EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 209 - February 17, 2008 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 8

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters from Readers

Email This Story to a Friend

In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From feedback to payment services, from increased fees to posting policies, AuctionBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.

You can also read the AuctionBytes blog, which has a place for reader comments under every posting (http://blog.auctionbytes.com).

********

Ina,
My name is Bruce Hershenson and I am the owner of emovieposter.com. I joined eBay in 1998, and in 2000 I moved my entire mail-order business of vintage movie posters to eBay, and since that time I have sold 300,000 movie posters on eBay, for total sales of $16 million (3 million in 2007 alone). In all that time, I have auctioned all of my items with 99 cents start bid, and no reserve, the very kind of auctions that made eBay so successful when they first "took off".

The recent price changes affect my business greatly. They will result in the fees I pay going up 40% annually! If I were to achieve the 5% discount eBay is offering a very select few, my fees would go up by approximately 27%. If I were to achieve the 15% discount, my fees would go up by approximately 13%.

I feel that the price increases are extremely misguided. Normally, companies only raise rates when THEIR costs increase, or when they are delivering better results to their customers. In THIS case, eBay's costs have not risen and they are not only NOT delivering better results, but they are actually delivering lesser results (lower sellthrough rates and lower ASPs). Any company that did not perceive themselves as a monopoly would never raise their rates under these circumstances, but, if you feel your customers have nowhere else to go, then you CAN raise their rates, to make up for the lower profits you are having due to the lesser results you are realizing.

eBay has miscalculated in my case. I have to examine how much I pay eBay per year, and what I received in return for that money. I have concluded that I can do far better opening up my own auction on my own site. Unlike many other sellers, I had my own business for 10 years prior to starting on eBay, so I am now reversing the process I started in 2000! At that time, I moved my entire business ONTO eBay, and in 2008, I am moving my entire business OFF of eBay.

I really don't understand why eBay would drastically raise their rates on people like myself, who sell 100% of what they list, and have "fun" true auctions, where all the final prices are set by two or more actual bidders (the very kinds of auctions that made eBay so popular), and I have virtually perfect feedback (only 14 negatives in 300,000 transactions!).

What is equally difficult to understand is that eBay has slashed their rates to media sellers only, who sell very little of what they list, and who have generally mediocre feedback, and who often charge disproportionately high shipping, which eBay says is their number one concern! It also is odd that eBay chose these sellers to be the first recipients of their new "non-level playing field", for I can see no reason to single out these sellers as being especially important to eBay.

But it is not solely an issue of rates that is causing me to leave eBay. I believe their recent changes to feedback will have a disastrous effect on their company. I believe they made those changes because their research showed that buyers do not return to the site (either ever, or as often) because of dissatisfaction over high shipping, and because they get upset when a seller leaves negative feedback on them. So they made their recent changes (primarily trying to force sellers to lower shipping rates, and stop leaving "bad feedback") because they think that will improve sales.

I believe they are completely mistaken. In spite of what their research shows, I believe the number one reason buyers buy less often (or quit the site) is because they were cheated in some fashion. Similarly, I believe the number one reason sellers sell less (or quit selling altogether) is because they are tired of having buyers who never pay.

The solution to both these problems is to verify all other users on the site (both buyers and sellers). When a buyer or seller breaks the rules, eBay could then ban that PERSON, and not just that ID (which has no effect, because the person can get a new ID, under the current rules). If all users are verified, then a bad buyer or seller will be banned, and they can't easily get back on.

I believe eBay is aware of both these problems, but there are two things that prevent them from implementing my solution. One is that verifying all users would mean they would have to admit they would actually have something like 80 million users, instead of the 250 million users they claim (which counts all IDs as separate people, which everybody knows is complete fiction). The other thing is that eBay would have to have a REAL Trust and Safety department which would need to go after bad buyers and sellers, both with police and through the courts, and that would certainly be expensive, and would not bring eBay any additional income in the short term.

Under the current setup, eBay benefits greatly from the problems that beset the site. Many "bad sellers" are among the largest sellers, and pay eBay great amounts of fees. Many "bad buyers" cause items to have to be relisted a second time, and this generates a HUGE amount of revenue for eBay in listing fees they never refund (and surely many people never bother to get a refund of their final value fees, so that is an additional revenue source as well).

To sum up, eBay keeps raising the fees sellers pay, without delivering additional value of any kind, and in fact recent years have seen a deterioration of the value they have provided. They also continually micromanage their sellers, taking control of a greater and greater percentage of their businesses.

Sometime in the middle of March, I will hold my last eBay auction, and I will hold my first auction on my website http://www.emovieposter.com. I am currently in negotiations with other major sellers of collectibles and antiques, trying to help them leave eBay as well, and set up similar auctions on their own sites. I have hope that, at some time in the future, I can help set up an auction site SOLELY for collectibles and antiques, so that all of the smaller sellers on eBay will have a place to sell on that is run by actual sellers, and which truly only does provide a platform for them to sell from. I believe such a site would be very welcomed by almost all sellers of collectibles and antiques.

Thank you very much.
Bruce Hershenson
President, eMoviePoster.com

********

Americana Exchange's newsletter (www.americanaexchange.com, I think) had an extended article about how the author felt ill-treated by an eBay seller but didn't dare leave a negative rating lest he be given a bad rating in return. I guess he hadn't read your publication before posting, but it does show that some buyers found the sellers' rating rights intimidating.
Joy

********

You may recall that I predicted that eBay would keep raising its fees in order to satisfy its stock holders. I still contend that eBay will eventually try to capture between 25-50% of sellers' income. Getting more buyers to increase activity/income is hard. Tapping the pockets of sellers is easy.

We the sellers will keep being asked to do out utmost to keep eBay's stock price up. We will be asked to bleed on eBay's behalf. Those poor stockholders need new vacation homes and lots of new cars and servants. Those must be paid for by someone's efforts. Exploiting labor is the time honored way to get such funds.
Kal

********

Re: "eBay Introduces Category-Based Fees in Media"
http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/2/1202761594.html

Ina,
I'd like to comment on the following announcement I received this evening. I suspect you will be receiving lots of comments from sellers of media. In section 2, eBay admits they have "heard" their sellers about the need to re-examine the shipping DSR. Then in section 3, they basically say they are going to ignore us and proceed as previously announced. I have to say I was quite surprised. eBay usually at least pretends they have tried to go along with what their sellers say. This announcement tonight makes it very clear they have no intention of doing so whatsoever.

Well, at least they were honest about it this time.
Sincerely,
Lisa

********

Re: "eBay Introduces Category-Based Fees in Media"
http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/2/1202761594.html

Greetings Ina,
It appears ebay has announced the plan to implement all the changes they announced earlier. It also appears they are letting sellers know they are "the boss" and will not relent on the feedback change of allowing sellers only to post positive. What a crock.

I can tell you that I am looking for an alternative and will not be listing as much on ebay now.

The seller is ebay's customer and the buyer is the sellers customer. ebay needs to get back to the basics. They do not need to force sellers to become better. The market place will do that on its own.

The very first time I receive a negative from a buyer is the time I will pull all my auctions from ebay and go to my webpage and ebid exclusively.

I have powerseller status and almost 3000 positive feedback and almost 4000 overall. Of course powerseller status and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee. Again, what a crock that ebay has taken the position that they are not going to relent to the sellers wishes.

I do hope the boycott sends a message.

But, what do they care? It is evident that they are going to hammer down on sellers. Something that is not mentioned many times is the fact that ebay says they are going to increase the available amount of blocked bidders from 1000 to 5000.

Goodness, that is one way that ebay is saying they condone and endorse the negatives that the bidders will start placing for many reasons. Why in the world would a seller need to block 5000 bidders, let alone 1000? Sometimes it would be for a few pennies extra on postage or something trivial. The seller has no recourse then.

The new feedback is only a ploy to disallow the seller the opportunity to get the announced 5% or 15% rebate on the end of the auction fees. Offer the sellers a piece of candy and then eat it in front of them. I would suspect there will be no rebates to sellers when the new changes take effect.

Thanks for the soapbox.
Regards,
Glen

********

Hi Ina... they just announced media pricing changes.

Why advantage one seller over another...what about jewelry, clothing, watches, etc

http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200802.shtml#2008-02-11092017

********

eBay Holds 20-Cent Listing Day Promotion http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m02/i13/s01

Hi Ina,
I was reading the boards and someone brought up an interesting point. All items listed tomorrow under the 20 cent promotion end on the day of the new FVF increase!!!
Martha

********

Re: AuctionBytes Interviews Incoming eBay CEO John Donahoe
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y208/m02/abu0208/s04

Dear Ina,
Until yesterday I did not know about your web-site and now I do. I think you REALLY did your best trying to pullout meaningful answers from eBay official. Being trained in my former live to read between the lines so I did. There is a PLATINUM post on the community board of eBay and I think it might be interesting for you to read it as it says exactly what these eBay changes are all about:

**
OHHHHH! It took me a minute to figure this out. Ebay could care less about the buyer or the seller. Buyers, you have gotten duped and not by the sellers.

Follow the ball people. Buyers are going to pay a hihger price in the end.

Sellars are going to pay higher fvf fees. The FVF fee will go up, first for the percentage increase, and second because the high shipping and handling fee that sellars once had will go now go into the product. That means that we sellers have to start the auction higher because of buyer dissatisfaction with the shipping and handling charges.

Listen up buyers! Shipping and Handling charges are NOT subjected to FVF or the Insertion Fee Formula.

We sellers now have to start the auctions higher and pay the higher scale insertion fee. The product sells at a higher price and the FVF charge is much higher. Ebay makes money both going and coming.

Do not expect the sellers to be stupid! We have to keep our feedback rating high and make a profit. You buyers are going to pay the difference. We sellars are not going to cut our profits - we cannot! Ebay is the only beneficiary. Do not be deceived Mr. Buyer, you are going to pay!

Buyers - You just shot yourselves in the foot. We are all fooled. We have to start the auctions higher and above the cost, instead of at or below cost and pay Ebay more money...your money!

Get past your emotions and start feeling your wallet. You are better off shopping in the mall now. The last bastion of good products and cheap prices just got smacked down.
**

Again, it is not my post but I came to the same conclusions. And I think (to say the list) the "feedback policy change" is simply a cover, or a front, if you will, to the reality that nicely described above. The double outcome is: a) it served great so FVF increase point got not nearly the same attention it should; and b) although I doubt, but if eBay plays "a listening to the seller concern/outcry" thing and reverse it most of the sellers will become satisfied - "our voices were heard" - but FVF will go on.

Still, the buyers WILL BE HURTING the most because as a seller I am not about to lose even $0.01 due to eBay manipulation. Therefore, FVF will go ahead no matter what because as Donahoe puts it:

"We have done the analysis and I messaged it to Wall Street".

The question remains what to do if eBay will not reverse "feedback policy change" and I am putting some ideas in order but it will not be easy to tease a financial behemoth like eBay.
Sincerely,
Joe

********

Re: AuctionBytes Interviews Incoming eBay CEO John Donahoe
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y208/m02/abu0208/s04

Hi Ina,
I just read your interview with the folks from e-bay. I have to say, you really let them off the hook on the whole feedback issue. Your initial question was a good one, but they didn't answer it and you didn't follow up. You changed the discussion back to the fee changes. I think if you go to e-bay's forums and look at the discussions going on, you'll see it is the feedback changes that have people furious.

As a seller, I couldn't care less about the fee changes. It's a part of doing business. But the changes to the feedback system are a disaster. I called e-bay on Friday and spoke for 20 minutes with an employee. He told me 3 different times that e-bay does not consider the sellers to be their customers, only buyers. They have that completely wrong. The buyer is my customer, I am e-bay's customer.
Jim

********

Ina,
E-bay needs to get their stories straight! From Donahue's own words I quote "What we need to do is make sure that if we've got accurate descriptions with sellers. That seller are being very clear about what is being offered to the buyer, that we make sure that the buyer and the seller both have a vehicle to be able to express their satisfaction with the transaction, and to do that in an accurate way, and that's what our role is."

WHERE IS THE EQUALITY WITH THE FEEDBACK ON BOTH BUYERS & SELLERS?? What am I missing? Buyers can leave negatives and sellers can't? IS THAT FAIR ??

Absolutely NOT!!! I will be looking for a different venue as a power seller with 99.9 % positive and over 10,000 feedbacks!
I am sincerely, Andreasattic53

********

Re: AuctionBytes Interviews Incoming eBay CEO John Donahoe
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y208/m02/abu0208/s04

Hi Ina-
Thanks for the great interview with Donahoe. I thought you did a great job of pushing hard questions and keeping your composure. I hope the new management team knows what they're doing because it sounds like there are a lot of angry sellers. As always, keep up the great work, I've subscribed to your audio podcast and look forward to your next segments.
Kevin

********

Ina:
Just an unsolicited opinion. It is not a "fee reduction" to meet 4.8 DSRs, rather a "fee increase" if you don't. Point two, selling new merchandise will greatly increase your ability to meet high DSRs on "described." Everything else is subjective. The playing field should be unlevelled. The question should be, "Are you satisfied with the transaction?" "Yes" or "No." I have 20,000+ positive feedback and no negatives. Should that history count?
Sincerely,
Tom

********

Hi,
1st I would like to say how much I appreciate your site and the info you share with us. It seems like you are the only ones out there that want to help the ebay sellers. There is someone else trying to help and it would be great if you could check it out and if you feel they can help let your readers know about this option.

There is a new site called LEAVEAUCTIONFEEDBACK.COM. It appears to still be a work in progress but my sources tell me it will be complete by Feb. 18. It is already up and working for it's purpose but the developers are still refining a few aspects of the site. It is only open to Sellers but from all online auction sites. Sellers can leave Neutral and Negative feedback for buyers to let other sellers know who not to deal with. It can also be a balance in the feedback system if enough Sellers participate. It looks like it would work as an effective deterrent to buyers using feedback as an extortion tool to force their demands on sellers. It could also help keep sellers ratings where they currently are if they keep performing on the same basis they have in the past.

Please check this out and let your readers know if you believe it has value to them. I really think it will.

Thank you for your consideration,
Jeff

********

Re: "Desperate Seller Describes PayPal Nightmare"
http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/2/1202924185.html

Dear Ina,
I've been reading your news letters for about a year and a half, and enjoy every issue, lots of great info. The other day was the first time that I read your blog, and I found the title in the subject of this email. Do you know if anyone has ever turned PayPal in to the Justice dept. or any other federal authority that handles banking issues? Because if they have, it's hard to believe that they would turn a blind eye to this kind of stuff.

I noticed that both eBay and PayPal seem to have no problem holding onto other peoples money with no explanation at all. Maybe someone should have a conversation with the I.R.S., I know that they would be interested in finding out about all this free income. I suspect that along with this, who cares attitude that there is probably some Enron style book keeping going on.

The reason that I mention this is because here in Illinois a few years back, there was a scam going on with utility payment centers, drug stores, hardware stores, etc. They would accept your money, and payment coupon, but not send it along to the utility company. Instead it went into a short term C.D. account, where they would collect the interest on the deposits, and when possible make your payment.(didn't want any early withdrawal penalties!) The problem was that everyone payments were being made late, finally the utility companies caught on to the problem when customers started sending in photocopies of their payment coupons along with a receipt from the authorized payment centers. needless to say, the States attorneys office and many other authorities ended up in an investigation.

It was a slick little scam while it lasted.

Just something to think about, maybe pass the idea along.
Regards,
Michael

********

Re: eBay UK Sellers Forced to List Physical Address
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m02/i05/s03

Ive subscribed to your news flash for some time, thank you very much for all the work you do and bringing us such valuable and usefull insites and information.

However I'd like to protest this article r.e. eBay UK Sellers Forced to List Physical Address Its got nothing to do with eBay forcing anybody its the law of the land we in the UK are poart of the EU (although I personally wish we were not) and as such we are subject to E.U. and the distance selling directive that all business in the E.U. should know and read.

you article supports the winging group that feel its unfair they have to register as a business when they are ! have to pay tax's and have accounts ! and that they should be able to leave feedback for buyers so they can hurt their customers with Negs.

I also find it interesting that the survey only covers the USA a sad reflect of the fact that america is the only place that matters...

Lastley I think the questions in the survey are bound to produce a certain result which will be anto ebay anti change and therefore support the noisey majority whom have nothing better to do. and would rather "strike" !!!! 1980 in the uk all over again that get on and perform.

Why do respected publications like yours not see that for example a high quality silver power seller in the Uk will get 25% of there FVF back!!! thats amazing. We also have reduction's in listing fees AMAZING!!!

I think that a postive spin could be put on this situation but negative spin produces better headlines.

Now I have read bits which should some positivity but I think a headline grabbing " high quality powersellers WIN WIN WIN with new changes would not go a miss"
Yours Sincerely
Steve

********

Re: eBay Changes to Seller Standards: Read the Fine Print
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m02/i08/s01

Ina seems to misunderstand the insight that sellers actually do have regarding the Seller Standards, In Reviews you can see that this simply isn't the case. I think a lot of the discussion threads reveal a similar sentiment.

http://reviews.ebay.com/PowerSeller-Benefits-Program -A-truly-sad-new-chapter_W0QQugidZ10000000005524944

I believe that most sellers understand the link between feedback, DSR's, PayPal lockdowns and Search exposure. Feedback may appear to be the focal point but it's the loop that's created between all the aforementioned that concerns us all.
Best Regards,
Greg

********

I just read mr grossberg's interview at auctionbytes (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m02/i04/s01) regarding ebay and their new nonsense - here is my question -

WHY IS NOBODY CRITICISING EBAY FOR TAKING ITS FEES AND ALLOWING PAYPAL TO TAKE FEES OFF THE TOP - THE GROSS NOT THE NET.

items sells for $100 - ebay instantly takes its %. call it 10% on an store item.

buyer uses paypal and sends $100. paypal fees are based on the entire $100 though the seller is only receiving $90.

talk about double dipping - this should be outlawed.

ebay rips its sellers off at every turn taking millions of dollars in nickels dimes and dollars. pure theft.

personally i do 80% of my business now with abebooks and i always turn down paypal on over $100.
ben

********

Dear Ina-
I am emailing to say thank you for your coverage of the new changes Ebay has announced; especially the ban on sellers leaving neutral/negative feedback for buyers starting in May.

I am very upset with the new policy; we are a long time power sellers with an excellent record (over 13,000 positives at 99.8%); and we treat all of our customers as we would want to be treated ourselves as buyers. We have found this has worked very well in the 9 years we have sold full time on Ebay; and the majority of our buyers are truly wonderful.

With this said however, this new policy would eliminate a level playing field, and arm those few buyers who try to play unfairly on Ebay with a loaded gun, aimed at unarmed sellers.

The main concern of many of us as long time, hard-working, honest sellers is, of course, feedback extortion.

Feedback extortion is a stated violation of Ebay policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/feedback-extortion.html One thing I would like to point out is that in the past we have had some unscrupulous buyers attempt feedback extortion, (ie "I will leave you negative feedback unless you ship this item for less than the stated s/h"), etc. I have reported this to Ebay in the past when this has occurred, and Ebay has (to our surprise) actually followed through with a suspension or other appropriate action when I took the time to report it.

My concern is that many sellers may not be aware of this policy; and if they do; will Ebay be following through/enforcing the policy with the anticipated increase in this activity?

We will be adding this statement to all of my ads:
"We appreciate your business and love being a part of the Ebay community. To help maintain Ebay as a positive environment and to fair to all involved, we do actively participate with Ebay's policies, including the Non-Paying Bidder process and feedback extortion policies."

Now if all potential buyers will read the ad.... :0)
Thanks again for all you do, Ina,
Annette

********

Ina,
Here is an interesting thread about eBay and the Positive Only Feedback debate on eBay.
http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jspa? threadID=2000516483&tstart=0&mod=1202856222827

Note this bit of info.
"...eBay will be removing false positives left by sellers to buyers because eBay wants the feedback experience to only be positive for the buyer, because buyers do not like negative feedback, which gives them a negative experience."

I don't have access to the powerseller board. But maybe you can get access to the thread in question.

*Editor's Note: False positives are when sellers leave buyers a "positive" rating, but write in a negative comment, a strategy some a recommending as a way of dealing with eBay feedback changes.

********

Hello,
I am an occasional seller on eBay under the name "jacobfitcher". There has been a lot of controversy over the feedback changes that will no longer allow the seller to leave a neg for the buyer. eBay was saying this was a result of retaliatory negs from sellers. I don't think some people realize how bad some buyers can be. I offer the following:

The following is culled and edited from answers left by both experienced Buyers and Sellers on eBay.

REASONS as to why Sellers hold back feedback:

  1. Buyer writes Seller every single day wanting to know where the package is.
  2. Buyer complains about shipping rates when those rates were clearly stated in the Seller's Terms Of Sale.
  3. Buyer complains that USPS left his package in the rain and blames Seller.
  4. Buyer complains that shipping is slow. However, Buyer did not choose Priority Mail that was offered. Buyer did not choose First Class Mail that was offered. Buyer chose Media Mail which was the cheapest (and slowest) option.
  5. Buyer demands partial refund because the item color did not exactly match that of their computer screen.
  6. Buyer complains that customs charged them an additional fee on that international transaction.
  7. Buyer who pays fast and then pulls the "chargeback scam.":

They get the item, then file a claim that it was broken, or not as described or whatever.

They call the bank and do a chargeback on the credit card they used.

Then, all they have to do is send the item back to you, with a delivery confirmation number.

Paypal accepts that delivery confirmation number as proof--100% of the time--that you got the item back. The fact that the buyer returned a broken old widget they had laying around or a box of dirty cat litter or dirt does not matter.

The Buyer is believed and the seller is out both his item AND the money for it.

  1. They use the item for six months, then return it with delivery confirmation and do the chargeback now that they no longer need the item.
  2. They get the slacks and leave a neg, saying "These looked pink on my computer! They're salmon. The fact that the title of the auction said, "Ladies slacks, salmon" does not matter. The fact that they do not know how to properly adjust the color settings of their monitor does not matter.
  3. Buyer gets the slacks and leaves a neg, saying "These slacks make my butt look fat." If anyone ever left that for me, I'd neg right back, saying "Ain't my fault you can't pass up the all-u-can-eat buffets."
  4. Buyer buys an item, is not happy, so he publishes the seller's real-life name and address on sex sites, here on the boards, he pulls the phone number, calls in the middle of the night, makes threats.

How would any of these things be a "positive experience" for a seller?

Sellers should be able to notify other Sellers that certain Buyers are unrealistic and will make the transaction a miserable one.

The reason that Buyers should be leaving feedback first is that it tells the Seller that the transaction has ended. The Seller, in turn, then reports on the ease of the transaction.

I find it interesting that almost every member who has a complaint about when sellers leave feedback has absolutely NO experience selling.

I also truly believe that most of them had never even thought of doing any of the things on that list.

As a buyer - you are the first person to know if you're satisfied. Did you get your widget? Was it as described? Did you receive it in a timely manner? If so - there is simply no good reason for you not to post feedback.

Sellers who wait to post feedback are not doing so just so they can ding you later. They're trying to protect their business from scamming buyers who try to extort something from the seller by threatening to post negative feedback.

Buyers who argue "It's just not fair, I paid quick, Sellers have to leave it first!" are using personal and silly reasons.

Sellers wait for professional reasons and I for one understand that and don't have an issue with it.

If you're happy - post your feedback and stop with the 3rd grade recess rants. Sellers leave feedback when the transaction is OVER.

When the Buyer pays for the item (which is what you're supposed to do, anyway), that means that the transaction is only halfway complete. The transaction is complete when the Buyer receives the item and is pleased with the condition.

If the Buyer is pleased, they should leave feedback for the seller to indicate that they are happy with the transaction and consider the matter closed. If the Buyer is not pleased, they should contact the Seller to resolve the concern. This contact should not be through FB, but that handy contact seller button. Once any issues are resolved, it is time to leave FB.

If things are not resolved to the Buyer's satisfaction, the Buyer should file the appropriate reports and wait until that process is over before leaving FB.

Question: are you here to buy and sell items, or are you here to collect feedback?

Really, FB is not for the members involved in the transaction, it is for the benefit of the other members of eBay so they can better assess their trading partners.

In the end, feedback is voluntary and it cannot be held hostage. It's one person's opinion period. The only thing the buyer is entitled to is the item as described, in a timely manner. The only thing the seller is entitled to is payment.

I realize this is quite lengthy, but I feel it offers a very good arguement as to why feedback should stay the way it is.
Regards,
jacobfitcher

********

Re: AuctionBytes eBay Fee Calculator
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/pages/feecalc

Hi Ina,
Just wanted to say thanks to you and the creator of the fee spreadsheet. I wanted to do a similar thing for myself, but I was putting it off. Luckily I did and now I have my answers.
Thank you very much,
Dixie

********

Re: "USPS Raises Postage Rates Effective May 12, 2008"
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m02/i12/s04

Ina, What do the Post Office and Ebay have in common? Prices raise inversely to service provided. They charge more and they give you crappier and crappier service for it.
Greg

********

Dear Ina
re: USPS story below (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m02/i12/s04) check out this paragraph from the link you included to USPS site

"Consistent with The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, we will adjust our mailing services prices each May. By law, these prices can increase on average no more than the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. We plan to provide 90 days' notice of the new prices each year, to help mailers prepare for the change."

Every May sellers will have to brace themselves to lose powerseller status, FVF discounts and worse yet could fall into the limited account status. The Shipping and Handling Star is going to be hit hard by buyers who don't realize USPS will be raising rates every year.

Kindest Thoughts and Wishes,
Lee

********

Hello,
I read the article on the bidding practices of EBAY.COM. Well, I seemingly ran into a similar condition I feel today on my bid for an item. A seller set an item for bid beginning for 59 dollars plus shipping of 24 dollars. I bid, but no bids for days by anyone else, then out of the blue another bidder bidded up to18 cents difference of my bid.

This made me skeptical and I researched the ID of the seller and bidder. I found that the seller became a member about three months before the other bidder whom ran my bid up. That bidders history revealed that only three items were purchased and all three were of clothes from Turkey. Now, all of a sudden this same bidder makes a bid on a miter saw? I feel a little bid funny on this.

Now, I also found that the seller was selling on other auctions the same identical items at different prices, some lower and some higher, which to me deceives the purchaser. I feel FTC has some say in this practice and EBAY should not allow this seller to sell the same identical item on his home site for less than on EBAY plus his shipping listed on his own site is 9 dollars but EBAY shipping is 24 plus.

I contacted EBAY but I have not heard back yet. I contacted the seller and the seller said he could do what he wanted to do and for me not to threaten them. The only thing I said was that I contacted EBAY to observe this transaction for correctness. The seller said many things that I feel alluded to a by bidder such as twice said that other bidders were bidding against me and I lost and got angry for having to pay my high bid which I really did put a high bid in and was willing to buy at that price if there had been no suspicions. Now, I see other similar items being bid on but the bidders are new members with no purchases. I feel this seller is not doing right.

I made bids on miter saw from EBAY. I cannot tell the sellers ID but can legally say what I feel about a potential cheat on EBAY. Let me know what you think about this.
Name withheld upon request

********

Please do not quote our ebay id or my name if you do an article on this: See this announcement buried in the eBay System Announcements?
---------------
*Incorrect Free Shipping in Search Result*
February 07, 2008 | 10:19AM PST/PT
Some sellers are reporting that their items are showing "Free" shipping costs in search results when they did not add free shipping. The correct shipping costs appear on the actual listing and in checkout; only search is showing the costs incorrectly. We realize how confusing this may be to buyers and are working to correct this situation as soon as possible.
--------------

But what does it mean? It means that we have over 1000 auctions up that in Search are INCORRECTLY marked by eBay in the Shipping Cost column as FREE.

Our auctions are all buy it now. So now, buyers will click on "Buy It Now" without stopping to read our shipping rates at the bottom. Well, why should they? eBay told them it was FREE SHIPPING. Then the buyers get directed to our Channel Advisor checkout, and are socked with a shipping fee. Now WE are gouging, lying, cheating sellers. We are receiving furious emails, as you can imagine.

Yesterday our TSAM told us eBay had the situation at a Level One, but our items are still showing today as Free Shipping in Search. Imagine all the negative feedbacks we are going to receive. Imagine all the "zero" grades we are going to get in our shipping DSRs. This comes at a time when eBay says sellers' continued presence, and their fee structure, depend on maintaining high feedbacks and DSRs.

When I asked our TSAM if all neutral and negative feedbacks received as a result of this debacle would be expunged, he hemmed and hawed - he simply didn't know. He suggested WE give HIM a list of such feedback. As if eBay couldn't make that correlation themselves much more easily. Then I asked him, what about the people who might leave positive feedback, but dismal DSR ratings? We would have no way of knowing who they were, and which transactions they referred to, so we couldn't give them any 'list. What was eBay going to do about that, I wondered. He had no answer.

According to our TSAM, some, but not all, sellers are affected, and some, but not all, of their auctions were affected from sometime on Feb 6 to sometime on Feb 7. No new auctions seem to be going up with this problem, but the ones already up are still showing incorrectly.

I have also heard that buyers are calling eBay in a rage, to inform them of "dishonest" sellers who should be kicked off eBay. This is going to continue until eBay fixes this problem. I don't know about you, but I never heard of an eBay buyer checking the System Announcements before going shopping.

Editor's Note: The AuctionBytes Blog covered this glitch and received 18 comments from readers.
http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/2/1202398011.html

********

Re: "Etsy: An Online Boutique for Arts and Handmade Crafts"
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y208/m02/abu0208/s03

Hi Ina,
I saw your article on Etsy and that sure is good to highlight sites other then Ebay. I was with them a year ago and then quit (no sales) and now have reopened my store - still no sales. There is something very odd about Etsy that everyone should be aware of and that is they will ONLY take a credit card or debit card. They don't seem to make sellers aware of this. So, I was shocked when I tried to pay my bill (a big, fat $1.20) and ran into a brick wall with them.

Since I've had trouble online with fraudulent credit card charges I will not give that information online anymore. Even Ebay either gets paid with Paypal or they have the number of a small checking account they can draw on. Just thought you should know this about Etsy - they are very very limited in what they'll except in payment. I even offered to throw the buck 20 into an envelope but they won't even give me a mailing address.
Patricia

********

Hi Ina,
My folly is your readers gain.

I use Skype as both an Incoming (SkypeIn) and Outgoing (Skype Pro) "landline." Skype no longer offers "Skype Unlimited" (I signed up for unlimited incoming/outgoing domestic calls for 12 months last February).

Skype Unlimited users should now sign up for Skype Pro which provides essentially the same services as Skype Unlimited did. But not so fast... make certain that when you renew or sign up for Skype that you sign up for Skype Pro BEFORE signing up for Skype In... otherwise it will cost you an extra $36 http://support.skype.com/index.php?_a=knowledgebase&_j=questiondetails&_i=1075

It is cumbersome signing up for Skype incoming/outgoing services in that you must process your order(s) separately. Just make sure you sign up for the service(s) in the right order!

  1. Month Subscription in 2007:
    Skype Unlimited $29.95
    Skype In $38
    Total: $67.95
  2. month Subscription in 2008:
    Skype Pro: $36
    Skype In: $24 after signing up for or renewing Skype Pro ...otherwise $60
    Total: $60 (or $96)

I'm waiting to hear back from Billing.
Cheers,
Brian

********

Hi Ina,
It's been over a year since you featured my site www.advatumdisplays.com on your "critique my site". You may recall we're sellers of portable tradeshow displays and exhibits, both on and off eBay. (though much less eBay of late, by necessity)

It feels like forever ago since I pored over the comments sent in by readers. I can definitely say a whole lot of the improvements we enjoy on our site now were either directly or indirectly generated from the correspondence I carried on with those who commented, and I'm proud of how we've grown.

Incidentally, we we're named Canada's 9th fastest growing company by Profit magazine this summer, and we have no plans of slowing down!

Anyway, just wanted to follow up with you and say thanks again for allowing us to be featured; it really, really helped. Keep up the great work on your newsletters.
Dylan Collett
Advatum Tradeshow Displays
www.AdvatumDisplays.com


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.


You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
All other use is prohibited.