EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 273 - October 24, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

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 ina@auctionbytes.com 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:

eBay Seller in a Jam over UK Takedown - Link to letter

Beware Spoof PayPal Emails Containing Your Full Name - Link to letter

Poor eBay Compliance Record, Happy Customers - Link to letter

eBay Seller Says Buyer Disputes Running Rampant - Link to letter

Veteran eBay Seller Reports Sales Down 80% in October - Link to letter

eBay Not Responsible for Destruction of Allegedly Fake Items - Link to letter

How eBay's 2008 Strategy Shift Affected Marketplaces - Link to letter

eBay Pays Return Shipping on SNAD Claims - Link to letter

eBay Motors Drops Sales Tax Leaving Seller in the Lurch - Link to letter

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Horrible Customer Service at Ebay:

I joined eBay many years ago and sold on the site as a power seller for over 10 years before the policies, regulations, restrictions and down-right stupidity got the best of us. We watched our sales slowly erode until we got to the point where we were paying more in fees than we were making in sales. We have been away from eBay for a few years now. Recently, eBay started having "free listing" weeks. We decided to test the waters again.

Many things have changed at eBay, not the least of which are their fees. However, I think the WORST part of eBay is their customer service. There have been a few times where I have actually had to try to attempt to talk to someone at customer service. I am appalled at the wait times that one must endure in order to actually talk to a live person. I have never experienced wait times along the magnitude of eBay.

It is totally unacceptable when a paying customer has to wait several hours (we're not talking 30 minute wait times here. We're talking several HOURS! Currently I've been waiting for over 5 hours to get help). Where else can a multi-billion dollar company get away with such horrendous service and stay in business. Ebay needs to wake up and start realizing that buyers AND sellers are THEIR bread and butter. Each is just as important. Together they make the eBay-engine run. When you don't have both parts of that equation, your business model breaks.

Customer service is a necessary evil to a company. When a customer knows that help is available they are more secure using that company's services. No wonder they are shedding customers left and right. No customer service = Unsatisfied customers. Unsatisfied customers = bad reputation for that company.

After this round of auctions are over, I am NEVER coming back. It's not even worth my time and energy at eBay even if they offer free listing days/weeks/months/years again.
Signed,
Long-time ebayer - not coming back again.

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Ina: Between 2003 and 2006 I bought a lot of Chinese and Japanese antique ceramics from reputable dealers on eBay. The good dealers subsequently drifted off eBay because they weren't getting value for money and were being screwed and because eBay focussed on junk retailers.. Same thing hapened with Japanese woodblock prints.

I'm now beginning to assemble a collection of French stamps. It is well nigh impossible to find things on www.ebay.com - a site that still has some clout amongst stamp collectors - partly owing to an apparent congenital incapacity of these idiots who "manage" eBay to cater for the difference between French stamps (stamps issued for use in France itself) and the stamps of French colonies.

Frankly, I wish Google would enter this relatively small commercial space and knock eBay off the scene. eBay is full of a bunch of complacent, self-congratulating, officious and pompous arrogant gits who dislike their clients. I look forward to reading oodles of business case studies about where eBay went wrong.
It takes me forever to find anything on eBay. What a pox of a company eBay is.
Paul

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Well it's my first time here, good to see I am not alone in my anxious, "Waiting for the hammer to drop" negative feedback from some stupid deceitful yahoo that puts me out of business on Ebay.

I have been selling on the site for 12 years plus, I have seen many changes as have all of you who have served this master for any length of time. There have been so, so, many changes, I try to think of the positive ones...

Well, so much for that. Once it was a great adventure, it was fun, it was exciting, waiting for the item to end and watching the bidding go up and up. That's all gone now, if your item sells, it's usually for your asking price and there is no flurry of activity as in years past. Part of that is the economy and part of it is that the butt in the "Big seat" (JD) never got it. No clue about the simple but dynamic concept of buyer and seller.

His predecessor "Lady Whitman" never got it either, she just came on board and watched the juggernaut take off, propelled by it's own momentum which was mostly word of mouth. Yes, she brought the mechanics of corporate direction, but mostly she just watched, as the ship gained power and freight. She just did a little steering - sort of "keep it off the rocks", so to speak.

It used to be a community, a place where other people, both buyers and sellers would email you - to let you know - what you had - so you would not make a mistake and give something away or misidentify something so that it would not be seen. Now the community is gone but Ebay does a good job of hiding your listings for you now.

Disruptive Innovation: A term formerly used to describe an action such as the Automobile replacing the Horse and buggy.

It now means taking the most vibrant exciting trading platform in the history of man and crashing it on the rocks in a failed attempt to makeover something that did not need a makeover. 2005-2010 has been an absolute disaster for Ebay stockholders, for growth, and for Ebay as an auction based selling format. It seems to a reasonable person that if you wanted to have a non-auction based selling platform, build it as an adjunct but separate entity from the auction based site. No, I am JD - I am in charge, and all will do as I command or you can leave. Apparently, many did just that.

I can quote from all the angry people about DSRs and No feedback for buyers, but it has all been said before, many times.

I did find it quite telling however, and I speak of Meg Whitman's recent derogatory comments about Fresno, I'm sure it sounds all very familiar to the many former sellers and buyers on Ebay whom Whitman and Donahoe alienated. The practice did not serve her well while at Ebay, and her alienating the voters of California - the very people you need to vote for you, probably won't serve her campaign well either.
Frank

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Hi Ina
Guess I am trying to vent the frustration of selling on eBay, I have been a seller for about 9 years and have lived through all the changes, some that made sense and most that have not. I always did think it was not right to buy something, pay promptly and get a piece of junk then get bad feedback from a seller ? Folks that never was right and did need changed ! But in no way to the x stream whoever at eBay have taken it to.

I have been a top rated seller with 100% feedback, not really a big deal except for the 20% discount I try and maintain, always making customer service a #1 priority. I sell mostly tools, Vintage stereo and aircraft surplus items. As of the 20th eBay is taking away the top rated seller and the 20% discount because of 3 opened buyer protection claims, every one I really had no control over. One was a new buyer that bought a vintage reel to reel player and he did not know there was a switch on the machine to make it auto reverse, he thought it did not work, ran right over to his computer and left bad feedback and opened a claim, I called him when I seen it, talked with him, he revised the feedback and closed the claim and apologized - that was claim 1.

Claim # 2 was a guy that was a buyer and a seller with 700 feedback that bought some paint, claims it was damaged in shipping, Maybe it was, maybe it was not, I have sold over 225 cases and never 1 problem. He must have ran right to his computer when he got it and opened a claim without even contacting me. Said he just wants his money back, and will not return it cause it is not safe to ship it back, and does not want another one. eBay recommended to me just to return his money ? I have no clue as to if it was even damaged ? # 3 was a fellow that opened a claim on a package for non delivery because fedex dropped it off at the house next door, and he did not know it for a week, he closed the claim right away. I contacted eBay about a appeal on 2 of these, and the most response I got is "sorry about your luck" ! just make sure you pay your 900 a month in fees to us !

So eBay is taking my top rated seller status and 20% discount away on the 20th of this month. Is there any of you that can make sense out of this for me ? Things that do not make sense are usually not right to start with. Without ranting or raving I am going to just stopping selling on eBay as of the 20th and quit worrying about things I have no control over. I have never wrote this type of letter before, but do read all the ranting and raving about eBay all over the place the last few years.

To all the people that rant and rave about eBay, Donahoe , this and that, You have to start realizing there is one thing that may change eBay back to it's glory days, or make it better than it is now and that is bad national press, someone big out there need to do a story about what eBay really is and how have treated the people they make most money from, there has to be one of your readers out here, that knows someone that knows someone that can get a big story like this out there. That is one thing that would get eBays attention. Anyone agree ?
Thanks for reading
Dan

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October 9th marked the 13th year since I registered for eBay. It used to be so exciting back then. I remember the piles of checks in the mail, the heaping bike cart full of packages I would ride to the post office, and how I would run into people who would praise me for being the one who showed them the eBay way.

All those years I had so few problems I couldn't name one. I received my one and only negative feedback only after the change in feedback was made, and I refused to be blackmailed. The last couple of years I have lost my enthusiasm due to all the seemingly anti-seller rules that have been enacted. Unfortunately I still need to list some items on eBay so that I can pay my bills .

As I am listing items tonight, I have decided to put my handling time to 20 days even though it will be one or two, just to protect myself in the event of a slow delivery by the post office. Because as I understand the buyer protection policy, a buyer can make a claim soon after the expected delivery day, enabling them to get a refund (with shipping!) and receiving the package as well.

I also am dismayed by eBays reliance on delivery confirmation, because it is not at all uncommon for the package to not get scanned, even at delivery. I have even had a couple of signature required packages delivered without a scan, without a signature.

From now on, I will not allow international shipping except by request, and I shall put 30 days handling time to protect myself from eBay buyer protection. I wonder how long before eBay removes the now meaningless return policy from the page, because my no returns unless I made a mistake policy is now meaningless. I hope to quit altogether before long, I have joined a brand new antique mall in town that is doing quite well. I never thought I would be doing that, it is like things have come full circle.

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Re: eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays (link)

Dear Ina,
I just received a survey from Stamps.com and noticed that they don't used the same definitions as eBay.

eBay claims that the wording and phrases they use to describe the different classes of shipping are "industry standard"... however, I have to wonder if their claims can withstand even a casual scrutiny.

The fact that an industry leader like Stamps.com uses the word "Regular" for 3-5 day delivery and "Expedited" for 2-3 day delivery is just more proof that eBay is wrong. They're either clueless, or deliberately lying to us.
Sincerely,
A Loyal Reader


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.


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