EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 115 - March 21, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 7

My Love-Hate Relationship with eBay

By Mark O'Neill

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I love eBay. I live and breathe eBay. I think about my auctions when I wake up in the morning and when I go to sleep at night. But it is not entirely a passionate raunchy romance between eBay and I. There are plenty of things that annoy me about The World's Online Marketplace.

I have the perfect example. At the moment, I am going through an ordeal by email. I am trying to merge an old User ID with my current User ID. The old ID has 219 positives on it and I figure that my current ID would look pretty impressive with those 219 positives added on. Especially since I seem to be running into a lot of idiots on eBay at the moment who seem to be very eager to give me negative feedbacks just for kicks. I am convinced that the eBay Users Idiots Convention is in town and that they're offering big cash bonuses and "all you can eat" buffets to the first eBay Idiot to leave a nasty and vindictive negative. So 219 positives from another ID would go a long way to off-setting any unjustified negs I might get hit with in the near future.

So I fill in the handy form on the eBay site formally asking for both accounts to be merged. It was very easy and it took 2 minutes. I am so happy at how pleased it went that I go up to my pet mice and feed them a nacho. I look in the mirror and admire the beard I have started to grow. I look out the window and admire the flowers in the garden.

All of this was 8 months ago. The mice are dead and I now have toads, who aren't too keen on nachos. The beard has been long shaved off after I was mistaken for an famous Irish terrorist, the flowers are dead due to the frost and my patience with eBay is even frostier. The list of saved eBay "buck-passing" emails is so big that it is threatening to crash my email program. And I still haven't had the accounts merged yet.

What's going wrong? Well for a start, noone at eBay is willing to accept responsibility to get anything done. At the beginning, it took 2 days for an eBay computer to send me a chirpy automated reply saying that my request was being "examined." Then 4 days later, I get an email from "Kim" saying that I needed to email back and say "I understand once the accounts have been merged that it cannot be reversed." Fine OK. I say this and email it back to Kim. What happens then? Nothing. Nada. Silence.

During the last 8 months, I have emailed Kim approximately once every 30 days asking her when the account merge will be finished, and I have received automated responses from Darlene, Rhona, Jay, Jim, Peggy, Kate and Dave. In other words, everytime I email, I hear from a different person. And it isn't even a real person. It's an automated machine spewing out "cut and pasted" emails! And the emails all sound so damn chirpy and optimistic!

Has anyone actually managed to get an account merge done? Please tell me that it is possible and not just a nasty prank by eBay.

I've come to the conclusion that eBay doesn't know the first thing about customer service, and their policy seems to be to pass the buck to the next colleague, instead of doing anything constructive. I wonder how good Amazon's customer service is? (And does a beard really make me look like a well-known Irish terrorist?)

Relevant Link
(just for fun since nothing actually gets done when you click on this link) http://pages.ebay.com/help/account/merge-accounts.html

Gives policy details and a link to the secure form. After you send the form, reconfigure your spam filters accordingly to handle all the chirpy computer-generated mails eBay will send you. You will also be introduced via email to everyone in eBay since you will receive emails from them all. Six months later, you will be entering psychotherapy and muttering the word "eBay....eBay...." in your sleep.


About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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