Tornadoes in Southern US Impact eBay, Ecommerce Sellers
By Ina Steiner
A tornado destroyed a warehouse owned by former eBay PowerSeller Bargainland, and eBay issued a warning to users about the possible impact of the storms on transactions. Tornadoes struck several Southern states on Tuesday, including Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Online-auction site Bidtopia announced on its community forums that Bargainland's Southaven warehouse in Tennessee was destroyed by a tornado (http://forums.bidtopia.com/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=771). Bargainland also has U.S. Distribution centers in Utah and Mississippi that were unaffected by the storm.
Bargainland's Paul St. James said the storm had no effect on Bidtopia operations. (Bargainland ceased its eBay operations last year when it launched its own auction site called Bidtopia, which is a separately run company.)
St. James said Bargainland immediately ended all live auctions from the Tennessee facility and stopped allowing payment for any items that had previously been won. "If Bargainland is not able to find the "paid" product (in good condition) and ship it within the next few days we will be offering full refunds to all customers," he wrote in an email.
Customer service was relocated and up and running before noon on Wednesday, however only via email and live chat because phone lines are still down. An auxiliary warehouse has already been chosen, and St. James expect to begin resuming listings within the next 14 days.
Separately, eBay warned users that if they were involved in a transaction with a member from the affected area to be patient. (http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200802061326002.html)
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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