eBay is set to involve itself more in transaction disputes, moving away from its traditional laissez-faire approach regarding buyer and seller interactions.
Starting around mid-June, eBay will in some cases issue refunds at its own expense to buyers who claim they did not receive the item they bought. EBay will do this even if it determines the seller was not at fault.
In addition, eBay will begin steering buyers to take their complaints to eBay for resolution, as opposed to reporting them to its PayPal online payment unit, the company said Tuesday.
"The goals of the new process are to keep buyers on eBay by giving them a more familiar e-commerce resolution experience, and to reduce the time buyers and sellers spend resolving issues," reads eBay's announcement.
EBay hopes to have fully transitioned the dispute process from PayPal to eBay before this year's holiday shopping season. At that point, eBay will be "the primary entry point" for buyers who contest a transaction.
What will not change is eBay's continued encouragement for buyers and sellers to communicate and try their best to resolve their differences.
EBay's decision to become more involved in buyer-seller disputes is a good one, because it reduces the risk of doing business on its marketplace, said Gene Alvarez, a Gartner analyst.
"EBay needs to step in between the sellers and the buyers because they are the facilitator of the relationship. If they don't do this, they'll lose customers," he said.
Other changes coming in mid-June include a newly designed layout for product pages, which has been in testing for the past year. The new layout will include larger, higher quality pictures with a zoom-in capability, as well as a "real-time countdown timer" for auction listings.