EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 270 - September 12, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 8

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 22 to present:

eBay Charging Penny for Free Shipping (September 10, 2010) - Link to letter

Why Hasn't Overstock Auctions Taken Off as eBay Alternative? (September 10, 2010) - Link to letter

Delivery Confirmation Doesn't Provide Online Tracking (September 8, 2010) - Link to letter

Bonanzle Customer Service a Breath of Fresh Air (September 5, 2010) - Link to letter

Another Problem with eBay International Shipping Labels (September 4, 2010) - Link to letter

Sales Tax Collection and IRS Reporting to Burden Sellers (September 2, 2010) - Link to letter

Columnist Gripes about eBay Motors Sales Lead Generator (August 31, 2010) - Link to letter

eBay Australia Creates Database of Web Developers (August 31, 2010) - Link to letter

eBay Feedback Extortion Policy Redefines Extortion (August 28, 2010) - Link to letter

eBay's New Shipping Policy Unfair to Canadian Sellers (August 26, 2010) - Link to letter

Seller Needs Advice on Leaving eBay (August 22, 2010) - Link to letter


Regarding Etsy's move toward private purchase history (link)

Hi Ina!
The people objecting most strongly to this are data miners, not sellers and certainly not buyers. Apparently those who make a business of profiling buyers and selling the data are in panic mode. HTH ! Thanks!


Hi Ina,
Google's new instant search (link) looks like it will be a game changer with regard to SEO.

For sellers, it now looks like the first keyword users search will be key.


As a new seller/buyer in the eBay venue, I too am angry regarding their new fee and feedback policies. I had one original account established in CA., moved for out of state for retirement, then found out you cannot merge your accounts. What a bunch of CRAP! I worked hard to establish a good rating on my first account and now have to start all over again! I'd like to throw a stinking pie into the face of eBay's management. It use to be FUN and rewarding to use the eBay venue, not anymore.

We need to stand-up against these "FATCATS" within their corporate structure. Now, if you get hit with one negative, as a low volume seller, you loose a whopping 3.7% from the 100% rating yet, high volume sellers don't. Not right and not fair to beginning sellers. I too, won a "resolution Dispute" and the buyer sent a nasty feedback. I have protested but eBay customer service say they cannot reverse the negative. I say CRAP on that! Am I alone in this thinking?
Jack in Utah


Have you seen this forum post from eBay "pink"

Hi d-k_treasures,
There will be occasional situations when a case will be removed from your count of opened cases, and we will have a process in place when the new requirement takes effect in October to identify those situations and ensure they are not counted in your seller performance evaluation.

This will include cases in which the buyer opens a SNAD, but delivery confirmation clearly shows item has yet to be delivered. We will also remove from the count INR cases in which the seller has followed best practices by stating a handling time, shipping promptly, and uploading tracking/delivery confirmation that shows the buyer had received the item before the case was opened.

Finally, we will not be counting international transactions. Only Buyer Protection cases from U.S. buyers will be counted.


Hello Ina,
What is your take on the new DSR standards? It is unclear to me what they want. They show the percentage of total sales that is acceptable, but then the next column shows a maximum number of occurrences. So which is it? Is the maximum number of occurrences set no matter how many sales you have?

Can you send me in a direction to find some clarity in this insane move by Ebay?

Im so sick of this ever tightening vise I could just scream.


Dear Ina
PayPal released some new policy changes today... here are a couple that I found interesting. I've added my comments and observations after each quoted passage.

"PayPal does not guarantee, represent or warrant that the PayPal Services and related features that enable you to detect or minimize fraudulent transactions will discover or prevent all non-valid or fraudulent transactions. PayPal is not responsible for any non-valid or fraudulent transactions that are processed."

Really? No guarantee? PayPal disavows responsibility for fraudulent transactions? - Then PLEASE STOP trying to convince Sellers that PayPal protects us, and that it's "safe".

"The following sentence was added to the requirements around how you treat PayPal Express Checkout: You shall not discriminate against PayPal, nor discourage its use, as a payment option over any other payment option offered by you."

You know, rather than prohibiting this practice, perhaps PayPal should examine themselves to try and determine WHY this might be happening.

I guess this must be a pretty widespread problem. I thought I was the only one doing it. Previously, whenever someone clicked to choose PayPal on my store's checkout, it activated a small popup message that requested payment by Credit Card instead. The popup message stated that PayPal's fees were higher, and it saved me money if they would pay using a credit card. Nevertheless, I let my customers know I was happy to accept their PayPal payment if that was the payment method they preferred.

So, this new requirement of "not discouraging" the use of PayPal means that I won't be "discouraging" its use anymore. Why? Because I have COMPLETELY REMOVED PayPal as a checkout option!!

How's that workin' out for ya now, PayPal? You should have been happy that I was using PayPal AT ALL!! But now, you get nothing from me.
Sincerely yours,
A Loyal Reader


Hi Ina and David,
When viewing eBay lots today (as a buyer), I realized that those which I needed to contact the seller no longer have a "Contact Seller" link. There is a blank spot where the link used to be.

For example, on one lot, I was able to use the seller-name link to get to a seller page that does have a contact seller link... and surprisingly, doing so RETAINED the identity of the item number that I had come from, so the email to the seller is referencing the correct item.

Very strange!

It could be that the missing link is a problem only on my browser, but it would be interesting if it is not just me.

eBay is doing everything possible to eliminate the ability of the buyer and seller to communicate. eBay assumes that everybody is going to try to do something that causes eBay to miss out on fees - to eBay EVERYBODY is a criminal who just needs to be caught.

I will be SO HAPPY when eBay dries up and blows away .... which I am firmly convinced will eventually happen; maybe even in my life time. I hope so. Then something else can replace it and do a much better, less evil job of it.


I was just checking some old sites I used to use and Blackwells is updating and changing. It seems more in line to pickup the ebay antique and collectible sellers that want auctions. It will only work if there is a LOT of advertising.


Have you seen this yet?
I just went to revise one of my ebay listings, and I get the following message, and all my current listings pictures say "Sellers Image No Longer On Line".
I am really hating ebay!

"Attention Sellers: Please place a reimbursement payment method on file
We show that you don't have a reimbursement payment method (credit card, or PayPal account) on file with us. Sellers must have a reimbursement payment method on file to pay for claims under eBay's Buyer Protection Policy. We'll need you to provide this information today to continue listing your items on eBay.

eBay's Buyer Protection Policy generally covers buyers for most purchases on eBay. If eBay has refunded the buyer for claims covered under the eBay Buyer Protection Policy, we'll charge the amount due to eBay using the automatic method you select. The eBay Buyer Protection Policy is subject to change and we'll charge you in accordance with the Policy as it existed on the date of the transaction at issue. eBay may charge the payment method you select on a one-time, sporadic, or recurring basis. You can always change your selected payment method in My eBay or cancel your automatic payment method by contacting us. Learn more about what eBay's Buyer Protection Policy means for sellers.

It's quick and easy to do. Click here to open a new window and select your reimbursement payment method. Once you're done, you'll be able to review and submit your listing. "

Once I set it up with Paypal, I received the following message. I have no idea what they mean by my "current reimbursement balance", because I never knew that I had one!!

"You've set up your reimbursement payment method
This payment method will remain on file. It will be used to pay for your current reimbursement balance, and in the future if we reimburse the buyer on your behalf we'll use this payment method for reimbursement, you can always track the details of your cases in the Resolution Center."


Big ripoff-loophole in eBay's ShipCover insurance Per eBay's "2010 Fall Seller Update"

eBay now offers a shipping insurance option onsite called ShipCover. ShipCover is underwritten by Fireman's Fund, and is available on USPS parcels, both domestic and international.

eBay's Seller Update states: "With ShipCover you can get up to $5,000 of domestic or international insurance coverage for your eBay shipments worldwide right on line when you print your shipping label on eBay."

But, there appears to me to be a big BIG LOOPHOLE that gonna leave many a seller feeling ripped off, should one of their parcels be lost or damaged in transit.

First some background... As many of your sellers no doubt already know, high-value USPS packages shipped international cannot be insured properly to many countries. For example, $650 is the maximum amount of insurance that can be purchased for parcels destined to most of Europe (when you ship USPS Priority Mail International or Express Mail International). Even within Europe there are exceptions, you can insure EMI to Austria for up to $5000, but EMI to Germany has a maximum of $500 insured value

Think they're kidding? USPS-Germany page states "Germany will not accept any Express Mail International or Priority Mail International insured item valued at more than $500. Items valued at more than $500 will be returned to sender."

You can lookup the maximum insurance to any country on the USPS Index of Countries and Localities ( immctry.htm), where you can confirm that France Italy Switzerland UK and most of Europe are all $650 max. insured value.

So I was very pleased to see that, through eBay, I would now be able to ship high-value items USPS-EMI fully insured ... happy, that is, until I read the Terms Of Coverage shipping/coverage.html. If you scroll down their Terms to III-A, you will see:

"Coverage is contingent upon the Carrier being liable for loss, damage or shortage relating to a Package."

WHAT ???

When USPS carries a parcel to a country with an USPS insured value of $650, neither USPS nor said country's postal service is responsible for a loss over that amount. So, by my reading, when eBay/ShipCover includes the above clause in their Terms, eBay/ShipCover is stating they will not cover a loss which the carrier itself is not liable for. Leaving (of course) a loss for the seller.

That's the way I read that - which seems clear enough. Perhaps somebody high up from eBay can clarify or comment on this.
- Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t
(sorry Ina, but that's how I sign my posts)


Read your article from was good. I had a thriving business selling on Ebay and it was virtually destroyed when they banned TEs (Teacher Editions). Now, I am back on, but there was a mass exodus for sure of buyers.

Alibris and ABE books are two other great book selling sites that allow the sell of TEs. The fear of the book publishers was very strong. The First Sale Doctrine protects us all from such threats. There are a myriad of book selling sites that allow TEs.

But, Amazon for some reason still holds to their ban. Although you can still sell on their site TEs, as long as they do not catch up to you.... :o)

It would be nice to see them open that door to really hurts no one in the publishing business.......and the fear of students getting the test answers....gee look at the test schools in the schools....evident that there is not a mad rush to buy those test book answers..... :o)
Well,,,,thanks for writing...


Dear editor:
Recently a pink mod on cts Ebay banned a $100k account, what was the dasdardly crime? just a simple policy error on the discussion forum. (link)

Well Ebay made a mistake to allow a pink mod to effect the account of this member. Word on the internet travels instantly for good or bad.

How is it possible for low paid computer monitors to given the power to shut down 100-100,000 dollar accounts for mistakes made on Ebay talk forums, the punishment does not fit the crime. Ebay should be aware how ignorant these pink mods are, bottom line they will cost EBAY shareholders less profit.

A letter here and there will easily start a little wave of protest into a tidal wave of awareness, you don't put all your eggs in one auction site such as Ebay, they have obtuse rules on the talk forums..that will get your business accounts closed. Ebay should not lump talk with business, here is a link where overnight a protest thread has reached over 100,000 views within days.

Ebay do not discount your members, even a mighty old Oak tree...started as a little old seed. sincerely

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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