EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 291 - July 24, 2011 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor

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

Also visit the Letters to the Editor blog, here are links to letters published from July 12, 2011 to present:

Trouble with eBay Duplicate Listings Policy (July 21, 2011) - Link to letter

How Do You Raise eBay Selling Limits? (July 19, 2011) - Link to letter

Amazon Seller Copes with Changing Quantities on Listings (July 18, 2011) - Link to letter

PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info (July 17, 2011) - Link to letter

Channel Advisor and Vendio Need to Lower Prices! (July 13, 2011) - Link to letter

Could Longer eBay Titles Jeopardize Google Product Feeds? (July 12, 2011) - Link to letter


Dear Ina,
I was searching on eBay today for a specific record and found the results interesting. I typed in "BIG JOE TURNER Rhythm and Blues Years" which is the name of the artist and the title of the record and received zero results. However once I replaced the "and" with the "&" in the actual title of the record I received 3 results.

Maybe this is not news, but I find it highly interesting that in this day and age, eBay's search is so inadequate that it does not compensate for such simple alternates as "and" \ "&". So if someone was looking for this record and types in the title with the "and" they would receive no results and probably assume that no one on eBay is selling it.

There is no need to respond, I just thought I'd bring this to your attention, although you may already be aware of such inconsistencies. Thank you for your time and for everything you do to keep us online sellers informed through your newsletter.
Best Regards,


Re: New eBay options to require buyer phone and use USPS discount rates

Maybe I missed it, but I haven't read any announcement concerning 2 new preference settings. There are now options to require a phone number during checkout and offer discount USPS rates.

Offer carrier-specific discounts to buyers
Require phone number for shipping

I enabled them a few days ago, but haven't verified that they actually work.

Note from the Editor: We're awaiting a response from eBay about these features.


Dear Ina,
I have been reading a lot of anger & confusion over the new eBay FVFs on shipping (on AB & other places). A lot of what I've read has been either incorrect information, or bad math on the user's part...but not all of it. I had an interesting transaction recently. Even though I was a bit ignorant as to the new policies, I was STILL over-charged...and, as an aside, my math is NEVER bad.

The transaction details: I sold 3 items to a buyer internationally. 2 were auctions, and 1 was just added to the invoice. The shipping charge on the first 2 came out to $42.45 and the extra item was $20.

My first ignorant action; I was not aware that they now charge a fee on extra charges.

My second ignorant action; I thought they charged the fee for additional items based on your domestic shipping discounted Each item is treated as a separate domestic shipping charge. In my case my "lowest domestic shipping" option is $7.45 and additional items are +$3 each. For 2 items, I was under the impression that I would be charged based on that $ They were treated as $7.45 x 2 ($14.90).

That's fine...still less than the $42.45 actual charge. My third ignorant action; because this was invoiced as 1 item (not 2), I was under the initial impression that it was just 1 item. I didn't particularly remember this transaction.

I have included the "chat session" below (names & transaction # removed), and you can see that I do eventually catch on to the whole situation. Even with my mistakes, I still found that I was being over-charged. They eventually refunded the entire shipping FVF.

Just a side-note; this chat took LITERALLY 64 minutes to get $3.55 back (after years of dealing with eBay, I now time every chat session)...I could have made more working minimum wage.

If you happen to publish this, please omit my name/info.
Thank you, and keep up the good work!


I just spoke with Ebay regarding my loss of Power Seller status and reasoning for being "below standard" despite all of my fields showing "above standard" over the past 2 reviews. I was told by the Ebay rep that "there were significant errors during the last evaluation" and "many sellers were incorrectly stripped of their power seller status and lowered in top/above/below standard fields".

Meanwhile my sales have fallen to 10% of what they normally are!

The Ebay rep has informed me to plead my case at powersellersinfo@ebay which "can take up to 48 hours or more," meanwhile we are in limbo here...

If the feedback, DSR, and top rated seller performances are SO critical and SO important in a seller's success on Ebay and use to hold them to high-standards, how can it possibly be viewed with validity if it is riddled with admitted errors and manipulations??? My God, we are all doomed on there as the circus has just added yet another tent!


I want to report that Paypal experiencing many problem with email notification system. Specially with Paypal debit card. Before you used to get email confirmation from Paypal every time you spend money with Paypal debit card. So it was very easy to keep track of charges and make bookkeeping hassle free. Also it prevent from un-authorized charges. Because we'll be notified every time money spend out from your Paypal account. But Paypal didn't send any email notification when you make purchase for last 30 days.

They didn't fix it for 1 month. So far no sign of positive news.
Can you address this problem?

Note from the Editor: This problem has been reported on Ecommerce EKG. Readers should use the reporting system to indicate whether or not they are also experiencing this issue.


New Ebay final value fees. Ebay is rounding these fees. Example: I combined shipping on five items. Total shipping charges to buyer 6.99. Final value fee should be 0.63 cents. Ebay charged 0.65 cents. Ebay separated the orders charging 0.13 cents per item. Totaling 0.65 cents.

I have contacted ebay twice in regards to this and the issue has not been resolved. Rounding is against the law. Please let me know what you think.
Thank you,


I want any all all info on the new tax law, for income earned thru online banking, re; PayPal, Google, Amazon....etc...please more articles about this and how to tips and effects it is having on online selling....please...
Thanks again,


Hi Ina,
Further evidence that ebay have completely abandoned any pretence of actioning user reports despite the protestations of their mouthpieces such as "office of the president" "Terri" continuing to insist that all reports are acted on. This listing has now been going for 3 days - forget the "not" in the title, what about the profanity reported within 1 hour of this listing appearing.

Aussie sellers are now paying to list and compete against an ever-growing sea of "NOT" keyword spamming and various other listing violations that ebay refuse to remove.

We can only assume that they don't remove these listings because of a combination of greed and laziness. ebay are now officially out of control.
Sick to Death of ebay


Sellers Be Really Careful of PayPal They Steal Your Money!!!!!!

I had a buyer from iOffer pay for an item: PayPal put the payment on review this notice:

Hello XXXX,
XXXXX just sent you money with PayPal. To help protect you, we're reviewing this payment.

The Payment Review may take up to 24 hours. When we've completed the review, we'll either clear or cancel the payment. If the payment clears: You may proceed to process the order. To know if your item is covered, check the Seller Protection section of the "Transaction Details" page and ensure that it states "Eligible".

You shouldn't ship the item until we let you know that the payment has cleared. We'll send you an email when we complete the review or you can check the Transaction History tab of your PayPal account.

XXXX is a Verified Customer

I SENT THIS TO THE BUYER stating that I will wait till money clears: So buyer went to Google Check out to pay me. Google accepted the payment intently. While PayPal is still doing there payment review... so.

With agent on the phone I refunded the money during the PayPal money review PayPal agent said I would not be charged. Well guess what I WAS CHARGED. I have been on the phone waiting my time and my money waiting to get this resolved.

The payment to PayPal how they got it was the stopped the transfer of a previous payment transfer I had to my back account dead in the tracks re captured their XX cents in PayPal fees immediately from me. PayPal gave back the money to the buyer in full.

Agent got back on the phone after about 20 minutes and adjusted my PayPal account. His explanation to me was that this was a suspicious payment and this is why they did this. My question to him was then why did Google allow him to make the payment?????

If I had not called I would have been charged a fee from PayPal for no reason what so ever or justification on how they keep charging us. I do not think this is legal. Any attorneys out there want to give an opinion?

Please keep my name out of this letter.
Thank you


I would be remiss if I did not write this email to you AGAIN. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter extolling the virtues of the positive experience I had with eBay customer service. Now just a short two weeks later eBay has decided to through me under the bus. Just as I felt it my duty to publicly give eBay kudos I feel equally compelled to share my disappointment and subsequent decision to end my almost 12 years as a power seller on eBay.

I awoke this morning to a missing auction listing. I was excited because I thought someone had done a "Buy It Now" but sadly what happened was eBay removed my listing due to an inappropriate use of a brand name. To this I was guilty and had no problem with re-listing my item. However upon further investigation found that two other items identical to mine also were using the same brand name inappropriately. The headings were almost identical but only mine was removed. So a call was placed to customer service.

I was shocked at the lack of help. Long story short I spoke with both a service rep and his supervisor. Not only did the supervisor state there was nothing she could do about the other sellers she also said there was no one else I could speak with, she was as high up as I could go. I then asked if I were speaking with a customer service rep located in the USA and she said she was not allowed to discuss that information. I then asked to be transferred to a customer service rep located within the USA and was denied. She stated that no one at her location has the ability to make transfers to eBay within the USA, BULL in plain English.

Sadly, but long over due is my departure from selling on eBay. The amount of time that is required to conduct business there is no longer a good business decision. Just as I praised eBay for good work I must admit that the negatives out weigh the positives.

Just a note, I was told if I wanted to I could file a complaint against the other users and it would take 24 - 48 hours to decide if they too would be taken down. I refused this offer as I do not want to harm another seller. Why would I want to bring the same ludicrous action against another soul trying to make a buck. So now I join the legions of ex eBay sellers. It won't be easy but it will force me to learn and grow in hopefully a healthier direction.

Ina, please try and include this email in one of your postings so other buyer's can see there is hope in what sometimes looks like a hopeless situation.
Thank you,


Hi Ina,
I'm writing to let you know about something odd that happened today. My husband tried to take cash out from my ATM today after work. He kept getting a message that said "unauthorized usage". I had the money in my bank account, so it should not have been a problem.

I just got off the phone with my bank about this. They informed me that someone tried purchasing well over $1,000 worth of items on the internet using my bank card, and my bank was suspicious enough to not let it go through. They told me on the phone they know my activity with this card, and that a red flag goes up right away on their system when they suspect it's not the card user using it.

It was not me that purchased anything on the internet, nor my husband. Nobody had this card information except my husband, myself, and ebay, which I'll explain below.

We do not use this card to purchase items in any walk-in store or on the internet, we use it to take money from my ATM for household necessities, but I also used it with ebay last night, because my previous credit card on file with them was ready to expire.

Last night I gave ebay the new credit card details, the same card mentioned above, since my previous card was ready to expire.

My web banking currently says -$1.00 for the amount ebay takes to make sure the card is good. That's fine, I knew they would do that.

Someone tried to use my card to make a purchase on the internet, and did it after I updated my credit card with ebay, when I was asleep.

I asked my bank supervisor if he thought it might have something to do with ebay. His exact words were, "I wouldn't doubt it, it's happened before". I can not say for sure that someone from ebay did try to purchase items on the internet using my credit card details, after I updated my credit card on their site, but my bank does think someone at ebay had something to do with it. It does seem very fishy since it happened a few hours after I gave ebay my card info.

For the record, I signed into ebay, went to the "my account" section, and "seller account" to do this. I did not change my card from an email.

I'd like to know if this has happened to anyone else recently, after giving ebay their new credit card information, after signing into ebay, directly from the "my account" section?

The credit card I added on my ebay account last night is now null and void. I have a new card coming in the mail and I should have it in about 5 days.

I think I'll just keep the null and void card on file with ebay. I'm too afraid to give them my new card details when it arrives.
Please withhold name.

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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