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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 282 - March 06, 2011 - ISSN 1528-6703     9 of 9

AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor

By Ina Steiner

March 06, 2011

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In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From feedback to payment services, from fees to online marketplace 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" 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 February 20, 2011 to present:

PayPal Experiencing Technical Issues Today (March 4, 2011) - Link to letter

No eBay Support for USPS Padded Flat Rate Envelopes (March 3, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Releases Contact Info without Subpoena? (March 2, 2011) - Link to letter

Deadbeat Bidder Wreaks Havoc on eBay Seller (March 1, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay Shows Feedback in Search Results (February 27, 2011) - Link to letter

eBay's Deadbeat Bidder Problem (February 24, 2011) - Link to letter

Why I Ended My eBay Auction for an Antique Korean Chest (February 23, 2011) - Link to letter

Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Quotes (February 21, 2011) - Link to letter

Moving Up to a Merchant Account - Reader Feedback (February 20, 2011) - Link to letter


Dear Ina,
I was relisting some items this afternoon and got the error message shown below:

"Alert! We've noticed that your listing with shipping costs that are unusually high for this category. In fact, most sellers within the category are offering either free shipping or shipping at a cost significantly lower than what you have included in your listing.

Please go back and revise your listing, reducing your shipping and handling charges to remain competitive in your category. Keep in mind that sellers may only charge up to the actual costs for shipping plus a minimal handling fee. Once you have made the necessary adjustments, you will be able to move forward with listing your item."

I will note that the shipping for three out of four of those items is 65 cents, which is much lower than the typical item, and the other one is $1.58, which is actual postage costs for a 2 ounce package with DC. So I have no idea why that message is popping up, other than eBay is trying to scare me into doing free shipping, which increases their profits, of course.

Just thought I'd run it by you,
A Frustrated Seller
(Please don't include my name or eBay name, don't want them irked with me. Thanks.)


This just started today....SURPRISE.

After leaving positive feedback and 5 DSRS instead of the usual green box, there is now a larger blue box below encouraging the filing of a claim it appears.

It is either because a) there are too many trusted sellers or soon to be trusted sellers and there are not enough buyers filing claims b) They want buyers to know that even after leaving positive feedback they can still file a claim with return shipping paid too, in case they change their mind and they can call it not as described and not be out a dime for return shipping? Or c) Ebay's default answer need more shoppers and want to "one up" with Amazon

Thank you for leaving Feedback for 1 transaction
Your Feedback helps keep the eBay Community informed and safe.

Did you have a problem with your recent purchase?

We wanted to remind you that your purchase is covered by eBay Buyer Protection. Learn more


If you didn't get the item or it wasn't as described, eBay will reimburse you through PayPal for your purchase price and original shipping cost.

Contact us to speak with a live customer support specialist or send us an email.


Your detailed seller rating reports amount of sales count. I finally made it to top rated seller. Now ebay threatens to take away that rating even though nothing has changed with getting any more one or two ratings.

I called ebay and asked them how this can be? There answer is well your sales dropped off from last year so do you know that counts against you too??

My answer to ebay is: sell more of my items and the numbers will not drop. They refused to address that answer. With losing buyer, trying to send buyers to other sellers, promoting other sellers.

How does ebay expect you to keep up the sales when they are constituently trying to lose you money and then tells you to make more sales to keep your DSR's up.
Please do not use my name thank you


Dear Ina,
Does eBay enforce any of their own policies, or have they just given up entirely? A few weeks ago, I cam across a few items listed on eBay with profanities (the F-word) in the title. This is a violation of eBay policy, so I reported the items. eBay did nothing and left them up.

The next day, I was looking for an item to buy when I found someone selling elephant ivory jewelry, another eBay policy violation. I reported the item. Nothing happened.

I began to think that maybe it was just a coincidence... so I did a little search for items that were in clear violation of eBay's long-held policies. I reported several auctions that showed photos of firearms in the listing (prohibited - you may only use orange-plugged replicas). I reported several items that sold swastikas and described as Nazi items (also prohibited). I reported people who were selling postal uniforms and patches. I reported items made from turtle leather.

Suffice to say, I browsed eBay policies, looked for rules that specifically prohibited items, searched for those items, and then reported ones that were in clear violation (no wiggle room on Nazi swastika items, for example).

Did eBay take any of these off the website? Answer: NO. Not a single one.

Why is there a process to report policy violations if there is no enforcement? In fact, why is there even a policy if eBay doesn't enforce it?

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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