandise way after period of time allowed by our return policy. Initially we got defensive since it is really against our return policy and because that particular merchandise was supposed to be returned to manufacturer within short time frame. So we could not just resell it on eBay or something. So we did not issue RMA number to the customer. So she just mailed it anyway and threatened to dispute the charge with PayPal. Then in over one month after she mailed she contacted us again. But we did receive it. My guess is that it was shipped to address of distribution company.

This time I have decided to do some research and find out what other retail business veterans do in such case. So I have interviewed handful of SCORE experts and posted my questions to several forums and I can summarize all answers to basically two:

  1. Customer is always right. The company should accept charge backs as another cost of doing business.
  2. That the company have full rights to refuse refund if it is stated so in its policy or if there was no policy then State Law applies, which in our state is 20 days refund.

So what do you do in situations like this?

Carbon Copy ScamI have had 365 to freedom dot com in my Google reader for some reason, and couple of days ago Walt over there posted his monthly earnings report.

What caught my eye is that for second month he is making almost $2000 from “Carbon Copy” program. Wow, I thought. It is some nice earnings, but why didn’t I see anybody else making money with them.

So I googled the term and everything I could find so far is either their affiliates or scam reports that blame Carbon Copy for being very expensive and the they stole their system from some other system. So they give URLs to other scam reports which ended up being landing page for different MLM.

So where can we get the truth about them?

It would be really nice to here from somebody reputable in making money online field, somebody from top of list, like , or . Those guys earned their credibility and would review the program honestly, I hope.

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