Sold As Is

Sold As Is Not Recognized by eBay

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Most eBay sellers think that if they mark their auctions Sold As Is then they are exempt from having an item returned. That premise is false. eBay does not recognize the terms Sold As Is. I know this for a fact because i was forced to take a return on a 60 year old camera that was Sold As Is untested. The buyer claimed there was a problem with it and ebay authorized a return. I followed up with corporate headquarters on this to clarify the situation and they informed me that eBay does not recognize Sold As Is as a valid description. They also informed me that all a buyer has to do is claim an item is not as described and eBay will automatically authorize a return at the sellers expense. It doesn’t matter what you put in the auction description as eBay does not check for the validity of the buyers claim and will accept it as fact.

eBay’s condition descriptions such as Used and New vary depending upon which category your list your item under. Here is a link to their full condition listings. You must be careful in selecting the proper condition. e.g. Many sellers list vintage electronics items as Used and then have a bunch of disclaimers in the write-up. Here is the definition of Used for electronics items:

An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any  imperfections.

If you sell an electronics item as Used you are stating that it works as intended.  There may be some cosmetic wear which should be itemized in the listing. If you list disclaimers such as stating that it is untested, just powers on, no returns, sold as is etc. you are still liable for a return based on Item Not As Described since you listed it under the Used condition category. eBay will side with the buyer on this and you will have to pay return shipping charges which in the case of vintage radios could be quite high.

The solution to this is to list items as For Parts or Not Working if you cannot fully test them out. Even this may not protect you from receiving a return as I have read at least one case where an individual sold a radio For Parts or Not Working and eBay still authorized a return when the buyer claimed it didn’t work. Also eBay apparently does not care if buyers engage in fraudulent activities such as parts swapping so don’t expect any relief from eBay if you are a victim of this sort of activity.

Another option is to list an item as local pickup and then the buyer can either pick it up in person or arrange shipping at their own expense. That way if a buyer decides to return the item they will be liable for return shipping charges. This would obviously decrease the chance of an item being returned.

You have 30 days to file an appeal if a case is ruled against you as a seller.  Appeals, however, are after the fact when you have already received the item back and have been charged return shipping fees. eBay’s current policies are designed to remove all buyer risk and place it on the seller. This obviously isn’t fair to sellers but I have had extensive dealings with eBay corporate and that is their stated business policy as of this writing. As a seller it is up to you to protect yourself from both unscrupulous buyers and eBay.

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