Look, I don’t like it when a buyer backs out. Obviously, it is a huge pain in the neck, especially with auctions where the timing is usually a big factor in price and I may not get that same price on a relist. Buyers that back out are not my friend.

But at some point, we’ve all been in this situation:

  • Buyer emails you shortly after listing and wants to back out.
  • You are fine with them backing out for whatever reason and agree.
  • You then have to file a claim for the buyer saying that the buyer wants to back out.
  • Then eBay emails the buyer and they have to agree that they did indeed want to back out.
  • If they successfully do this agreement process, then they are freed of their obligations and you can get credited on the fees. 

Except any seller that has been through this knows this is far from cut and dry. For starters, if they want to back out, why do I have to start that process? Secondly, that eBay automated email where they have to agree that they want to back out is very unclear so 99% of the time, buyers select the wrong option. And, of course, if the buyers select the wrong option, you get a strike against your account as a seller. Now, eBay understands that this process is a ridiculous mess (or at least customer service does) so usually you can fix this situation over the phone or chat with them. But none the less, it’s a pain in the neck and a very stupid process that takes way too long.

So I end up having to write these really long emails explaining all of this to buyers or fight with customer service and its all a big fat waste of time.

Here is what I want, and I am confident people will jump down my throat for this but, hey man, go for it:

  • Up until I mark the item as shipped, give the buyer the option to start some kind of “I want to back out” process.
  • Still leave me, the seller, the option to accept or deny this request. I’m not saying it should be a blanket way to back out of the bid contract, just that it should be an easier option. There are many cases where I am perfectly willing to let a buyer back out and I just want an easier way to do it.
  • If I say no, sale proceeds as usual.
  • If I say yes, there is no second confirmation with buyer and all that nonsense. Just give me my credits and free the buyer of their obligations and let everyone move on with their lives. 

Amazon basically does this already. If I buyer something from Amazon, up until they ship it, I can muck with the order as much as I like, canceling and changing items at will. But then once the item ships, you can’t change it anymore. That is all I am asking for, the ability to let buyers start their own process up until I ship the item so there isn’t all the stupid back and forth and confusing eBay messages.

And before you get all upset that eBay shouldn’t be making it any easier for buyers to back out, sometimes letting a buyer back out is the cheapest way to save yourself some bad feedback. If the buyer knows they don’t really want the item before they even get it, I would always rather just end things there instead of going through the expense of mailing it to them and then having to refund or return.

OK, done with my rant. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am about this in the comments. ­čśë