Is eBay Testing New Seller Protections For Returns?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 11-2-21

eBay community staff have confirmed there is a pilot test currently running requiring buyers to upload pictures for Not As Described Returns, however it still remains to be seen how exactly this is supposed to provide additional seller protection.

Hey @valueaddedresource! There's currently a pilot going on, but we don't have specifics to give out as to who all is a part of it. We also know photos won't work for every scenario, but we're always looking for ways to provide additional info to our sellers where possible, so we'll see how this pilot goes and what we can learn from it. Ultimately, if buyers are found to be abusing things, then action will be taken like it is now.

It sounds like Iannone's remarks on the earnings call were perhaps a bit premature and it's more of a "learning phase" test with no actual changes to policies or significant additional protections offered just yet.

Hopefully the learning phase will be productive and lead to more concrete seller protection from false SNADS being offered in the near future.

One part of this weeks Q3 eBay earnings call caught my ear - CEO Jamie Iannone seemed to hint at possible new seller protections for fraudulent returns.

Based on community feedback, we've reduced another pain point for trusted sellers by increasing protection against fraudulent returns by requiring photos and providing returns shipping credits.

This is the first I've heard of pictures being required for returns, so I asked the eBay community if they knew what Jamie was talking about.

eBay Seller Protection - Requiring Photos On Returns?
In the Q3 earnings call yesterday, CEO Jamie Iannone said: Based on community feedback, we’ve reduced another pain point for trusted sellers by increasing protection against fraudulent returns by requiring photos and providing returns shipping credits.…

It sounds like there may be a stealth pilot program in play that is starting to require pictures for some Not As Described returns.

One seller thought it could possibly explain a strange situation another seller had experienced with receiving some unsettling photos in a return request.

Guessing here:

"Trusted Sellers" means a select few in an unannounced pilot? It could (in part) explain why ... was sent nasty pics of dead ducks on a recent return request. If his buyer was forced to upload pics, the buyer decided to mess around with it.

The seller who received the pictures chimed in:

I think you’re onto something here. Glad you tagged me because I didn’t see this post until now. And I just did some checking on my account. Out of my opened returns, I have 8 SNADs… which includes “Elmer Fudd’s” duck SNAD. What’s interesting is that ALL EIGHT SNADs have at least one photo uploaded to the return. The rest of my returns (7 remorse) do not have any photos uploaded to them… but their defense why would a buyer even do that?

I have four open payment disputes, none are SNAD though. Three unauthorized and one INR. None of them have photos. I’ve gotten SNAD payment disputes before but never have I seen photos uploaded to those. I’ve only had four SNAD payment disputes ever filed against me. All of these were from about feb - may 2021. None of those have any photos uploaded to them.

Also I decided to look back on my closed SNAD (eBay returns). Between now and around 9/22, I’ve had about 13 SNADs and 12 of those all have a photo attached to it. Only one of them didn’t… dated around 9/25. Prior to 9/22, there are a bunch of SNADs that don’t have photos in them. Btw in case you’re wondering, a bunch of these SNADs were false SNADs lol. I don’t want to bother searching thru my closed remorse returns.

A few other community members confirmed they were required to upload pictures on recent returns.

Was unable to open an INAD return yesterday without uploading pics.

But seems it will stop and prevent only a tiny % of wrongful returns. A buyer gets thinking, hmmpfh, I'm going to open a bad return, oh no I gotta upload a photo now? Turns around and leaves, probably not.

I just tested one (did not finalize the return as I have no desire to return the item) and YES, it does want you to upload pictures in order to proceed with the SNAD. (Before, it was just a suggestion).

I like this. I think it will work to deter those who perhaps were just fishing for a partial or a refund, where none was ever warranted. Welcomed change.

I've reached out to eBay to see if I can get more information on exactly what this new policy is, which "trusted sellers" are eligible, and how exactly they will be using the pictures to provide more seller protection.  I'll update as soon as I have more information.

Stay tuned!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!