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Fri Jan 8 2016 12:33:46

When Is an Online Sale Not a Sale?

By: Ina Steiner

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People are buzzing about an incident that took place on eBay's StubHub unit that involved a very disappointed sports fan. A site called TheLeadSports.com said a seller of tickets to a Lakers basketball game cancelled a transaction after the buyer had already sent payment - but there were special circumstances surrounding the case.

Here's how the tale begins:

"As readers of TheLead know, we love nothing more than some good ol' corporate muckraking, so when a reader named Jesse Sandler emailed us with a story that sounded too bizarre to be true - namely that he brilliantly bought four tickets to the Lakers' last home game (in April against the Jazz) 18 days before Kobe announced his retirement, and a little over a month later, when the price of the tickets had appreciated almost 1000%, StubHub voided the purchase because he bought the tickets for too low of a price - we were excited for the possibility to highlight and (hopefully) rewrite the injustice."

TheLead published an email StubHub reportedly sent the buyer stating that the seller claimed the tickets were listed incorrectly and the order was cancelled - "Your original tickets were listed below market value at $195.89, and other similar tickets are listed for well over $1,490.00." And by way of compensation, it added a $100 coupon to the buyer's account.

The buyer claims, "It's in the seller's best interest to cop out," and says, "It also means that no tickets you ever buy on StubHub - ever - are actually your tickets. The seller can just change his mind at any time and take them back."

The case isn't unprecedented in terms of online marketplaces - a seller may feel that an eBay auction listing didn't garner an adequate selling price, for example, and try to back out of the transaction. But that's what reserve prices are for in cases where an auction seller wants to make sure the item doesn't sell for too low a price.

StubHub competitor Tickets for Less got in on the act - it posted in the comments that it had purchased four seats for the disappointed sports fan so he and his friends could watch the game after all - the best $6,000 in marketing the rival company had ever spent, another reader posted in the comments.

Read the story and let us know what you think. What should StubHub have done in this case, and how can it restore buyer's faith in its model? Have you ever experienced anything like this?



Comments (16) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for When Is an Online Sale Not a Sale?   When Is an Online Sale Not a Sale?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 8 14:29:59 2016

Just like Fleecebay, StubHub is a dishonest slimely money grabbing corrupt company....

They would sell there shirt off of their backs to make a dime.

Nothing they do will ever redeam themselves with the buying public. Once they cheated someone and the news gets out it will forever be remembered by someone.

Stuff like this happens all the time on Fleecebay and they turn a negative eye on it explaining you just can't make the seller sell something if they don't want to.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Jan 8 17:54:21 2016

Cheesy and sleazy. But what else would one expect from an eBay owned company??

And they "penalized" the seller 20 percent for not following through with the sale, and then he or she can resell for a higher price. CHA CHING!!!

The lesson here is to get the hard copies of the tickets in hand as soon as possible. And not buy through Stub Hub.

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by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 9 00:08:31 2016

This is a similar experience.  I bought an item on Etsy and paid for it immediately.  The next morning the same item was listed for the same price on Ebay.  I emailed the seller to find out if it was the same item or if he had more than one.
Turns out he sold it to an Ebay buyer AFTER I had already paid.  He then sent a message that it was a ''mis-communication'' and he was ''sincerely sorry.''  
Needless to say I am furious and plan to leave negative feedback which is something I very rarely do.  

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 9 08:13:06 2016

Clearly, StubHub revealed themselves to be the slimeballs they are. This buyer gambled and WON and S/H welched on the deal.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Jan 9 18:00:18 2016

Stub Hub should ban the seller. But, of course, they won't, as long as there is a commission to be made.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 9 23:27:04 2016

In MOST situations, eBay screws the seller in order to placate the buyer.

Why? Because eBay believes that ONLY value in a sale is when a buyer returns to eBay for his next purchase .... "he has a choice to go anywhere but we NEED him to come back to eBay, so screw the seller. Sellers NEED us!"

Thats obviously WRONG (look at how well Amazon did with 3P selling this year) and most of eBays BEST sellers - the ones that gave eBay its rich flavor and assortment of great goods - have "up n left".

So as everyone (but Toolguy) knows, the seller is the punching bag and the payer of peoples golden parachutes. (thats why more and more people are going "no returns" but thats another topic altogether).

(And of course this DOESNT apply to Chinese sellers due to the listing fees and fvfs off the millions of sales and counterfeit merchandise that eBay hapls create then flog).

In this case, the value of the sale was in the SELLER and his being able to get a higher price aka larger FVFs.

That BIG seller would probably leave, and his rich amount of FVFs would go right out the door with him.

There are no Chinese ticket scalpers (yet), so whats a criminal organization like eBay to do ? Do the right thing and force the seller to make good - and loose FVFs OR tell the buyer (who wont buy more tickets like this since Kobe is leaving) to take a walk ... ?

Well we saw what eBay did and how it conducts itself - NO ONE here (or anywhere else) should be surprised.

Id go to an attorney and/or the consumer affairs dept and then the Attorney General of his/her state.

eBay ONLY fears 1 thing - the law - aka loosing in court and the bad publicity that goes with it. Accepting the refund lets them off the hook - threaten to sue!

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by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 10 08:28:46 2016

So an actual SALE is not a contract but a bid on an ongoing auction is?

Per ebay's policies, "A bid is a binding contract that's active until an auction-style listing ends."

Way to go ebay - backasswards all the way...

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sun Jan 10 12:36:41 2016

Since when does eBay follow their written policies?

Refer to their ''All Items Returned Must Be Original, Undamaged, And Include All Accessories'' rule (that is not enforced).

Their policies are window dressing, and do not mean anything if they don't benefit the eBay / PayPal bottom line in the end.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 11 01:03:48 2016

Surprised?  Shocked?  I suspect no one here is either of these things.  

Disgusted?  

I know I will never buy anything off of STUB HUB---and none of the REST of us will either---and we will tell our friends and hope that all of them tell their friends---and that the news media and social media make a BIG FREAKIN DEAL about this.

Post it on ALL of your social media.  Ebay HATES bad publicity.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 11 07:24:44 2016

Oh come on....as auction sellers you know we've done it.  I have.  A couple of times.  I cancelled the item when I saw the bid was too low.  And then relisted the item.

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by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 11 08:55:15 2016

Chicago48, I don't think that's true at all. If I were stupid enough to put something in auction and it the buyer got a deal, I would ship it and learn my lesson. So now, I don't do auctions unless I start the auction at a price I'm willing to sell the item for. Just not enough buyers out there to take the risk.

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by: G-and-A This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 11 10:21:06 2016

Chicago48 -- This is why I have not bought anything from eBay in 8 years, and will never buy anything from an auction format ever again.

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by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 11 11:21:45 2016

@Chicago48. two mistakes. (1) Never start an auction for less than you are willing to accept and (2) NEVER stop an auction before the final 2 minutes. Everybody knows that is when the ''sniper'' programs kick in and if you really have something of value is when it will jump significantly in price.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 11 12:31:32 2016

@CHICAGO48----Having grown up in B&M auction houses one of the FIRST things I learned was--NEVER start the bidding--from the podium--for less than the pre-set agreed upon price--lest the item be knocked down for a price well under it's value.  There are two kinds of auctions:::  "Absolute"  where the bidding is started at a price that MIGHT be the hammer price and at the end the item is SOLD---no hidden reserves or withdrawals-----and the auctioneers patter has nothing to do with the START price if you pay attention--and a "RESERVE" auction where the house and the consignor have agreed on a price BELOW WHICH they will NOT go.  

I have NEVER pulled an active listing due to a "too low price";  I also have never listed anything for ebays absurd .99 price point;  if I would not take the start price as the end price---I would not list it.

A few times I have seen items put back on the line when a BIDDER has had a change of heart---and ONCE I saw a very expensive antique dining set come back up after the auctioneer knocked it down for what the BUYER thought was $1200---but the bid in reality was at $12,000. The other bidders immed raised an outcry--as they should--when the bidder was all joyful---and the auctioneer called her up to the office and read her the riot act.  This was at a country tent sale where all sorts of odd things happened--one of the odder sales I have been to in 50+ years of these things!  

If an item FAILS to reach either a satisfactory  opening  bid or the reserve---the item is withdrawn.  Sometimes at a B&M sale these get sold later on a negotiated sale.  Some one might have misjudged the crowd that day or who showed up.  If you are selling a boat load of collectibles that day and you have one extra large bedroom set come up--you might not get some one who is prepared to haul that home and it might sell for little or go begging.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Jan 11 13:06:41 2016

It's really too bad that eBay ruined reserve prices.  Isn't it suspicious that the fewer bidders they delivered, the more they charged for that feature?  With each passing day, eBay looks more like a lottery peddling only a _chance_ to win...

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by: macsbaby This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 17 14:46:16 2016

Instead of whining....hire a lawyer. That's when you really make your point, but that didn't happen. Those ticket sites are always like that, unless you buy VERIFIED TICKETS....only one site does that. Of course it costs.



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