Thursday, September 21, 2017

Free Returns Are Coming!

Yesterday eBay released their most recent Seller Report and announced a change I've  suspected was on the way. Sellers who offer free 30 day returns will receive "increased visibility" for their listings. Those of us who have been on eBay for a long time, 16 years in my case, recognize this for what it is: a mandate. When eBay says sellers who do what they want will have increased visibility, what they are really saying is if you don't follow their preferred action they will hide your listings so  no one can see them.  Is this legal, when people are paying already to sell on their site? Apparently so.

The way eBay comes up with their preferred policies is by interviewing potential buyers about what they would like. Inevitably, the consensus is buyers would like all the newest tech, like phones and tablets, for at least 50% off. Oh, and high-end fashion and handbags, they want that too, starting at like $9.99, and they want it to be authenticated. And they want free shipping, and also free returns for at least 30 days.

You know, I would love to get everything for free myself, but it's pretty unrealistic to expect businesses to remain viable if they're giving stuff away all the time. I also wonder how exactly eBay expects sellers to provide these discounts without resorting to outright theft. Sustainable profitability seems to be a completely foreign concept to The Powers That Be at eBay, however. So, I'm trying to be positive about it; what my customers want, they shall get. Starting October 1st return shipping will be free for orders from my Atelier Mandaline eBay store.

"Free" postage has to be paid somehow, though. I run my business all by myself. I don't take any regular salary; I just use any extra money I happen to make to help out with our household expenses and the rest goes right back onto the business for things like seller fees and inventory. In the past month our broken air conditioner and children's surgeries brought us bills of $10,000. We haven't even received the bill for our Type 1 diabetic son's overnight stay in the ICU or any of his diabetic supplies or doctor visits yet. It was already a challenge for me to provide 30 day returns when eBay mandated that last year. It basically means I can't touch my money for 30 days, even though I have to pay my consignors' shares each month. Now I will have to factor in return shipping. Shipping often costs as much or more than the actual item I am selling and eBay taxes shipping, including it in sellers' "income" when they calculate our fees.

​I was able to avoid raising prices last year by tacking on a 10% restocking fee to returns, but eBay also announced they will no longer allow restocking fees in 2018, so I can't use that option anymore. Therefore, my prices on eBay will be going up at least 10% starting October 1st. If that increase isn't cutting it they could possibly rise even higher. Therefore, if you have your eye on something in my eBay store I encourage you to buy it before October 1st.

In other news, there are changes on the dietary front. My husband and I decided to eat the way our diabetic son must eat in order to fully understand his new lifestyle and help him adjust. I am taking it a step further and using diabetic keto test strips and following the original Atkins' protocol, where you start at zero carbs and add until the strips show your blood sugar has risen and you are no longer throwing off ketones. This is not a healthy or safe diet for a Type 1 diabetic, but for me it is a way to understand what my son is going through having to literally measure and test everything he eats. I would also love to lose a significant amount of weight and hope this will help. Today is Day 2 and I feel like total crud. You might remember I was following a 90% vegan diet and the change has torn up my stomach. I've had a constant headache for about two weeks as well, but I think that is more due to stress and insomnia than the diet. I am sharing my journey on Instagram and my Naturally Amanda Facebook page, so if you also follow a ketogenic diet, deal with Type 1 diabetes, or are interested in low-carb dieting for weight loss, please follow me. We can cheer each other on, because y'all, it's HARD. I can't even have wine right now!

Change can be difficult, but here's hoping it will be positive in the long run.

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