RocktheJewels
Community Member

A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

After reading the posts today, I again feel the need to give the 'other side' of an issue. 

I have been an Online Seller for many years, and Thankfully have had Wonderful Customers. I love what I do and especially when I hear how an item I love has truly met all my Customer has hope it would. That feeling is just plain 'over the moon joy'. And once again 'Thankfully for sure' that is how most all of my transactions have gone, especially on Etsy.

But I didn't start selling on Etsy, but rather on a different venue, which too was once a great place to sell. Slowly though things started to change and instead of there being a 'level playing field' it became more of a 'Seller BeWare' venue. Customers became quickly aware they could have their 'cake And eat it too'. 

When Anyone Or Company Or Venue is made of millions of Sellers But it is Their name on the Site, they will do what is best for Them First, which I totally understand. The issue for me is, it's My money And My business they are affecting with their decisions. 

Buying Online Definitely has it's downside, as you can't 'Touch, Feel, and Check over' all the sides etc of an item. And I do believe when things are Not portrayed as they Truly are, that is a Different situation. I know too well this happens Way To Often from my own experience as a Customer.

But the last straw for me on the other venue, was when PayPal came out with their 180 day Return policy. As a small Seller, there is No Way I can afford to do a Return from 6 Months ago, with a Hope the item will be in the same condition it was received in. Then the Returns became more and more a way to have your 'cake and eat it too' for too many Buyers. As then they could contact _____ and receive All their money back, no return of item and no problems at all. But in the Venue's defense, I don't think they could of ever imagined How Far people would take this. 

But also, as Parents you all know, if you just keep giving in to your child, they will continue to demand more and more.

So unfortunately when I made the decision to continue selling Online, I also had to make the decision to put in my policies to not accept returns. I would Not deny anyone a return, and when there is Any issue with my Customer's purchase I Do my best to work with them, as I truly Do want them to have a Great experience in any of my shops. Online Policies though are Either 'Yes' or 'No' with no 'other' button.

I wish I could take the chance and just put 'free returns for Any reason' unfortunately though, my pockets are not as deep as others. 

When I search Online to make a purchase I am never So concerned about the shop taking returns, but More so do they have the item I want, the price & shipping {can I afford it}, and then the reviews. I am Fully protected If there is a true issue with my purchase, so I just don't worry on that front.

If you've taken the time to read this, Thank You. I do apologize for going on {And on!}, But I just felt the need to give another point of view on this touchy issue.

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48 Replies
FenderMinerals
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I think that is your right.  I decided to accept returns based on my actual return rate.  I thought the negligible amount of returns and the costs associated with that were more than made up by the goodwill.  

I think every professional shop owner should get to choose how they run their business as long as it is not illegal.  Of course, you do need to deal with the realities of the policies of the payment processors and marketplaces.

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I think it is Wonderful if the Return rate for your business is working well. I so wish that could be the case for all. Unfortunately it is not.

Yes, I totally agree, when I am selling on someone else's Venue, I do need to go by Their rules and regs. That is the right thing to do, and I have no problem abiding by that. 

 

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JustALevel
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I accept returns in my shop but I handle each of them as a case-by-case situation. I think professionalism in how I handle my customers is the key to everything. If an item shows up broken, I can contact the postal service and they can cover the expenses the customer lost, if someone is incredibly disatisfied I offer a refund if they send back the item. There have only been a few cases where I have a bad review because someone didn't want to return the item for the refund, tried to blackmail me with a bad review, or didn't read the listing. You can sort of get used to being able to tell someone just wants something for free or if they are feeling genuine about it. I have had people pitch a fit if my magic wands dont produce real magic, so I think every refund, as well as sale, is a case by case situation.

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

That is actually how I do my shops also. I wish there was a way to better explain this in a place people could see and read, but for now I will just continue to put 'No Returns' in the obvious place.

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CraftyCornishMaids
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I am very happy that my country, and payment providers take a different view, and all the businesses that sell from/to Europe are a successful testament to a different and more customer friendly, approach

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TreeTreasuresCanada
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I understand that every shop is different and that some items may be subject to more returns than others.  Having said that, if a shop has a high rate of returns, I believe they should determine why and take steps to reduce or eliminate the reason(s) why buyers want to return.  I have a very liberal return policy, buyers may return items at any time for any reason, and have only had two returns in over 20 years.  I believe that providing excellent customer service is the only policy that really matters in the long run.

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I so agree in that excellent Customer Service should be The policy for any Shop.

Many, many years ago, I made a Catalog purchase from a large very well known Department Store. When I went to pick up the order, there was definite damage to the item. The response from the Clerk was 'Did You buy Insurance?? If not, well there's nothing the store can do for you'. 

I have never forgot that, And knew when I became a 'Seller' Customer Service Had to be my top priority, as to Not ever treat anyone that way. Especially when something is damaged, as that to me is Not a 'Return Issue' but rather a Refund Issue.

Just to add, I have had a few Returns in my years here on Etsy, and do Not truly have any issues with Returns, I'm just not able to make them a policy for my shops, which is partly because of the types of items I sell.

 

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JustMeToo
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

@TreeTreasuresCanada   I was thinking exactly the same thing!  If too many returns are a problem, then there is a problem with the product - or something!  I would be looking at that!  My first thought when I see "no returns" unless of course, it's custom, personal, etc. is "If you buy it, you are stuck with it, even if there's a problem".  I don't like that thought, so I move on.

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cutebutton
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I can understand where you are coming from.  I don't think you should have to feel that you have to offer free returns for any reason.  I do accept returns but if a person just wants to return it for their own reason they have to pay the return shipping and they also have to lose the shipping that they paid originally.  I haven't actually had anyone return for that reason only one person maybe 2 asked and when I explained that they were fine with it and decided to keep it.  Now if I make a mistake or something is seriously messed up with the order I don't even ask for a return because i just refund or in some cases I send another.  Cheaper for me because I don't want to have to personally pay for the item to be shipped back to me.  That doesn't happen often either.  I think some people see the no returns and it is a turn off because maybe they read that as hey I am going to be stuck with this item and maybe there is a reason the person has no returns because their items are not great.  Now I personally don't think this at all because i understand from a business point of view why you don't want to open yourself up to that but I can see where maybe some people would. 

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I have always felt, when on a Selling Venue, I need to abide by Their rules & regs, but agree I shouldn't be made to feel I Have to offer something that is Not good for my shops financially. I know Etsy has to do what is best for Them though, as their 'Shop' is Much larger than mine.

Thank you so much for being able to understand things from not only a Buyer's side, but also from a Seller's side. It's greatly appreciated.

 

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FenderMinerals
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I agree.  I think most marketplaces use strong arm tactics for no reason.   Returns policies may have basis though.  If a venue is having many chargebacks and losing money covering no return policies there may be a reason to dictate a change. I foresee Etsy requiring sellers to have a return policy that comply with credit card/PayPal standards. 

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I just wanted to add, when I mention No returns, I am Not talking about a package or item that arrives damaged or with parts missing, etc. A 'Return' to me is when you make a purchase and then change your mind, just don't like the item, no longer want it, etc. 

Anything with damage or when I make a mistake on an order, to me that is called a 'Refund'

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FenderMinerals
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

The problem is more and more credit card companies don’t require buyers to prove their case.  At least they still require a return of merchandise 

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SweetGiftsandTreats
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

If you allow only returns for damaged items there is a chance if a buyer doesn't like the item they will damage it  and say it arrived like that to get a refund. You then have to refund in full but have no item so really lose out. I find a return for any son but buyer pays for return shipping works better as buyer dont just order lots of items and  then just keep one as they would need to pay for return shipping but also as if they really don't like something they don't need to damage it to get a refund, so at least seller gets the item back and can resell. I also think the same as mentioned above if  a shop gets lots of returns they should be looking at why. In 7 years and 2 shops on Etsy i have had 2 returns.

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hopeandjoyhome
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I stand behind my items but I do agree..it is a bit like wearing a kilt in a breeze..your backside may be exposed! Long return windows to me are not necessary. I understand some categories sellers are at the mercy of wear/use and return which STINKS. The cases of seemingly swapped items in the forums lately does make me wonder if there is any protection against that at all? One could make use and returns more difficult via packaging and security tags, but still not foolproof. I do not like No Return policies but I'd not want to be taken advantage of either. What seller protection do we really have?

 

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FabFlatwareFinds
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I agree that the long 180 day return policy truly is too long. When you receive an order, I can understand if it may take you a few days to open and inspect, But in fairness to the Seller, it shouldn't take 6 months. I can understand a week at most. 

I think the saddest thing is I'm sure there are More great Customers than not. But as I mentioned in the beginning, it only takes '1 bad apple..' 

I think it is Just Wonderful for the Sellers who do offer 'Returns' And it works Well for them. I just wanted to give the 'other side of the coin' so to speak. {I'm over in this shop now, lol}

P.S. Your description of the 'kilt.. breeze' made me laugh out loud! lolo

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TheNineOfCups
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

As a buyer on Etsy, I would never make the decision to buy something or not buy something based purely on whether the seller takes returns or not.   My number-one concern as a potential buyer has to do with the quality of the seller's listings.   

If the item description is terribly vague, or if the photos are particularly bad, I'll either move on to another shop or I will take the time to message the seller and ask for better information or additional pictures so I can make an informed decision.   The way I see it, if I'm looking at really detailed descriptions, relevant measurements, and good, clear, well-lit photos of all important aspects of the items, then it's highly unlikely that I'll want to return the item once I have it in my hands.    

eBay, Amazon, and other online venues do pressure sellers into accepting returns, but that's partly because some buyers purchase things on a whim without reading descriptions and looking at photos, and partly because some sellers post really short, vague descriptions and terrible photos as if they're on Craigslist, a venue that doesn't encourage quality control.   

Some would say that an online seller may be discouraging new customers from coming on board by having a strict no-returns policy, but another way of looking at it is to say that a seller with a no-returns policy is implicitly filtering out impulsive customers.  And there's nothing wrong with that.   

Some shops thrive with a no-returns policy, and others thrive with a generous returns policy, so it's really up to everyone to decide what works best.  All sellers should do whatever is best for their bottom line and their own peace of mind.  

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TheNineOfCups
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

And now for some humor.  : )

Whenever I contemplate Paypal's annoying 180-day policy and the ever-increasing pressure from online sales venues to make their sellers bend over backward to loosen up their returns policies, I cheer myself up by contemplating one of my favorite episodes of the ABC sitcom "Modern Family."

It's the episode where Jay Pritchett holds a yard sale.   One guy browsing at the sale proves to be particularly annoying, and when he asks Jay, "What's your return policy?", this is the straw that breaks the camel's back. 

Jay loses it and screams, "YOU RETURN TO MY HOUSE, I CALL THE POLICE!"  

 

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

This post made me laugh so hard!!! I actually had a very good friend come to a yard sale I was having, purchased something, went home and a couple of days later came back wanting a refund!! She changed her mind and didn't like the item anymore! lololo Good thing she's a Great friend!

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beadedwire
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I am one of the buyers who will generally not purchase in a shop with a no return policy (obvious exceptions of course, personalized items, digital, intimate items, earrings etc.) I don't think I've ever returned an Etsy purchase but I do want to know that the seller is going to be sensitive to buyer needs - to me its an indication of what kind of customer service I can expect. I may be wrong about this but a shop's policies are one of the few ways available to learn a little about the seller and their attitude towards their customers.

I am sympathetic to people who sell clothing for events, especially vintage sellers, since I know its not uncommon for buyers to borrow items for the event. On the other hand its pretty much impossible to buy clothing without trying it on (measurements are perhaps helpful for fit but not how it will look on you.) When I shop I find that I like maybe one out of 10 outfits I try on. So this I think is a really sticky area. I feel sympathy for the shop owners but on the other hand I can't shell out a couple of hundred dollars on a dress that may look miserable on me and be stuck with the loss.

As a seller I accept returns for a pragmatic reason; I don't want to lose sales. I get very few returns (I've had two shops open since 2008 and haven't had more than a handful in all those years). I'd rather lose money on returns than lose sales because of harsh policies.

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RocktheJewels
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

Thank you so much for your great response! I greatly appreciate your taking the time to give another Buyer's perspective. I wish there was a better way to explain 'Returns' on the initial set up, but you only get 2 choices, 'yes' or 'no'.

I totally agree about the clothing, as pieces with the Same size can vary Greatly.

I have narrowed the items I will list to try and make Returns less of an issue, But would not ever deny a Return either, if a Customer was not happy and contacted me about their purchase. If a Customer takes the time to contact me, I definitely want to take the time to help them with the Return process. I have no problem taking an item back and issuing a refund. 

I do so understand Every shop is different, even if we sell the Same type of items. We each need to do what we think is best for Our shop, staying within the limits of the Venue we list on. But I think lately it feels as though there is so much Negative whirls around Shops that Don't have a 'Free Returns' policy, I just felt the need to say my side.

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acaciaroseaustralia
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

My deepest disappointment with Etsy policy was when a customer in the US advised me that she hadn't received a Ted Baker French bulldog handbag she'd purchased. I'd posted it before a four-day public holiday here in Australia and begged her to give it enough time to reach her in the mid-West - she waited two weeks - not a long time for a parcel from Australia when there were public holidays - and opened a case  and although I contacted Etsy and showed  my posted receipts etc.

Etsy's Dublin office went right ahead and charged my account for  refund of the bag plus the postage. When I convo-ed the client after the refund had been made to ask if she had received the item (which the post office told me had been collected) she didn't reply. I believe Etsy let me - the seller- down in that case and I will be scrupulous in the future about have a photographic record of both customs, insurance and postal receipt dates.  This taught me that Etsy (at least in the Dublin office) doesn't seem to care much about fairness to sellers !

tina@acaciaroseaustralia

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FenderMinerals
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

@acaciaroseaustralia  I would not give up yet.  I would go back to Etsy and demand a reimbursement.  I think we sellers have to stand up against this auto-refund tyranny.  I would also send the customer a Paypal invoice

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JDCreativeHands
Community Member

Re: A 'No Returns' Seller's point of view

I accept returns but I do have conditions on those returns.

"Conditions of return
Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value. "

Then above I have listed that anything customized cannot be returned nor can any item on sale.

It's not so much whether you do or don't but how transparent is your policies.

Depending on your state that may make a difference on whether or not there can be returns or a no return policy.  For the US, the FTC cautions buyers to be aware of return policies when purchasing online.  

A no return policy can lead to more cases being attempted for SNAD.  Here it becomes tricky.  Whom will Etsy side with.  From reports being given in the forums, the decisions are not so cut and dry any longer.  

I understand what you are saying.  It's just in today's atmosphere it may not be viable.   

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