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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 103 - September 21, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 9

Survey Says Fraud is a Problem on eBay and Other Sites

By Ina Steiner

September 21, 2003

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The majority (98%) of AuctionBytes readers who took a survey this month believe fraud is a problem on eBay, and 95.7% believe eBay is not the only site where online fraud takes place.

In the last issue (September 7), we asked readers to complete a survey about eBay fraud. While 98% of respondents think fraud is a problem on eBay, most (65.8%) characterized it as a minor problem. However, 95.7% do not believe that eBay is the only site where online fraud takes place.

What can eBay do to help prevent fraud on its site? 79.5% said eBay should respond to user complaints about fraudsters. 62.4% of respondents said eBay should require stricter verification when registering an account. Respondents would also like to see eBay improve its feedback system (47.9%).

We asked a question about how the media (newspapers, TV, etc.) report about fraud; 47.9% think the media don't report enough about fraud, 26.5% think they are too negative; while 20.5% feel they do a balanced job.

What kinds of stories would respondents like to see the media report? 65% said stories about the challenges of selling on eBay, and almost half would like to see stories about great shopping opportunities. 42.7% would like to see the media report on stories about successful sellers.

Results of eBay-Fraud Survey of AuctionBytes-Update Readers, September 2003

Is fraud a problem on eBay?

  • 65.8% Minor Problem
  • 32.5% Major Problem
  • 1.7% Other
  • 0% Not a problem

I believe it to be major in some items
Screen sellers, then not a problem
It is a SIGNIFICANT problem

What could eBay do to help prevent fraud on its site?

  • 79.5% Respond to user complaints about fraudsters
  • 63.2% Keep known fraudsters off the site
  • 62.4% Require stricter verification when registering an account
  • 47.9% Improve feedback system
  • 35% Work more closely with law enforcement
  • 10.3% Other
  • 2.6% Nothing, eBay does a fine job of preventing fraud on its site

Post known fraudsters on public board
Require eBay ID verify on all newbies
Buyers won't buy if not comfortable
Accounts are hijacked
Scandalous non-egalitarian system exists
Let buyers know seller has been suspended
Do you think they REALLY care???

Provide complete protection for buyers
Screen User IDs for problems
All of the above
Stop denying the problems exist!
Allow phone #s to contact
Add seller option to block foreign bidders
Need experience identifying hijacked
Stop chargebacks on non-American sellers
Make sure that NARUs cannot re-register
eliminate "private" auctions
Keep eBay users better informed
Stricter for high ticket items

In reporting about eBay fraud, do you think the media (newspapers, TV, etc.):

  • 47.9% Don't report enough about fraud
  • 26.5% Are too negative
  • 20.5% Do a balanced job
  • 5.1% Other

They also give a lot of bogus advice
Squeaky wheel gets grease syndrome!
Only bad news makes for good television!

Are generally badly misinformed
No opinion about media.
Not sure
No opinion
Not current on what the media is doing

What kinds of eBay-related news stories would you like to see the media report?

  • 65% Stories about the challenges of selling on eBay
  • 49.6% Stories about great shopping opportunities
  • 42.7% Stories of successful sellers
  • 36.8% Stories about eBay's unfair treatment of its users
  • 30.8% Stories about eBay's positive treatment of its users
  • 8.5% Other

How to avoid bad buyers and sellers
No opinion about media
All of the above
What eBay is doing to prevent fraud
No opinion
Feedback policy problems & deadbeats
All of the above
I don't think eBay stories are newsworthy
Impossibility of contacting eBay
Fraudulent sellers/buyers prosecuted

Is eBay the only site where online fraud takes place?

  • 95.7% No
  • 4.3% Yes

More so because of its popularity!
eBay is just the largest/best known.
It's a very lucrative target, however.
Yahoo sales rarely completed without trouble!
More rampant on eBay because it is bigger

Don't use other sites - no opinions
I am sure not.
Have not tried other sites
Don't know
It's the only one that's newsworthy.

Do you buy or sell on eBay?

  • 89.7% Sell
  • 88.9% Buy
  • 4.3% Other
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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