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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 63 - February 03, 2002 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

Ripped Off on eBay - The Case of Mr X, Part 2

By Liz Flugel

February 03, 2002

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In the last issue, I explained how I - and many other buyers - were ripped off by "Mr X" on eBay [http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y202/m01/abu0062/s04].

Now I will explain just how eBay could have made my life easier where Mr X was concerned.

1) It would be very helpful if eBay could change their feedback removal policies. Right now it is extremely difficult to have feedback removed. Read http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/fbremove.html and you will see exactly how limited. You basically have to spend money to take the offender to court or go through the Square Trade dispute resolution service (which Mr X refused to do). You have to prove that the offender libeled or slandered you.

Note that one of eBay's removal policies expressly states that no one can leave feedback that refers to a pending investigation. However, Mr X left exactly this threat in feedback to one of his buyers, and when the buyer complained to eBay, they still did not remove it.

2) If a member shows a distinct pattern of giving negative retaliatory feedback (especially when a complaint has been filed against him), then it should be a legitimate reason for suspension.

3) It would be very helpful if it weren’t so difficult to file the complaint form on the eBay Web site. You almost have to be a rocket scientist (or at the very least a computer genius) to get to the complaint form. It took me at least 30 minutes to finally get to http://crs.ebay.com/aw-cgi/ebayisapi.dll?crsstartpage. It was like a scavenger hunt! Another helpful page is the rules of investigations http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/investigates.html.

4) When looking at a member’s feedback, it would be very useful if you could click on either the neutral or negative number to bring up a page that showed only those feedbacks. That way, you wouldn’t have to wade through pages of feedback to see if the member's bad feedbacks followed a specific pattern (like slow shipping, no shipping after payment is made, or sending a broken or defective item or a different item than described in the listing). This would give a user a better opportunity to decide if this member was defrauding the membership or if there had been simple misunderstandings between the buyers and sellers.

5) If a member is suspended, the negative feedbacks he has left for other members should be removed. It takes a lot before a member is suspended by eBay, so it should be assumed that if the member had enough bad transactions to be suspended, his feedbacks were also bad and don’t belong on an active members feedback rating.

6) The correspondence between the person filing the complaint and eBay customer service could be improved. By the time most of us get to the complaint filing, we are pretty upset. I can’t relate to statements like “negative feedback has to be expected at some time,” or, “I know you are frustrated.” Frustrated? Try ballistic by this point.

Another common customer service mantra is, “perhaps you should file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency." I don’t know about your local law enforcement agency, but if I went into the sheriff's office in my county and tried to file a theft complaint over an eBay transaction, my guys would laugh me right out of the office and get a chuckle out of my complaint for weeks.

It would also help if eBay customer service representatives would read the previous correspondence that the member had sent to them, so they could see that the points they were making had already been discussed ad nauseam. (PLEASE quit asking me to contact SquareTrade. Mr X already stated to eBay - in his response to my fraud complaint - that he refused to contact SquareTrade or any other mediation service).

If all else fails, and you want to contact a “higher authority,” there is another way to throw a monkey wrench into this member who wants to defraud you. It’s called the FBI and they can be contacted at http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp.

About the author:

Liz Flugel is a self-described eBay junkie who usually buys, but due to limited space in her home, is now trying her hand at selling. She is an avid collector of Dept 56 New England Village, Belleek and flow blue (mostly polychrome). Liz operates a small home-based crafting business out of her home as well as working fulltime for the State of Washington welfare dept. Liz and her husband raise registered Belgian horses on a farm in rural northeast Washington state. Liz has a distinct impression of what's right and what's wrong (the problem of being an only child AND a Libra) and tends to be like a "bulldog with a bone" when she discovers injustices. Liz can be reached at lflugel @ plix.com.

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