After eBay community staff revealed to sellers that the $0.30 per order fee refund would only apply to buyer initiated cancellations within the first hour, sellers were understandably upset and believed eBay had been disingenuous in the original announcement in the Winter Update.
However, about a month after it took effect, despite what we had been told by eBay, I noticed that I was in fact getting the refund on seller initiated cancellations for the reasons "buyer requested" or "problem with address" as well, even after the 1st hour.
I asked the community crew if eBay had reversed course on this decision due to seller backlash, but they were unable to provide an answer - simply referring back to the policy page and reiterating that it would only apply for buyer initiated cancellation in the first hour.
I've been pressing them to follow up and get a more official answer since then and today I noticed the policy page has in fact been changed!
Here's what it said as of March 21st according to The Wayback Machine
And here's what it looks like now - note they also added in some fine print about it taking up to 10 days to process the credit, addressing another concern sellers had raised.
So there you go folks - it looks like eBay was forced to do the right thing here, due to overwhelming seller "feedback." 😉
Sellers have discovered an important "gotcha" in the new policy regarding refunding the $0.30 per transaction fee for cancellations - it only applies to buyer initiated cancellations within the first hour.
Here's what the policy says:
We're excited to announce that starting March 1, 2022, eBay will refund the entire final value fee, including the $0.30 per-order fee, when you approve a buyer’s cancellation request.
We recognize that buyers may cancel transactions for various reasons at no fault of the seller and we want to support you by refunding 100% of the final value fee.
A seller in yesterday's weekly chat asked for specifics:
Going on historically how Ebay handles stuff like this, even though the Winter Update was silent on this, they mean Cancellations that the buyer actually requests during the first hour after the purchase via the formal method [for the lack of knowing what it is really caused].
If a buyer simply emails the seller at some later time asking for a cancelation that won't count. Which unfortunately where most of mine come from.But in a nutshell, what is the position of Ebay so we can better answer this questions?
The full credit refund only applies to a buyer initiated cancellation, which are currently only available within the first hour of purchase/payment.
Seller initiated cancellations after that will still receive a full refund of any Final Value Fee, but the 30 cent transaction fee won't be included.
As this seller rightly points out, many cancelation requests come after that hour timeframe and most sellers are happy to try to accommodate those requests if they are able to do so - why shouldn't they receive the same "recognition and support"?
Other sellers expressed their frustration at the poor communication - some even go so far as to say eBay should post a public correction and apology.
In wkly chat, there was a question about the 30c fee refund...
...I'm having a problem with that answer ........defining the credit as being applicable ONLY to the buyer initiated cancellation within the lst hr of purchase/payment. That seems to ignore/exclude buyer requests thru emails AFTER the the lst hr. I certainly read the explanation in the Winter Update to include all buyer requested cancellations.........and from the lack of questions about it in the Q & A, I think that may have been true of many...
...If Ebay had meant to limit the credit to "buyer requested within an hr", they certainly did not make that clear in the update.........and as such, I would like to request a recheck as to what they did mean.
Yes, ebay appears to make an in-house distinction, for ebay a "buyer INITIATED cancellation" is a buyer request made in the first hour. A buyer requested cancellation after the first hour, where sellers choose "buyer requested cancellation" as a reason for cancelling, is apparently considered a seller initiated cancellation, even though it is clearly the buyer who requested it, and I'd guess most sellers view it as a buyer initiated cancellation.
HOWEVER, the Update Announcement says nothing about the first hour, nor does it use the term buyer INITIATED. It says "buyer REQUESTED cancellation"....and buyers can REQUEST a cancellation at any time, not just within the first hour. Also, the explanation for this change applies whether the seller approves a request made in the first hour or a later request: "We recognize that buyers may cancel transactions for various reasons at no fault of the seller and we want to support you by refunding 100% of the final value fee."
That reasoning applies regardless of when the buyer makes the request. ebay is right about the reasoning: it isn't my fault a buyer requests a cancellation and ebay should support my decision to accommodate the request "by refunding 100% of the final value fee"
There is NOTHING in the Announcement that would lead a seller to believe this is limited to the one hour buyer INITIATED cancellation.
Now, it may well be that Velvet was correct, but if so, then the Announcement was so poorly written as to be misleading to most sellers, AND the announcement should be corrected.
Community staff member Tyler@eBay stopped by to confirm that the answer given in the chat was in fact correct, stating:
Velvet was correct, the refund of the 30 cent fee will be for buyer initiated cancellations, which is currently within the first hour of purchase.
The original poster responded to Tyler:
I can't express my objections any better...But I will express my outrage at the lack of clarity in the Winter Update.......it was either AGAIN sloppy terminology by ebay or a deliberate attempt at obfuscation.
I suggest that the update be corrected.....(and the correction noted so people won't think they were crazy when the first read it).
Tyler simply thanked the seller for their input and said he would pass the feedback along, but sellers responding to the post were rightly still upset and concerned about the issue that was being glossed over - the huge communication failure that is likely to lead to much confusion as the new policy takes effect next week.
An apology is in order. The Announcement is misleading in the extreme.
The Announcement should be revised, and a separate announcement, including apology, should be posted.
Many sellers, and many bloggers, influencers, etc, have already stated what seemed obvious from the announcement: This change was a welcome and overdue change because it meant that when I bend over backwards to accommodate my buyers request to cancel, I would no longer lose the 30 cent fee. Now this "clarification" effectively limited that change to a small subset of buyer requested cancellations.
Sellers who do not hear about this "clarification" are going to be upset and even feel betrayed when they don't have their 30 cents refunded in the non-hour situations.
And those of us who have seen the clarification have every reason to be outraged at ebay's original announcement, which can be charitably attributed to gross incompetence or , less charitably, to deceit.
Either way, ebay has once again, for the umpteenth time, shot itself in the foot. Of course, ebay has the opportunity to alter this, and apply the refund to ALL buyer requested cancellations.
Will ebay do the right thing? Extend the refund to ALL buyer requested cancellations ?(which is the way the announcement reads) Or will ebay at least apologize publicly to its seller community?
Oh, and Tyler, one last thing. You said :"the refund of the 30 cent fee will be for buyer initiated cancellations, which is currently within the first hour of purchase."
THAT is the new policy. In one clear, concise sentence. If that statement had been in the Announcement, we wouldn't be having this conversation, there would have been no confusion. If you could come up with that, why couldn't ebay? Why is there nothing even remotely like that one clear sentence in the Announcement?
That last point is an excellent question. Lack of direct, transparent communication from eBay is easily one of the top seller complaints and as this seller pointed out - if one of eBay's own community reps can put it so clearly, why wasn't that what was stated in the update?
Not only should the seller update be revised, but I agree there should be a separate stand-alone announcement with clarification, in detail, outlining the difference between buyer-initiated and buyer-requested.
Also, the transaction fee credit for buyer initiated cancels within the first hour is just dangling a carrot, we all know it. Those types of cancellations are few and far between, because the hour window is so small, and very few buyers even know it is an option.
The update states "This is in line with fees that other marketplaces and third party payment processors apply in similar buyer cancellation cases."
So? How about going above and beyond "other marketplaces"? Think outside that little box eBay, and do for your sellers what the others don't do.
It certainly doesn't sound like these are the sellers CEO Jamie Iannone has been talking to based on his comments in yesterday's Q4 earnings call, but they are the ones he should be talking to.