As eBay pushes Authenticity Guarantee for designer handbags, some sellers are finding the fine print on eBay's latest "trust" initiative doesn't provide the protection they thought.
I am beyond frustrated and I'm not sure what else I can do except warn future sellers who read this. ...So, about a month ago I sold a Red Vintage Chanel handbag. Fast forward 4 weeks: the buyer has "buyer's remorse" and decides she wants to return the bag. I had a "no return policy" on this listing, the pics of the bag were recent and the description accurately described any issues the bag had.
So, out of options, this buyer resorted to claiming the bag was dyed (which it wasn't) and says it smells like "leather dye" and claims the red color is coming off. Within her dispute,(see photo above) she then ADMITS to cleaning a Vintage Chanel LAMBSKIN leather bag with an abbrasive cleaner. (FYI: using harsh chemicals to clean will DESTROY almost any leather bag!) She even included pics to show how the color was coming off when she "cleaned it" (AKA: stripped it of color by using a toxic chemical.) The pictures she submitted with her dispute even show how the bag is now faded and now nothing like the pristine bag I sent her. And yes, before it got to her, this bag was authenticated & verified in Vegas through Ebay's 3rd party Authenticator.
...So, I called Ebay customer service and explained my situation, even siting how the buyer admitted to altering the bag by stripping it of color with a chemical cleaner. I was told "not to worry, if the bag has been altered in any way than what was originally sent out to the buyer from the autheticator, then the bag will be sent back to the buyer and my money is then released to me. The customer service rep. even read the dispute and also agreed that the buyer should be in the wrong on this one. ...Fast forward to last night: the 3rd party authenticators side with the buyer.
...I'm livid and honestly of the mindset that they never bothered to look at the bag and compare before and after pics, despite what I was told on the phone. Well, so much for Ebay having your back if you're a seller. The buyer got away with her scam and I doubt it'll be the last time she does this to an honest seller. So, Beware my fellow sellers, as this service (despite its claim to the contrary) offers no protection for you. If a buyer damages your item and returns it, too bad. My $ is still being held and the damaged Chanel bag is on its way to me. And yes, I will appeal, but I'm not optimistic after being told my case was open and shut! I'll update if that changes, but I wouldn't hold your breath. This is such a shame and all Ebay has done is enable this scammer to screw the next seller down the line.
Another seller said:
I'm in the same boat. I sold a Gucci bag that went through the Authentication in Vegas. Buyer revived it last Friday, told me she loves it. Next day, messaged me about the handle not being in condition described. Ebay automatically approved a return under money back guarantee within minutes of her message. On Tuesday, a case was opened. This is after return was approved and it was already in back in transit. I didn't offer returns either and was not even given 3 business days to sort things out with the buyer.
The final sale obviously means nothing. The things this buyer was pointing out were all down in the listing photos. The bag is currently on its way to me from the Authentication facility and the case is on hold to allow time for that process. At this point I'm not as concerned with refunding the buyer if my bag is in the same condition but its not fair to possibly be out all the fees too which is alot on these high priced items. This will probably be my last time selling here.
So what is going on here and why are these sellers not being protected like they thought they would be? The answer lies in the fine print.
Unlike the counterpart authentication program for sneakers, which makes no distinction for condition on final sale, the policy for handbags states final sale only applies to "new with tags" & "new without tags" condition listings.
What is Final Sale?
For handbags that are eligible for Authenticity Guarantee, an item is Final Sale when both of the following criteria are met:
Item condition is “New with tags” or “New without tags.”
The seller’s return policy for the item is “No returns,” or the item’s return window has closed.
Once an eligible item passes authentication through Authenticity Guarantee, sellers have completed their obligation to the buyer for that transaction, and the buyer cannot return it.
Transactions that meet these criteria are exempt from Significantly Not as Described (SNAD) claims under eBay’s Money Back Guarantee policy.
Both of the sellers quoted above had sold handbags that were listed as "pre-owned" so the Final Sale policy did not apply.
In my opinion, sellers should still be protected in cases where the buyer damaged or altered the item under this part of the policy (emphasis mine):
How does the return process work?
If the seller offers returns for the item you purchased, you will first send the returned item to the authentication facility. Within two business days of receiving the item, the authenticator will inspect that the item returned matches the item sent to you by verifying the authenticity and condition.
Also, the handbag must have the untampered security tag attached to be eligible for a return. Once verified, the authenticator will ship the item to the seller, and a refund will be processed. The seller or buyer (as defined by the listing) is responsible for shipping costs to the authenticator, and eBay covers the shipping cost to the seller.
If the item is not returned in the same condition it was in during the original inspection, eBay can and should stand behind sellers and protect them from false SNAD claims. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be happening in a lot of cases.
There have been many reports of problems with the sneaker authentication program and it's disappointing to see that similar problems are cropping up in the handbag program as well.
CEO Jamie Iannone has bet big on his "vertical focus playbook" and is leaning especially hard on the authentication initiatives to make eBay "the trusted platform of choice" to bring in high value buyers of luxury and designer goods.
Unfortunately for Jamie, those high value buyers will have nothing to buy if sellers with high value inventory are scared to list that inventory on eBay due to the risks of fraud and false returns.
If eBay is serious about wanting to attract those high value buyers, they're also going to have to get serious about increasing seller trust and protection.