After social support reps on both Facebook and Twitter stated this issue was due to extended holiday returns, eBay community rep Velvet confirmed today that was incorrect and the issue was most likely a one off technical issue of some kind.
I've heard back that while we've extended return timeframes for the holidays in the past, we did not do it this year. It sounds like the teammate may have been confused and they'll be made aware that it's business as usual.
The answer I had received on Twitter was oddly specific about it being a pilot program for some regions/some accounts, so I asked Velvet to confirm again just to make sure and she responded:
Ok, I've heard back that there's no known pilot going on that would have caused this either. That teammate will also be advised of such.
I've gone ahead and submitted a ticket to the tech team so they can take a closer look and I would consider this a one-off scenario. If they need any additional info though, I'll reach back out here.
So for now I'll put this one down as a technical issue unless further developments come to light.
A seller in the eBay community posted a concerning experience with holiday returns, indicating eBay may have made an unannounced extension to return timeframes for the holidays.
It seems no one at Ebay can answer how an order that was placed on November 20th and received by the buyer on November 22nd, was allowed to open a return request on January 8th? Leaving me no option but to accept the return or refund the customer.
How is more than 30 days allowed? I tried to get an answer from Ebay reps but they tell me to wait until January 14th because there is a 5 day seller response period they have to wait out before they can step in.
Are you kidding me?
I just want an answer.
I had NO option to decline the return. THAT is why I am extremely annoyed. I was told Ebay WOULD step in but not until January 14th.
This whole thing seems like an Ebay glitch that I am now responsible for.
Other sellers suggested they should reach out to eBay social support reps on Facebook for assistance, which they did - but the answer they received leaves more questions.
In follow up... I contacted them on Facebook and someone replied IMMEDIATELY to me. They were SO very helpful and closed the case. They said it was part of the "extended holiday return period which you may not have been made aware of".
I was not aware of this, which may have been my error in missing a post or announcement about it but I appreciate that someone ACTUALLY was able to help me.
Other sellers in the thread chimed in confirming they also were not aware of any "extended holiday return period" and I can confirm, I was not aware of it either and don't recall seeing any official announcements about it.
One seller tagged eBay staff in the community to get clarification and I reached out to Twitter support as well. After a bit of dancing around the subject, I was finally able to get confirmation that eBay does have extended holiday returns as a pilot program in some regions and for some accounts.
This is the latest in what appears to be a developing trend for eBay - using pilot programs to stealth test policy and program changes without making any announcements to the broader eBay user base.
They did the same thing with immediate pay on offers and requiring pictures to be submitted for some returns.
While I can understand how this method of testing would be advantageous to eBay, it also causes confusion and frustration among users - especially when impacted accounts turn to the eBay community looking for answers.
eBay has leaned heavily on the unpaid volunteer efforts of experienced sellers offering peer to peer support and advice in the community forums for years, but those sellers can only provide each other with knowledge they actually possess.
Not only is it a terrible user experience to be opted into these kinds of tests, by choosing to initiate these stealth pilot programs with limited/no communication to the broader user base, eBay may be risking alienating some of their most engaged and valuable supporters in the community.
That doesn't sound like the kind of transparency, openness, and honesty that eBay CEO Jamie Iannone has promised is part of his vision to be "sellers' trusted partner of choice."
Were you opted into eBay's extended holiday returns pilot program - with or without being aware of it? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!