EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 152 - October 09, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 8

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters from Readers


Hi Ina,
I read your recent article on eBay Wireless by Greg Holden (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m09/abu0151/s04) and just wanted to pass on a message. The application Greg used to access eBay through the menu is called eBay Wireless, and was developed by a third party developer named Bonfire Media. While we're thrilled that Greg reviewed the app in Auctionbytes, I wanted to let him know that there is actually a much better way to use the application.

The way he did it, through the phone's browser, is a free application available through a WAP site. You can also download a java application through your phone's menu, or from the eBay Web site, that costs $3.99 per month and is a much more robust wireless eBay application.

If you or Greg are interested in learning more about this, I'd be happy to,... walk you through the application and answer any questions you may have.

Thanks Ina! Hope all is well.
Ali Croft
eBay Corporate Communications

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Dear Ina,
This was a news item in my paper today. Already 2 of my local charity shops (you call them thrift shops in the US I think!) use eBay to sell which means that gradually sources of supply to eBay sellers are drying up. Traditionally charity shops were a good place to buy stuff for resale -this makes it harder for us as sellers on eBay to find items!

The article says charity shops are threatened - I doubt that - but eBay sellers certainly are!!
Sincerely,
Andrew

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Ina:
Today I received a NEW SPOOF/FRAUDULENT email that was supposedly a SECOND CHANCE OFFER on an eBay item.
Donna

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Hi Ina,
My business continues to get "snagged" by "bully" eBay/Paypal policies. In this case, an international buyer has initiated a chargeback on an item that shipped September 7th (3 weeks ago) via surface mail to Germany.

As any reasonable person knows, it takes 4-6 weeks for USPS surface mail to arrive in Europe. DHL, Fedex and UPS are usually not a viable shipping option for heavy items.

The way eBay/Paypal policy is written, a customer can order something internationally and do a chargeback the next day even if they "acknowledge" they pay for surface shipping and acknowledge the item shipped 3 weeks ago.

Paypal has no justification for holding seller's monies in these cases.
Dan

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First, thank you for your newsletter, much appreciated!

Second: This is what just happened to me with Paypal account. I had approx. 160.00 in my account, and more due from recent auctions, I went to ATM machine, and withdrew 80.00 cash. The following day I withdrew 40.00 cash. (Leaving me a balance of approx. 40.00.) During the next week, more customers paid through Paypal, and I paid a few miscellaneous bills.

After this week was up, I went to Paypal account and checked my balance. It showed I had approx. 220.00, so I paid (by phone) my car insurance, and my phone bill. That should have left me about 40.00 . I went to pharmacy to pick up prescription, and my card was denied.

I pulled up my paypal "history" page and could only see the last 4 days - none of the setting options would work to let me see more. I phoned Paypal, and they said that THEYcould see it all, and had no idea why I was only getting 4 days history. They said to try again tomorrow.

End result, my two WITHDRAWALS had been recorded by Paypal as DEPOSITS. So they did not take OUT the 120.00 - they actually added 120.00. Then a week later they reversed the transactions and listed them as Withdrawals. That time-frame is when I checked balance - paid bills, etc., on money that was then taken back - leaving me with a message from Paypal that I owed them 90.00.

I realize that I am not actually out any money, but the thought that I have to baby-sit Paypal to keep from having car insurance cancelled, or go without groceries, prescription, etc., is stupid. I am too busy to check THEIR bookkeeping every day, and if I did catch a mistake, how long would it be before it was corrected?

Thanks for letting me sound off,
Phyllis

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Ina,
One thing I find incredibly disturbing about missionfish is that it takes 2 months (!!!) for the money to get to the charity after you pay the fee once your item sells.
This is scandalous.
Juli

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Hello. Do you remember me? I contacted you after the Associated Press did a story on me (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/19/tech/main618484.shtml).

Since than I have started my own consignment store here in Crosby (North Dakota) . . . selling in the store and online via eBay auctions as well. I was successful in getting the business up and running and have done so now for just more than a year (the store opened in July 2004).

I wanted to do the auction drop-off service . . . me having a consignment store I too thought I would sell some of those consignments on eBay. Well, I may have ran into a "glitch" when it comes to consignments for others who want their goods sold for them on eBay. Just a few days ago I found this story (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/0,4621,320198,00.html).

I called the North Dakota Public Service Commission and found out that I do, in fact, have to be licensed to sell for others on eBay! The fact that I am "running an auction" and selling other peoples stuff makes the license a requirement for me! I would have to pay a $35 license fee, pay to go to school to learn how to run an auction, plus I would have to put up a $5,000 bond!

Not just that . . . because I am handling the monies from the buyers to the owners of the goods - I too have to get a license to become a Clerk and that will cost me another $35 for another license, having to take another schooling course and then putting up a $10,000.00 bond!! Plus, I have to setup a trust account at a local bank because of the money transfer.

Can you imagine all of that? Just to sell on eBay for others!! For many, this too may become a "glitch" for getting such a business of the ground! That's $15,000.00 in bond money too!!

Here is access to North Dakota rules about auctions (http://www.psc.state.nd.us/jurisdiction/auctioneers.html ). I have yet to read more about this myself.

I spoke to the Public Service Commission in North Dakota and while they say the rules will apply the department is going to talk to their attorney to clarify if these same rules will stick with regard to eBay auctions as well.

I also spoke to John Andrist - he is our State Rep. and lives here in Crosby. He is going to see about starting legislation to "bend the rules" for people doing what I am doing in this state, so such businesses as mine would not have to deal with "all the rules."

I called eBay to ask if they knew of any rules similar to this . . . but no one at eBay had any information to share with me, but said to check for rules myself.

Towards the end of the month I may know more as to how all of this may turn out.

I live in a rural town . . . the opportunity to sell for others via an online auction is valuable to "creating jobs" and for bringing money to the community. State rules such as ours could hinder that opportunity!

Auction drop-off stores are becoming popular . . . but how does current law effect them and who is doing their "homework" to know for sure! For me, I am glad I found this story because it started me on doing my homework and I got new information that I never discovered before when I first started my store. As of now, my store will no longer list eBay auctions for others until I know I am in full compliance with the law.
From,
Mark

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Dear Ina,
What is the general opinion of the health insurance offered by ebay? Is it worth it or is it no better then what other small businesses can get elsewhere?
Lisa

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For the life of me I don't understand why anyone would want to have a store on ebay. We broke away from ebay when the whole double billing episode happened and now run a small store on a site designed for WAHMs (Work at Home Mothers). Our cost is $7 a month and Tony is great. We just added a merchant account so we no longer are dependent of Paypal to process Credit Cards as we find Paypal to not always act in the merchants best interest.

Stop by and see us sometime. We have many public service pages of interest to others.

As always your stories are right on the money. Thank you.
Gene & Charlotte

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Hi Ina,
I just had to comment about the "buySAFE" product. I signed up for that earlier in the year - they talked me into it and made a believer out of me. Anything to spur up business! Anyway I had a couple of gals thank me for having this. At the same time I didn't really see my business pick up, but I did see the complainers come forward in abundance. I sell QVC clothing - liquidated - so we have to document the quality immediately on the auctions. This is returned merchandise so we have cover ourselves very carefully.

What slipped past me was buySAFE sending out emails after an item was won in your auction. That is all well and good, but the wording on the email suggested if there were any problems up to $25,000 or whatever they would stand accountable, they were bonded, etc., etc. My auctions list "NONREFUNDABLE AND NO RETURNS"; however, that made no difference after they received the buySAFE emails. It was almost as though that email gave them the "green light" to complain about everything and anything. I got more complaints and threats to give me a bad rating over practically nothing. I was refunding like crazy just to make these people happy. One lady did give me a negative feedback even after I offered her a refund. I finally went in to buySAFE and found where I had not checked the box to stop the emails going to the customers. I also called buySAFE (very nice people I might add) and talked to them. Of course they were shocked that my business had not gotten the response they said it would. I did drop out of buySAFE - took all of the logos off my auctions and the problem stopped.

buySAFE is a good product probably for some, but it didn't work for me. I found that it worked just the opposite of what it was intended for. It just seemed to bring out all of the uglies in eBay! Just thought I would pass my experience along. They swear I am the only one and unfortunately I probably am.
PatR

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I have been following your very useful column but I need some additional help. Outside of filing a non-paying bidder report, is there other legal options I can take against someone who "won" my piano for $12,100 and has decided not to pay? How do I report them to a credit bureau or take them to court to enforce the purchase?
Paul

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Hi:
As a subscriber to your great newsletter, it was wonderful to SEE you on auctionbytes.tv Your auction/Ebay advice and wisdom caused me to portray you as an older woman...what a nice surprise..

A note about all the excitement over Skype/Ebay.... myself, (and a bunch of others) are still using Windows 98. I have Win98se which is the most prevalent, I believe. Skype does not support Win98, so we are all left out of this! I know the standard is Windows XP but a whole lot of us are still in the 98 platform. I hope Skype will work up a solution for us.

Thanks for all your info. You and David are great!
Sincerely,
Ron

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Ina,
I noticed in your announcement on September 18th you pointed out that WebTV users may not be able to access the videos. Just FYI. I work with MSN TV (WebTV was rebranded and renamed MSN TV in 2001).

We checked and for anyone accessing http://www.auctionbytes.tv with an MSN TV 2 Internet & Media Player via broadband connection, your site works great.

The MSN TV 2 Internet & Media Player was launched in October 2004 and gives consumers the ability to access the Web at broadband speeds on a regular TV. With more and more video content available online - such as your new site - users can now watch Internet-based video content on their TV.

More info is available at http://www.msntv.com/pc
Thanks.
Jeff



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