EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 269 - August 22, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     7 of 7

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor

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In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From feedback to payment services, from fees to posting policies, AuctionBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views. Send your letter to the editor by emailing with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line. (Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear.)

Visit the Letters to the Editor Blog, here are links to letters published from August 9 to present:

Counterfeit Coin Sold on eBay (August 21, 2010) - Link

PayPal Faces No Repercussion from Regulators (August 20, 2010) - Link

Listing in Two Categories on eBay - Is It Worth It? (August 18, 2010) - Link

eBay Buyers Allowed to Change Shipping Fees(August 18, 2010) - Link

Craigslist Points Finger at eBay over Explicit Ads (August 17, 2010) - Link

Recommend Mail Forwarding Services for International Shipping (August 12, 2010) - Link

Seller Concerned about eBay's Open Cases Policy (August 10, 2010) - Link

Small eBay Sellers Should Differentiate Themselves (August 9, 2010) - Link


How are you today? I was just wondering if you saw this post on eBay "Seller Central."

It seems that from the investigations having been done by many readers that this person has been scamming sellers for quite some time, costing them thousands of dollars while eBay/Paypal has allowed this to continue. I was thinking this would make for a great investigative expose.

Just goes to prove how easy eBay/Paypal has made it for someone to steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise while providing the sellers with NO recourse to stop/prevent it or recover their losses.

I also wonder how many more cases there are like this that have not made it to the message boards.
Take care.


In an effort to be more accurate about postage charges on my EBay listings, I have been issuing a refund of the overcharge to my customers. Imagine my surprise when paypal changed their policy and said the following: You can only issue a full refund for this transaction. Please enter the full refund amount below.

Note from the editor: see this post, "PayPal Only Allows Full Refunds in Some Cases" (Aug 24, 2010) for eBay's response to a similar report.


A place where sellers and buyers can rate eBay:

Not many happy people with eBay since John Donahoe took over!
Thanks Ina!
An AuctionBytes fan!


Hi Ina,
Follow up to the eBay sex trafficking story.

eBay's Response To Sex Trafficking Allegations: Shut Down U.S. Access To Loquo - Link

Apparently, the eBay response is to try and make it impossible for users in the US to access the site rather than address the moral and ethical issues presented by accepting this kind of advertising.

Typical of eBay to bury their heads in the sand to make believe this is not an issue and expect users to do the same.
Ric Roe


Hello once again Ms. Steiner,
One of the largest failures to follow eBay and good business guidelines lies in the tracking number provided to buyers. Most of us don't check out the package tracking numbers because the turn around time is relatively short between the time of purchase and delivery. I remember well a commenter on Auction Bytes boast of having to make more false tracking numbers. I passed that over with no concern until today when I was faced with two seller who have not been timely in sending out my merchandise. One of these resulted in my filing an, "Item not received", claim.

Both of these sellers provided," Tracking numbers", that are as worthless as a teat on a boar hog. Now I understand what sellers are doing. When they print a shipping label they generate a tracking number; however, that same number is not scanned into the USPS system. I included a Post Office response to that type of activity at the bottom of this email .When the transaction is less that fulfilling those same sellers cry out to eBay as though they are victims because they had a tracking number. For the life of me I can't come up with a viable reason.

When I ship from home,the mail carrier scans all of my packages into the system. That indicates that it has been sent and is in the USPS care. Perhaps these sellers are trying to save a few seconds of time by dumping all of their parcels at one time. The mail carrier never complains because that is a part of his job description. They know that their bread and butter rests with good and safe mail delivery.It's a shame that all sellers don't feel the same way.

Each seller on the web is an independent business owner and is expected to operate in such a manner that customers are highly satisfied with those services. I am hoping that you will see fit to publish this as eBay reads Auction Bytes closely. Perhaps eBay will close that door and only allow tracking numbers that have actually been scanned so we buyers can follow our merchandise. Failure to do so allows for a continued level of poor shipping and customer service. Amazon has this covered, there is no reason that eBay can't either.

Follow-up email

re:tracking numbers

Dear Ms. Steiner,
I discovered the mystery behind the tracking number dilemma. EBay sellers,in printing out a USPS label, receive a tracking number if wanted. The seller is not having the mail carrier or desk clerk physically scan those numbers into the system thereby giving both the seller and buyer a birds eye view as to where the package is.

I honestly believe that this failure is predominant across the board producing a failure in the eBay designed program of giving reduced fees for complying with these procedures. EBay's own words are:

Tracking or Delivery Confirmation information is automatically uploaded to eBay. You can check the shipping status of your shipped items in the Shipping Labels section of My eBay. With your tracking information, buyers can also check the shipping status of packages from My eBay, so you'll receive fewer emails from buyers.

I spoke with the seller with whom I have a formal dispute and she was flabbergasted to know that she was supposed to insure the personal scanning of her packages.She was under the impression that those tracking numbers were automatically entered into the system.I am sure that this extends well beyond eBay's back door.

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

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